Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 79
The Just Ruler

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Verily, Allah enjoins Al-`Adl (justice) and Al-Ihsan (performing duties in a perfect manner).'' (16:90)

"And be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are the equitable.'' (49:9)

659. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Seven are (the persons) whom Allah will give protection with His Shade* on the Day when there will be no shade except His Shade (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection), and they are: A just ruler; a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah; a person whose heart is attached to the mosque; two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom a beautiful and high ranking woman seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer by saying): `I fear Allah'; a person who gives a charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left hand might not know what the right has given; and a person who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes well up.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

* The Shade of Allah to which this Hadith refers to is the shade of His Throne.

Commentary: This Hadith has already been described in the chapter about the excellence of the love of Allah. Here, it has been carried forward in view of its relevance with the just ruler's excellence. Refer to the commentary on Hadith No. 379.

660. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The just will be seated upon pulpits of light.'' Those who are fair with regards to their judgement and their family and those who are under them.''

Commentary: How will be the likeness of the pulpits of light? Although we are not aware of their reality, yet we are supposed to have faith in them. We must also believe that these people (just rulers) will be under the shade of the Throne or the Divine mercy, while people will be drenched in their sweat depending on their deeds. The Hadith throws light on the excellence of justice and the high rank of those who do justice.

661. `Auf bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, and those who supplicate Allah in your favour and you supplicate Allah in their favour. The worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you; and whom you curse and who curse you.'' It was asked (by those who were present): "Should not we oppose them?'' He said, "No, as long as they establish Salat; as long as they establish Salat in your midst.''

Commentary: The Hadith identifies two categories of rulers. First, those rulers who are well-wishers of people and provide them with justice. These are the best rulers for whom people also pray. Second, the worst rulers who are only concerned with their rule and interests and take no interest in providing justice to people and removing their difficulties. In fact, rulers are advised to adhere to justice, uprightness and equity as this can endear them to Allah as well as to people. Moreover, we are told that rebellion against rulers is disallowed till they commit a flagrant act of disbelief and stop abiding by the duties of Islam, particularly Salat (prayer).

662. `Iyad bin Himar (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The people of Jannah will be of three kinds: A just successful ruler, a man who shows mercy to his relatives, and a pious believer who has a large family and refrains from begging.''

Commentary:  All the three qualities mentioned in the Hadith particularly characterize the men of Faith and will cause their entry to Jannah. Every believer is expected to strive for being invested with these good qualities.