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The Responsibility of a Leader


(Summary of Mufti Ebrahim Salejee’s majlis - Saturday 14th November)

In the time of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), there was a prominent Syrian who used to frequent his gathering. For some time ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) noticed that he was not coming, whereas he used to come regularly. So he enquired regarding him. This is called tafaqqud, it is to enquire. When a person is in a position of authority and people have vested their confidence in him, how should he conduct himself? The way of the pious of the past was that they would find out regarding those under them; perhaps the person may be in some constraints and difficulty and I have neglected the person. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) considered himself to be responsible. On account of this responsibility he would say that if a wolf has to devour a sheep on the banks of the Euphrates River then I will be held responsible for it. They never considered position and rulership as a thing to glorify or be boastful of. People would take it with a lot of fear and concern. It was pushed on to them and they had to accept it, and sometimes it was pushed on to them with the force of the sword. Nonetheless, when ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had taken on the helms of the kingdom, he used to make tafaqqud. We hear the incidents of him patrolling the streets and outskirts of Madeenah at night. In proportion to the wealth and power they enjoyed they considered their responsibilities greater. People normally yearn and desire for these two, wealth and power, but they don’t realise the responsibility that comes with it. Hence, the pious of the past viewed it differently and understood that they will have to take care of those who are lesser privileged, not to pile it up.

The same word ‘tafaqqud’ appears in the Quraan regarding Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam). He used to take stock of his army and even enquire regarding the weakest of his subjects. Hence, you should be more concerned about those who are weaker. In a classroom situation, the ustaaz likes to work with the one who is intelligent, but this is not the ideal thing because the intelligent student only needs the direction of the ustaaz and he moves thereafter with his own steam, and an average student also just requires a little more direction and he will move ahead. But when it comes to the weak student nobody wants to pay attention to him. Comments are passed that he is too weak, I can’t manage with him, or he must find his own route, whereas that is the real area of work and concern. Working in a place where people are already frequenting the musjid is not a real achievement. Yes, the real effort is when it is done among those who have no concern and motivation for deen. You find that most of the visiting ‘Ulama are taken to deliver bayaans in areas that are flourishing, whereas the weaker areas are neglected. This is an imbalance.

So Sulaimaan (alaihis salaam) is taking stock and the weakest of his subjects which is the Hud-hud bird, Sulaimaan (‘alaihis salaam) is also finding out about it and says, “What is wrong, why don’t I see the Hud-hud bird?” We understand that the weaker the person, the greater should be the concern. In our context tafaqqud will apply in this way that those who are under our supervision we should take stock of them i.e. our wives and children; see how they are planning and programming their day and night. We are worried about what is happening here and there and what is happening in Syria and around the world, but are we taking stock of what is happening in our own homes? If we are making wealth then it is just one part of the equation. The other part is that are we using ourselves and subordinates correctly, because the wealth was meant for them, and you made the wealth but did you make the user. If you didn’t, then you are unfair and there is an imbalance. Hence, this is also a form of naa shukri and ingratitude. If you did not make the user then he will go and waste that wealth. You will give the child the money and say that Allah Ta‘ala will give him the taufeeq. Do you only need to make the effort to make the money and you don’t need to make an effort to make that child. That Allah who makes the money for you makes the child. Therefore, don’t become selective in your effort. Take the example of a garden. For it to have a good appearance you would have to prune the plants and put fertilizer, etc. When it appears nice then you will go to it to relax. Do you ever leave it and let it turn into a bush and say that it was the will of Allah Ta‘ala for it to happen like this? If you neglect the child and he turns against you then this is what you paid for. So it is your duty to take care of the child as well.

One group of people are those who come directly under your influence, so what are you doing to bring them on line and on the right understanding. Unfortunately, when there is an imbalance then the only concern is to eat and sleep well, and to have a good home. This is 90 percent of the fikr and concern, and 10 percent is just that they are good in deen. Today the child is defying Allah Ta‘ala, tomorrow he will defy you and he will be unfaithful to you. This is the reward of your own doings. You neglected the child and impressed on him that he must progress in the way you wanted, but then his deeni values just collapsed in him. How do we take it when the child comes to the business on time but he overslept and was late for fajr or he made it qadha? Do we take it personally, or do we say that he was tired and you cannot blame him for oversleeping? However, if he says that he overslept and could not come to the business on time, will we treat it the same and say sleep was not in your control. Thus, everything is to the convenience of one’s personal self.

