Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad 18 Aug 2018
In the name of Allāh, the beneficent and merciful. May His peace, blessings and salutations be upon His final messenger Muḥammad, his family and companions.
This is an open letter addressed to Mr Imran Khan, the now-declared 22nd Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, his winning party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the rest of the Pakistanis.
A letter addressing a winning party in any country would not but start with congratulating them for the victory they achieved in the elections. However, I would like to add to this congratulation a reminder of the great responsibility almighty God has placed on you.
Ruling over a few people is not a privilege rather it is a trust and a great responsibility. What kind of responsibility would a ruler over 180 million people bear? ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar narrates:“I heard Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) saying, “Every one of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his people and responsible for them.”
Abu Dharr (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrates:“I asked the prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) “Why do you not appoint me to an (official) position?” He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) patted me on the shoulder with his hand and said, “O Abu Dharr, you are a weak man and it is a trust, and it will be a cause of disgrace and remorse on the Day of Resurrection except for the one who takes it up with a full sense of responsibility and fulfils what is entrusted to him (discharges its obligations efficiently).”
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) also said,“Any man whom Allāh has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never even smell the scent of Paradise.”
The Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) also said,“A ruler who, having control over the affairs of the Muslims, does not strive diligently for their betterment and does not serve them sincerely, will not enter Jannah with them.”
Pakistan is one of the key countries in the Muslim world today alongside Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. If the situation in Pakistan improves, it is very likely to improve the situation of our Ummah. Hence, the responsibility of Mr Imran Khan and his party is not limited to Pakistani people, despite its great size, but it is extended to include the entire Ummah of Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). The success of Pakistan is a success for our Ummah and the failure of Pakistan is a failure for our Ummah.
Pakistani people, including Mr Imran Khan and his party, know more than I know that Pakistan is among but a few countries established on Islām for Islām and Muslims. However, it has been suffering due—in part—to governments and leaders that appear more worried about their own interests than the interests of their own people. As a result, this country that is rich in natural resources and manpower is now considered one of the poorest countries in the region. The situation has been so for the past several decades, hence Imran Khan, his party and those of us watching from afar should not imagine that they are about to start an easy journey as leaders of this country. Your leadership will be full of challenges, hardship and struggle.
The citizens of Pakistani should realise and acknowledge the nature of this journey and thus should not expect easy and quick positive results. Corruption has existed for a long time; corrupt people and systems, known as the deep state, are not in favour of watching their system dissolving and the privilege they used to enjoy being taken away from them. Winning the election is the easiest part of this journey but securing the people’s choice is the hardest. The example of Egypt is not forgotten. Delivering the promises Imran Khan and his party took will be the hardest part.
As everyone is aware, the superpowers on the global stage today are not interested to see stability and truly independent development in Pakistan. Hence, Imran Khan and his party have to work carefully within this minefield. They should focus on building the country and moving it away from being drawn into the foreign policy challenges of others. They should be aware that some of these superpowers may wish to drag Pakistan into wars like they did with Turkey. All of us are aware that Pakistan is the neighbour of the now violently destabilised Afghanistan and Kashmir. The burgeoning far right nationalists in India are also awaiting an opportunity and are not keen to see stability and real development taking place in Pakistan.
The main priorities for the new government should be the priorities of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) when he came to establish the new Islamic society of Madīnah. Firstly peace and security, then economic prosperity and thirdly spirituality through the connection to Allāh. ʿAbd Allāh b. Salām (radiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said of when he was a chief rabbi amongst the Jews of Madīnah:
“When the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) arrived (in Madīnah) the people came out to meet him. It was said that the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) had arrived, so I went among the people to get a look at him. When I gazed upon the face of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wasallam), I knew that this face was not the face of a liar. The first thing that he said was: “O you people! Spread the Salām, feed each other, perform Salāh while the people are sleeping; you will enter Paradise with (the greeting of) Salām.””
Security and economy are the wings a society can fly with behind the head which is connection with Allah. They work hand in hand to produce social justice. Eliminating poverty is the bare minimum achievement for any honest and successful government.
The new Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party should work hard to turn Pakistan into a truly democratic country that rules by Sharīʿa. If done well it can—inshā’Allāh—be a model for all other Muslim countries. However, being a democratic country is not limited to the mechanism of selecting the government. It should include transparency and accountability in all departments of the state, including the key sectors or departments of any country; civil services, police and judiciary. The party’s top priorities should include building or transforming these departments to become entities that work for people and are held accountable by people. Everyone should remember that peace will not come without justice. Hence it should be priority number one. Appointing the right people in the right place irrespective of their political affiliation is key to this reform as far as they are sincere in serving their people. One of the destroyers of any country is alienating the right people to due personal reasons or partisanship. Allah summarised the key qualities for those who should be hired through the daughter of Shuʿayb:
“One of the women said, “O my father, hire him. Indeed, the best one you can hire is the strong and the trustworthy.”” 
Abu Huraira (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) narrates that Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
“When honesty is lost, then wait for the Hour.” It was asked, “How will honesty be lost, O Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)?” He said, “When authority is given to those who do not deserve it, then wait for the Hour.”
Justice breeds stability and development. Allāh says,“Indeed, Allāh orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”
He also said,“Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.”
We all need to remember that although Islām seeks perfection and encourages excellence, it is also a pragmatic and realistic way of life. Hence, the scholars have always spoken about the gradual implementation of its various rulings. This is a great and very helpful feature indicative of a perfect system that many leaders have adopted throughout history. The great Caliph ʿOmar b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, who came as a ruler in-between a few other rulers who committed some level of injustice, applied this policy and called for it. Ignoring this policy might lead to miserable failure which leads people to disappointment and loss of hope in positive change in Muslim countries or giving justification for external and internal powers to interfere in the running of the country or even overthrowing this elected government and replacing it with another, corrupted government.
Seeking and working to establish justice does not mean accepting weakness and vulnerability. Current political leaders will not be successful if they are weak or naïve, or cannot be assertive, brave and aggressive. Our current global context dictates behaviour that would not be acceptable in other contexts. Mercy, which is the second main value beside justice, cannot exist without power to protect it. The life of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and the four great Caliphs is testimony to that. Islām, the most merciful way of life, threatens with severe punishments for those who violate its laws, for example. Power is the shelter of mercy and justice. Allah said,“[O Muḥammad], inform My servants that it is I who am the Forgiving, the Merciful. And that it is My punishment which is the painful punishment.”
Politics is an art of achievement with minimum resources. In politics, truth does not need to be uttered all the time. It is also expressed in different ways. ʿĀ’isha (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanha), the wife of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:“A man asked permission to see the Prophet. He said, “Let Him come in; What a bad man of the tribe he is! (Or, What a bad brother of the tribe he is.) But when he entered, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) spoke to him gently in a polite manner. I said to him, “O Allāh’s Apostle! You have said what you have said, then you spoke to him in a very gentle and polite manner? The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “The worst people in the sight of Allāh are those whom the people leave (undisturbed) to save themselves from their foul language.”
Likewise, when the city of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was attacked by the disbelievers he established a treaty with some internal potential enemies to marginalise them and prevent a bigger harm.
In any country, there is a star of influence: Politics, media, economy, judiciary and military. Beside what we mentioned about economy and security, it is mandatory for the ruling party to focus attention on media as it is now one of the key powers in any country. It is in fact a global power. They need to have as many independent and honest media channels as possible. They should deconstruct its monopoly by a few people. In the recent coup attempt, what saved President Erdogan—after the will of Allāh—was his 18-second video message to the Turkish people that was broadcast initially by one independent TV channel. The Judiciary should also be independent and far away from any corruption. It should be the most powerful sector of any country and should be led by the most honest and integral people of any country.
The military, although at this time is said to support Imran Khan and PTI (or rather dislike him less), has to be restructured in a way to serve people’s choices and decisions. Its main reason for existence is to protect the country against its enemies and not to be an enemy from within.
I agree that many of these advices are easy to be said yet very difficult to be implemented, however they have to be said as clarity of vision and strategy is the first step to success.
To Mr Imran Khan, his party, the dignitaries of Pakistan and the Pakistani people: we all have to remember that success is first granted by Allah, and then through our efforts. Allah inspired the Prophet Shuʿayb to say to his people:“He said, “O my people, have you considered: if I am upon clear evidence from my Lord and He has provided me with a good provision from Him…? And I do not intend to differ from you in that which I have forbidden you; I only intend reform as much as I am able. And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.” 
The prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) put this concept in a very profound way,“A believer who is strong (and healthy) is better and dearer to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them. Be keen on what benefits you and seek help from Allah, and do not give up. If anything afflicts you do not say, ‘If I had done such and such things, such and such would have happened.’ But say, ‘Allah decrees and what He wills He does,’ for (the utterance) ‘If only I had..’ provides an opening for the deeds of the devil.”
Finally, I call upon the armed groups in Pakistan including Tehrik-i-Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba to be mature enough not to destroy their country by playing into the hands of the superpowers that will never feel happy to witness stability in Pakistan. They should abandon all violent and militant activities and focus on establishing peace and justice and work for the development of their own country in particular and for the Ummah in general. They should remember that civil war and militant activities from within a country are among the most destructive weapons against social justice and progress. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wasallam) never allowed any of his companions to carry out any form of armed Jihād from within Makkah or even within Madīnah. Your real Jihād now is to establish a strong country. Daʿwah and social reform are much needed in Pakistan and now is the time to work together to achieve this.
Let us all remember what Allāh said,“Allāh has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient.”
May Allāh preserve Pakistan and its people and may Allāh make its stability and progress a stepping stone towards the development of our Muslim Ummah. ( Islam 21C )