I received this question from a reader last week: “What are we the poor masses doing? Is there a yardstick to measure a politician who has the interest of the people at heart? –Rahmat Oyiza
I promised him that I would try to answer the question. And in doing so, I will draw from three sources: from the good book, from a caliph and from a scholar. In addition, the three sources are neatly divided into the following themes:
A simple way to manage rewards and punishments
Two expectations of a leader – this removes confusion about leadership functions
A guaranteed way to protect the well-being of people
Let’s start with the last one. In March 2022, I had the privilege of giving a lecture on Legal Perspectives of Democracy and Islam at IET Minna. During my presentation, I mentioned the very simple way in which Ibn Taymiyyah linked welfare with justice.
I have not seen anyone treat the subject in such a magnificent way except, to some extent, Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio.
Ibn Taymiyyah said that the key to a good social welfare system is justice. Once you have justice in a society, God will preserve the system. Injustice, on the other hand, causes the demolition of a welfare system. This rule applies whether the managers of the system are believers or disbelievers.
Indeed, Ibn Taymiyyah said that “human well-being in the affairs of this world can be achieved more with justice that comes with sins than with injustice in the rights of people, even if that does not ‘not accompany sins’.
This means that even if our leaders spend all their days in mosques and churches, our business will be in the gutter provided they refuse to do justice.
And what is justice? Equal opportunities. Islam agrees with social scientists like Jordan Peterson, who argue that what we should be pushing should be equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.
This means that if the President’s children have the opportunity to work at PenCom or NDIC, the child of the poor villager should have the same. How? By having access to participate in the application process. But more than that, the poor guy should have the same opportunity to prepare, i.e. a decent education.
Once these opportunities are equalized, the outcome (who gets the job after the interview) should be left to individual effort.
As a result, when I was a governor’s chief press secretary, I was told that recruitment continued through secondary channels. So people whispered to me “this is an opportunity to employ your wife. They will do it for you!
At that time, my wife had just left a high paying company to return to Nigeria and was unemployed.
“No,” I said firmly, “that would be a conflict of interest. It wouldn’t be fair. And why should we continue to deceive people on the way to PDP when we have promised people to change? »
Then I went to see the head of department to advise him to put an end to the recruitment by the back door. But he told me that it was not true that there was a secret recruitment.
It is justice.
And that’s how God operates His equality of opportunity. He teaches us about good and evil through his messengers and gives us the faculties and tools to do good. But the outcome, whether we go to hell or heaven, is the choice of the individual.
This is why Allah has done himself Haram injustice. And this is the reason why Uthman Dan Fodio said that “a nation can bear disbelief but cannot bear injustice”.
Ibn Taymiyyah continues:
“That is why it has been said: God establishes a just state (dawla), even if he is incredulous, but does not establish an unjust state, even if it is Muslim. It is also said: (the affairs of) this world can endure with justice and unbelief, but cannot endure with injustice and Islam.
Why is that? The Prophet (P) said: “no sin is quicker in divine punishment than the usurpation of the rights of others and the breaking of family ties”.
Ibn Taymiyyah added: “The usurper is punished in this world even though he can be forgiven in the hereafter.”
Then Ibn Taymiyyah concluded with this significant insight into leadership that we should all benefit from – whether we are leaders of the United Nations or leaders of the family.
“Thus, insofar as its affairs are based on justice, a state will persist even if its rulers have no part in the hereafter (due to lack of faith), and if justice is absent, it will not persist even if its leaders are rewarded in the hereafter for their faith.
As we enter the next election season, Hajiya Rahma Oyiza, ask yourself who is likely to deliver justice as stated above? Because “justice is the principle of everything”. Questions of race, religion and ethnicity are secondary – and may not matter.
To be continued.