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Leadership and followership in Islam (II)

Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge to a particular situation to bring about the most desirable outcome. Wisdom is excellence of discernment, discretion, intelli-gence, penetration of ideas, correct-ness of opinion, quickness of understanding, and clarity of mind which leads to correct actions and decisions.
Morality and Taqwa (fear of Allah): A just ruler is the one who listens to the Words of Allah and makes his followers listen to it, he is the one who seeks the reward of Allah, and makes his subjects seek His reward. He is the one who submits to the will of Allah and makes his subject submit to Him.
As an individual submits to God through Islam, he develops an awe of God. This all-encompassing, inner consciousness of his duty towards Him and this awareness of his accountability towards Him is taqwa. Taqwa will restrain a Muslim leader or follower from behaving unjustly. Whereas taqwa is the fear of God and the feeling of God’s Presence, ihsan is the love of God. This love of God motivates the individual Muslim to work towards attaining God’s Pleasure. For a leader, it is even more important because the power and authority he possesses can easily make him arrogant. Leaders are entrusted with the affairs of the community and if they are immoral they will not serve the cause of their people.
Adl (Justice) and Rahmah (compassion): ‘Adl (justice) and Rahmah (compassion) are two other essential characteristics a leader must possess. Justice without compassion leads to tyranny, while compassion without justice creates anarchy. A leader needs to maintain a careful balance keeping the overall good of society in mind (Al-Qur’an 5:08; 4:135; 7:29). “To treat people equally in your presence in your company and in your decisions so that the weak despair not of justice and the strong have no hope of favour”. Justice, therefore, is a fundamental precept of Islam; even more so for a leader because it is part of his responsibility to maintain balance in society. Injustice invariably leads to turmoil and conflict.
Courage and Bravery: Follo-wers expect their leaders to remain positive about the future no matter how bad the situation may be.  Courage and determination are qualities which every leader must embrace, acquire, and possess. Courage and determination ema-nate from strong faith and belief and the complete satisfaction of one’s righteousness. Those who lead are expected to set an example by showing courage and taking calculated risks.
Shura (Mutual Consultation); Shura (mutual consultation) is a Qur’anic command (3:159; 42:38); “And those who respond to their Lord and keep up prayer, and their rule is to take counsel among themselves, and who spend out of what We have given them.” Noble Qur’an (42:38)
There is a wisdom in mutual consultation as decisions taken with mutual consultation are supported by everyone and all concerns of the parties involved are addressed. The Prophet himself regularly consulted his companions on all important matters. It is even more important in the case of Muslim leaders. People can be inspired to make sacrifices only if they feel that their opinion is respected and that the leader does not merely dictate to them. He should encourage honest criticism and advice in regard to his role and functions.From the Islamic point of view however, a leader is required to seek the advice of his followers but is not obliged to act upon it if his own judgement, based on Islamic values, indicates otherwise. The people, however, are obliged to obey him at all times, except when he orders something prohibited in Islam.
Commitment and Spirit of Sacrifice: First, the leader is the servant of his followers. A just ruler is like a kind shepherd who looks for the best pastures for his flock and steers them away from areas of danger and protects them from harm.  He is to seek their welfare and guide them towards good. If the leader is seen to be making personal sacrifices, then the followers will make even greater sacrifices.
The Prophet, for instance, never did anything to benefit himself or his family. Often he and his family went without food for days on end. An Islamic leader and those in positions of authority make sacrifices so that the downtrodden would have more.
Sabr (Patience): Is another quality essential for a leader. Indeed, like all other believers, a leader can expect to be tested, and he will need to endure. Impatience will simply drive his followers away. He is expected to bear adversity patiently, and remain forever humble. In the face of immense persecution in Makkah, the Prophet not only showed great patience himself but he also counselled his followers to do likewise. An outstanding example of the Prophet’s sabr was demonstrated following his suffering at the hands of the people of Ta’if in the 10th year of his mission in Makkah. When the chiefs of Ta’if set the hooligans of the town upon him, instead of seeking revenge, the Prophet prayed for their guidance.
