Caliphate, Featured, Ruling

Wise sayings about the ruler from Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih

This is an excerpt from Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih’s book Al-‘Iqd al-Farid (The Unique Necklace).

Ruling power is the rein of all things. It organizes rights, maintains punishments, and is the hub around which religious and secular matters turn. It is God’s protection of His country, and His shadow stretching over His servants. Through it, their wives are secure, their oppressed are given justice, their oppressors are deterred, and their frightened are safe.

Sayings by the wise

The wise have said, “A just leader is better than downpouring rain and an unjust one is better than lasting civil strife. What God restrains by a ruler is indeed more than what He restrains by the Qur’an.”

Wahb ibn Munabbih said, “Among what God revealed to His prophet David, peace be on him, is: ‘I am God, King of kings, and the hearts of kings are in my hand. To those who are obedient to Me, I will give kings who are merciful; and to those who are disobedient to Me, I will give kings who are vengeful.’”

Therefore, it is incumbent upon him whom God has invested with the reins of His rule, whom He has made sovereign over the affairs of His creatures, whom He has specially favored with His beneficence, and whom He has firmly appointed to wield power – it is incumbent upon him to care seriously about his subjects’ interests and pay attention to the welfare of the people obedient to him, in accordance with the honor that God has conferred upon him and the conditions of happiness He has bestowed upon him. God, may He be mighty and exalted, said, “Those who, if We establish them in the earth, will perform prayer, give alms, enjoin good and forbid evil. And to God belongs the consequence of all affairs.” [Q.22:41]

Source: Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih, ‘The Unique Necklace,’ translation of Al-‘Iqd al-Farid, Volume I, ‘The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization,’ Garnet Publishing, 2006, p.5