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Random thoughts

August 24, 2020

All about good governance

Opinion

August 24, 2020

The last two days have been full of self-praise by the ruling party. The public has yet again been taken for a ride and we are all now ma’moon. Our ears are tired of hearing about turning this “rotten-to-the-core” country into a Madina-like state. Read the books on Hazrat Umar bin Al-Khattab, the Second Caliph, and then the history of the administration of Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz.

Here are a few examples of good administration, justice and counsel, as explained by the great, famous, wise man, Shaikh Saadi of Shiraz in his famous book 'Bostan' (a free rendering of the translation by Richard Francis Burton)

“The goodness of God is beyond imagination; what service then can the tongue of praise perform? Keep, O God, this king, Abu Bakr, beneath whose shadow is the protection of the people, long established upon his throne and make his heart live in obedience to you. Render fruitful his tree of hope, prolong his youth and adorn his face with mercy.

"O King! Deck not yourself in royal garments when you come to worship; make your supplications like a dervish saying: ‘O God! Powerful and strong you are. I am no monarch but a beggar in your court. Unless you help sustain me, what can I do? Help me and give me the means of virtue, or else how can I benefit my people?’ If you rule by day, pray fervently by night. The great among your servants wait upon you at your door; you should serve in the same way with your head in worship upon God’s threshold.”

“Noushiravan, when at the point of death, counselled his son, Hormuz: ‘Cherish the poor and seek not your own comfort. The shepherd should not sleep while the wolf is among the sheep. Protect the needy, for a king wears his crown for the sake of his subjects. The people are as the root and the king is as the tree; and the tree, O son, gains strength from the roots. He should not oppress the people. Do not look for plenteousness in that land where the people are afflicted by a misguided king. Fear those who are proud and those who do not fear God.”

“There once landed at a seaport in Arabia a man who had widely travelled and was versed in many sciences. He presented himself to the king who was so captivated by his wisdom and knowledge that he appointed the traveller as vizier. With such skill did he perform his duties that he offended no one and brought the kingdom completely beneath his sway. He closed the mouths of slanderers because nothing evil issued from his hand and the envious, who could detect no fault in him, bemoaned their lack of opportunity to harm him.

"At the court there were two beautiful young slaves towards whom He displayed affection. The former vizier, who had been dismissed to make room for the newcomer, maliciously said to the king. ‘This new minister does not live chastely’ he said. ‘I have heard that he intrigues lustfully with two of your slaves. I am not so unmindful of the favours that I have received at your hands that I should see this and remain silent.’ Angered by what he heard, the king stealthily watched the new vizier and when he observed him and one of the slaves exchange glances, his suspicion at once became confirmed. Summoning the minister, he said: ‘I did not think you would be shameless and unworthy. This lofty position is not your proper place, but I am to blame. If I retain one who is evil by nature, assuredly I would be sanctioning disloyalty in my house.’ ‘Since I am free of guilt’ the vizier replied, ‘I fear not my accuser.’

"When told that the accuser was the former vizier, he said: ‘I am not surprised. What else would any envious man say when he has been replaced? If you are willing to listen, I will tell you a story. In a dream, someone saw the Prince of Evil – erect as a fir tree with a face as fair as the sun. The sleeper said: ‘O splendid being! Mankind knows not how beautiful you are. Fearful of countenance they imagine you and hideously have you been depicted on the walls of public baths.’ The Prince of Evil replied: ‘the pencil was in the hand of the enemy! I threw them out of Paradise, now they malign me.’ In the same way, the vizier said, they do the same to me.

"But the king was angry. ‘Have I not seen with my own eyes the way you look at those two slaves?’ ‘That is true’ said the vizier, ‘but like a beggar eyes the rich with envy. Once I too possessed grace and beauty but now look at me – old and toothless! Why may I not glance with envy and recall my past?’

The king was convinced by this pearl of truth. ‘To carry the hand to the sword quickly leads to regret,’ he said. Admonishing the slanderer for his evil words, the king further increased the dignity of the vizier, who directed the affairs of the state for many years with justice and benevolence and was long remembered for his virtues.”

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