One member of the community questioned Abu Bakar whether he should be the Caliph. “How would we know you would be a just community leader?” asked this man. Abu Bakar took out his sword and placed it on the floor in front of him. If I were to deviate from the true path and commit an unjust act, then take this sword and cut off my head, said Abu Bakar.
That was the standard by which a community leader should rule. He should be beheaded, and by his own sword, if he does not rule in a just manner. In those days communities were small. Today, communities are larger and a country like Malaysia no longer has a small committee of a dozen or so community leaders entrusted with the task of choosing a successor from amongst them. The community leader is chosen through an election system and, in Malaysia, that community leader is called a prime minister.
Nevertheless, whether he is called a caliph, a prime minister, a chairman, a secretary-general, a president, or whatever, the concept remains the same. That community leader is chosen, by whatever means, by the community from amongst the community, and he must rule by certain standards or else face punishment from the community.
Today, Malaysia has a new successor, a new Caliph, and that successor is called Najib Razak. And he must rule this community called Malaysia by the same standards set by the first successor to Prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakar.
Najib is not King. Neither is he Emperor. He is a mere successor, successor to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. And he must rule this community called Malaysia as any successor or caliph since the time of Abu Bakar should.
A religious person would certainly believe, and would never dare deny, that a community leader, by whatever name you wish to call him or her, is chosen by God. God decides everything. In Islam this belief is even stronger. Innalillah hainaillahi raajiun. From God we came, and to God we shall return.
What does this mean? It means, basically, that we are God’s creation and God decides what happens to us. That is how the Muslim mind works. Therefore, whether we become the community leader or not would be determined by God and would be part of God’s grand design. To think otherwise would be considered blasphemous because we would be suggesting that we and not God has the power to determine what becomes of us.
The responsibility of the community leader is a very heavy responsibility indeed. Those who know their religion would never want to carry that responsibility. The job of a community leader is not about glamour. It is not about the excitement of power. It is about representing God and in ensuring that you fulfil the amanah from God. Amanah means trust. And God has amanah or trusted you to lead the community in a just manner. You, in short, are God’s trustee.
Would you dare become God’s trustee? Are you so sure you would never violate that trust and commit breach of trust? Would you be aware you are committing breach of trust even as you are committing breach of trust? In the first place, do you even know what constitutes breach of trust?
Thus far, all the community leaders since 1957 have demonstrated that the concept totally escapes them. They regard the position of community leader as a right. It is not a right. It is a privilege. And with this privilege comes attached the heavy responsibility of fulfilling the task of God’s trustee.
I would never in a million years want to undertake the task of community leader even for all the gold in Malaysia. That same gold will be used as fuel to burn me in hell when my time comes to meet my Maker. Why do they covet so much that job of prime minister? Don’t they know there will hardly be any community leader who will not face punishment in the afterlife?
I don’t know whether I can escape all my own sins when I face trial in God’s court. I will need to balance my books very carefully to ensure that my credits outweigh my debits. Even then I am not confident I will have a black bottom line. I suspect my bottom line will be red and I will be made to account for my sins and face a most terrible punishment for the shortfall of credits to offset my debits. And you want me to add to those already excess debits the sins of this nation? Why in heaven’s name would I want to do that?
The job of the leader of the community is not a blessing. It is a curse, a most terrible curse. If you are not yet sure whether you are destined for hell, the liability that you suffer for taking up the job of community leader will help assure you that you are certainly going to hell.
No, keep the job of caliph, president, prime minister, chairman, or whatever. I would never want that job. I have enough problems as it is. I do not need to tie an albatross around my neck and sink into the lowest pit of hell just so that people can idolise me and polish my apple and call me YAB for a couple of years.
You must be really ignorant about religion, or just downright stupid, to covet that job of community leader. If you just knew the curse that comes with the job you would never accept that responsibility for all the gold in the land. And here we have people falling over each other and scheming and plotting to outdo each other just so that they could become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
May God have mercy on their soul. They would need it because they have just made a pact with the devil and the devil now owns their soul.