Interviewer: People say that this is hypocrisy. That you pray for tawfiq (success) for the country’s leader.

Habib Ali: First of all, perhaps some are not clear on the meaning of the term ‘tawfeeq.’ They think it means to dominate and take control.

However tawfeeq means for Allah to guide him towards doing righteous acts in the land. That Allah helps him to carry out what pleases Allah.

Even for those who want another leader to take charge: do you really want to tear down the country just to prove your point?

This is not being a person of principle. In this case, you don’t really have the best interests of Islam or your country in your heart.

Or you don’t mind that Allah guides the leader towards reforming himself and the country, to walk the straight path and to heal the wounds in the country. Which of those do you prefer? This is where truth and falsehood become clear.

As for accusing me of Mudahana (appeasing rulers), it is my heart that chooses actions, and it is only Allah that sees insides the hearts.

Mudahana is when a person describes someone with a quality that he doesn’t have (overpraises him).

For example, a ruler that robs his own country, while we describe him as trustworthy, or a dishonest ruler that we describe as honest,

However, to make the dua “Oh Allah, guide the leader,” I will make this dua for Sisi.

I will make it for Abdullah bin Zayed, I will make it for Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. For any one who leads Muslim lands.

That Allah gives them tawfiq to execute the responsibility given to them, so that Allah causes them to be a cause for their people’s joy.

Making dua for the leader for goodness, for justice, for the path of light, is essentially a dua for the people ruled by this man.

I forgive those who see this as a sort of ‘appeasement’ with corrupt leaders, who may have been thus been confused. I have now explained my position.

If the leader does something praiseworthy, then praise him, and speak well of his praiseworthy acts. Because this encourages his heart to do more good.

If he errs, if he does wrong, point out this wrong to him, but do not use this wrong as a cause to oppose him.

This is constructive criticism, a way to criticize so that you rectify the wrong.

As opposed to addressing this wrong in a way that causes enmity, and makes the leader feel that I am opposing him.

I don’t call him a criminal, a tyrant, or a failure. No, I tell him your action is wrong. Say it this way so you are helping him to correct the wrong.

Thirdly, sometimes events unfold in a way opposite to how we want them, and we may not understand it fully because we are not in leadership.

It may be that he is addressing something we are unaware of, because he is in a position of responsibility, and this is a fact that many may dislike, but it is a fact.

He is in a position of responsibility and sees the big picture. However, he should definitely act in a transparent manner with his people.

So either his wrong action is based on factors you are unaware of, or he is indeed wrong.

So tell him “I am not with you on this wrong but we are with you in rectifying this wrong, and we will help you.” This applies to any leader.

If the leader then continue to commit wrongs, then of course his people will not continue standing with him.

However, to those who voice complete opposition to the leader as some are now saying “Down with the next president!”

I ask them: Do you really want to build your country or tear it down?

Interesting note, Habib Ali also made dua for Morsi in 2012: