Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon Muhammad, His last Messenger, his household, his companions and all those who follow him till the Last Day.
Here is a poser for the Muslims who will be voting on April, 2007: is your choice candidate a leader or a dealer?
Leadership is creative, adaptive, and agile. Leadership looks at right things, which implies a goal, a direction, an objective, a vision, a final destination for which all the actions and motions are headed. Dealership is about copying, managing the status quo and trying to please others without any overall objective. Which of the two does your candidate offer? There is no doubt that Nigeria needs a leader; visionary yet tactical; capable yet accommodating and firm yet compassionate! A true leader creates things. Five of the most important things the true leader must create are as follows:
COMPELLING VISION: If you want to lead people, first get them to buy into a shared vision and then translate that vision into action. Leaders take people to a new place where even the leaders haven't been themselves but they know where it is, how it is and how to get there. And leaders draw other people to them to enroll to the vision by inspiration, by a pull rather than a push. Allaah says:
"O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern and severe, who disobey not the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded." (Q66[at-Tahrim]:6)
Better vision, anyone?
CLIMATE OF TRUST: Trust comes not from a particular technique but from the character of the leader. To create trust, the leader needs three things: competence, congruity and constancy. If he is competent, the followers will have trust in him to lead them capably. What he says must be congruent with what he feels, with what his vision is and with what he does! Then, an effective leader will emerge.
After that, he must give the followers the feeling that he is constantly with them; right by their side, not across the divide from them. The Prophet said,
"Be straight on the path or be close to it." (Bukhari)
Whenever he falls short of the mark, he is humble towards Allaah, recognize his shortcomings and ask for Allaah's forgiveness.
MEANING: The leader starts with vision, then he builds trust and then he creates meaning. A leader creates meaning by creating an environment where people are reminded of what's important; not the things that are profane, pedestrian or vindictive as we currently have. He must use words and attitude to create the right environment and he must model the behaviour that will make the nation move towards the vision. When leaders don't do that, the followers get disaffected.
SUCCESS: Even from mistakes and failures! The leader must have the innate ability never to take the same decisions that led to ruin again when faced with the same or similar situations. The Rasul (sallaalahu alayhi wa sallaam) said:
"A believer is not stung twice (by something) out of one and the same hole." (Bukhari)
This means a believer is alert and he benefits by his experience to avoid faults in future and is not deceived twice. Muaawiya (RA) further explained that:
"No one can be wise except the one with experience." (Bukhari)
For the leader, wherever he trips should be where the treasure lies. One major failure is when the leader falls into sin, sin against the commands of Allaah.The success that derives from this is to hasten to repentance and seek His forgiveness. This includes the ability to embrace error, admit them and make the rough edges that might have occurred smooth.
HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: Effective leadership empowers the followers. Good leaders should make each follower feel that he or she makes a positive difference in the nation. For the true leaders; then the followers must feel that following them gives their life meaning and-purpose. Does your candidate of choice embody the ethics and values that he expects of the citizens of Nigeria? The leader must be the change he wishes to make and see in the nation. Remember what the Messenger of Allah said: "The best of you is the best of you toward his family and I am the best of you toward my family." (Tirmidhi)
Assess the candidates who seek to lead and adopt the one who is the potential leader; then you can go and vote ... if you must!
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited