Criteria of An Upright Leader In The Religion: [Food For Thought For Those Who Attach Themselves to The Leaders of The Soofee Paths]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ كَانَ أُمَّةً قَانِتًا لِّلَّهِ حَنِيفًا وَلَمْ يَكُ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Verily, Ibraaheem was an Ummah [leader], Qaanitan [obedient], Haneefan [one who worshipped Allaah alone], and he was not one of the Mushrikeen [polytheists and those who associate partners with Allah in worship]. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 120]
Ibraaheem [alayhis salaam] is the Imaam of the Hunafaa [i.e. Leader of the people of Tawheed- those who single out Allaah in worship] and this is why Allaah said to him: [إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا – Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of humankind]. [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 124].
It is a customary habit of the people that they do attach themselves to the great personalities, especially those whom they hold in high esteem. Therefore, if a person utilise as proof that the one he follows is an Imaam [An Upright Leader], then there is no Imaam [for humankind] greater than Prophet Ibraaheem [i.e. after Prophet Muhammad], and Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] stated about Prophet Ibraaheem: [وَمَن يَرْغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ – And who turns away from the religion of Ibraaheem (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) except him who befools himself?] [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayah 130]
If a person addresses someone else with the statement, ‘My Shaikh’ in connection to a Soofee Tareeqah [i.e. a Soofee Path] or in connection to affairs of misguidance in the name of following someone he considers an Imaam [Upright Leader], then indeed Prophet Ibraaheem is the Imaam of the people who worship Allaah alone [i.e. the greatest Imaam of Tawheed and perfect example after Prophet Muhammad]. If a person utilises this as his proof [i.e. that the one he follows is an Imaam], then examine the Aqeedah [Islamic Creed] of this person whom he gives the status of Imaam and judge it based on the Qur’aan to establish whether he is from the people of Tawheed. If a person seeks to use the station of Imaam as proof, then indeed this should be the proof [i.e. examine the Aqeedah of the one given the status of Imaam and judge it based on the Qur’aan and the authentic Sunnah to establish whether he is a person upon Tawheed].
Also, Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said about the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam]:
لَّقَدۡ كَانَ لَكُمۡ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ أُسۡوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ۬ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرۡجُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلۡيَوۡمَ ٱلۡأَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا
Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. [Surah Al-Ahzaab. Aayah 21]
An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed’. Lesson 1- By Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah]. Slightly paraphrased
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Be Alert And Ask Allaah to Aid You Block Every Path – to the Best of Your Ability – That Will Lead People to Praise You For What You Have Not Done or What You Do Not Possess
Narrated Husayn bin Abdir Rahmaan, “I was with Sa’eed bin Jubair when he said, ‘Who amongst you saw a shooting star last night?’ I said, ‘I did’; then I said, ‘I was not in prayer, but was stung by a scorpion’ [i.e. that is the reason why I was awake and saw the shooting star]. He said, ‘Then what did you do?’ I said, ‘I performed Ruqyah’”… to the end of the hadeeth: [See the full hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim 220]
Faa’idah From This Section of The Hadeeth: Husayn said: ‘I did’ [i.e. I saw the shooting start]; then I said, ‘I was not in prayer, but was stung by a scorpion’ [i.e. that is the reason why I was awake and saw the shooting star].
Question: Why did Husayn Bin Abdir Rahmaan [rahimahullaah] mention – in addition – that he was not in prayer after saying to Sa’eed Bin Jubayr that he saw the shooting star last night?!
Imaam Sa’di [rahimahullaah] said: That is because Salaf [i.e. the pious predecessors] were far removed from praising a person for something he does not possess. [An Excerpt from ‘Al-Qawlus Sadeed Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed’. page 77. Slightly paraphrased]
Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] said: He [i.e. Husayn] said this lest the people think that he was standing in prayer and thus he is praised for that which he did not do. This is opposite of what some people do, for they rejoice that people assumed that they were standing in prayer. This is tantamount to a deficiency in one’s Tawheed. Husayn’s statement is not viewed from the angle of show off, rather it is a good deed. And it is not like that one who abandons acts obedience to Allaah out of fear of Riyaa, for indeed shaytaan plays about with a person [in this affair] and beautifies for him to abandon deeds out of fear of Riyaa; rather one should perform acts of obedience to Allaah, but nothing should be in your heart that you want to be seen by people. [An Excerpt from ‘Al-Qawlul Mufeed Alaa Kitaab At-Tawheed’. Vol 1. Page 97. Slightly paraphrased]
Shaikh Saaleh Aala Ash-Shaykh [hafidhahullaah] said: He [i.e. Husayn] made that statement out of fearing that those who were present would think that he saw the shooting star whilst he was in prayer [i.e. Tahajjud], so he negated that from himself. This shows the virtue of the Salaf [pious predecessors], their eagerness for sincerity, being distant from showing off and adorning oneself with something one does not possess. [An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Fat-hul Majeed Li-Sharh Kitaab At-Tawheed. Vol 1. Page 162’. Slightly paraphrased]
What to Say When Praised
A man among the companions of the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] used to say when he was praised: O Allaah! Do not take me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they do not know [about me].
Reminder from the above Athar by Shaikh Zaid Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah]
This is from the invocations and supplications [which a person supplicates with], specifically when praised and he hears it; for example, when it is said, ‘’Fulaan [i.e. such and such person] upright and righteous’’, so he hears what was said about him, or such praise reached him [from others], or it is said, ‘’Fulaan [i.e. such and such] is very truthful, such and such is a good doer, a charitable person, a scholar and so on’’. If he hears this, then a believer fears for himself and feels shy that he is the opposite of what the people say about him, and because of this he re-examines himself and becomes active in carrying out deeds to make him righteous- a good doer and worthy of the praise given to him by the people.
If he does this, he will be successful and blessed; but if he becomes deceived by what the people say and becomes oblivious of his mistakes and shortcomings, shaytaan will afflict him with self-importance. Due to this, when a believer hears the people commending and praising him with [attributes] of righteousness, he utters this dhikr: ‘’[O Allaah! Do not take me to account for what they say]’’ – Meaning: ‘’Do not hold me account due to this praise and commendation, and the good characteristics [mentioned about me].’’ That is because he fears for himself.
The soul of a person is weak, so he says, ‘’[And forgive me for what they do not know (about me)]’’- Meaning: ‘’The people commend a person based on what they know about him outwardly, so the person fears that he has Mukhaalafaat [i.e. deeds that are in opposition to the commands and prohibitions in the Sharee’ah] which are unknown to the people, so he asks his Lord [The Blessed and Exalted] not to hold him to account and to forgive those sins of his, shortcomings and mistakes which are unknown to the people. The children of Adam are deficient, but there are those amongst them who fall short and return to [repentance or rectification] and are active again in the performance of good deeds after falling short. And amongst them are those who fall short and persist upon (sin) until punishment comes upon them. [Source: Awnul Ahadis Samad Sharh Al-Adabil Mufrad’ Vol 2, page 389’ by Shaikh Zayd Bin Haadi al-Madkhali (rahimahullaah)]. Paraphrased]