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The Islamic Ruling Of Working Under A

‘Kufr’ (Disbeliving) Government.

‫بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم‬
Indeed all praise is due to Allāh (swt) whom we praise, seek help from
and guidance. We seek refuge in Allāh (swt) from the evil of ourselves
and the evil of our actions. Whosoever Allāh (swt) guides none can
misguide and whosoever He (swt) misguides and leaves to be
misguided none can guide. And I bear witness that there is no god but
Allāh (swt); He is alone without any partners. And I bear witness that
the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was His servant and messenger.

Allāh (swt) says in the Qurān,

‫ن إل‬
ّ ‫يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله حق ُتقاته ول تموت‬
‫وأنتم مسلمون‬
“O you who believe! Fear Allāh as He should be feared,
and die not except in a state of Islām.”1

To proceed. Indeed the most truthful of speech is the Book of Allāh

(swt) and the best of guidance is that of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
The most evil of affairs are the newly invented matters of which all
newly invented matters are innovations (bid’ah). Each and every
innovation is misguidance and every misguidance leads to the fire.

‫ فاطر السماوات‬،‫اللهم رب جبريل وميكائيل وإسرافيل‬

‫ أنت تحكم بين عبادك فيما‬،‫ عالم الغيب والشهادة‬،‫والرض‬
،‫ اهدنا لما اختلف فيه من الحق بإذنك‬،‫كانوا فيه يختلفون‬
‫إنك تهدي من تشاء إلى صراط مستقيم‬.
‘O Allah, The Lord of Jibra’il, Mika’il and Isra’fil, The Originator of the
heavens and the earths, The Knower of the unseen and the apparent,
You shall judge between your slaves as regarding that which they have
differed. Guide me to the truth of what they have differed in by Your
will. For indeed You guide whom You wish to the upright path’

This topic is among the many topics that has divided the ummah into
three camps. You have two at the two extremes while the third in
between them. Those with the ‘khawaarij’ ideology or having
Surah ale-Imrān 3:102

inclinations towards them conclude that since the system or
Government is a disbelieving one, then it is completely not allowed for
anyone that believes in Allah (swt) to take up any kind of work directly
under it. Anyone that takes up any form of work under it, they pass the
judgment of ‘kufr’ (disbelieve) on him.

The ‘murjiah’ and those having inclinations towards their ideology on

the other hand believe that although the system is a disbelieving one,
we can’t today say that every one that takes up any kind of job under
it is a kafir. Rather, we look at the heart of everyone in the system; if
he intends to do kufr then he becomes a kafir otherwise, he still
remains a believer no matter which kind of work he has taken up with
the kufr system.

The path which is between the two, the path of Ahl-Sunnah Wal-
Jama’ah believe that from amongst the works are some that take one
out of Islam even if the person that does the work did not intend going
out of Islam (because that work is from amongst the nullifiers of Islam).
Some are classified as ‘haram’ (forbidden) which does not take its doer
out of Islam as long as he does not make it ‘halal’ (i.e. justify the work
by seeing nothing wrong in it and to accredit, authorize or approve
participating in it.). Some are seen as ‘makruh’ (discouraged) while
others are seen as ‘mubah’ (allowed).

You should know that the scholars of Ahl-Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah

generally dislike and discourage Muslims taking up jobs under the
disbeliever or any disbelieving system or government. This is because
of a lot of reasons some of which are;

Allah (swt) says;

ِ ‫دو‬
{‫ن‬ ُ ‫ن‬
ْ ‫م‬
ِ ‫م‬ْ ُ ‫ما ل َك‬
َ ‫و‬ ْ ُ ‫سك‬
َ ‫م الّناُر‬ ّ ‫م‬ َ ‫موا‬
َ َ ‫فت‬ ُ َ ‫ن ظَل‬ َ ‫ذي‬ِ ّ ‫ول ت َْرك َُنوا إ َِلى ال‬
َ ّ
113 :‫ن{ ]هود‬ َ ‫صُرو‬ َ ‫م ل ُتن‬ ّ ُ ‫ول َِياءَ ث‬
ْ ‫نأ‬ ْ ‫م‬ ِ ‫ه‬
ِ ‫]الل‬.
And don’t recline towards the wrong doer lest you be
(punished) with the fire. And then, you shall have (besides
Allah) no guardian nor will you be helped.

