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Good Tidings to Indonesia for Choosing Good Islamic Leaders

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

12 May 2012 Jakarta, Indonesia

Suhbah at Nahdatul Ulama Leadership Event (2)

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.

أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

Ati`oollaha wa ati`oo 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (4:59)

Alhamdullahi Rabbi 'l-`Alameen, was-salaatu was-salaamu `alaa ashrafa 'l-Mursaleen, Sayyidina wa Nabiyina Muhammadin wa `alaa aalihi wa sahbihi ajma`een.

O Brothers and Sisters, and those who are celebrating! We are coming here today, first to learn from one another and to take some words of wisdom, as Sayyidina `Ali (r) said:

راس الحكمة مخاة الله

Raas al-hikmata makhaafatullah.

The head of wisdom is fear of Allah (swt).

The ruler is responsible and will be judged by the people if he makes a mistake. Leadership is not easy and is one of the most important affairs of the Muslims. Prophet (s) said, “If you are three, then appoint one amir.” The amir, leader, is in charge of affairs and therefore he must be knowledgeable in all matters and understand them well in order to explain to people what they need.

Also, it is not important for the leader to own a nice car, airplane, or ship; but he might be the poorest of the people and the richest in knowledge. As Sayyidina `Ali (r) said, “Knowledge protects you but you must protect wealth.” This means that knowledge is important to every citizen and Muslim, man or woman, as knowledge will protect you from falling into serious errors that might mislead the community and take them to fire, due to fatawa that have nothing to do with Islam. So the most important thing for the alim is to be loved by those he is guiding, and the important thing for the leader is to care for his citizens. Also, the `alim must be understanding towards the needs of the followers or citizens. If being a leader or scholar is only for the love of leadership, there is no need for it as it brings no benefit, but if it is for the benefit of the nation or community, then it is acceptable.

Prophet (s) taught his Companions, made them understand and raised their levels of knowledge. He took care of them, taught them wisdom and then the Holy Qur'an, and purified them until they became the greatest leaders of Islam. The first revelation to the Prophet (s) was:

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

Iqraa bismi Rabbika ‘Lladhee khalaq.

Read in the Name of the One Who created. (Surat al-`Alaq, 96:1)

This means, “teach the ummah to read and to understand,” not to read about stories, but about knowledge and understanding. It means, “O Muslims! Learn and do not be lazy! You are the leaders that will take the hands of the servants and lead them to what Allah (swt) wants for His Servants among the ummah of the Prophet (s)!”

If we look back in history, we see every king, president, or governor appointed a wise Shaykh al-Islam whom the leader consulted and accepted his fatwa on affairs of the citizens, and then issue it as an order. Today we see the presidents or leaders only have young individuals with limited knowledge and understanding around them. As Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur'an:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

Ya ayyuha an-naasu inna khalaqnaakum min dhakkarin wa untha wa ja`alanaakum shu`uban wa qabaa’il li-ta`arafoo, Inna akramakum `ind-Allahi atqaakum. inna Allaha `aleemun khabeer.

O Mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Surat al-Hujurat, 49:13)

And this gathering today is much like that: we are people from different places, groups, and tribes, coming together to know each other for the sole purpose of silat ar-rahim, to connect with those who are related. Allah (swt) said in the Holy Qur'an:

وَاعْتَصِمُواْ بِحَبْلِ اللّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلاَ تَفَرَّقُواْ

W `atasimoo bi hablillaahi jamiyy`an wa laa tafaraqoo.

Hold fast to Allah's rope and don't separate. (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:103)

Therefore, the job of the leader is to unify the people, not to let them split into groups where each group is “happy with what it has,” as these are groups of Shaytan. Islam is a perfect and complete religion which does not accept division and disunity, as Allah (swt) said:

نَّ الدِّينَ عِندَ اللّهِ الإِسْلاَمُ

Inna ad-deena `inda Allaahi al-islaam.

The religion in Allah’s view is Islam (submission to His Will). (Surat Aali-`Imraan, 3:19)

So the ruler is often not a scholar, and knowledge always makes the scholar above the ruler, as the scholar understands the affairs of the Muslims, while the ruler does not understand anything from religion. Thus, the scholar is obliged to light up the way for the ruler in order for him to govern according to Allah's Will. The scholar has knowledge of fiqh, tafseer, hadith and rules of religion, whereas the leader has no understanding of these affairs; rather, he has knowledge of politics which is mainly based on falsehood, lies and made-up rumors about each other in order to win the “chair” and not govern by the rules that Allah (swt) has ordered.

