Men of service should shoulder their duty instead of telling others to do it. Those who sit in their corners, give orders and think that they are serving the people are the ones who could not comprehend the essence of the serving others.
Those who lead others in service should embrace their service more than those who are under their lead. Such a behavior will increase his brothers’ excitement and they will do their job more eagerly. It is possible to see several examples of this in the life of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). In fact just some of the examples are that he (pbuh) carried bricks in the construction of Quba and Medinah Mosques; he worked in the digging of the trench in the Battle of Khandaq and he sometimes personally served his Companions.
His saying: “The master of a nation is the one who serves them.” (Daylami, Musnad, 324) proves that leaders of service should not await service from others, but be the first to serve others.
If the leaders of the population personally serve others, this will spiritually affect others in service and it will create a group spirit. In this way many difficult jobs will be handled easier. History is full of examples of this spirit.
For instance, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was one of those who personally and actively lived with this spirit. His attendance to the Battle of Szigetvár, while he was at the end of his life not having much strength, is enough to exemplify this spirit. When he was going to the Battle of Szigetvár, his grand vizier Sokullu came to him and said:
“O my sultan! You have already given countless victories to this nation. You are tired. You have endowed your life to the Muslim world. It will be really hard for you to attend this battle at this age. Hence I think you should stay in Istanbul and administer the affairs of the populace. I, other viziers and pashas can go and lead the army.”
“Listen to me carefully, O Sokullu! Tell my will to the future generation. A Sultan should always be with his soldiers in a battle. When soldiers see their sultan with them, their courage heightens. The enemy, on the other hand, will see our army being much stronger and will be disheartened. The real factor that wins a battle is spiritual strength. We have gained extensive experience since our childhood. Our experience might be needed in military campaigns. Very often minutes even seconds might change the outcome of a war. That is why I will join this campaign. How can I face my brave predecessors in the Hereafter, if I stay back and die in my bed?”
Sokullu remained silent after saying: “The decision belongs to our sultan.”
How was he going to be able to finish this campaign? During the campaign in order to look upright, he was strapped with belts. The battle began and it was a rainy season. At one point, the cannon carriages stuck in mud and the oxen could not pull the carriages out of the mud. The army had been ahead and there were not enough soldiers around. The sultan ordered “all the high rank officers including generals to go into the mud and shoulder the carriages.” The carriages were pulled out of swamp with the help of pashas. Sultan turned to the royal historian (vak’anuvist) and said:
“Write these down so that future generations can read and take lessons. Sultan Suleiman’s pashas and viziers went into a swamp and saved the cannon carriages. So a disaster was overcome in this way.” The sultan bestowed a very good example for the future generations.
Throughout history, the general populace has maintained good conduct when the public administrators had good manners, because of the affinity between the public and its leaders. For instance when Umar b. Abd al-Aziz acceded to the caliphate, he found a morally devastated population. During his two and a half year ruling, several things changed and both spiritually and materially numerous conquests were made. In other words, the life style of the leader found its reflection in the lives of the populace.
Even though everybody in the service of the others should be adorned with this moral horizon, it is especially needed by the public administrators.