The error of actively or passively supporting oppressors

Relating to political engagement, Muslim activists and advocates should be clear that it is impermissible to support administrations and politicians in endeavors that are from wrong-doing and oppression known as ath-thulm in Arabic.

Ath-thulm, which is related to the word darkness, has the meaning of something being taken outside of its proper place.  Promoting forbidden (haram) activities and aggression falls under taking things outside of their natural and intended places that Allah (SWT) decreed for them to be in.

The Qur’an (5:2) states, “Cooperate with one another based upon piety (al-birr) and righteousness (at-taqwa), but do not cooperate based upon sin and enmity.”   Relating to the earlier point, Imam Zayd bin Ali (SA) said, “Al-birr is that which He [SWT] commanded, and At-taqwa is that which He [SWT] prohibited.”

Thus, assistance for any endeavor that furthers oppression whether it’s physical, monetary and/or verbal is prohibited.

Pharaoh (Fir’awn) is the one human character in the Qur’an, which symbolizes the worse of oppressors.  He fancied himself to be divine, demanded blind allegiance, exploited people economically and subjugated people by force, violence and psychological warfare. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) stated, “Surely the one who assists oppressors is like the one who assisted Fir’awn over Moses (Musa).”  In effect, the one who supports oppressors will share in some of the punishment due to oppressors.

Thus, we should beware in supporting positions without knowledge or based upon fervor; we in fact could be supporting oppression.  We need to dig deep and judge matters based upon principles not personalities that we like or dislike.  Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) also stated, “Whoever assists in hostility without knowledge, (s)he will earn the discontent of Allah until (s)he separates [from the hostility].”

Muslims live under a period of trial.  In some cases, Muslims are the primary supporters of policies and personalities that oppress people, be it in a Muslim minority nation like the United State or a Muslim majority country like Egypt.

May Allah (SWT) guide this Ummah aright and bestow upon it spiritual clarity and insight to distinguish right from wrong.  AMEEN.

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