‫ الركون هو الميل اليسير‬:‫قال المفسرون‬.

The scholars of tafsir say; reclining means a little inclination.

‫ بإسناد‬- ‫وقد روى المام أحمد والترمذي والنسائي وغيرهم‬

َ ‫قا‬
‫ل‬ َ ،‫ه أنه صلى الله عليه وسلم‬ ِ ّ ‫د الل‬ِ ْ ‫عب‬
َ ‫ن‬ِ َ ْ‫ر ب‬
ِ ِ ‫جاب‬َ ‫ن‬ ْ ‫ع‬َ - ‫صحيح‬
‫ما‬َ ‫و‬ َ ،(‫ء‬
َ ‫قا‬
َ ) :‫ل‬ ِ ‫ها‬ َ ‫س‬
َ ‫ف‬ ّ ‫ة ال‬
ِ ‫ماَر‬
َ ِ‫ن إ‬
ْ ‫م‬
ِ ‫ه‬ ُ ّ ‫ك الل‬َ َ‫عاذ‬
َ ‫ )أ‬:‫ة‬ َ ‫جَر‬ْ ‫ع‬ُ ‫ن‬ِ ْ‫ب ب‬ ْ َ ‫ل ِك‬
ِ ‫ع‬

‫ن‬ ْ َ ‫ ل ي‬،‫دي‬ ُ َ ‫مَراءُ ي‬ ُ َ ‫قا‬ َ ،(‫ء؟‬ َ ‫س‬
َ ‫دو‬ ُ َ ‫قت‬ ِ ‫ع‬ ْ َ‫ن ب‬ َ ‫كوُنو‬ َ ‫ )أ‬:‫ل‬ ِ ‫ها‬ َ ‫ف‬ ّ ‫ماَرةُ ال‬ َ ِ‫إ‬
ْ ‫ه‬ ُ َ ‫عان‬ َ ‫وأ‬ َ ‫م‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ِ َ ‫م ب ِك‬
ِ ِ ‫ذب‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ُ ‫ق‬ َ ّ ‫صد‬ َ ‫ن‬ ْ ‫م‬ َ ‫ف‬ َ ،‫سن ِّتي‬ ُ ِ‫ن ب‬ َ ‫ست َّنو‬ ْ َ ‫ول ي‬ َ ،‫هدِْيي‬ َ ِ‫ب‬
ّ َ ‫عل‬
‫ي‬ َ ‫دوا‬ ُ ‫ر‬ ِ َ ‫ول ي‬ َ ،‫م‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ُ ْ ‫من‬ِ ‫ت‬ ُ ‫س‬ ْ َ ‫ول‬ َ ‫مّني‬ ِ ‫سوا‬ ُ ْ ‫ك ل َي‬ َ ِ ‫فأول َئ‬ َ ‫م‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ِ ‫م‬ ِ ْ ‫عَلى ظُل‬ َ
‫م؛‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ْ ُ َ َ َ ْ ّ ‫صد‬ َ
ِ ‫م‬ِ ‫على ظل‬ َ ‫م‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ُ ْ ‫عن‬ ِ ُ‫م ي‬ ْ ‫ول‬ َ ‫م‬ ْ ‫ه‬ِ ِ ‫ذب‬ِ ‫م ب ِك‬ ْ ‫ه‬
ُ ‫ق‬
َ ُ‫م ي‬ ْ ‫نل‬ ْ ‫م‬ َ ‫و‬
َ ،‫ضي‬ ِ ‫و‬ ْ ‫ح‬َ
‫ضي‬ ِ ‫و‬ ْ ‫ح‬َ ‫ي‬ ّ َ ‫عل‬ َ ‫دوا‬ ُ ‫ر‬ ِ َ ‫سي‬ َ ‫و‬ َ ،‫م‬ ْ ‫ه‬ ُ ْ ‫من‬ ِ ‫وأَنا‬ َ ‫مّني‬ ِ ‫ك‬ َ ِ ‫فأول َئ‬ َ ...).
Imam Ahmad, At-tirmizi, An-nasaa’I, and others transmitted
with an authentic chain on the authourity of Jaabir bn Abdullah
(ra), that the He (saw), said to ka’ab bn ujrah: (May Allah
fortify you from the leadership of the foolish), he said; (and
what is the leadership of the foolish?), He (saw) said; (rulers
that will come after me, they don’t take after my guidance nor
do they emulate my sunnah. Whosoever believe them in their
lies and help them in their oppression, such are not from me
and I am not from them and they shall not meet me by the
pond. For those did not belive in their lies and didn’t help
them in their oppression, such are from me and I am from
them and they shall meet me at the pond.2

