RULE MEANS GREATER RESPONSIBILITY
The history of Islam
has seen many just, pious rulers, among whom the first four
Caliphs, 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz of the 'Umayyads and Mahdi
of the 'Abbasids, Mahmud of the Gaznawids, and especially
the early ones from amongst the Seljuks and Ottomans were
the most famous. They consistently consulted the pious scholars
and saints among the people and were not vexed by their warnings.
Together with Abu J'afar al-Mansur and Ma'mun, Harun al-Rashid
was one of the most celebrated rulers of the 'Abbasids. He
ruled over a very vast land stretching from Morocco to China
and from Abyssinia to the Caucuses. Although he was not as
famous for justice and piety as Mahdi, he was also a just
and upright man.
Once he visited the renowned scholars and saints among the
people one by one. Dissatisfied with the advice and manners
of welcome he received from some of the scholars, he finally
knocked at the door of Fudayl ibn 'Iyad.
Fudayl had lived on plundering. Since he had a powerful gang
and himself was very good at fighting, travellers had been
much afraid of him. However, he had later repented of what
he had been doing and become a much renowned saint of the
Fudayl opened his door to the Caliph and without inviting
him in, warned him severely. He reminded him of the Day of
Judgement and gave him other advice. When one of the men escorting
the Caliph attempted to stop Fudayl, the latter reprimanded
him, saying: 'It is you and those like you who seduce the
rulers. You do whatever they wish and agree with whatever
they order and decree.' Harun al-Rashid was greatly moved
by Fudayl's warnings and wept for a long time.
Harun al-Rashid was once doing Hajj (pilgrimage) when a man
from amongst the crowd called him, saying: 'O Commander of
the Believers! Would you please listen to me for a short while?'
The man was 'Abdullah, a grandson of 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz.
The Caliph took him aside and the following exchange ensued
O Commander of the Believers! How many people do you guess
there are here doing pilgrimage?
So many as only God knows their number.
Now, beware O Commander of the Believers! All of those who
are shedding tears are doing so out of the fear that they
may be unable to account in the Hereafter, each for his
own deeds. However, you will be called to account for both
your own self and all of those people.
led the Caliph to think deeply for a while. Then he requested
the pious scholar to continue. The scholar added:
By God, O Commander of the Believers! If a man neglects
to do his own duty and wastes his own property, the Almighty
will punish him. But, have you ever thought what will happen
to him if he, as a ruler of innumerable people, neglects
to do his duties with respect to the people and wastes public
time the Caliph could not help but weep heartfelt tears.