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Leadership from an Islamic and

Western Perspective
Leadership from an Islamic
and Western Perspective

Dr Asan Vernyuy Wirba


Chartridge Books Oxford
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ISBN print: 978-1-911033-28-8


ISBN digital: 978-1-911033-29-5

2017 Asan V. Wirba

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Contents

Preface ix
Who is this book for? xi
Profile of the Author xiii
Acknowledgements xv

Introduction 1

1The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a


Western Perspective 5
A Paradigm Shift 8
Ethical Leadership 8
Moral Leadership 10
Theories of Leadership from a Western Perspective 10
The Trait Approach to Leadership 11
The Behavioural / Style Approach 12
Situational Approach to Leadership 13
Path-Goal Theory 14
Servant Leadership Theory 14
Ethical Theory 15
Teleological Approach 15
Deontological Approach 16
Virtue-based Approach 16
Transformational Leadership 16
Transactional Leadership 17
Authentic Leadership 18
vi Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

2 Islamic Perspective of Leadership 21


The Causes and Rise of Fundamentalism
(Misguided brothers in Islam) in Muslim Communities 33
The Purpose of Creation and Influence Leadership from an
Islamic Perspective 34
The Originator of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective 35
The Model of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective 36
Relationship between Caliphate and Monarchy from an
Islamic Perspective 37
Definition of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective 39
Background and Influence of the Definition of Leadership 40
Leaders and people who Reject Allah and their Consequences as
Revealed in Quran 43
Obedience to Leadership 49
Challenge to Leadership 51
Consultation of Leaders in Islam 55

3Comparison between Leadership from a


Western and Islamic Perspective 59
Common Points 59
Divergence 60

4The Sources of Islamic Leadership Principles


and the Example of Islamic Leadership 65
The Holy Quran as a Primary Source of the Islamic Leadership
Principles 65
The Holy Prophet (609632 C.E) 68
His Way of Life 69
His Sayings-Hadiths 70
The Guided Caliphs 71
The First Caliph, Abu Bakr (632634 A.C) 71
The Second Caliph, Umar (RA) (634644 A.C) 73
The Third Caliph, Uthman (644656 A.C) 74
The Fourth Caliph, Ali (656661 A.C) 75
Contents vii

5 Cardinal Principles of Leadership in Islam and Values 77


Faith and Belief 77
Knowledge and Wisdom 78
Courage and Determination 81
Communication 82
Justice and Compassion 82
Gratitude and Prayers 82

Conclusion 85

Glossary 87

References 89
Preface

This book is about leadership from an Islamic and Western perspective. The
objective of this book is to examine leadership from the Western perspective
through the eyes of some scholars of leadership. From the Islamic perspective,
leadership is examined against the background of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah
of our Beloved Messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), as well as the guided
Caliphs and previous Prophets of Allah starting from Prophet Adam (PBUH) up to
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). I am glad to start this book, examining leadership
from both perspectives.
This book is a first step of a journey and should be read by Muslims and non-
Muslims alike. I hope this book acts as a guide to those who are inspired or
interested in understanding leadership and for those who hold leadership positions
in their various communities. Firstly, my interest in writing this book is due to the
situation of leadership within Muslim and non-Muslims communities who think
that leadership is an entitlement, a fast way to enrichment or big money politics and
lobbies. The practices and the duties of Leadership should be trust, as a form of
worship, Khilafah, vicegerent, responsibility, accountability, privilege, grace, justice and
finally as a willingness to selfless servitude to others purely for the pleasure of Allah.
Secondly, the lack of strong leadership within the Ummah (Muslim communities)
and the rise of misguided groups within the Muslim communities is huge concern,
together with the loss of brotherhood within the Muslim communities that was
established in early Islam in Madinah between the Helpers (Ansar) and the Migrants
(Muhajirun). Also, there is rise of the political far right and as well as big money
politics in the Western politics and leadership. There is clearly a voting apathy in
the West and also lack of leadership rotation or democratic process in Africa which
is creating geriatric leaders. Leadership from ethical and moral perspective is also
examined together with the Islamic perspectives of leadership.
In this book, I clearly advocate the recognition of Allah as the source of
leadership and that the Quran and the Sunnah be the guiding content of leadership.
This is because Allah is the creator of all things; Allah is Almighty whose powers
are beyond our abilities to imagine. I am convinced that if Muslims follow and use
the Quran and Sunnah of the prophet during the discharge of their duties, they will
flourish again as they did during the previous Prophets time in the past because
leadership at that time was selfless and practiced by Al-Muttaqun [the pious and
righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds
 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds
which He has ordained)].
This book is written with the intention to act as a reminder to myself and my
brothers and sisters who may be leaders of their communities, societies or countries
or are ordinary citizens of the world. We should be as one who calls people to the
way of Allah. I would like to quote from Yusuf Ali (1989, p.1221) comments 4432
which states that, The man of faith who backs his faith by righteous conduct is
like the man of clear vision, who see things in their true perspective and walks with
firm steps in the Way of Allah. The man who does evil is like a blind man: the Light
of Allah is all around him, but the man has made himself blind, and he can see
nothing. He has rejected Faith and cannot even learn by other peoples admonition.
Let us be leaders who lead by example and are God fearing and see leadership as a
trust from Allah and responsibility that we will account and not as a way to enrich
ourselves.
Who is this book for?

This book is for everyone irrespective of their background and what they do in life.
At the same time it is a guide for those who aspire to be leaders purely for the
pleasure of Allah on earth and who take their jobs and every activity as a form of
worship without expecting anything in returned like power or money.
Profile of the Author

Dr Asan Vernyuy Wirba, has had a career in leadership and Management for
over 7 years, and is Assistant Professor at the Department of Management
and Information Technology (MIT), Jubail Industrial College (JIC), Royal
Commission, Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia. He has a wealth of experience in
teaching, research, business, consulting and academic management. Dr Wirba holds
a PhD from the University of Manchester, UK.
Acknowledgements

Many people contributed to the development of this book, Leadership from an


Islamic and Western perspective. First, I would like to express my appreciation for
the support of editing this book at the initial stage by Anastayzia Versachi, Seidou
Hamidou, Mustapha Ahmed, Dr Elvis Amowakwa and Mohammed Francis Smith
at the last stage who critically shaped the direction of this book. I would also like
thank Dr Shakoor Ahmed Ward who earlier on read the book and gave me his own
feedback. Dr Mohammad Hoq, Dr Abdulwahab Shmailan, Yeve Guea,
Dr Abdullahi Masud, Allan Latoga, Sulaiman Awal, Sherif Hassan, Abdou Zaki
Asan, Dr Amenu Foven Wirba, Clemente Nodora, Eng.Akram Fares Mohammed
Sulaiman and JIC Library staff, Tawfiq A. Al-Zoori, Khaled Thaib Al Kharbi,
Waleed A. Al Masari, Ahsan Jamal, Sheraz Khurshid, Musa Shulika, Abdulrahman.
All my thanks go to all of them. I would also like to thank my wife Aisha Musa my
daughter Rahma Shiynyuy Wirba and My son Mohammad Asan Wirba for being
patient with me through the journey of writing this book. Finally thanks to my
parents and Brother Al Haji Sulaiman Inua, my Mother Alima Vejai who had
always encouraged me throughout my life and not forgetting my late father Mallam
Inua Wirba who worked tirelessly for Islam in his community in Kumbo Nso Bui
Division Cameroon were he Established Anglo-Arabic Schools in the Province. May
Allah grant him paradise (Janahtul Ferdaus).
Introduction

This book starts by examining the concept of leadership from a Western and Islamic
perspective. In examining the Western perspective of leadership a general overview
of leadership is examined against the background of some western scholars and
professional viewpoints. Moral and ethical leadership is also examined from the
perspective of some western scholars. A paradigm shift is advocated in this book as
a way forward toward the understanding of leadership from both perspectives.
Theories of leadership are also examined in order to inform practice in the sphere
of leadership.
The Islamic perspective is examined from the perspective of the Quran and the
Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the four Guided Caliphs, pious leaders
and also the previous Prophets of Allah. The cardinal principles of leadership in
Islam and its values are also examined. Good examples of leadership from an
Islamic perspective are modelled on the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the guided
Caliphs and previous Prophets.
Leadership has been and always will be one of the most discussed and written
about concepts in the history of mankind. Leadership as a concept has captivated
the minds, hearts and imaginations of most people irrespective of their background.
Generation after generation as well as societies try to find answers as to what really
makes a good and effective leader and today similar questions are being asked. The
quest to understand leadership is on-going and fascinating. That is why the
understanding of leadership has always been very important since the beginning of
civilization and history. Many scholars and practitioners alike have tried to answer
this question about leadership by writing books on the subject focusing on how to
be a good and effective leader, while paying little attention to moral and ethics in
the practice of leadership. Today, many people are asking questions about the
morals and ethics of leaders in their various communities. Such questions are very
difficult to answer because leadership is still essentially individual and personal.
There are many sides to it. To some, leadership is a quest for esteem and prestige.
To others, the motives are patriotism and personal advancement. Yet to others, it is
a direct exercise of power, and selfless servitude. Whatever the motives of leadership
are, the essence is that it has a connection with self and others will to improve most
of peoples lives, communities, and societies at large. In this book, leadership is a
selfless servitude purely for the pleasure of Allah as practised by previous Prophets,
 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

guided Caliphs, pious leaders and followers who were not driven by self-interest or
self-aggrandisement, rather by doing Allahs work on earth.
Today, many institutions are creating leadership study programmes around the
world as a means of continuous improvement in the understanding of the concept
of leadership because of its importance to human life. In the West, such institutions
are growing because of their importance to humanity. Many scholars who try to
understand the complexity of leadership have formulated different theoretical
methods to clarify the complexities of the leadership process. Literature review
findings show that leadership is a complex phenomenon. To this effect Northouse
(2010, p.1) attests to the fact that findings on leadership from all areas provide a
picture of a process that is a far more sophisticated and complex phenomenon.
I will examine leadership from a western perspective by focusing on the scholarly
definitions and also argue for a paradigm shift by focusing on the moral and ethical
perspective of leadership which should form the cornerstone in the practice of
leadership. I also argue that many studies of leadership only focus on leadership as
a concept without examining its most sensitive aspect. The sensitive aspect of
leadership is related to the origin of leadership, the purpose of creation which has
a direct or an indirect influence on the definition of leadership in this book.
The other aspect which is address in this book is related to the content of
leadership. Many scholars and writers of leadership have tried to avoid addressing
issues related to the content of leadership. For example, many Western scholars and
non-Western scholars of leadership have shy away from discussing or suggesting
what the content of leadership should be and a moral definition of leadership.
Leadership scholars like Rost (1991, p.127) reject the moral definition of leadership,
but insist that the ethics of leadership should be included in the definition of
leadership. This is because the ethics of leadership has to do with the process of
leadership and not the content of leadership. Kellerman (2004, p.45), also argues
that scholars should remind us that leadership is not a moral concept. For him,
Leaders are like the rest of us; trustworthy and deceitful, cowardly and brave,
greedy and generous. To assume that all leaders are good people is to be wilfully
blind to the reality of human condition, and it severely limits our scope for
becoming more effective leaders.
The importance of leadership is discussed in many academic institutions.
Politicians also discuss the importance of leadership. Leadership has been researched
in both education and management companies worldwide. In many books,
newspapers and magazines all over the world, there are stories of successful
leadership, as well as example of failures in leadership. The interest given to
leadership research worldwide shows the importance of leadership as a topic.
Northouse (2010, p.12) emphasises that despite the abundance of writing on the
topic, leadership has presented a major challenge to practitioners and researchers
interested in understanding the nature of leadership. He argues that leadership is a
highly valued phenomenon that is very complex. Rost (1991, p.98) on the other
hand casts doubt on whether earlier studies of leadership were about leadership or
what is understood as good management.
Introduction 

In reviewing the literature on leadership it is difficult to precisely define what


leadership is. Some scholars of leadership argue that leadership is a twentieth
century concept and others view it as a concept that has been used since Greek and
Roman times. Early research or studies of leadership were focused on power,
influence and reflected the period of Plato and Machiavelli. The Great Man Theory
was the most popular of earlier theories of leadership. The Great Man Theory
concludes that great leaders were born with innate qualities and not made, and
these innate qualities enabled them to lead. Those qualities according to Northouse
(2010, p.20-21), are intelligence, determination, self-confidence, integrity, and
sociability. Northouse (2010, p.1) argues that a review of the scholarly studies on
leadership shows that there are a wide variety of theoretical approaches to explain
the complexities of the leadership process. He stresses that some research
conceptualises leadership as a trait or behaviour. To date, there is no universal
definition of what leadership is. Stogdill (1974, p.7) acknowledges this in his review
of leadership research, that there are almost as many different definitions of
leadership as there are people who have tried to define it. The lack of a universal
definition of leadership is because leadership is a dynamic process. Leadership as
observed is a complex construct and is open to subjective interpretation from
different scholars, practitioners and non-practitioners.
The concept of leadership is similar to the concept of love, beauty, values,
democracy, faith and truth. Each one of us has different ideas or views as to what
it means to us as individuals. Therefore, a universal definition of leadership may
hinder research among scholars and writers of leadership who may want to research
more on the topic. Nonetheless, Northouse (2010, pp.2-3) asserts that despite the
multitude of ways in which leadership has been conceptualised, the following
components can be identified as central to the phenomenon. These are (a)
Leadership is a process (b) leadership involves influence (c) leadership occurs in
groups and (d) leadership involves common goals.
Thus, on understanding of the concept of leadership is based on a mixture of
values, beliefs, experiences, learning, and individual background. Similarly, Rost
(1991, p.127) offers four essential elements to the understanding of leadership as
(1) a relationship based on influence (2) leaders and followers develop that
relationship (3) the leader and the follower intend real changes (4) the leader and
follower have mutual purposes. For Rost these four elements are radically different
from any set of essential elements which are presently found in the industrial
paradigm of leadership that does not distinguish leadership from good management.
Rost (1991, pp.180-181) went on to argue that the definition of leadership by
earlier scholars of leadership was influenced by what he calls the Industrial
Leadership Paradigm. He calls it industrial because it was characterised by the
industrial paradigm (1) a structural-functionalist view of organisation (2) a view of
management as the preeminent profession (3) a personalistic focus on the leader
(4) a dominant objective of goal achievement (5) a self-interested and individualistic
outlook (6) a male model of life (7) a utilitarian and materialistic ethical perspective
(8) a rational, technocratic, linear, quantitative, and scientific language and
 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

methodology. Similarly, Salvator (2009, p.38) argues that the foundations of


leadership include four relationship management competencies; communication,
coaching, influence, and managing for change. He shares some of the formal
knowledge transfer practices of the mentor, including coaching, stretch assignments,
job shadowing, and video libraries of war stories. Thus, it is important to examine
the concept leadership from a Western perspective. What is leadership?
1

The Concept and Definition of


Leadership from a Western Perspective

Rost (1991, p.102) defines leadership as an influence relationship among leaders


and followers who intend real change that reflect their mutual purposes. The leader
in this process engages with the follower based on mutual purpose which should be
grounded on an ethical considerations and beliefs. According to Newstrom (2011,
p.171) leadership is the process of influencing and supporting others to work
enthusiastically toward achieving objectives. Robbins and Judge (2012, p.204) on
the other hand define leadership as the ability to influence a group toward the
achievement of a vision or set of goals. They argue that organisation needs strong
leadership and strong management for optimal effectiveness. In essence, leadership
is an influence relationship between a leader and follower, for leadership does not
exist without someone to lead and someone to follow.
Burns (1978, p.19) in defining leadership, distinguishes between transactional
and transformational leadership and suggests that a transactional leadership occurs
when one person takes the initiative in making contact with others for the purpose
of an exchange of something valued; that is, a leader approaches followers with an
eye toward exchanging. Thus, the transactional leadership focuses on short-term,
day-to-day leadership and this type of leadership has been seen by some scholars
like (Bass, 1985) as a more passive form of leadership. Avolio et al (2003, p.287)
are of the view that leadership involves persuading people to set aside, for a time,
their selfish pursuits and work in support of the communal interest. On the other
hand, Burns (1978,p.19) defines leadership as leaders inducing followers to act for
certain goals that represent the values and the motivations, the wants and needs, the
aspirations and expectations, of both leaders and followers. The genius of leadership
lies in the manner in which leaders see and act on their followers values and
motivations.
Leadership as defined by Yukl (2006) is the process of influencing others to
understand and agree about what is to be done and how to do it, in addition to the
process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared
objectives. Hagen et al, (1998) on the other hand defines leadership as the process
through which leaders influence the attitudes, behaviours and values of others.
 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

According to Bass (1990, pp.19-20) leadership is the interaction between two or


more members of a group that often involves a structuring or restructuring of the
situation and the perceptions and expectations of the members. Leaders are agents
of change that is people whose acts affect other people more than other peoples acts
affect them. Leadership occurs when one group member modifies the motivation or
competencies of others in the group. Northouse (2010, p.3) subsequently, defines
leadership as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to
achieve a common goal. De Pree (1990) views leadership as stewardship, stressing
the importance of building relationships, initiating ideas, and creating a lasting
value system within an organisation. Rather than focusing on the hows of corporate
life, he explains the whys, and shows that the first responsibility of a leader is to
define reality and the last is to say thank you. The artful leader must stimulate
effectiveness by enabling others to reach both their personal potential and their
institutional potential. They must also, take a role in developing, expressing, and
defending civility and values, while nurturing new leaders and ensuring the
strengthening of the corporate culture. West and Ainscow (1991, p.29) as cited in
Wirba (2012) also define leadership as a process of influencing group behaviour
towards a common goal.
Kotter (1990) defines leadership as the capacity to conceptualise a vision, forge
a new direction for organisations, and motivate stakeholders to move towards that
vision. Mullins (1987, p.225) defines leadership as a relationship through which
one person influences the behaviour of other people. According to Covey (1990),
leaders listen to others with genuine empathy; they seek first to understand, then to
be understood.
Rost (1991, p.101) further asserts that while the industrialised model of
leadership has served the people of the United States well since the late 1800s,
increasingly it is ill serving their needs as they approach the twenty-first century. He
proposed a post-industrial paradigm of leadership, which might have core values
such as collaboration, common good, global concern, diversity, pluralism in
structure, and participation, client orientation, civic virtues, freedom of expression,
critical dialogue, qualitative language and methodologies, substantive justice, and
consensus-oriented policy making processes. These are values; he argues that must
be embedded in the new understanding of what leadership is.
Winston and Patterson (2006) offer an integrative definition of leadership and
come to the conclusion that, A leader is one or more people who select, equip,
train, and influence one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, skills
and focus the follower(s) on the organizational mission and objectives causing the
follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and
physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to realise the organizational
mission and objectives.
Servant Leadership coined by Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, first published
in 1970s, argues that the servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural
feeling that one wants to serve and to serve first. Then, conscious choice brings one
to inspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first,
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 

perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire


material possessions. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.
Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of
human nature. The differences manifest itself in the care taken by servant-first to
make sure that other peoples highest priority needs are being served. The servant-
leader primarily focuses on the growth and well-being of people and communities
to which they belong. In contrast to traditional leadership which generally involves
the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the top of the pyramid, the
servant-leader shares power and puts the needs of others first and helps people
develop and perform as highly as possible.
Furthermore, the Servant Leadership is not about a personal quest for power,
prestige, or material rewards. Thus, the true motivation is to serve others, rather
than to control or to wield power. The advocates of Servant Leadership are
convinced of the notion that Servant Leadership is the foundation for effective
leadership. Servant Leadership has been criticised by Eicher-Catt (2005, p.17) who
argues that the values attributed to Servant- Leadership are gender biased, and
accuses the theory of perpetuating a theology of leadership that upholds androcentric
patriarchal norms and insidiously perpetuates a long-standing masculine-feminine,
master-slave political economy.
Having examined the definition and concept of leadership from a Western
perspective, for example leadership as Servant Leadership, as Transformational,
Transactional or Laissez-Faire leadership. It is important to note a great contribution
of leadership from a Western perspective of leadership. Some aspects of
Transformational Leadership are very important. When the Transformational
leader puts the interest of his followers before his own, this becomes selflessness
which includes raising the level of morality in others to inspire them to be good
leaders. We should learn from such examples. Burns (1978) rejected leaders like
Hitler who transformed Germany but was not transformational in essence.
Northouse (2010, p.9) when discussing leadership and coercion use the example of
Adolf Hitler as a classical example of leaders who used coercion, and for him
coercion includes the use of force to influence change. Servant Leadership is also
close to what I advocate in this book but lacks the content as advocated in this
book. In this book I argue very strongly that the main content of leadership should
be the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the example of the
previous Prophet and the Guided Caliphs.
There is a great contribution of Western perspectives on the concept of leadership.
However, there is less emphasis on the moral and ethical perspective of leadership.
The following discussion on Western perspective of leadership will focus on moral
and ethical dimensions of leadership, a perspective that is lacking today in the
practice of leadership in those leading in business, institutions, organisation and
political organisations. Our current leaders are morally wanting in some areas.
Therefore, the call for a paradigm shift is to focus on the moral and ethics of
leadership.
 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

A Paradigm Shift

In this book, I argue for a rethink as many have argued before in trying to
understand the concept of leadership. The paradigm shift is centred on the notion
that moral and ethical perspective of leadership forms the cornerstone in the
practice of leadership. Morality and ethics play a central role in the practice of
leadership. By focusing on the moral and ethical form of leadership we hope to help
transform or reduce some of the scandals in human history, either in politics,
finance or any human institution and in manufacturing, whereby the spirit is win at
all cost is the essence of existence.
Plinio et al (2010) conducted a rigorous qualitative study and concluded that one
of the most serious problems facing organisations today is impoverished ethical
behaviour and non-existent ethical leadership. This assertion is not new. We have
seen many examples. One such example was the collapse of Enron, or Lehman
brothers, and the housing market crash in the USA which were due to unethical
behaviour of those in the leadership positions. Frank (2002, p.18) also argues that
the lack of trust in leadership is due to what he calls the shadow side of leadership.
This includes the negative influence of power, privilege, deception, inconsistency,
irresponsibility and misplaced loyalties. From the above reasons, it is important to
have moral and ethical leadership. Thus, what is ethical leadership?

Ethical Leadership

The act of defining ethics in the Western world began with Plato and Aristotle. To
this effect, Northouse (2010) argues that from the perspective of Western tradition,
the development of ethical theory dates back to Plato (427-347BC) and Aristotle
(384-322BC). The word ethics come from ethos, a Greek word meaning character,
conduct, and/or custom. For Northouse (ibid), ethical theory provides a system of
rules or principles that guide us in making decisions about what is right or wrong
and good or bad in a particular situation. Yukl (2012) argues that ethics is central
to leadership because of the nature of the relationship between leaders and
followers. Leaders influence followers and therefore will affect them negatively or
positively by their character or behaviour. They can also influence followers in the
quest for a common goal and at the same time treat their followers as individuals
with respect and dignity. Furthermore, leaders should stress values such as justice,
equality and liberty as ways of assisting followers to understand the importance of
ethics. The values that the leaders uphold are instrumental in influencing followers.
As such ethical values are important. Therefore, those who are in leadership
positions in society are judged by their character, what they do, their actions and
behaviours.
Ethical and moral leadership are important in society but little is written on the
subject. To this effect Ciulla (1995) argues that most of the scholars and practitioners
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 

who write about leadership respect at the altar. If ethics speak with hushed reverence
about its importance to leadership, but there is little discussion in the literature
regarding ethics in the practice of leadership. On the other hand, Kanungo and
Mendonca (1998) argue about the importance of ethical leadership in an
organisation by stating that a leaders ethical conduct guided by moral principles
gives credibility to the organization.
Many scholars have defined ethical leadership and in this book some are
examined. For example, Trevino et al (2005, p.120) define ethical leadership as the
demonstration of normatively appropriate conduct through personal actions and
interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such conduct to followers through
two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision-making. They contended
that a moral and ethical leadership personal traits and characteristics are honesty,
trustworthiness and integrity and the moral nature of that leaders conduct. Leaders
are role models and guides to their followers and if they do not act or function
morally, it may affect followers. Therefore, they should be credible and consistent
with what they say or do. They should walk the talk and talk the walk.
Ethical leadership should be to enable people to do the right thing. Freedman and
Steward (2006) argue that ethical leadership is about raising the bar, helping
people to realise their hope and dreams, creating value for stakeholders, and doing
these tasks with the intensity and importance that ethics connotes. They attest to
the fact that there must be room for mistakes, for humour, and for a humanity that
is sometime missing in our current leaders.
Yukl (2006) examines ethical leadership and concluded that, the ethical leader
is one who promotes honesty, and mirrors his or her actions with values and
beliefs. Kanungo (2001) attests to the fact that ethical leaders engage in deeds and
behaviours that benefit others, and at the same time, they abstain from behaviours
that can cause any hurt to others. Heifetz (2006) on the other hand proposes that
the primary responsibility of ethical leaders is to deal with conflict among followers,
and instruct them in a right way.
Heifetz (1994) attests to the fact that the overriding responsibility of leaders is to
create a work atmosphere characterised by empathy, trust, and nurturing and to
help followers to change and grow when faced with a difficult situation. In essence,
ethical leadership influences followers to do the right things. Hickman (1998,
p.361) subsequently quotes Aristotles advice regarding ethics. The spirit of morality
is awakened in the individual only through the witness and the conduct of a moral
reason.
Burns (1978, p.134) captured the essence or the spirit of ethical leadership when
he argues that transforming leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the
level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both leader and led, and thus it
has a transforming effect on both. The servant leadership as discussed in the
introduction and authentic leadership also have significant influence on ethical and
moral leadership.
Greenleaf (1977) attests to the fact that leaders need to serve followers and
devote themselves to the ethical developments of followers. While those who
10 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

advocate Authentic Leadership, are of the view that being ethics is being true to
oneself. However, Posakoff et al (1990) argues that Transformational Leadership is
a leadership style that is often said to be closely related to Ethical Leadership.
Yukl (1994) also attests to the fact that Transformational Leadership is a process
in which leaders and followers assist each other to reach greater level of morality
and motivation. Yukl acknowledges that effective Transformational leaders see
themselves as change agents, are risk takers, believing in people and caring about
the needs of others, being open to learning, believe in disciplined thinking and
analysis, and becoming visionaries.
Good leadership is all about having a trusting relationship with followers by
treating them with respect, honesty and care with compassion. Ethics are behaviours
that are stimulated by right and wrong, while the moral is inspired by religion.
Furthermore, Werphehowski (2007) examines Ethical Leadership from a spiritual
perspective and argues that an ethical leader is one who reconciles humanity back to
God and restores followers from the bondage of sin. Followers of the ethical leader will
see divine immanence in such as lifeunfolding of Gods agency in liberating pardon,
sovereign judgement, creaturely blessing, and faithful love over against the damage
brought by sin, suffering, death, and hopelessness. Thus, what is moral leadership?

