How do leaders in our county fit to this definition. Are they trustworthy managers of the affairs of the ruled ? Are they down-to-earth in matters of overseeing those under them? Do they even care if soldiers ever come or the leader of the soldiers mount a horse, as said in Arabic maxim?
In the stories of the prophets of God; from Adam to Muhammad ( alehimu-Salaam) , there are lots of lessons, morals and guides for men in all generations, for those who desire guidance and mercy of God in all their endeavors! This is what the last verse of Suratul-Yusuf ( Qu’ran 12:111) has come to affirm. We read it as follows:
” In their stories there is certainly a lesson for men of understanding. It is not a narrative which could be forged,but a verification of what is before it and a distinct explanation of all things and a guide and mercy to a people who believe!”
It is for the reason above that Allah Has reported their stories in His Book , the glorious Qur’an and explained therein exhortations, remembrance and good sermons for the believers who desired success in their endeavors. Therefore, taking examples and admonitions from their examples is following Allah’s commandments, while doing that is a way to grace and mercy here and in the hereafter.
Now that governance in the hands of those who lead nations and countries of life is becoming hard, lacking human face and seemingly dictatorial, despite the claim of many of these nations and countries to democracy, which to equally many people, is a government of the majority and which respects human dignity than any others in its kits; is it not proper if we resort to wisdom and manners of governance of the people of God, especially His prophets, who were before now, the leaders and overseers of their lands and empires while alive with wisdom, empathy and competence?
Suleiman ( Alehi Salam) according to Yusuf Ali ( 1986), was a king of power and authority; outside his kingdom he had influence among many neighbouring peoples; he had knowledge of birds, and beasts and plants; he was just and wise , and understood men; and above all, he had spiritual insight, which brought him near to Allah. Thus, he had something of all kinds of desirable gifts. And with true gratitude he referred to Allah , the Giver of all gifts”.
Suleiman was no idle or easy-going king! He kept all his organization strictly up to the mark, both his armies literally and his forces metaphorically. His most mobile arm was the Birds, who were light on the wing and flew and saw everything like efficient scouts. One day he missed the Hoopoe ( Hudhudah) in his muster. The Hoopoe is a light, graceful creature, with elegant plumage of many colours, and a beautiful yellow crest on his head which entitles him to be called the royal bird.
Queen Baliqis, the leader of Sheba
was a woman endowed with power, wealth and wisdom but who with her people were worshippers of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the planets, and the stars. But for her wisdom and deference to the advice of those under her, she had been saved from the destruction which could have befallen her and her people and eventually they became believers in the hands of Sulaiman ( Alehi Salam).
Suleiman’s Supervision Of The Hoopoe; Do We Supervise Those Under Us As He Had Done Too?
The glorious Qur’an in the story of prophet Suleiman ( Alehi Salam) extols the organizational and supervisory wizardry of prophet Sulaiman as follows:
“And he ( Sulaiman) oversaw a muster of the Birds; and he said: “Why is it I see not The Hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees ?.” _ Qu’ran 27:20
What prophet Sulaiman had done here points to the importance of regular checking and supervision of the affairs of those under the suzerainty of a leader or a government so that orderliness will be attained and for keeping corruption, which can derail the government, at bay!
If Sulaiman ( Alehi Salam) could have supervised an ordinary bird out of many under his control , he must have been concerned with the affairs of other beings; human and Jinns, under him too. How do we fair in the supervision and organization of those under us ? Do we make sure our children pray the canonical prayers regularly? How about their studies and apprenticeship they are undergoing?
How do our governments fair in this stance too? Have they been monitoring how projects under their supervision are being executed? Do they care how injections and drugs in the maternities and hospitals under them are being procured? Do they make sure that food and beverages being sold in the country are properly tested and checked by the concerned authorities?
Are our schools duly supervised? Do the governments provide enabling environments for the schools to cater for the country’s children? How are the laboratories and libraries in these schools fair? How do the teachers and others in charge of these schools make judicious use of governments’ procurements in those schools?
This is the King Sulaiman and prophet of Allah who was both concerned with the low and mighty in his governance! His organizational prowess is serenaded in the glorious Qur’an thus :
“And before Sulaiman were marshalled hosts of jinns and men and birds, _ they were all kept in order and ranks!” _ Qu’ran 27:17
Today, the meanings of “head of government, president or leader of a home” have been lost in those who are making claims to those names! When there is unnecessary rise in the price of a commodity under the supervision of a government or when the central bank of a nation behaves arbitrarily, and the government is queried or an explanation is demanded from him as to why the matter is like that, the head of the government, president or leader of a home will declare ignorantly that he does not know how the price is raised or why the head of his bank behaved with insouciance like that, as if he is not in charge any more.
