Point No. 137: “If you see a man supplicating against the ruler, then know that he is certainly a person of desire, and if you see a man supplicating for the ruler to be upright, then know that he is a person of Sunnah, if Allāh ﷻ wills.
Fuḍayl ibn ʿIyāḍ (d.187 AH) said, “If I had an invocation (duʿāʾ) that was to be answered, I would not make it except for the ruler.” It was said to him, “O’ Abū ʿAlī, explain that to us.” He replied, “If I made an invocation for myself, it would not go beyond me. Whereas, if I make it for the ruler, he is corrected and, through that, the servants and the land are set in order.” We are ordered to make supplication for them (the rulers) to be upright. We have not been ordered to make supplication against them, even if they commit tyranny and oppression, since their tyranny and oppression reflect only upon themselves, but their rectitude is good for themselves and the Muslims.”
This statement has been reported from the Pious Predecessors; “If you see a man supplicating against the ruler, then know that he is a person of desire (innovation)..” this is a trait of the Kharjites and Muʿtazilites, since it is they who supplicate against the Muslim rulers and the obligation is in the opposite – that supplication is made for them to be upright and successful. This is because if they are upright, then so would Islam and the Muslims be upright. If you were to supplicate for them, you would be subsequently supplicating for the Muslims, since if the ruler is upright so too will his flock (people under his office) be upright. This is the methodology (manḥāj) of the Pious Predecessors – to supplicate for the Muslim ruler to be upright.
His statement, “If you see a man supplicating for the ruler to be upright, then know that he is a person of the Sunnah, if Allāh ﷻ wills.” If you see him supplicating for them to be upright then know he is a person of the Sunnah, because this is the guidance of the Pious Predecessors in relation to the Muslim rulers.
His statement, “Fuḍayl ibn ‘Iyāḍ (d.187 AH) said..”: Fuḍayl ibn ‘Iyāḍ was from major scholars, worshippers and ascetics. He said this statement, “If I had an invocation that was to be answered, I would not make it except for the ruler.” This is sincerity and acting upon the statement of the Messenger “The Religion is sincerity. We said ‘To whom?” He said ‘To Allāh and His Book, and His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” And a type of having sincerity to the Muslim rulers is to supplicate for their uprightness, whilst supplicating against them is betrayal.
And his statement, “We are ordered to make supplication for them (the rulers) to be upright. We have not been ordered to make supplication against them, even if they commit tyranny and oppression..”: This is because supplicating against them is supplicating against the Muslims. Since if the affair is corrupted and the ruler is brought down – blood will be shed, security will be flawed, corruption will spread and boundaries will be immobilized. There are harmful consequences in his fall. In this time of ours, the one who supplicates for the ruler (to be upright) is accused by the people of desires from amongst the bigots (ḥizbiyyīn) and the followers of the Kharijites of compromising [the religion]. Thus the statement of the author is applicable to them as they oppose the Sunnah and they are people of desire, so beware of this.