Thirst for power? Not so much.

Someone from the family of Rabia got information that when Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiAllaahu anhu was acknowledged as Caliph, he shut himself indoors. Then Sayyidina Umar radiAllaahu anhu went to his house and reproached Abu Bakr radiAllaahu anhu. Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiAllaahu anhu said, “It is you who created trouble for me. You pressed me before the people for the acceptance of the Caliphate. Sayyidina Umar radiAllaahu anhu replied, “Don’t you know that the Holy Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam had said, “If a ruler attains truth by exercising his judgemnt, he is entitled to two rewards.” By quoting this saying, Sayyidina Umar radiAllaahu anhu relieved Hadrat Abu Bakr of his worries.

Reading this little anecdote reminded me of campaigns, wherein leaders-to-be tout their many skills, real and imagined, sometimes bending a few truths here and there to gain leadership. This is not, of course, exclusive to the United States…I’m sure campaigns from South American to the Indian sub-continent, everywhere in between and beyond, are filled with such euphoric rises to power. Yet, as this story illustrates, our early Islamic leaders were wary of the heavy burdens of leadership.


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