The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Dr Hanudin Amin
Thumbs up for Islamic leadership approach
IN ISLAM, everyone can be a leader. You and me can be leaders. Human beings are the Almighty’s vicegerents on earth supplying them with cogent management skills and knowledge to lead others and nature toward grasping their fullest potential. The endowed skills and knowledge are used Islamically to generate leaders’ ethical action and good intention.
Indeed, the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) says “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6719, Sahih Muslim 1829).
There are four descriptions stemmed from this Hadith. Firstly, a leader is a guardian who protects his own folks. Secondly, a husband is a guardian who looks after his family. Thirdly, a wife is a guardian who safeguards her husband’s property and children. Fourthly, a servant is a guardian of the property of his master and of course he is answerable for such a demeanor.
The morals of the story derived from the Hadith are as follows:
Exemplary example– A leader inspires others to do good deeds for the benefit of ummah and nation.
There is no need for circulars or by any means to instruct followers to work on good deeds. The act of inspiration makes others follow and behave voluntarily.
Mutual interest – A leader makes a decision that is not only benefiting himself but also others. In other words, he considers others in his action where an empathy comes into play.
Responsibility – A leader in Islam prioritizes the interest of followers and the company as a whole. All duties taken are considered as ibadah in which he is accountable for any good or bad deeds associated with them that are payable in the thereafter.
In Islam, however, to be a leader means to sacrifice oneself, giving the legitimate needs of the members’ priority over own luxuries.
In the same vein, he works to please members of an organization as a whole without compromising of his personal interest. His interest is in tandem with the interest of the organization.
As such, a leader in Islam must uphold tawheed as the root of his leadership’s belief. Power diversity and rank are controlled and blessed should one consider himself as a servant first before being regarded himself as a caliph (i.e. vicegerent). Likewise, a leader who holds on the tawheedic paradigm will be fully committed to his assigned responsibility with less priority on his own interest. This does not mean that Islam blocks his personal career advancement in the organization but to prioritize the interest of his subordinates and the organization above his own interest.
In fact, a leadership concept in Islam has little to do with the power abuse but rather everything is about the responsibility in which ‘Islamic’ leaders are accountable for any actions taken in this world and the thereafter as well.
There are some approaches that can be practised in all organizations to promote an Islamic concept of leadership. The details are as follows:
Treat followers in benevolently ways – A leader in Islam should uphold impartiality in all of his decisions, considerate and forgiving to subordinates regardless of their differences in age, race and gender, to mention some.
Islam considers a leader to uphold the spirit of love and brotherhood between himself and his followers. He treats and protects followers fairly by fulfilling their rights accordingly to avoid any act of discrimination.
Develop followers – A leader who rejects a right person to do a right thing is viewed as a difficult leader. The consequence is of devastating in terms of the increasing number of brain drain and the killing of individuals’ motivation to work diligently. A leader in Islam, however, is the one who educates, develops followers and in most cases he always be helpful to them should the latter ask for assistance. This type of leadership inspires others to be leaders on their own.
Amar maa’ruf nahi mungkar – This term refers to as an act of enjoining good, forbidding wrong in all actions taken by leaders. The leaders are expected to promote good things in some ways include but are not confined to: (1) Leaders should not be careless and misbehave towards followers, and (2) Leaders should fulfill the financial and others needs of followers accordingly.
Growing issues in organizations like the lack of motivation among followers, stealing, vandalism and high turnover rate, among others, are some issues derived from a poor practice of Islamic approach to lead organizations.
Given this stance, however, the inculcation of Islamic approaches for leadership in any organizations is of paramount importance to improve and thus to strengthen the quality of work delivered by followers in organizations.
To sum it up, leaders in a conventional framework are assigned responsibility with less priority to followers’ welfare but maximizes their own personal interest per se. Though they are not admitted it directly but explicitly occurs under their unguarded sense of urgency out of worldly temptation.
Leaders in an Islamic framework, however, employ maqasid al-Shariah and tawheedic paradigm in their leadership that direct to successful followers and organizations.
In turn, the formation of good corporate culture is discovered to curb the mismanagement and the increasing turnover rate through proper applications of Shariah principles in all fairness of doings.
In between, the latter is the best because leaders have a considerate amount of iman and taqwa in all of their undertakings, which, in turn, to achieve mardhatillah or the blessings from the Omnipotent not only to himself alone but also to their followers and the organizations as a whole.