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Aislamic Leadership : a Spiritual Leadership Paradigm

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ISLAMIC LEADERSHIP : A SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP PARADIGM
ABSTRACT
Leadership has been an object studied by many scholars for centuries, and brings a lot of theories forth in term of leadership. Leadership is a multidisciplinary field concerned with both ethics and morality. Davis, K. (1967) defined Leadership asthe ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it toward goals. Management activities such as planning, organizing, decision making are dormant cocoons until the leader triggers the power of motivation in people and guides them toward their goals . The above definition of leadership stresses that a leader is more than just a manager. Leading and managing are not the same thing. Warren Bennis in Fortune (January :1988), a leadership expert, summarized the distinction between leadership and management as follows: “The difference between managers and leaders is fundamental. The manager administers, the leader innovates. The manager maintains, the leader develops. The manager relies on systems, the leader relies on people. The manager counts on control, the leader counts on trust. The manager does things right, the leader does the right thing.”
Spiritual Leadership
Recently several high-level leaders have mysteriously lost their way. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund and a leading French politician, was arraigned on charges of sexual assault. Lee B. Farkas, former chairman of giant mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, in April 2011 was found guilty for his role in one of the largest bank fraud schemes in American history. These talented leaders were highly successful in their respective fields and at the peak of their careers. In these ongoing revelations, the media, politicians, and the general public frequently characterize these leaders as bad people, even calling them evil. Simplistic notions of good and bad only cloud our understanding of why good leaders lose their way, and how this could happen.
In a Leadership Forum, held on April 11-12, 2002, executives from a wide range of industries gathered in Harvard Business School to discuss how their spirituality helps them be powerful leaders. The conference explored issues of leadership, values, and spirituality in business and it came up with 5 (five) characteristics of spiritual leadership that can bring success to CEO, namely :
1. Integrity. We need leaders with strong values grounded in a commitment to a life that is whole and consistent with the things they believe. They should take personal responsibility for their actions and be honest with others, and with themselves.
2. Energy. Leaders who energize and inspire other people make everyone around them better—not by administering, but by ministering.
3. Inspiration. Trust and confidence are vital, but it is a leader’s responsibility to help create a vision of what is possible. They should inspire others to see the greatness that is within them.
4. Wisdom. Leaders need to be teachers. They must see beyond the horizonand understand the principles that underlie success. It is necessary to be a great communicator and teach in deed.
5. Courage. Leaders have to do hard things. They have to have standards and make tough decisions that might make them unpopular, and do the right thingthough the wrong thing is easier. Courage is hard, but it can be developed.
According to Khalil Khavari PH.D, the characteristics of spiritual intelligence consist of 3 (three) aspects, namely : (1). Spiritual Intelligence as spiritual-religion (vertical relationship of man and God) which related to the ritual worship, (2). Spiritual Intelligence as social-religion, which reflects on social attitudes which emphasize on togetherness and social welfare. this is in line with the opinion of Firoz Rasul, chairman and CEO of Ballard Power Systems , he said that “Religious practice without a social conscience is a deceit”. It was stated in Harvard Business School discussion on leadership forum, (3) Spiritual Intelligence as social ethic which emphasize on our obedience in ethical and moral manner.
Some scholars may not agree with Khavari statement, they say that spirituality is not always talking about religion, it is different. According to Jennifer F. Lawrence (MBA ‘87), a marketing consultant and professor at Boston University, says, “Spirituality should not be confused with ‘religion’”.’ Spirituality is simply having a sense of inner calm and a willingness to reflect carefully on yourself and the world around you. Integrating spirituality into the workplace means creating a place where it’s all right for people to bring their whole selves, with all their talents and complex emotions; where there’s enough safety so that people can speak the truth openly at meetings, rather than secretly in the hallway afterward; where there’s an elevated sense of integrity. These ideas are not new, and may even seem obvious, but it’s amazing how infrequently they are applied in the corporate environment and how harmful their absence can be.”
Islamic Leadership
Dr. Rafik Beekun and Dr. Jamal Badawi in Leadership: An Islamic Perspective(1998), said that An organization with good management, but poor leadership will preserve the status quo, but may not be able to advance to a higher level of performance. An organization that has an excellent leader, but nobody with good management skills may aspire to great heights, but crash precipitously because there is no one to follow through. In modern Islamic organizations, both leaders and managers are needed. Leaders can reframe experience to open new possibilities; managers can provide a sense of perspective and order so that the new possibilities become reality.
Though several studies and concepts have been conducted about it for years, may it be leadership roles, traits and theories but do not say much about Leadership in the Islamic Perspective. Islam, a religion of peace but often misjudged and misunderstood, has a very comprehensive concept of leadership that is centered on faith and valuesaccording to Allah (God). Hence, the focus of Leadership in Islam is on doing good things based on the source of Law of Islam. Leadership in Islam is a trust (amanah). It represents a psychological contract between a leader and his followers that he will try his best to guide them, to protect them and to treat them fairly and with justice.
The subject of leadership is crucial in Islam. In most circumstances in life, Muslims are urged to appoint a leader and follow him. For example, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “When three are on a journey, they should appoint one of them as their commander.” According to the Prophet (saw), Muslims must appoint a leader during a trip, select a leader (imam) to lead the prayer, and choose a leader for other group activities. The husband is the leader of his family. In the absence of her husband, the wife assumes the role of leader of the house.
As Islam is a comprehensive system of life, its roots of leadership generally exist in the primary and secondary resources of the Shari’ah in addition to the early practices of the early Muslims. With this concept, a leader in Islam is said to be not free to act as he chooses, nor must he submit to the desires of others — he must act in accordance to Allah’s laws like how Prophet Mohammad (saw) exemplified his kind of leadership. Allah said in the Qur’an,
“And We made them leaders guidingmen by Our Command and We sent inspiration to do good deeds, to establishprayers and to practice charity; and they constantly served Us only”(Qur’an 21:37).
It is a trust both guardianship and service-oriented that denotes doing what’s best for your people/organization’s member, protect them and treat them in a just manner. The main focus of leadership in Islam is doing positive actions for the sake of Allah and the whole of humanity — as a man and a woman go along the journey of life, they both begin tohold an ideal of selflessness centered on faith and service of humanity. One of the main principles, which Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) taught Muslims, is the principle of leadership through service. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said,
“A ruler who has been entrusted with the affairs of the Muslims, but makes no endeavor for their material and moral upliftment and is not sincerely concerned or their welfare will not enter Paradise along with them” (Al Bukhari, 1997).
Leadership is about sacrifice and paradigm shifts. Prophet Muhammad challenged the world view of jahiliyyah (ignorant period) and encountered many obstacles. Jesus, Noah, Moses, Lot, Abraham (peace be upon all of them) were beloved by God, but this did not make them immune to suffering. Sayed Qutb and Malcolm X paid with their lives, but never backed out. Muhammad Ali lost his world boxing title, even though his conviction was eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Anwar Ibrahim spent years in jail and paid with his reputation and health Challenging the status quo is never easy, but reaching the vision outlined by your strategic plan may demand no less of you. Prophet Muhammad said:
“No fatigue or disease, no sorrow or sadness, no hurt or distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Muslim)
The Holy Quran is the primary source of leadership and success principles. Revealed by a Supreme author, God, its message has universal and eternal relevance. It is a complete Code of Life which contains guidelines on spiritual, social, economic and political aspects of human life. It is the last and complete edition of divine guidance and teaches the success and leadership principles which can guide life towards success and highest attainment. The beauty of the Quran lies in the universality of its use and completeness of its message. It is meant for everyone and in its following lie the success and prosperity of not this or that nation, but the entire human race. There are 6346 verses in the Quran which deal with various aspects of human life and offer advice and guidance. In some of these verses lie key attributes and qualities which if acquired will make one successful in any human endeavour. Faith, struggle, knowledge seeking, piety, charity, decision making etc. and identical concepts which form the core of leadership principles are contained in this book. It is through the understanding and application of these principles that one can perfect his/her leadership and achieve mega results. As representatives of God Himself human beings are very privileged to strive for excellence in every field of their endeavors and make things happen for themselves and those they lead.
