By Latheef Farook –
Maithripala Sirisena says” on elected as the president he would not move into official residence Temple Trees but would live in his own simple house. He has also declared his assets for everyone to see. He is keen on leading a simple life and serving the people of all communities.
Thus he calls for simplicity of life.
Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero who single handedly spearheaded the campaign to abolish the Executive Presidency with his National Movement for Social Justice wanted to ensure social justice for all in the country. He played a key role in the creation of a common opposition candidate. He should be paid tribute because he fought for justice at a time not many in the country were even prepared to talk about justice due to fear of revenge.
Thus he calls for social justice.
Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero, a Buddhist monk, a vibrant politician and a dynamic member of the Parliament, formed an organization called ‘Pivithuru Hetak’ (The National Council for a Better Tomorrow) to change the existing presidential system by educating political leaders, intellectuals, academics and the public on vital facts essential on good governance for the betterment of the country.
Thus he calls for accountability and good governance.
Simple life, social justice and good governance to the benefit of all are all what Islam is about.This is what Allah told us in the Holy Quran to ensure a better society more than 14 centuries ago. This is what our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) has shown us by living a life reflecting the Holy Quranic teachings. In fact he was the personification of all what was taught in the Holy Quran.
In fact great Caliph Omar who built an empire stretching from North India to Mediterranean capturing including Jerusalem without shedding a drop of blood and ruled with justice was known for his simplicity and just rule.
For example Caliph Umar, busy doing some official work in the light of an oil lamp, put off his lamp when a visitor who came to see him said he had just come to pay a social call. There was darkness everywhere. When the visitor asked why he put off the oil lamp Caliph said “I was doing office work and the burning oil in the lamp is the property of the people and he was not entitled to use that oil to entertain a friend”.
In this regard it is worth recalling how Caliph Omar captured Jerusalem with his simplicity.
When the Muslim army entered Jerusalem the Patriarch of the city Sophronius stated that he would negotiate only with Caliph Umar and that nobody enters Jerusalem before Caliph Umar. On hearing this Caliph Umar informed that he was on his way.
Accompanied by a servant, Caliph Umar rode on camelback to Jerusalem though he could have been accompanied by an entourage that could have made the ground tremble under the hooves of horses. He did so to show simplicity and ensure that Allah alone deserves all the glories.
On reaching Jerusalem, it was the servant’s turn to ride the camel and as a mark of respect to Caliph Umar and to ensure that the people see the Caliph, the servant wanted the Caliph to ride the camel. However Caliph Umar refused and entered Jerusalem on foot while the servant rode the camel to the shock and surprise of everyone including Patriarch Sophronius. On reaching the place Caliph Umar continued the journey on foot carrying his shoes in hand under the astonished gaze of the people.
Caliph Umar walked to the army wearing modest threadbare clothes. The Christians who watched everything from the walls of Jerusalem were amazed at the strange simplicity, unable to believe that this simple man could be the leader of those well equipped armies.
The Patriarch Sophronius who saw the unfolding scenes with great admiration said to his people that nobody in the world would be able to stand up to these people and advised them to surrender to be saved.
After the treaty was signed the key to the city was formally handed over in 637 AC. The gates of Jerusalem were opened and Caliph Umar entered along a promenade that led him to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Caliph Umar was inside and the Patriarch Sophronius said to him “pray”. However Caliph Umar declined, fearing it might establish a precedent that would threaten the church’s continued use as a Christian house of worship. Instead he prayed in an area to the south of the church, now the site of the Mosque of Umar in Jerusalem.
In doing so Caliph Umar showed the world the meaning of tolerance and generosity in victory and strength. It was the greatness of Islam that shone in his spirit and was reflected in his ethics though he was a person known for his firmness and courage.
United States President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameroon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, all soaked in innocent Muslim blood, need to learn a lot from Caliph Umar on good governance.
With regard to Ven Sobitha Thero’s call for social justice , in the Holy Quran- in Chapter Al-NISA (Women) Allah says;
“Believers, be upholders of justice and bearers of witness to truth for the sake of Allah, even though it may either be against yourselves or against your parents and kinsmen, or the rich or the poor, for Allah is more concerned with their well-being than you are. Do not, then, follow your own desires lest you keep away from justice. If you twist or turn away from (the truth), know that Allah is well aware of all that you do. (from Sayyid Abul A’la Maudi’s Towards Understanding the Quran. Vol 11 Surahs 4-6)
Ven Sobitha Thero and many others involved in the presidential campaign call for constitutional changes which guarantee accountability.
