[Friday Sermon] The Rights And Duties Of Leaders In Islam, By Imam Murtada Gusau

By Imam Murtada Gusau

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All praises and thanks are due to Allah whose favour directed the believers to guidance, and because of His justice, the wicked were misguided. He is never asked about what He does, while they all will be asked. I thank and praise Him and testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah Alone, without partners, and that Muhammad (SAW) is His slave and Messenger. May Allah’s peace and blessings be on Muhammad, his Progeny, Companions and all those who followed him.

O Allah’s slaves! O Nigerians!

Know that Islam came to honour mankind and also came as a mercy for them. Islam came to organize mankind’s affairs in life, whether material or spiritual, and establish them on firm grounds reform and on strong foundations. Islam came to explain to people the causes of wickedness and evil, so that they avoid them and the causes of safety, so that they embrace them.

Among the aspects that Islam explained, is one’s relationship with his Lord, his Prophet, his Leaders and his Commanders. Allah said in His Noble Qur’an:

“O you who believe! Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Righteous Ones) who are in authority.” (An-Nisaa’, 4:59)

Those in authority in the above mentioned verse, is in reference to all those who are responsible for public duty, whether a Grand Imam, scholar of the religion, Sultan, Shehu, Mai, Emir, Etsu, Village head, District head, Oba, Oni, commander, president of the people, vice president, Senate president, Speaker house of Representative, Minister, Permanent secretary, governor, Commissioner, Member state house of Assembly, Director, Local government chairman, Councilor, Senator, Representative in the House, and so forth.

Allah, Owner of the Mighty Power, has ordained great rights for those Muslims who are in authority, in this Ayah (Qur’anic verse). Fulfilling these rights ensures tranquility, peace and harmony for the Muslim Ummah (Nation). Allah, Who has ordained these rights, is the All-Knower of the secrets of this universe and the nature of mankind that require the presence of leaders and the absence of disputes and uprisings. Tranquility ensures a stable social life and protects the nation from disarray that is stirred by the ignorant and the foolishness of the wicked. Allah ordained these rights for Muslims Leaders and made them a part of His worship that should be fulfilled in times of hardship and times of ease, in times of activity and times of relaxation, and even under the rule of tyranny. This is always the case, unless one is ordered to do what he cannot bear or to disobey Allah, in which case, there is no hearing or obedience in the disobedience of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“A Muslim person is required to hear and obey with regards to what he likes or dislikes, unless he is ordered to commit Allah’s disobedience, then there is no hearing or obeying.”

A decision that Allah has ordained and from which He brings great benefits in this life and tremendous rewards in the Hereafter is worthy for the Muslim to embrace and adhere by.

Referring to what Allah has revealed for Judgment, establishing Allah’s Law, directing people to worship Allah Alone and abandoning all other deities are some of the best and most significant duties, ordained on Muslim Leaders. Or they support and empower the sincere callers to Allah with their means and resources. Fulfilling these duties will bring about all that is good and righteous, so that Allah’s blessing will descend on the Muslim Ummah at large.

Fear Allah, O Allah’s slaves, and seek the means of approach to Him by fulfilling His Commandments. Obey your sincere and righteous Leaders, invoke Allah for them, help them in Birr (righteousness) and Taqwa (piety) and practice patience with them, as long as they obey Allah and His Messenger and establish and assist Allah’s religion. Know that whenever an uprising against leaders starts, the devil shakes the hand that started it, and thus, that person will be exposed to various trials and lures in life and religion. In this case, one will die in a state of Jahiliyyah (the term that described the pre-Islamic era of ignorance). In contrast, wise persons are aware of the danger of disobeying Muslim righteous and sincere Leaders and the mischief caused by rising and rebelling against them. Only Allah knows the extent of evil that uprisings cause, and this is why the Prophet (SAW), who was sent as a guide for mankind, said the following Hadith, so that Muslims avoid this evil and protect themselves against it. He said:

“Whoever reneges regarding obedience (to righteous and sincere Leaders) and abandons the Jama’ah (the community of the believers) then died, and then his death is one of Jahiliyyah (ignorance).”

In addition, the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Hear and obey, even if an Ethiopian slave whose face looks like a raisin was appointed your commander or leader”.

Further, Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Ubadah bin As-Samit (RA) said:

“We gave our pledge of allegiance (bay’ah) to the Messenger of Allah to hear and obey in times of vitality and times of relaxation, times of hardship and times of ease, even if we were not preferred  with things as others are, and to refrain from disputing with lawful, sincere and righteous leaders.” The Messenger of Allah continued, “Unless you witness clear, unequivocal Kufr (from the leader) for which you have evidence from Allah.”

O Allah’s slaves, those who have any type of authority or responsibility!

