Weekly Sultaniyya Hadith Source Week No: 31


Cronyism corrupts

Hadith 41, Whoever comes to the gate of the Sultan will face fitna (by being corrupted) and never does a Slave (of Allah) increase in closeness to the ruler except that he increases in distance from Allah (Ahmed/ Tirmidhi)

Commentary:

A: In order to maintain a strong Islamic rule, those in authority must be held to account by the Ummah. This accounting cannot take place unless the people hold themselves as independent from the ruler, and therefore free from being influenced by any favors or disposition towards them that would occur if they ingratiated themselves with those in authority.

B: This hadith has a warning of the corrupting nature of power, that it is not only a huge responsibility for those undertaking such positions, but those who try to seek closeness with the ruler in order to take some personal benefits will be corrupted, and this can be seen by the many who have begun their journeys with the intention of accounting those in rule and ended up cementing their position.

C: The Ummah of Muhammad (SAW) has a tradition of scholars who kept away from the authority in order to remain free from their influence and maintain their ability to account them freely and independently, such as Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, Imam Nawawi and Sheikh ibn Taymiyya.

D: The closeness in the hadith does not refer simply to physical distance, but rather is an indication that someone who is close to the authority and therefore does not account it but rather supports it even in its wrong will be far from Allah (SWT). So great scholars have in the past taken positions within the courts of the rulers, but have maintained distance in the sense that they would account any wrongdoing and not be influenced by the trappings of authority.


Hadith with commentary each week, taken from The Sixty Sultaniyya compiled by Abu Luqman Fathullah
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