At the beginning of his Dars-e-Kharej fiqh this morning—Tuesday 18 December— Ayatollah Khamenei elaborated on a hadith from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) regarding the hereafter consequences of holding management positions. The following is the text of the lecture:
In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, upon his pure and immaculate household, and Allah’s wrath be upon all of his enemies.
The holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been narrated to have said: “Anyone who leads and supervises ten or more people will be brought with their arms attached tied to their neck on the Day of Judgment; if they are assessed as good people who have not done injustice, they will be let free; and if they are assessed as having committed errors and sins, the chains on their bodies will increase.
“Anyone who leads and supervises ten or more people will be brought with their arms tied to their neck on the Day of Judgment.”
This hadith applies to me and the ones like me: anyone who leads ten people—or 80 million people— who is respected as a manager, a boss in this world, when he is brought on the Day of Judgment, he will have his arms tied to their neck, that is, chained. The role of leadership and the responsibility it bears brings about implications that naturally invokes this [treatment in the Hereafter].
In our area of responsibility, where we are the boss, the manager, or we have a position, some actions might take place that we could have prevented but we failed to do so. We might have been negligent, or lazy, however, this erroneous action has taken place under our supervision, where we had a leadership role. Or, some work must have been done in the area of our authority but did not take place. It might be because we were unaware, we didn’t pay attention, we didn’t follow up, we didn’t consult, we didn’t ask others or we didn’t learn; otherwise, we might have known but we hesitated, delayed the work, and then time was lost.
The wise know they should not seek managerial positions. We should not go after and long to be managers; because leadership has such implications. Some people seek to be leaders, not knowing that it implies these risks: that on the Day of Judgment when they are brought they will have their hands cuffed. This is extremely important. They will be brought to the Divine Judgment with their hands cuffed.
“if they are assessed as good people who have not done injustice, they will be let free.”
If they are good and honest people, they have not committed sins or errors, and are not recognized as responsible in the injustice done, they will be released. The Holly Lawgiver, the God of the world has some rules; at times, some people might be pardoned, for some reasons. This usually happens when their mistakes are not caused by negligence. Sometime, we might be ignorant, but due to our negligence; at other times, we might have done our best and have worked hard but the result is not favorable. In this case, our mistake is pardonable by God. So if the leader is honest and a good person they will be released.
“And if they are recognized as having committed errors and sins, their chains will be increased.”
If he was not a good person in this world, he committed any sins or errors –any type you can think of–then, their chains and restrictions will be increased and added to.
We need to understand that. We should not look forward to positions with managerial responsibilities, either in legislation or execution sectors. You see how some people aspire and work hard to become a member of the parliament, and if they do not get the position, for any reason, for instance, they are not qualified, or they are not elected, they will get very upset because they are not wise enough. You see? If a leadership position might bring about a similar situation for us we should not look forward to it. Except if the position really requires one person and then that person is obliged to accept it, then, yes, it is a duty.
For my second term of presidency I was determined not to run as a presidential candidate –the first period was imposed on me [due to the situation]– for the second term of presidency, I was sure I would not want to be a candidate, however, Imam Khomeini told me it was wajib (Aini and Tayeeni) for me. So I accepted it despite my will. But it is recommended that when it is not a duty and it is not wajib for a person, they should not pursue it. So when it is an obligation [wajib] and we have no choice, we must pursue and act vigorously.