Islam and public affairs (II) 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

The Holy Qur’an, At-Tin, 95:4-8, declares: “We have indeed created man in the best of molds, then do We abase him (to be) the lowest Of the low,— Except such as believe and do righteous deeds: For they shall have a reward unfailing.  Then what can, after this, contradict thee, as to the judgment (to come)? Is not God the wisest of Judges?”

In the administration of public affairs, God Almighty has gifted man with faculties to conquer nature and to make the world a better place with the power of knowledge, spiritual, and limited free will (Qur’an 2:30-34; 10:99; and 90:8-10).

 The Holy Qur’an, Balad, 90:8-20, attests to the special nature of man as developed better than the Angels, Jinn, and the brute animals: “Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?— And a tongue, and a pair of lips? And shown him the two highways? But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep. And what will explain to thee the path that is steep? (It is) freeing the bondman; or the giving of food In a day of privation to the orphan with claims of relationship, or to the indigent (down) in the dust. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. Such are the Companions of the Right Hand.  But those who reject Our Signs, they are the (unhappy) Companions of the Left Hand. On them will be fire vaulted over (all round)”.

This special nature of man with the developed brain and emotions of love love, kindness, and aspiration for greatness comes with the responsibility of vicegerency to make the world a better place than we met it at a limited time on earth.

Thus, God Almighty affirms the vicegerency of man on earth in the Holy Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:30-39: “Behold thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth’. They said ‘Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?’ He said: ‘I know what ye know not’. And He taught Adam the nature of all things; then He placed them before the angels and said: ‘Tell Me the nature of these if ye are right’. They said: ‘Glory to Thee of knowledge we have none save that Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom,” He said: ‘O Adam! Tell them their natures’. When he had told them God said: ‘Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?’ And behold We said to the angels: Bow down to Adam; and they bowed down not so Iblis, he refused and was haughty, he was of those who reject Faith.  We said: ‘O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the garden and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when) ye will but approach not this tree or ye run into harm and transgression. Then did Satan make them slip from the (garden) and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: ‘Get ye down all (ye people) with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time›. Then learnt Adam from his Lord words of inspiration and his Lord turned toward him; for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. We said: “Get ye down all from here; and if as is sure there comes to you guidance from Me”. Whosoever follows My guidance on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.  But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs they shall be Companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein.”

Though the story of Prophet Yusuf (AS) reflects personal campaign or request for appointment, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) suggests the election by concensus (Shura) for the blessings of God on such appointee to succeed.

Yusuf’s story reflects in Holy Qur’an Yusuf, 12:54-57 thus: “So the king said: ‘Bring him unto me; I will take him specially to serve about my own person›. Therefore when he had spoken To him, he said: ‘Be assured this day, thou art, before our own Presence, with rank firmly established, and fidelity fully proved!’ (Joseph) said: ‘Set me over the store-houses of the land. I will indeed guard them, as one that knows (their importance)’. Thus did We give established power to Joseph in the land, to take possession therein as, when, or where He pleased. We bestow of Our mercy on whom We please, and We suffer not, to be lost, the reward of those who do good. But verily the reward of the Hereafter is the best, for those who believe, and are constant In righteousness.”

But Prophet Muhammad (SAW) prohibits the desire for position of authority and its covetousness. According to Hadith in Sahih Muslim, “It has been reported on the authority of “Abd al-Rahman b. Samura who said: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said to me: 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 it you are granted it without making any request for it, you will be helped (by God in the discharge of your duties).”

Another Hadith in Sahih Muslim says, “It has been narrated by Abu Musa who said: Two of my cousins and I entered the apartment of the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him). One of them said: ‘Messenger of Allah, appoint us rulers of some lands that the Almighty and Glorious God has entrusted to thy care›. The other also said something similar. He said: ‘We do not appoint to this position one who asks for it nor anyone who is covetous for the same.”

The appointment of a leader by concensus (Shura) comes with responsibilities of good governance as vicegerent of God on earth. The refusal to provide the bare needs of life with the resources of the state will lead to Hellfire on the Day of Resurrection.

An Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) says, “It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Holy Prophet (May peace be upon him) said: Beware. every one of you is a shepherd and every one is answerable with regard to his flock. The Caliph 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 a 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” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim).

Another Hadith says, it has been reported on the authority of Abd al-Rahman b. Shumasa who said: “I came to A›isha to inquire something from her. She said: From which people art thou? I said: I am from the people of Egypt. She said: What was the behaviour of your governor towards you in this war of yours? I said: We did not experience anything bad from him. If the camel of a man from us died, he would bestow on him a camel. If any one of us lost his slave, he would give him a slave. If anybody was in need of the basic necessities of life, he would provide them with provisions. She said: Behold! the treatment that was meted out to my brother, Muhammad b. Abu Bakr, does not prevent me from telling you what I heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He said in this house of mine: O God, who (happens to) acquire some kind of control over the affairs of my people and is hard upon them-be Thou hard upon him, and who (happens to) acquire some kind of control over the affairs of my people and is kind to them-be Thou kind to him” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim).

But the development of man’s brain and faculties are guided by limited freewill, as everything had been ordained by pre-measurement or pre-destination (Qadar) (Qur’an 4:70-80; 6:107; 74:56; 76:29-31; 81:28-29). The Holy Qur’an Yunus, 10:99-103 says “If it had been the Lord’s will, they would all have believed,— All who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, Against their will, to believe! No soul can believe, except by the will of God, and He will place doubt (or obscurity) on those who will not understand. Say: “Behold all that is in the heavens and on earth”; But neither signs nor warners profit those who believe not. Do they then expect (any thing) but (what happened in) the days of the men who passed away before them? Say: “Wait ye then: for I, too, will wait with you.” In the end We deliver Our apostles and those who believe: Thus is it fitting on our part that We should deliver those who believe!”.

May Almighty Allah lead aright the communities of the world to establish good governance with the right and just leaders. Amen.


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