I’ve read articles that say assert that protesting against a Muslim ruler, even if he is unjust, is not allowed. I even heard recently that Saudi scholars issued a fatwa prohibiting demonstrations! What say you?
Explain then why Al-Husayn ibn Ali, may God have been pleased with both, fought Yazeed ibn Mu`aawiya, who was the ruler, and why Abdullah ibn Az-Zubayr, may God have been pleased with both, fought Al-Hajjaaj, who used to lead the prayers?
They did because Yazeed and Al-Hajjaaj were tyrants. Fighting them is required Jihaad.
The Quran and the Sunna both urge Muslims to resist tyranny and vindicate themselves:
“There shall be no aggression except against the wrongdoers” (2:193)
“And those who, when tyranny hits them, they vindicate themselves” (42:39)
“And those who vindicate themselves after they have been wronged” (26:227)
“If the Muslim is ordered to commit a violation, there shall be no obedience.” Narrated by Ibn Umar and reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim.
“If they did it (enter a fire as ordered by their imaam!), they would never have left it! Obedience is ONLY in Ma`roof (That which is recognized as good).” Narrated by Ali ibn Abi-Taalib and reported by Al-Bukhaari.
Those scholars who gave fatwas that demonstrations are un-Islamic have done themselves and others a great deal of harm. May God guide us all to His way.
God says in the holy Quran, “And do not recline toward those who do wrong, lest the Fire should touch you, and you do not have besides God any allies; then you would not be helped.” (11:113)
Forbidding or discouraging demonstrations against tyranny and oppression, when all other methods have failed, is a call to accept or endure them. That is un-Islamic and the verse of Chapter 11 clearly warns against that.
Thank God that many of our righteous predecessors did not tolerate injustice and rose up against it, even when their efforts were unsuccessful. People such as Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair, and Al-Husayn ibn Ali, may God have been pleased with them all.