Moral Leadership

The call for moral leadership is based on the same framework as ethical leadership.
Nair (1994) argued that leaders, especially those in business and politics, have lost
their moral purpose and sense of idealism. Subsequently, Guadiani (1997) also
argued that many citizens no longer have faith in their leaders, and the media have
discovered unethical leaders in unlikely places such as the clergy and college and
university presidents. Bennis (1984) also asked: where have the leaders gone? He
ascertains that leaders like Ghandhi, Kennedy and Martin Luther King, all lie slain.
Kanungo and Mendonca (1998) argued that without ethical leadership, organisations
are structures without a soul, and that organisational leaders need to be more
sensitive to their moral obligations to the wider society. After briefly discussing the
ethical and the moral perspective in leadership, it is important to examine theories
of leadership from a Western perspective.

Theories of Leadership from a Western Perspective

There are many theories of leadership. Each theory endeavours to inform practice.
In this book, I examine each theory and allow readers to draw their own conclusions
as to how lessons can be learned in understanding leadership from a Western
perspective. In other words, I discuss various theories of leadership that were
developed over a period of time for us to learn or draw lessons from.
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 11

The Trait Approach to Leadership

The Trait Approach arose from the Great Man theory as a way of identifying the
key characteristics of successful leaders. It was believed that through this approach,
critical leadership traits could be isolated, and that people with such traits could
then be recruited, selected and installed in positions of leadership. This approach to
leadership placed more emphasis on the personal qualities of leaders, and thus
implied that leaders were born with innate qualities. The Trait Approach examines
an individuals personal characteristics and looks for the important traits that are
consistently identified with leaders or people who are viewed as leaders. In other
words, the trait approach or theory attempts to identify the personality traits or
characteristics most often associated with successful leaders. Much of the research
on Trait Approach to leadership is concentrated on personal characteristics of
leaders which distinguished them from non-leaders.
Hughes et al (1985, p. 287) observe that the assumption of the Trait theorists
was that leadership could be explained in terms of the innate personal characteristics
of particular individuals. They sought to identify common personality traits which
were believed to distinguish leaders from non-leaders, regardless of circumstances
or organisational setting. On the other hand, Stogdill (1948, cited in Bass 1990)
casts doubts on the evidence for this theory. Having failed to find consistent
evidence to suggest that personal factors play a part in who becomes a successful
leader, he concludes that the personal factors associated with effective leadership are
substantially affected by the requirements of the situation in which the leader
emerges. In other words, a person does not become a leader by virtue of some
combination of traits, but that the pattern of personal characteristics of the leader
must bear some relationship to the characteristics, activities and goals of the
followers.
Stogdill, according to Hughes et al (1985, p. 264) did not himself accept the
importance of traits for leadership, but did observe that Trait theorists seemed to
agree that intelligence, dominance, self-confidence, achievement, drive and
interpersonal skills were the most important personal attributes. It is important to
note that if leaders are viewed as being born and not made, the implication is that
training and development for leadership is less important than the selection of
leaders. Previously, the literature on Trait Approach had focused mostly on physical
factors, such as height, physique, appearance and age. Nevertheless, typical
expressions from those who support the Trait perspective of leadership are, He is
born to be a leader or She is a natural leader, are not especially helpful in
explaining which of these qualities is important, or why.
The Trait Approach failed to produce a definitive list of leadership traits and, as
mentioned above, it also failed to take situations into account. Additionally, it failed
to address how leadership traits affect group members and their work. These are
some of the criticism of the Traits Approach.
Burham (1975, p.205) affirms that studies of leaders in different situations have
failed to discover any particular syndrome of personality traits that regularly
12 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

characterise such individuals and differentiate between leaders and non-leaders. For
him, the Trait Approach is not useful for training and development, because an
individual personal attributes are relatively stable and fixed, and therefore are not
amenable to change. Thus, the results of trait studies were inconclusive in that,
although some leaders might have possessed certain traits, their absence did not
necessarily mean that the person was not a leader; at best, it could be said that some
traits, such as task motivation, technical skills, intelligence, social skills, emotional
control and charisma, did appear more frequently than others.
Northouse (2010, p.25-7), in examining the strength of Trait theory affirmed
that it has several identifiable strengths. First, the Trait Approach is intuitively
appealing. It fits clearly with our notion that leaders are the individuals who are out
front and leading the way in our society. The second strength of the Trait Approach
is that it has a century of research to back it up. No other theory can boast of the
breadth and depth of studies conducted on the Trait Approach. Thirdly, the Trait
Approach highlights the leader component in the leadership process. Finally, the
Trait Approach has given us some benchmarks for what we need to look for if we
want to be leaders. In examining weakness of the Trait Approach, Northouse (Ibid)
points out that this approach has several shortcomings. First, the failure of this
theory to delimit a definitive list of leadership traits is a problem. The list of traits
that have emerged appears endless. Secondly, it has failed to take situations into
account. Thirdly, it has resulted in highly subjective determinations of the most
important leadership traits. Finally, it is not a useful approach for training and
development for leadership. This is because even if traits are identified they are not
easy to change. Therefore, other approaches to leadership had to be found, and this
led to the behavioural approach.

The Behavioural / Style Approach

The Behavioural Approach is different from the Trait Approach in that, whereas the
latter focuses on the supposed personal characteristics of the leader, the former
emphasises the observable behaviour of the leader. In other words, the Behavioural
Approach focuses on what leaders do. This approach most often focuses on two
kinds of behaviour, task related and relationship related. Task behaviours facilitate
goal accomplishment, helping group members to achieve their objectives; while
relationship behaviours help subordinates to feel comfortable with themselves, with
each other and with the situation in which they find themselves. Hersey and
Blanshard were early advocates of this approach, and even developed instruments
that could measure leadership behaviour.
According to Northouse (1997) the Behavioural Approach reminds leaders that
their actions towards others are interpreted on both task and relationship levels.
This approach gives leaders the opportunity to reflect on their own behaviour by
looking at it in terms of the two general dimensions of task and relationship
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 13

behaviours. Furthermore, Northouse (1997 p. 71) argues that this Approach to


leadership stresses that there is no one best style of leadership. Instead, leaders need
to be flexible and adapt their style to the requirements of the situation.
Northouse (2010, p.78) discusses, the strengths of the Style Approach and
concluded that this Approach marked a major shift in the general focus of leadership
research. This approach also broadened the scope of leadership research to include
the behaviours of the leaders and what they do in various situations. Secondly, a
wide range of studies on leadership Style validates and gives credibility to the basic
tenets of the approach. Thirdly, on the conceptual level, researchers of the Style
Approach have ascertained that a leaders style consists primarily of two major
types of behaviours: task and relationship. Finally, that this approach is heuristic.
In the area of criticism Northouse (2010, p.79) argues that the Style Approach has
failed to find a universal style of leadership that could be effective in almost every
situation.

Situational Approach to Leadership

The Situational Approach to leadership is much more focused on how leaders


should adapt their style to suit the demands of the followers or the organization
(Northouse 1997). The basic premise of this theory is that different situations
demand different kinds of leadership styles. Therefore, an effective leader adapts his
or her style to the demands of the different situations. Effective leadership behaviour
in the Situational Approach is dependent on the task, the characteristics of the
group and the interpersonal relationships within the group. The Situational-
Contingency theory was developed to indicate the style to be used, based upon such
factors as the situation, the people, the task, the organisation and other
environmental variables. The major scholar who has contributed toward this theory
is Fiedler, whose Contingency Theory postulates that there is no single best way for
managers to lead. Situations will create different leadership style requirements for a
manager. Thus, there is no single best way for school principals, leaders, or
managers to lead.
Fiedler defines the condition of a managerial task into three factors; 1) Leader-
member relations. How well do the manager and the employees get along? A leader
who is more trusted and has more influence with the group would be better than a
leader who is not trusted. 2) Task structure Is the job highly structured, fairly
unstructured, or somewhere in between? This refers to the type of task you are
doing as noted above. For example, a task where the team and leader have little
knowledge of how to achieve them, are viewed as unfavourable. 3) A leaders
position powers; this is the amount of power a leader has to direct the group,
and provide reward or punishment. The more power the leader has, the more the
more favourable his situation. Fiedler identifies power as being either strong or
weak. Based on the above, managers were rated as to whether they were
14 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

relationship-oriented or task-oriented. For example, if a manager is task-oriented,


he tends to do better in situations that have good leader-member relationships. It is
important to note here that there is no good or bad leadership style; each person or
leader has his or her own preferences for leadership.

Path-Goal Theory

Path-Goal Theory focuses on how leaders motivate subordinates to accomplish


agreed goals. The rationale underlying this theory of leadership is to influence both
employee performance and employee satisfaction by focusing on employee motivation
(Northouse 1997, p.88). Northouse goes on to state that the Path-Goal Theory
emphasizes the relationship between the leaders style and the characteristics of the
subordinates and their work setting. Path-Goal Theory was developed to explain
how leaders motivate subordinates to be productive and satisfied with their work.
The basic principle of Path-Goal Theory is derived from Expectancy Theory,
which suggests that employees will be motivated if they feel competent, if they think
their efforts will be rewarded, and if they feel the payoff for their work is
worthwhile. A leader can help subordinates by selecting a style of leadership
(directive, supportive, participative, or achievement-oriented) that provides what is
missing for subordinates in a particular work setting. It is the leaders responsibility
to help subordinates to reach their goals by directing, guiding and coaching them
along the way (Northouse, 2004, pp123-143).
Write (1996, p.62) cites House (1971, p.324), who asserts that the central tenet
of Path-Goal Theory is that the motivational functions of the leader consist of an
increasing personal payoff to the subordinate for work-goal attainment, and
making the path to these payoffs easier to function by clarifying it, reducing road
blocks and pitfalls, increasing the opportunities for personal satisfaction en route.
Leader behaviour is acceptable and satisfying to subordinates to the extent that the
subordinates see such behaviour as either an immediate source of satisfaction or as
instrumental to future satisfaction.
Finally, according to Write (1996, p.63), Path-Goal Theory asserts that (a) the
leaders behaviour will exert a beneficial influence on subordinates motivation to
perform, on their job satisfaction and on their acceptance of the leader, to the extent
that it smoothes the path to the achievement of their goal; and (b) the leadership
behaviour which performs this function will vary depending on the characteristics
of the subordinates and their working environment.

Servant Leadership Theory

Servant-Leadership was first proposed by Robert Greenleaf in 1970. This theory of


leadership is based on theoretical frameworks that advocate a leaders primary
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 15

motivation as service to others. According to Greenleaf (1970) the great leader is


seen as servant first. This leadership theory is very close to the Islamic perspective
of leadership. In the Islamic perspective of leadership, the content or guide to the
definition of leadership is the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH). Servant Leadership emphasises increased service to others; a holistic
approach to work, promoting a sense of community; and the sharing of power in
decision-making. Central to the Servant-Leadership framework is the following:
(1) service to others (2) holistic approach to work (3) promoting a sense of community
(4) sharing of power in decision-making. Other attributes of Servant Leadership are
listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualisation, foresight,
stewardship, commitment to the growth of people and building community.
There is a lot to be learnt from this fascinating leadership theory. There are also
those who have criticised this theory. For example Stone, Russel, and Patterson
(2003) call the theory systematically undefined and lacking in empirical support.
On the other hand, Eicher-Catt (2005, p.17) argues that the values attributed to
Servant-Leadership are gender biased, and accuses the theory of perpetuating a
theology of leadership that upholds androcentric patriarchal norms and that it
insidiously perpetuates a long-standing masculine-feminine, master slave political
economy. The next set of leadership theories are the Transformational and
Transactional Leadership Theory.

Ethical Theory

Ethics comes from ethos, a Greek word meaning character, conduct and/or customs.
The Ethical Theory falls into two broad categories; theories relating to a leaders
behaviour and other relating to a leaders character.
Theories relating to conduct are of two types. The first are those related to
conduct and consequences and then there are those that relate to rules that advocate
leaders conduct. Theories related to consequences are called teleological theories.
These theories look at whether a leaders actions, behaviour, and or conduct have a
positive outcome. This refers to the behaviour of the leader or person as ethical or
unethical. Those theories related to duty or rules are called deontological theories
(meaning duty in Greek word). This theory focuses on the actions that lead to
consequences and whether the actions are good or bad. The theories which related
to character are described as a virtue-based approach.

Teleological Approach

There are three approaches in assessing whether outcomes are viewed as ethical.
These are first, Ethical Egoism which describes actions of which are designed to
obtain the greatest good for the leader. Second, Utilitarianism refers to the actions
16 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

of the leader that are made to find the greatest good for the largest number of
people. Third, Altruism designates the actions of leaders that are made to show
concern for others interest, even if the interest is against the self-interest of the
leader.

Deontological Approach

This approach derived from deos a Greek word meaning duty. This aspect looks
at the outcome. For example, telling the truth, being fair, keeping promises, and
respecting others are actions and behaviours that leaders should exhibit while
dealing with others in their various communities by doing what is right.

Virtue-based Approach

This theory is related to leaders and their character. These virtues can be learned
and engaged in with practice and experience. Examples of ethical virtues that can
be learned are generosity, courage, sociability, honesty, self-control, justice, modesty,
perseverance, integrity, fidelity, humility and trustfulness.

Transformational Leadership

Bass and Avolio (1996) define Transformational Leadership as a process by which


leaders take action to try to increase the awareness in their associates of what is
right and important, to raise their associates motivational maturity and to move
them to go beyond their own self-interests for the good of the group, the
organisation, or society. Such leaders, according to Bass and Avolio (1996), provide
their associates with a sense of purpose that goes beyond a simple exchange of
rewards for effort provided. On the other hand, Phillips (1999, pp.23-24) argues
that Transformational leaders have a bias for action and a sense of urgency that are
centred around shared goals. They act with respect for the values of the people they
represent. They are visionary and decisive. They have an intuitive understanding of
human nature that combines with the ability to care, establish trust, build alliances;
and they have the know-how to successfully create and manage change.
According to Northouse (2010, p.171) Transformational Leadership is a process
that changes, and transforms people. It is concerned with emotion, values, ethical
standards and long term goals. Transformational Leadership involves an exceptional
form of influence that moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually
expected of them. It is a process that often incorporates charismatic and visionary
leadership. Thus, for him, Transformational Leadership is the process whereby a
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 17

person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of
motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower.
Hunt (2005) described the increasing popularity of theories, studies and case
studies about the transformational leader. The popularity of this theory of leadership
both among leadership researchers and practitioners owes much to its emphasis
upon the nature of change in organisations. More than other frameworks,
Transformational Leadership focuses upon the significant role that leaders can play
in promoting both personal and organisational change, and the role of leaders in
assisting their employees to meet and exceed expectations about performance
(Avolio, 2005).
Northouse (2010, p.186) examines the strength of the Transformational
Approach and is of the view that firstly, Transformational Leadership has been
widely researched from many different perspectives, including a series of qualitative
studies of prominent leaders and CEOs in large, well-known organisations.
Secondly, this theory has intuitive appeal. Thirdly, it treats leadership as a process
that occurs between followers and leaders. Fourth, it provides a broader view of
leadership than other leadership models. Fifth, it places a strong emphasis on
followers needs, values and morals. Finally, there is substantial evidence that
Transformational Leadership is an effective form of leadership.
In contrast to the strength of Transformational Leadership by Northouse (2010,
p.187) there is also criticism of it. The criticism is that Transformational Leadership
lacks conceptual clarity. The second criticism is on how it is measured. Thirdly,
critics argue that it treats leadership as a personality trait or personal predisposition
rather than a behaviour that people can learn. The fourth criticism is that it is elitist
and antidemocratic. A final criticism is that it has the potential to be abused.
Transformational Leadership is concerned with changing peoples values and
moving them to a new vision. But who is to determine whether the new directions
are good and more affirming? Who decides that a new vision is better? These are
some of the questions that show or question the strength of Transformational
Leadership. Thus, the focus of this theory is on what way leaders inspire followers
to accomplish goals which surpass the followers direct self-interest. According to
Bass (1997), Transformation leaders marshal their followers through idealised
influence (charisma), inspirational motivation, rational inspiration, high-performance
expectations and effective articulation of a vision. Thus, the Transformational
theory of leadership focuses on how leaders motivate followers to follow a goal that
exceed their instantaneous self-interest. The Transformational leaders evoke values
of trust, teamwork and self-development. Transformational Leadership views their
followers as idealised influence.

Transactional Leadership

Bass and Avolio (1996) define Transactional Leadership as a process of gaining


compliance from associates through contracts with the leader. The contractual
18 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

relations may be explicit or implicit. The leader clarifies expectations and may
exchange promises of reward or disciplinary threats for the desired effort and
performance levels. The constructive style is labelled Contingent Reward, and the
corrective style is labelled Management-by-Exception, which can be either active or
passive. Transactional Leadership according to Burns (1989) refers to the bulk of
leadership models, which focus on the exchanges that occur between leaders and
their followers. Politicians who win votes by promising no new taxes are
demonstrating Transactional Leadership. Similarly, managers who offer promotions
to employees who surpass their goals are exhibiting Transactional Leadership. In
the classroom, teachers are being transactional when they give students a grade for
work completed. We can observe these transactional leadership aspects in many
levels of our organisations today. Therefore, Transitional Leadership is alive and is
used in many aspects of our life by many leaders and followers alike.

Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership is one of the newest areas of leadership research and it


emerges after Transformational and Transactional Leaderships popularity. The
cornerstone to the popularity of Transformational Leadership is the understanding
that this theory goes beyond their self-interest for the good of the follower and the
organisation, and also the moral perspective of a Transformational leader.
The main focus of Authentic Leadership is whether leadership is genuine and
real. Thus, this theory is about the authenticity of leaders and their leadership.
According to many writers on leadership, Authentic Leadership is still in its
formative phase of development. There is a need for continuous development in the
understanding of authentic leadership.
The need for authenticity in leadership emerges from failures in corporate and
non-corporate setting. The likes of Enron, WorldCom, the Bearing Bank scandal
and so on has led to continuous discussion on the importance of leadership in
organization and institutions. The same sentiment is shared by Northouse (2010,
p.205) when he argues that in recent time upheavals in society have energised a
tremendous demand for Authentic Leadership. The corporate scandals at companies
like WorldCom and Enron, and massive failures in the banking industry have also
created fear and uncertainty. People have become more apprehensive and insecure
about what is going on around them, and, as a result, they long for bona fide
leadership they can trust and for leaders who are honest and good. Based on the
above observation, it becomes apparent that people, writers and practitioners of
leadership continuously search for answers from leaders who are trustworthy,
honest and can lead to the development of Authentic Leadership as a concept. These
are some of the things that heighten the attention of researchers on the subject and
at the same time lead to the study of Authentic Leadership, a leadership that is
trustworthy, honest and real.
The Concept and Definition of Leadership from a Western Perspective 19

Northouse (2010, p.206) argues that on the surface, Authentic Leadership


appears easy to define, but in actuality, it is a complex process that is difficult to
characterise and that there is no single accepted definition of Authentic Leadership.
As such, he asserts that Authentic Leadership can be viewed from three viewpoints;
intrapersonal, developmental, and interpersonal and that each definition is unique
and helpful to clarify the meaning of authentic leadership. The same interpretation
is also echoed by Klenke (2007) who points to the fact that the concept of Authentic
Leadership has been treated extensively in various disciplines including Humanistic
Psychology (Maslow, 1971; Rogers, 1959), Developmental Psychology (Ericson,
1995), and existential philosophy (Heidegger, 1963/2002; Sarte,1994) and it has
also been addressed in Religious Studies and History. To that end, he cites Terry
(1993, p.139) who asserted that authenticity is ubiquitous, calling us to be true to
ourselves and true to the world, real in ourselves and real in the world, when
authenticity is acknowledged, we admit our foibles, mistakes and protected secrets,
the parts of ourselves and society that are fearful and hide in the shadows of
existence. Klenke (2007) in reviewing several contemporary conceptualisation of
Authentic Leadership focused on the role of the self in Authentic Leadership
through three identity lenses; (a) self-identity (b) leader identity and (c) spiritual
identity. For Klenke (2007) the self-identity system encompasses the intrapersonal
self-defined internal dispositions and abilities. The leader identity system reflects the
interpersonal self as defined by the leaders relationship with others. Thus, what is
Authentic Leadership?
Avolio et al. (2004) defined Authentic leaders as those individuals who are deeply
aware of how they think and behave and are perceived by others as being aware of
their own and others values/moral perspective, knowledge, and strength, aware of
the context in which they operate and who are confident, hopeful, optimistic,
resilient, and high on moral justice character.
The definition of leadership in this book is Vicegerent, whose willingness and
selflessness servitude is purely for the pleasure of Allah. Leadership/Vicegerent
becomes a form of worship and not self-interest.
I would like to present you a few quotes from some great leaders throughout
history on the subject of leadership as cited in Wirba (2012). The task of leadership
is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
(John Buchan) The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men
to do what he wants to be done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with
them while they do it. (Theodore Roosevelt) To lead people, walk beside themas
for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the
people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate
when the best leaders work is done the people say, we did it ourselves! (Lao-Tsu),
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave
a trail. (Harold R. McAindon). Having examined leadership from a Western
perspective, let us examine it from an Islamic perspective.
2

Islamic Perspective of Leadership

Leadership from an Islamic perspective is highly sought-after and valued by


Muslims today more than it ever has been in the history of Islam, due to lack of
strong leadership within Islamic communities. The Islamic perspective of leadership
makes no clear distinction between the spiritual and the worldly affaires. That is
because Muslims accept as truth that Islam is a way of life and that Muslims are
bound by the divine laws (Sharia).
In examining leadership from Islamic perspectives, there are some terminologies
which signify a leader. These terminologies are for example Khalifa which is used
to mean successor or vicegerent and has been mention in the Quran in Surah al
Baqarah 2:30 and Surah Sad38:26, which are discuss subsequently in this chapter.
There are also other terminologies like Amir, which could mean a prince, commander
or a leader. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has used the word Amir to emphases that
when a group of Muslims are in a mission or journey they chose or elect and Amir
to lead them. Imam is also use in Islamic perspective of leadership but in most case
signifies leading people to prayers and it can also means a leader.
Leadership from an Islamic perspective is a trust. The first trust of leaders is to
Allah, Who intrusted him with the leadership of his people and second to his people
whom he leads and at the same time be accountable to them. This trust is affirmed
in Surah 2:30. Furthermore Leadership in Islam is a trust as affirmed in Surah 4:
An-Nisa (4:58), Khan and Al Hilali (1996, p.122), Verily Allah commands that you
should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due: and that when you
judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellence is the teaching
which He (Allah) give you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer. Also see Surah
3: Al Imran (3:189), Khan and Al Hilali (1996, p.108), And to Allah belongs the
domination of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things.
Subsequently in Surah 33 A-Ahzab (33.72), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p. 538), 7.
Truly, We did offer Al-Amanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all
the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains,
but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allahs Torment). But
man bore it. Verily he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of it result).
See Surah 8. Al Anfal (8:27) Khan and Khalili (1996, p.230). O you who
believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat
22 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

