Ustaz Muhammad Fadhlullah Daud

A member of the Asatizah Youth Network (AYN)

Lessons in Leadership from the Life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Alhamdulillah, it is the holy month of Rabiul Awal, the month when our ProphetMuhammad s.a.w. was born. During this time, we see many Islamic organisations, especially mosques, abuzz with all kinds of activities to celebrate and commemorate the Prophet s.a.w’s birth. As such, it is only fitting for us to make use of this time to reflect on the noble qualities and sacrifices of Allah’s beloved. Allah described the Prophet s.a.w. in Surah Al-Anbiya’ verse 107 as a Rahmah (mercy) to the universe.

Among the Rahmah (mercies) that we can learn from the life of the Prophet s.a.w. is how to be a good leader and authority figure. I consider this a Rahmah (mercy) because a good leader’s qualities can be felt and celebrated by all who are under him. The Prophet s.a.w. frequently described a leader as a shepherd because, in order to carry out his responsibilities, a shepherd has to be clever in guarding the environment of those under his care while being mindful not to hurt them.

It was not easy for the Prophet s.a.w. to lead the companions. Every companion had his own unique nature. Saidina Abu Bakar was mild-mannered and patient, and empowered the Prophet s.a.w. Saidina Umar, on the other hand, was fierce, brave and would quickly get angry at everything that went against the Prophet s.a.w’s law, such that he would frequently ask for the Prophet’s permission to kill those who had hurt him and so on. Even though the Prophet s.a.w. was surrounded by companions with strong personalities, history books never recorded any unjustified killings among theMuslims and non-Muslims during the Prophet’s lifetime. Instead, after the Prophets.a.w.’s passing, some of these companions became fair and just leaders when they were appointed by the Muslims. This clearly shows the wisdom of the Prophet s.a.w. in his leadership such that he was able to juggle the state’s affairs and lead a humble, modest family life.

This is the rahmah (mercy) hoped for from every leader, employer, father and husband. Besides having religious knowledge, a leader also has to possess soft skills and show rahmah (mercy) and empathy towards his followers. We can see for ourselves how successful Rasulullah s.a.w.was in his leadership, such that his followers openly displayed their love for him and were willing to sacrifice their wealth and lives in order to protect and raise the banner of Islam. Perhaps, one day, we may be appointed as a leader at work and in other areas of our lives. We should remember then that we are not fully regarded as a leader until the people under us recognise and accept us as one.

This is an important lesson that we can learn from studying the history of the Prophet s.a.w. Thus, it is only natural that we revere and honour him.

This article originally appeared on Berita Harian on 18 November 2018 and was translated from Malay to English by Dhaniah Suhana.

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