Accountability of the People in Authority

Accountability of the People in Authority

Accountability is one of the core creeds of Islam. The Quran says, if anyone does an atom’s weight of good shall see it in Allah’s court, and if anyone does an atom’s weight of evil shall also see it[1]. However, any bearer of burden (of responsibility & accountability) shall not bear anyone else’s burden[2]. The Prophet (s.a.w) is reported to have said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and every one of you is answerable with regard to his folk”. God commanded the Prophet (s.a.w) to declare: “I would, if I disobeyed my Lord, indeed have fear of the penalty of a Mighty Day”[3]. No one is above the Divine Law. The Prophet (s.a.w) declared that “I am the first one to submit to the will of Almighty”[4]. The Prophet’s successor, Abu Bakar (r.a.) announced the following in his inaugural speech: “I have been given authority over you but I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me, and if I do ill, then put me right……The weak among you shall be strong in my eyes until I secure his right if God will; and the strong among you shall be weak in my eyes until I wrest the right from him…Obey me as long as I obey God and His apostle, and if I disobey them you owe me no obedience”[5].

[1] Al-Quran Surah 99: Verses 7-8

[2] Al-Quran Surah 35: Verse 18

[3] Al-Quran Surah 6: Verse 15; Surah 10: Verse 15; Surah 39: Verse 13

[4] Al-Quran Surah 6: Verse 14

[5] A. Guillaume, “The Life of Muhammad”, Oxford University Press, 2006 edition, page 687.

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