(thing entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you).
Subsequently in Surah 3. Al-Imran (3; 164) Khan & Khilali (1996, 103) 164. Indeed
Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger
(Muhammad (PBUH) from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the
Quran), and purifying them (from sins by their following him), and instructing them
(in) the Book (Quran) and Al-Hikmah. And in Surah 26. Ash-Shurah (26:74) 74. And
those who say: our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and offspring the comfort of
our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqun (the pious, see 2:2). Al-Bagarah (2:2),
This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are
Al-Muttaqun [the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all
kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform
all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. Leaders and followers in Islam
should Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). A Hadith Narrated by Abu
Hurairah (RA) Allah Messenger (PBUH) said, All my followers will enter Paradise
except those who refuse. They said, O Allahs Messenger! Who will refuse? He
Said, Whoever obey me will enter Paradise, and whoever disobeys me is the one who
refuse (to enter it). Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol.9, Hadith No. 384. The other Hadith
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA). Allahs Messenger (PBUH) said, When honesty is
lost, then wait for the Hour. It was asked, How will honesty be lost, O Allahs
Messenger (PBUH)? He said, When authority is given to those who do not deserve
it, then wait for the Hour. Sahih Al Bukhari 6496, Vol. 8. Hadith 503.
The leadership and followers in Islam and Mankind, in general, should follow
Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Surahs of the Quran and Sunnah
of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are critical for all to follow and reflect
upon during the discharge of our duties. The leadership and the followers of Islam
should guard against leaders who incite hate, create division among people based on
religious line, sectarianism, race, color, nationality, tribe, language, and all ism, even
though they may be elected democratically by their people. Some of these leaders
will promise their people haven on earth, how their life will be improved if
foreigners, refuges and other are throughout. Thus, the duties of the citizens are to
guard against such rhetoric and simplistic populism that is exploding around the
world. The leadership and followers of Muslim and Humanity, in general, should
follow the Quran Verses, Surah, and the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
See Surah 49. Al_HuJurat (49:13), Khan and Khalili (1996, p.651). 13. O mankind!
We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and
tribes, that you may know the other. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah
is that (believer) who has Al-Taqwah [he is one of the Muttagun (the piousSee
2:2). Verily Allah is All-Knowing, All-A ware. Also see Hadith 503 above.
Leadership from the Islamic perspective should be performed as a form of
worship (Ibadah). Furthermore, within the Ummah there is a clear lack of
brotherhood that was a cornerstone of Islam as existed in early Islam in Madinah
were the Ansar (helpers) and the Muhajirun (immigrant) became one. They become
brothers and sisters to each other and the true fundamentals of brotherhood was
established and cemented. How many leaders of today Ummah draw on this
fundamental aspect of brotherhood in Islam?
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 23

The great danger here is that those who do not like the Islamic kind of
brotherhood that was established in Madinah will also try to divide Muslims
between Arab Muslim, African Muslim, Kurdish, Shiah, and Sunni, so that we
adhere to the nation state and nationalism which is not built on the brotherhood of
Islam. Today, some Muslims do not give respect to their brother Muslims. However,
during the time of writing this book I was encourage by the open door policy
practiced by Dr. Musleh Hamid Al-Otaibi, Chief Executive of Royal Commission.
His determination to practice open door policy in spite of his hectic schedule and
meeting his employees from all levels in the organization is a kind of leadership
advocated in this book.
Leaders and followers of Muslims societies today prefer to treat their fellow
brother Muslims with contempt and is a concern. We have forgotten the brotherhood
that was created in Madinah when Bilal was given the post of being the one who
called for prayer by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). But unless we recognise each
other as brothers in Islam, and that we are all Muslim brotherhood irrespective of
tribes and nations.
The basic operational principles of Islamic leadership are based on consultation
(Shurah), justice and fairness in dealing with individuals and solving disputes and the
freedom of thought. But do we practice these basic operational principles of Islamic
leadership in our contemporary Muslims communities or societies today? I doubt.
That is why I made a joke that in the West they practice Islamic principles without
Islam and in the so called Muslim nation states the opposite is true. Leadership from
an Islamic perspective is ideal and should be practice by all Muslim communities.
In the West when a child is born even if their parents are not citizens of that nation,
the child becomes a citizen of that nation. Where can we find this in Muslim countries
or communities? This is a challenge for leaders in Muslim communities or countries.
There is a need for continues renewal within Muslims countries. The president of the
United State Barak Obama reminded some American who suggested that they should
not take refuges from Syria and those who wanted to have a ban on Muslims entering
America by stating that Immigrants and refugees revitalised and renew America.
What can our leaders and fellow Muslim learn from such statement?
A Muslim is the brother of a muslim: he does not oppress him, nor does he fail
him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he hold him in contempt. Taqwa (piety) is right
here [and he pointed to his chest three times]. It is evil enough for a man to hold his
brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for another
Muslim: his blood, his property, and honor. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
None of you truly believes until he loves his brother what he loves for himself
Narrated by (Buhari & Muslim).
In the Quran Surah Hujjurat (49:10). The believers are nothing else than
brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you
may receive mercy.
Muslim leaders should attracting Muslims intellectuals to settle and contribute
to the strength of the Ummah.
The greatest challenges of the Ummah (Muslim communities) does not lie with
the West or in the differences in ideologies between Shia and Sunni, but on Muslims
24 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

failing to practice the spirit of brotherhood that was the cornerstone of Islam in
Madinah. The greatest challenge of Muslims is we, yon and I.
The emergence of misguided Muslims, who think that anyone who does not
subscribe to their interpretation of Islam are the great enemies of Islam. These are
people who give Islam a bad name and therefore are a challenge to us all. They want
to create sectarianism within the Muslim society by killing those who do not adhere
to their ideology which has nothing to do with Islam. They may think are good
Muslims, but there nothing at all Islamic about them. The biggest enemy of Islam
is the ignorant Muslim, whose ignorance leads him to intolerance, whose actions
destroy the true image of Islam, and when the people look at him they think that
Islam is what he is, (Sheikh Ahmed Deedat).
The helper (Ansar) gave sanctuary to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his
followers for the sake of Islam not self-interest. This is self-evident to the extent that
the Ansar were ready to divorce any of their wives so that the immigrants could
marry them. How many of our brothers and sisters Muslims are refugees all over the
world and what have we done for them? They may receive blankets or food, but what
they need is being able to work and feed their families if possible. How many of our
communities allow them to work for a living in our Muslim countries or societies?
Those who manage to reach the shores of Europe are welcomed. Why have
leaders of Muslim societies turned a blind eye to what we had solution for during
the early Islamic period in Medinah? The leaders of Muslim communities or
countries should rethink their strategy and understand that the Ummah was built
on the foundation of shared brotherhood, not on nationalism but on Islam.
Furthermore, as argued in this book leadership from an Islamic perspective is
examined against the background of the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH) and the wisely guided Caliphs and the Prophets.
Leadership from an Islamic perspective is considered a trust. Trust and
accountability go hand in hand. There are two levels of trust and accountability.
First a leader is entrusted by Allah and he/she is accountable to Allah for his trust.
Secondly, the leader is also entrusted by his people and he/she is accountable to
them. Whether you are a leader of the organisation, group or even family you are
accountable to them for the trust they have given to you. The leader is held
accountable on the Day of Judgement because he is entrusted by Allah to lead his
people. At the same time, he is accountable to the people he leads.
Prophet Adam (PBUH) was created by Allah and he played a role of a Vicegerent
on earth especially when Allah said to the Angels, I am going to place a vicegerent
on earth. This is affirmed in Surah 2: Al Baqra (2:30). The role of leadership in
Islam is understood at many levels. This is stated in a saying of Prophet Mohammad
(PBUH), Each of you is a Shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.
The leader or ruler who has authority over people at any level of the organisation
or even family is responsible for those people under them. A woman is a responsible
for her house and family. A man is also a guardian and responsible for his family.
Therefore, leadership in Islam is emphasised at all levels, in institutions, organisations
or political institutions.
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 25

The importance of leadership from an Islamic perspective is that it enables


followers and leaders to be accountable to one another and that their position is a
trust and that they should continuously improve themselves and the organisations
they work for.
Leadership is trust and accountability and therefore must be observed wisely.
Accountability is taken very seriously in Islam and this is affirmed in Surah 9:
Al Tawbah (9:105), Al- Hilali and Khan (1996, p.257), And say (O Muhammad)
Do deeds! Allah will see your deeds, and (so will) His Messenger and the believers.
And you will be brought back to the All-Knower of the unseen and the seen. Then
He will inform you of what you used to do. The above verse evidently shows the
close link between accountability to Allah and accountability to people.
That is why the Quran warn leaders of their responsibilities towards their
followers and towards Allah. We can learn lessons of accountability in political
Islam from the second Caliph Omar Ibn Al Khahtab when he addressed the Muslim
congregation by saying: If you find crookedness in my behaviour, you have to
straighten me out One person from the group responded by saying: If we find
crookedness in your behaviour, we will straighten you out even if we have to use
the sword Omar was very happy with this response.
The story of Yusuf (Joseph), (PBUH) also shows accountability when he asked to
be given the task of organising reserves in the time of plenty, against the lean years
to come. See Surah 12: Al- Hilali and Khan (1996, p.301) (12:55-7). 55. [Yusuf
(Joseph)] said: Set me over the store-houses of the land; I will indeed guard them
with full knowledge (as a minister of finance in Egypt). 56. Thus did we give full
authority to Yusuf (Joseph) in the land, to take possession therein, when or where
he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We will, and We make not to be lost
the reward of Al-Muhsinun (the good doers-See V.2:112). 57. And verily, the
reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and used to fear Allah and
keep their duty to Him (by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds and by
performing all kinds of righteous good deeds). This is how Islam encourages
accountability.
The issue of content and the process of leadership from an Islamic perspective is
very important. I suggest therefore, even argue in this book that the Quran and the
Sunnah (traditions) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) should be the guide and
cornerstone of the content of leadership. If we believe that Allah has created us and
that the purpose of creation is to worship Him, then the Quran must have answers,
guides and solutions for leaders who lead in our communities today.
If we want to emulate someone who had lived the example of leadership as
envisaged in this book, we should not look beyond the leadership of Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH). His leadership qualities and deeds were geared towards
uniting mankind with his creator God and admonishing them to exceed the material
world and look beyond.
Indeed Allah is the one who creates unity as stated in Surah 3 Ali Imran (3:103-5),
Al- Hilali and Khan (1996, p.93-4), 103. And hold fast, all of you together, to the
Rope of Allah (i.e. this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember
26 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

Allahs Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your
hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you become brethren (in Islamic Faith), and
you were on the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes
His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you,
that you may be guided. 104. Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting
to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that
Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all
that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are successful. 105. And be not as
those who divided and differed among themselves after the clear proofs had come
to them. It is they for whom there is an awful torment.
The call for unity, as advocated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is central for
any leader who wants to lead a united community. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
had to work harder as a leader of his community to create unity amongst his people
even though Allah is the one who creates unity. This notion of unity of communities
under Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was reflected in Madinah when he united the
two communities, the emigrants (Muhajirun) and the Helpers (Ansar) to come
together as companions and supporters as one.
All the previous prophets, from Adam (PBUH) to Abraham (PBUH), Jesus
(PBUH) and Muhammad (PBUH) proclaimed in their lives the call to humankind
to understand the purpose of Allahs creation, which is worshiping Him and also
having united communities. In their leadership positions, they tried to unite their
people within their communities towards the worship of Allah.
Thus, the consequence of disunity is punishment, and this is directly or indirectly
manifested in Muslim communities today. Where Muslims are the majority or
minority the same is self-evident. From Africa to Europe America, Asia and Middle
East there is a crisis engulfing Muslims communities. To this effect, Allah in Surah
8 Al-Anfal (8:73), in Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.237), And those who disbelieve
are allies of one another, (and) if you (Muslims of the whole world collectively) do
not do so [i.e. become allies, as one united block under one Khalifah (a chief
Muslim ruler for the whole Muslim world) to make victorious Allahs religion of
Islamic Monotheism], there will be Fitnah (wars, battles, polytheism) and oppression
on earth, and a great mischief and corruption (appearance of polytheism). Al Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.237), made an observation on the interpretation of the above
Verse based on Tafsir At-Tabari, Vol.10, page 56. [And those who disbelieves are
allies of one another, (and) if you (Muslims of the whole world collectively) do not
do so (i.e. become allies, as one united block-V8:73). is That if you do not do what
We (Allah) have ordered you to do, [i.e. all of you (Muslims of the whole world) do
not become allies as one united block to make Allahs religion (Islam) victorious,
there will be a great Fitnah (polytheism, wars, battles, killings, robbing, a great
mischief, corruption and oppression, etc.). And it is Fitnah to have many Khalifah
(Muslim rules), as it has been mentioned in Sahih Muslim by Arfajah, who said:
I heard Allahs Messenger (PBUH) saying: When you all (Muslims) are united (as
one block) under a single Khalifah (a chief Muslims ruler), and a man comes up to
disintegrate you and separate you into different groups, then kill that man. There
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 27

is also another narration narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri (RA) Allah Messenger
(PBUH) Said: If the Muslim world gave the Baia (pledge) to two Khalifah (Chief
Muslim ruler) the first one who was given the Baia (pledge) first will remain as the
Khalifah, then kill the latter (the second) one. The above Verse and the translated
interpretation of the Verse are waring on the consequences of disunity among
Muslims and how the unbelievers are protectors, one of others and also that it is a
legal obligation from the Quran and the Sunnah that there should not be more than
one Khalifah (a chief Muslim ruler) for the whole Muslim world or otherwise there
will be a great Fitnah (mischief and evil) amongst the Muslims, the ultimate results
of which will not be worthy of praise.
Yusuf Alis (1992) commentary attests to the fact that Evil concurs with evil. The
good have all the more reason for drawing together and not only living in mutual
harmony, but being ready at all times to protect each other. Otherwise the world
will be given over to aggression by unscrupulous people, and the good will fail in
their duty to establish Allahs peace and to strengthen all the forces of truth and
righteousness.
Allah always warns us in the Quran, through His Prophets to be righteous and
to be good people or leaders. These examples are in the Quran. Moses was the only
Prophet who spoke with Allah and received the laws from Him, and all the Prophets
from Israel followed the laws given to Moses (PBUH). Muhammad (PBUH) did not
speak with Allah but he was the Prophet who expressed the words of Allah, and
those words which make up the Quran and come directly from Allah. Furthermore,
Moses (PBUH), Jesus and other Prophets created unity amongst their communities.
Allah always bestows on us his favour by choosing the best among people to be His
Prophets and Messengers to act as exemplary leaders. Each nation was given the
best person from among them to carry the message of Allah to the people. Each
chosen person spoke the language of his people. This is affirmed in Surah 14
Ibrahim (14:4), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.317), 4. And We sent not a Messenger
except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the message)
clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guide whom He wills. And
He is the All-Mighty, the All-wise.
In Surah 4 Al Nisa (4:163-165), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.141), 163. Verily,
We have sent the revelation to you (Muhammad (PBUH) as We sent the revelation
to Nuh (Noah) and the Prophets after him; We (also) sent the revelation to
(Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), and Al-Asbat [the
offspring of the twelve sons of Yaqub(Jacob)], Isa (Jesus), Ayub (Job), Yunus
(Jonah), Harun (Aaron), and Sulaiman (Solomon); and to Dawud (David) We gave
the Zabur (Psalms). 164. And Messengers We have mentioned to you before, and
Messengers We have not mentioned to you, - and to Musa (Moses) Allah spoke
directly. 165. Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order
that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the (coming of) of Messengers.
And Allah is ever All-powerful, All-wise. Thus, the previous Prophets did the same
in leading their people and continuously warning them of the danger of not
following the truth. The rightly guided Caliphs did the same with those they led.
They warned them of the consequences of not worshiping Allah and failing to be
28 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

morally upright. Thus, morality and ethics should play a central role in the practice
of leadership as was for those Prophets that have been mentioned above.
Leaders who occupy positions of leadership in our communities may not be the
same as Prophet Jesus (PBUH), or Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), whom were
chosen by Allah to lead their communities but they can strive to emulate them by
being morally and ethically upright. For those leaders who are chosen by their
communities, they should follow the Hadith of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which
is narrated by Sahih Buhkhari and Muslim and states, Each of you is a shepherd
and each of you is responsible for his flock. Politics and religion go hand in hand
in Islam. Leaders today should not be afraid of religion, especially if they do right
things to their people or their community.
The good example of a leader who combines both politics and religion was
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was the leader of the Ummah (Islamic
Community) and yet he was just and fair to all irrespective of their creed. He used
to invite Kings of other nations to accept Islam by writing to them. There are many
examples of these letters and I will examine some of them in this book. One earlier
letter from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to various Kings and rulers was a letter
sent to Negus, the King of Abyssinia which was carried by Amr ibn Umayyah
al-Damri, which stated the following; In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent,
the most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Negus, the King
of Abyssinia: Peace on him who follows the path of Guidance. Praise to Allah
besides Whom there is no other god, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Preserver of
Peace, the Keeper of the Faithful, the Guardian. I bear witness that Jesus son of
Mary is indeed a spirit of God and His word which He conveyed unto the chaste
Virgin Mary. He created Jesus through His word just as he created Adam with His
hands. And now I call you to Allah Who is One and has no partner, and to
friendship in His obedience. Follow me and believe in what has been revealed to me,
for I am the Messenger of Allah. I invite you and your people to Allah, the Mighty,
the Glorious. I have conveyed the message, and it is up to you to accept it. Once
again, peace on whoever follows the path of guidance. A-Jibouri
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also sent a letter to Heraclius which was carried by
Duhayyah Ibn Khalifah Al-Kabi who was a famous Meccan businessman who had
accepted Islam. The letter reads as follows; In the name of Allah, the most
Beneficent, the most Merciful. From Mohammad, the slave and Messenger of Allah,
to Heraclius, the Emperor of Rome. Peace be on him who follows the guidance.
After this, I invite you to accept Islam. Accept Islam and you will prosper and Allah
will give you double rewards. But if you refuse, the sin of your people also will fall
on your shoulders. O People of the Book! Come to a word common between us and
you: that we shall not worship anything save Allah, and that we shall not associate
anything with Him, nor shall some of us take others for lords besides Allah. But if
they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims. (Ibid).
The Prophet (PBUH) also sent a letter to Khosrow II Parviz, son of Hormizd IV,
the Sasanian Kisra of Persia. This letter was carried by Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah and
as recorded by the historian Al-Yaqubi. The letter reads the following; In the
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 29

name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful from Mohammad the
Messenger of Allah to Khosrow son of Hormizd. Accept Islam, so you will be safe
(from Allahs wrath); otherwise, be forewarned of a war from Allah and His
Messenger, and peace be with whoever follows the right guidance. (Ibid).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) Furthermore, sent a letter to Muqawqia, the then
Roman Viceroy over Egypt. This letter was carried by Hatib Ibn Balta and had the
following; In the Name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful. From
Mohammad, the servant and Messenger of Allah, to Muqawqi, a Chief of the Copts:
Peace be upon him who follows the path of guidance. I invite you to accept the message
of Islam. Accept it and you shall prosper. But if you turn away, the sins (of misleading
by your example) of the Copts shall fall upon you. O people of the book! Came to a
word common between us and you: that shall worship none but Allah and that we
shall ascribe no partners to Him and that none of us shall regard anyone as lord beside
God. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are Muslims. (Ibid).
The above are four letters Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) sent to others leaders or
emperors during his time inviting them to Islam but not fighting them as always
suggested by some scholars and that Islam was spread by sword. In Islam, as noted
from the Prophet letters, there is no separation of religion, powers and leadership
from politics. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) only invited the non-Muslim leaders
into Islam without coercion.
There are some leaders as shown in Quran, who subjugated their citizens and
Allah requested Prophet Moses (PBUH) at the time to free them, in other words,
Jews from Egypt. A great example of such leader is the story of Pharaohs encounter
with Moses in freeing the people of Israel from Egypt. The main issue was the
enslavement of people as the Israelis were being held captive or enslaved by
Pharaohs.
However, when Moses freed the people of Israel from Egypt they did not obey
Allah to enter the Promised Land and wandered in the Sinai desert for 40 years.
This story of Moses (PBUH) is affirmed in Surah 5 Al Maidah (5:20-26), Al Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.149), 20. And (remember when Musa (Moses) said to his
people: O my people! Remember the favour of Allah to you: when He made
Prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any
other among the Alamin (mankind and jinn, in the past). 21. O my people! Enter
the holy land (Palestine) which Allah has assigned to you and turn not back (in
flight); for then you will be returned as losers. 22. They said: O Musa (Moses)!
In it (this holy land) are a people of great strength, and we shall never it till they
leave it; when they leave, then we will enter. 23. Two men of those who fear
(Allah and) whom Allah had bestowed His Grace (they were Yusha and Kalab) said:
Assault them through the gate; for when are in, victory will be yours; and put your
trust in Allah if you are believers indeed. 24. They said: O Musa (Moses)! We
shall never it as long as they are there. So go you and your Lord and fight you two,
we are sitting right here. 25. He [Musa (Moses)] said: O my Lord! I have power
only over myself and my brother, so separate us from the people who are the
Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah)! 26. (Allah) said: Therefore it (this
30 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

holy land) is forbidden to them for forty years; in distraction they will wander
through the land. So be not sorrowful over the people who are the Fasiqun
(rebellious and disobedient to Allah)!
Yusuf Ali (Ibid) in supplementary comments attests to the fact that the two men
who had faith and courage were Joshua and Caleb and that Joshua succeeded
Moses (PBUH) in the leadership after 40 years. Thus, leadership requires the
recognition of Allah as the originator of leadership and also His laws. If disunited
as the people of Israel or disobeying Allah will face consequences. They people of
Israel were rebellious in nature and that is why Moses asked Allah to separate him
and his brother Aaron from the rebellious people.
A similar story of Moses (PBUH) and his people also happen to Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH). The case of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is related to the first
battle between the pagan Quraish and the Muslims. In facing this battle with the
pagans of Makah in Medinah Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) discussed with
companions about the battle and one of the companions by the name Al-Miqdad
Ibbn Amr then addressed the Prophet by saying that they should not repeat what
the Children of Israel had said to Moses, Go, you and your Lord, to fight while
we sit here waiting. Rather, by God Who sent you to guide us, we should say: Go
you and your Lord to fight and we shall fight your foe on your right and on your
left, in front of you and behind you, till the Lord grants you victory.
Hearing this speech of Miqdad, the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) smiled and
blessed him. Saad Ibn Muath from Ansar (Helpers) also supported Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) and said to the Prophet We had received you as the Prophet
of God and had sworn allegiance to you, promising to obey you. We, therefore, are
all ready to follow you, to do whatever pleased you, though it were to throw
themselves into the sea.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) respected this statement and made it known to
them that he was ready and also assured them of victory and this is affirmed in the
Quran. This is affirmed in Surah 8 Al-Anfal (8: 5-8), Al Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.228), 5. As your Lord caused you (O Muhammad (PBUH)) to go out from your
home with the truth; and verily, a party among the believers dislikes it, 6. Disputing
with you concerning the truth after it was made manifest, as if they were being
driven to death, while they were looking (at it). 7. And (remember) when Allah
promised you (Muslims) one of the two parties (of the enemy i.e. either the army or
the caravan) that it should be yours; you wished that the one not armed (the
caravan) should be yours, but Allah willed to justify the truth by His Words and to
cut off the roots of the disbelievers (i.e. in the battle of Badr). 8. That he might cause
the truth to triumph and bring falsehood to nothing, even though the Mujrimun
(disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, criminals) hate it.
Allah warns us of transgressor leaders of every community. This is affirmed in
Surah 2 Al Baqarah (2:81-82), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.24), 81. Yes! Whoever
earns evil and his sin has surrounded him, they are dwellers of the Fire (i.e. Hell);
they will dwell therein forever. 82. And those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah-
Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds they are dwellers of paradise,
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 31

