Three Leadership Advices for Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz

Three Leadership Advices for Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz

Faculty of Tarbiyah and Teacher Training – Bro, here’s the story. Umar bin Abdul Aziz was a caliph from way back, around 717-720 AD. Even though he was only a caliph for a short time, he is widely recognized as one of the most remarkable caliphs in Islamic history, known for his justice, simplicity, and piety.

There’s an interesting story. Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz once wrote a letter to a great Sufi and Fiqh scholar of his time, Al-Hasan Al-Bashri. When Al-Hasan received the letter, he replied with some valuable advice for the Caliph. Exciting, right?

Al-Hasan Al-Bashri’s advice was incredibly insightful, Bro. Professor Quraish Shihab noted this in his book Islam and Politics. The advice was about the importance of being a just leader, like a light guiding the way for leaders in their noble duties.

Hasan Al-Bashri said that a just leader is like a rectifier and protector, Bro. We should choose leaders who can “straighten what is crooked, fix what is broken, empower the weak, and be a refuge for those who are afraid and hopeful.” Essentially, such a leader is an ideal figure, always striving for the good and welfare of the people.

Bro, a just leader is not just a boss, but also a protector and defender of his people. He doesn’t have power to oppress people but to protect and empower them. He is like a hero, destined to rectify all injustices, stand up for justice, save the weak, and be a safe place for those who are afraid and hopeful. Essentially, such a leader makes people feel comfortable and safe.

Secondly, a just leader is also like a compassionate shepherd, Bro. Al-Hasan Al-Bashri said he is like a shepherd who is super concerned about his flock. For him, the people are like a trust that must be protected and cared for. A just leader doesn’t just give orders but also sets an example and guides.

So, he nurtures his people with care and attention, ensuring their needs are met and their security is guaranteed. Essentially, a just leader is not just a ruler but also a role model and guide. Awesome, right?

Exactly, Bro! Thirdly, a just leader is like a responsible father to his children. This just leader is incredibly dedicated, working hard to meet their needs, from the young to the grown-ups. He doesn’t just provide food but also educates and guides them to be good individuals.

A just leader doesn’t just manage but also acts as a role model and mentor. He does all this with dedication and responsibility for the welfare of his people, ensuring they are well now and safeguarded for a brighter future. (Quraish Shihab, Islam and Politics; Civilized Political Behavior, [Ciputat, Lentera Hati: 2023], page 192). Cool, right?

Now, Bro, Sheikh Ahmad Hasyimi in his book Jawahirul Adab highlights Al-Hasan Al-Bashri’s advice to Amirul Mukminin, Umar bin Abdul Aziz. It focuses heavily on the importance of leading with justice and wisdom. Al-Hasan Al-Bashri emphasized avoiding unjust and immoral actions, further stressing the significance of ethical leadership.

لا تحكم يا أمير المؤمنين في عباد الله بحكم الجاهلين، ولا تسلك بهم سبيل الظالمين، ولا تسلط المستكبرين على المستضعفين، فإنهم لا يرقبون في مؤمن إلاّ ولا ذمة، فتبوء بأوزارك وأوزار مع أوزارك، وتحمل أثقالك وأثقالاً مع أثقالك. ولا يغرنك الذين يتنعمون بما فيه بؤسك، ويأكلون الطيبات في دنياهم بإذهاب طيباتك في آخرتك. ولا تنظر إلى قدرتك اليوم، ولكن انظر إلى قدرتك غدًا وأنت مأسور في حبائل الموت، وموقوف بين يدى الله في مجمع من الملائكة النبيين والمرسلين، وقد عنت الوجوه للحى القيوم
(Translation): “Do not, O Amirul Mukminin, govern Allah’s servants with the judgment of the ignorant. Do not follow the path of the oppressors, and do not give power to the arrogant over the weak, for they do not maintain ties with believers nor honor agreements. If you grant them power, you will bear your sins and their sins along with your own. You will carry your burdens along with others’ burdens! Do not be deceived by those who enjoy what causes you misery. They enjoy various good things in their world by depriving you of goodness in your Hereafter. Do not look at your power today, but look at your power tomorrow when you are trapped in the snares of death, standing before Allah in an assembly of angels, prophets, and messengers, where all faces will bow before the Ever-Living, the Self-Sustaining, who manages all creation. (Ahmad Hasyimi, Jawahirul Adab fi Adbiyati wa Insyai Lughatil ‘Arab, [Maktabah Fahrasatul Kamilah: 1969], page 341). So, Bro, this is the wise advice from Hasan Al-Bashri to Umar bin Abdul Aziz, serving as a guide for establishing a righteous and just government. Wallahu a’lam. May it inspire us all.




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