DURING my early years in PAS (I officially joined PAS in 1998), I loved to attend PAS leaders' talk and one point raised by an 'ustaz' (religious teacher) at a function still remains in my mind till this day and this was regarding our attitude in choosing an 'imam' (leader) - why we tend to choose a 'good man' to be a leader during our 'solat' (prayers) but ignore that trait when choosing leaders in societies for example as Members of Parliament (MPs) and even the Prime Minister.
"The ustaz 'teased' his audience saying: "When choosing the person to be an 'imam' of our prayers, 'wah' we prefer the best man in everything be it regarding his upbringing, behaviour, attitude and knowledge in the Islamic field and of course we do not choose a 'kaki judi' (heavy gambler), a 'kaki botol' (a heavy drinker) and a 'kaki rasuah' (a rabidly corrupt).
"How is it...when choosing our leader for a mass prayer which is for less than 10 minutes, we choose the best person, but when electing leaders for example a Member of Parliament whose tenure is about five years (one term after election), we do not care if he is a 'kaki judi', 'kaki botol' or 'kaki rasuah'?
He warned his audience saying: "In the Hereafter, we would follow leaders of our choice and those who we love...if we love leaders of the 'kaki rasuah' type, then we would be thrown into Hellfire along with them."
The ustaz said the first criteria in choosing a leader was to look at his 'solat' (prayer). "Make sure he is a person who performs his five times obligatory prayers religiously, and it is better if he could lead prayers as an 'imam' himself."
He reminded the crowd that during Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) journey of 'Isra' and Mikraj' (Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.?s journey to Sidratul Muntaha - Upper Heavens), he saw those who refused to perform their prayers during their lifetime were in a very terrible state; they kept on knocking and crushing their heads...
"So be careful when choosing a leader...do not simply give our votes to those who go against the commands of Allah SWT. If we choose the best man to be our prayer leader which lasts about 10 minutes only, then also choose the best man to lead us whether he is our MP or Prime Minister whose tenure is 5 years," said the ustaz.
"If only 'imams' at masjids are chosen from 'good people' but outside the compound of Allah's house; robbers, thieves and corrupt persons are elected as leaders, then we would only produce people who are good when they are in masjids or when performing prayers only, but at other places they would not be able to differentiate between beneficial and sinful deeds.
"Unfortunately that happens in our society today; some of the proofs are that our younger generation have no manners, corruption and sinful activities are on the rise while good deeds are looked down upon," said the ustaz.
He said 'imams' whether during prayers or in societies could be reminded or admonished by their 'subjects' (followers) if they made mistakes. Early and great caliphs such as Sayidina Abu Bakar as-Sidiq and Sayidina Umar al-Khattab were open to criticism, more that they were ready 'to be straightened by the swords'.
Regarding good and fair leaders, an Islamic scholar, Dr Amin ibn `Abdullah As-Shaqawy said, there are among seven types of people whom Allah will shade under His Shade when there is no other shade in the Hereafter. He elaborated this subject by discussing this Sahih Al-Bukhari hadith.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him; r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Seven types of people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His. They are: (1) a just ruler; (2) a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, (i.e. worshipping Allah (Alone) sincerely from his childhood), (3) a man whose heart is attached to the masjid (who offers the five compulsory congregational prayers in the masjid); (4) two persons who love each other only for Allah's sake and they meet and part in Allah's cause only; (5) a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illegal sexual intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah; (6) a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity), and (7) a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes flood with tears."
Allah shall collect the creatures on the Day of Recompense: The former and the latter "that He may requite those who do evil with that which they have done (i.e. punish them in Hell), and reward those who do good, with what is best (i.e. Paradise)." - Surah An-Najm: 31
In a long day ? Hereafter - when terror is great and its anguish is revere, from which Allah warns His Servants and commanded them to get ready for it. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgment) is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the Torment of Allah." - Surah Hajj: 1-2
On that great day, the sun draws nearer from the heads of the creatures until there will be a distance of one mile so the people will sink in sweat according to their actions: The sweat will reach the ankles of some of them, others the sweat will cover their knees, some of them the sweat will reach their chest, and others will sink in their sweat. - The meaning of a hadith reported by Muslim in his Sahih.
Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) reported that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "The people will sweat so profusely on the Day of Resurrection that their sweat will sink seventy cubits deep into the earth, and it will rise up till it reaches the people's mouths and ears." - Sahih Al Bukhari
In that great situation, Allah will shade those seven kinds of people under His Shade, so ponder over their actions which entail that great reward.
The first is: A just ruler who judges between people with the truth and does not follow whims, as Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "O Daud (David)! Verily, We have placed you as a successor on the earth; so judge you between men in truth (and justice) and follow not your desire - for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah. Verily, those who wander astray from the Path of Allah (shall) have a severe torment, because they forgot the Day of Reckoning." - Surah Sad: 26
He follows the command of his Lord (Glory be to Him) who says: "Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer" - Surah An-Nisa': 58
Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: "Behold! the dispensers of justice will be seated on the pulpits of light on the right hand of the Most Gracious (Glory be to Him). Both hands of Allah are right. (The dispensers of justice are) those who do justice in their rules, in matters relating to their families and in all that they undertake to do." - Sahih Muslim
This is the reward for those who judge justly among people, but those who judge unjustly among people; Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Consider not that Allah is unaware of that which the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers) do, but He gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror" - Surah Ibrahim: 42
Abu Umamah (r.a.) narrated: The Messenger (s.a.w.) said: "The person who takes command of ten persons or more will come to Allah (Glory be to Him) while his hand is chained to his neck on the Day of Recompense and his piety will break his chain or his sin will increase his chains. The first of princedom is reproach, its middle is regret, and its end is disgrace on the Day of Recompense." - Reported in Musnad Imam Ahmad and Al Albany corrected it in Sahih Al Jami`.
Ma`qil ibn Yasar (r.a.) narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) saying: "There is no person who is entrusted with the affairs of his subjects and he dies while being dishonest in his dealings with those over whom he ruled but the Paradise shall be forbidden for him." - Sahih Al Bukhari - ES