they will dwell therein forever. Also in Surah 2 (2:257) in Al Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.65), 257. Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe.
He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their
Auliya (supporters and helpers) are Taghut [false deities and false leaders], they
bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the fire, and they
will abide therein forever.
Leaders should not seek gain in evil either by subjugating their own people or by
turning a blind eye to evil wherever they may be. We all are humans having a shared
purpose in life irrespective of our colour or creed. Today some leaders go to war for
no reason other than national interest. National interest has been used as the
weapon of choice to subjugate the weak and the vulnerable. Leadership should not
be concerned with self-enrichment, self-glorification or collusion between the rich
and those in power at the expense of the poor and the weak. Rather, it should be
seen as a selfless servitude purely for the pleasure of Allah.
Leadership today, either in the West or in Muslim communities, goes to those
who are powerful, well-connected, rich and powerful. The alienation of the middle
class and the poor by those in leadership positions is a concern and this book is
written to highlight the concerns.
The lack of strong leadership and democracy within the Muslim communities is
aiding the rise of radicalism by various extreme jihadist groups, who do not
represent the true Islam as taught by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This concern
among other things is one of the reasons for writing this book.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to invite Kings and Emperors of other nations
to accept Islam by writing to them as a goodwill gesture, not by forcing them to
become Muslims or by killing them. Some of them accepted Islam and others did
not, but those who did not accept Islam still established good relations with the
Prophet of Allah. That is because there is no compulsion in the Islamic Religion as
enshrined in Quran Surah 2 Al Baqrah (2:256), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.65),
256. The Verse clearly states that There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the
Right path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Taghut
and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will
never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. Al Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.65), in his complementary comment argues that the word Taghut covers a wide
range of meanings: It means anything worshiped other than the Real God (Allah),
i.e. all the false deities. May be Satan, devils, idols, stones, stars, angles, human
beings e.g. Messengers of Allah, who were falsely worshiped and taken as Taghut.
Likewise saints, graves, rulers and leaders are falsely worshiped and wrongly
followed. Sometimes Taghut means a false judge who gives a false judgement. The
same can seen in Surah 4 An-Nisa (4:60), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.122), 60.
Have you seen those (hypocrites) who claim that they believe in that which has been
sent down to you, and that which was sent down before you, and they wish to go
for judgement (in their disputes) to the Taghut (false judges) while they have been
ordered to reject them. But Shaitan (Satan) wishes to lead them far astray.
Today and in the past the best of our leaders have always been those who take
leadership as a selfless desire to liberate their people from enslavement. These
32 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

leaders may not be Muslims by proclamation but are people who embodied
leadership spirit. For example, the leadership of Nelson Mandela in South Africa
and Gandhi in India, to name a few, are examples of good leaders who selflessly
served their communities and in the process transformed their societies into beacons
of hope for their people.
I strongly argue that leadership should be the willingness of those in leadership
positions to selflessly serve their communities purposely for the pleasure of Allah,
and in so doing will be able to liberate people from institutional enslavement,
impoverishment, racial prejudice, avoiding collusion with the rich and powerful to
enrich themselves in order to establish a society that is just and fair, and ensuing
that everyone has fair share in the national wealth, establishing regular prayers and
giving charity to those who are weak and vulnerable in society. In addition it is to
call people towards good deeds and righteousness.
Today Political leadership and leadership in general in many Muslim communities
are about personal interest, either directly or indirectly. Many citizens in Muslim
and non-Muslim communities feel that their leaders represent their interests any
more rather the interest of the rich and powerful. This type of feeling had led to
voting apathy in Muslim communities and also in the Western countries. There is
political disconnect in Muslim communities between young and old, and this is
getting worse and worse. The divide between the have and the have nots is rising.
The lives of ordinary people are brutish and short and many leaders are careless.
Some of our leaders and politicians are not keeping their promises to their citizens
and this is a concern. Leaders in various Muslim communities should not accept
poverty as being normal. A sea of horrendous inequities are prevalent within
Muslim communities and must be reduced or be eradicated by those in the position
of leadership. The erosion of faith in the political classes and democracy in Muslim
community could spell the end of democracy as a government of the people by the
people. Thus, the leadership advocated in this book either in the Western or Islamic
should offer solutions to some voting apathy and the disconnect in various
communities. Wealth in society should be redistributed in one way or another.
A good example of such practice is demonstrated by Caliph Omar Ibn Abdul
Aziz in establishing the public treasury. First of all, after he had been nominated to
be the Caliph he addressed his people saying; O people! The responsibilities of the
Caliphate have been thrust upon me without my desire or your consent. If you
choose, select someone else as a Caliph, I will immediately step aside and will
support your decision. Caliph Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz modelled his administration
on Caliph Umar Ibn Khatab. He replaced corrupt and tyrannical administrators
with accomplished and just ones. He restored confiscated properties to their rightful
owners. He surrendered all of his movable and immovable properties, to the public
treasury including a ring given to him by Caliph Waleed.
He was asked what he had left for his children as property he replied, Allah. His
wife witnesses him weeping after his prayers. She asked for the reason of his grief
and he replied; Oh Fatima! I have been appointed as the ruler of Muslims and
I am concerned about the poor that are starving, the sick that are destitute, the
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 33

naked that are in distress, the oppressed that are stricken, the strangers that are in
prison, the venerable elders, ones with a large family and modest means, and the
likes of them in countries of the earth and distant provinces, and I anticipate that
my lord would hold me accountable for them on the Day of Resurrection, and I fear
that no defence would avail me, and I wept. Caliph Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz shows
a good example of Islamic leadership.
Most leaders in many Muslim countries or communities are those who are mostly
rich or are supported by big lobbies, big businesses and most of the government
contracts are given to these rich individuals or groups, which is a concern.
The founding fathers of the American federalist No. 52 Madison (1788) were
right when they believed that it was essential for liberty that the government in
general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential
that the branch of it under constitution should have an immediate dependence on
and intimate sympathy with the people. Today, big lobbies and big enterprise
influence leadership either in America, West, and Africa or all over the world which
is a concern in writing this book. Big lobbies are holding the political classes in
ransom today whether we like it or not and it is a concern.

The Causes and Rise of Fundamentalism (Misguided brothers in


Islam) in Muslim Communities

There is a need for those in leadership positions in the Ummah (Muslim communities)
to serve the needs of its citizens and those who live within it, irrespective of faith
colour or race. In some Muslim countries today, in order to run for a high office,
you must be rich, have those with big money business to endorse your position, or
have superpowers to accept you as a leadership candidate. The leadership positions
in some Muslim countries are occupied or run by the army backed by allies. One of
such example is Egypt in recent time. Many big powers accepted a coup and the
deposing an elected government. Many countries stayed silent both in the West
including Muslim countries. These double standards, self-interest or national
interest above all are killing the spirit of democracy.
Historically in Muslim countries, some Islamic movements have tried to use the
democratic route but eventually failed because of the ruling powers. In Algeria in
1991 the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) party won the elections but was prevented
from governing. In Palestine, Hamas came to power through the democratic route
and was elected to office. What happened was that many big powers did not accept
the choice of the Palestinian people in Gaza. Since then there has been no peace in
Gaza. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood won the election in Egypt and was
removed from office by a coup and was accepted by the Western powers and some
allies in the region. There must be a way forward.
The Turkish political model is an example for others to follow especially by
many Muslim states. The Turkish political model followed the democratic route to
power. The Turkish political model may not be perfect, but it is a model to learn
from for many Muslim countries.
34 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

The only perfect model of political leadership for Muslims is the Madinah model
used by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Muslim countries have to co-exist with non-
Muslims and even those who do not share their ideologies. There is a need for
dialogue, even when there are ideological differences. The Suni, Shia, divide, Kurds,
Yazidi and others is a serious challenge for the Muslim communities. When Prophet
Mohammad (PBUH) was in Madinah there were Jewishs tribes there but he did not
killed them in churches. However, today those with misguided ideologies slaughter
others and post their acts on the internet which is wrong and un-Islamic.
The progressive rise of fundamentalism in Muslim communities is alarming and
there should be way forward by the Muslims themselves and their leaders. During
Prophet Muhammads (PBUH) time in Madinah there were differences in ideology
between the Muslim and non-Muslim countries or empires. One of the things the
Prophet (PBUH) used to do was to invite other nations to accept Islam. If they
refused because of different ideologies, he cooperated with them. This is because
there is no compulsion of religion in Islam.
A country like Turkey stands as a beacon of hope for those who want to forge a
peaceful co-existence with others also Malaysia as a majority Muslim country is
trying to forge a way forward by allowing those with Islamic ethos or political
parties like the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) to compete. If citizens of
Malaysia agree with PAS and vote them in power, they should be able to form a
government, based on Islamic principles of governance. Some of the PAS members
have been voted into parliament and are taking part in the national debates.
This book is written with the aim of suggesting a paradigm shift whereby
leadership is seen as a form of worship and selfless servitude purely for the pleasure
of Allah. This can be achieved firstly by recognising that the originator of leadership
is Allah and also submitting to his will. I propose the Islamic perspective leadership
in this book which focuses on selflessness servitude purely for the pleasures of
Allah, the recognition of Allah as the originator of Leadership at the same time
establishment of prayer and charity while reflecting on the purpose of creation, and
at the same time realise that the content of leadership be derived from the Quran
and Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammad and previous prophets and the guided
Caliphs and others great scholars of leadership.

The Purpose of Creation and Influence Leadership from an Islamic


Perspective

Allah made it very clear to mankind that He has created us for one purpose only to
worship Him. This is affirmed in Surah 51 Adh-Dhariyat (51:56), Al Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.660), 56. And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except
that they should worship Me (Alone). And also in Surah 21 Al Anbya (21:25), Al
Hilali and Khan (1996, p.410), 25. And we did not send any Messenger before you
(O Muhammad (PBUH) but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana [none
has the right to be worship but I (Allah)], so worship Me (Alone and none else).
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 35

I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. Subsequently, Yusuf
Ali (1989), Not a messenger did We send before thee without this inspiration sent
by Us to him: that there is no God but I; therefore worship and serve Me.
If Muslim leaders acknowledge that Allah the creator, created us to serve Him,
the next thing they need to do is to know how to serve Him. The essence of this
book is to align those in leadership positions in their various Muslim communities
to follow the purpose of creation as part of their leadership endeavours. Allah
created human beings and gave them guidance to salvation throughout history, but
many have rebelled. Of those that rebel Allah salvation always goes astray.
Thus, the objective of leadership or mankind is to worship Allah and to do
everything in their position as leaders for the pleasure of Allah alone. Worshiping
can be achieved by doing good deeds, and refraining from evil acts or indulging in
unethical behaviour. The leaders activities and of the people can be seen as an act
of worship. This can be achieved by practicing simple things like being kind to your
neighbours; helping the elderly by assisting them even though they may not be your
family, having good intensions and sincerely seeking Allahs pleasure in all our
undertakings. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: Greeting a person is charity.
Acting justly is charity. Helping a man onto his steed is charity. A good word is
charity. Every step taken on the way to performing prayers is charity. Removing an
obstacle from the road is charity.
The above advice directs human action to faith and obedience to Allah which can
be achieved through worship. Thus, leadership from the Islamic perspective is
profound and requires proper understanding.

The Originator of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective

Leadership from an Islamic perspective is simple because of the understanding that


the originator of leadership is Allah and mankind is just vicegerent of Allah on
earth. The great example of such leadership as a care-taker or vicegerent is Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) the Messenger of Allah. His unique leadership qualities
transformed Muslims all over the world. De Lamartine (1854) wrote of Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) in highest regards when he argued that, If greatness of
purpose, smallness of means and astounding results are the three criteria of human
genius, who would dare to compare any great man in history with Muhammad?
Philosopher, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational
beliefs, of a cult without image, the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and one
spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human
greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?
This is true and we can be inspired to be like him by just worshiping Allah and
being true to ourselves and to others.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) challenged many beliefs that prevailed in Makkah
and Madinah and was threatened with death and never gave up. He had a clear
36 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

vision for Islam and never capitulated despite several attempts to dissuade him from
Islam by offering him power to give up Islam. Thus, he had clarity of vision and a
strategy on the way forward for Islam. He stood for the truth while his followers
were also threatened. One of the great things about the leadership qualities of
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and previous Prophets is that they were continuously
calling people to worship Allah. They also built a strong economic system. They all
connected mankind with their creator and emphasised the need for worship as the
basis of creation.

The Model of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective

The model for Islamic leadership is Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who created the
Islamic city state in Madinah and raised the banner of Islam. In other words, Islam
flourished under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in spite of the
threat from the enemies of Islam. His death was indeed a blow to his followers,
including the rightly guided Caliphs who were stunned. Despite Prophet Mohammads
(PBUH) repeated indication of his imminent death and evidence in the Quran for
such a possibility, the companions were not expecting it. This is because the Prophet
(PBUH) was their leader, their guide and above all the Messenger of Allah. His
followers especially, people like Umar Ibn Al-Khatab could not make sense of the
feelings after he had died. He was so confused and at the same time started to
address people by saying, Some hypocrites are alleging that the Gods Messenger
(PBHU) has died. Gods messenger has not died. He was lost, confused that their
dear leader the Prophet had gone and would not be there to guide them in their
wellbeing. Umar went further and said that, if anyone said that the Messenger of
Allah was dead, he would cut off his head. He was overcome by his emotions when
hearing the news of the death of the leader and Prophet of Allah. He drew his sword
and threatened anyone who spoke the uncomfortable truth.
Abu Bakr the first Caliph was shocked, but he was composed upon hearing the
news of the death of the Prophet. He went straight to his daughter Aisha the
Prophets wife, uncovered his face and knelt down and said; my father or my mother
may be sacrificed for your sake. The one death that God has decreed that you shall
experience, you now have had. You shall never die again. He then turned to Umar
and others and said, People, if any of you has been worshiping Muhammad; let him
know that Muhammad is dead. He who worships God knows that God is always
alive; He never dies. This was the stand of a strong leader who when faced with
adversity of leadership stands firm. The loss of their spiritual leader, and a Messenger
of Allah was confusing yet a reality. The Quran affirms the death of the Prophet
(PBUH) in Surah 3 Ali Imran (3:144), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.100), 144.
Muhammad (PBUH) is no more than a Messenger and indeed (many) Messengers
have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your
heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 37

he do to Allah; and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful. This was the
position and the shock that the Muslim communities were reeling from but with the
presence of Abu Bakr a strong leader calmed the faithful at the time. Then he recited
the verse of the Quran affirming his death. At that time of the passing away of the
Prophet some who claimed to embrace Islam returned to vice, and lawlessness. These
were some of the big challenges facing the leadership of Abu Bakr.
Present leaders in Muslim communities today should take pride in the glorious
history of Islam. This is affirmed in Surah 3 (Ali Imran (3:110), Al Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.94), 110. You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers
of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his Sunnah are the best of people ever raised
up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam
has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (Polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has
forbidden), and you believe in Allah. And had the people of the Scripture (Jews and
Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who
have Faith, but most of them are Al-Fasiqun (disobedient to Allah and rebellious
against Allahs Command). And also subsequently in Surah 2 Al Baqarah (2:143),
Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.37), 143. Thus We have made you [true Muslims-real
believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a just (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over
mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH) be a witness over you. And We
made the Qiblah (prayer direction) towards Jarusalem) which you used to face,
only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH) from those
who would turn on their heels (i.e. disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great
(heavy) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your
faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered toward Jerusalem). Truly, Allah
is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind.

Relationship between Caliphate and Monarchy from an Islamic


Perspective

In writing this book I referred to literature on Ibn Taymiyyah translated version by


Adul-Haqq Ansari (2000). In it he discusses the relationship between caliphate and
monarchy. He argued that the Caliphate as a system of governance would last thirty
years, and then it will turn into monarchy. This is echoed by this quote. The Prophet
said, The Caliphate (Khilafah), on the pattern of the prophetic government
(Khilafat an-Nubuwwah) will last for thirty years, thereafter God will give His
Kingdom or the government to whom he wills. He went forward with a Hadith
from Abu Dawud who recorded on the authority of Abdul-Warith and Al-Awwam
quote, The Khilafah will last thirty years, then there will be mornarchy, or The
Khilafah will last thirty years, then it will turn to a monarchy. According to Abdul-
Haqq Ansari (Ibid). The rightly-guided Caliphate lasted for thirty years is agreed
upon by various groups, the fuqaha, the scholars of the Sunnah, and the leaders
of Sufism. He also noted that, this is also the belief of the common Muslim.
38 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

In this book, I argue that although that Caliphate ended with the guiding caliphs
their spirit of leadership should remain with us. Those who are entrusted with the
position of leadership in all Muslim communities should take their position of
leadership as a trust from Allah, and be mindful on how they lead, for they will be
asked during the Day of Judgement.
Leaders who do their duty as a form of worship or trust from Allah would be seen
by Allah during the day of Judgement as noble and honest in their dealings. They
should be honest and tell the truth, loyal and sympathetic to the weaker ones.
Thus, the basic tenet for Muslims and all those in leadership positions are to
worship Allah even if the Caliphate has ended. This is affirmed in Surah 1 Al Fatiha
(1:5), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.12), You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone)
we ask for help (for each and everything). Allah affirmed this in Surah 40 Ghafir
(40:60), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.595-6), And your Lord says: Invoke Me,
[i.e. Believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will
respond to your (invocation). Verily, those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not
invoke Me, and do not believe in My Oneness, (Islamic Monotheism)] they will
surely, enter Hell in humiliation!
Those who are entrusted to leadership positions in Muslim communities and
establish prayer and give charity should have faith that Allah is their protector. They
should not cooperate with evil to subjugate its citizens. For those who reject truth,
faiths are like the unbelievers. These kinds of people or leaders are described in
Quran as like the depths of darkness in a vast deep ocean.
Subsequently, in Surah 48: Al Fath (48:28-29), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.648),
28. He it is Who has sent His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH) with guidance and
the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (lslam), superior to all religions.
And All-sufficient is Allah as a Witness. 29. Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger
of Allah. And those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful
among themselves. You see them bowing and falling down prostrate (in prayer),
seeking bounty from Allah and (His) Good pleasure. The mark of them (i.e. of their
Faith) is on their faces (foreheads) from the traces of prostration (during prayers).
This is their description in the Taurat (Torah). But their description in the injeel
(Gospel) is like a (sown) seed which sends forth its shoots, then make it strong, and
becomes thick and it stands straight on its stem, delighting the sowers, that He may
enrage the disbelievers with them. Allah has promised those among them who
believe (i.e. all those who follow Islamic Monotheism, the religion of Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) till the Day of Resurrections) and do righteous good deeds,
forgiveness and a mighty reward (i.e. Paradise).
In a complementary commentary by Yusuf Ali (1989, p.1338), The devotees of
Allah wage war against evil, for themselves and for others; but to their own
brethren in faithespecially the weaker onesthey are mild and compassionate:
they seek out every opportunity to sympathise with them and help them. The role
of those who are entrusted with leadership positions in Muslim and non-Muslim
communities are to be vicegerent which is the willingness to selflessly serve their
various communities purely for the pleasure of Allah.
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 39

First, they should believe in Allah and the previous Prophets before Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH). They should be able to wage wars against evil, establish
prayers, protect the weaker ones, and seek out any opportunity to sympathise with
them and help them.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) warned his Ummah (Muslim communities) to be
aware of what may happen after his death. In a Hadith, authentic (Sahih) and well
known (Mashhur), recorded in the Sunah collections as cited in Abdul-Haqq Ansari
(200, p.496), the Prophet said, Those of you who live after me will see a number
of controversies coming up, but you must follow my practice (Sunnah) and the
practice of the right-minded and rightly-guided Caliphs after me. Stick to it and
hold fast. Beware of innovations from the religious perspective, not every innovation
is wrong but that from religious perspective is wrong. Allah knows all things and
his Deen is for eternal not for a specific time or place.

Definition of Leadership from an Islamic Perspective

Leadership from an Islamic perspective is defined as vicegerent, an influence


relationship based on the willingness to perform a selfless servitude purely for the
pleasure of Allah. The relationship between the leader and follower is selfless. No
self-interest is attached to the relationship between the leader and followers for both
are engaged in this relationship for the pleasure of Allah. On the other hand Moten
(2011) defines leadership in Islam as, A moral activity and a process of communication
between equals directed towards the achievement of a goal. The leaders are primarily
distinguished from the followers by their knowledge, their commitment to the Islamic
principles and possession of superior moral values. He goes further, and ascertains
that, Neither party uses power to influence and to gain advantage over the other.
And since the goal is divine; striving for the achievement of that goal assumes the form
of worship or ibadah. Thus, the goal of leadership in Islam is selfless servitude and
at the same times a sense of worshiping Allah. Leadership position must be seen as a
trust, privilege and responsibility to serve not as an opportunity to appropriate or
enrich oneself for his close family and their allies.
The type of leaders who symbolise a vicegerent in an influence relationship
purely for the pleasure of Allah are previous Prophets, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
and his guided Caliphs. They did not become Caliphs because they want to enrich
themselves but rather to serve the Muslim communities purely for the pleasure of
Allah.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was inspirational in his manner and moral, and
even before he becomes a Prophet he was known as Al-Amin (the Trustworthy)
before, Islam by his tribesmen. Allah says in Surah 68: Al-Qalam (68:4), Al-Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.719), And verily, you (O Muhammad (PBUH) are on an
exalted (standard of) character.
Prophet of Allah Mohammad (PBUH) on his part said, I was sent (by Allah) to
perfect sublime morals. Furthermore, when Aisha the wife of the Prophet (PBUH)
40 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

(May Allah be Pleased with Her), was asked to describe the manners and morals of
the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), she said as noted earlier, His morals were the
morals of the Quran. This means that all the Prophet morals and manners are the
actualisation of the precepts given in the Quran. His daily life activities were a true
picture of the Quranic teachings. That is why he is a leadership model to follow.
The meaning of the word moral covers all human actions, the behaviour of man
with men, with others, and with his creator. The Prophet (PBUH) was a Messenger,
father, and army general. He created a city state in Madinah. He ate with his
companions and sought consultation from them, as in the case of the battle of Uhud
and other events in his life. If Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was not married he
would have left his one nation state Ummah (Muslim communities) unguided on
how to be a good and affectionate loving father. Thus, in the example of his life
there is a practical example for us to follow.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the leader of his community, a selflessness
servant and a Messenger from Allah to his people and to all believers in Islam. He
led by example and brought the truth to his people and the community he led. This
is affirmed in Surah 17: Al Isra (17:81-2), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.365), 81.
And say: Truth (i.e. Islamic Monotheism or this Quran or Jihad against polytheism)
has come and Batil (falsehood, i.e. Satan or polytheism) has finished. Surely, Batil is
ever bound to vanish. 82. And We send down of the Quran that which is a healing
and a mercy to those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism and act on it), and it
increases the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers) nothing but loss. It is only
those who rebel against Allah laws who will suffer loss. The more they oppose
truth, the deeper down will they go into sin and wrath, which is worse than
destruction. The Quran describe falsehood as darkness in the deeper ocean, were
there is no light.