The leadership lessons contained in the holy Quran which will be detailed in the subsequent chapters offer keys to success and advancement. These concepts about leadership are either directly communicated or reflected in stories about earlier prophets and wise persons in the Quran. For example in one of the verses the Qur’an highlights an important aspect of Islam’s concept of leadership. After successfully completing a number of tests, Prophet Ibrahim is given the glad tidings that he has been appointed a leader of all the people. “What about my progeny?” asks Ibrahim. “My covenant does not include the dhalimeen (oppressors)”, comes the divine reply (Al-Qur’an 2:124). An important point emerges from this dialogue: an oppressor is not fit to be the leader of people. This is just a single example of how leadership is dealt with in the Quran. There are many more lessons and guidelines in the Quran which provide exemplary leadership principles for everyone to follow. In essence going through the Quran and understanding its contents one will be delighted to discover timeless wisdom based principles which are as relevant today as they were yesterday or thousands of years ago.
Quranic wisdom, the life of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) and his sayings, the deeds of the Caliphs and traits of pious followers offer the most beautiful and marvelous principles. Principles which can unlock success, sayings which can unite the hearts of humanity, deeds which if replicated will help anyone achieve almost anything in life. Why is it so? And why are they so powerful? Because they are divine and powerful laws which are time-tested and immortal, models which are bound to succeed, and methods which have worked again and again. Everything in this universe operates by certain laws and principles. Scientific laws such as the law of gravity, the laws of thermodynamics and other laws provide sound models on which scientific discoveries and inventions took place and the system of universe smoothly operates. Human lives also need laws and principles, specifically if one wants success, then Divine principles are needed which can be derived from the sources discussed above.
Leadership in Islam is considered as an amanah (a trust) and a responsibility. A leader is required to meet his obligations to God ,the Supreme Power as well as to discharge his duties towards the people (Makhluq) or his followers to the best of his abilities. It says to the rulers that the authority vested in them is not their private property but is a trust and that they should discharge the obligations of that trust to the utmost, like upright and honest people, and should carry on government in consultation with the people. It says to the ruled, the power to choose your rulers has been bestowed upon you as a gift from God and you should, therefore, be careful to invest only such persons with governing authority as fully deserve it, and after vesting this authority in them, you should give them your fullest cooperation and should not rebel against them, for if you do so, you are merely seeking to demolish that which your own hands have built.
Failure in any one of the aspects will be a total leadership and followership failure and both the leader as well as the followers will be held responsible and answerable. Meeting these duties will not only earn one the blessing of God the Almighty but will also fulfill his duty towards his fellow beings be they leaders or followers. To meet the leadership challenge both to one’s creator as well as to fellow human beings with flying colors there are certain parameters which must be followed.
There are many laws and principles and models but grouped together we can classify them into the following cardinal principles and values:
1. Faith and belief.
2. Knowledge and Wisdom.
3. Courage and determination.
4. Mutual consultation and Unity. (Fraternity and brotherhood.)
5. Morality and Piety. (Honesty and trust.)
6. Superior communication.
7. Justice and compassion.
8. Patience and Endurance.
9. Commitment and Sacrifice.
10. Lifelong Endeavour.
11. Gratitude and Prayers.
1. FAITH AND BELIEF
“God is the protector of those who have faith: From depths of darkness He leads them forth into light” 2:257
One of the greatest qualities commonly shared by all great leaders who ever lived was their strong faith and belief in higher entity, themselves or their ideas. Faith and belief are thus the key qualities which determine the quality of one’s leadership. History is full of great examples where ordinary people achieved un-imaginable things because their faith and belief system had locked them into those things. Every great leader, every worthy achiever, and every person who achieved things which others thought were impossible, because they had faith and belief. Faith and belief are the quintessentials of good leadership and without these qualities a leader will become hollow and empty. This is the spirit which drives a person towards greater heights. great leaders have noble values and great missions and their faith and beliefs are based on all things right.
2. KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM
“Seek knowledge from the Cradle to the Grave “Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Leadership is a great responsibility and to fulfill this important duty the leader must continuously acquire knowledge as per the above advice put forward more than fourteen hundred years ago by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In numerous ayaats or verses of the Holy Quran human beings are advised to seek knowledge and wisdom.
“…Say: ‘Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endowed with understanding that receive admonition.’” (Qur’an, 39:9).
Knowledge is power and any leader who wishes to excel his/her leadership prowess must acquire knowledge. Knowledge is one of the major reasons which determine the rise and fall of civilizations and their leaders. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was a great promoter of a knowledge culture. In many of his sayings he has repeatedly advised his followers to acquire.
