Our Leader

Our Leader

Close to Election Day of May 11th, we pine for a leader.  Never in history have nations built themselves into significance without a leader. Even with the best of systems, the need of a leader exists and without that the system falters. 

So when people say that Pakistanis should not wait for a leader, but move on and do things ourselves, sadly they are mistaken, it will not happen thus. We must, and Inshallah will, find a leader. Just have to try harder! I think we are close to it, Inshallah.

In looking for a leader, what are the sterling qualities which needs be exhibited, without which our leader will be another failure? Of course, for each their own, but a few basics just cannot be denied.

The leader should be a servant of the people. Our own Prophet (saw) has been described as such. Today this has become a ‘mantra’ in universities, who concentrate on this servant leadership role. A servant leader has empathy, feels the needs of people, resolves problems, motivates and thus achieves success. Just a humble servant leader!

Once the leader is humble and has no ego, it is likely their personal needs are low. If needs are low, then it is highly likely the leader will be honest. Our eyes just search the horizon for a leader who is honest. No looting the baitul-maal, no factories, no umrah and foreign trips on country account, no personal hidden foreign accounts. Just a plain honest leader, who is not motivated to build a fortune, and like Abu Bakr (ra), he will find the lowest paid, and then match his compensation to that person. Now would you not want such a leader?

So this leader then will be sincere. If there is no ego and no money, nothing but sincerity drives this person. I have written in the past on sincerity and taken the example of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad ruler, whose effects prevailed 500 years, though he ruled for less than three years(http://www.borderlinegreen.com/2012/05/22/what-price-sincerity/) . Sincerity ushers in forces which are not land locked and therefore difficult to rationalize. It also causes teams to form, who will sacrifice life and limb for the leader and nation. This is the sweetest, powerful force to be created. History has seen sincerity succeed eventually, sometimes as in Italy and Garibaldi it might take 150 years. But it happens.

Next is being visionary. The leader need not be creative, but will need to consult, understand and formulate a vision. The vision encapsulates our ideas and will bind us to a common theme. Without this understanding, no goal will be possible. Our leader plays a part of the visionary; a picture is painted, which entrances the population, builds its passion and makes it rise above the normal. The leader is therefore passionate, speaks well and is able to create faith and trust. The Quaid was just such a person.

Now we have a team; sincere and honest people at its helm and a leader who understands what the team/nation wants, we have a vision and a direction to take. Here now come the important implementation factors. Once in the seat of power, the leader needs rigor. Without this factor, no nation will be built. Cyrus spent a whole lifetime, in making the Persian Empire. As did Julius Caesar! The building phase requires one who can not only lead, but role up the sleeves and get into action themselves. Later when nations are built up, there is time enough for delegation, pomp and show, but early nation building requires participation and rigor. Honest diligence to get things done, barriers broken and the feeling of oneness created.

This leader will have further qualities. He/she will feel for the people and like many early Caliphs, would want to roam the streets at night. Now that’s not probable in today’s world. So, they will have myriads of trusted individuals who will give feedback that the people are happy, sad, in pain etc. Today it is possible by getting continuous independent research done, which will feed back to the leader, who will then try and tackle the on-going problems.

The leader will be an icon of justice. There are many in our history. Umar (ra) dealing lashes to his own son, Sher Shah Suri punishing his Muslim subordinate, as against a common Hindus traders claim etc. Justice is the basis of progress. It is the one implementable, which must not go wrong. If it does, we end up like we have today in Pakistan. No wonder that one of Allah’s name is Al-Adl. So this is a must for our leader.

Lastly our leader must be brave. There is no getting away with a leadership, which cannot take risks. Without risk nothing happens in Allah’s world. Everything stagnates! The leader must be brave, take decisions and we may even teeter on disaster, but that will be his/her calling. It may also require personal physical courage. Our history is full of these. Ali (ra), Babur, Khalid bin Waleed (ra), Ahmed Shah Abdali and myriads more. So our leader will be physically brave.

The eventual test will come, when power is achieved, as Inshallah it will. Ibn Kathir said 700 years ago, the great leader will not require guards and Muslims downfall will come when guards will be posted on their rulers.  Our leader will be able to live and work without guards!

Picture from Wylio (free site) belongs to Hamed Saber http://www.flickr.com/photos/hamed..http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/


About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.

13 Responses to Our Leader

  1. Shafaq says:

    What a simple but incredibly insightful candidate about the qualities of a leader. I see you in all of the qualities, which is why it seems such an authentic piece of writing. Thumbs up!