The ruler who is not a scholar has no fear of Allah! The example of one ruler who feared Allah (swt) is that of Sayyidina `Umar (r). The Rightly-Guided Caliphs earnestly attended to the affairs of Muslims. Sayyidina `Umar (r) went among the Muslims’ homes in disguise and gave food to the poor. Today rulers are living in their palaces, eating and drinking while the people are hungry in the desert or rural areas. And commonly in this dunya, we see in every nation that the children, relatives, or those close to the president are given all the wealth of the people, and the common people are left with nothing! Even the driver of the leader will get something back from being related to the leader.

So for that reason, my advice to myself first and then to you is that you are scholars of the ummah, and as Nahdatul `Ulama, it is obligatory on you to be moderate in your rulings. You must rule and take an active role in governing because you are knowers of Allah's Rules, then you will become the “beloved ones” to the people and they will, in turn, pray for you. This is a grave responsibility on you, and if you do not fufill it accordingly you will be responsible and asked on the Day of Judgment before Allah (swt) and the Prophet (s).

Also, you are Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, so this responsibility lies on you as well. You must take example from the former president of this nation, `Abd ar-Rahman Wahid, who gave much for the nation, but the order of shaytaans came against him to remove him from the government, as he was knowledgeable in Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah and a graduate from al-Azhar University, so they came against him. Thus, it is obligatory for all of you to come together and unite, and to ... the religion of Allah (swt), as He said, “Indeed, the religion near Allah is Islam,” and:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

Yaa ayyuhalladheena aamanoo 'ttaqoollaah wa koonoo ma` as-saadiqeen.

O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are pious (in word and deed).

(Surat at-Tawbah, 9:119)

Fear Allah (swt) in your life and in your provision, and keep with the `ulama who are sincere. Support them day and night in their endeavors until they reach the government and leadership.

O Scholars of Islam! O Attenders and Philosophers! Have you ever heard or read in any book, either Islamic or non-Islamic, where Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (r), Sayyidina `Umar (r), Sayyidina `Uthman (r) or Sayyidina `Ali (r) ever said, “I am Dr. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq,” or, “I am Professor Sayyidina `Umar (r).” No! They were humble before the ummah, going simply by their names. And so now even today in a khutbah, we don’t add titles such as “Dr.” or “Professor” to their names, whereas every scholar today has some title, such as “Dr.,” “FFS,” “MMS,” and so on.

The Noble Companions (r) took the leadership from the Prophet (s) because of their justice and their love for the Prophet (s) and Islam. Prophet (s) said:

أصحابي كالنجوم بأيهم اقتديتم اهتديتم

As-haabee ka 'n-nujoom bi ayyihim aqtadaytum ahtadaytum.My Companions are like stars (on a dark night); whichever of them you follow, you will be guided.

(`Abd ibn Humayd, ad-Daraqutnee, ibn `Adiyy, ibn `Abd al-Barr, with unsound chains but the meaning is sound)

Prophet (s) gave dhun-Nurayn, “Two Lights,” his two daughters, to Sayyidina `Ali and Sayyidina `Uthman (r). Sayyidina `Ali (r) took the knowledge of Holy Qur'an and Sayyidina `Uthman (r) gathered the Holy Qur'an, and yet both took their titles from the Prophet (s), not from universities. He gave them these titles due to their love for him, and his love towards them! So if our `ulama are among those who humble themselves Allah (swt) will raise them up, and if they are arrogant Allah will put them down. Alhamdulillah, this is a humble gathering where the rich and poor sit together without any differences among them.

Did you ever read that Abu Hanifa an-Nu`man (r) said, “I am Dr. Abu Hanifa.” Did you ever read of the Four Imams having said, “I am Professor Imam Malik,” or, “I am Dr. Ahmad bin Hanbal.” They were humble and were raised up by the people, just as Allah (swt) will raise up those who are humble and put down those who are arrogant. As we mentioned, this is a humble gathering where the poor and rich come together: traders, businessmen, scholars, and common people alike are gathered here together. And Nahdatul `Ulama is a humble organization where all kinds of people can meet and get together, and in doing so become stronger.

When the affairs of the ummah are made correct, we would no longer need what they call “security.” Who is the Perfect Man? Is he not the Prophet (s)? Does he have security or is his house open to everyone? The servant goes in and out and no one gives permission, because Allah (swt) is guarding him! And Nahdatul `Ulama has no security, Allahu Akbar!

So if the ummah is not under justice and equity, then there is need for security. Just as today there is no equity, justice, and fairness, which is why we have all kinds of insecurity.

I say these words and ask for you to excuse me if I have offended anyone of you here today.

Wa min Allahi 't-tawfeeq, bi hurmati 'l-habeeb, bi hurmati 'l-Fatihah. (Du`a)


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