In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Allaah never sends a Prophet or gives the Caliphate to a Caliph, except that he (the prophet or the Caliph) has two groups of advisors: A group advising him to do good and exhorts him to do it, and the other group advising him to do evil and exhorts him to do it. But the protected person (against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah”. (1)
Few Reminders From The Above Hadeeth
a: With regards to a prophet, there maybe those who seek to divert him from what is good, but it can never be the case that he will listen to them, because the Prophets are protected by Allaah and at the end of the hadeeth it is stated, “But the protected person (against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah”. Therefore, the presence of one who seeks to direct a Prophet to evil does not necessitate that the Prophet will accept what he says.
It is also said that the intent behind the two advisers (mentioned in this hadeeth with regards to their relationship) to a Prophet are the angles and shaytaan, (as the Prophet said in a hadeeth), “There is no one among you but a companion from among the jinn has been assigned to him.” They said, “Even you, O Messenger of Allaah?’ He said, “Even me, but Allaah helped me with him and he became Muslim (or: and I am safe from him), so he only enjoins me to do that which is good.” (2)
In another narration, it is stated that the person is assigned a companion among the jinn and a companion among the angels. (3)
b: “But the protected person (against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah” – Meaning Allaah is the one who protects whoever He wishes. So, in reality you cannot find anyone who can protect himself except if Allaah protects him.
c: It is incumbent upon a ruler to have a person who unveils to him the circumstances of the people in private, and this person should be trustworthy, reliable, smart and sensible, because calamity befalls a reliable ruler due to accepting speech of one who is not trustworthy.
Also, the one who is given responsibility over the affairs of the people may always accept the speech of good advisers and not that of evil advisers. This is what is suitable to attribute to a Prophet and it is established by the word [ عصمة – protection] at the end of the hadeeth.
It may be that a ruler accepts the speech of evil advisers, especially someone who is a disbeliever. So, he may accept the speech of these people at times (i.e. evil people) and the speech of those at other times (i.e. good people). (4)
Wise Men Surround Themselves With Upright Characters Who Increase The Beauty And Usefulness In Their Soft And Tough Characters – [An Excellent Example In AbuBakr and Umar]
Amr Ibnul Aas [radiyallaahu-anhu] was one of those given authority and so was Abu Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarraah [radiyallaahu-anhu]. And Khaalid Ibn Al-Waleed [radiyallaahu-anhu] was given preference over them due to his bravery and usefulness in Jihaad. When Abu Bakr [radiyallaahu-anhu] passed away, Umar Ibnul Khattaab [radiyallaahu-anhu] gave Abu Ubaydah [radiyallaahu-anhu] authority over all of them, because Umar Ibnul khattaab used to be tough for the sake of Allaah, therefore he appointed Abu Ubaydah because he was soft; Abu Bakr was soft and Khaalid was tough. Therefore, the soft one gave authority to the tough one and the tough one gave authority to the soft one to balance the affairs. These two [Abu Bakr and Umar] acted in a manner most beloved to Allaah with regards to fulfilling His Rights.
It has been reported in the authentic books of Hadeeth that when the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] consulted his companions regarding the affair of the prisoners of war during the battle of Badr, Abu Bakr [radiyallaahu-anhu] suggested that they should be set free after taking ransom on their behalf and Umar [radiyallaahu-anahu] suggested that they should be executed; so the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: Indeed Allaah softens the hearts of men until they become softer than cloth [of linen or cotton], and He toughens the hearts of men until they become tougher than a rock. And your likeness O Abu Bakr is that of Ibraaheem [alayhis-salaam], as Allaah informed us that he said: [فَمَن تَبِعَنِى فَإِنَّهُ ۥ مِنِّىۖ وَمَنۡ عَصَانِى فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ -But whoever follows me, he verily is of me. And whoever disobeys me, – still You are indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful]’’ [14:36]; And like Esaa [alayhis-salaam], as Allaah informed us that he said: [إِن تُعَذِّبۡہُمۡ فَإِنَّہُمۡ عِبَادُكَۖ وَإِن تَغۡفِرۡ لَهُمۡ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ – If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily You, only You are the All Mighty, the All Wise].’’ [5:118]
And your likeness O Umar is that of Nuh [alayhis-salaam] as Allaah informed us that he said: [وَقَالَ نُوحٌ۬ رَّبِّ لَا تَذَرۡ عَلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ دَيَّارًا – And Nuh (Noah) said: ‘My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers on the earth!][71:26].