This has become a universal problem where we are not supervising our youngsters and then we want to know where the problem starts. The way of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) was that if they did anything they would report it to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). If they required any correction, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would then correct them.

Today we have become selective; my rights cannot be trampled but the rights of others and Allah Ta‘ala can be trampled. So it has become a selective Islam. Sometimes it becomes an entertaining Islam with jokes and a show. Only if the talk had some jokes and the person spoke in a different accent, then we say that the talk was very exciting. Whereas the idea is that when you go to a shop you don’t go for the show or excitement, you go for your needs. Similarly, in a bayaan, you do not go for excitement, but the thing to see is what did you gain from it. Otherwise, the purpose of deen is going to be defeated. This is exactly what the Jews and Christians did to their religion – “Ittakhazoo deenahum lahwan wa la‘iban” – they made their deen into sports and a past time. We will say that going for tableegh and four months is difficult and hard, but entertainment and show is easy. Before we had to watch the TV to get amused, but now you can get it in the musjid. However, we are not getting amused, rather we are getting abused. The idea is that when you come out from a program there must be some change and remorse over the wrong, and the realization for the need to correct oneself. This is called taffaqud. One is tafaqqud over others and one is within your own self. Are you checking yourself or not? This was the general trend in the past. When they found that there was something short in their aspirations then they would inspect their own deeds. We need to think to ourselves that I find that there is no consistent pattern in my deen, I am going up and then dipping, or thoughts of jealousy and pride are overcoming me. Now why are things not working out for me? This is supervision.

The solution to our problem nowadays is that youngsters must be supervised. We just send the youngsters whether in jamaat or to a khaanqah or madrasah but they are not supervised. Unfortunately, many a times it is the parents who act very foolishly and stupidly. Sometimes the madrasah confiscates the phone and the father comes to fight on behalf of the child that the phone must be returned, but what about all the filth and rubbish that is on the phone, the father is not worried about it. Later on in life when the child turns against the father then who will suffer. Nobody is concerned about the destruction of the child. So you require that supervision. The house remains unsupervised, the children are unsupervised and then we expect a miracle to happen. When we take on anything then take it on with responsibility and make sure you are supervising. Something or the other will happen and you may make a mistake, but at least in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala you were there and checking.

Do we look into ourselves that I had the time to see who did the bombings in France and what happened here and there, but did I find the time to make tilaawat of the Quraan and make ta’leem. So I have the time to supervise over the world, but I cannot supervise myself. Am I checking on those whom I am responsible for, whereas the hadeeth says, “Kullukum mas’oolun ‘an ra‘iyyatihi” – each one of you is answerable for his flock and those that are under him. Hence, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has left every Ummati answerable.

What happens is that if a person is in problems then we are there for the panchaat and gossip, but when it comes to the time to help him we will go around asking a thousand other people; to pull out that five thousand now becomes so hard for us. Our reasoning goes all upside down. When a person passes away then five hundred people will come for the janaazah, and some would even fly in from Cape Town, but before he passed away, how many people were there for assisting him, to clean him, wash him and give him a bath, which was the real time for helping him. We feel that at that time it is not a duty, but for the janaazah salaah we have to be there, whereas the janaazah salaah is a fardh-e-kifaayah. It can be fulfilled by a group of people.

Our lives and the lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) are totally different. When we look at our lives then we are selective. The thing that is missing is that we do not want to report and supervise. For our businesses how many levels of supervision don’t we put in place just for it to thrive? We will have security, managers, accountants, etc. If we have to apply at least half of that level of supervision to our deen then we have struck gold. Do we do it in our homes and in ourselves? I will have a small headache, but then I will make sure that I have to go for so many check-ups, may be it could turn out to be cancerous. However, if there is a deficiency in deen, do we check what is wrong? Hence, how can deen prosper? I am pointing fingers at everyone else but what about myself. I paid so much money just to get the right tile and right fitting, but have I got the proper deeni dimension in life. Inspect, retrospect and check up all the time. What we are worried about is that it must look very nice in the eyes of people, but are we looking nice in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala. Look at the homes of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Azwaaje Mutahharaat. There were no finishes and tiles, or any appliance, but what products were produced. Look at ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he is crying, it is between him and Allah Ta‘ala and he is shouting the world, “Go and deceive others, don’t come to me.”

So ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is checking where is this person who used to frequent my gathering. Someone said that don’t even be concerned about him because he is gone into wine, as we will say that he is gone into drugs. Now look at the response of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed his secretary to write out a letter and he writes the verse “Ghaafiriz zambi... ”, with two conditions to his messenger; hand deliver it and only give it to him when he is sober. On the other end ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asks those that are by him to engage in du‘aa for this person. In such a nice way he advises and corrects. When we don’t learn from the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) then we will do our own stupid things. If someone does a wrong we will try to embarrass him and humiliate him. On his part, what happens to that person is that he feels disgraced and thinks that what is the need for me to come right. So ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is not disgracing him, but he is engaging in du‘aa like how a father makes du‘aa for his child.

One person advises another person to come for namaaz. He built up a relationship with him and continues. On one occasion he got aggressive and told him that you are a fat lump, only good for eating, drinking and sleeping. What about your namaaz? Now the person he was speaking to was a wealthy person, and wealth has got its own type of intoxication. When a person is not wealthy then he is not intoxicated. When he has wealth it turns him around and spins him, it makes him a little abnormal, he can’t think too well; he is a little off. So he got ticked off and told his friend that you go and I will not read namaaz again. He then got a warrant of arrest against him. But who caused this? This person is the cause because he did not follow the procedure. Even if there is a relationship, but we should watch how we talk.

Nonetheless, ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sent the letter and engages in du‘aa. After some time, he gets the news that you cannot get a person more averse to wine than this person. What brought about this change? The concern of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the contents of the letter.

The verse of the Quraan says: “Ghaafiriz zamb” – showing us that this is not a threshold of despondency, come with a good heart and a sincere concern of forgiveness and We will open the doors of mercy for him. It should not be as a matter of convenience that we are making istighfaar. Otherwise it is a play with Allah Ta‘ala. We will forgive to the last sin and We will wipe it all. Allah Ta‘ala is not like us; we will make maaf on ‘eid day and if after that just one thing has to trigger you, you will open up all the wrongs of the past. But who can you find more complete and perfect than Allah Ta‘ala. He gives you the hope, but He gives you the warning. Shadeedil ‘iqaab – severe in punishment. Allah Ta‘ala’s plan is comprehensive; He gives you hope and warns you as well. If you only give hope then the package is incomplete. If the traffic officer stops the driver and just says that you are a good driver and be careful in future, then this driver will continue knocking down people and smashing cars. But if the traffic officer says that coke does not work here, you have to pay the fine, now you will see that the road is functioning smoothly. So for the world to function properly without problems you need both kindness and firmness. Zit towl – overall, Allah Ta‘ala is bountiful. You will keep on breaking and He will keep on giving. Then He says – laa ilaaha illaa hu – there is no refuge but Me. Where can you escape to? Is it possible that you came to the earth but you don’t want to get dirty. There is no way that you can avoid it. So is there any other recourse and refuge besides Allah Ta‘ala? Hence, what is the sensible thing? Then just turn to Him. This letter of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is so dynamic.

The problem we have nowadays is that the more law enforcement agencies we have the greater the crime. You are not hearing anywhere that the crime is decreasing. The greater the intellect the more the hackers. So the intelligence is not the thing and the judicial system is not the solution. Then what is the solution? The solution is ‘ilaihil maseer’ you will have to go back to Allah Ta‘ala and appear individually before Him. Just imagine that scene when you are all alone before Him and all your actions are before you and you cannot deny them. Everything is recorded. The missing link today is that there is no concept of the accountability before Allah Ta‘ala. The more you have this in your mind the more you will be on track. So get the scene of Qiyaamah before yourself. We say that surah Yaseen is the heart of the Quraan. Why is it called this? Because it is the heart of our spiritual existence. The spiritual existence will come right when the spiritual heart is right and surah Yaseen speaks of the aakhirah with graphic scenes spoken of in almost every page.

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