Concerning the Multiplicity of Muslim Rulers
Prepared by Abu `Iyaad Amjad Ibn Muhammad RafiqRefuting the doubt flung from many who ascribe themselves to al-Ikhwaan or Hizbut-Tahreer that the aayaat and ahaadeeth referring to the rulers are referring to the Caliph only.
All Praise is due to Allaah and Prayer and Peace upon His Messenger Muhammad.
The Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The Khilaafah in my Ummah after me will be for thirty years. Then there will be kingship after that." 
Ibn Katheer also reports a variation of this hadeeth in his tafseer: "The Khilaafah will last for thirty years. Then there will be powerful kingship."
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam): "Prophethood will be amongst you for as long as Allaah wills, then Allaah will raise it up when He wills, then there will be Khilaafah upon the way of Prophethood, then Allaah will raise it up when He wills, then there will be biting Kingship, then oppressive Kingship, then Khilaafah upon the way of the Prophethood."
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The bonds of Islaam will collapse, one by one. Every time a bond collapses the people will hold rigorously to the one follows it. The first one to collapse is the rulership and the last one to collapse is the prayer." 
From the above narrations it should become clear that the Khilaafah upon the Prophetic Methodology lasted only for 30 years. And hence whatever came thereafter (with perhaps the exception of the Khilaafah of ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-'Azeez) was kingship or tyrannical kingship. So from the Khilaafah of Yazeed up until this day of ours we have always had either a kingship or a tyrannical kingship. This is the reality, firstly.
Secondly, Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar said in ‘al-Fath’: "The Fuqahaa (Jurists) are in agreement concerning the obligation to give obedience to the Sultaan who took over them by force and also to perform Jihaad along with him. [And that] obeying him is better than rebelling against him due to what this would contain of the shedding of blood and subduing of the common masses." 
Shaykh 'Abdul-Lateef Ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Hasan aalush-Shaykh said, "And the People of Knowledge… are unanimously agreed concerning giving obedience to the one who took over them by force in whatever constitutes goodness. They see it necessary to fulfill his orders and hold the correctness of his Imaamah, leadership. No two people [amongst them] differ concerning that. They also deem it impermissible to rebel against him with the sword and to divide the Ummah, even if the leaders are sinful, so long as they do not see clear open disbelief. The various texts [of these Jurists] from the four Imaams and other than them and their likes in this regard are [certainly] present." 
Shaykhul-Islaam Muhammad Ibn 'Abdul-Wahhaab said: "The Imaams from every Madhhab are agreed concerning the one the forcefully took over a region or regions that he has the ruling of "Imaam" in all matters. If this had not been so then the affairs of the world would never have been established. This is because for a very long time, before the era of Imaam Ahmad till this day of ours, the people have never gathered behind a single Imaam. And they do not know anyone from the Scholars who has mentioned that any of the Sharee’ah rulings cannot be correct [effected, implemented] except by the overall Imaam [the Khaleefah]." 
As-San’aanee, in explanation of the hadeeth, "Whoever left obedience [to the Imaam] and separated from the Jamaa’ah and then died, then his is a death of Jaahiliyyah]", said: "His saying, ‘…left obedience…’, meaning obedience to the Khaleefah concerning whom there is agreement. And it is as if the intent here is the Khaleefah of a particular region because the people have never gathered together behind a single Khaleefah in all the lands of Islaam since the time of the 'Abbaasee State. Rather, the people of every region were independent with someone presiding over their affairs. If the hadeeth was taken to mean the overall Khaleefah which the people of Islam had united behind, there would have been no benefit in it." 
Ash-Shawkaanee said, "As for when Islaam spread and its territories expanded and its regions became distant [from each other], then it is known that in all of these regions loyalty was given to an Imaam or Sultaan… So there is no harm in the multiplicity of Imaams and Sultaans and it is obligatory for those people in whose land his orders and prohibitions become effective to give obedience to him after having giving bay’ah to him. It is likewise for the people of all the other regions." 
