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/

What price sincerity?

imageIn a town in Northern Persia, one morning some 1300+ years ago, a Yehudi walked into the house of his Muslim neighbor. He was distressed and yet excited.

Catching the undivided attention of his neighbor, the Yehudi said “The Khalifa is  dead”.

This was enough to shock the Muslim, who asked “How do you know ?”

The Yehudi replied ” because the wolf ate my sheep last night”

Quite irritated with his neighbor, the Muslim said “and pray what has that bit of nonsense got to do with the Khalifa?”

“Well you see, in the reign of this Khalifa, the wolf has never come into the town. The Khalifa is such a sincere and dedicated man, that Allah provides him assistance. So last night since the wolf came, attacked and ate my sheep, I surmise that the Khalifa is no more.” replied the Yehudi.

This was too much and the Muslim, summarily dismissed his bothersome neighbor, telling him to go about his business, remarking that the Khalifa was a young man yet. A week later – and there were no emails in those days- the news arrived that Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the 5th Khalifa of Islam, known as the best ruler of the Ummayyid era, had indeed expired in Damascus!

So what price is sincerity in the scheme of things? Can it really give us strengths which cannot be measured in normal worldly terms, but in the spiritual domain only?

We are now discussing a topic, wherein most people would say that no such thing occurs. Its simply not true. What do they base their logic on? If you ask, it will be fairly vague stuff about lack of logic, science, every one has their luck and sometimes it will be here or there, but in the end, intrinsically by the end of your life you should come around to about 50:50, good versus bad luck.  So, regardless if a person is good or bad, sincere or insincere it will be the same fate 50:50. Sounds like the advert of a biscuit on TV.

In my opinion this bias of circumstances, has held true for a few people throughout human history. Because they believed in the cause and were sincere to it, they have had what might be called the “rub of the green” ie good luck.  Mind you, I do not include any of the Prophets, because you would rightly say that Allah is bound to intervene on behalf of his favored few.

When Timur-el-lang came to a rather weak bridge, he stopped and let his army cross, only then did he cross. As soon as he crossed, the bridge came down.  I can hear you saying “Timur was a conqueror, not necessarily a good guy”. But this same Timur was known for his belief in his own destiny to lead his people to great success. Others in this variety are Attila the Hun, Alexander, Cyrus and Julius Caesar.  Then look nearer and you find the Quaid-e-Azam, time and again defying odds and delivering. Throughout the 5 year period to 1947, the Congress leadership despite all efforts to the contrary, kept making errors which pushed the  reality of Pakistan to fruition.  Similarly, twice I have seen Imran Khan on this road, once in the period 1986-1992 as Captain of the Pakistan cricket team, which culminated in a freak set  of circumstances which led to the World Cup victory. Being personally involved with Shaukat Khanum for 10 years, I also know the struggle for existence the hospital went through, but today it is expanding to 3–4 centers, where at one time it was not certain how the hospital will run for the next week.

I can even try and relate the logic behind this, but I think freak circumstances would still be difficult to comprehend. It follows that if you are sincere to a cause, then you are honest about the cause. If you are honest, you will generally not have an ego, where the self becomes too important. So bereft of ego, you will strive to build a team and disseminate your belief about the cause. Very soon, you will have an army of individuals, who believe in the same cause and work together. I have never seen teams like these fail in my lifetime, nor in history. Their dedication leads to success and in critical circumstances, when they are most needed, they rise to the occasion. I think all this positive energy does create an atmosphere, when things do not go wrong. Watch some of the great sports teams, in trying circumstances they always come out on top and invariably the opponent will say that at a crucial moment they got lucky.

It then so happens that if you are sincere and believe genuinely that you can do something, then most likely you will. There is hope for all of us yet.

*the photograph is taken from Wylio.com a free picture site

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