affairs of the Ummah

Sayings of the Salaf concerning the state and well-being of the Muslims as a whole, or communities amongst them.

Supplication or the Sword? [oppressive rulers]

It is reported that Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

If people called on Allāh when put to trial because of their rulers, Allāh would relieve their suffering; but instead they resorted to the sword, so they were left to it. And not one day of good did they bring.

Then he recited (Quran 7: 137):
And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, for the patience and perseverance they had, and We destroyed the works of Pharaoh and his people and what they had erected.

Ibn Abī Ḥātim, Al-Tafsīr no. 8897.

The Disease of this Ummah and its Doctor

It is reported that Sufyān Al-Thawrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said, “Wealth is the disease of this Ummah, and the scholar is the doctor of this Ummah. So if the doctor brings the disease to himself, how will he cure the people?”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā`, Vol. 7 p243.

Praying for the Muslim Ruler

It is reported that Al-Fuḍayl b. ʿAyyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said, “If I had one supplication that was going to be answered I would make it for the ruler (imām), for the wellbeing and righteousness of the imām means wellbeing for the land and its people.”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` in his biography of Al-Fuḍayl b. ʿAyyāḍ.

Points to note

Wanting good for the Muslim rulers and supplicating to Allāh for them features as an important aspect of the creed of Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamāah, and distinguishes them from the extremist ideology of the Khawārij sect. This has been recorded in the classical works of Sunni ‘aqīdah, for example:

Al-Barbahārī (Sharḥ Al-Sunnah p113, 114) states, “If you see a man supplicating against the ruler, know that he is a heretic (ṣaḥib hawā), and if you see a man supplicating for the ruler, know that he is a Sunni – inshā Allāh.”

Al-Imām Al-Ājurrī (d360H) states (Al-Sharī’ah Vol.1 p371), “I have mentioned warnings against the ways of the Khawārij that convey the message for everyone who Allāh protects against the ways of the Khawārij, and who does not hold the views of the Khawārij, but is [instead] patient over the injustice of the rulers … and who prays for the wellbeing and righteousness of the rulers, and who does Hajj and Jihād behind the rulers against every enemy of the Muslims, and who prays the Jumu’ah and ‘Eid prayers behind the rulers. Whoever fits this description is upon the Straight Path – inshā Allāh.”

Fathers for the Ummah

It is reported that Imām Mālik said:

I heard Rabīʿah b. ʿAbd Al-Raḥmān say, “The people under the care of their scholars are like children in the laps of their fathers.”

Ibn Baṭṭah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā ḥadīth 40.

Where did we get our Glory?

Ibn Shihāb reports:

ʿUmar went out to Shām (Greater Syria) and Abū ‘Ubaydah b. Al-Jarrāḥ was with us. They came to a ford while ʿUmar was on his camel. He dismounted his camel, took off his leather socks, placed them on his shoulder and took the reins of his camel and began to go down the ford. Abū ‘Ubaydah said, “O Leader of the Believers! You are doing this?! You take off your leather socks, put them on your shoulder, take your camel’s reins and go down the ford?! I wouldn’t want the people of this land to see you in such a state!” ʿUmar said, “If only someone else had said this o Abū ‘Ubaydah. You have made a lesson for the Ummah of Muḥammad – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him! We were the lowliest of people but Allah gave us might and glory through Islam. If we seek glory through other than what Allah gave us glory through, He will abase us (again).”

In another version Abū ‘Ubaydah said:

O Leader of the Believers, should the armed forces and elite of Shām meet you in this condition? ʿUmar replied, “We are a people whom Allah gave might and glory to through Islam, so we will never seek glory through anything else.”

Reported by Al-Ḥākim, Al-Mustadrak Vol.1 pp61, 62. He declared it to be ṣaḥīḥ according to the criteria of Al-Bukhaārī and Muslim. Al-Dhahabī and Al-Albānī concur. See Al-Albānī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥah Vol.1 p50.