Our rulers and the public - Dr A Q Khan - Monday, December 13, 2010

Source : www.thenews.com.pk

Whenever I see pictures on TV of the cruel treatment being meted out to our poor masses, I can’t help but think of the golden period of Naushervan-e-Aadil almost fifteen hundred years ago, when justice was available to all, and almost immediately. It was for this very reason that the Iranian emperor is called “Aadil” (meaning just and fair).

When Naushervan-e-Aadil lay dying, he called his son, Hurmuz, and counselled him: “Look after the poor and the needy and give preference to their comfort over your own comfort… Protect the poor, for the Almighty puts this responsibility on the ruler. My son, remember, the people are as the roots and the ruler is as the tree; the tree gains strengthen from the roots. The ruler must not oppress the people… Do not seek wealth and comfort in a country where the people are oppressed by their ruler. And, my son, don’t be afraid of the haughty and of those who do not fear God.” (Sadi’s Bostan).

This invaluable advice is as useful and valid today as it was then. Were our rulers to follow these golden rules, they would be victorious both in this world and in the Hereafter. Unfortunately, arrogance and power have blinded them and they have forgotten the edicts of Allah and the fact that Doomsday looms.

The governor of the Syrian city of Homs, where Hazrat Khalid bin Walid (RA) is buried, once wrote to Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz (RA), that the wall there was in a bad condition, was broken in many places and needed urgent repairs for security reasons. The caliph is said to have replied: “Raise the wall of justice and peace and make the roads and streets safe from all sorts of lawlessness.” (I have had the honour of visiting Hazrat Khalid bin Walid’s tomb.)

Now, a few words about our present rulers, and especially about those who have thrust them upon us. Those responsible will definitely be answerable to Allah. Our Holy Prophet (SAW) said that if someone helps an ineligible, incapable and sinful person to become a ruler, leader or adviser while it is known that there are more capable, honest and God-fearing people available, that person betrays the trust of Allah and of His Prophet.

It simply means that honest, experienced, capable and God-fearing people should be elected/selected, so that those who are most suitable for the task can take care of the needs of the people, provide peace and comfort to them, protect them from oppression and excesses and share their problems and worries.

Thus, not selecting or appointing good people becomes a betrayal of the trust of Allah and His Prophet. For every person, be it ruler or ordinary citizen, there is a book recording their good deeds and misdeeds in this world to earn their place in the Hereafter. If their deeds are overwhelmingly good, they will be respected in this world and go down in history as good persons. If their deeds are overwhelmingly bad and they are uncaring rulers, usurpers and tyrants, they will be hated by the people and history’s verdict on them will be very harsh.

In one of my previous columns I had written about that wise, intelligent and highly capable administrator Nizamul Mulk Tusi (Prime Minister of the Sultans Arpsalan Malik Shah Seljuqi) and his famous book “Siasat Nama” on the art of good governance.

The translation from Persian to Urdu of this invaluable book was done almost 50 years ago by Mr Shah Hasan Atta. This translation has been so beautifully done that one feels like one is reading the original script. Tusi gave some excellent rules of good governance for rulers.

These instructions are as appropriate today as they were a thousand years ago, if only our rulers could understand. I would like to quote some of his instructions. “Rulers should consult those who are intelligent, wise, capable and experienced and who possess foresight.

Some people have more knowledge, some less, but even those with a lot of knowledge can be divided into two groups – those with knowledge but no experience and those who possess both knowledge and experience.

Naturally, the latter is more suited for good governance. The ruler himself must be intelligent, wise and experienced and must be capable of selecting suitable advisers and officials. He must possess good knowledge of human psychology to be able to judge his colleagues. He must have the capability of realising that some people are more intelligent than others in grasping the intricacies of a problem.

Wise people have said that a person’s strength lies in his wisdom, knowledge and understanding.” Tusi also gave an excellent example of our Holy Prophet (SAW) in this connection. He said: “No human being was bestowed with more wisdom, knowledge and foresight than Muhammad (SAW). He was aware of all the secrets of this world and the Hereafter. The Archangel Jibreel (AS) used to be in his presence to convey Allah’s messages.

But Almighty Allah did not exempt our beloved Prophet (SAW) from consultation with others. The Almighty ordered: ‘O Muhammad (SAW)! If you are confronted with a difficult problem, then consult your colleagues.’ This order was given to a person who was the bearer and fountain of knowledge and wisdom.”

The purpose of writing this column and quoting the two examples and the words of Tusi is to impress upon the present rulers that it is in their own interest, in the interest of the public and in the interest of our beloved country that they should make use of the services of intelligent, wise, honest, knowledgeable and experienced colleagues and advisers for good governance and administration. They should have the courage to shed excess baggage in the form of sycophants and unwise advisors for the sake of national interests.

There is no time left. If they don’t act now, this government – like the two earlier PPP governments – will go down in history as the most corrupt and incapable.

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