Anecdotes from the Life of the Prophet Muhammad

by Mumtaz Ahmad Faruqui

Respect for Authority

1. Abdullah bin Umar relates that the Prophet said:

“Beware, every one of you is a warden and has to answer for those under your control. Therefore, the ruler who rules over his subjects will be questioned (by Allah) about them; a man is the head of the family and shall be questioned about them; a woman (wife) is the custodian of her husband’s house, property and children, and will have to answer for them…. Beware, every one of you is a ‘shepherd’ and answerable for his ‘fold’.”

2. Abu Zarr relates that he requested the Prophet to appoint him governor of some territory. The Prophet patted him on the shoulder and told him:

“O Abu Zarr, I find you too weak to bear the burden of governorship. It is a trust and a thankless job. I don’t relish it myself. Avoid leadership even if it be of a small group; and do not accept trusteeship of an orphan’s property (which is a very exacting job), if you can help it.”

3. Ibn Umar relates that the Prophet said:

“It is incumbent on a Muslim to hear and obey his ruler, whether he likes him or not. However, if the ruler gives an order to commit a sin, then a Muslim is no longer bound to obey. There is no obedience to a creature in disobedience to the Creator.”