The Custodian

:عن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما: أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال

ألا كلكم راع وكلكم مسؤول عن رعيته فالإمام الاعظم الذي على الناس راع وهو مسؤول عن رعيته والرجل راع على أهل بيته وهو مسؤول عن رعيته والمرأة راعية على أهل بيت زوجها وولده وهي مسؤولة عنهم وعبد الرجل راع على مال سيده وهو مسؤول عنه ألا فكلكم راع وكلكم مسؤول عن رعيته

“Acknowledge, that all of you are Leaders and therefore shall be held responsible for what you are overseeing. Husbands are leaders for their families and will be held responsible for the families they are leading. Wives are taking care of the household of their husbands and their children. Slaves are taking care of their masters wealth and they are responsible for those. Therefore be cautioned that all of you are Leaders and shall be held responsible for all of those that you are taking care of.”

translated freely from the narrations of Al-Bukhari: Abdullah ibn Umar RadhiAllahu Anhuma said that The Prophet Muhammad Alayhishalatu wa Sallam had said [somewhat of the above].

The word راعية is a verb with the meaning of to lead and to govern. Leaders are of no use without authority toward the flock they led. They need some form of authority to lead and govern affairs of those whom they lead. But leadership should not be or is not the end, it is the mean, and the end is order.

Leadership is not a choice, it is a product of fate. My metaphor for those who choose to take leadership are like taking dangerous materials with one’s hands. Without proper equipment and training, one is risking to burn one’s hands or worse the whole one selves.

Why order? Societies, corporations, groups, household, individuals – all need order to be able to achieve their goals. A chaotic society can not achieve anything but destruction, oppression and annihilation. World history has recorded too much of these incidents.

But what is Order in this context? It is an order that is based on the standards of Al-Islam. Which is Al-Imaan of the 6, and Al-Islam of the 5 and At-Taqwa. The measure of successful leadership will be based on the quality of performance achieved of all the above on the group that they led.

All leaders are custodians, care takers, or they should have been. Leadership is a position full of hard-ship. It’s a position Attributes of rank and honour, are again means to enhance authority, to be able to perform effective and proper governance.

The irony here is even the attribute of leadership bears so much aura of honours, respect, authority and power – it can not be detached from the kind-of-low basic role of custodians or care-taking, which means a person who maintains something (or someone).

“Homo homini lupus est”

Tell that to the Greek philosophers that we hate being called wolves. But denying this fact on mere emotional judgement may be a symptom of wishful thinking. It is tempting to know that we can exercise power upon others. But what is a responsible wolf?

Husbands have the responsibility toward the families. To establish a haven called home, where every member of the household can be sheltered from the heat of the sun, the coldness of night, and the rain. Husbands must enable the members of the families to feel love, compassion, and safety. To put descent meal on the table, proper education (not video games and gadgets) and all of the real necessities of life. Husbands are custodians, care takers, guardians, and by that they are leaders of their families.

In the case of husbands being the main provider of living The roles of wives, are to take care of their husbands wealth and children, since the husbands are usually absent 10-hours a day during weekdays to earn a descent living for the families. Somewhat analogues with Adam Smith’s division of labour. On the side, prenuptial agreements are alien to Muslims since their religion has a clear division between the wealth of the husbands and the wives – and clear obligations upon each title of ownership.

Even in slavery, humanity’s most detested form of relationship – there is a form of task and responsibility relation between the slave and the master. And it is not oppression. The slave is responsible for the master’s wealth, and the master is responsible to feed them and clothe them similar as what the master is feeding and clothing. Slaves are not allowed to revolt against their masters nor desert them, but then masters are not allowed to oppress the slaves. Many good examples of these kind of relationships have been performed during the days of Islamic conquest in the Arabian peninsula.

An irrelevant assumption or hypothesis about the revolt of the African slaves in the old days of America perhaps was because there had been massive oppressions, humiliations, tortures. Would things be different had the masters of the southern took care of their slaves the way the early Islamic Arab people did? Irrelevant since Muslims are not allowed to assume the past would be different if… The past is the past, lesson learned.

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely… ” – Lord John Acton (1834-1902)

Then the question is “which one is actually detested, slavery or despotism?”

We are all Care-Takers.

Acknowledging that we are somewhat have taken the seat of leadership toward someone or some group of people, or a corporation, or a nation; requires to also acknowledge that in a point of time beyond this lifetime – we would be required to do an exhaustive presentation of what we had done with the authority given to us, and we shall be held responsible for it. This is not a folklore nor myth nor casual event. There will be either a real big carrot or stick awaiting.

But whom are we leaders will be responsible to? Of course to The One and Only Creator of the universe worthy of true worship, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.


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