    • sarfarazar says:

      My dear Shafaq, I think because of our personal contact, I would softly suggest your filters are coloured. But I am floored by your compliment. 🙂
      Had IK somewhat in mind. I think at the end of a long and successful life, he might have achieved all these things. Having worked with him on Pepsi Clinics and Shaukat Khanum for much more than a decade, I see many of the good things in him.

  2. Junaid says:

    Gr8 explainations Sarfaraz. In fact the first quality you mentioned was humility and i fully agree. IK is a good guy but does he posess humility? I found him very arrogant in some instances and at too once he is not in power.
    My other concern is the rebuilding of the system through many of his associates who are beneficiaries of the prevalent system. How will they augment change. At best we may have better governance, but thats not a game changer so as to say.
    I also feel that the element of justice and fair play has been compromised by him as is evident in many cases in the award of tickets.

    Perhaps i am expecting too much from him so a bit disillusioned due to these contradiction.

    • sarfarazar says:

      Junaid, i have known IK personally very well for +19 years now. He has never been arrogant. Reticent, inward looking, not ready to talk. Those were personal characteristics. But never once arrogant. Now he has acquired the skill to talk and convey his emotions. USed to clamp up before. His talks from the hospital bed are examples. Also out of the ICU, he has lain in the General Ward with 11 other people. Dont know any leader in Pakistan’s history who would do that. When in 2008 he had that intestinal operation, he lay in pain all night, came to see Dr Faisal Sultan half bent over, in the morning, simply because he did not want to disturb overloaded doctors and nurses at the SKMT. Even when an emergency ops had to be done on him at SKMT, he was extremely reluctant and then not only paid top price for it, but put it through the BOD as an irregularity and elated party transaction. Again you wont find any example of this.
      I am bit perturbed when people compare him for votes to billionaires who we all know have looted this land and its people. Besides tickets, well it is the first time that decisions have been taken through internal elections. When there are 7000 candidates and 700 tickets, 9/10 will be angry. Compare to other parties, who after 46 and 33 years have only family run parties.
      Lastly, change. Change will be slow. Otherwise its a revolution. But the direction has to be right. Even the Prophet (saw) took 23 years to teach the Arabs goodness. Nothing worth it comes without sacrifices and fighting for it and effort.

    • sarfarazar says:

      Junaid I had to cut off in my last note. just wanted to say, don’t become disillusioned about things. Ut serves no purpose. rather work optimistically and at improvement and we should all do that. Not sure if IK will win, but whether in opposition or treasury bench he will work, make errors, get up and do things right. I know him and that is what will happen. In either case he will need the help of the good people in Pakistan. We should all be part of this. There is great nation building to be done…thanks for your note and cheer up

  3. Historian says:

    Wonderful, great analysis. Well thought out. You are right, it does remind me a bit of someone 🙂

  4. Shabbir says:

    Great thoughts. Something I find increasingly missing in Pakistan in people (leaders or otherwise) is Husn-e-bayan. Often people use such harsh language against each other, for issues, for our disappointments, failures etc, just hope they realise the impact this has on society. Need people to be softer in the words they choose – clean language, and articulate.

    • Sarfaraz says:

      Shabbir sahib, you are right, leaders should be decent and use language which shows the wisdom and class of decency in them. This is not a Pakistani disease. You see it all the time on social media and also in meetings and work places. So one of the first of many secndary qualities which a leader will have. Thank you.

  5. Mujtaba al-Mahmood says:

    Sarfaraz, a great essay indeed that came both from your heart and head! I didn’t know Hazrat Abu Bakr used to adjust his pay to the lowest common denominator to feel the plight of the common people…Will Imran be able to live a life without guards surrounded, if elected?

    • Sarfaraz says:

      That is not easy..but by degrees things resolve themselves. Yes eventually if the ruler is righteous, then he will achieve the high point of success, where his people will love him. So it can happen and definitely used to. Even when Caliph 2/3/4 all were killed violently, the did not guard themselves. 🙂

  6. Amir Zaka says:

    I totally agree with the concept but it is quite ideal in today’s Pakistan. It does not mean that we have to stop for looking for a right candidate, in fact we should come out of home & vote for the possible best of available. Further, we must continue our effort to find better & to improve the present situation.

    • Sarfaraz says:

      That is the issue today Amir..what was expected and nothing less would suffice is now considered idealistic. But unless the head is good, nothing else below will be good. That is my life’s experience. ‘You will not get a golden purse out of a sows ear’ as the proverb says. So be ready to be disappointed, if such a person does not rule you.

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