MUSLIM RULERS, BEWARE!
YOU ARE GUARDIANS &
SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE
(By: M. Javed Naseem)
وَعَدَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ
فِى ٱلأَرْضِ كَمَا ٱسْتَخْلَفَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ
لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ ٱلَّذِى ٱرْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ
أَمْناً يَعْبُدُونَنِى لاَ يُشْرِكُونَ بِى شَيْئاً وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذٰلِكَ
فَأُوْلَـٰئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْفَاسِقُونَ
“Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and
work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in
the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before
them; that He will establish in authority their religion – the one
which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state),
after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace:
'They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’
If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.”
Almost all Muslim countries of the world today have corrupt governments and incompetent administrators who are, as a result, creating misery and despair for their people. Among them are those who are honest, sincere, just; and are trying to pursue the right path but they are facing hardships. Their lives have become miserable because of corruption and injustice of the rulers. They are oppressed. They can get consolation only from the thought that since the good times did not last long, the bad times are not going to last either. That’s the law of nature. The righteous and the steadfast always stand the chance to be favoured by Allah. Eventually, Allah grants them power and authority.
وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ ٱسْتُضْعِفُواْ
فِى ٱلأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ ٱلْوَارِثِينَ
“And We desired to bestow a favour upon those who
were being oppressed in the land, and to make them
leaders (in Faith) and make them heirs.”
In the meantime, both the oppressor and the oppressed go through tests and trials. Allah has warned mankind of grave consequences if they spread corruption in the earth. But man always ignores such warnings when enjoying power and authority. These days, many Islamic countries are going through election phase. Candidates are ‘fighting’ for power. Allah has defined in the Holy Quran the qualifications of a just ruler of an Islamic state:
ٱلَّذِينَ إِنْ مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِى ٱلأَرْضِ أَقَامُواْ ٱلصَّلواَةَ وَآتَوُاْ ٱلزَّكَواةَ
وَأَمَرُواْ بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْاْ عَنِ ٱلْمُنْكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ ٱلأُمُورِ
“(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land,
establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin
the right and forbid wrong; with Allah rests the end
(and decision) of (all) affairs.”
If we are Muslims and believe in the Day of Judgment, there should not be any doubt then in our minds about the accountability process. A ruler or administrator is like a shepherd or a guardian who is responsible for the protection, safety, physical and economic well-being of the people under his rule.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) has explained in different Ahadith what a ruler is supposed to do. It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
"Beware! Every one of you is a shepherd and every one
is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph (ruler)
is a shepherd over the people and shall be questioned
about his subjects (as to how he conducted their affairs).
A man is a guardian over the members of his family and
shall be questioned about them (as to how he looked after
their physical and moral well-being). A woman is a guardian
over the household of her husband and his children and
shall be questioned about them (as to how she managed the
household and brought up the children). A slave is guardian
over the property of his master and shall be questioned about
it (as to how he safeguarded his trust). Beware, every one
of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be
questioned with regard to his trust.”
Those who are in charge of others, will be questioned on the Judgment Day. There is no escape from it. In a Muslim society, everybody is responsible. These days, most of the people complain about corruption and mishandling of affairs, but who is responsible for that? What happened to the accountability set-up? Alas, there is no such thing! The Muslims don’t perform their duties honestly and diligently. They sit back and do nothing, as usual, while their rulers enjoy good life. They appoint their inept family members and friends to the positions of authority. They create crisis after crisis and wait for Allah’s intervention to resolve problems, eradicate injustice and corruption, punish the criminals and, most importantly, keep them in power. Amazing!
The incompetent and corrupt rulers of today can learn a lot from the Muslim rulers of the past, only if they open the history books.
Haroon Rasheed was a great Caliph of Islam, known for his social justice, compassion and charity. He was a ‘powerful servant’ of God. He had many scholars and wise men in his court. Everyday they would discuss inspirational events and enlighten others with their wisdom. One day, a wise man asked Haroon Rasheed what would he do if a drop of urine were blocked in his urinary track and he could not urinate? Haroon Rasheed said that he would give half of his kingdom to cure that. The wise man asked, what if after a short time, again a drop of urine got stuck and he could not release himself? Haroon Rasheed answered that he would give the remaining half of his kingdom for that. Then the wise man told the Caliph: “Your entire kingdom is worth two drops of urine. Why should you be so proud and boastful of that worldly possession? A ruler should be a humble servant of people”. Haroon Rasheed listened calmly and started crying.
Those were the honest and God-fearing rulers. They knew that authority only meant responsibility and service to the mankind.
Here is another Hadith. According to Ma’qil, 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 never taste even the
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 making any request 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
and said (to them): Yemen
"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.”
Those who are fighting and struggling for power or authority, should know that all power belongs to Allah. He has sovereignty over everything in the heavens and in the earth and whatever is in-between. Authority over people in this world means responsibility for their well-being. Allah has inscribed justice and mercy for Himself, and that should also be an obligation for us humans who are given authority or responsibility here. On the Day of Judgment, we’ll be questioned about it. And if any ‘man of authority’ does not believe this, he is definitely going to be one of the losers on the Day of Justice.
قُل لِّمَن مَّا فِى ٱلسَّمَاوَاتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ قُل لِّلَّهِ كَتَبَ
عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ٱلرَّحْمَةَ لَيَجْمَعَنَّكُمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ ٱلْقِيَامَةِ
لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ ٱلَّذِينَ خَسِرُوۤاْ أَنْفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ
“Say: ‘To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and
“Say: ‘To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and
on earth?’ Say: ‘To Allah. He has inscribed for Himself
(the rule of) Mercy. That He will gather you together for
the Day of Judgment, there is no doubt whatever. It is they
who have lost their own souls, that will not believe.”