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PRAYING FOR LEADERS IS THE WAY OF THE SALAF




By
Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori


The enemies of Manhaj Salaf know that Saudi Arabia is a major promoter of the creed of the salaf. So, they try to use the recent political developments in Saudi Arabia to discredit salafiyyah. This ploy is well known to discerning minds, but it would not work because salafiyyah (Islaam upon pure creed of the salaf) is protected by Allaah, albeit through some individuals or nations. An individual or nation upon salafiyyah might fall into errors and tribulations. But nothing would happen to the creed itself. It stands protected till the end of time. So, the mistakes of an adherent of salafiyyah (whether as an individual or nation) does not in anyway affect its sanctity.

Who is even perfect? No individual is perfect and no nation is perfect. No individual (group or nation) would go without being tried. What we are expected to be doing in times of trials is to rely on Allaah and pray for the one who is being tried, be it an individual, a leader or a nation as a whole. Allaah says:

(أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ ,وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ)

"Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars". [Surat Al-Ankabut, 2-3, Sahih International]

One of the ways by which Allaah tries a people is leadership. Allaah can try a nation through its leaders, and He can try the leaders through the followers. In all cases, patience and strict adherence to the Sunnah is the only solution (Q2:156). Some of the trials Saudi Arabia and other nations of the world are going through are from the ways of Allaah. The Saudis are not free from the fitan (tribulations) of our world just because they are the custodians of the House Of Allaah. No matter how good they are, they are not expected to be error free. May Allaah rectify their affairs and guide their leaders aright.

In Nigeria, we are facing our numerous trials too. May Allaah guide our leaders aright. When we face trials through the kind of leaders we have, the appropriate thing is for us to be patient and deal with them according to the shari'ah. We shouldn't take laws into our hands. Those negative information coming from Saudi Arabia are not things a Muslim should be happy about. They are saddening and disturbing. But all of them put together don't still justify cursing of it its leaders or going out against its leaders. What a person with clear understanding of Sunnah would do in this circumstance is to advise leaders privately if there is opportunity for it. Apart from this, a person of shounnah would be offering du'a for those leaders (so that Allaah can guided them). The solution is not in cursing or calling for attacks against them in public.

This ruling is not peculiar to Saudi Arabia, it is a general rule on relating with leaders as far as the shari'ah is concerned. In as much as the leaders are not guilty of apparent kufr, they are not to be attacked in public or rebelled against. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم taught us how to correct leaders, we must stick to those methodologies. Even if those leaders are guilty of kufr, if we do not have the power to fight them, the solution is still patience and prayers. This principle is well established in books of many scholars of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa'ah as forming part of the foundations of Sunnah. Any individual or group that shy away from it would be suspected to be from the people of hawaa (desire).

Imaam Al Barbahaaree رحمه الله said if you see someone cursing or coming out against a leader (no matter how wicked the leader is), know that he is a person of desire, he is not upon Sunnah. He said one of the signs of knowing a person of Sunnah is that he would always pray for leaders, no matter how bad they are. He would always pray Allaah to guide them. Here, praying for leaders and refraining from attacking them in public doesn't mean one is pleased with any evil of the evils they do. In our own world, anyone who prays for leaders is tagged sycophant. Anyone who doesn't attack leaders in public is a coward, puppet and so on. These are the kind of names ignorant people are using to tarnish the image of righteous scholars who stick to Sunnah of dealing with leaders.

"We should not stop praying for Allaah's guidance over our leaders. Imaam Al Barbahaaree further said when a leader commits an evil act, the sin is upon him and not us. This shouldn't stop us from giving him his due right from us. It is from these words of wisdom from Al Imaam Barbahaaree رحمه الله  that I came to the conclusion that indeed Allaah gave our parents and leaders some rights that are sacred and inalienable. No matter how bad a perent or a leader is, we shouldn't let our emotions overpower us while dealing with them. We should still give them their rights even if they don't give us our own right. Even if what they are doing offends rights of Allaah, we should still be careful not to offend Allaah while trying to defend the right of Allaah in this regard.

Part of the ways by which Allaah can test individuals and communities is through hard parents and poor leaders respectively. In dealing with parents and leaders, we need extraordinary patience in order not go against the injunctions of Allaah and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم". As great as Prophet Ibraheem عليه السلام was, Allaah tried him with a bad parent. He was patient and steadfast upon the instructions of Allaah. As great as the Companions رضي الله عنهم were, Allaah tried them with Al-Hajjaaj Ibn Yuusuf Ath-thaqafiy رحمه الله. The Companions رضي الله عنهم were patient upon the hardship. They didn't go against the Sunnah. They didn't rebel against the leadership of Al-Hajjaj. Many of the leaders people rebel against in our world have not done 1% of what Al-Hajjaaj did.

It was Fudayl Ibn 'Iyaad رحمه الله who actually said if he has the opportunity of making an acceptable du'a, he would make that du'a for the leaders. He was asked why he said so, and he said:

إذا جعلتها في نفسي لم تعدني , وإذا جعلتها في السلطان صلح بصلاحه العباد والبلاد

"If I make it (the dua) for myself, it will not exceed me. But if I make it (the du'a) for the leader, it will bring goodness to the people and the community (at large)"

This is the path of our salaf. Many people have many books (no be small), but they hardly read page by page. If you read Sharhu s Sunnah very well, you will find this useful information there (pg 346). Then, the explanation rendered by Sheikh Fawzaan حفظه الله on this matter is superb and excellent. I wonder why someone would claim to have read the book and yet be feeding his blind fans with baatil (falsehood). Islaam is not by emotion. It is a religion based on knowledge and at-taa'h (obedience) even if it is  hard upon us. Sheikh Fawzaan حفظه الله related the principle established here to the current happenings in our world and how rebellion often start as something small before growing into a bigger fitnah that can't be easily brought under control. The Arab spring is a clear confirmation of the truthfulness of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم on manners of dealing with leaders. I have cited many of the relevant hadiths in previous relevant articles.
May Allaah guide us aright.

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