Saudi cleric: ‘It is prohibited to protest in Islam’

A prominent Saudi cleric, Shaikh Assim Al-Hakeem, has come under fire on Twitter over his response to a question posed to him by a user regarding the permissibility of protesting in Islam, specifically in light of the on-going demonstrations in the US over the murder of an unarmed black suspect by Minneapolis police officers.

It is not permissble to protest in Islam. https://t.co/i5wJJAdB2x
— Assim Alhakeem (@Assimalhakeem) May 30, 2020

The Jeddah-based cleric, who is a well-known propagator in the English language and who regularly appears on Saudi-owned religious satellite channel Huda TV, which is aimed at English speakers told his 161,500 followers that “It is not permissible to protest in Islam”.

If u see his location you would know the reason why he said that. Just say It is not permissble to protest in Saudi Arabia not Islam
— ayoo (@oxvcj) May 30, 2020

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Al-Hakeem came under criticism by many Muslim users, with many citing Quranic principles of standing up against injustice, even were it to be from one’s own family. Other’s highlighted widely known prophetic narrations, such as: “Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith”.

That's how the ullamah keeps the oppressive regimes in power!!! Let him provide evidence from the Qur'an and Hadiths
— Bashorun Gaa (@SadiqAkanmu) May 30, 2020
If protest is not allowed,
Then how was it allowed for people in Arabia to take up arms against their co-religionist rulers, the Ottoman Caliphate, in partnership with the British. That’s surely more serious than a protest.
What does the Shariah and Manhaj say about that?
— Richard Harris (@HarrisRichard77) May 31, 2020

One user asked how it was then possible for Arabia to revolt against the Ottoman caliphate. However, there were also users who shared Al-Hakeem’s interpretation.

May Allah bless you , O’ Shaikh do not care about the comments
You will go to Paradise In Shaa Allah
— @mohALhanbali1) May 31, 2020
Yes! It is not permissible to protest against khalifa. In situations, wherein you are not satisfied with the khalifa, thru shura members, a new khalifa shall be elected, but protesting against khalifa is not permissible. If you are being Oppressed by kaafir, then it is ok.
— (@AtaKufr) May 31, 2020

Such ideas appears to be in line with the pro-authoritarian Madkhali brand of Salafism, named after the Saudi theologian Rabi Al-Madkhali, who teaches an ultra-conservative practise of Islam, fully endorsed by the Saudi state. It is particularly popular in eastern Libya where it was tolerated under late-ruler Muammar Gaddafi, today its adherents form many of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under General Khalifa Haftar.

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