Refusing a Position of Authority

Know that the inner self loves superiority over others. Leadership is favoured for the position of ordering and forbidding. Although leadership and authority are needed, there are many risks in it, the least of which is discharge, the worst of which is injustice in judgement and the middle of which is wasting time if the intention of the one in charge is insincere.

A person who loves the idea of leadership should know that they will only love it until they attain it, and if they attain it they will only aspire to something higher than it again. For delight disappears after it has been achieved, and the sins remain after they are committed. It is a risk to oneself and one’s religion. Reflecting upon all of this is the cure for the love of leadership and authority.

Abu Umamah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“There is no man who becomes the leader of ten or what is more except that he will come to Allah on the Day of Judgement with his hand chained to his neck, his righteousness will release him or his wrongdoing will destroy him. The beginning of it [leadership] is blame, the middle of it is regret and the end of it is degradation on the Day of Judgement.” (Recorded in at-Tabarani)

 Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“Woe to the rulers! Woe to the corporals! Woe to the ones in authority! Some people will wish that their forelocks were hanged from the Pleiades, they were swaying between the heavens and earth rather than be responsible for anything.” (Recorded in Ahmad)

Imam Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Abu Dhar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Messenger of Allah! Won’t you put me in charge of anything? So he [the Messenger] hit my shoulder with his hand and said:

“O Abu Dhar! You are weak, it is a trust, on the day of Judgement it is a humiliation, a regret except for whoever took it rightfully and fulfilled his obligations towards it” (Recorded in Muslim)

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