Islam advocates accountability; “Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said: Every one of you is a guardian and accountable for his charge. Thus the Amir (Ruler or Head of State) is a guardian of the people and He is accountable for them. And a man is a guardian of his household and he is accountable for them; and a women is in charge of the household and her children and she is accountable for them; and a servant is guardian of his master’s property, everyone of you is accountable for his subjects” (Bukhari, al-Jam’al-Sahih)
Accountability for Islamic leaders goes beyond the confines of this life; they will also be accountable to Allah in the Hereafter. Here are two relevant sayings from the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) about the consequences to Islamic leaders who are corrupt, and self-serving:
- “There is no governor who rules Muslim subjects and dies, having played foul with them, but Allah will forbid him Paradise”
- “If he does not strive diligently to promote their welfare, he will not enter Paradise with them.”
“Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them. And that when you judge between them, you judge with justice.” (4:58)
Islam is also in total agreement with Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero’s call for a corrupt free society under good governance to the benefit of all. In fact this is what Holy Quran has been teaching for the past more than 14 centuries. This was the just rule in Madina during the time of Prophet Muhammad and under righteous caliphs. Unfortunately western imperil powers distort Islam and demonize Muslims to invade and destroy Muslim countries and Muslim societies to loot their wealth and ensure that Islam remains suppressed to suit their evil designs. Thus the world is unable to understand Islam. Sri Lanka is no exception.
The Quran states: “And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)” (3:159).
Excellent Islamic leaders are truthful, just and avoid bribery and corruption.
“And do not devour your wealth among yourselves through falsehood, and offer it not as a bribe to the authorities that you may knowingly devour a part of the wealth of other people with injustice.” (2:189).
Ibn Masud said that Allah’s Messenger (Pbuh) slept on a reed mat and got up with the mark of it on his body. He said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I wish you would order us to spread something out for you and make something.” The Prophet replied, “What have I to do with the world, I am like a rider who rests for a while under the shade of a tree, then goes off and leaves it.” Ubaid-Allah bin Muhsin reported Allah’s Messenger (Pbuh) as saying, “If anyone among you is secure in mind in the morning, healthy in body and has food for the day, it is as though the whole world has been brought into his Possession.”
Abu Hurairah reported Allah’s Messenger (Pbuh) as saying, “Look at those who are inferior to you and do not look at those who are superior to you, for that is more likely to keep you from despising Allah’s Favor on you.” Abu Talha said, “When we complained to Allah’s Messenger of hunger and raised our clothes to show we were each carrying a stone over our belly, he raised his clothes and showed that he had two stones on his belly.”
Once Umar entered Prophet’s house and noticed the state of the furniture in it. Prophet himself had only one sheet of cloth round him to cover the lower part of his body. There was one simple bed, with one pillow filled with nut fiber; on one side of the room was some barley and in one corner near his feet was an animal skin. There were some water-bag skins hanging beside his bed. Umar said that on seeing these tears came into his eyes. Allah’s Messenger asked the reason for his tears. He replied, “O Allah’s Messenger! Why shouldn’t I cry! The strings of the bed have left marks on your body. This is a small room with all your furniture; I can see what there is. The Kaiser (Cesar) of Rome and Kisra (Khosru) of Persia enjoy luxurious living while you, Allah’s Messenger and the Chosen One, live like this.” He said, “Ibn Al-Khattab! Don’t you like that they choose this world and we choose the Hereafter?”.
In short, Muhammad (Pbuh) lived and liked a simple life and enjoyed every minute of it. He taught his companions, through his personal example, to lead a simple life and not to be ostentatious.
Where are we after 14 centuries today?
It is worthy to note that Islam and great Islamic rulers like Caliph Umar have disappeared from the Muslim Middle East which was turned into a killing field by United States, Europe and Israel in collaboration with the Arab dictators. All what we have is a group of treacherous anti people anti Islamic dictators serving their US-European masters who have installed and maintained them in power to implement their evil agendas against Muslims.
This includes the land of Islam Saudi Arabia where the ruthless dictator, the most oppressive ruler in the planet, brutalizing people in complete violation of Islam. Thus one should not judge the present set of dictators in the Middle East by Islamic values.