For example these Hadiths ( His sayings)
“Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah (SWT) will make Paradise easy for him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, 10)
“The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr”
“seek knowledge even if it is in China .” are just a few of the sayings which strongly recommend the acquisition of knowledge and learning. Knowledge is indeed power and that is why it was highly recommended by the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
3. COURAGE AND DETERMINATION
History is full of stories where ordinary people emerged as great leaders because they showed courage and determination. Courage and determination emanate from strong faith and belief and the complete satisfaction of one’s righteousness. The story of Tariq Bin Ziad a young army general is a classic example where courage, determination and confronting his fear led to the achievement of impossible tasks. It is related that the Spanish King Roderick was a very cruel king who inflicted extreme cruelties on his people. Besides being a tyrant and a repressive person he also disgraced his own people. In one such display of his tyranny he laid his hands on a female courtier who was the daughter of Count Julian, the Governor of Ceuta. This infuriated the count so much that he decided to overthrow Roderick and approached Musa bin Nusayr, the governor of Muslim North Africa, for help. Musa got the Caliph’s approval, after which he sent Tariq bin Ziad a young general in 711 to assist the Spanish people and get rid of the cruel King Roderick. Landing at Gibraltar , Tariq’s army of 12,000 stood against 60,000 Spaniards, outnumbered 5:1. With his back to the Mediterranean Sea and a seemingly overwhelming force in front of him, Tariq gave the unthinkable order to his men to “burn their boats.” His army’s only means of escape. Tariq then delivered an inspiring speech and urged his comrades to be brave and think about the end goal, victory, and how they would achieve it. His courage, determination, speech and vision of victory rallied his troops to total commitment to the job at hand. With sheer courage and determination Tariq defeated his strong enemy and led his people to victory. Leaders are indeed with their mettle when they possess courage and determination as part of their character traits.
4. MUTUAL CONSULTATION AND UNITY
“And those who answer the Call of their Lord, and to worship none but Him alone, and perform their prayers, and who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what we have bestowed on them.” (Al Quran 42:38)
Mutual consultation (Shura) is a Quranic command as the above verse emphasizes and is listed with other key virtues such as worshipping God, performing prayers, and spending for the sake of God. There is a wisdom in mutual consultation as decisions taken with mutual consultation are supported by everyone and all concerns of the parties involved are addressed. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) himself practiced this value and in almost all important matters consulted with his colleagues and companions. The most outstanding example of the Prophet’s Shura occurred on the eve of the Battle of Uhud (3AH). While he was of the opinion that the city should be defended from within, the majority wanted to go out and fight. The Prophet accepted this; he did not impose his own opinion. There is an important lesson here: the followers’ trust and confidence is gained if their opinion is respected.
5. MORALITY AND PIETY.
“O CHILDREN of Adam! Whenever there come unto you apostles of your own, conveying My messages unto you, then all who are conscious of Me and live Righteously - no fear need they have, and neither shall they grieve;” (Al Qur’an 7 : 35)
In numerous verses of the Holy Quran including the above, morality and piety are greatly emphasized not only upon as virtues of leaders but all believers. We see from the Seerah of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) that his exemplary honesty and integrity had earned him the title of Al-Amin (The Trust worthy) and Alsadiq (The Truthful) in Makkah even before being appointed by God to Prophet Hood.
6. SUPERIOR COMMUNICATION:
A leader must be extremely good in communication and must be eloquent and articulate. This is required to communicate the purpose, mission, vision, and goals of an organization. Communication is an extremely important quality which must be learned, practiced and mastered by every leader of a flock. It is needed because the quality of our lives depends on the quality of our communication skills.
7. JUSTICE AND COMPASSION
Justice and Compassion are yet other qualities which form the core of Islamic Leadership. Justice without compassion leads to tyranny, while compassion without justice creates anarchy. A leader needs to maintain a careful balance keeping the overall good of society in mind (Al-Qur’an 5:08; 4:135; 7:29). Every true leader must have these traits. Justice, therefore, is a fundamental precept of Islam; even more so for a leader because it is part of his responsibility to maintain a balance in society. Injustice invariably leads to turmoil and conflict. At the same time, justice must be tempered with compassion. An Islamic leader must combine the two in his personality.
