Often a person has to make a decision pertaining to some aspect or the other. The more serious the matter, the more difficult it becomes to make the decision. According to the advice of the Qur’an and Hadith, such important decisions should never be made without prior consultation. Allah Ta’ala declares in the Glorious Qur’an regarding the Believers: “And their matters are (decided) in mutual consultation” [Surah Shura:38]. Even Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was commanded by Allah Ta’ala to consult the Sahaba (radhiallahu anhum) in such matters of importance wherein no divine instruction had been given.
BENEFIT OF MASHWARA
It is reported from Ibn Umar (radhiallahu anhu) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The one who intends to embark on any act and after mutual consultation he decides either to proceed with his plans or to refrain from going ahead, he will be guided from Allah Ta’ala towards that which is beneficial” (Baihaqi – Ma’ariful Qur’an vol.2, pg.219).
In another narration Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “When your leaders will be the best among you, the wealthy among you will be the most generous and your matters will be decided in mutual consultation, then to be on the surface of the earth will be better than being inside the earth. However, when your rulers will be the worst among you, the wealthy ones will be miserly and your important matters will be in the hands of your women, then to be in the stomach of the earth (the grave) will be better than being on the surface” (Tirmizi).
Thus all matters of importance, even those that are of a purely worldly nature, should be decided after consulting people of piety and knowledge. If the matter pertains to some worldly aspect, a person of piety and experience in that field should be consulted. After having taken the advice of such experienced people one should place one’s trust in Allah Ta’ala and make the decision.
The one who is approached for advice should consider his advice carefully. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The person from whom advice is sought has been entrusted with an amaanah (trust). Therefore he should advise the person seeking advice to do that which he himself would have done” (Tabrani).
There is tremendous benefit in consulting even one’s subordinates. Firstly, this fosters love between the seniors and juniors. Secondly, by consulting with one’s juniors, the juniors are trained in the matter of decision making. They then begin to learn which aspects should be considered and which aspects are negligible. The juniors will then understand what should be given top priority and what should be considered on a secondary level, whether this pertains to matters of running the affairs of the home, business or personal aspects. Above all, consulting with the juniors is a sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). On some occasions Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) sought the opinion of very young Sahaaba (radhiallahu anhum) in some important matters.
Thus the Qur’anic advice and the sunnah of Mashwara should be adhered to at all times. In this is barakah and guidance from Allah Ta’ala. Hence there will be love and understanding between all concerned.