In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, All praise is Allah’s, and may salah and salam be upon His Messenger;
With the many pitfalls that our Western educated masses navigate through; the desire for leadership positions is among those grave dangers for which, without the light of patience and guidance from Allah, most would fall ensnared by the rhetoric of enticing and burning desires.
Sadly, many of our brethren organize to call to these traps, under the guise of political and social calls – calls clothed in illusions of religious inferences and justice – in their quest to raise future leaders for the Ummah.
Under the topic of “imarah,” which refers to the duties of the ameer, or the one in charge of a matter, we find many narrations organized by scholars, warning of seeking positions of leadership.
‘Abdur-Rahman bin Samurah narrated: “The Prophet (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:
‘O ‘Abdur-Rahman! Do not ask for imarah (leadership) for indeed, if you are given it due to your asking, you will be responsible for it, but if you are given it without asking, then you will be helped in it…” Al-Bukhari (7146) Muslim (4281) and others.
Scholars explain that the opposites in this narration – being responsible when asking for it, versus being aided when not asking – give indication to the status of the person on the Day of Resurrection. This is related to various narrations, among which, that reported by Abu Hurairah, from the Prophet (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam), that he said:
“You people will be keen for leadership, which will be a thing of regret for you on the Day of Resurrection. What an excellent wet-nurse it is, and what a horrible one for weaning it is.” Al-Bukhari (7148-7149) and others.
Meaning, how succulent it shall be in this world, and how much the suffering of withdraw from it, in the Hereafter.
This is the gravity of seeking leadership according to the Sunnah of the Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam), which he warned would appear later among the Muslims.
And what we find, sadly, is that so many of the Muslims are attracted to groups that vie for leadership in some matter – whether the very small or the very large – and that this attraction consumes so much of their efforts.
And saddest of all in this matter, is that so many of those who are looked to as examples by our younger people, are the same callers to the this dangerous theme, the idea of raising leaders for the Ummah.
Would it not be appropriate, and is it not time, that our young be raised according to the Sunnah of the Prophet that Allah selected for His Last Message (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam)? We can examine how the Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) taught the young, as reported by Jundab bin ‘Abdullah, who said:
“We were with the Prophet (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam), and we were energetic young men, so we learned faith before we learned the Qur’an, then we learned the Qur’an, so it increased us in our faith.” (It was graded sahih by al-Buseeri (and they say “al-Busairi” but also, that the first is correct) and Shaykh al-Albani.)
How energetic our young men are today! Each of them rushing to fulfill a cause, desperately seeking someone to point them to the right way, being used by every group that offers them to suckle on what they have a burning desire for!
Have you not seen what became of our young men? From this extreme to the next, chasing after a dream to become “something.”
But the Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) takes the energy and zeal of their youth – and he teaches them faith, and as the revelation of the Qur’an is sent, they become stronger in their faith. Because the “something” they should aspire to be is “the believer.”
And he, (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) – the truthful, the entrusted, the best example for us to follow, and a mercy to the worlds – never encourages them to leadership.
Rather, Abu Hurairah narrated, that the Messenger of Allah (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) said:
“You will find that the best of people in this matter, are those that detest it the most among them, before it happens to him…..” Al-Bukhari (3493 and others) and Muslim (6454 and others)
And what is that “matter” but leadership, as the scholars of the commentaries explain?!
And the Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) said: “The best people are the people of my generation, then the following, then the following…” the meaning of which is recorded by al-Bukhari and others.
And they are the best of people in this matter, as well as that.
So the Messenger (sall Allahu `alaihi wa sallam) raised the zealous energetic youth with faith, and Allah supported them and aided them, and the best among them were those who detested to lead, and this goodness is indicative of their faith.
Consider then, if the best among the people regarding leadership is the one who detests the idea of it the most, then what is case of the one who desires it or encourages that desire? And what of the case of the one who aspires to be a leader of the people, and campaigns for that? And from which nation did the Muslims acquire this thirst for leadership? And did you actually read this message soley because of its title?
And to Allah is the complaint, and He alone guides the hearts, and with Him is the facilitation to do what is right.