Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.
Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.
We are a minority in a Christian country under a republican democracy. The highest officials of the country are all Christians. The government adheres to a constitution based on the democratic ideals where there is freedom of religion.
The main local governments are the provinces headed by governors and chartered cities headed by mayors. These officials promote and uphold the constitution in their governance. In the provinces and cities where Muslims predominate, these officials are usually politicians who are Muslims.
The question I am respectfully submitting to you is: Are these officials the rightful “ulil amr minkom”?
This matter is of great importance to the Muslim community. These politicians consider themselves the “Wali al-amr” who should be followed in matters of community affairs like when to start Ramadhaan, when to observe the two Eids. A significant number of the people disagreed because these officials take orders from the national government on matters that don’t necessarily jibe with the Shari’ah.
I am addressing this request to a few respected Ulamaa to secure a better perspective of the problem and its resolution in the light of the Shari’ah.
Jazakallahu fid Daarain.
If the officials and politicians of your community, in a non Islamic country, are non Muslims, then they are the Ulul Amr with regards to worldly affairs. They should be followed in these matters. If they are Muslims they should be followed in Deeni matters as well. Their decisions regarding Ramadan and Eid should be obeyed, and going against them will be incorrect, condition being that their decisions are not in open contradiction to the Shari’ah.
And Allah Ta’ala knows best
Mufti Muhammad Ashraf
12 July 2006
15 Jumaadul Ukhraa 1427
This Q&A was indexed in 2012 from the website of Jameah Mahmoodiyah, South Africa. The original website no longer exists.