In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] reported that while the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] was saying something in a gathering, a Bedouin came and asked him, “When would the Hour (Day of Judgement) take place?” Allah’s Messenger continued his talk, so some people said that Allah’s Messenger heard the question, but did not like what that Bedouin had asked. Some of them said that Allah’s Messenger did not hear it. When the Prophet finished his speech, he said, “Where is the questioner, who inquired about the Hour (Day of Judgement)?” The Bedouin said, “I am here, O Allah’s Messenger.” Then the Prophet said, “When Amaanah is lost, then wait for the Hour (Day of Judgement).” The Bedouin said, “How will that be lost?” The Prophet said, “When Amaanah [the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained] comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the Hour”. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 59]
“When the power or authority comes in the hands of unfit persons, then wait for the Hour”. Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Meaning, when the people become corrupt and the affairs come in the hands of those who are not worthy of it – the ignoramus given authority to give religious verdicts, rulership given to the foolish and governance given to the one who does not possess knowledge of governance. In summary, when when people become corrupt, then wait for the hour because the Day of Judgement will not be established except in the presence of the most wicked people. In this hadeeth there is a warning against the loss of Amaanah [the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained] and that it is obligatory to give positions to those who are more worthy of it because this would necessitate Amaanah. (1) [Also listen to Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan on this link: https://youtu.be/KV_PBKBAUp0 ]
The Imaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also stated regarding the ruler and appointing people for jobs: “It maybe that a person is suitable for this specific job and not suitable for that another job, so it is obligatory to appoint- in every job – the one who is more suitable. Likewise with regards to specific appointments, such as the position of headteacher and other than it, rather we can even say – if we wished – this in relation to a person’s responsibility in looking after the affairs of his family, that if he wants to give responsibility to his young children, then indeed he chooses the one who is more suitable. He does not choose – for example – the older one just because he is older; rather he chooses the one who is more suitable, because it may be that the young one amongst his children is more suitable than those older than him”. (2)
The Imaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also stated, “It is obligated on the ruler to appoint both the young and the older – appoint for a job the one who is more suitable and the one who will fulfil the requirements of this job. This necessitates fulfillment of trusts. As for the one who appoints someone who is close to him or his relatives or a noble person due to his nobility or because he has a high qualification, such as a doctorate and what is similar to that, and he is either not trustworthy or not suitable for the job, then this is not permissible”. (3)
The Imaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] also stated, “If he were to say, ‘I am not able to know them by their characteristics. Are these certificates not closer way of (judging) the competence of a person?’ We say, ‘Yes, but if we found that this man is untrustworthy or not suitable in the job, then it is obligatory to remove him and replace him with someone who is more suitable because this is necessary in the affair rulership, just as Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab and other than him amongst the Khulafaa [may Allaah be pleased with them] removed those who were not suitable. Umar [may Allaah be pleased with him] applied this principle in the khilaafah. He feared dishonor after his death, so he did not appoint a specific person, except that he said, ‘If Abu Ubaydah [may Allaah be pleased with him] was alive, I would have given him the affair, because the Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘The trustworthy man of this Muslim nation is Abu Ubaydah [may Allaah be pleased with him]'”.(4)
Regarding the statement of the Messenger: “The trustworthy man of this Muslim nation”, this is a testimony from the Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. (5)
How Does The Believer Behave When a Ruler Gives Precedence to Others – Whether They Are Worthy of It or Not?
Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said: “Indeed, you will see Atharatan [i.e. some people will give precedence to themselves] after me and affairs you’ll disapprove; they [i.e. the people] said, ‘What do you command us O Allaah’s Messenger?’ He said, ‘Fulfil their rights [i.e. the rulers] and ask Allaah for your rights'”.
Al-Allaamah Zaid Bin Haadi Al-Madkhali [may Allaah have mercy upon him] 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] 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 [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] 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. 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. (6)
Seeking After Leadership is Not Allowed
Imaam Al-Bukhaari [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, ‘’Chapter: If somebody does not seek authority of ruling, then Allaah will surely help him [if he is given such authority].’’ Narrated Abdur-Rahmaan Bin Samura: The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, ‘’O Abdur-Rahmaan! Do not seek to be a ruler, for if you are given authority on your demand, then you will be held responsible for it, but if you are given it without asking [for it], then you will be helped [by Allaah] in it. If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better.’’ [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari, Number 7146]
Few Reminders From Fat-hul Baari: The one who seeks authority and receives it will not be helped. It is well known that to be in authority is accompanied by difficulties, so the one who does not receive help from Allaah will be trapped within it and thus loses both his worldly life and afterlife. Therefore, the sensible person does not ask for authority, but if he is suitable and it is given to him without him asking for it, then indeed the truthful and trustworthy one [i.e. The Messenger Muhammad] has promised him that Allaah will help him. (7)
Read: Is the Tyranny of the Rulers a Reason for Rebellion? The Duty of a Muslim Towards the Muslim Leaders in Light of the Qur’ān, Sunnah and the Scholars of the Salaf – By Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allaah preserve him]: https://abukhadeejah.com/the-tyranny-of-the-rulers-a-reason-for-rebellion/
Read: Guidance of Upright Scholars Regarding a Believer’s Relationship With Muslim Rulers: https://salaficentre.com/2021/08/19/guidance-of-upright-scholars-regarding-a-believers-relationship-with-muslim-rulers/
[Ref 1: Sharh Ricardo’s Saaliheen. Vol 6. Page 654. Slightly paraphrased. 2nd Edition 1427AH]
[Ref 2: At-Taleeq Alaa As-Siyaasah Ash-Shar’iyyah. Page 24-25. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: At-Taleeq Alaa As-Siyaasah Ash-Shar’iyyah. Page 24-25. slightly paraphrased25-26. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 4: Al-Bukhaari 3744]
[Ref 5: At-Taleeq Alaa As-Siyaasah Ash-Shar’iyyah. Page 24-25. slightly paraphrased25-26. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6: At-taleeqaatul Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah. Vol 1. Page 142. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: An Excerpt: Chapter: (باب من لم يسأل الإمارة أعانه الله عليها )in ‘kitaab al Ahkaam’ Saheeh Al-Bukhaari with Fat-hul Baari]