TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERHIP : `UMAR IBN AL-KHATTĀB
A leader can be an ‘ambassador’, an ‘advocate’, a ‘people mover’, a ‘truth seeker’, a ‘creative builder’ or an ‘experienced guide’. Preferably a leader should have all the quality, character and elements above to excel as an outstanding one. Some think that a person is born a leader but many advocated that leadership capability can be developed and build. Transformational leadership is the ability of the leader to change something or someone completely, especially improving performance or usefulness (Childers, 2009).
I believe `Umar ibn Al-Khattāb is the best example of Transformational Leader under the Inspirational and Relational Leadership Perspective. According to Ozaralli (2003), the dynamics of transactional leadership involve strong personal identification with the leader, joinning in a shared vision of the future, or goind beyond the self-interest exchange of rewards for complience.
`Umar ibn Al-Khattāb (c. 586–590 CE – 7 November 644), titled Farooq the Great was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim rulers in history. He was a sahabi (companion) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He succeeded Caliph Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second Caliph of Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634. He was an expert jurist and is best known for his justice that earned him the title Al-Farooq (The one who distinguishes between right and wrong). Under Umar the Islamic empire expanded at an unprecedented rate ruling the whole Sassanid Persian Empire and more than two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire. His attacks against the Sassanid Persian Empire resulted in the conquest of the Persian Empire in less than two years. It was Umar, according to Jewish tradition, which set aside the Christian ban on Jews and allowed Jews into Jerusalem and to worship.
Due to his strict and autocratic nature, Umar was not a very popular figure among the notables of Madinah and members of Majlis al Shura, accordingly succession of Umar was initially discouraged by high ranking companions of Abu Bakr. Nevertheless, Abu Bakr decided to make Umar, his successor. Umar, still was well known for his extraordinary will power, intelligence, political astuteness, impartiality, justice and care for poor and underprivileged people. Abu Bakar is reported to have said to the high-ranking advisers: “His (Umar's) strictness was there because of my softness when the weight of Caliphate will be over his shoulders he will remain no longer strict. If I will be asked by the God to whom I have appointed my successor, I will tell him that I have appointed the best man among your men.”
Abu Bakar was fully aware of Umar's power and ability to succeed him. Succession of Umar was thus not as troublesome as any of the others. His was perhaps one of the smoothest transitions to power from one authority to another in the Muslim lands. Abu Bakar before his death called Uthman to write his will in which he declared Umar his successor. In his will he instructed Umar to continue the conquests on Iraq and Syrian fronts. Abu Bakar's decision would prove to be crucial in the strengthening of the nascent Islamic empire.
Umar was 27 when he accepted Islam. Following his conversion, Umar went to inform the chief of Quraish, Amr ibn Hishām, about his acceptance of Islam. According to one account, Umar thereafter openly prayed at the Kaaba. This further helped the Muslims to gain confidence in practicing Islam openly. At this stage Umar even challenged anyone who dared to stop the Muslims from praying, although no one dared to interfere with Umar when he was openly praying. Umar’s conversion to Islam gave power to the Muslims and to the faith in Mecca. It was after this that Muslims offered prayers openly in Masjid al-Haram for the first time. Abdullah bin Masoud said, “Umar's embracing Islam was our victory, his migration to Medina was our success and his reign a blessing from...
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