You say that an individual should conduct himself/herself according to the decision of the representatives of his/her respective collectivity. Also, in response to another question regarding a Muslim serving in a non-Muslim Army, you say that unjust actions of even a Muslim Army are condemnable.
This is very contradictory and confusing.
What you are saying is this: We must follow our respective collectivities (even when they are unjust), our collective actions are condemnable (when unjust), but we wouldn’t be held accountable for our actions because we are simply following our collectivities.
Now my question to you is this (please answer in a straight forward way): regarding one’s conduct according to the decision of the collectivity, is he/she to submit himself/herself to the decision of the collectivity even to killing other human beings and knowing that their actions are unjust.
Thank you for allowing me to clarify my point of view further. I am sure, insha’Allah, my following clarification should also provide a clear answer to your question.
As for my opinion that Muslims must remain submissive to the decisions of their respective collectivities, it is obviously based on the Qur’an and the directives of the Prophet (pbuh) entailed in a number of narratives ascribed to him. This really implies that the decision of the collectivity shall be binding upon all individuals, who are members of that collectivity. The only exception is where an individual or a group of individuals considers complying with such a decision to be in clear contradiction to any of the express directives of the Shari`ah. In such a case, the individual should, if he can, refuse to submit to the decision of the collectivity, without being rebellious towards the collectivity.
This point requires some clarification:
Suppose, my collectivity decides to declare a war against a state (whether Muslim or non-Muslim) and suppose that I (an individual) consider the opinion of my collectivity to be in clear contradiction to any of the express directives of the Qur’an. In such a situation, Islam requires me to refuse to participate in the decision of my state – as doing so would necessitate my disobedience towards God, according to my understanding – even if this refusal leads to losing my life, at the hands of the rulers. However, I am not allowed by Islam to initiate a movement of rebellion against my rulers with the objective of pressurizing them through immoral means, to change their decision or to incite people to overrule their decisions and try to destabilize their rule. I can, nevertheless, try to convince the decision-makers regarding my opinion, in a method, which does not break any laws.
In a nutshell, a God-fearing Muslim should refuse to be used as a tool of his collectivity in matters of injustice and disobedience toward God. However, he must not try to destabilize or even pressurize his collectivity to surrender to his opinions and interpretations of the Shari`ah.
An excellent practical example of the stated attitude can be seen in the lives of a number of Muslim scholars. For instance, when Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was called upon to certify the opinion of his rulers, he refused to comply, as he considered the opinion to be incorrect. This led to the severe punishment of the Imam at the hands of the rulers, yet the Imam did not comply with what he considered to be incorrect. Nevertheless, irrespective of the atrocities of the rulers, the Imam did not incite people to refuse submission to them or to try to destabilize their rule or to pressurize them to alter their opinion, which, in the eyes of the great Imam, was incorrect.
I hope this helps.
September 28, 2001