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Advice to Rulers and Leaders

This is advice from Allah, may He be exalted, to those who are in positions of authority. They should rule according to the truth and justice revealed from Him, they should not turn away from it and be led astray from the path of Allah. Allah has issued a stern warning of a severe punishment to those who go astray from His path and forget the Day of Resurrection. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibrahim Abu Zur`ah, who read the Scripture, reported that Al-Walid bin `Abd Al-Malik said to him: "Does anyone have the right to question the Khalifah You have read the first Scripture and the Qur'an, and you have understood them.'' He replied, "May I speak, O Commander of the faithful'' He said, "Speak, for you are under the protection of Allah.'' I said, "O Commander of the faithful, are you more dear to Allah, or Dawud, peace be upon him For Allah gave him both prophethood and rulership, then He warned him in His Book:

﴿ يَـٰدَاوُ ۥدُ إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَـٰكَ خَلِيفَةً۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱحۡكُم بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ ٱلۡهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ

(O Dawud! Verily, We have placed you as a successor on the earth; so judge you between men in truth (and justice) and follow not your desire -- for it will mislead you from the path of Allah).'' `Ikrimah said:

﴿ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ۬ شَدِيدُۢ بِمَا نَسُواْ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡحِسَابِ

((Those shall) have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning.) "They will have a severe punishment on the Day of Reckoning because of what they forgot. '' As-Suddi said, "They will have a severe punishment because of what they neglected to do for the sake of the Day of Reckoning.'' This interpretation is more in accordance with the apparent meaning of the Ayah. And Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, is the Guide to the Truth.

﴿ وَمَا خَلَقۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَہُمَا بَـٰطِلاً۬‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ظَنُّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ‌ۚ فَوَيۡلٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ كَٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ كَٱلۡفُجَّارِ كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَيۡكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌ۬ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓاْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

(27. And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve! Then woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire!) (28. Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds as those who cause mischief on the earth Or shall We treat those who have Taqwa as the evildoers) (29. (This is) a Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.)

The Wisdom behind the Creation of This World

Allah tells us that He did not create the creatures in vain; He created them to worship Him Alone, then He will gather them on the Day of Gathering and will reward the obedient and punish the disbelievers. Allah says:

﴿ وَمَا خَلَقۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَمَا بَيۡنَہُمَا بَـٰطِلاً۬‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ظَنُّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ‌ۚ

(And We created not the heaven and the earth and all that is between them without purpose! That is the consideration of those who disbelieve!) meaning, those who do not think that the resurrection and the place of return will occur, but they think that there is nothing after this world.

﴿ فَوَيۡلٌ۬ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ

(Then woe to those who disbelieve from the Fire!) means, woe to them on the Day when they will be resurrected, from the Fire that is prepared for them. Then Allah explains that because of His justice and wisdom, He does not treat the believers and the disbelievers equally. Allah says:

﴿ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ كَٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَمۡ نَجۡعَلُ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ كَٱلۡفُجَّارِ

(Shall We treat those who believe and do righteous good deeds as those who do mischief on the earth Or shall We treat Those who have Taqwa as the evildoers) meaning, `We shall not do that.' They are not equal before Allah, and since this is the case, there must inevitably be another realm in which those who obey Allah will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished. This teaching indicates to those of a sound mind and upright nature that there must inevitably be a resurrection and recompense. We see evildoers and criminals are prospering and increasing in wealth, children and luxury, until they die in that state. We see oppressed believers dying of grief and distress, so by the wisdom of the All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Just who does not do even a speck of dust's weight of injustice, there should be a time when the rights of the oppressed are restored with due justice. If this does not happen in this world, there must be another realm where recompense may be made and consolation may be found. The Qur'an teaches sound aims based on a rational way of thinking, so Allah says:

﴿ كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ إِلَيۡكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌ۬ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓاْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُواْ ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ

((This is) a Book which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Ayat, and that men of understanding may remember.) meaning, those who are possessed of wisdom and reason.

