إمامٌ عادِلٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مَطَر وابِل۔
A just leader is better [and more beneficial] than heavy rainfall.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: The Leader)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.
The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,
إمامٌ عادِلٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ مَطَر وابِل۔
This Hadith emphasizes the immense value and significance of a just leader, comparing their benefit to that of heavy rainfall. Let us delve into the exegesis of this impactful saying in light of the Quran.
The word (Imam) "إمام" refers to a leader or guide who possesses authority and is responsible for guiding and governing the people. The term (Adil) "عادِل" signifies justice and fairness. It highlights the importance of a leader who upholds justice, ensuring that everyone is treated equitably and their rights are protected. The word (Khayr) "خَيْرٌ" means better or more beneficial, indicating that a just leader brings immense benefits to society. Finally, (Matar wa Abil) "مَطَر وابِل" refers to heavy rainfall, symbolizing abundance, blessings, and prosperity.
The Quran repeatedly emphasizes the importance of justice and the role of just leaders in society. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hadid (57:25),
Indeed, We sent Our messengers with clear proofs and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice.
This verse highlights the divine purpose of sending messengers and scriptures, which is to establish justice among people. A just leader, therefore, is fulfilling the divine purpose of their role.
Furthermore, in Surah An-Nisa (4:58), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) commands the believers,
Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice.
This verse emphasizes the importance of justice in all aspects of life, including leadership and governance. A just leader is one who fulfills their duty of rendering trusts and judging with fairness, ensuring that the rights of the people are protected.
The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the profound impact a just leader can have on society. Just as heavy rainfall brings abundance and prosperity to the land, a just leader brings about social harmony, economic stability, and overall well-being. Their commitment to justice ensures that the rights of individuals are safeguarded, leading to a society where everyone can thrive and prosper.
A just leader sets an example for their followers by upholding justice in their own actions and decisions. They do not discriminate based on personal biases or favor certain individuals or groups over others. Their decisions are based on fairness, equity, and the principles of Islamic teachings. This fosters trust and confidence among the people, creating a sense of unity and cohesion within the society.
Conversely, the absence of a just leader can lead to chaos, oppression, and the violation of rights. In Surah Al-Ma'idah (5:8), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns against the injustice of leaders, saying,
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both.
This verse emphasizes the importance of standing up for justice, even if it means going against one's own interests or the interests of loved ones. It highlights the responsibility of leaders to be just and fair, regardless of personal affiliations.
In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us of the immense value and significance of a just leader. A leader who upholds justice brings about prosperity, harmony, and well-being in society. They ensure that the rights of individuals are protected and that everyone is treated equitably. The Quranic verses mentioned further emphasize the importance of justice in leadership and governance. As Muslims, we should strive to support and follow just leaders, and also strive to embody justice in our own actions and decisions. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) guide us all to be just and fair in our dealings and grant us leaders who uphold justice for the betterment of society.
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