It has become commonplace for rulers of the Muslim world to misspend millions of pounds acquiring football clubs, expensive yachts, and real estate in Western capitals.
In 2017, the 34-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, spent $450.3 million for Leonardo da Vinci’s 500-year-old painting ‘Salvator Mundi’ purchasing it through a proxy. He paid over $300 million for the Chateau Louis XIV, located in France, called “the world’s most expensive home” by Fortune Magazine.
It is staggering that rulers lead a lifestyle of opulence and luxury, while millions of Muslims experience a life of abject poverty, with a proliferation of charities who collect and distribute aid the world over.
However, the painful reality is that this life of luxury is being funded by wealth, not gained by their individual efforts or that of their families but by mineral wealth that is collectively owned by the Muslims Ummah, over whom these rulers should be custodians and guardians and not usurpers. The Prophet (saw) stated that
«الْمُسْلِمُونَ شُرَكَاءُ فِي ثَلَاثٍ فِي الْمَاءِ وَالْكَلَإِ وَالنَّارِ»
“The Muslims are partners in three, water, pastures and fire” (Ahmed, ibn Majah).
It is vitally important to understand how we have ended up with rulers who are not only indifferent and disregard the plight of the Muslim Ummah, but display open hostility and treachery to it and its interests. This has been recently demonstrated by a unison of rulers openly normalising relations with the Zionist state and remaining muted in their response to the Uighur Muslims.
The current rulers are a product of a postcolonial architecture, created after the destruction of the Uthmani Khilafah (Ottoman Caliphate). Prior to the dismantling of the Islamic Khilafah, large territories were under direct Western occupation. The granting of ‘independence’ and ‘sovereignty’ to the Muslim land was predicated on forming nation states and imposing rulers that had previously shown unwavering loyalty to the occupiers.
Two examples are sufficient by way of illustration. Firstly, the current state of Saudi Arabia that is ruled by the family of Ibn Saud, who was instrumental in undermining the Khilafah by supporting and working with the British. Secondly, Pakistan, under the veil of democracy, is actually ruled by political dynasties. The most famous bring the Bhutto’s. It was Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the grandfather of Benazir Bhutto, a wealthy landowner who served as a Dewan under the British Raj.
«سَيَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ سَنَوَاتٌ خَدَّاعَاتُ يُصَدَّقُ فِيهَا الْكَاذِبُ وَيُكَذَّبُ فِيهَا الصَّادِقُ وَيُؤْتَمَنُ فِيهَا الْخَائِنُ وَيُخَوَّنُ فِيهَا الْأَمِينُ وَيَنْطِقُ فِيهَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ. قِيلَ: وَمَا الرُّوَيْبِضَةُ؟ قَالَ: الرَّجُلُ التَّافِهُ فِي أَمْرِ الْعَامَّةِ»
‘There will come to the people years of treachery, when the liar will be regarded as honest, and the honest man will be regarded as a liar; the traitor will be regarded as faithful, and the faithful man will be regarded as a traitor; and the Ruwaibidah will decide matters.’ It was said: ‘Who are the Ruwaibidah?’ He said: ‘Vile and base men who control the affairs of the people.’ (Ibn Majah, Book 36, Hadith 4172, Narrated by Abu Hurayrah)
It is little wonder that the current crop of corrupt rulers see ‘politics’ not of managing the affairs of the Muslims but see it as a hereditary right, using political power and positions to maintain their wealth, to enrich themselves and then to funnel this away from the Muslim lands to Western capitals.
The reversal of the situation, to have rulers who are ideologically grounded, faithful to the issues of the Muslims and politically competent to elevate it, is contingent on dismantling the current colonial-inspired framework and replacing this with the Islamic political system.
The Islamic requirement to form a single state and to reject the nation states would lead to unification of interests and resources of the Muslim World, converting small statelets into a single powerful entity. The Islamic ruler would be one for the whole of the Muslim Ummah, regardless of race or area of residence. The ruler in Islam will recognize that his responsibility is to actually take care of his people; he ensures that the citizens of the State are not hungry; that they have shelter, that their wealth and property, their minds and their honour are all protected.
«اللَّهُمَّ مَنْ وَلِيَ مِنْ أَمْرِ أُمَّتِي شَيْئًا فَشَقَّ عَلَيْهِمْ فَاشْقُقْ عَلَيْهِ وَمَنْ وَلِيَ مِنْ أَمْرِ أُمَّتِي شَيْئًا فَرَفَقَ بِهِمْ فَارْفُقْ بِهِ»
“I heard the Messenger of Allah say in my house that, O Allah! Be harsh with the one who is charged with the affairs of the Muslims and is harsh on them, and Allah be gentle with the one who is charged with the affairs of the Muslims and is gentle on them.” [Sahih Muslim].
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said
«مَا مِنْ وَالٍ يَلِي رَعِيَّةً مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ فَيَمُوتُ وَهُوَ غَاشٌّ لَهُمْ إِلَّا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ الْجَنَّةَ»
“There is no governor/wali who takes charge of Muslims and dies cheating them, except that Allah prohibits him paradise.” [Bukhari].
Therefore, those who want to engage in politics will be solely motivated to look after the affairs of the Muslim with the realisation that it a heavy legal responsibility, answerable to Allah (saw).
It will be for the sake of Allah (swt) that sincere men will take charge of the Ummah, within the Islamic system, expending their time and efforts to elevate its situation.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by