Masses and Leadership in Islam.
Sayyed Fadlullah We believe that all Lebanese
of all sects are endowed with wisdom and rationality, but we fear that
this inciting rhetoric of some politicians will prevent them from seeing
the future clearly. This, in turn, will make the possibility of regaining
the unified and independent Lebanon rather difficult, especially with the
absence of responsible leaders and the continuous foreign interference
with every detail.
Asked in his weekly
seminar the following question:
What is the responsibility of the leadership towards the masses and
vice-versa according to Islam?
The Religious Authority,
Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said:
Islam has emphasized the role of the nation and the masses in change and
in building the future, since the nation is the creator of change, and
the factor which success or the future depend on.
That is why we found that
God, as is evident in the Holy Quran, has consistently asked the Prophets
to be with the people and inspire their hopes and feel their pains. They
should not live in ivory towers and act as an insolated and distant
In this respect, God told
His Messenger(p.) :
And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and
evening, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes pass beyond them,
seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life.
Nevertheless, this does
not mean that the masses are always right since being right stems from
humanistic and religious values and other facts the masses could
sometimes be against.
Therefore, it is the duty
of the nation, as well as the leader, to determine what is right and what
it wrong. On the one hand, the nation has to stop following the leader
blindly. On the contrary it has to hold him accountable, supervise his
work to see if it conforms with the dictates of the Sharia and follows
the strategic plans that realizes the nation goals, so as to get him back
on the right course in case he deviates.
This could well be what
Islam emphasized through the constant calls of the Prophet(p.), his
household members and his companions to follow up the Leaders’ stances
and to criticize him whenever there is a need to do so.
On the other hand, Islam
has obliged the leader to be honest and righteous and not to take the
nation to where his desires and interests lead him.
He has to be trustworthy
in leading the nation and running its affairs. He should also be quite
aware of its interests and its deep feelings. In addition, he should try
to guide the nation and always be transparent in the way he runs its
The leader who exploits
the masses’ potentials for the benefit of his personal interests, deploys
their feelings to consolidate his authoritarian power, or the Leader who
hides his plans of secret alliances or constantly changing policies, such
a leader is not worthy of leading the masses and could not be entrusted
with their causes or future.
There are, in our view,
several leaders in our Arab and Muslim world who are not worthy of
leading and who do not inspire the nation's ambitions. Those leaders have
abused power and tried to promote their personal interests. To do this,
they addressed the nation's instincts and sectarian affiliations to
ensure that it would unconsciously follow them and support them without
thinking. By playing on their emotions and reaction those leaders have
taken the masses into places that they have never thought of.
The real leader is the
one who controls the emotions of the masses and leads them within the
general framework of their causes.
The leader’s basic role
is to protect the nation from his whims and from all that is plotted
against it. He has a mandate to rule given to him by the masses, and he
is in no way the master or the owner.
One of the fundamental
duties a leader is supposed to perform is to explain the reasons that
drove him to adopt his policies. Words of reform and change should not be
in vacuum; it should rather promote and strive to achieve the nation’s
Therefore, we call on the
nation to be cautious towards the leader whose emotions might take the
nation into the unknown, which might endanger the nation's interests. The
time has come for our people who are aimed with sufficient awareness, to
oust these leaders and produce new youthful leaders who are well
qualified to lead the nation and preserve its interests.
But this does not mean we
are the only ones who are living the crisis of leaders’ cheating and
betrayal to their people. Other self-proclaimed advanced nations have
fallen victim to their leaders ' hypocrisy. The American President, for
example, deceived the Americans when he talked about weapons of mass
destruction to invade Iraq… A war that turned into a war on Islam that
took various forms including the drawings that insult the Prophet (p.).
We want our peoples to be
aware of what is plotted against them in the name of democracy, freedom
and the like… And we want the Lebanese not to be influenced by the tense
rhetoric of some; a rhetoric that does not have any strategic dimension
or any value in its content. It only incites Lebanese against one
another, taking them back to the caves of sectarianism and creating a
constant state of tension between them and their Arabic and Islamic
We believe that all
Lebanese of all sects are endowed with wisdom and rationality, but we
fear that this inciting rhetoric of some politicians will prevent them
from seeing the future clearly. This, in turn, will make the possibility
of regaining the unified and independent Lebanon rather difficult,
especially with the absence of responsible leaders and the continuous
foreign interference with every detail.