بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Answer to Question
To Mustafa Ali Ibrahim
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh
I have a question:
Surah Yunus verse 90: [فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ] “Then Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them” and Surat Taha verse 78: [فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ] “Then Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers”
Does this mean that the ruler’s order and the ruler’s action are the same thing, so that we say that standing against his orders is the same as standing against his actions, meaning that we say a word of truth in front of his police or his assistants, like speaking in front of him? «أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةُ حَقٍّ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ» “a word of truth spoken before an unjust rulers”. Thank you.
You have the right to change the wording of the question, and may Allah reward you.
Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh
First: With regard to the two verses mentioned in the question, which are what Allah Almighty says in Surah Yunus, verse 90:
[وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْياً وَعَدْواً]
“We brought the Children of Israel across the sea. Then Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them unjustly and oppressively”, and the Almighty said in Surat Taha, verse 78:
[فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ فَغَشِيَهُمْ مِنَ الْيَمِّ مَا غَشِيَهُمْ]“Then Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers—but how overwhelming were the waters that submerged them!” It is as if you are pointing out the difference in the meaning derived from the use of the letter الواو and the letter الباء in the words (his soldiers), as Allah Almighty says in the first verse: [فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ] “Then Pharaoh and his soldiers”, while Allah Almighty says in the second verse:
[فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ] “Then Pharaoh pursued them with his soldiers”. The meaning of “follow them” is that he followed them and caught up with them, according to what is mentioned in the books of Tafseer.
But the first verse [فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ] “Pharaoh and his soldiers”, According to the language, it is understood that Pharaoh was among those who pursued them, meaning that the pursuit of Moses, peace be upon him, and the Children of Israel (Bani Israel) involved Pharaoh, may Allah curse him, and he was among those who followed them and caught up with them. This is because the الواو in the word (and his soldiers) here indicates participation, that is, the participation of Pharaoh and his soldiers in the pursuit of the Children of Israel (Bani Israel).
As for the second verse:[فِرْعَوْنُ بِجُنُودِهِ] “Pharaoh with his soldiers”. It can be understood from it according to the language that Pharaoh participated with his soldiers and their companion in the pursuit, but it can also be understood from it according to the language that Pharaoh did not participate with his soldiers and did not go out with them, but rather only sought help from them in the pursuit, and that is because the “ba” in the language indicates companionship and assistance. So the word (with his soldiers) in the verse can be used as a language of accompaniment, meaning that Pharaoh was accompanied by his soldiers in pursuing Bani Israel, and it can also be taken to mean seeking help, meaning he could be with them, and he could have sought help from his soldiers to pursue them without participating with them, meaning that the ones who pursued them were Pharaoh’s soldiers without Pharaoh himself.
The identification of one of the two meanings (accompaniment or assistance) is evident from the combination of the two verses:
The first verse has one meaning in language. And it is that Pharaoh, may Allah curse him, joined them, i.e., his companion, in catching up with Moses (as). The meaning of the second verse is likely in the language of accompanying, meaning he accompanied them in catching up with Moses, peace be upon him, and it is also possible that he sought help, meaning he sought help from his soldiers to catch up with Moses (as) without Pharaoh accompanying them, may Allah curse him in that. Because the meaning of the two verses does not contradict each other, the meaning of combining the two verses is that Pharaoh was with his army in pursuing Moses (as). That is, theالباء in “with his soldiers” here indicates the meaning of accompanying, meaning that he was with his army in pursuing Moses, peace be upon him. This is with regard to the meaning of the two verses.
Secondly: As for the noble hadith mentioned in the question, it was narrated by Al-Tirmidhi in his Sunan on the authority of Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri that the Prophet (saw) said:
«إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْظَمِ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةَ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ» “Indeed, among the greatest types of Jihad is a just statement before a tyrannical ruler”. Abu Issa said, and in this chapter on the authority of Abu Umamah, and this is a hasan ghareeb hadith from this perspective. It was mentioned in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir by Al-Tabarani on the authority of Abu Umamah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
«أَحَبُّ الْجِهَادِ إِلَى اللهِ كَلِمَةُ حَقٍّ تُقَالُ لإِمَامٍ جَائِرٍ» “The best Jihad for the sake of Allah, a word of truth spoken to an unjust imam”. In another narration by Al-Tabarani on the authority of Abu Umamah, that a man said at the Jamarat: O Messenger of Allah, which jihad is best? He said:
«أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةُ حَقٍّ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ» “The best jihad is a word of truth before an unjust ruler.” The following was mentioned in the book of Aoun Al-Ma’boud in explaining this hadith: [… On the authority of Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, who said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: The best jihad is a word of justice with an unjust ruler or an unjust prince. The companion of Awn al-Ma’boud said:
(The best jihad): That is, one of the best, as evidenced by the narration of Al-Tirmidhi: Indeed, one of the greatest jihads
(The word justice) And in a narration by Ibn Majah there is the word truth, and what is meant by the word is that which enjoins what is right or forbids what is wrong, whether a word or whatever it means, writing and the like.
(With an unjust ruler): That is, an oppressor. Indeed, this has become the best jihad, because whoever strives against the enemy is hesitating between hope and fear, not knowing whether he will conquer or be defeated.
The holder of authority is oppressed in his hand, so if he speaks the truth and enjoins M’aruf (good), he has been exposed to damage and is aiming for his own destruction. This becomes the best type of jihad for the sake of conquering fear, as Al-Khattābī and others said. (Or an unjust ruler (Ameer)): It seems that it is doubt from the narrator.].
From this honorable hadith it can be understood that the best jihad is to speak the word of truth before an unjust sultan, not before his followers. What is meant by an unjust sultan is an unjust prince, whether he is a president, a king, a prime minister, or a governor. He must have authority and rule in order for this preference to be given in speaking the truth before him.
But this does not mean that there is no virtue in speaking the word of truth before the followers of the unjust ruler. Speaking the word of truth is always good and virtuous. However, the special advantage that the Prophet (saw) mentioned in the hadith that we are considering is a preference related to the one who has authority, i.e., the ruler himself. Because of the importance of speaking the word of truth before him and the risk, courage, and strength it entails, as some commentators of the hadith mentioned:
[… Al-Khattabi said: Indeed, that became the best jihad; Because whoever strives against the enemy hesitates between hope and fear, not knowing whether he will prevail or be defeated. The holder of authority is oppressed in his hand, so if he speaks the truth and enjoins M’aruf (good), he has been exposed to damage, and he has set himself on destruction, and this has become a The superior types of jihad for the sake of conquering fear. Al-Muzher said: But it was better because the Sultan’s injustice applies to everyone under his rule, and it is a great multitude. So, if he forbids injustice, then He brought benefit to many people other than killing an infidel (kaffir)…].
The whole talk is about the unjust ruler himself, not about his followers, assistants, and soldiers.
Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah
17 Rajab Al-Khair 1445 AH
Corresponding to 29/01/2024 CE
The link to the answer from the Ameer’s Facebook page