Right through the course of history, there have been leaders who have misdirected those around them. They have been taken as role models by wider society and their alleged successes have been the subject of envy. These people, who rebel against Allah and reject His verses, have used their material means to turn others away from the path of Allah. Allah refers to these people as "leaders, summoning to the Fire" (Surat al- Qasas, 41) in the Qur'an.
Pharaoh and Qarun, reported to have lived in the past in the Qur'an, are examples of this. In the verses "They followed Pharaoh's command but Pharaoh's command was not rightly guided. He will go ahead of his people on the Day of Resurrection and lead them down into the Fire. What an evil watering-hole to be led to!" (Surat al-Hud, 97-98), Allah reveals how on the Judgement Day Pharaoh will lead his people to the flames.
The common characteristic between Pharaoh-a major deterrent lesson for all the peoples that have come after him-and Qarun is that they possessed great wealth but used it unwisely, treading not on Allah's path but on satan's. As a result, both were punished by Allah. That is because nothing people possess in the life of this world, neither their wealth nor their close friends nor their status in society, can save them from Allah's retribution in this world or the next. For that reason, all the effort people make to deny the truth merely rebounds against their own selves. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals that prominent affluent people who become spoiled in their well-being, such as Pharaoh and Qarun, actually only succeed in establishing an order which works against themselves:
And likewise in every city We set up its greatest wrongdoers to plot in it. They plot against themselves alone, but they are not aware of it. (Surat al- An'am, 123)
He [Qarun] said: "I have only been given it because of knowledge I have." Did he not know that before him Allah had destroyed generations with far greater strength than his and far more possessions? The evildoers will not be questioned about their sins. (Surat al-Qasas, 78)
Similarly, Pharaoh's dominion also came to naught in the face of Allah's punishment; Allah destroyed Pharaoh, his palace, all his goods and his army:
… And We utterly destroyed what Pharaoh and his people made and the buildings they constructed. (Surat al- A'raf, 137)
Such was the case with Pharaoh's people and those before them. They denied their Lord's signs so We destroyed them for their wrong actions. We drowned Pharaoh's people. All of them were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Anfal, 54)
All these verses show that no matter how powerful a person may be in the life of this world, all human beings are completely helpless in the face of the might of Allah. Since some people are unable to see the true face of the world, they form an inflated impression of prominent members of society. They sometimes seek to adopt the mistaken behavior of people they admire. They often do this simply on account of the said individual's wealth. These people are often taken as role models and obsessed fans will attempt to imitate them. They may regard such peoples' faulty behavior as justified or even support it, even though it contravenes the general norms of that society. This disastrous mentality was the kind of perspective the people around Qarun possessed. It is revealed in the Qur'an that, impressed by Qarun's wealth, these people said the following:
He [Qarun] went out among his people in his finery. Those who desired the life of this world said: "Oh! If only we had the same as Qarun has been given! What immense good fortune he possesses." (Surat al-Qasas, 79)
As we have seen, leading figures among the unbelievers, who had a negative influence over the societies in which they lived, called on those around them to live by the ungodly system of satan and used all the means at their disposal to lead others to perdition with them. The fact is, however, that Allah has made every individual responsible for living in faith, calling those around him or her to the truth and ensuring that they avoid evil. The opposite will inflict grave responsibilities on that person in the sight of Allah and in the Hereafter. Allah has revealed that people who lead others to denial instead of setting a good example and calling them to the true path may be charged with those peoples' sins in addition to their own in the Hereafter:
So on the Day of Resurrection they will carry the full weight of their own burdens and some of the burdens of those they misguided without knowledge. What an evil load they bear! (Surat an-Nahl, 25)
Once the Judgment comes, the followers of the callers to the Fire will see in the Hereafter fate of those people they adopted as role models in the life of this world-simply on account of their wealth, standing or superior status in society-and will suffer a terrible regret. They will understand that these people whom they imagined to be powerful and superior are actually helpless and powerless.
They, the followers, will seek the help of the followed in the Hereafter just as they did in the life of this world. Both will wish for salvation from the eternal torment of Hell. But they will be powerless to do anything to save themselves. Allah has revealed this discourse amongst the unbelievers in the Qur'an:
When they are squabbling with one another in the Fire, the weak will say to those deemed great: "We were your followers, so why do you not relieve us of a portion of the Fire?" (Surah Ghafir, 47)
Those deemed great will say: "All of us are in it. Allah has clearly judged between His servants." (Surah Ghafir, 48)
All this information provided by Allah in the Qur'an shows how the "leaders summoning to the Fire" assume an enormous responsibility in the life of this world. It explains how they will be punished in the Hereafter. What the individual who becomes aware of these facts needs to do is to employ all the means at his or her disposal in the life of this world in order to attain Allah's approval and mercy. Paradise is Allah's promise. Allah has related the prayers of the believers on this subject:
[Believers are] those who say: "Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children and make us a good example for those who guard against evil." (Surat al-Furqan, 74)
Allah has also given glad tidings: Those who set good examples to others will move to the forefront, and people who exhibit such moral qualities and draw close to our Lord will be rewarded in Paradise.
And the Forerunners, the Forerunners. Those are the Ones Brought Near in Gardens of Delight. (Surat al-Waqi'a, 10-12)2009-06-10 22:20:18