The Importance of leadership

By Mohamed Ali

Most of the rulers across the time line of history struggled to maintain leadership for the period they planned to maintain power. Most of them died protecting their rule from slipping out of their grasp.  It’s a misconception to think that leadership and respect automatically come with authority, thus we still have individuals who fight and murder the innocent to gain supremacy over other people. Leadership is a responsibility that requires the one in charge to rule with justice, harmony, and communication.  Theoretically, the closest form of this leadership is a democracy, but the ideological concept of leadership is different based on culture and society.

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the most successful military and social leader of all time. He united the Arab tribes in twenty three years even though they were devastating each other in civil wars. He (PBUH) implemented the leadership that was introduced by the Holy Quran, which cleansed the meaning and foundation of power in the Arabian Peninsula. We also learned from the Prophet (PBUH) two significant notions about leadership. First, the best way to regulate decisions, intentions, and the ruling of the leader is not by checks and balance or watching him via cameras, but to remind the person that Allah is watching over their heart. When Omar Bin Khatab was the Khalifa (The leader of the Muslims), he took walks around the town to check on the needs of the public. On one occasion he saw a young boy with a cluster of goats, and he asked him teasingly (to test his faith), “Can you sell me one of your goats.” The young boy responded, “But these are not my goats sir, they are for my boss.”

Omar told him, “Just sell me one, and tell your boss it was eaten by a predator.” The boy asked his Khalifa, “But what about God; who is watching over us?”, bowing his eyes down and crying, Omar said, “Oh, truly God.”

Leadership begins at the highest level of authority and trickles all the day down to you and I.  The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Everyone is in charge and you will be accountable for that responsibility, the leader is in charge and he/she will be accountable for that responsibility, the man is in charge of his house and he will be accountable for that responsibility, the women is in charge of her family and she will be accountable for that responsibility, and the employee is in charge of the money of his supervisor and he will be accountable for that responsibility.” Keep in mind; forcing people to act in the manner you please guarantees you failure, and probably immediately. Do not compulse people to accept or apply your ideology, rather you should advise, listen, and cooperate with them.

Leadership is a vital aspect in Islam, and the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Wherever three people gather, they should have one person as their leader.” The beautiful teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) about the reality of leadership was misunderstood a short time after he passed away. And until today, innocent people are being killed; day and night so a few men can keep a clasp on the power they never had a right to take. Let’s take advantage of Ramadan and look forward to becoming excellent leaders that take care of our surroundings and fulfill our responsibilities. Amin


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