Background and Influence of the Definition of Leadership

The definition of leadership in this book from Islamic perspective is influenced by


the notion of total submission to Allah and that the Quran and the Sunnah of the
Prophet, the previous Prophets, and the guided Caliphs who followed the Quran
and the Sunnah should act as a guide for those in leadership positions. Thus,
willingness and selflessness by the leaders and followers are interwoven with the
purpose of human existence.
Allahs willingness to appoint humankind as His representatives on earth is a great
gift and honour. A leader action should reflect such a gift, gratitude and trust placed
in us by Allah. One of the best way to express such a trust in us by Allah is to affirm
our commitment to Him as expressed in Surah 1: Al Fatihah (1:5-7),
Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.9-10), 5. You (Alone) we worship, and you (Alone) we
ask for help (foe each and everything). 6. Guide us to the Straight way. 7. The Way of
those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, Not (the way) of those who earned
Your Anger (Such as the Jews), nor those who went astray (such as Christians).
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 41

We can also learn a lesson from Surah 2: Al Baqarah (2:124), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.32), And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) [i.e. Allah]
tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him),
Verily, I am going to make you an Imam (a leader) for mankind (to follow you).
[Ibrahim (Abraham)] said, And of my offspring (to make leaders). (Allah) said,
My Covenant (Prophet hood) includes not Zalimun (polytheists and
wrongdoers).
The covenant that mankind made with Allah also has an influence on the
definition of leadership in this book. This covenant with Allah is affirmed in Surah
7: Al Araf (7:172-3), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.223), 172. And (remember)
when your Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their
seed (or from Adams lion his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves
(saying): Am I not your Lord? They said: Yes! We testify, (this), lest you should
say on the Day of Resurrection: Verily, we have been unaware of this. 173. Or
lest you should say: It was only our fathers afortime who took others as partners in
worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will
You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practiced Al-Batil (i.e.
polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshiping others besides
Allah)? (Tafsir At Tabari).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explained that when Allah created Adam, he took
from him a covenant at a place called Namaan on the 9th of the 12th month (Dhul
Al Hijah). He then extracted from Adam all of his descendants who would be born
until the end of the world, generation after generation, and spread them out before
Him to take a covenant from them also. He spoke to them, face to face, making
them bear witness that He was their Lord. Consequently, every human being is
responsible for belief in God, which is imprinted on each and every soul, Bila Philips
(1995, p.27).
The covenant becomes innate in human nature although he/she may disbelieve in
Allah. For example, when something traumatic happens to even atheist, they will
start to say O my God, O my God why do they say that when they said they dont
believe in Allah?
The purpose of creation is affirmed in Surah 51: Al Dhariyat (51:56), Al Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.660), 56. And I Allah created not the jinns and mankind except
that they worship Me (Alone). And in Surah 6: Al Anam (6:102), Al Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.186), 102. Such is Allah, your Lord! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has
the right to be worshiped but He), the Creator of all things. So worship Him
(Alone), and He is the Wakil (Trustee, Disposer of affairs or Guardian) over all
things. In Surah 11: Hud (11:123), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.294), 123. And
To Allah belongs the Ghaib (unseen) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him
return all affairs (for decision). So worship Him (O Muhammad (PBUH) and put
your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you (people) do.
Allah say as in Surah 40: Al Ghaafir (40:57), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.595),
57. The creation of the heavens and the earth is indeed greater than the creation
of mankind; yet, most of mankind know not.
42 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

In Yusuf Ali (1989, p.1221), comment on the above verse 4431 he argues that,
The heavens and the earth include mankind and all other creatures and millions of
stars. Man is himself but a tiny part of creation. Why should he be egocentric? The
whole is greater than a tiny part of it. And Allah Who created the whole of the
worlds is able to do much more wonderful things than can enter the imagination of
man. Why should man be arrogant and doubt the Day of Judgement, and take upon
himself to doubt the possibility of Allahs Revelation? It is only because he has made
himself blind.
If leaders and followers do their duties and fulfil their responsibilities through
worship or selfless servitude purely for the pleasure of Allah, they will not be selfish
or greedy. They will be responsible toward others, and will devote their attention to
Allah, wage war against evil, and protect the weak within their communities. For they
all know that they will face Allah and will be accountable for all their deeds. This is
because if we reflect on the reality that Allah is the creator and that we should do our
duties of worship we will be the best of mankind, leaders and followers alike.
Muslims accept that Islam is a total way of life which provide them with
guidance such as cleanliness, rules of trade, conflicts resolution, politics and the
structure of society, role of law, and others issues in life, Islam cannot be separated
from social, cultural, economic and political life since religion offers moral guidance
for every action a leader or a follower takes within society or community. Thus, the
key act of faith in Islam is to implement Allahs will in both public and private life.
The total submission of one will to Allah is Islam. Therefore, Muslims must do so
by avoiding evil and enjoining what is right in their various communities.
To be able to avoid evil and believing in Allah is affirmed in Surah 3 Ali Imran
(3:110), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.94), 110. You [true believers in Islamic
Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his Sunnah
are the best of people ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Maruf (i.e. Islamic
Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid (Munkar (polytheism,
disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), And had the people of the Scripture
(Jews and Christians) believed, it would have been better for them; among them are
some who have Faith, but most of them are Fasiqun (disobedient to Allah and
rebellious against Allahs Commands).
Allah is the only sovereign in Islam and his laws should be obeyed. In Surah 7 Al-
Araf (7:54), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.207), 54. Indeed your Lord is Allah, who
created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over (Istawa) the
Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over
the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subject to
His Commandment. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all
that exists). In Islam there is no distinction between religion and state authority.
Today some leaders fail to believe in Allah. To some their powers are due to their
efforts and nothing less but their powers. No! They shall be accountable for their
deeds as well as the deeds of their followers, on the Day of judgement even if they
do not believe. Allah made it very clear in verse (40:58, Ibid) Not equal are the
blind and those who (clearly) see; nor are (equal) those who believe and work Deeds
of righteousness, and those who do evil. Little do ye learn by admonition!
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 43

Leaders and people who Reject Allah and their Consequences as


Revealed in Quran

The good example of people who rejected Allah is affirmed in Surah 7: Al Araf
(7:59), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.207), 59. Indeed, We sent Nuh (Noah) to his
people and he said: O my people! Worship Allah! You have No other Ilah (God)
but Him. (la iIaha illahah: none has the right to be worship but Allah) Certainly,
I fear for you the torment of a Great Day!
The story of Nuh (Noah) is a great reminder to all leaders and followers alike
who think they need not worship or take their duty and responsibility seriously as
worship. The same was for the people of Ad with their Prophet Hud (PBUH) as is
confirmed in Surah 7: Al Araf (7:65-67), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.208), 65.
And to Ad (people, We sent) their brother Hud. He said: O my people! Worship
Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) buy Him. (la ilaha illalah: none has the right
to be worshiped but Allah). Will you not fear (Allah)? 66. The leaders of those
who disbelieved among his people said: Verily, We see you in foolishness, and
verily, we think you are one of the liar. 67. Hud said: O my people! There is no
foolishness in me, but (I am) a Messenger from the Lord of Alamin (mankind, jinn
and all that exists).
The story of Thamud people with their Prophet Salih is affirmed in Surah 7: Al
Araf (7:73-75), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.209). 73 And to Thamud (people, We
sent) their brother Salih (Saleh). He said: O my people! Worship Allah! You have
no other Ilah (God) but Him. (Lailaha illalaha: none has the right to be worshiped
but Allah). Indeed there has come to you a clear sign (the miracle of the coming out
of a huge she-camel from the midst of a rock) from your Lord. This she-camel of
Allah is a Sign unto you; so you leave her to graze in Allahs earth, and touch her
not with harm, lest a painful torment should seize you. 74. And remember when He
made you successors after Ad (people) and gave you habitations in the land, you
build for yourselves palaces in plains, and carve out homes in the mountains. So
remember the grace (bestowed upon you) from Allah, and do not go about making
mischief on the earth. 75. The leaders of those who were arrogant among his people
said to those who were counted weak to such of them as believed: Know you
that Salih (Saleh) is one sent from his lord. They said: We indeed believe in that
with which he has been sent. 76. Those who were arrogant said: Verily, we
disbelieve in that which you believe in. 77. So they killed the she-camel and
insolently defied the Commandment of their Lord, and said: O Salih (Saleh)! Bring
about your threats if you are indeed one of the Messengers (of Allah). 78. So the
earthquake seized them, and they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes. 80. Then
he, Salih (Saleh), turned from them, and said: O my people! I have indeed conveyed
to you the Message of my Lord, and have given you good advice but you like not
good advisers.
There are many stories of how Allah has sent leaders or Prophets to their own
people and many had been rejected. Each story shows the consequences of those
who reject Allah.
44 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

This book is written with the aim of reminding us of the consequences of those
who reject Allah. At the same time, it is a good reminder to those in leadership
positions and their followers today. Thus, worshiping Allah alone is a noble course.
The rejection of faith is a fallacy.
Allah in Surah 31:Luqman (31:7-8), Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.512), warned
us not to be those who hear the Truth, and behave as if they had heard nothing of
serious importance, or laugh at serious teaching. The verse says this, 7. And when
Our Verse (of the Quran) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride, as if he
heard them not as if there were deafness in their ear. So announce to him a painful
torment. 8. Verity, those who believe in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good
deeds, for them are Gardens of Delight (Paradise). Those who reject Allah, mock
or laugh will be responsible for their deeds.
The story of Lud (Lot) and also the story of the Madyan (Midian) people who
rejected their Prophet Shuaib as is confirmed in Surah 7: Al Araf (7:85-90),
Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.210), 85. And to (the people of) Madyan (Midian),
(We sent) their brother Shuaib. He said:
O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (God) but Him. [la illaha
illallah (none has the right to be worship but Allah). Verily, a clear proof (sign)
from your Lord has come unto you; so give full measure and full weight and wrong
not men in their things, and do not do mischief on the earth after it has been set in
order, that will be better for you, if you are believer. 86. And sit not on every road,
threatening, and hindering from the path of Allah those who believe in Him, and
seeking to make it crooked. And remember when you were but few, and He
multiplied you. And see what was the end of the Mufsidun (mischief-maker,
corrupters, liars). 87 90. The chiefs of those who disbelieved among his people
said (to their people): if you follow Shuaib, be sure then you will be the losers!
But as Verse (7:91), Stated, So the earthquake seized them and they lay (dead),
prostrate in their homes.
The story of Moses and Pharoh is affirmed in Surah 28: Al Qasas (28:3-5),
Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.486), 3. We recite to you some of the news of Musa
(Moses) and Firaun (Pharaoh) in truth, for a people who believe (in this Quran,
and in the Oneness of Allah). 4. Verily Firaun (Pharaoh) exalted himself in the land
and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel)
among them: killing their sons, and letting their female live. Verily, he was of the
Mufsidun (i.e. those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrants). 5. And
we wished to do a favour to those who were weak (and oppressed) in the land, and
to make them rulers and to make them inheritors. The consequence of Pharaoh
who rejected Allah is for all to see.
Leaders today need to learn and reflect on the stories of those who rejected their
Messengers and believing in Allah. They should not be blinded by technological
advancement, knowledge and the position of power they have or acquire as the way
of rejecting Allah. They should be the one that adheres to Surah 6: Al Anam
(6:162), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.198), 162. Say (O Muhammad (PBUH)
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 45

Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and dying are for Allah, the Lord
of the Alamin (mankind, jinn, and all that exist).
Allah reassured everyone in the Quran in Surah 2: Al Baqarah (2:286), Al-Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.74), 286. Allah burden not a person beyond his scope. He gets
reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which
he has earned. Our Lord! Punished us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord!
Lay not on us a burden like that which You did not lay on those before us (Jews
and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to
bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula
(Patron, Supporter and Protector) and give us victory over the disbeliever people.
Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity. And that with difficult situations
which humans face in life will not be without intervals of rest. See, Surah 94: Al
Sharh or Ash-Sharh (94:5-6), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.778), 5. Verily, along
with every hardship is relief, 6. Verily, along with every hardship is relief. (I.e. there
is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).
Allah reassures leaders that whatever difficulties or troubles they encounter as
mankind He always provides a solution and a way out, a relief and a way to
happiness if they only follow His path and show faith by patience. In Surah 94.
Ash-Sharh (94:8) Al Hilali and Khan (1996, p.778), Allah Said: 8. And to your
Lord (Alone) turn (all your) intentions and hopes.
Good leaders should be those who believe and work deeds of righteousness and
understand that the original leader is Allah. They are bound by their faith to obey
Allah laws. Thus, a leader of any institution or organisation be it public or private,
business, political, economic, social, or any is also a follower of Allah, and their
deeds are purely for the sake of Allah.
Being a good leader or Allah representative on earth, he or she should be humble,
trustworthy, honest, and just. He/she is first obedient is to Allah and the Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH), and at the same time dedicates his /her services to Allah. Their
services to mankind are of selfless servitude. A good leader will always use his
powers and position rightly and be mastery over his or her own destiny and over
nature, which brings him nearer to Allah. Duties or responsibilities of a leaders and
followers are purely for the pleasure of Allah.
The true nature of a good leader or a vicegerent is one who has feelings to give
and ask for love and whose devotion is toward the glorification of Allah. The
Quran affirms our vicegerent status in Surah 2: Al Baqarah (2:30). Al Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.16), 30. And remember when your Lord said to the angels: Verily,
I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth. They said:
will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, while
we glorify You with praises and thanks and sanctity you. He (Allah) said: I know
that which you do not know.
The Quran addressed humankind in general as vicegerent of Allah on earth.
Being Allahs representative on earth, is a noble course and should be seen as
leading humanity toward the truth of believing in the oneness of Allah, for the
originator of leadership is Allah. One of the names by which our beloved Prophet
46 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

Muhammad (PBUH) is known for is the Best of Creation (Khayru-l-Khalq). In


Surah 3: Ali Imran (3:110), Yusuf Ali (1989, p.155), Ye are the best of peoples,
evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbid what is wrong, while also
believing in Allah. If only the people of the Book had faith, it were best for them:
among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.
As vicegerent of Allah on earth we are the best of people created who should enjoin
what is right and forbid doing what is wrong, while also believing in Allah. Allah,
granted this honour to Muslims, the honour of the best of nations, the best of the
community, and the best group of people and this is the position given to us as one
nation Ummah (Islamic/Muslim communities).
This perfect One Nation Ummah (Muslim communities) is blessed with the
wisdom of the Allahs laws (Sharia). The worship of Allah alone is the vision and
mission of Muslim communities wherever they may be. This does not mean that all
Muslims would have to be in one place to constitute an Ummah for it is very
difficult to have a vast piece of land that is called the Ummatic land, in other words
a land that all are Muslim. Wherever Muslims are living, they are part of the
Ummah. What binds them together is that there is no God except Allah and that
Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah and the five pillars of Islam.
Wherever we are in the world we are brothers because our vision, missions and
goals are the same, which is worship Allah.
We can only be the best of people when we practice what our Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) exemplified. This will guarantee happiness, comfort, and
peace of mind here and in the hereafter. In the city state of Madinah during Prophet
Muhammads (PBUH) time, there was justice, mercy and selfless humility.
Yusuf Ali (1989, p.155), in his commentary attests to the fact that, Islam is just
submission to the will of Allah. This implies (1) Faith, (2) doing right, being an
example to others to do right, and having the power to see that the right prevails,
(3) eschewing wrong, being an example to others to eschew wrong, and having the
power to see that wrong and injustice are defeated. For him therefore, Islam lives,
not for itself, but for mankind.
As a vicegerent, whether a leader in their community or simply followers should
take the noble role of leadership to be responsible and accountable. For Allah has
given us this gift of love, feelings, emotion, love and mind so that we are able to
think and reflect. Although the angel saw in us doing mischief when Allah wanted
to make vicegerent on earth and the shedding blood, Allah, made it clear to them
that We (He) knows more that they know. This vicegerency is given to us because
we are able to do good, forbid evil and have faith in Allah.
The vicegerent was also given to David see Surah 38: Sad (38:26), Al-Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.572), 26. O Dawud (David)! Verily, We have placed you as
successor on the earth; so judge you between men in truth (and justice) and follow
not your desire-for it will mislead you from the path of Allah. Verily, those who
wander astray from the path of Allah (shall) have a severe torment, because they
forget the Day of Reckoning. Thus, these great gifts were not to be a matter of
self-glory. This implies faith, doing good, being right, being an example to others to
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 47

follow and do right, having the power and will to see that right prevails, and also
having powers to make sure that justice prevails and injustice is defeated. Thus, to
be Allahs, representative on earth means to live, worship and also to be just to
other fellow human beings. This is because leadership in Islam is a trust from Allah.
Therefore, leaders and followers alike should see themselves as the representative of
Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Leaders and followers alike will be
accountable to Allah on the Day of Judgement.
If he or she commits atrocities against humanity, they will be held accountable.
That is why this trust should be maintained with sincerity. In Surah 6: Al Anam
(6:123), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.123), 123. And thus We have set up in every
town great ones of its wicked people to plot therein. But they plot not except against
their own selves, and they perceive (it) not.
In Surah 6: Al Anam (6:165), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.198), 165. And it is
He who made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on
the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you
in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely, your Lord is swift in retribution, and
certainly He is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
All the above verses show the importance of vicegerency on earth, and this is
clarified in Yusuf Ali (1992, p.343) commentary (982) It being Allahs plan to
make Adam (as representing mankind) His vicegerent on earth. Vicegerent is that
of successor, hire, or inheritor, i.e. one who has the ultimate ownership after the
present possessor, to whom a life tenancy has been given by the owner.
The inheritor cannot become the owner and therefore, must follow the laws laid
down by the owner Allah which is not a big task. In Surah 3: Ali Imran (3:33),
Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.79) Allah choose Adam, Nuh (Noah), the family of
Ibrahim (Abraham) and the family of Imran above the Alamin (mankind and jinn)
(of their times). Similarly, in Surah 15: Al Hijr (15:23), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.328), 23. And certainly, We! We it is who give life, and cause death, and we are
the Inheritors.
We are also reminded by Allah in Surah 3: Ali Imran (3:180), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.107), 180. And let not those who covetously withhold of that which
Allah has bestowed on them of His Bounty (wealth) think that it is good for them
(and so they do not pay the obligatory Zakat). Nay, it will be worse for them; the
things which they covetously withheld shall be tied to their necks like a collar on
the Day of Resurrection. And to Allah belongs the heritage of the heavens and the
earth; and Allah is Well-Acquainted with all that you do.
Therefore, being a leader is a gift. Leaders should not impede with the authority
entrusted to them by Allah. In Surah 4 Al Nisa (4:58), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.122), 58. Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to
those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with
justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah
is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer.
Furthermore, the notion of vicegerent in Islam is very clear. It is to establish truth
by establishing regular prayers and giving charity at the same time to forbid wrong
48 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

doing as affirmed in Surah 22: Al Hajj (22:41), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.426-7),
41. Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) enjoin
Iqamat-Salat [i.e. to perform the five compulsory congregational Salat (prayers)
(The males in mosques)], to pay Zakat and they enjoin Al Maruf (i.e. Islamic
Monotheism and all the Islamic orders one to do), forbid Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief,
polytheism and all that Islam has forbidden) [i.e. they make the Quran as the laws
of their country in all the spheres of life]. And with Allah rests the end of (all)
matters (of creatures). In Surah 21: Al Anbiya (21:73-4), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.414), 73. And We made them leaders, guiding (mankind) by Our
Command, and We revealed to them the doing of good deeds, performing Salat
(Iqamat-as-Salat), and the of Zakat and of Us (Alone) they were the worshippers. 74.
And (remember) Lut (Lot), We gave him Hukm (right judgement of the affaires
and Prophethood) and (religious) knowledge, and We save him from the town (folk)
who practiced Al-Khabaith (evil, wicked and filty deeds). Verily, they were a people
given to evil, and were Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient, to Allah).
What we can learn from this verse is that righteous men, leaders or followers
make no compromises with evil. To get away from evil by any man or leader of any
community is to establish good deeds, regular prayers, regular charity, and only
worship Allah.
In Surah 35: Fatir (35:39), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.551), 39. He it is Who
has made you successors generations after generation in the earth, so whoever
disbelieves (in Islamic Monotheism) on him will be his disbelief. And the disbelief
of the disbelievers adds nothing but hatred of their Lord. And the disbelief of the
disbelievers adds nothing but loss. In Surah 3 Al-Imran (3:85), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.90), 85. And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be
accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.
Subsequently, we are all vicegerents of Allah on earth and we have delegated
some of those responsibilities to our leaders of the one Nation (Ummah) into which
community they live as Muslim. We as individuals and community of this one
Nation (Ummah) of Islam should honour this responsibly and not allow our leaders
and ourselves to go astray from Allah. For those who reject Allah cause injuries to
themselves, and it is their own doing.
Vicegerent, is a trust from Allah and we all must obey it, or be like those who
reject Allah and were made consequences, for example of the Pharaohs, the people
of Noah, the Ad and Thamud, the Madyan people; and Moses, see Surah 22:
Al Hajji (22:42-44). How can we not learn from the history of earlier nations that
were destroyed for their evil? Yet, we still keep on repeating mistakes of the past.
Today some of our Leaders wage wars in the name of national interest. Islam tells
us to wage war against evil, not national interest. Those leaders who commit
atrocities are going to be accountable for their crimes in front of Allah on the Day
of Judgement. They should all know that they will be accountable for their deeds.
That is why in this book I advocate leadership that is vicegerent, willing and selfless
services purely for the sake of Allah. Allah warns us and promises the righteous that
they should not despair.
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 49

Obedience to Leadership

Obedience to Allah is the key to good leadership, and means therefore, obedience
to Allahs laws, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This is affirmed in Surah 3: Ali
Imran (3:132), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.98), 132. And obey Allah and the
Messenger 9 Muhammad (PBUH) that you may obtain mercy. In Surah 4: Al Nisa
(4:13-14), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.113), 13. These are the limits (set by) Allah
(or ordainments as regards, laws of inheritance), and whoever obeys Allah and His
Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH) will be admitted to Gardens under which rivers
flow (in paradise), to abide therein, and that will be the great success. 14. And
whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH), and transgress
His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein; and he shall have
disgraceful torment.
In Surah 9: Al-Tawbah (9:71), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.250), 71. The
Believers, men and women, are Auliya (helpers supporter, friends, protectors) of
one another; they enjoin (on the people) A-Maruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all
that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism
and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat
(Iqamat-as-Salat), and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will
have His Mercy on them. Surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Again in Surah 24:
Al Nur (24:52), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.450), 52. It is such as obey Allah and
His Messenger, and fear Allah and do right, that will win (In the end).
In Surah 24: An-Nur (24:54), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.450), 54. Says:
Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, but if ye turn away, he (Messenger
Muhammad (PBUH) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey
Allahs Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on
the right guidance. The Messengers duty is only to convey (the Message) in a clear
way (i.e. to preach in a plain way. Similar to the above Verse is in Surah 64: Al-
Taghabun (64:12), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.709), 12. Obey Allah, and obey
the Messenger Muhammad (PBUH); but if you turn away, then the duty of Our
Messenger is only to convey (the Message) clearly. Here the message is clear from
Allah that the Messenger comes to guide and teach, not to force and compel.
The Messengers teaching is clear and unambiguous, and is open and free to all.
Allah promises those who obey Him and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This is
affirmed in Surah 24: Al Nur (24:55), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.450), 55. Allah
has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He
will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the land, as He granted
it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their
religion which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely, give them in
exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and
do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whoever disbelieved after this,
they are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).
Subsequently, in Surah 4: Al Nisa (4:59), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.122), 59.
O you who believe! Obey Allah and Obey the Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH),
50 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) If you differ in anything
amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH), if
you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final
determination.
Here are some complementary comments by Yusuf Ali (1992, p.203), on those
who were charged with authority responsibility decision, or the settlement of
affaires. All ultimate authority rests with Allah. The Prophet of Allah derived
authority from Him. Islam makes no sharp division between the sacred and secular
affairs. It expects governments to be imbued with righteousness. Likewise, Islam
expects Muslims to respect the authority of a government they are under their
authority otherwise there can be no order or discipline. And in Surah 4: Al Nisa
(4:69), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.124), 69. And whoso obey Allah And the
Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH), then they will be in the Company of those on
whom Allah has bestowed His Grace of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (those followers
of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr
As-Siddiq (RA)), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these
companions are!
The respect for authority in Islam is taken very seriously and this can be seen in
the early period of Islam when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), advised the
Muslims who were persecuted to migrate to a King of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) who was
not a Muslim but was fair in judgement.
During the persecution of Muslims by the unbelievers in Makkah, they first
migrated to Abyssinia the present day Ethiopia. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
advised them to immigrate to Abyssinia where there was a King who was just. This
demonstrated the fact that Muslims respected the authority or government which
was not Islamic but just.
It is said that at the court of King Negus, Jafar ibn Abi Talib, then aged about
20 years old, spoke on behalf of the Muslim and about the Muslims. He said;
O King! We have been a people of ignorance worshiping idols, eating the flesh of
dead animals, committing abominations, neglecting our relatives and doing evil to
our neighbours. The strong among us would oppress the weak. We were in this state
when Allah sent us the Messengers from among us whose descent and sincerity,
trustworthiness and honesty were known to us.
He summoned us to worship the One True God and to reject the stones and idols
our fathers and we had been worshiping other than Allah. He ordered us to be
truthful in speech, to fulfil all the duties that were entrusted to us, to care for our
relatives, to be kind to our neighbours, to refrain from unlawful food and
consumption of blood. He forbade us to engage in lewdness and lying, the devouring
of the money of the orphan and the defamation of married women. He commanded
us to worship the One God and to assign no partners unto Him, to pray, and to fast.
We deem him truthful and, we believed him, and we accepted the message he
brought from Allah. This description of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to Negus
moved him and he accepted Islam.
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 51

The story of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sending Muslims to Negus, the
King of Abyssinian who was not a Muslim at the time, show how Islam respected
non-Muslim leaders. In other words, this story sheds light on the notion that Islam
makes no sharp division between the sacred and secular affairs. Thus, the
establishment of justice is a very important aspect of leadership, although when
Negus the King of Abyssinian learns of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the
companions who emigrated to Abyssinia and Islam, he himself becomes a Muslim.
The story of King Negus and earlier Emigrants of Muslim to Abyssinian show that
Islam is the religion of love; love for justice, unity and moderation of mankind.
In Surah 4: Al Nisa (4:64, 80-81), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.123), 64. We
sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allahs Leave. If they (hypocrites), when
they had been unjust to themselves, had come to you (Muhammad (PBUH) and
begged for Allahs Forgiveness for them; Indeed, They would have found Allah All-
Forgiving (One who forgives and accepts repentance), Most Merciful. Surah 4: Al
Nisa (4:80-81), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.125), 80. He who obeys the
Messenger (Muhammad (PBUH), has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away,
then We have not sent you (O Muhammad (PBUH) as a watcher over them. 81.
They say: We are obedient, but when they leave you (Muhammad (PBUH),
a section of them spend all night in planning others than what you say. But Allah
records their nightly (plots). So turn aside from them (do not punish them), and put
your trust in Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.
Those who obey Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) are doing so to seek Grace.
The speech made by Abu Bakr when he was chosen as the first Caliph of the
Islamic state after the death of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is testimony to how
important obedience to Allah and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is.
In this speech he has this to say Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His
Prophet (PBUH). If I do not obey them, you owe me no obedience. This story
sheds light on how important it is to obey Allah the originator of leadership and his
Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). The follower is obedient to his leader if he/she obeys
Allah and his Messenger.
Furthermore, those who disobey Allah on earth are cursed. The example of those
who disobeyed Allah on earth is affirmed in Surah 5: Al Maidah (5:78-79), 78.
Those among the Children of Israel who disbelieved were cursed by the tongue of
Dawud (David) and Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary). That was because they
disobeyed (Allah and the Messengers) and were ever transgressing beyond bounds.
79. They used not to forbid one another from the Munkar (wrong, evil-doing, sins,
polytheism, and disbelief) which they committed. Vile indeed was what they used
to do.

