"The best of this Umma is the age in which I was sent" (Hadith of the Prophet in Sahih Muslim).
"The Messenger of Allah admonished us so intensely that the eyes wept and the hearts trembled. 'I exhort you to hear and obey even if your leader is a black Ethiopian. ... You must follow my Sunna and the Sunna of the rightly-guided, upright successors after me'" (Narrated from al-ʿIrbād ibn Sāriya in the Musnad and Sunan). "The sequence of the Prophet's order to follow his Sunna and the Sunna of the well-guided Successors, coming after his order to hear and obey governors generally, is a proof that the Sunna of the Rightly-Guided Successors must be followed just as his own Sunna must be followed, contrary to the case of other governors" (Ibn Rajab).
The best post-Prophetic 30-year generation to walk the earth constitutes, by consensus of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamā'a, the most shining model of governance-and self-governance-for a just society of humble believers ever to be held up to the human ages. This glimpse in 110 chapters of their respective lives and deaths highlights the necessary qualities of true leadership which are personal sacrifice for the public welfare and dedication to the Prophetic model of trust, firm belief, constant remembrance, inspired practice and self-effaced vast mercy.
Author Dr. Gibril Fouad Haddad has also writtten The Four Imams and Their Schools and The Musnad of Ahl al-Bayt among other works. He lives in Brunei Darussalam.