The Prophet said:
“The religion is naseehah.” The people said, “To whom?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “To Allah and to His Book and to His Messenger and to the Leaders of the Muslims and to the common folk of the Muslims.” (Recorded by Muslim)
To the Leaders of the Muslims:
There are two kinds of “leaders” among Muslims, the first are the religious leaders or scholars and the second are the worldly leaders or rulers. The wording of this hadith implies both categories of leaders. […]
Making Naseehah to the Muslim Rulers:
1] helping them when they are following the truth, obeying them in what is right, reminding them if they should err or forget, being patient with them when they do things the person does not like…
2] One should also pray for their guidance and piety, as their guidance and piety will benefit the Muslims as a whole. [… ]
This hadith stresses that one must have sincere conduct with respect to the legal Muslim rulers. Muslim rulers are human beings and they are aptly to make errors. Therefore, they are in need of naseehah and sincere advice like any other Muslim. […]
The goal of one’s interaction with the rulers or one’s discussions about the rulers should be pious and to bring them back to what is correct. Therefore, speaking to them in the un-called for harsh manner, showing a complete lack of respect for them and seemingly simply trying to embarrass them is not the proper way to make naseehah to the rulers. […]
Part of the naseehah to the rulers also includes when the ruler puts a person in charge of any matter or gives him a job to do that is sanctioned by the shareeah, that person should discharge his duties honorably and honestly and not deceive or cheat the ruler in any way. Al Khattaabi also mentions that one should not deceive by bestowing false praises upon them. In other words, one must deal with them in a way that is pleasing to Allah and do so for the sake of Allah and fearing His punishment.
[Page # 489-491]
Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, Commentary of the Forty Hadith of Imam Nawawi, Volume 1, Hadith 7. Al Basheer Company for Publication and Translations, 1999.
“Spreading Hadith One Post Per Day” series.
Hadith # 18.