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”. [Ref 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.” [Ref 2]
In another narration, it is stated that the person is assigned a companion among the jinn and a companion among the angels. [Ref 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 responsible 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 (evil people) and the speech of those at other times (i.e. good people). [Ref 4]
How to Behave When The Rulers Give Precedence to Others
How Should We Behave When Others Are Given Precedence Over Us?! [A Restraint For The Nafs]
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. [Ref 5]
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: At-taleeqaatul Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Vol 1. Page 142. slightly paraphrased]