Trust: This concept of trust stresses the idea of responsibility towards organisational stakeholders, and holds true whether those entrusting something to Muslims are themselves non-Muslims.
“O you  that believe!  betray not the trust of God and the apostle nor misappropriate knowin-gly things entrusted to you”
As a core value, trust fits within the overall Islamic etiquette gover-ning social relationships. Trust is explicitly linked to leadership in the Qur’an.
Humility:  A Muslim leader is to be humble, and must never let his ego get the better of him. Umar, the second Caliph, lived in a simple house. He had no bodyguards for his personal security, and walked the streets of Madinah without any escort.
Rights of the leader:
Obedience: At all times, the leader must be obeyed.  Ibn Umar reported God’s Messenger (SAW) as saying, ‘Hearing and obeying are the duty of a Muslim, both regarding what he likes and what he dislikes.’ Muslims must obey the ruler as long as he does not order them to do something forbidden in Islam. Allah (I) says: (O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the messenger (PBUH), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.) [4:59]
The Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: It is obligatory upon a Muslim that he should listen (to the ruler) and obey whether he likes it or not except when he is ordered to do a sinful thing, in such case there is no obligation to listen or to obey. {Agreed Upon Hadith}.
They must give sincere advice to the ruler, in a good and kind manner. Allah (I) instructed Moses and his brother Aaron upon sending them to Pharaoh to preach the true Religion to him: And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allah).) [20:44]
To support him in times of adversity and crises and not to revolt against him or forsake him, even if one was from a group who does not pledge allegiance to him.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: The best of your rulers are those whom you love and who love you, who invoke Allah’s blessing upon you and you invoke His blessings upon them. The worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and who hate you and whom you curse and who curse you. It was asked (by those who were present): Should not we overthrow them with the help of sword. He said: No, as long as they establish prayer among you. {Muslim}.
Rights of the followers:
“O you believers! Obey God (the Qur’an) and Obey the Messenger (the Sunnah) and those of you who are in charge of affairs (ulil al-‘amr). If you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to God and to the Messenger” (Qur’an 4:58-59)
Justice: This is achieved by giving everyone their due right. A ruler is required to be just, such that he protects others’ rights, performs his duties, distributes responsibilities, and implements rules and decisions. All should stand as equals before him… no individual or group should be favored above others. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Indeed the most beloved person to Allah and the closest one to be seated to Him on the Day of Requital will be a just ruler. And indeed the most detestable person on the Day of Requital and the most severe of them in punishment will be a tyrannical ruler.” [at-Tirmidhi]
He must not oppress, deceive, or behave treacherously towards the masses. He must consult them regarding all affairs pertaining to their political, social and economic interests. He must allow them to voice their views, and he must accept such views if they prove to be in the best interest of the public. Allah (I) says: (And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh hearted, they would have broken away from you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.) [3:159]
The Prophet (r) said: “Whoever is given responsibility of some matter of the Muslims but withdraws himself while they are in dire need and poverty, Allah will withdraw Himself from him while he is in dire need and poverty on the Day of Requital.” [Abu Dawood]
Leadership is a great quality and every group be it of 3 people, organization, family, a company, or a country needs able and good leaders. The principle of amanah (trust or Trusteeship) is an important concept of Islamic leadership. It is a psychological contract between a leader and his followers in which the former will try his best to guide, protect and to treat the latter with justice. On the global scene there is a need for good leaders too as today the world is mired by international conflicts, wars and mutual suspicions which if not corrected can demolish the whole world.
The Islamic Leadership Model and the principles associated with it offer a leadership alternative which can open the door of excellence and achievement. The principles are gleaned from the Quran the words of the Mighty Wise, the practice and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the character and deeds of the Caliphs and other great Muslim leaders who with meager means and enormous hurdles reached the zenith of excellence.

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