The Hadiths: 'One who dies without knowing the Imam of his age' and 'One who dies without pledging allegiance to an Imam'

Q 8: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “One who dies without knowing the Imam of his age, will die the death of one belonging to Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance),” and “One who dies without having bound himself by an oath of allegiance (to an Amir), will die the death of one belonging to Jahiliyyah.” What is meant by this Hadith in the context of our own time, and how can we understand and apply it?


A: Concerning the first Hadith we doubt its authenticity by this wording. The second Hadith is related by Imam Muslim in his Sahih on the authority of Nafi‘ (may Allah be pleased with him) who narrated that when they deposed Yazid and unanimously declared their allegiance to Ibn Muti‘, Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) came to him. `Abdullah ibn Muti` said: Place a cushion for Abu `Abdul-Rahman, but `Abdullah ibn `Umar said to him: I have not come to sit with you, but to tell you that I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: One who withdraws his hand from obedience (to the Amir) will meet Allah on the Day of Resurrection having no excuse, and one who dies without having bound himself by an oath of allegiance (to an Amir) will die the death of one belonging to Jahiliyyah (will die as a pagan). The Hadith means that it is not permissible to rebel against the ruler unless he commits open Kufr (disbelief), as narrated in the authentic Hadith. Moreover, the Ummah (nation) must choose a just ruler to take good care of their affairs and preserve their rights.May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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