The Ruler And The Ruled
Power & Authority Means
Responsibility To Serve
(M. Javed Naseem)
Do not ask for any position of authority! Your interest in asking for that position puts your intention, your sincerity, your honesty and your sense of service to mankind in doubt. It shows your hunger for power and that makes you vulnerable to corruption. In fact authority means serving mankind with justice and fairness.
Here is a lesson for those who are fighting and striving to gain power to rule people for their own benefit; and are struggling to become prime minister, president or even a minister in any government at any cost.
According to a narration by Maaqil, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: “Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will not even get the smell of Paradise.”
According to Abd al-Rahman bin Samura, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said to him:
“Abd al-Rahman! Do not ask for a position of authority, for if you are granted this position as a result of your asking for it, you will be left alone (without God’s help to discharge the responsibilities attendant thereon); and if you are granted it without asking for it, you will be helped (by God in the discharge of your duties).”
In another Hadith, Abu Burda narrated:
The Prophet (s.a.w.) sent my father (Abu Musa) and Mu'adh bin Jabal to Yemen (as rulers/governors) and said (to them): "Make things easy for the people and do not put hurdles in their way, and give them glad tiding, and don't let them have aversion (i.e. to make people hate good deeds) and you both should work in cooperation and mutual understanding."
Abu Musa said to Allah's Apostle: "In our country, a special alcoholic drink, called ‘al-bit', is prepared.”
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Every intoxicant is prohibited.”
The modern generation of Muslims has a character problem. They are heavily influenced by media, especially TV, and like to do whatever they are shown on the screen. In the daily life, they see so-called Muslims’’ around them but not Islam. So, they don’t have role-models except the singers, dancers, actors and opportunists they see on TV. If you give them examples from the history of Islam, they laugh and say that those are the stories of the old times.
They are, in a way, right to say that because they don’t see any practical examples in the society. Why? The answer is simple: The upbringing. They are not brought up in Islamic culture with Islamic guidelines for daily life.
Man is prone to corruption because he is weak. He cannot resist the temptation. The only difference between the old times and today’s culture is the degree, scope and volume of corruption that has crept in our lives. Things that were considered bad and abnormal, have been slowly adopted as normal. Everybody is competing with others in the economic and material race. Codes of ethics and morals are either totally ignored or modified to suit the lifestyle.
Umar bin al-Khattab was a great companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and a humble servant of Allah. During his time as Caliph, he appointed Saeed bin Aamer as governor of Hams. After some time, some people of Hams complained and asked for his removal. Caliph Umar was a bit surprised. He was an excellent judge of people and could not believe what he heard. He prayed to Allah to bless him with wisdom, and then went to Hams to see the concerned parties. He held the court at Saeed’s place and suggested that Governor Saeed bin Aamer listen to the complaints of the people. He then asked people about their complaints. People said that they had three complaints. The first was that the governor used to leave home late and never started the business of the court early in the morning.
Caliph Umar asked Saeed bin Aamer to explain. Governor Saeed replied that his wife was the only person at home who would take care of the household. They had no servants. He helped her to make the dough and bake the bread. Then they would eat together. After that, he would do the ablution (wudhu) and leave home for work.
Caliph Umar then asked people what their second complaint was. People said that the governor did not entertain their complaints at night. He would tell them to come in the morning.
Caliph Umar turned to Governor Saeed and asked for his explanation. Saeed bin Aamer said that he did not like to answer that question but as a token of respect for the Caliph, he would explain. He said that he had divided the day and night into two parts. The day was reserved for the service of the creation (people); and the night was reserved for the Creator (Allah). He said that he prayed to Allah all night, therefore, he could not attend any worldly business.
Caliph Umar bin al-Khattab then asked people about their third complaint. People said that the governor would take one day off every month. On that day, he would not take care of people’s business.
Umar bin al-Khattab (r.a.a.) asked Saeed bin Aamer how would he answer that? Governor Saeed explained that he had no servants or maids. He washed his own clothes once every month and then waited for them to dry. When the clothes were dry by the afternoon, he would put them on to go out. He could not come out of his house earlier.
Caliph Umar thanked Allah for his selection of Saeed bin Aamer as governor, then he turned to people and advised them to appreciate such a governor.
Later on, Caliph Umar sent a gift of one thousand Dinars for Saeed bin Aamer to facilitate his household needs. His wife suggested that she could hire a maid for the household. Governor Saeed told his wife that there were still poor people around who needed the money more than her. What if they came to ask for help?
The wife understood and agreed with his suggestion to donate the money in charity. Then both of them put that money in small pouches and distributed it among the needy.
That’s how a ruler should take care of his subjects! These are not some fabricated stories. These some are real-life events well recorded in the history books. They were honest and God-fearing rulers. They knew that authority meant responsibility to serve mankind justly.
If the rulers of today’s Muslim countries take a minute and think about their kingdoms and so-called democracies in the light of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, they might get the message and wake up, hopefully. Otherwise, the grip of Allah is very severe and the punishment would be their destiny.
وَكَمْ أَهْلَكْنَا قَبْلَهُمْ مِّن قَرْنٍ هُمْ أَشَدُّ مِنْهُم بَطْشاً
فَنَقَّبُواْ فِى ٱلْبِلاَدِ هَلْ مِن مَّحِيصٍ إِنَّ فِى ذٰلِكَ لَذِكْرَىٰ
لِمَن كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى ٱلسَّمْعَ وَهُوَ شَهِيدٌ
“And how many a generation we destroyed
before them, who were mightier than these in
prowess so that they overran the lands! Had they
any place of refuge (when the judgment came)?
Lo! Therein verily is a reminder for him who
has a heart, or gives ear with full intelligence.”