﴿ وَوَهَبۡنَا لِدَاوُ ۥدَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ‌ۚ نِعۡمَ ٱلۡعَبۡدُ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَوَّابٌ إِذۡ عُرِضَ عَلَيۡهِ بِٱلۡعَشِىِّ ٱلصَّـٰفِنَـٰتُ ٱلۡجِيَادُ فَقَالَ إِنِّىٓ أَحۡبَبۡتُ حُبَّ ٱلۡخَيۡرِ عَن ذِكۡرِ رَبِّى حَتَّىٰ تَوَارَتۡ بِٱلۡحِجَابِ رُدُّوهَا عَلَىَّ‌ۖ فَطَفِقَ مَسۡحَۢا بِٱلسُّوقِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَاقِ

(30. And to Dawud We gave Sulayman. How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever turning in repentance (to Us)!) (31. When there were displayed before him, in the afternoon, well trained horses of the highest breed.) (32. He said: "I did love the good instead of remembering my Lord,'' till the time was over, and (the sun) had hidden in the veil (of night).) (33. Then he said: "Bring them back to me.'' Then he began to pass his hand over their legs and their necks.)

Sulayman the Son of Dawud

Allah tells us that he gave Sulayman to Dawud as a Prophet, as He says elsewhere:

﴿ وَوَرِثَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنُ دَاوُ ۥدَ‌ۖ

(And Sulayman inherited Dawud) (27:1). meaning, he inherited prophethood from him. Dawud had other sons besides Sulayman, for he had one hundred free wives.

﴿ نِعۡمَ ٱلۡعَبۡدُ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَوَّابٌ

(How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!) This is praise for Sulayman, because he was very much obedient, worshipping Allah much and always turning to Allah in repentance.

﴿ إِذۡ عُرِضَ عَلَيۡهِ بِٱلۡعَشِىِّ ٱلصَّـٰفِنَـٰتُ ٱلۡجِيَادُ

(When there were displayed before him, in the afternoon, well trained horses of the highest breed.) means, these well trained horses were shown to Sulayman (peace be upon him) in his capacity as king and ruler. Mujahid said, "They were the kind of horses which stand on three legs and raise the fourth, and they were swift horses.'' This was also the view of several others among the Salaf. Abu Dawud recorded that `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "The Messenger of Allah came back from the campaign of Tabuk or Khaybar, and there was a curtain covering her room. The wind came and lifted the curtain, revealing some toys belonging to `A'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. The Prophet said:

« مَا هَذَا يَا عَائِشَةُ؟ »

(What is this, O `A'ishah) She (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "My toys.'' Among them he saw a horse with two wings made of cloth. He said:

« مَا هَذَا الَّذِي أَرَى وَسَطَهُنَّ؟ »

(What is this that I see in the midst of them) She (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "A horse.'' The Messenger of Allah said,

« مَا هَذَا الَّذِي عَلَيْهِ؟ »

(And what is this on it) She (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "Wings.'' The Messenger of Allah said,

« فَرَسٌ لَهُ جَنَاحَانِ؟ »

(A horse with two wings) She (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "Did you not hear that Sulayman (peace be upon him) had a horse that had wings'' She (may Allah be pleased with her) said, "The Messenger of Allah smiled so broadly that I could see his molars.''

﴿ فَقَالَ إِنِّىٓ أَحۡبَبۡتُ حُبَّ ٱلۡخَيۡرِ عَن ذِكۡرِ رَبِّى حَتَّىٰ تَوَارَتۡ بِٱلۡحِجَابِ

(He said: "I did love the good (i.e., horses) instead of remembering my Lord'' till the time was over, and (the sun) had hidden in the veil (of night)) More than one of the Salaf and scholars of Tafsir mentioned that he was so busy looking at the horses that he missed the time of `Asr prayer. He did not miss it deliberately, but because of forgetfulness, as happened to the Prophet on the day of Khandaq, when he was too busy to pray `Asr and he prayed it after the sun had set. This was recorded in the Two Sahihs with more than one chain of narration, including the report from Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said, "On the day of Khandaq, `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) came after the sun had set and started cursing the disbelievers of the Quraysh. He said, `O Messenger of Allah, I could not pray `Asr until the sun had almost set.' The Messenger of Allah said,

« وَاللهِ مَا صَلَّيْتُهَا »

(By Allah, I did not pray it either.)'' He (Jabir) said, "So we got up and went to Buthan. Allah's Prophet performed ablution for the prayer and we too performed ablution. He prayed `Asr after the sun had set, then he prayed Maghrib after that.''

