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Home » Methodology » Rulership

Seeking After Status & Authority; & The Types of People in Relation To That
It is obligatory that Rulership is enjoined with Religion and seeking closeness with it to Allaah. For the seeking of closeness to Him by means of it through obedience to Him and obedience to His Messenger is from the most excellent means of seeking closeness. And the state of most of the people is indeed corrupted therein due to their seeking leadership or wealth along with it. For Ka’ab bin Maalik reported from the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) that he said:

((Two hungry wolves let loose among sheep are not more harmful than a persons craving after wealth and status is to his Religion.))* At-Tirmidhee said the Hadeeth is Hasan Saheeh.

So he informed that the persons craving after wealth and status is harmful to his Religion – the like or more than the harm two hungry wolves can do to a pen of sheep. Allaah The Most High has indeed informed concerning the one that is given the book in the left hand and that he will say:

((My wealth has not availed me; my authority and argument (to defend myself) have gone from me)) [Soorah Al-Haaqah: 28-29]

The extremity of those that seek leadership is that they become the like of Pharaoh. Whilst those that gather wealth become the like of Qaaroon, and Allaah The Most High has indeed made clear the case of Pharaoh and Qaaroon in His Book. For He The Most High says:

((Have they not travelled throughout the earth and seen the consequence of those that came before them. They were superior to them in strength and in the traces (they left behind) upon the earth. Yet Allaah seized them due to their sins, and they had none to protect them from Allaah)) [Soorah Ghaafir: 21]

He The Most High also says:

((That is the abode of the Hereafter which We shall assign to those who do not desire authority (haughtiness) in the land nor corruption, and the good outcome is for those that are dutiful/pious)) [Soorah Al-Qasas: 83]

For indeed the people are of four types:

The first type: Those who desire authority over the people as well as to create corruption in the land; and that is sinfulness to Allaah. These are the corrupt Kings and Rulers – the likes of Pharaoh and his party, and these are the most evil of creation. Allaah The Most High Says:

((Indeed Pharaoh had authority in the land and made its people into sects making a group from them weak. He would kill their sons and allow their women to live. Indeed he was of the corrupt doers)) [Soorah Al-Qasas: 4]

It has likewise been reported by Muslim in his Saheeh from Ibn Mas’ood (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:

((Whosoever has an atoms weight of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise, and whosoever has an atoms weight of Eemaan in his heart will not enter the Fire.)) So a man said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah; Indeed I love that my garment be fine and my shoes should be fine, so is that from pride?’ So he said: ((No; Indeed Allaah is beautiful, and loves beauty. Pride is to disregard the truth and have contempt for the people)) **

So disregard for the truth is in its repelling of it and exerting against it. Whilst having contempt for the people is to look down upon them and to have disdain for them. This is the affair of the one that desires authority and corruption.

The second type: Those that desire to make corruption - without having authority – such as the thieves and the criminals from amongst the lowly of the people.

The third type: Those who desire to have authority without making corruption, such as those possessing Religion thus seeking authority with it over other than them from the people.

As for the fourth type, then they are the people of Paradise. Those that neither desire authority over the people, nor to make corruption. Whilst they themselves may be at a higher station than other than them, as Allaah The Most High says:

((So do not become weak and nor become grieved; and you will be superior if you are true believers)) [Soorah Aal-‘Imraan: 139] And He The Most High says:

((So do not be weak and do not ask for peace whilst you have authority (an upper-hand). Allaah is with you and He will not decrease the reward of your good deeds)) [Soorah Muhammad: 35] And He says:

((To Allaah belongs honour and to His Messenger and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know)) [Soorah Al-Munaafiqoon: 8]

So how many there are that seek authority and position yet it does not increase them except in downfall, and how many there are that were made to become in a position of authority yet didn’t seek after any authority or corruption. That is because the intent of having authority over the rest of creation is oppression. So since the people are from one type (class), so the person’s intent upon his being uppermost (in authority) whilst his equal/like is under himself is an oppression. So whilst it is the case that he has oppressed; then the people will hate the one who is such – as well as have animosity towards him.***

That is because the one who is just from amongst them would not love to be overpowering upon his equal/like. Whilst the one who is unjust from them will wish that he is the overpowering one. Thus along with this it is a must – in intellect as well as Religion that some of them be above others – as we stated before, just as the body is of no good except with the head. He The Most High says:

((And it is He Who has made you generations (replacing each other) in the earth and has raised some of you above others in ranks so He may test those in that which He has bestowed upon you…)) [Soorah Al-An’aam: 165] He The Most High likewise says:

((…It is We Who portion out their livelihood in the life of this world, and We have raised some of them above others in ranks so some of them may take others in employment…)) [Soorah Az-Zukhruf: 32]

So the Sharee’ah has come with the issuance of Rulership and wealth in the path of Allaah.

So if the intent behind Rulership and wealth be that of seeking closeness to Allaah and spending that in His path; then that is for the betterment of the Religion as well as for the life of this world. Whereas if the Ruler isolates himself from the Religion – or the Religion from the Ruler – then the affairs of the people become corrupted. For indeed the people of obedience to Allaah hold distinction over the people of sinfulness to Him through intention and righteous actions. As is found in the two Saheehs from the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):

((Indeed Allaah does not look to your appearances and nor to your wealth; rather He looks to your hearts and to your actions)).****


*Reported by Ahmad vol 25 p.62 Hadeeth no.15784 and At-Tirmidhee no.2376 and Ibn Hibbaan no.2472 and others, its chain of narration was declared Saheeh (authentic) by Shaikh Al-Albaani in his Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhee vol 2 p.553.

**Reported by Muslim as Hadeeth no.261 and At-Tirmidhee as Hadeeth no.1999.

***The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ((The best of your leaders are those whom you love and they love you, and you send prayers upon them and they send prayers upon you. And the worst of your leaders are those whom you hate and they hate you, and you curse them and they curse you.)) It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allaah! Should we not then remove them with the sword?’ So he said: ((No; for as long as they establish the prayer amongst you, and if you see something from your leader that you dislike – then dislike his action; and do not take away the hand from obedience.)) Reported by Muslim as Hadeeth no.4781. (Translators note)

****Reported by Muslim as Hadeeth no.33 and 34 and Ibn Maajah as Hadeeth no.4143.

Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
Majmoo' al-fataawaa Shaikh ul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah vol 28 pages 391-394.
Translated by Aboo Haatim Muhammad Farooq
Other subjects of interest:

Schools of Thought and Blind Following
Allegiance and Enmity
Calling to Allaah
Way of the Pious Predecessors
Partisanship and Splitting
Rectification of the Ummah
Disparagement and Refutation

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