Challenge to Leadership

Allah gave us examples of how Prophets were challenged and the response is in
Surah 109: Al Kafirun (109:6) in Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.788), 6. To you be
52 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

your religion, and to me my religion (Islamic Monotheism). Yusuf Ali (1992,


p.1708). This truth was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), one night, while
he was resting in a cave in Mount Hira. He had an encounter with Angel Gabriel
as affirmed in Surah 96: Al Alaq (96:1-5), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.779),
1. Read! In the name of your Lord who has created (All that exists). 2. He has
created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). 3. Read! And your
Lord is the Most Generous. 4. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. 5. He has
taught man that which he knew not. This is how the Truth was revealed to the
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the divine commission to preach and proclaim
Allahs Message in the cave of Hira.
Yusuf Alis (1992, p.1672), complementary, commentary (6204), The declaration
or proclamation was to be in the Name of Allah the Creator. It was not for the any
personal benefit to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to him there was to come bitter
persecution, sorrow, and suffering. It was the call of Allah for the benefit of erring
humanity. After receiving this truth, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his followers
faced persecution and hardship from the majority of the Quraysh who refused to
follow the truth, Islam. This truth is again confirmed by Allah in Surah 5: Al
Maidah (5:3) Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.144), 3. This day, I have perfected
your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you
Islam as your religion.
Yusuf Ali (1992, p.245) commented on this verse and attested to the fact that
the last verse revealed chronologically, making the approaching end of Mustafas
ministry in his earthly life. And in Surah 15: Al Hijr (15:9), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.326), 9. Verily, We, it is We who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the
Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).
The above Surah affirmed Allahs assurance to mankind that Allahs truth is guarded
through all ages even though some may mock it or be bent on destroying it. Thus, the
requirement of the leaders and followers of the One Nation (Ummah) wherever they
may be is to respect the Quran and teach the Quran to others and at the same time be
the ambassadors of Islamic Ummah, forbid evil and worship Allah alone.
Leadership in Islam is very important as noted throughout this book. That is why
anyone who is given the responsibility of being a leader in a community or any
position should know that it is trust (Amanh). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised
us that even when three people are in a journey they should appoint a leader. This
shows the importance of leadership in Islam. Islam in itself is a way of life and
therefore, leaders have to be the embodiment of that way of life by being submissive
to the laws and will of Allah. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) exemplified that kind of
leadership in Makkah and Madinah. Thus, leadership from an Islamic perspective is
vicegerent, whose willingness and selflessness servitude is purely for the sake of Allah.
A leader as a vicegerent is a person exercising delegated power on behalf of Allah. In
other words, a person regarded as an earthly representative of Allah on earth of
which all mankind are. Leaders are only obeyed if they Obey Allah and the Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH). This is because, a vicegerent has responsibility that Allah has
bestowed to him for man or mankind is the highest creation of Allah. He is equipped
with the highest of responsibilities and potentialities to Allah work on earth.
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 53

Furthermore, as noted earlier, Muslims and non-Muslims alike who want to see
an exemplification of vicegerency on earth need not look further than in the life of
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his guided Caliph work in the city state of
Madinah and Makkah. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and other Prophets before
him led exemplarily lives that a leader can follow. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) life
in Makkah and Madinah provides the practical example of leadership. Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) followed the laws of Allah and created the great city state of
Madinah in which the Muslims and the non-Muslims were living in harmony
without any disturbance. He knew there is no compulsion in Islam. Not everyone
believed him, including Abu Jahal, whose actual name was Amr Ibn Hisham
commonly known as Abu Hakam (Father of Wisdom) one of the Prophet
Muhammads (PBUH) relative. He was a wise man among the Quraish, but the
worst enemy of Islam. His relentless hostility and belligerence towards Islam earned
him the name of Abu Jahal (Father of Ignorance) among the Muslims.
There are many such personalities today who may be professors in their field of
studies, but have failed to believe. This is not a new phenomenon, but a reality. They
may also not believe that leadership should be moral or be guided by the contents
of the Quran and the Sunnah. Therefore, the model for leaders to follow is Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) about whom Allah described as the best of character. And you
stand an exalted standard of character, (Yusuf Ali), commentary.
The character of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is described in Surah 33:
Al Ahzab (33:21), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.528), 21. Indeed in the Messenger
of Allah (Muhammad (PBUH) you have a good example to follow for him who
hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah much.
Yusuf Ali (ibid) commentary, We now have the psychology of the Believers-God
fearing men, led by that pattern of men and a leader of Muhammad (PBUH).
During Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) leadership in Madinah, no man had
superiority over others on the basis of caste, colour, nationality, or gender. No man
was superior to a woman. Each of them undertook care for their duties without any
transgression. Thus, Islam teaches the sanctity of humanity and equal rights upon
all without any distinction of race, sex or colour.
The lack of leadership as defined in this book as one whose willingness and
selfless servitude purely for the sake of Allah on earth and mankind is because we
have abandoned the Islamic way of life. Our main motivation for leading or doing
any duty is to serve Allah alone. How many of us do assume our duties or
responsibilities purely for the servitude to Allah and praising Him?
Let us take an example from the Prophet Muhammads (PBUH) last sermon in
Arafat as an advice for anyone who aspires to serve purely for the sake of Allah.
Our Beloved Messenger Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has this to say to his
people:
O people, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard
the life and property of every Muslim as Sacred trust. Return the properties
entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.
Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon
54 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take Usury (interest), therefore all interest
obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You
will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no
interest and that all the interest due to Abbas Ibn Mutalib (Prophets Uncle) shall
henceforth be waived....Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost
all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of
following him in small things.. Finally, I leave behind me two things, the Quran
and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.
After praising, and thanking Allah Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
O people, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall
ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very
carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.
O people, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard
the life and property of every Muslim as Sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted
to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember
that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.
Allah has forbidden you to take Usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation
shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither
inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and
that all the interest due to Abbas Ibn Mutalib (Prophets Uncle) shall henceforth be
waived....Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that
he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in
small things.
O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your Women, but
they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives
only under Allahs trust and with His permission. Do treat your women well and be
kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right
that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well
as never to be unchaste.
O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers
(Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform
Haj if you can afford to. All Mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no
superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also
a white has no superiority over black nor does a black has any superiority over a
white except by piety (taqwa) and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a
brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing
shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was
given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves. Remember,
one day you will appear before Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not
stray the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, No Prophet or Apostle will come after me and no new Faith will be
born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to
you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah and if
you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 55

my words to others and those to others again; and may the last one understands my
words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that
I have conveyed your message to your people. The above sermon should act as a
guide to us all. This book is written with the hope we can revive the spirit of Islam
and be good leaders for ourselves and our communities.
Furthermore, the responsibilities, duties of a leader is clarified in a Hadith (2942)
reported in Sunan Abu Dawud by Abu Maryam al-Azdi, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
If Allah puts anyone in the position of authority over the Muslims affairs and he
secludes himself (from them), not fulfilling their needs, wants, and poverty, Allah
will keep Himself away from him, not fulfilling his need, want, and poverty.
Subsequent Hadith on leadership in Islam states Behold! Every one of you is a
leader and you shall be asked about those you lead. Imam is a leader over the people
and shall be asked about them; a woman is a leader over her children and shall be
asked about them. Reported by Abdullah Ibn Omar in Bukhari and Muslim.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, the following regarding leadership in Islam,
Whosever obeyed the leader, he obeyed me and whoever disobeyed the leader, he
disobeyed me. Reported by Muslim. The Prophet also said: Each one of you is a
shepherd, and all of you are responsible for your flocks. Saheeh Al-Buhari and
Muslim.
As Muslims, what lesson do we learn from this Sermon? The full sermon should
act as guide to all of us. Leaders should also learn and apply some of Allahs
qualities and attributes which include knowledge, mercy, appreciation, forgiveness,
benevolence, justice, love, grandeur, beauty, and power to protect our day life and
activities. We can also benefit from the last Sermon made by Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered this sermon in the Uranah Valley
of Mount Arafat. His words are guide to all of us who inspire to lead humanity and
communities in which we live in.
We can learn a lesson or two from Salahadeen letter of advice to his son before
died and who was about to become a provincial governor for the first time. He
wrote according to Adair (2010, p.98), Abstain from the shedding of bloods; trust
not to that, for blood that is spilt never slumbers. Seek to win the hearts of your
people, and watch over their property. For it is to secure their happiness that you
are appointed by God and by me. Try to gain the hearts of your Emirs and ministers
and nobles. I have become as great as I am because I have won mens hearts by
gentleness and kindness.
This an example of leadership in Islamic history and we need not go far to learn
but most Muslim leaders have betrayed Prophet Muhammads (PBUH) example and
they shall meet Allah and answer for their deeds one by one.

Consultation of Leaders in Islam

Consultation in Islam is very important for leaders. Consultation may be similar to


democracy or participative engagement of the government with its citizens. The
56 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

Quran looks at this aspect of consultation and used the word (Shurah) or mutual
consultation. Consultation should be mutual and not imposed on people. See Surah
42: Ash-Shura (42:38), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.613), 38. And those who
answer the call of their Lord [i.e. to believe that He is the only One Lord (Allah),
and to worship none but Him Alone], and perform As-Salat (Igamat-as-Salat), and
who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We
have bestowed on them.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) practiced the same principles of consultation in his
private life and public life which were fully acted upon by the guided Caliph. The
most outstanding example of our beloved Prophet Muhammads (PBUH) consultation
occurred on the eve of the battle of Uhud. Prophet (PBUH) was of the opinion that
the city should be defended from within it walls. The majority of the companions
wanted to go out and fight. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) accepted their opinion
and did not impose his own will. See Surah 3: Ali Imran (3:121-148), Al-Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.97), 121. And (remember) when you (Muhammad (PBUH) left
your household in the morning to post the believers at their stations for the battle
(of Uhud). And Allah is All-Hearer, All-knower148. So Allah gave them the
reward of this world, and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. And Allah loves
Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers). Also see V.3.134 and V.9.120.
Mutual consent and consultation is also needed even in the affairs of divorce so
that each part knows his/her obligation, See Surah 2: Al Baqarah (2:233), Al-Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.58), In Surah 3: Ali Imran (3:159), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.102), 159. And by the Mercy of Allah, you deal with them gently. And had you
been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away From about you; so
pass over (their faults), and ask for (Allahs) forgiveness for them; and consult them
in affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put thy trust in Allah, certainly,
Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). This Surah shows the epitome of
the essence of leadership of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), especially when the
Muslims disobeyed him in the battle of Uhud and many great Muslims companion
were killed including Hamzah. But Allah asks Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to be
gentle with them, for if he was harsh with them they could have dispersed like
broken glass which could never be assembled.
The other good example of consultation of good leadership in Islam comes from
a story of the encounter of Sulaiman (Solomon) with the Queen Bilqis of Sheba
which is affirmed in Surah 27: Al Naml (27:32-44), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.478), 32. They said: O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine. I decide no case
till you are present with me (and give me your opinions). 33. They said: We have
great strength, and great ability for war, but it is for you to command: so think over
what you will command. 34. She said: Verily, Kings, when they enter a town
(country), they despoil it, and make the most honourable amongst its people the
lowest. And thus they do. 35. But verily, I am going to send him a present, and see
with what (answer) the messenger return.
Yusuf Ali (1989, p.945) made a complementary comment on the above verse and
concluded that the characteristic of the Queen Bilqis was that of a ruler who
Islamic Perspective of Leadership 57

enjoyed great wealth and dignity and the full confidence of her subjects. She did
nothing without consulting her council and her council was ready to carry out her
command in all things. Her people are manly, loyal, and contended, and ready to
take the field against any enemy in their country. But their Queen is prudent in
policy, and is not willing to embroil her country in war.
The above story from the Quran is a good example of a good leader who was
willing to consult with their subjects.
The other important aspects after consultation in Islam are the notions of advice
and paying attention to those who visit or are in gathering. One of the great
examples of paying respects to those in attendance is related to a story of a blind
man who was in attendance when the Prophet (PBUH) was talking to some leaders
of Quresh about Islam.
In Surah 80: Abasa (80:1-4), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.754), 1. The Prophet
(PBUH) frowned and turned away. 2. Because there came to him the blind man (i.e.
Abdullah bin Umm-Maktum, who came to the Prophet (PBUH) while he was
preaching to one or some of the Quraish chiefs). 3. And how can you know that he
might become pure (from sins)? 4. Or he might receive admonition, and the
admonition might profit him? The above Verse narrates an incident which reflects
some false steps in his mission when he was busy trying to explain the Holy Quran
to Pagan Quraish leaders. He was interrupted by a blind man Abdullah bin Umm-
Maktum, who was also poor and who everyone ignored. He wanted to learn
Quran. The Holy Prophet usually dislikes interruption and showed impatience.
However, Allah sent revelation and the Prophet since then held this man in high
honour.
The lesson from the blind man story is that as leaders and as followers we should
be open to listen to all kind of people whether poor or rich, blind or handicapped.
What concerns many leaders today is personal interest not the interest of others, but
only their immediate families or friends.
3

Comparison between Leadership from


a Western and Islamic Perspective

In this chapter, leadership from both Western and Islamic perspective is discussed
by looking at the common and deviations grounds in both perspectives. There are
some common grounds and divergences between the two perspectives due to some
core issues of religion and cultural divide.

Common Points

Leadership from both points involves influence, common goals, and occurs in
groups. Leadership from a Western and Islamic perspective is reflected in some
leaders who selflessly serve their communities, but are of a minority or non-
existence.
Servant leadership according to Greenleaf (1977) is based on four main principles
of moral authority, specifically a) leaders sacrifice, b) leaders commitment to a
worthy cause, c) leaders teaching whose ends and means are inseparable, and,
d) leaders relationships. All the above with regard to servant leadership have some
common ground with Islamic perspective of leadership, especially on this core
notion that the servant leader is servant first. This ideal of servant leadership have
been criticised by Whinstone (2002) as being too good to be true. Johnston (2001)
on the other hand argues that servant leadership is associated with a negative term
servant (or slave). Others like Hunter (2000) also argue that servant leadership
focuses on the biblical and religious context of services. The same could be argued
for the Islamic perspective of leadership in the sense that leadership in Islam is a
trust (Amanah) and is ingrained in the Quran and Sunnah.
Furthermore, there are some Western scholars who call for leadership to be more
ethical and moral in the practice of leadership such as Cuilla (1995), Brown and
Tervino (2004). The ethical and moral dimension of leadership centred on leadership
as a trust and privilege to serve humanity. However, such call from a Western
perspective seems to have less attention as argued strongly Cuilla (1995). Moral and
60 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

ethical leadership usually grasp the attention of most Western scholars of leadership
when there are scandals either in policies or business, although a good minority
have argued for a moral and ethical leadership. In other words, the shift in focus on
ethical and moral leadership by many researchers and writers of leadership is partly
due to many scandals such as the Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and the recent financial
crisis that rocked many businesses and the prevalent unethical behaviours by some
managers who are motivated by greed and this attitude of win at all costs.
From the Islamic perspective of leadership, the Quran appreciates leaders who
respect the moral and ethical teaching. This is affirmed in Surah 21: Al Anbiya
(21:73), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.754), p.414), 73. And We made them
leaders, guiding (mankind) by Our Command, and We revealed to them the doing
of good deeds, performing Salat (Iqama-as-Salat), and the giving of Zakat and of
Us (Alone) they were the worshipers.
Thus, leadership from an Islamic perspective is so deep and comprehensive. The
moral character of the leader should be morally grounded with a strong belief in the
oneness (Tawheed) of Allah. In other words, to Allah we worship and nothing else
and do good deeds.
The goals of leadership in both Western and Islamic perspective influence the
relationship between the leader and followers. However, the Islamic perspective
goes further by emphasising that the leadership values are expressed in tawhid,
meaning believing in the unity and sovereignty of Allah.

Divergence

There are many differences between the Islamic perspective of leadership and the
Western perspective of leadership. Firstly, the true Islamic perspective of leadership
should derive from the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH),
previous Prophets and the four guided Caliphs and other great pious leaders in
Islam. The Islamic perspective of leadership also starts from the premise that the
originator of leadership is Allah and that leaders are merely vicegerent i.e.
willingness to selfless servitude purely for the pleasure of Allah alone. The laws that
guide leaders should be divine and not man-made laws (Sharia). The leader should
adhere to these very core principles of Tawheed or oneness in Allah worship
(Ibadah) be guided by Shariah (the Islamic laws). Islam makes no division between
the spiritual and progressive activities. Islam is a way of life and the leader should
reflect the ones and sovereignty of Allah. See Surah 3: Al-Imran (3:189), Khan and
Al-Hilali (1996, p. 108), 189. And to Allah belongs the domination of the heavens
and the earth, and Allah has power over all things. Thus, a leader in Islam does
everything for the sake of Allah and whatever he does for his followers it is
distinctively for the pleasure of Allah. It is therefore forbidden for the leader to do
injustice to his follower. The only thing that can distinguish the leader from the
follower is their faith, knowledge, and their commitment to Islamic values and
principles. The central point and reason for creation in Islam is to serve Allah.
Comparison between Leadership from a Western and Islamic Perspective 61

Leadership from a Western perspective is a relationship which involves power,


inspiration and authority. However, an Islamic perspective of leadership is a
leadership that is affirmed in Surah 21, Al Anbiya (21:73), Khan and Al Hilali
(1996, p. 414), And we made them leaders, guiding (mankind) by Our Commad,
and We revealed to them the doing of good deeds, performing Salat (Iqamat-as
salat), and the giving of Zakat and of Us (Alone) they were the worshipers. The
nature of leadership as conceived by the Quran is different from that in the Western
literature, theory and practice. The Great Man theory of leadership which is one of
the earliest theory of leadership advocate is the West stipulate that certain individual
leaders have innate qualities of leadership that enable them to lead. This is
questionable within Islamic frame work of leadership which maintain that the
practices of leadership that should be virtues.
Leadership from an Islamic perspective requires that the leader become
accountable for he will be asked to account for the trust and privilege that was given
to him by Allah to lead others. This is clearly spelled out in Surah 17: Al-Isra
(17:13-15), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.354), 13. And We have fastened every
mans deeds to his neck, and on the Day of Resurrection, We shall bring out for him
a book which he will find wide open. 14. (It will be said to him). Read your book.
You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this day. 15. Whoever goes
right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes
astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear
anothers burden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give
warning). The fate of leaders from an Islamic perspective depends on their deeds
whether they do good, bad or evil that will be accounted for on the Day of
Judgement. Their scroll on the Day of Judgement will reveal their account.
There are many examples in the Quran which explain to us how leaders who
rejected Allah and his Messengers were dealt with and the consequences for such
rejection and how they were destroyed, the people of Lud, the people of Egypt and
the Madyan people, the story of Noah (PBUH), Moses (PBUH) and others as
mentioned above. Many empires have perished because of their wickedness, and
arrogance. Islam demands that leaders understand their responsibility and be ready
to account for their responsibilities. It is stated very clearly in the Quran and the
Hadith by the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) who said, as narrated by Ibn Umar
who said, I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: Each of you is a shepherd, and
all of you are responsible for your flocks. This Hadith by the Prophet (PBUH) is a
good example of how Islam puts great emphasis on personal responsibility on those
in a leadership position.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) also warned people not to ask for authority so that
they are not accountable for such responsibility. This is affirmed by the narration of
Abu Dhar who said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, will you appoint me as a
governor? Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) struck my shoulder with his hand and then
said: O Abu Dharr, you are weak and it is a trust (Amanah). On the Day of
Judgement it will be a disgrace and regret except for the one who took it by its right
and fulfilled his duty in it. This Hadith teaches us all that seeking power for the
62 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

sake of it is not right. Today, many leaders use their money and privilege to gain
such position for the sake of personal enrichment. However, if they understand that
they will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement they would be fair and
would be discouraged from seeking position of power for their own self-interest or
advancement.
The other key element of the differences between the Islamic and Western
perspective of leadership is with regards to the role of Parliament in making the
laws of the land. The Divine laws (Sharia) from the Islamic perspective should suit
the laws of the land. The Divine Laws are not acceptable in Parliamentary Western
democracy. The fact that Islamic perspective of leadership negates Parliamentary
democracy does not mean that an Islamic perspective of leadership is against all
aspect of democracy. The rights of citizens, freedom of expression, and freedom of
assembly, and right to protest and other aspects of democracy are compatible with
Islamic perspective. The greatest conflict between Divine Laws and Parliamentary
democracy laws is that divine laws are sacred and man-made laws are not. Since
Divine laws are sacred, parliament may pass some laws which are against Divine
laws. For example, same sex marriage is against divine Laws.
The other differences between the Islamic and Western perspective of leadership
is due to religious influences. Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all from Abraham
(PBUH). All these religions are gifted with scriptures (sacred) book. For example,
historically, Arabs are descendants of Ismail (Ishmael), the first son of Abraham and
Hager, the Egyptian. For this reason, Muslims consider themselves descendants of
Abraham. In Islamic perspective of leadership there is no separation of religion from
politics but for the Western perspective there is a clear separation based on the
notion, give what is to Cesar to Cesar and what is to God to God.
Leadership from an Islamic perspective as seen from the creation of Islamic state
in Madinah emphasises succession. It is observed from the Madinah period and
through the righteous Caliph that they did not lay down foundation for heredity or
assuming power by force rather than through election and then govern through
consultation accordance to the shariah (Divine law). The first Caliph Abu Bakr had
a similar passage and become the first Caliph. He said, I have been intrusted with
your affairs, although I am not the best among you. Help me if I do well and correct
me if I do wrong. Obey me if I Obey Allah and His Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
The second Caliph Umar also went; through similar process and said to his people
that he is one among them. The third Uthman, Caliph and the fourth Caliph Ali, all
used consultation and upheld Sharia or (Divine law).
This was quite evident after the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). After the
death of the Prophet (PBUH), Caliph Abu Bakr was nominated, after some
consultation by the representatives of the Muslim communities at that time. Abu
Bakr was very close to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) even during the Prophets time
he had allowed Abu Bakr Sidiq to lead prayer. Umar and the other close companions
were there and they gave him the allegiance and Abu Bakr became the first Caliph.
The Caliphs who followed Abu Baker were also chosen or nominated by other
companions. This principle of succession as noted in the case of Caliphs after the
Comparison between Leadership from a Western and Islamic Perspective 63

death of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was stimulated by Quranic value of


Shura or (consultation). However, in the Western perspective of leadership, leaders
are voted into high office by their citizens. Leadership is seen either in the West or
non-Western countries as an opportunity to gain privilege and prestige. Many
leaders now are being endorsed by big lobbies, big businesses to serve their future
interests and this is crippling democracy. Leadership from an Islamic perspective is
about servitude purely for the pleasure of Allah. The focus of leadership from an
Islamic perspective is establishing prayers, giving charity, and forbidding evil. The
Western perspective focuses on the worldly life. This dichotomy is evident that
Islamic perspective of leadership draws its core values from faith while in the West
and some other countries leaders call for the separation of religion from politics all
together. I argue very strongly in this book that the Quran and Sunnah and Sharia
the laws that guide leadership are the core differences between the two
perspectives.
4

The Sources of Islamic Leadership


Principles and the Example of Islamic
Leadership

In this chapter, the source of Islamic principles are going to be examined by using
the Quran, the Holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the wise guided Caliph and
pious leaders and followers. The source of Islamic leadership principles differs from
a Western perspective on leadership due to the fact that leadership in the Islamic
perspective should be or is guided by content. That content that guides Islamic
leadership is the Quran and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This kind of
argument is rejected by Rost (1991) as noted before in relation to the content of
leadership. In Islamic perspective of leadership the content is very important. That
is why Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet (PBUH), the previous Prophets, guided
Caliphs, pious leaders and followers alike are very important to leadership. Islamic
leadership principles are primarily derived from the following key sources:

