Leaders are mentors; mentors are trendsetters and the masses follow the trendsetters. All this has implications and consequences for and on society.
I am reminded here of an Arab saying which history, time and again authenticates, ’’People follow the way of life of their rulers’’. For example, during the regime of Hajaj bin Yusuf, when people would wake up in the morning and meet each other, what they used to inquire from each other was, “who’s hanged last night or whose back was flogged with deadly lashes’. Similarly, Waleed Bin Abdul Malik was an aficionado of wealth, possessions and edifices and during his era, everyone would drool over material possessions. When Sulayman Bin Abdul Malik came into power, the buzzwords among people used to be cuisine, feasts, music and beauty. The reasons pertained to the strong inclination of their emperor towards these things. Finally, when Umar Bin Abdul Aziz (honoured with the title of Umar-2) occupied the throne of Khalifah, because of his righteous and condign persona, he inculcated moral rectitude, ethics and values amongst the people. Who during his Caliphate were his alter-egos and reflections of his own personality .As a matter of fact, they used to inquire each other about the number of Quranic chapters they had learnt, the abundance of Zikr, supererogatory prayers, fasting, charity and so on.
Now , if we are to talk about modern times, barring certain rare exceptions, every time and everywhere, the people have been made scapegoats and the so called “leaders” have always danced on their grave. A rather intense contemplation of the modern times unleashes a highly immoral and uncivilized nature of the so called moral and civilized world with “leaders” being the principal contributors. A legendary Quranic exegesis narrates, ’’Morality and righteousness can never be cultivated through worldly law as it is itself instituted by the leaders [who are the models of avarice ,greed ,lust and the whole opprobrium].Thus, man-made law can never act as a “rectifier” or a “therapeutic touch” for the society. ‘’ Now, imagine the fate of a nation whose leaders are nefarious and iniquitous; it will be very possibly on the brink of extinction. This corresponds to the analogy of asylum being scrutinized by the lunatics ( the apparent face of the modern world). Having said this, we must not forget that not only leaders but also, every person is implicated in this social disgrace.
Coming to the common masses, what needs to be done? I strongly reckon that Iron-clad implementation of laws, scrutiny systems, digitalization, harsh punishments, awareness campaigns, so –on and so-forth might act as helping tools but all these and thousands of such more steps will never be able to ensure a morally-advanced(civilized in the true sense) society .Where lies the practical remedy then? The exegete further says, ’’It’s the true believer only who is conscious of Allah (SWT) and believes in the day of resurrection, fears his lord and thus do righteous deeds and detests all the evil-deeds.’’ In general, every human craves for a society in which not only the leaders, but also every individual is an epitome of veracity and truthfulness. It is to the creation of this society that is defined by highest standards of morality, ethics and rectitude that we must turn to and devote our energies to.
—The author is pursuing his MBA from the University of Kashmir. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org