CORRUPT LEADERS FOR A CORRUPT PUBLIC?
Present leadership in the Muslim Ummah at any level, from government ministries down to ordinary trustees of Masjids and Islamic institutions hardly qualify for the lofty requirements of leadership in Islam. They lack even the very basic qualities of leadership such as Taqwa (righteousness), Ilm (knowledge) and Ikhlas (sincerity), let alone the vast array of other leadership qualities that make a good Islamic leader. Some even lack Iman yet they head entire Muslim countries, and for decades! (There are rare cases of good leadership but very rare indeed). Muslims all over the world are fed up and frustrated with these tin-pot leaders. They are looking for a way out of the mess they find themselves in mainly due to the inefficiencies of corrupt leaders. But the solution to the problem does not lie only in blaming the leaders. There is also another dimension.
OUR RULERS DON’T FALL OUT O’ THE SKY!
Muslim intellectuals and writers have written extensively on the ills of these corrupt and oppressive rulers, often placing all the blame at their door. It may be correct to attribute part of our suffering and retrogression to these corrupt leaders, but is it fair and just to attribute every problem and misery only to corrupt leadership? Is it not being simplistic to expect that all of the Ummah’s problems will be automatically solved merely with a change of leadership? Are leaders alone guilty and responsible for the malaise of the Ummah? A sensible person would not be expected to answer ‘yes!’ to any of these questions. It would be foolish to assume so. The sad reality of the matter is that the Muslim masses are also guilty. They have a share in the problems that are being experienced. They cannot be totally absolved of blame as many people would like to believe. For in reality, leaders are but a reflection of the public. After all, leaders come from the same public, they don’t just fall out of the sky!
YOUR ACTIONS ARE YOUR RULERS!
Consider the following words of Nabi (sallallahu-alyhi-wasallam) on the relationship between rulers and the ruled:
“As you are, so will be the rulers that will be set over you“ (Mishkaat).
“…The hearts of the rulers are in my control. When My servants obey Me, I turn their leaders towards them in kindness. When My servants disobey Me, I turn their rulers towards them with wrath and anger, then they punish them terribly. So do not engross yourselves in swearing and criticising your rulers but rather engross yourselves in Dua and humble submission so that I may take care of your (oppressive) rulers” – al-I’itidaal
GOOD DEEDS – GOOD RULERS; BAD DEEDS – BAD RULERS
It follows clearly from these Ahadith that leaders are installed upon men by virtue of their actions and deeds. Good deeds – good rulers; bad deeds – bad rulers. A simple, inescapable reality. This is also in line with common sense in that good leaders will not be appreciated by a corrupt people. In fact they would be in grave danger of harm from their corrupt subjects. The only people to keep them in check would be corrupt and cruel leaders.