The Holy Quran

The Holy Prophet Muhammad

The Wise Caliphs

Pious leaders and Followers

The Holy Quran as a Primary Source of the Islamic Leadership


Principles

The Quran is the word of Allah and not speech by any human being or Angels and
it is uncreated. This is affirmed in Surah 69: Al Haqqah (69:40-3), Al-Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.726), 40. That this is verily the word of an honoured Messenger
[i.e. Jibael (Gabriel) or Muhammad (PBUH) which he has brought from Allah]. 41.
It is not the word of the poet: little is that you believe! 42. Nor it is the word of
66 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

soothsayer (or a foreteller): little is that you remember! 43. This is the Revelation
sent down from the Lord of the Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exist).
The Messenger referred to here is Muhammad (PBUH). Subsequently, in Surah
81: (19-21), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.757), 19. Verily, this is the Word (this
Quran brought by) a most honourable Messenger [Jibrael (Gabriel), from Allah to
Prophet Muhammad PBUH)]. 20. Owner of power, (and high rank) with (Allah),
the Lord of the Throne, 21. Obeyed (by the angles in the heaven) and trustworthy.
The Messenger here is Gabriel. Here the message is clear in both verses that Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) and Angel Gabriel were not the writers of the Quran and that
the Quran is uncreated by any human being but is the word of Allah.
The word Messenger means that he has been sent by someone, or that he is
conveying the message of his sender. Allah challenged those who think that the
Quran is not from Him by stating in Surah 10: Yunus (10:38), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.269), 38. Or do they say: He (Muhammad (PBUH) has forged it? Say:
Bring then a Surah (chapter) like unto it, and call upon whomever you can besides
Allah, if you are truthful! In Surah 11: Hud (11:13), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996,
p.280), 13. Or they say, He (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) forged it (the Quran).
Say: Bring you then ten forged Surah (chapters) like unto it, and call whomever
you can, other than Allah (to your help), if you speak the truth!
Subsequently, in Surah 9: Al Tawbah (9:6), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.239), 6.
And if anyone of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagan, disbelievers in the
oneness of Allah) seeks your protection then grant him protection-so that he may
hear the Words of Allah (the Quran)- and then escort him to where he can be secure,
that is because they are men who know not. This Verse clearly shows that what
the Messenger conveys is the true word of Allah, not the word of the Messenger. In
Surah 5: Al Maidah (5:15), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.148), 15. O people of the
Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Now has come to you Our Messenger (Muhammad
(PBUH) explaining to you much of that which you used to hide from the Scripture
and pass over (i.e. leaving out without explaining) much. Indeed, there has come to
you from Allah a light (Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and a plain Book (this
Quran).
The Quran is the clearest, most beautiful and unambiguous, self-evident Book,
and that it is a privilege for mankind to recite. The Quran is a shining light by which
we recite to guide us in all our endeavours and the Quran makes things clear for us,
and also distinguishes truth from falsehood. The Quran is the Word of The
Almighty Allah, the Originator of everything and The One Who encompasses
everything with His knowledge and kindness. In Surah 4: Al Nisa (4:82), Al-Hilali
and Khan (1996, p.126), 82. Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had
it been from other than Allah, they would have surely, have found therein many a
contradictions. Every piece of information the Quran contains reveals the secret
miracles of this divine book. Thus, the Holy Quran is the primary source of
leadership and success principles. Revealed by a supreme author, Allah, its message
has universal and eternal relevance to all humanity.
The Sources of Islamic Leadership Principles and the Example of Islamic Leadership 67

The Quran is from Allah, and this is clear to those who believe. In Surah 2: Al
Baqarah (2:23), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.15), 23. And if you (Arab, Jews, and
Christians) are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down (i.e. the Quran)
to Our slave (Muhammad (PBUH), then produce a Surah (chapter) of the like
thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) beside Allah, if you are
truthful. This Verse is important for those who doubt about the Quran. Allah
challenges those who doubt the Quran to produce a surah like thereunto or even
with helpers. They cannot because the Quran is the word of Allah.
The Quran is a complete code of life which contains guidelines on all aspects of
life be it spiritual, social, economic and political. Yet some people do not believe.
The Quran is the last and complete revelation of divine guidance and is the source
of leadership principles which can guide leaders and followers of today towards
success and highest attainment in their endeavours as leaders and good citizens of
the one Nation Ummah (Islamic communities), wherever they may be.
Thus, the concept of one Nation Ummah (Islamic communities) does not mean
that we will all be in one land, but that we have one mission which is worshiping
Allah, forbidding evil enjoying good, establishing prayers and also charity. The beauty
of the Quran lies in the universality of its message. Its message is for all humankind
wherever they may live. It addresses us all and gives us stories of past people so that
we can learn from their mistakes and be better leaders and followers alike.
In Surah 6: Al Anam (6:19), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.172), 19. Say
(O Muhammad (PBUH): What thing is the most great in witness Say: Allah (the
Most Great!) Is witness between me and you; this Quran has been revealed to me
that I may therewith warn you and whomsoever it may reach. Can you verily, bear
witness that beside Allah there are other aliha (gods)? Say: I bear no (such)
witness! Say: But in truth He (Allah) is the only one Ilah (God). And truly, I am
innocent of what you join in worship with Him.
In Surah 17: Al Isra (17:88-9), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.365), 88. Say: If
the mankind and the Jinns were together to produce the like of this Quran, they
could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another. 89. And
indeed We have fully explained to mankind, in this Quran, every kind of similitude,
but most of mankind refuse (the truth and accept nothing) but disbelief.
Thus, leadership principles are contained in the Quran. The Quran talks about
faith, struggle, knowledge, piety, charity, prayers, and many things that guide us on
how to deal with daily life activities. It is through the Quran that we can understand
and apply certain leadership principles that can enhance our selfless servitude
toward the betterment of humanity. Allah explained to us why he chose mankind
to be his representative on earth and how Prophet Ibrahim was tested by Allah, See
(2:124).
There are many stories in the Quran to remind us of our leadership so that we
should not transgress. This is because Islam teaches us that all Prophets came to their
people with the same proclamation, as seen in Surah 11: Hud (11:50), Al-Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.285), 50. And to the Ad (people We sent) their brother Hud. He
said, O my people! Worship Allah! You have no other Ilah (god) but Him.
68 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

The story of Musa (Moses), who call the children of Israel to worship Allah
alone and he laid down the laws prescribed in the Torah and is affirmed in Surah 5:
Al Maidah (5:44), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.152), 44. Verily, We did send down
the Taurat (Torah) [to Musa (Moses)], therein was guidance and light, by which the
Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allahs Will, judged for the Jews. And the
rabbis and the priests [too judged for the jews by the Taurat (Torah) after those
Prophets], for to them was entrusted the protection of Allahs Book, and they were
witness thereto. Therefore, fear not men but fear Me (O Jews) and sell not My
Verses for a miserable price. And whoever does not judge by what Allah has
revealed, such are Kafirun (i.e. disbelievers-of a lesser degree as they do not act on
Allahs Laws. Thus, the Quran is a book of guidance for all humankind.
Musa (Moses), asked Allah to allow his brother Harun (Aaron) to go with him
because he believe that he was more eloquent in speech and this is confirmed in
Surah 28: Al-Qasas (28:43), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.490), 43. And indeed We
gave Musa (Moses)- after We had had destroyed the generation of old-the Scripture
[the Taurat (Torah)] as an enlightenment for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy,
that they might remember (or receive admonition). All the above are lessons to be
learned to strengthen our leadership principles. It is also important to examine the
greatest model of all whose life is embedded in the Quran as a source of leadership
principles.

The Holy Prophet (609-632 C.E)

The greatest model of leadership of all times for humanity to emulate is the beloved
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). His prophethood lasted for twenty three years. He
created a system and a legacy for his people and he is still followed all over the
world. He led his people and transformed them. He was able to create a model for
humankind to follow which is worship the creator and following his laws. He also
exemplified leadership as selflessness rather than as a material driven venture or
power for powers sake. In other words, the leadership of the Prophet (PBUH) was
process driven. He never used obscene and abusive language; even his worst enemies
never accused him of telling a lie. He was always a charming personality which
captivated the heart of those who come into contact with him. This manifested in
many ways, when dealing with people. He was always just and fair. That is why he
was always called the Truthful and the Trustworthy (Al-Amin). During his last
sermon, he warned mankind of taking interest, being just to one another and
informed them that if he had left behind two things that, if held fast to, man would
never go astray; the Quran and his Sunnah.
All treaties he signed he obeyed them, especially the treaty of Hudiabia and
others. He asked his people to stop worshiping Idols and to only worship Allah who
is the creator, the nourisher, sustainer and, consequently, the real sovereign before
whom all should bow down and to whom all should pray and render obedience. He
The Sources of Islamic Leadership Principles and the Example of Islamic Leadership 69

was sent as mercy to humankind as it is affirmed in Surah Anbiya. Allah Says in


Surah 21 Al Anbiya (21:107), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.419), 107. And We sent
you (O Muhammad (PBUH) not but as a mercy for all Alamin (mankind, jinns and
all that exist). Furthermore, in Surah 9: Al-Taubah (9:32-33), Al-Hilali and Khan
(1996, p.244), 32. They (the disbelievers, the Jews and the Christians) want to
extinguish Allahs light (with which Muhammad (PBUH) has been sent-Islamic
Monotheism) with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light
should be perfected even though the Kufirun (disbelievers) hate (it).
Even with his great message to his people they turned against him and his
companion until they exiled him to Madinah together with all his companions. He
never changed his stand because of the threat and abuses to his life and his
companions. He was resolute and firm in his faith. This is because all the threats
came from the fact that he asked his people to worship Allah alone and to lead lives
of righteousness, piety, and goodness. They offered him all he needed of power,
kingship, wealth, and all riches of the world only if he would stop preaching his
religion and spreading his message but he refused those offers. Prophet Mohammads
(PBUH) faith in Allah was very strong and he never had doubt. He was a leader, a
man who sat and talked to his people, shared their joy and sorrow, mingled with
them in the crowd in such a way that a stranger would not know who the leader of
the people amongst them was. He never wanted any praise or left any property to
his heirs. His leadership is a shining example to emulate.
The Quran bears divine testimony to the fact that he was a great leader who had
come to lead mankind from darkness to light. In Surah 33: Al Ahzab (33:21), Al-
Hilali and Khan (1996, p. 528), 21. Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad
(PBUH) you have a good example to follow for him whose hopes for (the meeting
with) Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah much.
Yusuf Ali (Ibid), complementary comments attest to the fact that the Prophet was
a model to follow, We now have the psychology of the believers-God-fearing men,
led by that pattern of men and of leaders, Muhammad. Again, Aisha the wife of
the Prophet (May Allah be Pleased with her) described the Prophet (PBUH) as the
embodiment of the Quran. Many Western scholars have attested that indeed our
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was one of the greatest leaders who ever lived; for
example scholars like Shaw, Carlyle, and Larmente the French philosopher.
Furthermore, as observed in the introduction chapter Larmente asks Is there any
man greater than he or who would dare to compare any great man in history with
Mohammad (PBUH)? The simple answer is no one. He was just, legislator, a
leader, above all a father who loved his family. His great quality was his faith. I will
further discuss the Prophets (PBUH) life as a great leader.

His Way of Life

Prophet Muhammads (PBUH) life was always an embodiment of leadership meaning


selflessness servitude purely for the pleasure of Allah. He made it clear to his people
70 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

without hesitation that they should leave the worship of idols and worship Allah
alone without partnering Him to others. The Prophet (PBUH) called for accountability
of his people to Allah alone and non-other than Him. The Prophets tribes men were
not happy because his message was threating their beliefs and their economic
interests. The Prophet (PBUH) was steadfast in his message because of his faith in
Allah. He never asked for any reward from anyone but sought pleasure from Allah.
The same message of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to his people was similar to
previous Prophets to their people. The Prophet (PBUH) message was clear, that was
to worship only Allah. He never showed that he was above others. He was able to
live with his companions despite the fact that he was a Prophet, a father and a leader
of one nation the Ummah. He could have chosen to live in a mansion or palace far
away from his companions but he chose to live among them. The Prophet (PBUH)
used to say: Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is often baseless. Do not spy on each
other. Do not probe into the affairs of others. Nor indulge in worldliness or jealousy.
Do not bear grudges against each other. Nor betray anyone. Rather lead your lives
as servants of God and live as brothers. Narrated by Malik. Accordingly the
Prophet (PBUH) was, Exercising superb statesman. He welded the five heterogeneous
and conflicting tribes of the city, three of which were Jewish, into an orderly
confederation.... His reputation spread and people began to flock from every part of
Arabia to see the man who had wrought this miracle. Thus, we can learn a great
deal of leadership principles from his saying (Hadith).

His Sayings-Hadiths

Hadiths are the sayings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which
were compiled by his companions. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) sayings reflect a
profound wisdom and morality, which remain the main sources of guidance and
laws for Muslims around the globe today. The Prophets (PBUH) sayings represent
the elaborateness of the truths contained in the Quran, the word of Allah, revealed
to the Prophet (PBUH). Some of the Quranic precepts are expressed in many ways
in the sayings of the Prophet (PBUH).
The Prophet (PBUH) is the role model, who conveyed the divine message, a
social reformer especially in Madinah and spiritual leader in the way he guided the
one nation Ummah (Islamic communities). According to Kidwai (2012, p.VII), the
Prophets (PBUH) sayings provide overflowing love and affection for humanity,
especially for the weak, the poor, orphans and women; his commitment to fairness
and social justice for all; his modesty and simplicity, reflect in his repeated directives
that he not be idolised or extolled, as he took great pride in being only a servant of
God; and above all, his ardent desire to promote true faith, high morals and
manners and excellent conduct.
In this book, there are some of the Hadiths of the Prophet which directly and
indirectly explain the leadership qualities and the importance of leadership. A good
example of the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which directly and
The Sources of Islamic Leadership Principles and the Example of Islamic Leadership 71

indirectly explains leadership qualities are: Each of you is a shepherd, and all of
you are responsible for your flocks. Narrated by Bukhari & Muslim. The second
Hadith or saying of the Prophet (PBUH) is: When three people go on a journey, let
them put one of their numbers in command. This was narrated by Abu Daud on
the authority of Abu Said.
The third saying is: In your private and public life you should always fear God.
Piety should inform your conduct. Your good deeds will help in getting your sins
forgiven. Treat people well. Narrated by Ahmad and Tirmidhi.
The fourth saying of the Prophet is narrated by Tirmidhi. The Prophet said: The
one who harms others will be punished by God. The one who is hostile towards
others Allah will afflict him with hardship. The other saying of the Prophet
(PBUH) is: When one dies, ones record of deeds is sealed. However, for the
following three deeds, one continues to earn Gods reward, even after ones death:
(1) an endowment for some charitable work (2) leaving behind such scholarly
works that may benefit subsequent generations; and (3) virtuous children who pray
for their parents. Narrated by Kanz al-Ummal of Ali al-Muttaqi.
From the above Hadith or saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) it is obvious
that his sayings, if put into practice by any leader today would constitute an
excellent model for leaders to follow. The Prophets manner and character are
according to the Quran and are therefore a solid example to follow. The Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH), said, The believers are like a house in which every brick is
inseparably joined with every other. They should help one another when in distress.
Narrated by Mishkat al-Masabib of al-Khatib al-Tabrizi.

The Guided Caliphs

The guided Caliphs are leaders of the one Nation Ummah (Islamic communities) of
Islam who succeeded the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after his the death. They are
the pillars and inspiration for leadership in an Islamic perspective after previous
Prophets. These Caliphs ruled Muslims by consultation and the same time advocated
the Shariah (Divine law). The rightly guided Caliphs inspire some Muslim thinkers
who wrote about Islamic political leadership such as Al Mawardi.

The First Caliph, Abu Bakr (632634 A.C)

The wise Caliphs were the successors to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he died.
The word Caliph is the English version of the Arabic word Khalifa meaning
successor to the Prophet (PBUH). This title was given to Abu Bakr who was elected
as head of the Muslim Ummah after the death of the Prophet (PBUH). The first
Caliph followed the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which was to call
people to worship one true Allah. Thus, his primary responsibility was to continue
72 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

with the path laid out by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). His first speech to the
Muslim Ummah at the time affirmed his love for the Divine and at the same time
affirmed sovereignty to Allah and by saying in his well-known speech were he asked
his followers to only obey him so long as he obeyed Allah and the Prophet
Mohammad (PBUH) and that if he did not obey them no one should obey him. He
went on to state clearly that, The weak among you shall be strong with me until
their rights have been vindicated; and the strong among will be given their due.
When the Prophet (PBUH) died Abu Bakr addressed the people and said,
O people, verily whoever worshipped Muhammad, behold! Muhammad is indeed
dead. But whoever worships God, behold! God is alive and will never die. He
affirmed this by quoting the verse from the Quran, in Surah 3: Ali Imran (3:144),
Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.100), 144. Muhammad (PBUH) is no more than a
Messenger and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies
or is killed, will you turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns
back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; and Allah will reward
those who are grateful.
This quotation from the Quran by Abu Bakr shows his leadership qualities. This
statement consoled the Muslim community at the time and strengthened their faith
in Allah. It is even said that when the Prophet (PBUH) died, Umar Ibn Al Khatab
was shaken and he threatened with a sword to fight any one who said the Prophet
Mohammad (PBUH) was dead. Even the stronger companion like Umar Ibn Al
Khatab was shaken and confused with the death of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
as well as the Muslim Ummah. It is also known at the time of the death of Prophet
(PBUH), a number of tribes rebelled and refused to pay Zakat (poor-due), citing
that this was only due for Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Abu Bakr rejected that
notion and explained that the Divine Law cannot be divided and that there is no
distinction between the obligation of Zakat and prayer and that any compromise
with the injunction of Allah would erode the foundation of Islam.
These were some of the qualities of leadership of Abu Bakr who could not
compromise with the principles of Islam in spite of the difficulties he faced after
death of the Prophet (PBUH), while assuming leadership of the Islamic Ummah.
Abu Bakr under his leadership of the Islamic community (Ummah), ordered the
collection and compilation of the verses of the Quran. He died on (23 August 634
A.C) at the age of sixty three and was buried beside the Holy Prophets (PBUH)
grave in Medinah. He was one of the strong leaders of the Islamic Ummah and also
a model to emulate. Furthermore, Abu Bakr held government to be a sacred trust,
and he ran the Islamic government as if he were administering the affairs of a trust.
He regarded his position as a trust. He took his responsibilities very seriously and
argued that he was not going to be the same as the Prophet, because the Prophet
(PBUH) was immune from all sins and had the assistance of divine revelation while
he was just an ordinary man who was fallible. Under his leadership, all were equal
before the law, with no difference between the poor or rich and he used divine laws
to judge. Above all Abu Bakr was a leader of the Ummah, a father to his family who
spent more of his wealth on Islam.
The Sources of Islamic Leadership Principles and the Example of Islamic Leadership 73

The Second Caliph, Umar (RA) (634644 A.C)

The second Caliph after Abu Bakr (RA) was Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA). Before
Islam Umar (RA) was originally one of most bitter opponents of Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) and Islam but then latter suddenly accepted Islam and became
one of the strongest supporters of Islam. When he accepted Islam, it was a great
success for Muslims because of his strength. After the death of the Prophet (PBUH),
he was instrumental in Abu Bakrs (RA) leadership of the Muslim community and
stayed loyal. During the leadership of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA) Muslim forces
captured Syria, Jerusalem, Egypt, Iraq, and Persia. Under the leadership of Umar
Ibn Al-Khatab (RA) Islam expanded widely as in Syria, Egypt, and Persia.
Umar Al-Khatab (RA) was one of the principle figures in the spread of Islam in
those countries named above and beyond, for the Islamic openness to those
countries helped spread Islam. Umar Al-Khatab (RA) was just and he held the
believed that all humans are born free and no one should subjugate one another.
One of the significant stories was when a son of Amr Ibn As abused someone less
in status in the community, Umar (RA) heard of the abuse that the young man was
subjected to by a son of somebody in the authority and said, to the boy who abused,
Since when have you turned men into slaves, whereas they are born free of their
mothers.
Another story of Umar Al-Khatab (RA) of great significance is of Umar marrying
his son to a milkmaid. Umar Al-Khatab (RA) used to go out at night to see the
condition of the people during this time he was accompanied by Ibn Abbas. They
strolled from one area to another, while passing by a small hut, Umar Al-Khatab
(RA) heard a whispering talk in which the mother was telling her daughter that they
should add water with the milk so that they could make more profit because she
used to do that when she was young. The daughter said, you water down milk,
when you were not a Muslim. Now that we are Muslim, we cannot water it down.
The mother said we are poor and that Islam does not stand in the way of watering
down of milk. The daughter said, Have you forgotten the Caliphs order? He
wanted that the milk should not be watered down. Such watering down the milk
would not be lawful, and as a Muslim I would not do anything which is against the
order of the Caliph, and whereby other Muslims are deceived. The mother said,
But there is neither the Caliph nor any of his officers here to see what we do.
Daughter you are still a child. Go to bed now and tomorrow I will myself mix the
milk with water for you.
The girl refused to obey her mother orders. She said, Caliph may or not be here,
but his orders are orders, and must be obeyed. You may escape the notice of the
Caliph and his officers, but how can we escape the notice of Allah and our
conscience? The mother remained quiet and both mother and daughter went to
bed. Umar Al-Khatab (RA) turned to his companion and said, The girl has kept
her resolve in inspire of the exhortation of her mother. She deserves a reward. What
reward should I give her? Ibn Abbas said, She should be paid some money.
Umar Al-Khatab (RA) said such a girl would become a great mother. Her integrity
74 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

is not to be weighed with a few coins; it is to be measured in the scale of national


values. I shall offer her the highest award in my gift, and which shall also be in the
highest interest of the nation (Ummah).
The Caliph summoned the daughter and the mother to his court. The mother
trembled as she stood before the great ruler. But the girl faced the Caliph boldly and
with great composure. She was beautiful, and above all dignified in her personality.
Umar Al-Khatab (RA) related how he overheard their conversation and how she
kept her resolve. Umar (RA) forgave the mother for the sake of the daughter. He
turned to the girl and said, Islam needs a daughter like you, and as a Caliph of
Islam, it devolves on me to reward you by owning you as a daughter.
The Caliph called his sons, and addressing them said, Here is a gem of a girl
who would make a great mother. I desire that one of you should take this girl as
wife. I know of no better bride than this girl of sterling character. In matters of
wedlock, it should be the character, and not the stature in life that should count.
Asim, the third son, was yet unmarried and he offered to marry the girl. With the
consent from the mother and the girl Asim married her, and the milkmaid become
the daughter in-law of the Caliph. From this union was born a daughter Umm
Asim, who becomes in due course the mother of Umar bin Abdul Aziz. Umar bin
Abdul Aziz became a Caliph. When he was Caliph, Umar bin Abdul Aziz set up
some austerity measures to stabilise the Ummah finances and the poor did not even
need any financial help or support.
During Umar Al-Khattabs (RA) reign as Caliph, he had achieved many things
including the openness of Islam to different parts of the world and also gave practical
meaning to Surah 4: Al Nisa (4:135), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.135), 135. O
you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witness to Allah, even though it be
against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better
Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you avoid
justice; and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily Allah is Ever Well-
Acquainted with what you do. Umar was a simple man with great principles, no
body guards to guard him as is the case of our leaders today. There are many stories
of envoys and foreign messengers sent to him and they would find him resting under
a palm tree or praying in the mosque among the people and would not distinguish
him as the Caliph. He spent nights walking the streets of the community to know
their problems so that he could be able to solve them.

The Third Caliph, Uthman (644656 A.C)

The third Caliph was Uthman (RA). When Umar (RA) fell under the assassins
dagger before his death, people asked him to nominate his successor. Umar Al-
Kahatab (RA) appointed a committee consisting of six of the ten companions of the
Prophet (PBUH) to select the next Caliph from among themselves. He outlined the
procedures to follow if differences of opinions were to arise. After the deliberations
The Sources of Islamic Leadership Principles and the Example of Islamic Leadership 75

for days, the next Caliph was chosen and, it was to be Uthman (RA). Uthman (RA)
became the third Caliph of Islam in the month of Muharam, 24 A.H. He was
married to Ruqayyah the second daughter of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and he
was generous. He spent a great deal of his wealth for the welfare of Muslims, for
charity and for equipping the Muslim armies.
He memorised the Quran and participated in many battles. He was fair and just
to all irrespective of creed or colour. Islamic openness continued during his
leadership as the Caliph of the Muslim Nation stated and expanded West to
Morocco, East to Afganistan and in the North to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Uthmans (RA) most notable contribution to Islam was the compilation of a
complete and authoritative text of the Quran. Many copies were made and
distributed to the Ummah (Islamic communities).

