Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dignity: Its takes two to tango

************************** In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. *************************** Reflection ************************** "O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who hath created you and those before you, so that ye may ward off (evil). - Al-Baqarah (The Cow, 21) ************************** IF someone has dignity, it means they are worthy of respect. In commanding respect from the 'rakyat', leaders too have to play their part because 'it takes two to tango' which means if two people (or parties) are inolved in a situation (usually the bad ones), both must be reponsible. A tango which is a South American dance must be done in pairs. **************************** Well, in executing the 'old slogan' - 'Kepimpinan Melalui Teladan' (Leadership By Example) too needs the cooperation of the two sides involved; leaders and the people (rakyat) because it takes two to tango. ******************************* If leaders seek respect from the rakyat, they too must respect the rights of the rakyat. If they want the rakyat to have dignity, they too must portray that trait. ******************************* If they want the rakyat to love the country, they too must show and prove their love to the country; but some leaders act otherwise, they send their families overseas during hard times such as when haze hit the country. ***************************** In Islamic tradition, leaders such as Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab and Umar Abdul Aziz proved that pious leaders 'produced' pious rakyat; the 'old slogan' - Kepimpinan Melalui Teladan - fit in perfectly; but are we seeing any fine examples around? **************************** During a hike in petrol prices a few years ago, a leader came up with a 'very bright and innovative idea' on how to overcome the problem with his 'great slogan' - Ubah Gaya Hidup Anda - (Change Your Lifestyle). Yes, some rakyat had changed their lifestyles for example abandoning their private vehicles and adopting public transport but what about the leader himself? *************************** Perhaps he, his wife and family members have changed their lifestyles but unfortunately for the more extravaganza way such as shopping in top fashion cities of world, hunting for luxurious items such as Birkin handbags and so on! ************************* The Muslims have a superb example in Hadrat Umar ibn al-Khattab (may he be blessed, r.a.). It is written that Hadrat Umar r.a. was making his nighty rounds through the streets of Madinah when he heard voices coming from a nearby house. ************************** He drew nearer and heard a mother saying to her daughter; "People will come out to collect the milk in the morning. We don't have a lot - add some water so we can get a good price." **************************** The daughter refused, to which the mother said: "It is not a big thing, Umar isn't watching." *************************** The daughter replied: "Mother, if Umar isn't watching, then Umar's Creator is watching." *************************** Hadrat Umar r.a. returned home, impressed with the young lady's faith. Upon awaking the next morning, he sent a message to that house that he wanted the girl of that house as his daughter-in-law. *************************** It was said from the marriage of Umar's son and this pious young woman led to the birth of the grandfather of the Great Ummayad Caliph, Umar Abdul Aziz who was famous with his integrity; in one story he was said to put off the state lamp and lighted his own private one when discussing family matters with his son! ************************ These were times when people were evaluated on their basis of their sincerity and character, not in how many eduction degrees they had or how many houses they owned. *************************** On another occasion Hadrat Umar r.a. was travelling and came upon a shepherd herading sheep in what appeared to be a barren wasteland, with no settlement in sight. ************************** He asked whether the sheep belonged to the shepherd who replied that he had a master. Hadrat Umar r.a. offered him food but the shepherd said that he was fasting. ************************* Hadrat Umar r.a. was amazed that he was fasting in such heat and decided to test him. Hadrat Umar r.a.offered to pay for a sheep that they could sacrifice and eat, but the shepherd said that he must first ask permission from his master. ***************************** Hadrat Umar r.a. said; "Your master is not here, neither is he watching. The shepherd then replied; "My master may not be here, but Allah SWT is every where." ********************** Hadrat Umar r.a. was amazed at this man sincerity and steadfastness. We should reflect on whether such people are today and how we can become like them." ************************* In facing hard times such as during the price hike in necessary items leaders should adhere to their 'Kepimpinan Melalui Teladan' slogan. But in reality, are they following the footsteps of Umar al-Khattab or Umar Abdul Aziz? ***************************** Leaders keep on saying that the rakyat will have to sacrifice in facing difficulties in the future. They tell the rakyat to follow their many suggestions, among others spending wisely on necessities only and changing lifestyes like adopting car pooling and travelling on public transport. *************************** The question here is, does the slogan 'Ubah Gaya Hidup Anda' apply only on the rakyat; do leaders have 'special rights' not to abide to their very own recommendation? ************************* In true sense, everyone should make sacrifices during these hard times. ************************ Regarding the escalating prices of necessary items, undoubtedly the most badly hit are the people in the low income bracket. To these people I sympathize with them; perhaps by learning the Islamic way in dealling with such problems, it could sooth us in our lives. *************************** In life we have to be always grateful and thankful for the things we have and the blessings of Allah SWT would be showered upon us. Regarding 'the things' we have, these are categorized into two aspects - one worldly (material) matters and the other religious matters (obligations). ************************* If we are in the habit of making comparison with others, if is regarding worldly matters (such as having a hard time to fulfill our basic requirements that are food, clothing and shelter) we should look down to those less lucky than us so that we would feel grateful and thankful to Allah SWT; but if regarding religious obligations, it is the opposite. ********************** We should look up to those on the higher steps of the ladder (for example a person had performed hajj, we have not); only then calmness would be showered upon us. As for material matters to have calmness we must look down to those have not but regarding religious obligations we mut try our best to be closer to Allah SWT and His Prophet s.a.w. by each day. *************************** If you as a father had work hard to have food laid on the family table; be happy and grateful to The Almighty because you had seek them accordingly to 'syariah' (halal) and not through 'the crooked' (haram) way. ************************ Even the food is barely enough, be gratefuland thankful because Allah SWT promises increased favors for those who are grateful. He says (what means): “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favor); but if you deny, indeed My punishment is severe.'” (Quran 14: 7) ********************** By not bringing in 'haram' (forbidden) income including food into your home, than you are in His straight path because He says: "O! You who believe, save yourself and your families from Hell-fire, whose fuel are humans and stones (idols) over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." (At-Tahrim 66:6) ************************** On why we were sent into this world, in Surat Adh-Dhariyat 55:56 (The Winnowing Winds) Allah SWT says, with the meaning; "I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me." *************************** So as a reminder, serve Allah SWT well whether you are poor or rich; you are rakyat or leader because all are accountable to Him. ********************************** It takes two to tango - if leaders are like Umar al-Khattab and Umar Abdul Aziz, their rakyat will be like the pious young lady and the shepherd mentioned above but if they are murderers and corrupt leaders they would produce notorious rakyat!

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