The Shaykh and Imaam, ’Abdul-Lateef Ibn ’Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Hasan aalush-Shaykh - may Allaah have mercy upon them all - said, in powerful words that uncover the confusing doubts in this topic and that refute the one who spreads them from amongst the ignoramuses: "… And those people - those who are under trial - do not know that with the exception of ’Umar Ibn ’Abdul-’Azeez and whoever Allaah willed from among the Banee Umayyah - great mishaps, insolence, taking up arms [against the people] and corruption occurred from most of those in charge [wullaat] of the people of Islaam from the time of Yazeed Ibn Mu’aawiyah [till the present]. But along with that, the manner and behaviour of the notable scholars and mighty leaders with the rulers is well-known and renowned - they do not raise a hand against giving obedience in that which Allaah and His Messenger have commanded from among the legislated actions and obligatory duties of Islaam.
And I will give you an example - that of al-Hajjaaj Ibn Yoosuf ath-Thaqafee, and his affair is well known in the ummah - that of oppression, repression, excessiveness in spilling the blood [of the Muslims], desecration of the Sanctities of Allaah, the killing of whomever he killed amongst the notables of the ummah such as Sa’eed bin Jubair, the besieging of Ibn az-Zubair even though he had sought refuge in the Haram, and making lawful the sacred and sanctified, the killing of Ibn az-Zubair - even though Ibn az-Zubair had given obedience to him and the people of Makkah, Madeenah, Yemen, and most of 'Iraaq had given the pledge of allegiance to him [Ibn az-Zubair] and al-Hajjaaj was only a deputy of Marwaan, and then of his son 'Abdul-Maalik and none of the khulafaa’ (successors) had given Marwaan a pledge and none of the influential people, those with power had given the pledge of allegiance to him. And along with all of this none of the People of Knowledge hesitated in obeying him and complying with him in that in which obedience is permissible from amongst the pillars of Islaam and its obligations.
And Ibn ‘Umar and whoever met al-Hajjaaj were from amongst the Companions of Allaah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and they never contested with him and nor did they prevent obedience to him in that by which Islaam is established and by which eemaan (faith) is perfected. And it is likewise for those who were also in the era of al-Hajjaaj from among the taab’ieen such as Ibn al-Musayyib, al-Hasan al-Basree, Ibn Seereen, Ibraaheem at-Taymee and those like them from among the leaders of the ummah.
And the affair continued like this between the leading scholars of the ummah - they would enjoin obedience to Allaah and His Messenger and making jihaad in His path along with every leader [imaam] whether righteous or sinful, as is well known in the books of the fundamental principles and beliefs of the religion.
And similarly, Banoo al-‘Abbaas, they conquered the lands of the Muslims forcefully, with the sword - and not one of the People of Knowledge and Religion aided them in that - and they killed hordes of people and many of the creation from among the Banoo 'Umayyah, their leaders and their deputies. And they killed Ibn Hubayrah, the ameer of 'Iraaq and they also killed Marwaan, the khaleefah - and it was reported that the murderers killed around eighty people from the Banoo 'Umayyah in a single day - and then they placed their blankets above the corpses, sat upon them and then called for food and drink.
So along with all of that the conduct of the leading scholars - such as al-‘Awzaa’ee, Maalik, al-Layth ibn Sa’d, ‘Ataa Ibn Abee Rabaah - with those kings is not hidden from the one who has a share in knowledge and realization. And then next generation of the People of Knowledge such as Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Muhammad Ibn Ismaa’eel, Muhammad Ibn Idrees, Ahmad Ibn Nooh, Ishaaq Ibn Rahawayh and their brothers … their occurred in their time what occurred from the kings of the great innovations and the denial of the Sifaat (Attributes of Allaah) and they were called to [affirm] these things and were put to trial by them] and whoever was killed, was killed such as Ahmad Ibn Nasr. But along with all of this it is not known that a single one of them raised his hand against obedience [to those kings] and that he saw fit to attack them…" 
Therefore, in light of the above it is necessary to give obedience to whomever is appointed over the Muslims, whether this occurs by their agreement or otherwise, in all the various lands. However this obedience is conditional in that it should be upon the ma’roof, (good) since there is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to the creation. This is the Salaf of the earliest times and those of current times are upon, including Shaykh Ibn ’Uthaymeen, Ibn Baaz (rahimahullaah), Shaykk Saalih al-Fawzaan and Shaykh al-Albaanee. In a cassette lecture Shaykh Ibn Baaz was asked concerning the rulers of some of the Muslim lands to day, such as the Middle Eastern countries, are they ‘Wullaatul-Umoor’ and he replied in the affirmative, this cassette is in my possession.