‫ )سيكون أمراء تعرفون‬:‫وقد قال صلى الله عليه وسلم‬

‫ فمن نابذهم نجا ومن اعتزلهم سلم ومن خالطهم‬،‫وتنكرون‬
He (saw) said; (there shall be leaders which you shall know
and disown and disapprove of. The one that opposes them will
be safe, the one that isolates from them will be sound, and the
one that associates with them shall be destroyed.3

‫ قال رسول‬:‫عن أبي هريرة وأبي سعيد رضي الله عنهما قال‬
،‫ )ليأتين عليكم أمراء سفهاء‬:‫الله صلى الله عليه وسلم‬
‫ فمن‬،‫يقربون شرار الناس ويؤخرون الصلة عن مواقيتها‬
‫أدرك ذلك منهم؛ فل يكونن عريفا ً ول شرطيا ً ول جابيا ً ول‬
ً ‫)خازنا‬
Abu Hurairah and abu sa’id (ra) said; the Rasul (saw) said;
(soon, will appear upon you some foolish leaders. They shall
draw close to them the worst of men and they shall delay the
salaah away from its time. Anyone that meets them should

This hadith is not in anyway referring to the rulers that have left Islam by preferring
Democracy other than Islam. For we know from another ahadith that those that will
not meet the Rasul (saw) at al-kawthar are the people of bid’ah and not kufaar. To
proof that show the kufr of one that rules willingly with other than the Shariah are
much. Please refer to the book “Al-Sirat” by Abdullah Ya’sin. This book brings the
statement of 49 scholars of the ahl sunnah wal jama’ah on the issue and leaves the
reader to judge for himself.
At-tabari and others narrated it with a sound chain.

never be an ‘arif’ (an position of authority like being a
corporal, monitor, etc), nor should he be a policeman, nor a
revenue collector, nor a treasurer)4

Al-Maqdisi (hz) said; on commenting on this hadith;

‫ بدليل أنه‬،‫فهؤلء المراء مسلمون لم يظهروا كفرا ً بواحًا‬
‫ فهم لم‬،‫صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يأمرهم بالخروج عليهم‬
‫عالى ول استبدلوا بها تشريعات الكفار‬ َ َ ‫يعطلوا أحكام الله ت‬
‫ شرعوا لهم من‬،‫ ول جعلوا من أنفسهم شركاء لله‬،‫الساقطة‬
‫ وأعظم جرائمهم التي ذكرها النبي‬،‫الدين ما لم يأذن به الله‬
‫صلى الله عليه وسلم بيانا ً لنحرافهم وتنفيرا ً من العمل‬
‫عندهم بتلك الوظائف؛ كونهم يقربون شرار الناس ويؤخرون‬
،‫مالهم بالناس‬ ّ ‫ فقد كانوا يصلون هم أو ع‬،‫الصلة عن وقتها‬
َ ‫خُرو‬ ّ ‫ؤ‬ َ ‫ )إنه سيكون أ‬:‫كما في حديث أبي ذر مرفوعًا‬
َ ُ ‫مَراءُ ي‬
‫ فإن‬،‫ها ثم ائتهم‬ ْ ‫و‬
َ ِ ‫قت‬ َ ِ ‫صلةَ ل‬ ّ ‫ص‬
ّ ‫ل ال‬ َ ‫ن مواقيتها أل ف‬ ْ ‫ع‬
َ َ‫صلة‬
ّ ‫ال‬
‫م‬ َ َ ‫صلت‬ َ َ ‫كانوا قد صلوا كنت‬
ْ ‫ه‬
ُ ‫ع‬
َ ‫م‬َ ‫ وإل صليت‬،‫ك‬ َ ‫ت‬ َ ‫حَرْز‬ْ ‫قد ْ أ‬
ً َ ‫فل‬
‫ة‬ ِ ‫)فكانت تلك َنا‬.
“These Muslim leaders here mentioned have not perpetrated clear
disbelieve, because he (saw) didn’t order the (Muslims) to revolt
against him. (These leaders have not incapacitated the Shariah of
Allah nor have they replaced it with vile laws of the disbelievers, nor
have they placed themselves as partners with Allah such that they
legislate in the (way of life of people) what Allah has not revealed. The
worst of crime mentioned (against them) that made he (saw) advice
people to run away from such positions is just because; they bring
close to them the worst of people and they delay the sallah away from
its time. Although they usually pray or deputise others to lead people
in prayers as was mentioned in the hadith of Abi Dhar (marfuan) (there
shall soon be foolish leaders that shall delay the salaah away from its
time. You should establish the sallah at its right period then come to
them. If you meet that they have prayed, you have guarded your
salaah, otherwise (ie if you meet them praying or about to pray), pray
with them and the first one will be recorded as a naafilah)”5

