Leaders Reflect Their People

In the Qur’an we have two verses in surat al-An’am which have a fascinating tafsir about the kinds of leaders we get.

On the day He gathers everyone together [saying], ‘Company of jinn! You have seduced a great many humans,’ their adherents among mankind will say, ‘Lord, we have profited from one another, but now we have reached the appointed time You decreed for us.’ He will say, ‘Your home is the Fire, and there you shall remain’- unless God wills otherwise: [Prophet], your Lord is all wise, all knowing.

وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ جَمِيعًا يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ قَدِ اسْتَكْثَرْتُم مِّنَ الْإِنسِ ۖ وَقَالَ أَوْلِيَاؤُهُم مِّنَ الْإِنسِ رَبَّنَا اسْتَمْتَعَ بَعْضُنَا بِبَعْضٍ وَبَلَغْنَا أَجَلَنَا الَّذِي أَجَّلْتَ لَنَا ۚ قَالَ النَّارُ مَثْوَاكُمْ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ حَكِيمٌ عَلِيمٌ – 6:128

In this way, We make some evildoers have power over others through their misdeeds.

وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُوَلِّي بَعْضَ الظَّالِمِينَ بَعْضًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ – 6:129

From tafsir Qurtubi:
Ibn Abbas (RA) said: “When Allah is pleased with a nation, He entrusts their leadership with their best. When Allah is displeased with a nation, He entrusts their leadership with their worst.”

وَقَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: إِذَا رَضِيَ الله عن قوم ولى أمرهم خيارهم، إذا سَخِطَ اللَّهُ عَلَى قَوْمٍ وَلَّى أَمْرَهُمْ شِرَارَهُمْ.

And in a narration from the prophet (ﷺ): “whoever supports a transgressor, Allah puts him in power over him.”

وَفِي الْخَبَرَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ ﷺ: (مَنْ أَعَانَ ظَالِمًا سَلَّطَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ)

And ibn Al-Qayyim also wrote about this topic generally:

Ibn Al-Qayyim writes in his book Miftah Dar As-Sa’adah:

Reflect upon the wisdom of the Exalted in making the kings of the servants, their leaders, and their rulers to be from the same species of action as them. Rather, it is as if their actions become manifest in their rulers and kings.

If the people are upright, then their kings will remain upright. If they turn away from righteousness, then their kings will also turn away. If the servants commit oppression, then their kings and rulers will oppress them.

If there appears plotting and deception among the people, their rulers will behave likewise. If the people prevent the rights of Allah from being fulfilled among themselves and become miserly regarding their rights, then their kings and rulers will withhold the rights that they have upon them and will become miserly regarding them.

If the people take from those considered weak what they do not deserve to take, then the kings will take from them what they do not deserve and inflict them with taxes. Everything that the people take away from the weak, the kings will take away from them by force.

Thus, the actions of the people become manifest in the actions of the rulers. It is not from the divine wisdom that wrongdoers and sinners are made to be ruled by anyone except those like them.

The first generations of Islam were the most righteous, so their rulers were likewise. When they later became tarnished with corruption, the rulers over them became corrupted. Hence, the wisdom of Allah refuses that righteous rulers like Mu’awiyah and Umar ibn Abdul Aziz are put in authority over us in these times, let alone the likes of Abu Bakr and Umar. Rather, our rulers are in accordance with our nature and the rulers of those before us were in accordance with their nature.

Source: Miftah Dar As-Sa’adah 1/253-254

قال ابن القيم رحمه الله وتأمل حكمته تعالى في ان جعل ملوك العباد وأمراءهم وولاتهم من جنس اعمالهم بل كأن أعمالهم ظهرت في صور ولاتهم وملوكهم

فإن ساتقاموا استقامت ملوكهم وإن عدلوا عدلت عليهم وإن جاروا جارت ملوكهم وولاتهم

وإن ظهر فيهم المكر والخديعة فولاتهم كذلك وإن منعوا حقوق الله لديهم وبخلوا بها منعت ملوكهم وولاتهم ما لهم عندهم من الحق ونحلوا بها عليهم

وإن اخذوا ممن يستضعفونه مالا يستحقونه في معاملتهم اخذت منهم الملوك مالا يستحقونه وضربت عليهم المكوس والوظائف وكلما يستخرجونه من الضعيف يستخرجه الملوك منهم بالقوة

فعمالهم ظهرت في صور اعمالهم وليس في الحكمة الالهية ان يولى على الاشرار الفجار الا من يكون من جنسهم ولما كان الصدر الاول خيار

القرون وابرها كانت ولاتهم كذلك فلما شابوا شابت لهم الولاة فحكمه الله تأبى ان يولي علينا في مثل هذه الازمان مثل معاوية وعمر بن عبدالعزيز فضلا عن مثل ابي بكر وعمر بل ولاتنا على قدرنا وولاة من قبلنا على قدرهم

1/253-254 مفتاح دار السعادة

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

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