Man of the people vs the corrupt elite

Man of the people vs the corrupt elite

In Surat al-Furqan the disbelievers wonder why the Messenger (peace be upon him) walks in the street and in the marketplaces like an ordinary person. Their assumption is that anyone who is important should not be accessible to the public. He should be aloof, dwell in an ivory tower surrounded by bodyguards, travel in fancy vehicles, have luxurious grand palaces, and be followed by an entourage of sycophants.

وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَٰذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ ۙ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا

And they say, “What sort of messenger is this, who eats food, and walks in the marketplaces? If only an angel was sent down with him, to be alongside him a warner.” (26:7)

أَوْ يُلْقَىٰ إِلَيْهِ كَنزٌ أَوْ تَكُونُ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهَا ۚ وَقَالَ الظَّالِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا رَجُلًا مَّسْحُورًا

Or, “If only a treasure was dropped on him.” Or, “If only he had a garden from which he eats.” The evildoers also say, “You are following but a man under spell.” (25:8)

وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ مِنَ ٱلْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلَّآ إِنَّهُمْ لَيَأْكُلُونَ ٱلطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشُونَ فِى ٱلْأَسْوَاقِ ۗ وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ ۗ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ بَصِيرًا

We never sent any messenger before you ˹O Prophet˺, who did not eat food and go about in market-places. We have made some of you a trial for others. Will you ˹not then˺ be patient? And your Lord is All-Seeing. (25:20)

Ironically the fact that the Messenger (peace be on him) is one of them, approachable, down to earth and vulnerable lowers him in their eyes. They are not interested in a leader who eats like them, and walks through the market places and is followed by people whom they look down on due to their lower social status. They are not impressed at all!

Sadly this is the mentality we still have today – where people keep choosing leaders from an elite class, who live in a privileged bubble, out of touch with ordinary people, their daily lives, concerns and problems. When offered a choice of leaders, they shun the candidate who is a man of the people for the corrupt candidates who have already lined their upper-class pockets unscrupulously, and who only serve the agenda and interests of the rich.

The Quran tells us that all messengers ate food and walked in the streets. They were from the people. They were compassionate and kind. They were not there to abuse the people and suck their blood.

Until we change this image of the leader we will keep ending up with a series of dishonest leaders who do not care about the people.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Tarawih 12

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.