In Umdatul- Qariu ,which is an explanation of the Imam Bukhari’s book: ” Sahihul- Bukhari”, a president, a leader of government or of a home is defined as both a trustworthy and a down-to-earth supervisor who is concerned with how to make easier the affairs of those under him!”
How do leaders in our county fit to this definition. Are they trustworthy managers of the affairs of the ruled? Are they down-to-earth in matters of overseeing those under them? Do they even care if soldiers ever come or the leader of the soldiers mount a horse, as said in Arabic maxim?
And in case of deliberate undermining of their governments, do our leaders sanction the culprits and when there are unintentional errors ,do they give room for excuses as Sulaiman had done while lamenting the absence of hoopoe for not taking permission from him before he went out proposing three options for him thus:
One if he had gone out without taking permission from me for no just reason, I either punish him severally for this his indiscretion, for that is a contempt of my rule and power and secondly, or if I see that, the reason for disobeying my authority is not genuine but jejune, I may even terminate his life so as to serve as a big deterrent for other among those under me who may want to walk same road or thirdly, the hoopoe may come to me with a clear and genuine reason for his absence, I may pardon him!
This should be the approach of a good leader _ he must be determined in his rule, but he must still be giving room for genuine excuse on the parts of those he rules! For without determination, his government will be derailed and without giving room for genuine excuse, he will become a tyrant! Good governance does not bar steady decision making as it does not entails unnecessary importunity!
Do Not Underate Anybody; Those In Authority Should Take Lesson From Those Under Them
Many a government; both national and residential ones, had been torpedoed or dismantled for not taking a cue or suggestion from the low and dregs in their midst! Arrogance and the disregard of words of wisdom from those under them in authority,had put paid to their destruction. This was not the case of prophet Sulaiman despite having been “given power and wisdom which had not been given to anybody after him” _ Qur’an 38:35
Allah in His sublime wisdom does teach His creatures as He wills _ sometimes, He teaches the high through the low and the healthy through the sick as He teaches the powerful through the lazy! This is what He Had done for Sulaiman through the Hoopoe! For a big lesson was shown to Sulaiman afterwards that no matter how powerful you are, you can’t know all or have all!
It happened that when the Hoopoe returned from where he had been to, he had come with an information which the retinue of Sulaiman’s entourages could not have garnered despite the fact that all of them had been endowed with more physical power than the Hoopoe! Remember that his entourages contained Men , jinns ,birds and winds.
It was this small bird that had travelled from Palestine in the area of Jerusalem to Sabai the capital of Yemen to behold and get a powerful information about other contending power _ and a pagan one like that; which had been given virtually everything that made a government solid and stable! The Hoopoe while informing Sulaiman of this said:
” But the Hoopoe tarried not long, then said : ” I have compassed which you have not compassed , and I have come to you from Sabai with true tidings;
” I found there a woman ruling over them and provided with every requisite; and she has a magnificent throne” _ Qu’ran 27:22-23
Another lesson in followership in the manners of the Hoopoe with his leader is that it is encouraging for a follower to not hid any thing or information that can add glory to his leader or harm him. So that the leader can prepare ahead for the repercussions of both situations. This is exactly what the Hoopoe had done in relation to what he had beholden in Sabai.
The messenger ( Hoopoe) as a pious bird, as befits a messenger of Sulaiman’s height, after mentioning the false worship of the Sabaeans , had pronounced the Creed of Unity and emphasized Allah’s attribute as Lord of the Great Throne, in order to make it clear that whatever may be the magnificence of a human throne such as he had described above, he was not in any way misled from his loyalty to Sulaiman, the exponent of the true religion of Unity, al-Islam .
An Exemplary Leadership Demands That The Truth Of An Information Must Be Checked Before Acting Upon It
When the Hoopoe had recanted what he had seen in Baliqis’ kingdom to King Sulaiman, the latter, as a thinking and competent leader did not rush to act upon it without first of all checking and affirming the veracity of his agent’s claim!