And like Moosaa [alayhis-salaam], as Allaah informed us that he said:
وَقَالَ مُوسَىٰ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّكَ ءَاتَيۡتَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ وَمَلَأَهُ ۥ زِينَةً۬ وَأَمۡوَٲلاً۬ فِى ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا رَبَّنَا لِيُضِلُّواْ عَن سَبِيلِكَۖ رَبَّنَاٱطۡمِسۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَمۡوَٲلِهِمۡ وَٱشۡدُدۡ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمۡ فَلَا يُؤۡمِنُواْ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ
Our Lord! You have indeed bestowed on Fir’aun (Pharaoh) and his chiefs splendour and wealth in the life of this world, our Lord! That they may lead men astray from Your Path. Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.’’[ 10:88]
And they (Abu Bakr and Umar) were as the Messenger described them during his lifetime, and they were (also) his vicegerents to the people of the earth. (5)
Umar Bin Abdil Azeez [may Allaah have mercy upon him]
Az-Zubayr Bin Bakkaar said, “Muhammad Bin Sallaam informed me that Sallaam Bin Saleem said, ‘When Umar Bin Abdil Azeez became the Khaleefah, he climbed the Minbar – and that was the first Khutbah he delivered, then he praised and exalted Allaah, and said, ‘O people! Whoever accompanies us, then let him accompany us with five affairs otherwise let him disassociate from us: Let him inform us of the needs of those who are not able to inform us, help us to do good by his guidance, direct us to good by way of that which he guides himself, refrain from backbiting anyone in our presence and not engage in that which does not concern him’. After this speech of his, the poets and sermonisers disassociated from him, but those who abstained from the unnecessary worldly pleasures and the jurists kept close company with him and said, ‘We cannot disassociate from this man until he opposes what he has stated’”.
Sufyaan Ibn Uyaynah said, “When Umar Bin Abdil Azeez became the Khaleefah, he contacted Muhammad Bin Kab, Rajaa Bin Haywah and Saalim Bin Abdillaah and said to them, ‘You have seen that which I have been put to trial and indeed it has fallen upon me, so what advice do you have?’ Muhammad Bin kab said, ‘Consider the old man a father, the young person a brother and the little one as your child, so be good to your father, keep ties with your brother and be kind to your child’. Rajaa said to him, ‘Wish for the people what you wish for yourself, hate for them what you hate for yourself and do not approach them except in manner you would like them to approach you’. Saalim said, ‘Concentrate on one affair by degrading the lusts of the worldly life and let your innate disposition be directed towards reflecting upon death’. Umar said, ‘Laa Hawla Walaa Quwwata illaa Billaah’”.
Whenever he faced a difficult matter, he would gather the jurists of Madeenah, particularly ten of them and would not firmly decide on an affair without them or some of them, and they were Urwah, Ubaydullaah Bin Abdillaah Ibn Utbah, AbuBakr Bin Abdir Rahmaan Ibn Al-Haarith Ibn Hishaam, AbuBakr Bin Sulaymaan Ibn Khaythama, Salaymaan Bin Yasaar, Al-Qaasim Bin Muhammad Ibn Hazm, Saalim Bin Abdillaah, Abdullaah Bin Aamir Ibn Rabee’ah and Khaarijah Bin Zayd Ibn Thaabit. He never used to hold a view that was different from that of Sa’eed Ibnul Musayyib, and Sa’eed did not use to visit any of the caliphs besides Umar Ibn Abdil Azeez in Madeenah. (6)
The Wise Minister – Nidhaam Al-Mulk – and Sincere Adviser to The Ruler
He [may Allaah have mercy upon him] was the great minister, Nizam al-Mulk, an upholder of religion, Abu Ali al-Hasan Bin Ali Bin Ishaq At-Toosee; sensible, a wise leader, well-acquainted with the state of affairs, joyful and pleasant, religious, modest, regular in the gatherings of the Jurists and the students of the Qur’anic sciences. He founded a great School at Baghdad, another in Naysabur and another in Tous. He had a desire for knowledge, established ties between the seekers of knowledge, transmitted hadeeth and his good reputation was well known. He found himself within different circumstances until he served as a minister for Sultan Alp Arslan [may Allaah have mercy upon him], and then a minister to his son Malik Shah [may Allaah have mercy upon him]. He managed the lands under his authority in the most appropriate manner, eased grievances, showed kindness to the subjects and established the state endowments. The elders migrated to him to be close by his side.
He advised Malik Shah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] to appoint leaders and governors who had upright morals, upright religious practice and courage. The effects of this policy did appear later, and among those leaders who were chosen was Aq Sanqur [may Allaah have mercy upon him], the grandfather of Noor Ad-Deen Mahmood, who ruled Aleppo, Diyarbakir and the Arabian Peninsula.