Know that Allah, the Just Ruler of all that exists, has ordained for you rights on those under your responsibility and commanded that these rights be respected. Likewise, Allah has ordained duties on you for those who are under your authority and responsibility. Allah has made you aware of the seriousness and importance of your job by the words of his Messenger (SAW). Where he said:

“Each one of you is responsible and each will be asked about his (or her) responsibility.”

Fear Allah with regards to the responsibility that Allah has entrusted you. Fulfill your duties towards your subjects and those whom Allah allowed you to be responsible for. This way, you will be among the best Imams (Leaders), just as Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:

“Your best Imams (Leaders) are those whom you love and they love you, for whom you invoke Allah (for mercy and pardon), and they invoke Allah for you (for mercy and pardon).”

Also, this way you will avoid those, whom the Prophet (SAW) described in his statement:

“The worst of your Imams (leaders) are those whom you hate and they hate you and you curse them and they curse you.”

Know that ruling Muslims with justice and being compassionate and lenient with them, are among the duties Muslim Leaders have towards their subjects. Allah the Exalted said:

“Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice.” (An-Nisaa’, 4:58)

And He also said:

“Verily, Allah enjoins Al-Adl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allah Alone – Islamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsan (i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allah, totally for Allah’s sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet (SAW) in a perfect manner).” (An-Nahl, 16:90)


“And be kind and humble to the believers who follow you.” (Ash-Shu’araa’, 26:215)

Know that those, whom you are responsible for, also have the right on you to be sincere with them, to advise them with their benefits and to fend off harm from them. Beware of all actions and statements that might enrage the subjects or cause division and enviousness between them, including preferring yourselves with the delights of ruling, while treating them with harshness and heavy-handedness. Do not require them to perform what is beyond their capabilities and what they cannot bear, for all this will lead them to dislike your rule and dispute with you in this life, thus exposing them to painful torment in the Hereafter. The Prophet (SAW) said:

“Any slave (servant of Allah) whom Allah has entrusted with responsibility and authority and dies, when it is time for him to die, while deceiving his subjects, then Allah will forbid Paradise for him.”

In another narration, the Prophet (SAW) said:

“Every Amir (Leader, Commander) who is entrusted with authority over Muslims and refrains from giving them his best efforts and from being honest with them, will not enter Paradise with them.”

It was reported that ‘A-idh bin ‘Amr, (RA) went to ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyad and said to him, “Son! I heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW) say:

“The worst leaders are the harsh, hardhearted. Do not be among them!”

This type of leaders, who are hard and lack compassion and kindness, should be aware that he (Muhammad SAW) whose supplication to Allah is accepted said:

“O Allah! He who assumes a type of leadership over my Ummah and becomes hard with them, then be hard with him. He who assumes a type of leadership over my Ummah and is kind with them, then be kind with him.”

I say these words and ask Allah to direct Muslim Leaders, who are supposed to be protectors of Islam and Muslims, to succeed in bringing about their own religious benefit, as well as the religious benefit of their subjects. Verily, He is the best of those who are sought, Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destructions! Save us O Allah, from the defects of our selves! O Allah, cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us. I ask Allah (SWT) to bless our beloved country Nigeria with best, righteous and just leaders. Bless us O Allah, with peace and unity upon the truth, justice, stability, tranquility, harmony, mercy and protection from all kind of evil.

O Allah! We are facing general elections in our great, dear and beloved country, Nigeria, scheduled to take place tomorrow, Saturday March 28 and April 11 this year (2015). O Allah we ask you to distance and remove from us anything that could jeopardize or plunge this country into unnecessary election-related violence. O Allah! Assist us; help us to have a free, fair, credible, transparent, peaceful, clean, pure and non-violent election exercise. O Allah! Save us and save our country from ruin and all kinds of calamities. Remove all our pains Yaa Allah, our worries and bring us happiness. O Allah brings an everlasting solution to our great country, Nigeria.  Ameen Yaa ar-Hamar-Raahimina Yaa Rabbal Aalamen.

I urged the politicians to fear Allah and to eschew bitterness and hate speech in their politics. They have to play politics of principles, stop abusing one another, and respect one another and avoid character assassination and the use of abusive languages.

With tomorrow as the March 24, 2015 presidential election, I urged the major contenders, President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, and General Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, and all the other contestants and their supporters to fear Allah (GOD), and not to see the elections as a do-or-die affair. They must accept the result in good faith.

And lastly, servants of Allah! Know that, anything good I have said in my today’s Khutbah (Sermon) is from Allah the All-Mighty, and any mistakes are my own and we seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bound in anything I said or I do. With this, my beloved and respected people, I conclude my Khutbah (Sermon) and ask Allah again, the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful to forgive all our failings and shortcomings.

And may the salutation, peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.

This Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Jumaada al-Thaany 7, 1436 A.H (March 27, 2015), by Imam Murtada Muhammad Gusau, the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’at Mosque Okene, Kogi State Nigeria. He can be reached via 08038289761 and [email protected]