﴿ رُدُّوهَا عَلَىَّ‌ۖ فَطَفِقَ مَسۡحَۢا بِٱلسُّوقِ وَٱلۡأَعۡنَاقِ

(Then he said: "Bring them (horses) back to me.'' Then he began to pass his hand over their legs and their necks.) Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, "He said, `No, by Allah, you will not keep me from worshipping my Lord again,' then he ordered that they should be slaughtered.'' This was also the view of Qatadah. As-Suddi said, "Their necks and hamstrings were struck with swords.'' `Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "He began patting the horses' heads and legs out of love for them.'' This is the view that was favored by Ibn Jarir. He said, "Because he would not punish an animal by cutting its hamstrings or destroy his own wealth for no other reason than that he had been distracted from his prayer by looking at it, and it was not the animals' fault. '' This view which Ibn Jarir thought more correct is subject to further review, because such action may have been permissible according to their law, especially since he got angry for the sake of Allah for being distracted by these horses until the time for prayer had lapsed. Then, since he dispensed with them for the sake of Allah, Allah compensated him with something better, the wind which blew gently by his order wherever he willed. Its morning lasted a month's (journey), and its afternoon lasted a month's (journey). This was faster and better than horses. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Qatadah and Abu Ad-Dahma', who traveled a lot to the Ka`bah, said, "We met a man from among the Bedouins who said to us: `The Messenger of Allah took my hand and started teaching me some of that which Allah had taught him. He said,

« إِنَّكَ لَا تَدَعُ شَيْئًا اتِّقَاءَ اللهِ تَعَالَى إِلَّا أَعْطَاكَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ خَيْرًا مِنْه »

(You do not give up anything for the sake of Allah, but Allah will give you something better than it.)'''

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ وَأَلۡقَيۡنَا عَلَىٰ كُرۡسِيِّهِۦ جَسَدً۬ا ثُمَّ أَنَابَ قَالَ رَبِّ ٱغۡفِرۡ لِى وَهَبۡ لِى مُلۡكً۬ا لَّا يَنۢبَغِى لِأَحَدٍ۬ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِىٓ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡوَهَّابُ فَسَخَّرۡنَا لَهُ ٱلرِّيحَ تَجۡرِى بِأَمۡرِهِۦ رُخَآءً حَيۡثُ أَصَابَ وَٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ كُلَّ بَنَّآءٍ۬ وَغَوَّاصٍ۬ وَءَاخَرِينَ مُقَرَّنِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَصۡفَادِ هَـٰذَا عَطَآؤُنَا فَٱمۡنُنۡ أَوۡ أَمۡسِكۡ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ۬ وَإِنَّ لَهُ ۥ عِندَنَا لَزُلۡفَىٰ وَحُسۡنَ مَـَٔابٍ۬

(34. And indeed, We tried Sulayman and We placed on his throne Jasad (a body), and he returned.) (35. He said: "My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me. Verily, You are the Bestower.'') (36. So, We subjected to him the wind; it blew gently by his order wherever he willed,) (37. And the Shayatin, from every kind of builder and diver,) (38. And also others bound in fetters.) (39. (Allah said to Sulayman): "This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked of you.'') (40. And verily, for him is a near access to Us, and a good (final) return.)

How Allah tested Sulayman then made Things easy for Him

Allah says,

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ فَتَنَّا سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ

(And indeed, We tried Sulayman) meaning, `We tested him.'

﴿ وَأَلۡقَيۡنَا عَلَىٰ كُرۡسِيِّهِۦ جَسَدً۬ا

(and We placed on his throne Jasad (a body)).

