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Respecting our Leaders and Seniors

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(Highlights of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 13th December)

On the occasion of the Battle of Mutah, a Sahaabi who was not officially part of the army killed one of the Roman warriors and as per the normal system, it was understood that he will be able to take the weaponry and armour of this warrior as part of his share of the booty. However, at the time of the distribution of the booty Hadhrat Khaalid bin Waleed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) decided to join it with the general booty. Hadhrat ‘Auf bin Maalik (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) objected but Hadhrat Khaalid did not accept it. After returning to Madeenah, both these Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) went to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to enquire as to what was the correct decision to have been taken. 

Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied that the warrior’s weaponry etc. will be given to the one who killed him. On receiving this reply, Hadhrat ‘Auf bin Maalik (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) gestured to Hadhrat Khaalid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that his objection was correct and valid. On noticing this, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) became upset and reprimanded Hadhrat ‘Auf bin Maalik (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), that why can’t you leave the leaders that I have appointed. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then retracted and ordered that the warrior’s weaponry etc. should be mixed again with the general booty.

One of the lessons we learn from this incident is that the person who is reporting the incident word for word is the very same person who was being reprimanded. When you reflect then this can only the miracle of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) wished that the word and teaching of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) should prevail irrespective of their name being tarnished. You cannot get a group of people as the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Will it ever be possible for any of us to do this? Further, if we were corrected we will have a grudge for the one who corrected us. So look at the cleanliness and purity of the hearts of the Sahaabah.

Another lesson is that we will have our leaders and we will have to respect them. The rulings that they may pass are of two types, the first are those that we are clear about and the other are those that we are not clear about. If we are not clear about it then do not make a noise about it, for that person’s vision and sight may be better than yours. He may have that level of maturity that you do not have. Imagine if we were to remain silent when we see some type of controversy, wouldn’t that have been better rather than commenting on each other’s statements. If we are sure about something, then we should just continue with what we feel is correct and leave the other view. Therefore, in this time and age, most of these emails etc. should be discarded; otherwise you will begin to have reservations and evil thoughts regarding the one that was being spoken of. Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) desire was that his heart be pure and clean regarding his Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Therefore, he told the Sahaabah not to carry tales of others to him. Shaikh Sa’di said that leave all the hurtful and grieving news for the owl. Be one who only carries good and beneficial news. Don’t assign this bad work for yourself. So if you are not sure about something then don’t get involved in it. There may be many reasons for a person doing something though you may not understand it.

When you look at something, then look at it for the long term. Sometimes the ameer does something but you cannot reach where he is thinking. When a person is appointed as ameer then obey him. If you continue objecting then with the passage of time, the ameer will feel that these people are challenging my decisions when I say anything so why did they appoint me in the first place. So as long as it is not a clear cut haraam then don’t challenge the person. Let him have the benefit of the doubt. What will happen on his end is that his confidence in his people will increase. This can happen in any situation where someone has some sort of authority, whether in an employer and employee relationship or father and son relationship. So this is the type of attitude we should have with our elders. There is a need to respect the authority for peace and smooth running of affairs.

With regards to our elders, we will respect them all and not compare one to the other as to who is greater and who is lower. The outstanding feature in our elders was their confidence in their elders. On one occasion Hadhrat Shaikhul Hind (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) as per his routine went to Gangoh to visit his shaikh, Moulana Gangohi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih). It so happened that it was the day that the urs celebrations were taking place in Gangoh and Shaikhul Hind was unaware of it, and in going to the residence of his shaikh he had to pass through the urs. On reaching the home of Moulana Gangohi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih), without speaking anything, Moulana Gangohi admonished him and asked him to at once leave back for Deoband as his coming to Gangoh and passing through the urs was a means of adding to the glory of it. Shaikhul Hind immediately complied. His level of dedication to his shaikh did not deteriorate in the least bit because he understood that this was on account of his attachment to the sunnah. When doing islaah you need to have that type of an open rapport with the shaikh, otherwise the shaikh will not know what will be the response of the mureed and he will feel uneasy in making the proper islaah of the mureed.

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