The Fourth Caliph, Ali (656661 A.C)

After the death of Umar (RA), there was a power vacuum in the office of the
caliphate for three days. Many Muslims at the time urged Ali (RA) to be the next
Caliph especially the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and he finally agreed to
be the next Caliph. Ali (RA) was the first cousin of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
and grew up in Prophets own household, and he later married Fatima. He was ten
years old when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the revelation and
accepted Islam. There is a great story that the Prophet (PBUH) received revelation
and he invited relatives for a meal. After they had finished the Prophet (PBUH)
addressed them and ask who would join him in the cause of Allah? There was
silence and then Ali stood up said, I am the youngest of all present here, my eyes
trouble me because they are sore and my legs are thin and weak, but I shall join you
and help you in whatever way I can.
This was Ali (RA) and how he supported the Prophet (PBUH). He slept in the
Prophet Muhammads (PBUH) bed when the Quraish planned to murder him. Ali
(RA) fought in all the early battle of Islam with great courage and distinction, for
example in the battle of Uhud. The Prophet (PBUH) used to call him Lion of God.
Ali (RA) was always consulted by other Caliphs before him. He was a great Caliph
like others who preserved the Islamic principles. During the leadership of Ali (RA)
as Caliph there was pressure on him to identify the murderer of Uthman (RA).
The greatest pleasure for Ali (RA) was from Muawiya who was the governor of
Sham (great Syria), and also the cuisine of Uthman (RA). Muawiya urged Ali (RA)
to enforce the rule of Allah and find out who was behind the murder of Uthman
(RA). Ali (RA) wanted to identify the person before justice could be done or seen
to be done. During Alis (RA) reign there was civil strife but he managed to
introduce some reforms into the levying and collection of revenues.
Alis (RA) reign as Caliph also came to an end when one morning he was
absorbed in prayers in a mosque, Ibn-Muljim stabbed him with a poisoned sword
76 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

and on the 20th of Ramadan, 40 A.H, he died and (May Allah be Pleased with him)
and all the Caliphs before him. The above periods of these guided caliphates is seen
to be the period where the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) was
rightly practiced. Let us hope that we learn from this period which is very
remarkable and a blueprint for Islamic perspective of leadership.
Besides the caliphates there were other leaders who wanted to follow in the
footsteps of the Caliphate like Muawwiya. Salahidin Ayubi who liberated Jerusalem
from the crusaders is also a great leader in Islamic history (may Allah be pleased
with him).
5

Cardinal Principles of Leadership


in Islam and Values

In this chapter, I am going to examine the cardinal principles of leadership from


Islamic perspectives, by focusing on faith and belief, knowledge and wisdom,
courage and determination, mutual consultation, unity, morality and piety,
communication, justice and compassion, and finally, gratitude and prayers.

Faith and Belief


Knowledge and Wisdom
Courage and Determination
Mutual Consultation and Unity. (Fraternity and brotherhood.)
Morality and Piety. (Honesty and trust.)
Communication
Justice and Compassion
Gratitude and Prayers

Faith and Belief

Faith is very important in Islam, because it lays foundation for the belief. According
to Baig (2012, p.19), faith is a dynamic process that is based on the intention of
three factors, (1) Patience in the face of hardship and thankfulness to Allahs
bounties; (2) repentance for our transgressions and mistakes and (3) seeking Allahs
pleasure and closeness to Him by worship because we love Him. He went on to
assert that faith is not blind as the materialistic world likes to believe, and that faith
is to be able to see beyond material to that which cannot be described or seen with
the eye of the head but which is clearly perceptible to the eyes of the heart. Biag
(2012) cited Barbara Winter who acknowledged that faith is to know.
78 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

The notion of faith in Islam is affirmed in Surah 2: Al Baqarah (2:257), Yusuf Ali
(1989, p.107), Allah is the protector of those who have faith: from depths of
darkness He leads them forth into light, of those who reject faith the patrons are
the evil Ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They
will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (forever). Faith and belief played
an important factor in the leadership qualities of Muslims. This notion of faith and
belief having an important impact in leadership in Muslim communities started
with the previous Prophets to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the guided
Caliphs and other Muslim leaders who came after them.
To this effect, faith and belief played a major part in their lives and the
communities they led. As Abu Bakr said in his first speech to the one Nation Islam,
obey me only if I obey Allah and the Prophet (PBUH). Islam puts a major
emphasis on faith and belief as the guiding principles of leadership quality. Without
faith and belief, leadership becomes what is today, just power for sake of power or
leadership for personal advancement.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), said, That rulers who cause hardship to the
public will be harshly punished by God. On the other hand, the ruler who is kind
and affectionate to his subjects will be blessed with Gods mercy in the Hereafter.
narrated by Muslim. The Prophet (PBUH) also said: Do not run after a good
position: if you do so, you will fail to discharge your duty. However, if a position
of responsibility is assigned to you, the God will help and support you. Narrated
by Bukhari and Muslim as cited in Kidwai (2012, p.292). Faith and belief must be
grounded on righteous pillars and not evil, for the Prophet (PBUH), said: The best
among people is he who is the most pious, God-fearing and truthful. His conduct
is not tainted by any sin, injustice, jealousy or rancour. Narrated by Ibn Majah &
Bayhaqi. Upon appointing Muadh as governor of the Yemen, the Prophet (PBUH)
advised him, Keep away from a life of luxury. Gods chosen servants do not lead
a life of ease and comfort. Narrated by Ahmad.

Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge and wisdom are very important in Islam. The first encounter the
Prophet (PBUH), had with Angel Gabriel during revelation was about seeking
knowledge. Many Muslims today do not take seeking knowledge seriously.
Therefore, it is of fundamental importance that leaders in Islamic communities
acquire not only knowledge but to promote and inspire Muslims to acquire
knowledge and wisdom as a form of worship.
In Surah 96: Al-Alaq (96:1-5), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.779), 1. Read! In
the name of your Lord Who has created (All that exist)5. He has taught man that
which he knew not. This is the beauty of Islam toward knowledge seeking.
Furthermore, the Prophet (PBUH), said, Seek knowledge from the Cradle to the
Grave. This is to show how important knowledge is in Islam. In Surah 39:
Cardinal Principles of Leadership in Islam and Values 79

Al Zumar (39:9), Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.579), 9. Is one who is obedient to
Allah, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night,
fearing the Hereafter and hopping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who
disbelieves)? Say: Are those who know equal to those know not? It is only men
of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allahs Signs and
Verses). The Prophet (PBUH) also said: Seek knowledge even if it is in China. The
other saying of the Prophet (PBUH) was, Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every
Muslim man and woman.
The fault of Muslims not seeking knowledge is not with Islam but rather with
the leaders of Muslim communities. If you look at the era of the Caliphs you find
that Muslims were very sophisticated in their dealing with other empires at the time.
The Muslim communities expanded from East to West and South to North. They
created communities that were at ease with themselves, a civilisation that balanced
between spiritual and the worldly development.
Muslim leaders and followers today may blame colonisation for some of their
misfortune but the reality is that when Muslims stop seeking knowledge as was in
the case of the guided Caliphs period and with the passage of time Muslim elites
started seeking knowledge from the European colonial empire. The Muslim elite
were selected to study in the West and once they finished studying in the West they
were now dispatched to set similar institutions in their own countries and this is the
situation in many countries today. Since, the Muslim elite who studied in the West
were favoured and put in higher position in their land, the traditional way of
learning eroded and traditional leadership become a sense of backward looking. My
father who was a traditional scholar was forced to give up Anglo Arabic schools he
founded with communities help to those who had Western Education. This was his
case and all the schools he founded with the help of the communities overnight
become a no go area for some who worked tirelessly to create these schools.
Therefore, Western educated Muslim elites become leaders of their various
communities linked with the Western imperial powers and the same situation is
perpetuating itself today. Most elites in Muslim communities today are Western
educated, and occupy leadership or important positions within their communities,
and the traditional educated Muslims are side-lined. This is a brief situation of
Muslim communities today. Muslims have embraced Western education system
with it cultural norms and values which are alien, secular in nature mixed with
nationalism, socialism and capitalism. All the above concept inherited from Western
education are now a way of life in Muslims communities, the political culture and
economic culture are now attuned with the West. The political powers in Muslim
communities today seek legitimacy from the Western powers. The widespread
discontent of some Muslims with these powerful political elite in most Muslims
communities are feuding backlashes from those who want to go back to the
previous status quo, i.e. traditional education of Islam still having relevance in
Muslim communities. The struggle between traditional and Western educated elite
is creating a problem. Traditionalists are now called Islamist which is associated
with extremism.
80 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

The clashes of these two forces are a concern. In a serious note, the Muslims elite
who are Western educated are strongly supported by the Western powers, even
when they are corrupt, all this is to suit their political agenda while Islamist or
traditional minded Muslims leaders are thrown in jail or left in exile. This is the
struggle that is going on in Muslim communities and the solution is the focal point
advocated in this book, which is to seek leadership purely for the sake of Allah.
In this case, Muslims will not subservient either to the Western interest or geo-
political influence. In practical terms, coexistence is very important irrespective of
ideologies. The growth of some misguided groups within Muslim communities is of
greater danger to the Muslims first and the wider world second. The Hadith of the
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is very clear in this vey aspect of life as in the Muslims
communities today.
Quran warns us and is affirmed in Surah 23: (52-53), And surely this your
religion is one religion and I am your Lord, therefore be careful (of your duty) to
me. But they cut off their religion among themselves into sects, each part rejoicing
in that which is with them.
From the above verse, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said to his companions
about the end of time You are living during a time when few have memorised while
many have understood, and time will come when many will have memorised while
a few have understood.
The Hadith narrated By Abu Dauwood said: Verily the people before you from
the People of the Book split into seventy two religions, and this religion will split
into seventy three; seventy two are in Hell and one is in Heaven and its the
group.
And who shall it be o Messenger of God? He said: what Im upon and my
companions.
Follow my way and the way of the rightly guided caliphs after me, and hold on
to this with your teeth, and beware of innovated matters (in the religion) because
every innovation (in the religion) is a misguidance The best of religious matters is
what was in accordance to the Sunnah, and the most evil of matters are the newly
innovated ones (in the religion).
The Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) said There are two classes in my Ummah
(Muslims communities)-If they are right the Ummah (Muslims communities) is set
right, if they go wrong the Ummah goes wrong.
Today, knowledge is power, and security is strength of all these who reside within
Muslim communities. Why have the leadership within the Muslim communities not
done enough in creating opportunities so that Muslim youths can seek knowledge
as was in the Prophet (PBUH) time. Every great civilization is built around
knowledge. Unless leaders in Muslim communities start valuing the importance of
seeking knowledge in developing themselves and the Ummah, they will be left
behind in the spheres of development and advanced technology. Leaders and
followers of Muslim Ummah should know that seeking knowledge is as important
as worship.
Cardinal Principles of Leadership in Islam and Values 81

The story of Angels Gabrel first encounter with the Prophet (PBUH) was to ask
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) to read and this is affirmed in Surah 96, Al Alaq
(96:1), Yusuf Ali (1992, p.1672), Proclaim! (Or Read!), In the name of thy Lord
and cherisher who created. This proclamation was seen as divine commission to
preach and proclaim Allahs message. From this proclamation the Prophet (PBUH)
was able to build the Islamic city in Madinah.
The guided Caliphs learned from Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) the importance
of seeking knowledge and maintained their desire for the Ummah to stay
knowledgeable. Knowledge is a cornerstone of any great civilisation. The major
reasons for the rise and fall of many civilizations is knowledge. History is there as
evidence. The rise of all civilization is guided by knowledge and the fall of every
civilization is when their citizens forget the past and indulge into the seeking of
pleasure and lust into the unlawful. Examine the patterns of why every civilization
rises and falls and you will find the same pattern.
The Prophet (PBUH) in his last sermon in Arafat during the pilgrimage said to
all of us, I have left behind with you two things that if you hold to, you will not
despair. These two are Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH). They are the
foundation of knowledge. No one can understand the Quran and the Sunnah
without knowledge. Furthermore, in his saying: Whoever follows a path in the
pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make Paradise easy for him. Narrated by
Bukhari.
All the above are some evidence of the importance of knowledge in Islam. Why
are Muslim leaders and followers not following the example of the Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) and the guided Caliph? This is responsibility of us all not only
of leaders but of followers as well. In Surah 2: Al Baqarah (2:269), Al-Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.68), 269. He grants Hikmah to whom He wills, and he, to whom
Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will
receive admonition) except men of understanding.

Courage and Determination

These principles of courage and determination are the qualities that all leaders and
even followers must have or aspire to have. The history of Islam is built around
courage and determination from the time that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
received revelation. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was besieged by tribes who on
any occasion wanted to eliminate him and his followers but courage and
determination helped them through. The Prophet and some companions had to
migrate to Abyssinia and Madinah because of constant opposition to Islam by those
who were against the Prophet (PBUH) preaching of Islam. Without strong faith and
belief that the companions and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) possesses, there would
not have been Islam. The openness of Islam to all parts of the world starting from
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) asking Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia, and to
Medinah, was very important.
82 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

Communication

Muslim leaders must learn how to communicate with their subordinates or


followers. Muslim leaders should be eloquent and articulate their ideas and polices
with vigour. The Prophet (PBUH) was a good communicator, especially when he
received revelation he had to communicate clearly to the non-believers about Islam.
Communication is a quality all leaders and followers must aspire to acquire so that
their message can be heard clearly and favourably. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)
articulated the message of Islam in a way that was immediately accepted by those
who were against Islam.

Justice and Compassion

Justice and Compassion are very important for every Islamic leadership. These two
were the cornerstones of Islamic leadership starting from the Prophet (PBUH) and
followed by the guided Caliphs. This is because without justice and compassion
there would be tyranny. This is affirmed in Surah 5: Al Maidah (5:8), Al-Hilali and
Khan (1996, p.779), 8. O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as just
witness; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just:
that is nearer to piety; and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what
you do.
This is a powerful statement from the supreme leader the originator of leadership
Allah, to his vicegerent on earth. Thus justice and companion are a very important
principle in Islamic leadership today as it was during the Prophet Mohammad
(PBUH) time and followed by the guided Caliphs.

Gratitude and Prayers

Gratitude and prayers are very important for Islamic leadership. Our beloved
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always advised us to have gratitude.
Human beings owe a lot of gratitude towards their Creator as without His
blessings and power, nothing can happen. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said
that, Gratitude (shukr) for the abundance (nimath) you have received is the best
insurance that the abundance will continue.
If we think and see around there are a lot of good things which God has provided
us which must be acknowledged and one must be grateful for them. Health, inner
peace, family, our beliefs and faith and thousands of other things which we take it
for granted are the gifts of God for which we must be grateful at all times. Gratitude
is a morally beneficial, emotional state that encourages reciprocal kindness and
receipt of further gifts from God. Related to gratitude is the importance of prayers
and supplications. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah said, Supplication is
Cardinal Principles of Leadership in Islam and Values 83

the weapon of the believer, the pillar of the religion, and the light of the Heaven and
earth (Al-Hakim). Prayers and supplications bring us nearer to God and protect us
from calamities and destruction. On the positive side, prayers and supplications are
good for us as leaders and followers.
In Surah 40 Mumin (40:60) Al-Hilali and Khan (1996, p.595), God commands
us, And your Lord said: Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic
Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation). Verily,
those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me, and do not believe in My
Oneness, (Islamic Monotheism)] they will surely, enter Hell in humiliation! The
Quran is full of stories of Gods Prophets such as Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and
Elijah, Job and many others who received freedom from troubles and persecution
through the power of prayers.
All great Muslim leaders showed exemplary gratitude and offered keen prayers
and were thus successful in their endeavours and struggles. Ismail (2007) noted two
key principles practiced by the Prophet (PBUH) namely, (1) receiving the message
(i.e. seeking guidance and knowledge in order to direct the affairs to the followers),
and (2) spreading the message (i.e., delegating tasks and ensuring that they are well
accomplished). Aabed (2006) identified ten personal qualities of a Muslim leader
namely, conviction (yaqn), mutual consultation (shr), knowledge (ilm), justice
(adl), self-sacrifice (tayah), humility (tawuc), eloquence (faah), patience (abr),
leniency (ln) and enterprise (iqdm).
Lukman (1995) identified six general principles: sovereignty (siydah), mutual
consultation (shr), justice (cadlah), equality (muswah), freedom (urriyyah) and
enjoining the right and forbidding the evil (amr bi al-macrf wa nah munkar). Ali
(2009) concluded that there are two types of Islamic leadership model, (1) the
Prophetic and (2) the Caliphate model. Based on the Islamic leadership principles
and the available literatures, the researchers developed and tested the following
Islamic leadership principles through a questionnaire-based survey. The concepts
tested include faith, knowledge and wisdom, courage and determination, mutual
consultation, morality and piety, patience, gratitude and endurance. They were
considered as the principles through which the Prophet (PBUH) gained success and
they have been recognized by scholars of Islam as the true principles to strive for
success in this world (fal). Leaders are enjoined to embrace these principles as
their application will not only earn them the blessings of Allah but will also offer
them an opportunity to fulfil their duties towards their followers and society of
organizations. The author equally assessed three leadership approaches within the
University academic administration. They were; transformational, transactional
and servant leadership approaches.
Conclusion

After presenting both perspective of leadership from Islamic and Western Perspectives
in this book. I settle for the argument that the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet
Mohammad (PBUH) and other previous Prophets should be the content of leadership
which also includes the guided Caliphs. I also argue for a paradigm shift in the
understanding of leadership based on moral and ethical principles.
Subsequently, I maintained very strongly that leadership should be defined as a
vicegerent whose willingness and selfless servitude is purely for the pleasure of Allah
and not for self-interest or the interest of the lobbies or big money and the powerful
rich in society. I strongly argue in this book that Muslims who are Western educated
elite should not be working for the interest of the Western geo-political gains. They
should end the clash between traditionally educated and Western educated elites
who seem to control powers within Muslim communities today.
Legitimacy of leadership of Muslim educated elites should not be from the Western
powers, rather from their own people and that can only happen if they coexist with
the traditionally Islamic inclined Muslims, because leadership is a trust and it fulfilment
should be for the sake of Allah. The clash between the traditionalist and the secular
Western educated Muslims is a great challenge for all. The challenge for us all is how
to become one brotherhood as was established between the Helper (Ansar) and the
Immigrant (the Muhajirun) which laid a solid foundation for the first Islamic State in
Madinah. How can Muslims leaders and follower become brothers whether educated
in the West, whether from Africa, Europe, Asia America or anywhere in the globe?
Today we are divided into factions, Arabs Muslims, African Muslim, European
Muslim and so on. These divisions are leading us into sectarianism a concept that
is alien in Islam. The saying that a Muslim is a brother of another brother is
becoming less practical by those who supposed to uphold it. How many Muslims
countries accept childrens of other Muslims born in their countries like the case of
United State of America, UK and some Western countries?
None, we have adopted nationalism used the nation state as a way of life. We
have created problems ourselves and we must solve them, and that requires genuine
leadership and not a lip serving leaders. Leadership and followers in Muslim and
non-Muslim communities or countries, or society should reflect on Quran and
Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during their dispatches of their duties.
They should be believers who have Al-Taqwah and Muttagun (pious, see 2:2),
49:13, 2:30, and also Hadith 503 as a piece of advice. Furthermore, I postulate that
there should be no compulsion in religion and this is affirmed in Surah (3:20).
Therefore, Muslim leaders should not commit atrocities in the name of Islam. Allah
protects Islam and we should not be afraid of any forces that aim to destroy it.
86 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

The life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is our leadership model and therefore
we should follow him as he said in his farewell speech to the Ummah (Muslim
communities), I have left behind two things if you hold fast to it you will not go
astray Quran and his Sunnah.
Today the greatest challenge facing the Muslim communities today and their
leaders is not the Sunni, Shia divide, as noted above or the West against Islam rather
the lack of brotherhood between Muslims. We must try to win heart and minds of
those who oppose us or are misguided. We can learn from Prophet Mohammads
(PBUH) life. He tried to make some of tribes men Muslims but Allah replied to him
in Surah. See Surah 28 Al Qasas (28:56), Khan and Al Hilali (1996, p.493), 56.
Verily, You (O Mohammad (PBUH) guide not whom you like, but Allah guides
whom He wills. And He knows best those who are the guided.
Furthermore, the foundation of the Islamic state in Madinah was based on
brotherhood. The Ansar (Helpers) and Muhajirun (Emigrants) were interwoven into
one brotherhood in Islam. There are many Muslim refugees today. Where has
brotherhood gone? If brotherhood in Madinah could solve the issues between Helpers
and Emigrants, we dont have to look far for a solution. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
is the model to follow. And at the same time be aware that the biggest enemy of Islam
is the ignorant Muslim, whose ignorance lead him to intolerance, whose actions
destroy the true image of Islam and when the people look at him they think that Islam
is what he is as Sheikh Ahmed Dededat (May Allah have mercy on him) reminded us.
Finally, Allahs advice to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Surah 18. Al-Kahf
(18:28) Khan and Khalili (1996, p.372) 28. And keep yourself (O Muhammad
(PBUH) patiently with those who call on their Lord (i.e. your companions who
remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, and other righteous
deeds) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes overlook
them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose
heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, and who follows his own lusts,
and whose affair (deeds) has been lost. Leaders and followers of Muslims and non-
Muslim communities who are leading and are inspire to lead should follow this
advice. Thus, this book is written with the intension of reminding myself and others
to try and lead their communities the way leaders ought to do or to be. In other
words leadership as a willingness of selfless servitude purely for the pleasure of
Allah, and at the same time keeping with those who glorify, praising Allah in
prayers and doing righteous deeds, morning and afternoon and at the same time be
wary about those whose aims in life are pump and glitter of the world.
Leaders and followers in Muslims communities should understand that leadership
is trust. The transgressor of the trust that had been entrusted to them will be like
those who refuses to follow Allah and His Messenger and will not enter Paradise.
Leadership and followers from Islamic and Western Perspective is trust and must be
respected. For those who goes against the trust of leadership should remember this
Surah for there is no return. Surah 23. Al Muminun (23:99-100), 99. Untill, when
death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: My
Lord! Send me back, 100. So that I may do good that which I have left behind!
No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the
Day when they will be resurrected. Khan and Khalili (1996, p. 440).
Glossary

Allah God
Al-Amanah The trust or the moral responsibility or honesty, and all the duties
which Allah has ordered

Arafaat A famous place of pilgrimage in the southeast of Makkah

Ameen O Allah, accept our invocation

Ayaat Proof, evidence, lessons, signs, revelations etc

Badr A place about 150 Km to the south of Al-Madina where the first
great battle in Islamic history took place between the early Muslims
and the infidels of Quraish

Hadith A saying of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Prophet (PBUH)


act on see also Sunnah

Hajj Pilgrimage to Makkah

Hijrah Literally it means migration. It is used for (a) the migration of


Muslims from an enemy land to a secure place for religious causes
(b) the first Muslim migration from Makkah to Abyssinia and later
to Al-Madina (c) the migrations from Makkah to Abyssinnia and
later to Al-Madinah d) The Prophets migratory journey from
Makkah to Al-Madinah e) The Islamic calendar year which started
from the Prophets migratory journey from Makkah to Al-Madinah

Hira A well-known cave in a mountain near Makkah

InshaAllah God willing. i.e. I will meet you tomorrow, InshaAllah

Jahannam Hellfire

Jihad Striving, applies to any sort of effort or activity made by any person
arriving out of love for Allah

Jinn A creature or spirit of fire

Kabah The cubic stone structure or House of God at the centre of the
Haram Mosque in Mecca, the foundations of which were built by
Abraham (PBUH) and his son
88 Leadership from an Islamic and Western Perspective

Kufr Disbelief in any of the articles of Islamic Faith

Munafiq A hypocrite

Mushrikun Polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of


Allah and His Messenger Muhammad (PBUH)

Muttaqun Pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah and love
Allah

P B U H Peace Be upon Him Whenever the name of the Prophet Muhammad


(PBUH) is mentioned, Muslims are required to follow the name by
pronouncing Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam and is the Arabic
equivalent of Peace Be upon Him

Ramadan The Holy month of the Islamic calendar during which Muslim fast;
the Holy Quran is believed to have been revealed in this month

Riba Usury, of two major kinds: a) interest on lent money b) taking a


superior thing of the same kind of goods by giving more of the same
kind of goods of inferior quality. Islam strictly forbids all kinds of
usury

Shariah The code of behaviour for the Islamic way of life, the law that
determines the rightness (halal) or wrongness (haram) of any
particular action

Sunnah Ways of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For example: Growing of


his beard for a male Muslim is Sunnah

Surah Surah, chapter

Taqwa God consciousness

Tawheed Monotheism. Believing in one God, unity principle

Umrah A visit to Makkah during which one performs Tawaf around the
Kabah and the Say between As-Safa and Al-Marwah. It is also
called the Lesser Hajj

Wahy The Revelation or Inspiration of Allah to His Prophets.

Yathrib The first name of the city of Madinah i.e. Madinah was earlier called
Yathrib, so named after the man who founded it

Zakah To purify. Muslims cleanse their material possessions and money by
donating a percentage of it (2.5% of surplus income) as a compulsory
payment to help the poor, needy and the sick.

Zalzala An Earth quake

Zamzam The sacred well inside the (the grand mosque) Haram at Makkah
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