12 Ways to Choose Leaders in Islam
How to choose leaders in Islam is now the most searched keyword and is considered to be a fairly controversial issue especially with the momentum coming into the presidential election in 2019. Leaders are an important factor in the life of the state. If the country’s leaders are simple, honest, kind, intelligent, and trustworthy, their people will surely prosper. Conversely, if the leader is dishonest, corrupt, and wrongdoing his people, his people will undoubtedly be miserable.
There are some people who say that choosing a leader, such as a regent, governor or president, is only a world affair, and has nothing to do with religion. Choosing a leader is part of world affairs as well as the hereafter as the virtue of being a leader in Islam. Choosing the leader of a part of religious affairs is very important. Islam does not recognize the dichotomy or secularization that separates the world and the hereafter, including in choosing leaders.
The following hadith of the Prophet is a proof of the seriousness of Islam viewing this issue of leadership. Prophet sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wassallam said:
إِذَا كَانَ ثَلاَثَةٌ فِي سَفَرٍ فَلْيُؤَمِّرُوا أَحَدَهُمْ
“If there are three people traveling, they should appoint one of them to be their leader.” (Abu Dawud from Abu Hurairah)
The concept of Islam about leadership is already ideal. The most ideal example of an Islamic leader is of course the Prophet Muhammad SAW. He is the one who leads with the heart. “Verily there is in (the) Messenger of Allah a good example for you (that is) for those who wish (the mercy) of Allah and (the coming of) the Day of Judgment and He calls Allah a lot.” (Surah Al-Ahzab: 21)
As a perfect religion, Islam also has procedures for choosing a good leader.
Have good faith in Allah (Believer) and Muslim, namely a Muslim who has two qualities, as stated in the Qur’an Surah Yusuf verse 55, hafizhun ‘alim. Hafizhun means someone who is good at keeping. Namely, someone who has integrity, a strong personality, trustworthy, honest, and noble character so that it should be a role model for others or the people he leads as the basis of leadership in Islam.
A trustworthy leader does his utmost to make his people prosperous, even though his natural resources are limited as in the verse of the Koran concerning trust. On the contrary, treacherous leaders are busy enriching themselves and their families and colleagues, and allowing their people to be helpless. “The Messenger of Allāh reminded that the mandate will attract blessings, while the treacherous nature will encourage fidelity,” said Didin, who is also the head of the Ulil Albab Student and Bachelor Boarding School in Bogor.
It means that a person has sufficient ability and knowledge to lead his people and lead them to live more prosperously. The fact shows that Indonesia once had a trustworthy and knowledgeable Muslim leader (hafizhun ‘alim), namely Prof. Dr. BJ Habibie. “He is an expert on tahajud, a fasting expert on Monday and Thursday, likes to read the Koran, and an airplane expert whose knowledge is recognized internationally. During his time as president of the Republic of Indonesia, he was proven successful in carrying out his duties.
- Diligently Upholding Worship
Prayer is a barometer of human morals. “A leader who is good and deserves to be chosen is a leader who upholds prayer. Prayers give birth to responsibility. Faith/transcendental awareness is built through prayer.
Performing zakat is not cleaning up dirty property, but cleansing our property (net assets) from the rights of others. A leader, who is diligent in giving zakat and giving information, will not be corrupt. “Because he believes that Allah has guaranteed his sustenance and in fact, the provision of halal sustenance is greater than forbidden fortune.” If you are convinced like that, why do you commit corruption that God hates?
- Congregate/Hang Out With the Community
A good leader likes to congregate, which means to hang out with the community, try to know the condition of the people as well as possible, and find a way out of the problems faced by the community. The nature of congregation or paying attention to the community is shown in fardhu prayer in congregation. The Messenger of Allah every time he finished praying fardhu in congregation sat facing the congregation as a way of strengthening faith and piety.
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It aims to determine the condition of the congregation, including paying attention to whether the number of worshipers is complete or not. If there are those who do not attend prayer in congregation, they are asked what the cause is. If it turns out the person is sick, Rasulullah and his companions then visit the sick person.
- Prohibition of Selecting Infidel Leaders
One part of the topic of leadership that is widely discussed in the Koran is about choosing non-Muslims for Muslims. Al-Quran has given so many guidelines and instructions for Muslims to be right in choosing a leader figure. The Koran is very bright when explaining the prohibition on choosing this non-Muslim leader.
لا يتخذ المؤمنون الكافرين أولياء من دون المؤمنين ومن يفعل ذلك فليس من الله في شيء إلا أن تتقوا منهم تقاة ويحذركم الله نفسه وإلى الله المصير
“Let the believers not take the disbelievers into leaders, loyal friends, protectors by leaving believers. Whoever does so, surely he is free from the help of God, except because (tactics) maintain themselves from something they fear. And Allah warns you against Himself, and only to Allah will you return.” (QS: Ali Imron : 28)
Justice called for by the Qur’an basically includes justice in the economic, social, and moreover, in the field of law. A fair leader, the indication is always upholding the rule of law as the Quranic verses will be responsible; view and treat all humans equally before the law, indiscriminately. This is what has been ordered by the Qur’an and exemplified by the Prophet when he was determined to uphold the law (in the context of theft), even though the perpetrators were his own daughter, Fatimah, for example.
“O ye who believe! Establish justice as a witness because of God. And don’t hate pushing you to be unfair. It is valid, because it is closer to taqwa.” (QS. Al-Maidah 5: 8)
From Ma’qil ra. said: I will tell you the hadith that I heard from the Messenger of Allah. And I have heard him say: “Someone who has been commissioned by God to rule the people (officials), if he does not lead the people honestly, surely he will not get the smell of heaven.” (Narrated by Bukhari)
Choose an expert/trustful leader because if you are not an expert we will all be destroyed/perish: As in the hadith “If the case (affair) is left to other than experts, then wait for the end/destruction.”
- Leaders Who Want to Prevent Munkar
Choose leaders who want to prevent and eradicate disasters such as corruption, nepotism, manipulation, etc. as leadership models in Islamic perspective:
“Whoever sees munkar, then he should change with his hand, if he is not capable, then he should change with his oral, if not able, then with his heart. And that is the weakness of faith.” (Narrated by Muslim)
- Able to Unite the Ummah
Choose a leader who can unite the ummah, not the fanatic of his own group as prayer and dzikir: Even though Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala has stated in the Qur’an:
“He (Allah) has named you all, Muslims, from before.” (QS. Al Hajj: 78)
Choose leaders who live simple. He does not accumulate wealth but gives away most of his wealth to the people. Because the spender according to God is Satan’s friend:
“Give your wealth to close families of their rights, to the poor, and those on the journey; and do not waste your treasure wastefully.”