What leadership entails among Muslims
“All of you are shepherds and all would be asked of his herds” – saying of prophet Muhammad.
THE community of Islam is highly presupposed with the faith and principles of governance. It is a community model in which there are specified tasks and obligations binding on the rulers and the subjects. Some of these tasks are mutual, some unilateral and some are collective commitment.
In Islam, leadership is not imposed but evolved. It evolves by divine appointment, by consensus or selective election. One important consideration is that leadership evolution is well based on God’s consciousness and righteousness of the potential leaders. Leadership in Islam reflects the person leading as a full conscious viceroy of God on earth, and as God is a ruler over the humanity with his compassionate attributes, any appointed selected or elected leader would strive as much as he could to internalize such leadership goodness.
Leader is the general overseer of affairs in the model nation of Islam. and as such he pays attention to the totality wellbeing of the people. Top on the task agenda is the knowledge and wisdom for the people, holistic knowledge of God of the humanity, of the creation which forms the environment in which man lives, the maintenance of the such important world surrounding man, and as well as its progressive development are all implied in the knowledge cultivation as enjoined by Islam. However, it should be noted that Islamic education will remain inadequate if it were first a concentration or restricted information on faith and rituals or mere social interaction of Muslims to Muslims. The leader, as Islam stipulates, has an uncompromising responsibility to ensure all levels of education as earlier alluded are made affordable to the society without discrimination to the beneficiaries.
Good education, and we mean all round education thorough and comprehensive is a right to the citizens and must not be a privilege. With quality education, the citizens are well informed, possessing critical minds imbued with a very broad horizon, appreciating the immenseness and the essence of the creator, recognizing how endowed the creations are made and what dignity they all deserve. Islamic education is widely disposed to the pursuit of physical knowledge and that is in terms of science and technology without making it bereft of God’s consciousness. The leader knows very well that everything is the creation of Allah and nothing must be done to deny its originator and designer.
A leader under whom education is hardly affordable or accessible shall be guilty of irresponsibility of fundamental human development, and shall be blamed for the entire society’s underdevelopment. It is available good knowledge that stimulates development of skills and potentials latent in all individuals and propels the same across strata of any given community. Islamic education, because of its rich information it endows its recipients, raises dignified personalities who refuse oppression and resist the tyranny of the rulers.
Next to education availability to the citizens by the leader in Islam is the production and provision of food. The most valued labour for any given society is safe and good food and safe water.
The Qur’an reads “it is Allah who has made earth subservient for your easy use. Traverse in its regional tracts, and eat of its produce, and onto Allah you are all resurrected” Quran 67:15.
Leader must pay attention to land, environment, the potentials of land, the variables that affect the land, what works on the land, what stands on the land, water of the land and the entire world of the land. By implication, for any worthy leader who must ensure he raises a worthy society, farming and all agricultural activities must become a topmost programme next to education. Food and water are crucial to the life and its survival. Food must be self-generated in order to make it natural and safe for consumption. It is the message of Islam that people should live close to nature. The support Islam wants leader to avail food and water production is for this purpose.
Farmers are to be empowered to produce, and government must ensure it does not trivialize their labour. Leadership in the state model of Islam interferes in the patronage of the farmers in order to protect the latter to sustain flow of foods and secure safe food consumption for the citizens. If hunger thrives in the society; if artificial food spreads with its epidemic infections, if people are dying because, prices of foods are prohibitive as a result of low level of agricultural activities, or corruption practices within the farming projects of the government or food production sector is rapidly being neglected by the potential farmers in preference to collar jobs, it is only an indicator that such prevailing leadership is already spelling a doom. Food production and unhindered distribution of it must be a very vital public interest in a nation under the auspices of Islamic leadership.
After the guarantee of the good knowledge, good and safe food, safe water and prevention of harmful drinks, security and defence of territory becomes the concern of leader as enjoined by Islam. The security programme is one of pro-action. Khaleefah (Leader) has the herculean task to protect the land of his people, both the rich and poor endowment of it, the people including the non-Muslims, the animal kingdom, the places of worship against the internal insurgence or external invasion.
One of the supplement requirements of the able leader as envisioned by Islam is the ability to fight war for such acts will enable him to direct all military or any para-military affairs effectively. The pro-defence performance program of a righteous leader includes, making good the general wellbeing of the people without discrimination, whether on the basis of religion or tribe or any partnership. Working hard towards providing basic needs of life shelter, jobs and relief support programme for the anguished or the helpless being part of the grassroot of the society and aversion to elitism, fairness and justice to all cadres within the community.
Leadership as proclaimed by Islam stands very tirelessly on guard of his nation. Coward, timid and no resolute person is a misfit on the throne of protecting a community of people. Such a leader who is incapable of possessing a formidable military rule, and who feels overwhelmed with the threats or intimidations or one who lacks any resistance against all forms of aggression is not a kind of leader cherished by Islam. In the face of territorial aggression, fighting back and punishing the transgressor contributes globally in discouraging similar acts of rebellion against another people, another region.
If society must be upright, Islam tasks a leader to stand above board. He is the viceroy of God, he must be Godly, he is the successor of the Prophet’s Khilafah, so, he has to emulate their leadership profile of simplicity, incorrigibility, firmness against misconduct, their self denial and their account of preferring public interest above their personal aggrandizement. The leader and all who work around him must reject corruption whether in stealing, misappropriation, contract over invoicing, wastefulness national fund or its resources, gratification, bribery or cover-up of incomplete jobs for the society, abuse of women for lewdness in the office of Ameeer or his lieutenants as most sacrilegious.
Fighting corruption by the incorrigible leader also requires protecting the homes in the society. The women folks are the bedrock of the society, they are the mothers of the youths, the home resorts of the husbands. Leader of Islamic governance needs paying attention to the women dignity, effective women roles, their respect and care when the women segment of the society is not abused, when their human rights are engendered and safe guarded. When their potentials are adequately harnessed for the overall public benefit, according to Islam, leader is just doing his rightful duty.
Allah speaks of making possible carving out roads on the land and on the sea and ditto for our movement in the air. Allah says, He did all these for us so that our movement from one point to another would not be a burden. The implication of this message is that leader in the purview of Islam is charged with a task to ensure that ROADS are made good, water ways are further developed and the airline activities are enhanced and meticulously kept safe, for the passenger. Transportation of humans and goods are critical to the life of people.
• Mallam Hafeez Toyin is a member, PR Committee of NASFAT