He had firstly exercise patience and gone ahead to establish the authenticity of the Hoopoe’s claim, for if he had not even doubted his claim, he knew that the Hoopoe might have loosened the rein of his imagination in describing its splendour or parts of the account having been traveling for more than 2 thousands kilometers from Palestine to Yemen . This he did by giving him a letter to be delivered in three manners to Baliqis.
One, the Hoopoe should deliver the letter by dropping it in the recess of Baliqis’ chamber; two , he should draw back from them watching their reactions and third, wait to see what answer they return _( Qur’an 27:28)
The Contents And Manners Of Sulaiman’s Letter To Baliqis; Lessons In Inviting Others To Good
Prophet Suleiman ( Alehi Salam) , is not a tyrant who is given to harsh ways of inviting others to good. As a prophet of Allah who is primarily responsible for calling others to the worship of only true God, Allah, and as a King who is supposed to oversee the security of his domain and its environs, he had done so with personable manners and wisdom.
He had not also used threat for a people who had not been invited to good in the first place, instead he had expressly begun his letter with the formula of the true and universal religion of unity by inviting his audience with good words, gentle mien and reasonable argument! He had personified the true Islamic daw’ah methodology referred to in Qu’ran 16:125 thus:
” Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation , and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who goes astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way ”
Sulaiman had not behaved like the today’s harsh, cruel and lacking-in-respect callers to Islam whose poor manners of inviting others to God’s way are much more damaging to what they invited to than benefiting the object of their invitation. Remember that Sulaiman was blessed with a better organized soldiers in men, jinns, birds and winds than the Baliqis’ nation, still he demonstrated the good traits of true callers to God’s way.
This the Queen had acknowledged before proceeding in the reading of the letter which reads as follows according to Qu’ran 27: 29-31:
” ( The Queen) said : ” You chiefs! ( her chiefs in council)
Here is delivered to me _ a letter worthy of respect;
” It is from Sulaiman, and is ( as follows): ” in the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful:
” Do not be arrogant against me, but come to me in submission to the true religion ”
We can see that the focus of Sulaiman’s invitation of Baliqis and her people had not been worldly as many powerful emperors and kings would want but the worship of true one and only God, Allah, no more no less. He had not coveted Baliqis’ magnificent throne nor wanted her wealth!
Seeking Advice and Way Forward Are Watchwords Of Good And Efficient Leadership; The Queen Sheba’s Example
The success of a good and efficient leadership is hanged on competency of those in the leadership position and the ease at which they seek advice from others equally knowledgeable and experienced council or people about the matters at hands!
This was how Queen Baliqis had been administering her domain before her encounter with Sulaiman’s letter of invitation to abandon their worship of heavenly bodies for the truth and only Creator of all things, Allah! We confirm this with the verse of the glorious Qur’an thus :
” She ( Baliqis) said : ” You chiefs! Advise me in this my affair: no affair have I decided except in your presence ( with your takes) . _ Qu’ran 27:32
Besides, when the advice of her chiefs had been arbitrarily and lacking in wisdom and knowledge of the power and strength of their town and that of Sulaiman’s, she had cautiously advised against their suggestions. The chiefs in their own eyes are ” endued with strength, and given to vehemenwar” _ they wanted to go straight to war with Sulaiman without taking the situation into proper perspective, for they saw themselves as having bestowed with power and daring in wars!
Baliqis with her good leadership disposition advised against that and told them what formidable head of states were capable of doing to other countries with less capacity to contain them in war thus:
” Kings ( head of states) when they enter a country , despoil it, and make the noblest of its people its meanest,thus do they behave!” _ Qu’ran 27: 34
Instead, Baliqis resorted to woman’s ploy and decoy, by tempting Sulaiman with wealth thinking he was a worldly and a king given to coveting material wealth not knowing that what was given to him was more better than what was given to her!
According to Yusuf Ali ( 1986): ” the character of Queen Baliqis is that of a ruler enjoying great wealth and dignity , and full confidence of her subjects. She does nothing without consulting her Council, and her Council are ready to carry out her commands in all things. Her people are manly, loyal, and contended, and ready to take the field against any enemy of their country. ”
Continues Yusuf Ali: ” but their queen is prudent in policy , and is not willing to embroil her country in war. She has the discrimination to see that Sulaiman is not like ordinary kings who conquer by violence. Perhaps in her heart she has a ray of divine light already, though her people are yet pagans!”
To Be Continued…
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