Concerning the issue of ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed, then this is a great topic which cannot be discussed on the likes of this forum. I recommend that you await the release of "Fitnatut-Takfeer" of Shaykh al-Albaanee. This contains the fatwaas of Shaykh al-Albaanee, Shaykh Ibn Baaz and Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen on this great topic. And all of them are in agreement. Takfeer is not to be performed upon a ruler until it is known that he rejected Allaah’s rule as a matter of belief, or that he deemed secular law more superior to that of Islaam, or he viewed Islaam to be outmoded, backward etc. As for the one who replaces the Sharee’ah with secular law (tabdeel) then he too is not to be judged kaafir automatically until it is known that his action occurred from him due to his belief that secular law is superior etc. Likewise for the one who refers to secular law for judgement and makes it a reference point, he too is not to be judged a kaafir unless it is known from him that he holds this to be permissible as a matter of belief.
This is what the Shaykhs are upon and this is clear and manifest from there works. We finish below with just a few quotations but there are many more and I suggest you wait for the aforementioned book or refer to it in Arabic:
Ibnul-Qayyim in Kitaabur-Rooh - explaining the types of rule - so he mentioned the Shar’ul-Munazzal (the hukm of the Sharee’ah) and the Shar’ul-Mu’awwal (and this is the hukm of the scholars and mujtahids - and then he said:
"And as for the replaced law (al-hukmul-mubaddal) - and THAT IS RULING BY OTHER THAN WHAT ALLAAH HAS REVEALED - then it is not permissible to implement it nor to act by it, and it is not permissible to follow it, and the one guilty of it (saahibuhu) is BETWEEN (THE STATES) OF KUFR (DISBELIEF), FUSOOQ (REBELLION) AND DHULM (OPPRESSION)."
Shaikh Ibn ’Uthaymeen said, "And there is a doubt (shubhah) with many of the youth, which has become firmly and deeply rooted in their minds and it has kindled the issue of revolting against the rulers - and it is: that those rulers replace the Sharee’ah (haa’ulaa`il-Hukkaam MUBADDILOON), they prescribe the (secular) laws from themselves and they do not rule by what Allaah has revealed and the rule is present - but they prescribed laws from themselves. So (these youth) judged them with apostasy and disbelief and then they built upon this that so long as those rulers are disbeliever it is necessary to kill them, and does not matter that we are in a state of weakness. Because (not fighting) in the state of weakness was abrogated by the verses of the sword (permitting fighting), therefore there is no place for acting (as if we were) in the state of weakness - as they say - that state that the Muslims in Makkah were in!
So the answer to this doubt is that we say: "There is no escaping from that we know firstly: Does the description of apostasy apply to them or not? And this requires knowing the evidences which indicate that this saying or action is apostasy, then applying them to an individual, and then, whether this individual has any doubts (which may excuse him) or not? Meaning: Sometimes a text can indicate that this action is kufr and this saying is kufr, but there are preventive barriers which prevent the application of the ruling of kufr upon this specific individual… and these preventive barriers are many, amongst them dhann (speculation) which is ignorance and amongst them ghalabah (which means being overcome by something)…"
Then the shaykh gives some examples from the sunnah - so he mentions the hadeeth of the man who asked for his body to be burned after his death and the ashes to be scattered across the earth. So the shaykh explains that the outward manifestation of his 'aqeedah is kufr, and doubt in the power of Allaah. And the shaykh gives the example of the one who when he finds his lost camel in the desert says: "O Allaah, you are my servant and I am your Lord". So the shaykh says that this is a word of kufr, but the one who says it is not to be declared a disbeliever, because he was overcome (i.e. had no power of it) due to the intensity of his happiness. And the Shaykh also gives the example of "the one who is compelled to kufr - so he utters a word of kufr, or does an action of kufr, but he is not to be declared a disbeliever by a text of the Qur’aan, because he does not desire it and has not made it his choice." 
Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Ibraaheem aalush-Shaykh said: "The actualization of the meaning of 'Muhammad is the Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is from judging to his sharee'ah and confining oneself to that and rejecting whatever is in opposition to that from amongst the rules (qawaaneen) and regulations and all those things for which Allaah has not revealed any authority. And these rules - the one who judges by them (hakama bihaa) or refers to them (haakama ilayhaa) - for judgement whilst believing in the correctness (sihhah) of that or the permissibility (to judge by them) (jawaaz), then he is a kaafir with the kufr that ejects from the Religion. And if he does that without belief (i'tiqaad) in their correctness and (regarding it) permissible to judge by them (jawaaz), then he is a kaafir with the kufr in action, which does not eject from the religion." 
Likewise he (rahimahullaah) said: "The laws (al-qawaaneen) are kufr [i.e.] the belief (i'tiqaad) that they are permissible and are decisive (haakimah)." 
And also: "Whoever believes (i'taqada) in the permissibility (jawaaz) of ruling by what opposes the Rule of Allaah and His Messenger", and "believes (i’taqada) that other than the rule of the Messenger is better"
Also from Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah "or (the one) who replaced the Sharee’ah (baddala ash-Shar’) - that [from it] which is agreed upon - he is a kaafir, an apostate by agreement of the jurists..." 
Further on he says: "And the word Shar' it is used - in the understanding of men - with three meanings..." so he mentions Shar’ul-Munazzal (that which is revealed -the Book and the Sunnah) and Shar’ul-Mu’awwal (the opinions of the scholars etc...) and then said:
"And the third: Shar’ul-Mubaddal - and this is lying against Allaah and against His Messenger or upon the people with a false testimony and its likes, and clear oppression. So whoever says: 'Indeed, this is from the Shar’ of Allaah (i.e. a particular ruling a law), then he has disbelieved - there being no doubt or dispute in this - such as the one who says: 'That consuming blood and the dead animal is lawful'". 
So the definition of tabdeel that ejects from the religion is introducing/changing laws and then claiming/believing that what has been introduced is from Allaah! Both things have to be their, the action and the belief for takfeer to apply.
In fact in the same statement [3/267] the completion of his words shows the real intent of his words:
"or (the one) who replaced the Sharee'ah (baddala ash-Shar') - that [from it] which is agreed upon - he is a kaafir, an apostate by agreement of the jurists and it is regarding the likes of this that the verse was revealed - according to one of two sayings: "and whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed, they are the disbelievers" - meaning that it is the one who holds the belief (or declares) ruling by other than what Allaah has revealed to be permissible..."
There is much more but I hope this will suffice to remove the various doubts and misconceptions which are often propagated by the political activists of today.
 Saheeh – Reported by Ahmad, Tirmidthee, Aboo Ya’laa.
 ]Reported by Imaam Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan. Ibn Hibbaan put it under the chapter heading, "A mention of the narrations that the first appearance of the breakdown of the bonds of Islaam will come from the corruption of the rule and the rulers."
 Related in Fathul Baaree (7/13).
 Majmoo’ur Rasaa`il wal-Masaa’ilun-Najdiyyah (3/128)
 ad-Durarus-Sunniyyah fil-Ajwibatun-Najdiyyah (7/239)
 Subulus-Salaam Sharh Bulooghul-Maraam min Adillatil-Ahkaam (3/499)
 as-Saylul-Jarraar (4/512)
 ad-Durarus-Sunniyyah fil Ajwibatun-Najdiyyah (7/177-178).
 at-Tahdheer min Fitnatit-Takfeer of Shaykh Naasir (p. 105-107).
 Fataawaa Shaykh Ibraaheem (10/9)
 Fataawaa Shaykh Ibraaheem (12/280)
 Fataawaa Shaykh Ibraaheem (12/280-291)
 Fataawaa Shaykh Ibraaheem (3/267)
 Fataawaa Shaykh Ibraaheem (3/268)
Taken from: http://www.troid.org/manhaj/working-with-groups-parties/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=321&Itemid=333