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/

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Time – An Enigma….

Reflections — 18 December 2012
Time – An Enigma….

I remember my fascination with time when I read Einstein’s theory. It was difficult to visualize, us traveling around Andromeda in 56 years (at speed of light) to return to Earth. But lo! When we return, the Earth will be gone, as 3bn years would have passed. The whole concept seemed surreal. Then the Time Tunnel program and mans capability to travel back. So what would happen if I went back and changed history? The concept of a parallel universe where another ‘ME’ could be living a different life, in a similar world just blew one’s mind out.

 

Now, almost 38 years later, as I reach the end of my career, the relativity attributes and quality of time has become apparent. These 50 plus years of life seem like a whisper, which soundlessly slipped by. I could swear it was only yesterday, one was being entered in the daily class register in early school. One can remember the teacher’s voice; smell the scents and the murmur of chatter. Yet the days have long gone. Worse, now they seem to move at breakneck speed week to week; we wish to stop time, but it is hurtling along at a pace of a train downhill without breaks. And therefore comes a time, when we too shall depart this world.  The question to be answered then is ‘have we done enough with our elusive time?’

 

For me the benchmark description has become Surah Al-Asr in the Quran and I translate:-

 

I swear by the time, Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do  good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.

 

The above is the description which has given some realistic shape to that enigma called time.

 

Imam Sha’fi explained that he would often wonder about Surah Al-Asr, till one day in the market he came across an ice-vendor. Remember those were the days of non-refrigeration. What the Imam saw was that the ice was melting and for the vendor, the race was that he could somehow get the best out of his time and be able to sell off the highest possible amount of ice. If he did that, he would go home successful. If he failed, well the ice would melt and he would fail. Substitute time for the ice and good deeds for the act of selling.  And there you have our life’s struggle. We are like that ice vendor, fighting a losing battle, unless we can perform meaningful deeds within the time we have. Time, which is elapsing fast!

 

Of course it is easier said than done, especially when ones commercial life is all encompassing. Most of us do have good intentions. We come across so many youngsters who are idealists by nature. But they are hampered by the need to earn ample legal tender, so they can achieve the legitimate aim of fulfilling responsibilities. These young idealists get involved more and more into the commercial world. Soon they are running pillar to post to fulfill their professional duties. Time is sucked out of their day, tiredness and jadedness sets in and soon decades pass. These idealists lose their original reason to live and begin to chase a profit mirage. Alas one day soon, Father Time will be up and they will depart this world, having missed out on the opportunity to fulfill their passion, dreams and goodness.

 

A classic example of this loss of opportunity occurred during the time of our Prophet (saw). In the early days of the mission, a man from Taif came to Mecca for business. Of course he went to the Haram. There he saw a man, a woman and a young boy praying in an unusual fashion. His curiosity aroused, he enquired from a prominent resident Abbas (ra), as to their background. Abbas (ra) replied that the subject people were his nephew Muhammad (saw), who claimed to be a prophet, his wife Khadijah (ra) and his cousin Ali (ra). They were praying to their God, Allah (sbt), who they claimed was The One God and they rejected polytheism. The man was intrigued and wished to speak to them, but was also short of ‘time’ and hurried off to Taif, knowing full well that his business shall bring him to Mecca again and he would learn more!! 20 years later after the conquest of Mecca, as Arabia converted to Islam in droves, a group of tribesmen came to Medina to accept Islam at the hands of the Prophet (saw). Amongst this group was a man who cried uncontrollably! When asked about the reason for his tears, he replied that 20 years earlier he had the opportunity of being among the pioneers of Islam, but allowed that moment to slip by. This man lost an opportunity given to a handful in human history. Today history while recording the event does not even recognize his name or his whereabouts – an opportunity lost indeed.   

 

Let’s not be like that poor man, who is lost in the folds of time.   May Allah make us like a successful ice-vendor, where we have seized the opportunity and done what we believe good and worthwhile, for time slips away. 

 

This note has been inspired and influenced by www.eislam.co.za. I totally acknowledge using their article as a base for creating this blog. 

photo credit: ToniVC via photopin cc

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