Article 20: Accounting of the rulers by Muslims is one of their rights and an obligation of sufficiency upon them. The non-Muslim subjects have the right to voice complaint regarding the ruler’s injustice towards them or misapplication of the rules of Islam upon them.
When the ruler is appointed upon the people in order to rule them he has only been appointed to govern their affairs, so if he falls short in this governing then accounting him becomes necessary. Although his accounting lies with Allah (swt) and the recompense of his fault or negligence is punishment (from Allah (swt)), Allah (swt) gave the Muslims the right to account the rulerand made this accounting an obligation of sufficiency upon them, giving the Ummah the guardianship over the ruler’s execution of his responsibilities. It has been made binding upon the Ummah to rebuke the ruler if he is faulty in these responsibilities or displays evil conduct; Muslim narrated from Umm Salamah that the Messenger of Allah said
«سَتَكُونُ أُمَرَاءُ فَتَعْرِفُونَ وَتُنْكِرُونَ، فَمَنْ عَرَفَ بَرِئَ، وَمَنْ أَنْكَرَ سَلِمَ، وَلَكِنْ مَنْ رَضِيَ وَتَابَعَ»
“There will be Amirs (rulers) and you will like their good deeds and dislike their bad deeds. One who sees through their deeds (and tries to prevent their repetition), is absolved from blame, and one who hates their bad deeds (in their hearts, being unable to prevent their recurrence), is (also) safe. But one who approves of their bad deeds and imitates them is spiritually ruined”; in other words, the one who knows the evil and so he changes it and whoever is not capable of changing it rejects it in his heart and so he is safe. Accordingly, it is obligatory upon the Muslims to account the ruler in order to change what he is upon and they would be sinful if they were content with and followed the actions of the ruler that are blameworthy.
As for the non-Muslims, they have the right to raise complaints regarding oppression of the ruler due to the narrations about the absolute prohibition of oppression irrespective of whether it was upon the Muslims or non-Muslims and due to the narrations regarding the prohibition of harming the people of Dhimma; the Messenger of Allah said
«أَلاَ مَنْ ظَلَمَ مُعَاهِدًا، أَوْ انْتَقَصَهُ، أَوْ كَلَّفَهُ فَوْقَ طَاقَتِهِ، أَوْ أَخَذَ مِنْهُ شَيْئًا بِغَيْرِ طِيبِ نَفْسٍ، فَأَنَا حَجِيجُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ»
“Whoever wrongs (oppresses) a contracting man (someone with a covenant) , or diminishes his right, or forces him to work beyong capacity, or take from him anything without his consent, I shall plead for on the Day of Judgement” (Reported by Abu Dawud and Al-‘Iraqi said the chain was good).This is a definitive prohibition on harming the one with a covenant and by greater reasoning this applies to the people of Dhimmah. Also due to the prohibition of specific types of harm and similar to them are all harms; Abu Dawud narrated through Ibn ‘Abbas from the Prophet in the narration regarding the agreement with the people of Najran,
«عَلَى أَنْ لاَ تُهْدَمَ لَهُمْ بَيْعَةٌ، وَلا يُخْرَجَ لَهُمْ قَسٌّ، وَلا يُفْتَـنُوا عَنْ دِينِهِمْ، مَا لَمْ يُحْدِثُوا حَدَثًا أَوْ يَأْكُلُوا الرِّبَا»
“no church of theirs will be demolished and no clergyman of theirs will be turned out. There will be no interruption in their religion (will not coerced away from their religion) until they introduce something that does not belong to Islam, or take usury.”.If a Dhimmi is oppressed or afflicted by harm from the ruler, he has the right to raise his complaints until the oppression is lifted from him and the one who oppressed him is punished. The complaint from him is heard in every case irrespective of whether he was justified in his complaint or not.
In the book Al-Amwal by Ibn Abi ’l-Dunya with a Sahih chain to Sa’id Ibn Al-Musayyib, as also said by Al-Hafiz in the introduction of Al-Fateh, when Abu Bakr (ra) spoke to a Jew known as Fenhaas inviting him to Islam, Fenhaas replied to him saying
"والله يا أبا بكر ما بنا إلى الله من فقر وإنه إلينا لفقير، وما نتضرع إليه كما يتضرع إلينا، وإنا عنه أغنياء وما هو عنا بغني، ولو كان غنياً ما استقرضنا أموالنا كما يزعم صاحبكم، ينهاكم عن الربا ويعطيناه، ولو كان عنا غنياً ما أعطانا"
“By Allah O Abu Bakr, we have no need of Allah and He is needy to us, and we do not implore Him the way He implores us, and we are not in need of Him and He is not able to dispense with us, and if He were not poor , He would not ask for a loan from our property as your companion claims; forbidding you from usury (interest) and giving it to us, and if He were rich, he would not give us.”.So Fenhaas was alluding to His (swt) words
((مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً))
“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over?” (TMQ 2:245), but Abu Bakr was unable to have patience over this reply and so became angry and hit Fenhaas in the face with a powerful strike, and said “By the One who my soul is in His Hand, if there were not a covenant between us and you, I would struck your head, O enemy of Allah”. So Fenhaas then complained about Abu Bakr (ra) to the Messenger of Allah and the Prophet listened to his complaint and asked Abu Bakr (ra), and so Abu Bakr (ra) told him what was said to him. When Fenhaas was asked about this he denied what he had said to Abu Bakr about Allah (swt), and so His (swt) words
(( لَقَدْ سَمِعَ اللَّهُ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَقِيرٌ وَنَحْنُ أَغْنِيَاءُ سَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَالُوا وَقَتْلَهُمُ الْأَنْبِيَاءَ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ وَنَقُولُ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ (181)))
“Allah has certainly heard the statement of those [Jews] who said, "Indeed, Allah is poor, while we are rich." We will record what they said and their killing of the Prophets without right and will say, "Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire. ’” (TMQ 3:181)were revealed. The cause for the revelation of this verse is mentioned by Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Al-Munthir with a good chain from Ibn Abbas as mentioned by Al-Hafiz in Al-fath. And it is well known that Abu Bakr (ra) was a Wazir (minister) of the Messenger , in other words, an assistant, and so he was a ruler, and Fenhaas was a covenanter, and the Messenger heard the complaint from the covenanter, and so by greater reasoning it must be heard from the Dhimmi, and on top of that he has been given the covenant of Dhimmah.