﴿ ثُمَّ أَنَابَ

(and he returned.) means, after this test, he turned back to Him and asked for forgiveness and to be given a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after him.

﴿ قَالَ رَبِّ ٱغۡفِرۡ لِى وَهَبۡ لِى مُلۡكً۬ا لَّا يَنۢبَغِى لِأَحَدٍ۬ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِىٓ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡوَهَّابُ

(He said: "My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me. Verily, You are the Bestower.'') Some of them said, "No one after me will have the right to ask Allah for such a kingdom.'' This is the apparent meaning from the context of the Ayah, and several Hadiths with a similar meaning have been narrated from the Messenger of Allah. In his Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet said:

« إِنَّ عِفْرِيتًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ تَفَلَّتَ عَلَيَّ الْبَارِحَةَ أَوْ كَلِمَةً نَحْوَهَا لِيَقْطَعَ عَلَيَّ الصَّلَاةَ فَأَمْكَنَنِي اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى مِنْهُ، وَأَرَدْتُ أَنْ أَرْبِطَهُ إِلَى سَارِيَةٍ مِنَ سَوَارِي الْمَسْجِدِ حَتْى تُصْبِحُوا، وَتَنْظُرُوا إِلَيْهِ كُلُّكُمْ، فَذَكَرْتُ قَوْلَ أَخِي سُلَيْمَانَ عَلَيْهِ الصَّلَاةُ وَالسَّلَامُ:
﴿ رَبِّ ٱغۡفِرۡ لِى وَهَبۡ لِى مُلۡكً۬ا لَّا يَنۢبَغِى لِأَحَدٍ۬ مِّنۢ بَعۡدِىٓ‌ۖ

(An `Ifrit from among the Jinn came and bothered me last night- or he said something similar -Trying to stop me from praying. Allah enabled me to overpower him, and I wanted to tie him to one of the pillars in the Masjid so that you could see him this morning. Then I remembered what my brother Sulayman said, (My Lord! Forgive me and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me)) Rawh said, "so he let him go, humiliated.'' ) This was also recorded by Muslim and An-Nasa'i. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "The Messenger of Allah stood up to pray and we heard him say,

« أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْك »

(I seek refuge with Allah from you.) Then he said,

« أَلْعَنُكَ بِلَعْنَةِ الله »

(I curse you with the curse of Allah.) three times, and he stretched out his hand as if he was reaching out to take something. When he finished his prayer, we said, `O Messenger of Allah, we heard you say something in your prayer which we have never heard you say before, and we saw you stretching out your hand.' He said:

« إِنَّ عَدُوَّ اللهِ إِبْلِيسَ جَاءَ بِشِهَابٍ مِنْ نَارٍ لِيَجْعَلَهُ فِي وَجْهِي فَقُلْتُ: أَعُوذُ بِاللهِ مِنْكَ، ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ، ثُمَّ قُلْتُ: أَلْعَنُكَ بِلَعْنَةِ اللهِ التَّامَّةِ، فَلَمْ يَتَأَخَّرْ، ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ ثُمَّ أَرَدْتُ أَنْ آخُذَهُ، وَاللهِ لَوْلَا دَعْوَةُ أَخِينَا سُلَيْمَانَ لَأَصْبَحَ مُوثَقًا، يَلْعَبُ بِهِ صِبْيَانُ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَة »

(The enemy of Allah Iblis came with a flame of fire to throw in my face, so I said, "I seek refuge with Allah from you'' three times, then I said, "I curse you with the complete curse of Allah,'' but he did not back off. I said it three times. Then I wanted to seize him. By Allah, if it were not for the words of our brother Sulayman, he would have been chained up and he would have become a plaything for the children of the people of Al-Madinah.)'' Allah says:

﴿ فَسَخَّرۡنَا لَهُ ٱلرِّيحَ تَجۡرِى بِأَمۡرِهِۦ رُخَآءً حَيۡثُ أَصَابَ

(So, We subjected to him the wind; it blew gently by his order wherever he willed.) Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, said, "When Sulayman (peace be upon him) slaughtered the horses out of anger for the sake of Allah, Allah compensated him with something better and swifter, the wind whose morning was a month's (journey), and its afternoon was a month's (journey).''

