Tuesday, 27 January 2015



1. In the Holy Quran God addresses human beings as his representatives or vicegerents on the earth providing them with all the necessary skills, principles and tools to lead their lives towards glory and also to lead others towards realizing their fullest potential.
"It is He Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful" (Al-An'âm 6: 165)
2. As a representative of God Himself, human beings are assigned great faculties and qualities which if properly deployed could result in the achievement of miraculous goals. However to reach these goals one needs to follow certain principles and tools which are also known as success or leadership principles. Where do these tenets come from? Where can we find them? How to get them and use them? To answer these and identical questions let us first deal with the first question and identify the key sources of Islamic Leadership standards.
3. Islamic Leadership Principles are primarily derived from the following key sources:
· The Holy Quran.
· The Holy Prophet.
· The Wise Caliphs.
· Pious Followers
4. "There has come to you from Allah Light and a Plain Book." (5.15)
The Holy Quran is the primary source of leadership and success principles. Revealed by a Supreme author, God, its message has universal and eternal relevance. It is a complete Code of Life which contains guidelines on spiritual, social, economic and political aspects of human life. It is the last and complete edition of divine guidance and teaches the success and leadership principles which can guide life towards success and highest attainment.
5. The beauty of the Quran lies in the universality of its use and completeness of its message. It is meant for everyone and in its following lie the success and prosperity of not this or that nation, but the entire human race. There are 6346 verses in the Quran which deal with various aspects of human life and offer advice and guidance. In some of these verses lie key attributes and qualities which if acquired will make one successful in any human endeavour.
6. Faith, struggle, knowledge seeking, piety, charity, decision making etc. and identical concepts which form the core of leadership principles are contained in this book. It is through the understanding and application of these principles that one can perfect his/her leadership and achieve mega results. As representatives of God Himself human beings are very privileged to strive for excellence in every field of their endeavors and make things happen for themselves and those they lead.
7. The leadership lessons contained in the holy Quran which will be detailed in the subsequent chapters offer keys to success and advancement. These concepts about leadership are either directly communicated or reflected in stories about earlier prophets and wise persons in the Quran. For example in one of the verses the Qur'an highlights an important aspect of Islam's concept of leadership.
8. After successfully completing a number of tests, Prophet Ibrahim is given the glad tidings that he has been appointed a leader of all the people. "What about my progeny?" asks Ibrahim. "My covenant does not include the dhalimeen (oppressors)", comes the divine reply (Al-Qur'an 2:124). An important point emerges from this dialogue: an oppressor is not fit to be the leader of people. This is just a single example of how leadership is dealt with in the Quran.
9. There are many more lessons and guidelines in the Quran which provide exemplary leadership principles for everyone to follow. In essence going through the Quran and understanding its contents one will be delighted to discover timeless wisdom based principles which are as relevant today as they were yesterday or thousands of years ago.
· The Holy Prophet.
10. Who is the Greatest Leader of all times? In intellectual debates, philosophical discussions, and the biographies of great people who ever lived on the earth one name always appears on the top –Prophet Muhammad. The Quran also bears divine testimony and states that he is the best of leaders according to the following verse:
"For you the life of the Prophet is a good model of behaviour" (33:21).
11. The above view is not only held by his followers but also great personalities of other religions. These include some of his opponents as well who hold him in high esteem and consider him as the greatest personality of all times. Michael H. Hart author of the book “The 100”, French Philosopher Lamartine, George Bernard Shaw, Thomas Carlyle and many other great intellectuals agree that Muhammad (pbuh) was one of the greatest leaders who ever lived and pay him great tributes.
12. It is thus through the study of Prophet Muhammad’s life, deeds, sayings and personal qualities that valuable leadership lessons can be derived. Three aspects of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) will be discussed here which will form the second source of Islamic Leadership Principles. These are:
13. Seerah is an Arabic word which means a way of life while Sunnah also an Arabic word means "Method" and provide excellent examples of the altruistic leadership principles practiced by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is through the study of his life and biographical events derived from it that Islamic leadership models are formulated. The Prophet began his message with a handful of individuals, organised them into dedicated groups, then into larger coherent organizations, until the process led to the setting-up of an Islamic State. This clearly required the development of a versatile political leadership process of incredible complexity and effectiveness.
14. Hadiths are the sayings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) which were compiled by his companions. These were later on incorporated into great collections the Hadith (i.e. traditions) Books of Bukhari, Muslim etc. The collectors of traditions adopted a very scientific system in collecting the Traditions. They did not record any tradition except with the chain of narrators. Every tradition gives the name of the last narrator of the tradition from whom he learnt the tradition and so on back to the Prophet or Companion of the Prophet.
15. In many of Hadiths the Prophet has directly and indirectly explained the leadership qualities and the importance of leadership. In one of his Hadiths the Prophet said:
“Each of you is a shepherd, and all of you are responsible for your flocks.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim)
In yet another Hadith the prophet said:
When three persons go on a journey, let them put one of their number in command." (Abu Da'ud on the authority of Abu Sa'id)
The above two sayings of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) emphasizes the importance of leadership while a number of his other Hadiths have identified key qualities and principles which shall account for a person’s success.
16. The life, deeds and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) offer excellent leadership models which if put into practice produce excellent results on individual as well as organizational performance. An orphan boy who faced hardships and whose guardianship changed hands three times since birth to adulthood Muhammad rose to be an undisputed leader of all times. He is a powerful role model that by following his example tremendous results can be achieved. This alone exemplifies his tremendous achievements because he totally practiced what he preached, and spent his life according to the divine Quranic teachings.
17. After the Holy Prophet, the first four Caliphs namely Abu Bakar, Umar, Uthman, and Ali followed the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and achieved extraordinary results. In fact their time is considered as the “Golden Age” of Islam because total justice, prosperity, progress, development, and ideal leadership principles characterized that era. The Caliphs were ideal leaders who guided their followers to the Right Path and discharged their duties as leaders in exemplary and extremely humane manner. In the chapters that follow we will discuss some of their leadership traits and life stories which will testify the highest quality of standards held by them.
18. Besides the wise Caliphs there are many more leaders and people of great wisdom who practiced the Wisdom-based principles of Islam and followed the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Jamaluddin Afghani, Salahuddin Ayubi, Jalaluddin Rumi, Iqbal, Tun Mahathir and many more who shaped human history and achieved tremendous achievements are just a few examples. Review and analysis of their thinking, deeds and achievements will provide us with the timeless principles. By tapping into their knowledge and skills, attitude and behaviour critical advantages in life can be achieved.

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