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THE most dangerous thing that any country faces is its leadership being isolated in their palaces, and being distanced from their people. In such a country, laws become tools in the hands of the influential to obtain more financial or moral power, due to which governments do not bother to develop laws according to what society requires. The nation hence falls into chaos. On the other hand, countries where the leadership follows up on public affairs closely are constantly evolving and progressing, and no one is wronged in it. In this regard, I remember a folktale about a Caliph who had summoned some poets.
They came across a poor poet who had an empty jar in his hand, as he was heading to the sea to fill it with water. The poor poet accompanied them until they reached the house of the Caliph. The Caliph exaggerated in honoring and favoring them. When he saw the poor man with the jar on his shoulder and looked at his clothes, he asked, “Who are you? What do you need?” The poor man responded by saying, “When I saw people heading towards your graciousness, I decided to follow them with my jar.”
The Caliph said, “Fill his jar with gold and silver.” Some of the people who were present envied the poor man and said, “This is a crazy poor person who does not know the value of this money. He may end up destroying it and wasting it.” The Caliph replied, “It is his money and he can do whatever he wants with it.” The man carried the jar and went out to the entrance of the palace, after which he dispersed the money among the poor. After the Caliph was informed of this, he summoned the man and asked him about the reason for distributing the money.
The man answered with the verse – “Good people grace us with their blessings, and with their blessings, we grace others.” The Caliph was impressed by his answer, and he ordered that his jar be filled tenfold. He said, “A good deed is multiplied tenfold.” The poor man recited these poetic verses that are still trending over the years – “People are for people as long as they come through for them, because hardship and ease never last. The most honorable among the people is a man through whose hand people’s needs are met; so don’t cut off the hand of favor from anyone. As long as you can and as the days alternate, always remember the virtue of Allah’s work when the needs of people are catered by you. Many people died and their virtues died with them, and many people lived while in the eyes of people, they are dead.”
Fairness is the characteristic of the leadership that seeks to be happy by making their people happy, through a state of law in which there is no place for favoritism. If the Caliph did not realize the importance of fairness to this poor person, the latter would have turned into a voice incitement, but when he was keenly generous to him, the man spread the blessings he received among the people in deed and not in words wrapped in empty promises.
When a leader approaches his people, all barriers fall, and facts emerge. This is because he is the decision-maker, and he can change the course of the state for the better. This is what we see daily in many countries of the world, especially some Arabian Gulf countries, where the process of development and reform is daily and continuous either by amending laws for the better, or exempting the negligent, and holding the corrupt accountable. For this, we see that those countries are in continuous progress. No country can live according to laws that were drawn up half a century ago and for specific outdated cases. The right path is through continuous development, and smart and wise guidance from its leaders.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times