﴿ حَيۡثُ أَصَابَ

(wherever he willed.) means, wherever in the world he wanted.

﴿ وَٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ كُلَّ بَنَّآءٍ۬ وَغَوَّاصٍ۬

(And also the Shayatin, from every kind of builder and diver,) means, among them were some whom he used to build high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and cauldrons fixed (in their places), and other difficult tasks which humans were unable to do. And there was another group, who dived into the sea recovering pearls, jewels and other precious things which cannot be found anywhere else.

﴿ وَءَاخَرِينَ مُقَرَّنِينَ فِى ٱلۡأَصۡفَادِ

(And also others bound in fetters.) means, tied up in chains. These were the ones who had rebelled and refused to work, or else their work was bad and they were wrongdoers.

﴿ هَـٰذَا عَطَآؤُنَا فَٱمۡنُنۡ أَوۡ أَمۡسِكۡ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ۬

((Allah said to Sulayman): "This is Our Gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked of you.'') means, `this that We have given to you of kingship and perfect power, as you asked for, you may give to whomsoever you wish and deny to whomsoever you wish, and you will not be brought to account. Whatever you do is permissible for you, so however you judge, it will be right.' It was reported in the Two Sahihs that when the Messenger of Allah was given the choice between being a servant and a Messenger -- who does what he is commanded to do and distributes things among the people as Allah commands him to do -- or being a Prophet and a king, who can give to whomever he wishes and withhold from whomever he wishes without being held accountable for anything, he chose the former. He consulted with Jibril (peace be upon him) who said, "Be humble.'' So he chose the former because it has a greater value before Allah and brings a higher status in the Hereafter, even though the second option, prophethood combined with kingship, is also a great thing both in this world and in the Hereafter, when Allah tells us what He gave to Sulayman (peace be upon him) in this world, He tells us that he will have a great share with Allah on the Day of Resurrection. He says:

﴿ وَإِنَّ لَهُ ۥ عِندَنَا لَزُلۡفَىٰ وَحُسۡنَ مَـَٔابٍ۬

(And verily, for him is a near access to Us, and a good (final) return.) meaning, in this world and the Hereafter.

﴿ وَٱذۡكُرۡ عَبۡدَنَآ أَيُّوبَ إِذۡ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ ۥۤ أَنِّى مَسَّنِىَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ بِنُصۡبٍ۬ وَعَذَابٍ ٱرۡكُضۡ بِرِجۡلِكَ‌ۖ هَـٰذَا مُغۡتَسَلُۢ بَارِدٌ۬ وَشَرَابٌ۬ وَوَهَبۡنَا لَهُ ۥۤ أَهۡلَهُ ۥ وَمِثۡلَهُم مَّعَهُمۡ رَحۡمَةً۬ مِّنَّا وَذِكۡرَىٰ لِأُوْلِى ٱلۡأَلۡبَـٰبِ وَخُذۡ بِيَدِكَ ضِغۡثً۬ا فَٱضۡرِب بِّهِۦ وَلَا تَحۡنَثۡ‌ۗ إِنَّا وَجَدۡنَـٰهُ صَابِرً۬ا‌ۚ نِّعۡمَ ٱلۡعَبۡدُ‌ۖ إِنَّهُ ۥۤ أَوَّابٌ۬

(41. And remember Our servant Ayyub, when he invoked his Lord (saying): "Verily, Shaytan has afflicted me with distress and torment!'') (42. (Allah said to him): "Strike the ground with your foot. This is (a spring of) water to wash in, cool and a drink.'') (43. And We gave him (back) his family, and along with them the like thereof, as a mercy from Us, and a reminder for those who understand.) (44. "And take in your hand a bundle of thin grass and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath.'' Truly, We found him patient. How excellent a servant! Verily, he was ever oft-returning in repentance (to Us)!)