As for complaints regarding the misapplication of the implementation of the rules of Islam upon them, then this is from the rights of the Muslims and non-Muslims; some Muslims complained to the Messenger about Mu’ath Bin Jabal lengthening the recitation in prayer – Al-Bukhari reported from Jabir Bin ‘Abd Allah who said,
«أَقْبَلَ رَجُلٌ بِنَاضِحَيْنِ وَقَدْ جَنَحَ اللَّيْلُ، فَوَافَقَ مُعَاذًا يُصَلِّي، فَتَرَكَ نَاضِحَهُ وَأَقْبَلَ إِلَى مُعَاذٍ، فَقَرَأَ بِسُورَةِ الْبَقَرَةِ أَوْ النِّسَاءِ، فَانْطَلَقَ الرَّجُلُ - وَبَلَغَهُ أَنَّ مُعَاذًا نَالَ مِنْهُ - فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ فَشَكَا إِلَيْهِ مُعَاذًا، فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ يَا مُعَاذُ أَفَتَّانٌ أَنْتَ؟! أَوْ أَفَاتِنٌ؟! ثَلاثَ مِرَارٍ، فَلَوْلاَ صَلَّيْتَ بِسَبِّحِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ، وَالشَّمْسِ وَضُحَاهَا، وَاللَّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى، فَإِنَّهُ يُصَلِّي وَرَاءَكَ الْكَبِيرُ وَالضَّعِيفُ وَذُو الْحَاجَةِ»
“Once a man was driving two Nadihas (camels used for agricultural purposes) and night had fallen. He found Mu`adh praying so he made his camel kneel and joined Mu`adh in the prayer. The latter recited Surat 'Al-Baqara" or Surat "An-Nisa", (so) the man left the prayer and went away. When he came to know that Mu`adh had criticized him, he went to the Prophet , and complained against Mu`adh. The Prophet said thrice, "O Mu`adh ! Are you putting the people to trial?" It would have been better if you had recited "Sabbih Isma Rabbika-l-A`la (87)", Wash-Shamsi Wa Duhaha (91)", or "Wal-Laili Idha Yaghsha (92)", for the old, the weak and the needy pray behind you.”And so the Messenger listened to the complaint aboutMu’adh and chastised him such that he even said to him
«أَفَتَّانٌ أَنْتَ؟ ثلاث مرات»
“O Mu`adh ! Are you putting the people to trial?”three times, and Mu’ath was the governor over Yemen and was the Imam of his people. This event has a number of narrations so irrespective of whether the complaint was regarding him and he was in Yemen or he was the Imam of his people, it is a complaint regarding someone who had been appointed by the Messenger so it is a complaint about the ruler, and regarding the implementation of the Shari’ah rules, since the Shari’ah rule is that the Imam should lighten the prayer due to the words of the Messenger
«إِذَا أَمَّ أَحَدُكُمْ النَّاسَ فَلْـيُخَفِّفْ»
“When any one of you leads the people in prayer, he should be brief.”(agreed upon with this wording from Muslim). So it was a complaint about the poor application of the rules of Islam.
In the same way that a complaint from the Muslim regarding prayer is listened to, any complaint regarding all other rules are also listened to and not prayer alone, since the misapplication of the Shari’ah rules is considered to be an act of injustice. Accordingly the complaint is a right for the Muslim and Dhimmi, since the Messenger said
«وَإِنِّي لأَرْجُو أَنْ أَلْقَى رَبِّي وَلَيْسَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ يَطْلُبُنِي بِمَظْلِمَةٍ»
“I hope that I meet my Lord and non of you are seeking (recompense from) me for an injustice.” (reported by Al-Tirmidhi who said the narration is Hasan Sahih). The word “one” in the narration encompasses the Muslim and the Dhimmi, since he did not say
«وَلَيْسَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ يَطْلُبُنِي»
“and no Muslim is seeking me”, but rather he said “and no one is seeking me”.
All of this is the evidence for the article.