Imaam Ibn Katheer [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said about him, “He was one of best in his conduct and more noble-hearted. His son Imaad Ad-Deen Zangi started the Jihad against the Crusaders, then after him Noor Ad-Deen Mahmood. This family laid the foundation for the victories of Salaahud-deen, Zahir Baybars and Qalawun against the Crusaders, and re-established the era of unity and togetherness in the Islamic world. Likewise, Aq Sunqur al-Barasqi was one of the leaders under the authority of Sultan Mahmood, the Seljuk, and the commander of Mosul, and he busied himself in Jihaad against the Crusaders, but in the year 520 AH the Baatiniyyah (a splinter group amongst the heretical Raafidah Shiites) murdered him, whilst he was praying in the big central Mosque in Mosul. Ibn Al-Atheer [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said about him, “He was a freed Turkish slave, virtuous, loved the people of knowledge and the righteous, and he saw justice and acted upon it. He was one of the best rulers- used to strictly perform his prayers on time as well as the Tahajjud (i.e. optional night prayer]”. (7)
How to Behave When The Rulers Give Precedence to Themselves and Others
Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] said, “Indeed, you will see Atharatan after me and affairs you’ll disapprove; they [i.e. the people] said, ‘What do you command us O Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasaallam]?’ He said, ‘Fulfil their rights [i.e. the rulers] and ask Allaah for your rights’”.
Atharatan: meaning- [some people will give precedence to themselves (i.e. spend wealth on themselves and engage in worldly enjoyment, but will not give others their rightful share)].
Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadi Al-Madkhali [rahumahullaah] said: This authentic hadeeth is related to the affair of the rulers- during the end of time – when they will give precedence to themselves through enjoyment of the worldly things and those under their authority will face harm, something of oppression and tyranny; so the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] guided and directed the people to fulfil the rights of the rulers; obey and listen to them in that which is good- whether it is during a time in which one is enthusiastic [to listen and obey them in what is good] or feeling laxadaisical- perform Jihaad behind their banner against the enemies of the religion, establish the prayer and behave in a manner obligated by the Islamic legislation. They should not rebel against the ruler just because he is a sinner or an oppressor, nor refrain from giving him the rights obligated on them to give him; rather they should fulfil his rights just as the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] commanded them, saying, “Fulfil their rights”.
Therefore, the ruler has rights that should be fulfilled by his subjects and the subjects also have rights to be fulfilled by the ruler. It is obligated on the ruler to fulfil their rights and it is obligated on them to fulfil his rights. However, if he [i.e. the ruler] falls short in something related to their rights, it is not permissible for them to [deliberately] fall short in fulfilling his rights. And due to the great importance of rulership and the rulers, indeed the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] commanded them to fulfil the obligation of As-sam’i Wat-taa’ah [i.e. to listen and obey the ruler in good], refrain from disobedience[when commanded to do something good], supplicate to Allaah to make their affairs easy and change their state of affairs to that which is good, aid them to fulfil their needs and those affairs they cannot do without.
This hadeeth contains a miracle of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] and that is the fact that he clearly stated that during the end of time, the rulers will give precedence to themselves with something of wealth and worldly enjoyment, and others will be deprived of it. Also, there will be affairs which the people of sound judgement will reject. [So], when this era comes, it is obligated on them – those under the rulership of a Muslim ruler – to listen and obey in that which is good, fulfil the rights that have been obligated on them to fulfil and seek their rights from Allaah – meaning: they supplicate to Allaah to aid them in fulfilling their needs and facilitate them with ease in their affairs. And Allaah knows best. (8)
Must Read: On Advising Rulers and States Concerning Their Shortcomings
Correction of the Rulers:
The Tyranny Of The Rulers, A Reason For Rebellion?
[Ref 1: Saheeh al-Bukhaari 7198]
[Ref 2: Fat’hul Baaree 14/234-236. Publisher: Daarus Salaam. 1st edition 1421AH (2000)]
[Ref 3: Saheeh Muslim 2814]
[Ref 4: Fat’hul Baaree 14/234-236. Publisher: Daarus Salaam. 1st edition 1421AH (2000)]
[Ref 5: An excerpt from ‘Adwaa Min Fataawaa Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah)’- by Shaikh Saaleh al Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him)Vol: 2 page 568-569. slightly paraphrased
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah. Vol 9. Pages 193-202. Publisher: Maktabah Al-Ma’aarif and Daar ibn Hazm. 9th Edition. 1414 AH (1994)]
[Ref 7: Ad-Dawlah Al-Uthmaaniyyah Awaamil An-Nuhood wa Asbaab As-Suqoot. 6/33-34. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 8: At-taleeqaatul Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Vol 1. Page 142. slightly paraphrased]