Shaykh Muhammad b. Salih al-Uthaymin
Ibn Mas‘ūd related that Allah’s Messenger said, “You will see after me favouritism and things of which you will disapprove.” The [Companions] said, “What do you order us to do?” He replied, “Discharge your duty and ask for your rights from Allah.” It is agreed upon.
Abī Yaḥya Usayd b. Ḥuḍhair related that an Anṣarī person said, “Allah’s Messenger, you appointed such and such person, so why do you not appoint me?” Allah’s Messenger said, “After me you will see others given preference over you, but you should remain patient until you meet me at the Ḥawḍ (Pool).” It is agreed upon.
These two ḥadīths are mentioned by the author under the Chapter of Patience as they both relate to it. Concerning the ḥadīth of ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ūd in which he reported that the Prophet said, “You will see after me atharah (favouritsm),” where atharah refers to the monopolization of wealth away from those who have a right to it. The Prophet referred it to the rulers who selfishly withhold the general wealth of the Muslims, spending it as they see fit without giving the rightful due share to the Muslims. This is selfishness and injustice from the rulers, because they withhold the general wealth from the Muslims and used it for their own personal use.
The Companions asked, “What do you order us to do [under such circumstances]?” The Prophet said, “Discharge your duty,” that is, their selfishness should not prevent you from discharging your duty towards them, which includes listening and obeying them, and not revolting or creating unrest against them. Instead, you should be patient, listen and obey them, and not fight them for the power that Allah gave them. [You should] “ask for your rights from Allah,” meaning, ask Allah to guide them so that they may give you your right that is on them. This was from the Prophet’s wisdom, because he knew that the soul is greedy and would cause people to be unable to endure the deprivation of their rights, so he guided them to that which is better, [i.e., to ask for their rights from Allah].
Therefore, the Muslims should observe their duty towards the rulers by listening and obeying them, and refraining from fighting them for power. Instead, they should ask Allah for their rights by saying, “Allah, guide them so that they can fulfill our rights.” This offers two types of benefits:
- Manifesting the prophethood of Allah’s Messenger. This is because what the Prophet prophesized about came to pass. The [Muslim] leaders have for generations selfishly withheld the general wealth for themselves. So they are excessive in their food, drink, clothes, houses, and rides, becuause they apply the general wealth for their own personal benefit. However, this should not cause a person to disobey or reject them; rather, he should ask Allah for his right and discharge the duty that is his responsibility.
- Indication of using wisdom when dealing with things that can cause a calamity. There is no doubt that a leader’s selfishly withholding the general wealth from the people, which is their due right, will surely cause anger in them, which in turn may cause them to demand their rights. However, the Messenger has enjoined the people with patience, to discharge the duty that is on them, and ask Allah for their rights.
The ḥadīth of Usayd b. Hudayr is similar to the ḥadīth of ‛Abdullah b. Mas’ūd. Here, the Prophet said,“You will see after me atharah (favouritsm),” so he said, “Be patient until you meet me at the Ḥawḍ.” The meaning of the ḥadīth is to be patient and not disobey the commands of the leaders until you meet him at the Ḥawḍ; if you remain patient then your reward for it from Allah will be that you will drink from the Prophet’s Ḥawḍ. We ask Allah to make us all among those who will reach it and drink from it.
This will occur on the Day of Resurrection when people will be most in need of water; suffering from grief, anxiety, distress, sweat, and heat, the people will be in severe need of water, but only the believers will be able to approach the Messenger’s Ḥawḍ. The Ḥawḍ will be immense, with its length and width being a journey of a month. Two channels will pour into it from the Kawthar, which is a river in Paradise and is also a gift for the Prophet. The water from these two channels will be whiter than milk, sweeter than honey, more fragrant than the scent of musk. Along the Ḥawḍ will be shining drinking vessels, similar to heavenly stars in terms of their beauty and magnitude. Whoever drinks only once from the Ḥawḍ will never feel thirsty again.
So, the Prophet guided his Companions to remain patient when the selfishness of the leaders begins, which would be a cause for them to reach the Ḥawḍ and drink from it.
These two ḥadīths contain the command to remain patience when facing the selfish withholding of general wealth by the leaders. However, [it must be remembered that] the leaders are a manifestation of the people’s deeds, so if the people disobey Allah, then Allah will place over them leaders who will be unjust to them. Allah says, “Thus do We make the wrongdoers allies of one another for what they earned.” (Q, 6:129).However, if the people are righteous, then Allah will place over them a righteous leader.
It has been related that a man from the Khawārij once came to ‘Alī and said, “Why do the people rebel against you, while they did not do so to Abū Bakr and ‘Umar?” ‘Alī replied, “The followers of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar consisted of me and people like me, but my followers consist of you and the likes of you,” meaning, evil people. This evilness of theirs became the cause for their disunity and rebellion against ‘Alī and their eventual murder of him.
It has also been related that one of the rulers of Banū Umayyah, who might have been ‘Abd al-Mālik b. Marwān, heard the bad things that people were saying about him. He invited the chiefs and leaders from among the people and said, “People, do you wish for us to be like Abū Bakr and ‘Umar in regards to you?” They answered, “Yes,” so he said, “If you wish for that, then you should all be like the followers of Abū Bakr and ‘Umar in regards to us.”
Allah is the All Wise, He selects leaders who match the deeds of their people; if they commit sin then He will place over them one who will be harsh to them; if they perform righteousness, then He will place over them one who will be good to them. There is no doubt that righteousness of a leader is the basis [for a good society]. If the leader is good, the people will also be good, because only authority can correct those who deviate and punish those who transgress or oppress.