Responsibility Over Others

This week’s khutbah was on responsibility over others

The imam spoke of a hadith in which the prophet SAWS said:

“Everyone of you is a guardian, and responsible for what is in his custody. The ruler is a guardian of his subjects and responsible for them; a husband is a guardian of his family and is responsible for it; a lady is a guardian of her husband’s house and is responsible for it, and a servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it.” I heard that from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and I think that the Prophet (ﷺ) also said, “A man is a guardian of his father’s property and is responsible for it, so all of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and things under your care.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we all have a responsibility in our lives. It starts at an early age, for most of us being told to be responsible in front of a younger sibling for example, or at school in front of younger children to adulthood where we become role models in work or as parents to our children.

The people in front of who we set an example may change in age or number but the concept is still the same and that is that we are always being assessed, whether we are conscious of it or not, in how we are behaving in any given situation.

We have been set the task as guardians by Allah SWT and He mentions this in the Glorious Quran in Sura Tahreem, ayat 6 as referenced by the imam today in which it says:

O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are being told of the weight of responsibility on our shoulders and this isn’t something that ought to be taken lightly.

We ought to remind ourselves that if we are given this task of being a custodian over others then the flipside also can have an effect.

Often one is not conscious of the fact that their wayward behaviour is not only detrimental for their own soul but it may also be having an effect on others. For example, a lot of my generation to speed around in our cars when we were younger and it was something we never gave thought to. We even sometimes had younger siblings in the car when we did so. Now those kids have grown up and have developed the same bad habits but if we ask them about it they reply that we did the same when we were their age.

Bad habits tend to have a rippling effect on others and often it’s more potent than the good habits as shaytaan encourages others to look at the bad habits and to mimic them.

The imam reminded us of a hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he said:

“Any governor in charge of Muslim subjects who dies while acting dishonestly towards them will be excluded by Allah from Paradise.”

Dear brothers and sisters, this is reminding us that the importance of being a good guardian, role model and authoritative figure is not just about doing the right thing but being vigilant against doing the wrong thing.

This reminder concludes with 3 principles on being a good custodian over others.

  1. Every person has the potential to be good. As parents, for example, if we see a child doing something that they should not be doing then the instinct is usually to tell the child off or administer some form of punishment. However, we ought to take a step back and remind ourselves that the child is imitating or applying what it has seen, heard of felt from its enivironment. Maybe it could be that the example being set by the guardians around it is contributing to the behaviour? Look at the environment for the cause before the person and act accordingly to change it.
  2. Being transparent and consistent with one’s boundaries. Allah SWT has given us boundaries to keep within and without rules, society would be in chaos as people could do as they please and infringe on the rights of others. The same applies in being a good leader, whether it is in the home or out in the world, it is important to set rules and boundaries and to stick to them. It will harbour respect from others as they will recognise someone of principles and also by being able to explain the rules and boundaries with reasoning, it will provide others with an incentive to obey them and follow in the same footsteps.
  3. With very responsibility comes an opportunity. We need to remind ourselves that for every soul that looks to us as a figure of responsibility, it is a blessing and an opportunity to learn. It is a blessing because for each good habit or experience they take from their interaction from us, we will be rewarded insh’Allah by Allah SWT in this life and the next. And it also means that for each person that is placed under our care, it is an opportunity for us to grow into better people and better Muslims. A perfect case again is one of a parent. There is no greater jump in behaviour for most than when they realise that there is this pure soul looking to them for guidance and as a role model. That in turn causes personal growth in the parent in behaviour and mannerisms.

Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a time that can feel that its headed towards the increasing irresponsible nature of others. However, Islam was spread due to the beauty in what it teaches and the beauty of those who followed its principles. By becoming conscious of our responsibilities and becoming aware that we are guardians over others, we can fulfil the obligations upon us for our families and friends as well as serve the role of positive ambassadors for our faith in the wider society.

May Allah SWT enable us to positive guardians over others. May Allah SWT enable us to be a good example to others and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in being positive guardians.

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