What are the Islam views on protesting?
“The best struggle (jihad) is the word of truth spoken to a tyrant ruler.” [Al-Nasa’ī]
This hadīth encouraging political struggle does not specify the manner in which the truth should be spoken to the tyrant ruler, which means any style that has not been prohibited by another text is permitted. So whether by a letter, distribution of leaflets, publication of a book, article in a newspaper or speaking directly to the ruler - these are all permissible means of fulfilling the obligation. This is similar to the hadīth of the Messenger (saw) when he said: “Convey from me even if it be one verse.”[Bukharī]. This hadīth enjoins on us to convey Islamic knowledge or carry da’wah to others and in the language of this hadīth the Prophet (saw) did not restrict it to any particular style or means. Therefore, it is permissible to impart knowledge via one to one teaching, group lessons or even via the internet. These are all permissible styles as the command of ballighū (convey) is mutlaq (unrestricted): so whatever action will realise this is permitted, as long as there is no specific nass (text) to the contrary.
The above hadīth for example says ‘the best struggle’: this fits a reality where the accounting is done publicly, since that is truly a struggle, whereas it is easier to account privately. It is when the ruler is accounted in front of everyone that he is likely to kill or imprison the person accounting him. This is also the significance of the following hadīth:
“The master of martyrs is Hamzah and a man who stood up to a tyrant ruler to advise him and was killed”
The fact that a ruler was accounted publically is the most likely reason for the accounting-person being killed.
This is also the example of the Sahabah and Salaf al-Salih who accounted the rulers in public. It is reported that a person told ‘Umar b. Khattab (ra) to “fear Allah” publicly, and ‘Umar responded by saying: “There is no goodness in you if you do not say it, and there is no goodness in us if we do not hear it.” (Manaqib amir al-muminin by Ibn Jawzi. P.155)