According to the Holy Qur’an, true Believers are those who resist obedience to the Jabbârîn meaning dictatorial tyrants. In condemning the tribe of ‘Ad, the Most High says:
وَاتَّبَعُوا أَمْرَ كُلِّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ
And [they] followed the order of every obstinate ruler (Sura 11: 59)
Regarding the Verse of the Holy Qur’an:
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
And when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [Allah] said, “Indeed, I will make you a leader [Imam] for the people.” [Abraham] said, “And of my descendants?” [Allah] said, “My covenant does not include the wrongdoers.” (Sura 2: 124)
Concerning this Verse, the eminent Hanafi jurist, Abu Bakr al-Jassas (d. 942 C.E), writes:
فلا يجوز أن يكون الظالم نبيا ولا خليفة لنبي ولا قاضيا ، ولا من يلزم الناس قبول قوله في أمور الدين من مفت أو شاهد أو مخبر عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم خبرا
“So is it not permissible for the Zâlim (wrongdoer) to be a Prophet, nor a Khalîfah of a Prophet, nor a judge. Nor is it necessary for the people to accept his saying in the affairs of the Religion, nor a witness testimony, nor any report attributed to the Prophet ﷺ”
Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas goes on to state that the Madhhab of Abu Hanifah does not distinguish between a judge and a Khalifa in the sense that justice is required of both of them. Therefore, the Fâsiq (grave sinner) cannot be a Khalifa or a Hâkim (ruler); just as the sinner’s testimony cannot be accepted, nor a Hadith he reports from the Prophet ﷺ so how can he be a Khalifa when neither his narration is acceptable nor his command executable?
لا ينال عهدي الظالمين هذه المعاني كلها ومن الناس من يظن أن مذهب أبي حنيفة تجويز إمامة الفاسق وخلافته وأنه يفرق بينه وبين الحاكم فلا يجيز حكمه ، وذكر ذلك عن بعض المتكلمين وهو المسمى زرقان وقد كذب في ذلك وقال بالباطل ، وليس هو أيضا ممن تقبل حكايته ولا فرق عند أبي حنيفة بين القاضي وبين الخليفة في أن شرط كل واحد منهما العدالة ، وأن الفاسق لا يكون خليفة ولا يكون حاكما ؛ كما لا تقبل شهادته ولا خبره لو روى خبرا عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وكيف يكون خليفة وروايته غير مقبولة وأحكامه غير نافذة
Reference: Ahkam-al-Qur’an; v. 1 p. 85
The Prophet ﷺ condemned the evil, oppressive and tyrannical rulers; but nevertheless forbade his followers from raising the sword against them provided they continue to establish the Salat. However, if any evil, tyrannical ruler ceases to establish the institution of Salat, he forfeits his right to persist in the leadership and rulership of the Muslims.
When the evil tyrant Yazid b. Mu’awiya ceased the rulership of the Muslims by force; the eminent and senior companions of the Prophet ﷺ alive at the time refused to give him the pledge of allegiance. First, the Prophet’s grandson, al-Imam al-Hussain b. Ali (Allah be pleased with him) went out towards Kufa with the intention of establishing his Imamate; but he was tragically martyred by Yazid’s governor and their forces on the plains of Karbala. Then in Mecca, sayyidina Abd Allah b. al-Zubair (Allah be pleased with him) launched an uprising against Yazid and the successive Umayyad rulers until he was martyred at the hands of Abd al-Malik b. Marwan’s general, al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf. Similarly, another eminent companion, sayyidina Suleman b. Surad al-Khuza’i (Allah be pleased with him), the leader of the Tawwabun (penitent) movement, launched an uprising against the oppressive Umayyads with the objective of enacting revenge for the martyrdom of al-Imam al-Hussain (peace be upon him). He and his followers achieved martyrdom at the hands of the Umayyads in the Battle of Ain al-Warda in 685 C.E. In the year 740 C.E., al-Hussain’s grandson, Imam Zaid b. Ali (Allah be pleased with him) led an uprising against the Umayyad ruler Hisham b. Abd al-Malik in Kufa, and achieved martyrdom. Interestingly, Imam Abu Hanifa financially supported this uprising of Imam Zaid against the oppressive Umayyads.
The Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads and established their own dynasty. Though they were an improvement compared to the Umayyads, they too were generally oppressive and tyrannical. A great and saintly Imam from the Ahl-al-Bait, namely, Muhammad b. Abd Allah b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him), known as Nafs al-Zakiyah (“the Pure Soul”) led an uprising against the oppressive and tyrannical Abbasid ruler al-Mansur in the sacred town of Medina, where he was martyred in 762 C.E.
And there were several other eminent figures from the Prophet’s Household (peace be upon them) who led uprisings against oppressive Umayyad and Abbasid rulers in order to establish their own caliphates. I will list them here:
1. Imam Yahia b. Zaid’s uprising in Khorasan against the Umayyad ruler al-Walid b. Yazid b. Abd al-Malik until he attained martyrdom
2. We have already mentioned the uprising of Imam Muhammad b. Abd Allah (Nafs al-Zakiya) in Medina
3. Ibrahim b. Abd Allah’s (brother of Imam Nafs al-Zakiya) uprising in Basra; he was martyred by the forces of the Abbasid ruler al-Mansur in Ahwaz
4. Ibrahim b. al-Hasan al-Muthanna, who was the uncle of the two brothers Muhammad and Ibrahim. He was imprisoned by al-Mansur and died in prison
5. al-Hasan b. Ibrahim b. Abd Allah b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Talib’s abortive uprising in the time of al-Mansur until he was arrested and died in prison
6. Abd Allah’s, the son of Imam Nafs al-Zakiya, uprising against al-Mansur
7. Isa b. Zaid b. Ali b. al-Hussain b. Ali b. Abi Talib’s uprising during the time of the Abbasid ruler al-Mahdi
8. The uprising of al-Hussain b. Ali b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Talib against the Abbasid ruler al-Hadi. He was martyred in the battle of al-Fakhkh, near Mecca.
9. Yahya b. Abd Allah b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Talib’s uprising in Dailam against the Abbasid ruler Harun al-Rashid
10. The uprising of Muhammad b. al-Qasim b. Ali b. Umar b. Ali b. al-Hussain b. Ali b. Abi Talib in Taliqan against the Abbasids
And dozens of other uprisings by men from the Ahl-al-Bait against oppressive and tyrannical rulers.