‫يقول الحافظ ابن حجر في فتح الباري عن الحاكم إذا أظهر‬

‫كفرا ً بواحا ً بأنه )يجب على كل مسلم القيام عليه والعمل‬
‫ من قوي‬:‫ن الناس في ذلك ثلثة أقسام‬ ّ ‫على عزله( وذكر أ‬
‫ ومن عجز وجبت عليه الهجرة من تلك‬،‫على ذلك فله الثواب‬
‫ ومن داهن فعليه الثم‬،‫الرض‬.
Transmitted by Ibn Hibban, abu Ya’la and at-tabari in muajamu saghir. And khatib
Baghdadi in tarikh Baghdad with an authentic chain(10/284، 12/63)
Transmitted by Ahmad and Muslim. Sahih.

‫( كتاب الحكام‬13/123) ‫راجع كلم الحافظ في الفتح‬
‫وتفاصيل ذلك ليس هذا محلها كما قلنا من قبل إنما محلها‬
‫( حيث بيان كيف نصر الدين بالحديد‬،‫في كتابنا )نزع الحسام‬.
Hafidh ibn Hajar (rh) said in fathul baari as regarding the ruler that has
clearly perpetrated kufr; “(it is compulsory on every Muslim to stand
against him and work towards forcefully deposing him) he mentioned
that people as regarding such situations are in three groups; the one
that is able on forcefully removing him, this person has a (great)
reward. (The second is) the one that is not able to forcefully remove
him, on such, it become compulsory on him to leave that land. (The
third is the one) that (flatters, compliments or bootlick), on such is a
(great) sin.”6

To summarise, we present the statement of Hafidh ibn Hajar (rh) in his

comment on the hadith mentioned by Imam Bukhari in his Sahih (Book
of Leasing) under the chapter (should a Muslim hire himself to (or
go under the employment of) a ‘mushrik7’ (a polytheist or a
disbeliever) in the land of war? (i.e. The land that is at war with
Islam and Muslims)?

‫ فعملت‬،‫ )كنت رجل ً قينا‬:‫عن خباب رضي الله عنه قال‬

‫ ل‬:‫ فقال‬،‫ فأتيته أتقاضاه‬،‫ فاجتمع لي عنده‬،‫للعاص ابن وائل‬
‫ أما والله حتى‬:‫ فقلت‬،‫والله ل أقضيك حتى تكفر بمحمد‬
،‫ نعم‬:‫ وإني لميت ثم مبعوث؟ قلت‬:‫ قال‬،‫تموت ثم تبعث فل‬
‫ فأنزل الله‬،‫م مال وولد فأقضيك‬ ّ َ ‫قال فإنه سيكون لي ث‬
ً ‫ن مال‬ّ ‫ }أفرأيت الذي كفر بآياتنا وقال لوتي‬:‫تبارك وتعالى‬
on the authorithy of Khabaab (ra), he said; (I was a (black
smith) and I worked for Aas bn Waail. My money became piled
up with him. I then came to him demanding my wages he owes
me and he said; ‘I will never pay you by Allah until you
disbelieve in Muhammad (saw). I then said, (I will never
disbelieve in him even until you die and are resurrected). He
said; ‘you mean I will die and then be resurrected? I said yes.
He then said, then (i.e. when I am resurrected), I will still have
my wealth and my children. So I will pay you then. Then the

Al Fathul Bari sarh sahih Bukhari. (13/123)
According to the understanding of the pious predecessors, they see kufr and shirk
as same. For any one that falls into shirk has committed kufr and vice-versa. An
example to clarify this is the hadith of tariku-sallah. The Rasul (saw) described this
act as shirk in some ahadith while he described as kufr in some others. Please refer
to tahzeeb of sharh of aqidatu at-tahweiyah by Shaykh AbdulMunim Mustapha Halima
(hz) for more details.

verse was revealed; haven’t you seen the one that belies Our
..…signs and say

According to Hafidh (rh) this occurred in Makkah and at that period, it

was still a dar-ul-harb and because of this incidence, a verse was
revealed. The Rasul (saw) was aware of it and he approved of it.