8. PATIENCE AND ENDURANCE:
Patience (Sabr) and endurance is yet another hallmark of great leadership, and always either prejudiced (khusnudzon) against Allah SWT that all comes from Allah SWT, both the test and sustenance. God the Mighty Wise himself has praised this quality in many verses of the Holy Quran. The verse said,
“O ye who believe! Persevere in PATIENCE and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah. that ye may prosper.” (Quran 3:200)
This shows how important patience and endurance is for a leader and a believer in general. This include the capacity to endure; the stamina to persevere in the face of inevitable resistance, difficulty, and opposition in the struggle to bring about improvement of social condition. All great leaders face tremendous challenges and enormous difficulties but with patience and endurance they persevere and achieve the noble goals and missions of their lives. Prophet Muhammad (saw) said:
“Whoever remains patient, God will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience” (Sahih Bukhari).
9. COMMITMENT AND SACRIFICE:
An Islamic leader needs to be committed to the upliftment of his people and must make personal sacrifices so the downtrodden would have more benefits and facilities. The greater the aim, the higher is the price one has to pay to realize it. Sacrifices consist of both material (shown by implementing simplicity) as well as physical sacrifices. All great leaders practice both and despite all dangers both loss of materials as well as life they endure and achieved their goals. Simplicity is another aspect of personal sacrifice and commitment.
10. LIFELONG ENDEAVOUR:
Islam is a dynamic and practical religion and so are its tenets towards leadership. One of the most important tenets of leadership is the concept of lifelong endeavour for the good of humanity and God’s good causes. A true leader thus does not sit idle on laurels but continuously strives towards better conditions and nobler goals. Complacency kills enterprise as well as progress which must be avoided and replaced with the zeal of continuous struggle. Another aspect of lifelong endeavor is the ability to bounce back even after temporary set backs and failures. Renewed vigor and massive hard work are the hall mark of great leaders and they should also ask and encourage their followers to practice the same principles. Islam does not allow inaction, passivity, stagnation in any sphere of human life. It declares that every individual has to strive for better results in his or her life. The Quran clearly states that “ Man can have nothing but what he strives for” Quran (53:59).
11. GRATITUDE AND PRAYERS
Human beings owe a lot of gratitude towards their Creator as without His blessings and power nothing can happen. Prophet Muhammad has said that
“Gratitude (shukr) for the abundance (ni’math) you have received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue”.
Related to gratitude is the importance of prayers and supplications. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Supplication is 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 plead our case to God and he bestows more blessings on us. In verse 60 of Sura “Mu’min” God commands us “ And your Lord says’
“ Call on me; I will answer your (prayers). But those who are too arrogant to serve me will surely enter Hell-in humiliation”.
The Quran is full of stories of God’s prophets such as Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Elijah 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.
CONCLUSION:
leadership in islam always put spirituality along with religious terminology. spirituality is always associated with religion, Both of them always run in synch. like what is presented by Khalil Khavari that the characteristics of spiritual intelligence has 3 (three) aspects, one of them is the aspect of spiritual intelligence in terms of spiritual-religion which then reflected to the social, ethical and moral manner (in Islam known asHablum Minallah, Hablum Minannas). This is in contrast with the idea of spiritual intelligence in the context of some western scholars who say that spirituality can not be confused with religion. According to them, spirituality and religion are different things. Spirituality is an aspect that resides in human beings and can be raised not only by religion.
It is then become a great difference between spiritual leadership and Islamic Leadership. Leadership always rested every attitude and behavior based on the sources of Islamic law, namely Al-Quran and Al Hadith, which reflected in moral, ethic and noble traits and also always aware that everything comes from Allah, be it in the form of test or sustenance. Wallahua’lam
Sources :
Davis, K. (1967). Human Relations At Work: The Dynamics Of Organizational Behavior. New York:McGraw-Hill, p. 96. http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6741.html http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/2899.html http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/research-studies/politics-and-economics/456676-islamic-principles-of-leadership.html?Economics= http://www.irfi.org/articles/articles_1401_1450/islamic_leadership_principles.htm(presented by DR. Adalat Khan)

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    Jacqueline McLean explores the relationship between managing and leading. According to Iscoe (as cited in McLean, 2005) “To manage is to control and manipulate” and “to lead is to influence and persuade” (p. 16). Moreover, the SEE (as cited in McLean, 2005) suggests the requirement of a leader is not a necessity thus concludes that leadership is only a skill. Her findings are supported by Jim Clemmer (as cited in McLean, 2005), both management and leadership are not synonymous, but are essential for an organization to achieve goals, growth, and order.…

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