by Mufti Z.Bayat [South Africa]

Part 1 of 2

The current leadership of the Muslim Ummah [Muslim community] leaves much to be desired. Barring a few exceptions, the majority have miserably failed the Ummah. Some may even go to the extent of saying they have "sold" the Ummah.

These corrupt leaders wallow in luxury, comfort and idle pursuits, whilst the Ummah bleeds in agony. Many do not deserve to be in those positions even for half a day, yet they cling to power at every cost, sometimes for years on end. People with vested interests ensure that such leaders remain in position, to suit their own nefarious ends. They help to prop them up by providing them security and protection against their own people.

These "leaders" generally lack all the Islamic qualities of leadership. Some are actually deficient in Imaan [faith] and belief itself. They carry Muslim names but that's where it stops. Others may be Muslims but the very basic qualities such as fulfilling of Faraidh (basic fundamentals), rudimentary Ilm (knowledge), Ikhlas (sincerity) and Taqwa (piety), let alone the other leadership qualities, are sorely lacking. 

The Muslim Ummah is totally frustrated with these bankrupt and corrupt leaders, who have contributed to a great extent to the destruction of the Ummah and its retardation. Recent events in the Gaza Strip is a slight indication of what the Palestinian masses think about the ineptitude and corruption of their leadership. Some feel their struggle starts with cleaning up their own house first before they even tackle the enemy outside. 

But tempting as it may be, laying all the blame at the door of leaders and making the ideal scapegoat for all the problems is not the solution.

For in the final analysis, rulers are produced by their own societies and so the problem lies with society itself for having produced such corrupt leaders.

It is to alert the Ummah to this reality that Sayyidina Muhammad (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) [the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him] said the following words of wisdom on the relationship between rulers and the ruled:

"As you are, so will be the rulers that will be set over you" - 

".... the hearts of the rulers are in My control. When My servants 
obey Me, I turn their leaders towards them in kindness. When 
My servants disobey Me, I turn their rulers towards them with 
wrath and anger, then they punish them terribly. So do not 
engross yourselves in swearing and criticising your rulers but 
rather engross yourselves in Dua [supplications to God] and humble 
submission so that I may take care of your (oppressive) rulers
-- al-I'itidaal