The Importance of Good Leadership



All praise is due to Allah, the Lord and the Cherisher of the Universe. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), his household, companions and the followers of the right guidance till the Day of Judgment.

As Nigerians prepare to elect a leader that will lead the country for, the next four years, one needs to pray that Allah should give us a God-fearing and just leader that will have mercy on the masses. We all have seen the effects of bad leadership. In the past, nations were lead by religious leaders and things were okay because they lead their people by the laws of Allah. But now, anybody can become a leader under democracy and we have been seeing its consequences particularly in Africa where leaders are greedy and corrupt. In Islam, one is not expected to canvass for leadership position but people are given leadership responsibilities after thorough consultations.

Allah's Apostle said,

"O 'Abdur-Rahman bin Samura! Do not seek to be a ruler, for if you are given authority on your demand, you will be held responsible for it, but if you are given it without asking for it, then you will be helped (by Allah) in it. If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then do what is better and make expiation for your oath". Al-Bukhari 9.261)

A good leader should provide basic necessities of life like food, shelter, education, good health and employment for the citizenry. And most importantly, he should not prevent people from worshipping Allah and following Allah's laws. Any leader that fails to do this will be questioned by Allah on the Day of Judgment.

Our beloved prophet said:

"You people will be keen to have the authority of ruling which will be a thing of regret for you on the Day of Resurrection. What an excellent wet nurse it is, yet what a bad weaning one it is." (Al-Bukhari 9.262)

"Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never have even the smell of Paradise". (Al-Bukhari 9.264)

Abu Hurairah related: “While our beloved prophet was sitting talking to people a rustic came and asked: When will the Judgment (Last Day) be?" The prophet continued his talk until he finished. Then he said: "When trust is betrayed (or honesty is lost)". The man inquired: "What is the betrayal?" Our beloved prophet answered: "When authority is committed to those not fit to administer it, then expect the Judgment". (Al-Bukhari 1.56).

While we pray that Allah should guide our leaders aright we should not forget Allah's statement on change: Allah says:

"Allah will never change the grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their (own) souls: and verily Allah is He Who hears and knows (all things)". Q8:53

"Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). But when (once) Allah wills a people's punishment there can be no turning it back nor will they find besides Him any to protect". Q11:13

Our beloved prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) was reported to have said that if there is a  Nation whose communities are wicked, practice injustice and spread hatred among themselves then Allah will give them a more wicked leader.

So, if we really want a change, we should not support candidates whose characters are in doubt and should not make money a criterion for choosing a candidate. If a leader is just and honest in dealing with people, Allah commands us to obey him.

"O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those charged with authority among you.  If you differ in anything among yourselves refer it to Allah and His Apostle if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day: that is best and most suitable for final determination". Q4:59

But if a leader is an oppressor and a tyrant, it is incumbent on us to do our best to remove him by all means, this is a religious duty. Allah says:

"And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah, and of those who being weak are ill-treated and oppressed? Men, women and children whose cry is: 'Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!'" Q4:75

This is because if the wicked and unjust leaders are not challenged, oppression and mischief will be spread and innocent people will suffer the consequences.  Allah says: "... And if Allah do not check one set of people with another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of Bounty to the creatures."Q2:251. Also, Allah says: “And fear the fitnah (tumult, trial, etc) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people) and know that Allah is strict in punishment.” Q8:25.

May Allah have mercy on Nigeria and Nigerians.