Is It Shirk to Obey Man-Made Laws or People in Positions of Authority?
Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Is it considered major shirk for a person to obey a government or ruler who upholds laws that were created by others or that are in opposition to Allah, such as the hijab ban, even though they were created by someone who was unaware of the ruling or who thought their laws were superior?
Does this apply to other people of authority, such as a boss, or a teacher, or a person who runs a school?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Associating partners with Allah Most High (Shirk) is a very specific term clearly defined by the scholars of Sacred Law. It is to ascribe any of the attributes of Allah Most High to other than Allah or to worship other than Allah Most High. [Sanusi, Muqaddima al-Sanusiyya]
Those of Authority Over You
Allah Most High says, “O Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you (…).” [Quran; 04:09]
In a general sense, it is obligatory for the Muslim to obey the Muslim caliph in all matters of governance that do not go against the dictates of the Sacred law.
This would also apply to non-Islamic governments with whom one has entered into a covenant with either expressly or consequentially by having citizenship or residency in that country.
However, the same condition applies, that obeying the government does not necessitate disobeying Allah Most High.
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “There is no obedience to the creation in the disobedience of the Creator.” [Tabarani]
It is a major sin to disobey Allah Most High in following the commands or laws of others, however, it is not disbelief.
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.