ً‫ لحتمال أن يكون مقيدا‬- ‫ أي الجواز‬- ‫ )ولم يجزم المصنف بالحكم‬:"‫قال ابن حجر في "الفتح‬
‫ ومنابذتهم وقبل المر بعدم إذلل المؤمن‬،‫ أو أن جواز ذلك كان قبل الذن في قتال المشركين‬،‫بالضرورة‬
،‫ إل لضرورة بشرطين‬- ‫ أي العمل عند المشركين‬- ‫ )كره أهل العلم ذلك‬:‫ثم نقل عن المهّلب قوله‬
(‫ والخر؛ أن ل يعينه على ما يعود ضرره على المسلمين‬،‫أحدهما؛ أن يكون عمله فيما يحل للمسلم فعله‬

ibn Hajar (rh) said; “…. And he the writer (i.e. Bukhari) didn’t resolve
on the ruling of approval because of the possibility of –the approval-
being conditioned by necessity, or (of the possibility of this ruling (of
approval)) being only before the injunction of fighting the mushrikeen
and opposing them was revealed, or (of the possibility of it) being
before the (injunction) of preventing a believer from humiliating
himself (was reavealed)” he (i.e. ibn Rajab) then quoted al Mahlab
thus; “the scholars detest this -i.e. working under the mushrikeen-
except for (cases) of necessity but with two conditions. The first
condition; that the work should be a kind of work that a Muslim
ordinarily is allowed to do, secondly, that he should never partake or
assist in anything that its repercussion will translate to harm on the

‫ وأهل‬- ‫ثم نقل جواز العمل عند أهل الذمة في حوانيتهم‬

‫الذمة هم الذين يعيشون في دار السلم خاضعين لحكمه‬
– ‫ويعطون الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون‬
he then quoted the approval of the scholars on working with ‘ahl-
dhimmah’ (the disbelievers that leave under the authority of the laws
of the Islamic state and pay jizyyah while they are humbled).

In conclusion, working in any capacity under the kufr laws or

government is disliked but allowed with the following conditions;

1. That the work must not be a form of assisting the government in


Fathu Bari (4/452)

2. That the work must not be a form of helping kufr or the kufaar
against Muslims nor should it be a work that exposes the secrets
of the Muslims to the kufaar.

3. That the work must not be a form of humiliation to the Muslim or


Finally, Shaykh Al-Maqdisi (hz) says; “… working under the mushrikeen

is disliked except in instances of necessity with the condition that the
work is not a form of disobedience to Allah. It shouldn’t be said that we
forbid (i.e. make haram) all forms of work or employment. Rather, (we

 The work that entails assisting, establishing and confirming their

man-made laws and their vain legislations or entails connivance
on it, then such a work is kufr.

 The one that entails disobedience, then this kind of work is


 The type that is neither of the two above, we don’t say anything
except that it is disliked. And we declare it as being disliked
because of the fear that the Muslim may be dominated (by the
kuffar) and thus his right be denied and he will be weakened and
be forced to do something that pleases them (i.e. the
mushrikeen) in order to get his right, just as same was requested
from the great companion Khabaab (ra) by the disbeliever and
was denied his wages. Also, for the fear of he (i.e. the Muslim)
being accustomed to the ways of the kufaar and thus (because of
long mingling with them) develop an intimacy that gradually
erodes the injunction of al-walla wal-baraa, the injunction of love
and hate for the sake of Allah. As you have seen that when
Khabaab was working with them, he was honourably and openly
practicing his deen and never did he flatter (or become
apologetic) not withstanding his weakness (i.e. not regarding
being under their authority). The one that uses his (i.e.
Khabaab’s) case as prove has to consider his aforementioned

Allah (swt) knows best.

Abu Khadijah

2nd Dhul Hajj 1430AH

‫المصابيح المنيرة في الرد على أسئلة أهل الجزيرة‬

(20th November 2009)