By Louay Fatoohi
There are number of verses in the Qur’an that reveal leadership qualities of Prophet Muhammad. One of these is the following verse:
It is by some mercy from Allah that you have been gentle with them. Had you been rough and hard of heart they would have dispersed from around you. So pardon them, ask for forgiveness for them, and consult them. Then when you have resolved, put your trust in Allah. Allah loves those who trust Him. (3.159)
The verse is clearly referring to people who were around the Prophet and could have left him. The people who were physically close to the Prophet are technically known as his “Companions.” The verse first highlights the mercy and gentleness with which the Prophet treated his Companions. The Prophet’s mercy for the believers in general is mentioned elsewhere in the Qur’an where he is described as being “toward the believers compassionate and merciful” (9.128) and “a mercy for those among you who have believed” (9:61). But he is also described as being “a mercy for all people” (21.107) not only the believers.
Verse 3.159 emphasizes the utmost importance of the Prophet’s being merciful and gentle rather than rough and hard of heart for the success of his mission. It states that, otherwise, even his very close Companions would have deserted him.
The Prophet’s beautiful qualities look even more impressive as the verse tells us more about the different contexts in which he has to exercise them, as it proceeds to command him to “pardon them” and “ask for forgiveness for them.” Clearly, the Prophet was required to show his mercy and gentleness even in situations when his Companions were involved in some kind of wrongdoing and misbehaviour that required forgiveness from God and pardoning by the Prophet.
The verse then commands the Prophet to consult with the Companions about decisions he needed to make. These were not decisions about the basics of faith, which are determined by God as revealed in the Qur’an, but about short-term and long-term issues of the Muslim community and the management of the relationships with other communities. The command to the Prophet to consult his Companions had two objectives. First, to seek various views so he can be best informed about the available options. Second, to get buy-in from them for whatever decision he intends to make. This is a genuine consultative process that involves the Companions as participants and the Prophet as the ultimate decision maker.
One well-known example of Prophet Muhammad’s consultative approach to leadership was set in the Battle of the Trench (Ghazawat al-Khandaq). This battle is referred to in Chapter 33 of the Qur’an, which is named “Al-Ahzab (The Confederates)” after the confederate armies of Arab and Jewish tribes that attacked the Muslims in Medina. The Prophet discussed with his Companions their defensive options against an army that was 3-4 times their size. Salmān Al-Fārisī suggested digging a trench around Medina that would neutralize the horse- and camel-mounted troops of the enemy. The Prophet agreed to the plan which ultimately proved completely successful.
The essentiality of consultation in Islamic leadership is confirmed elsewhere in the Qur’an in the context of mentioning commendable attributes of the believers:
Those who avoid the gravest of sins and indecencies, and when they become angry they forgive. (42.37) And those who answer their Lord, perform prayer, whose affair is determined by consultation among themselves, and spend of what We have given them. (42.38)
Another beautiful aspect of Prophet Muhammad’s leadership is combining authority and power with mercy and gentleness. This combination is difficult to achieve. Those who are merciful and gentle may fail to become leaders, lacking firmness and decision making skills. On the other hand, those who are in leadership positions find it very difficult to behave with mercy and kindness as they exercise their power and authority.
Needless to say, the leadership qualities the Qur’an promotes are not found in most Muslim political leaders today. Consultation has been replaced by dictatorship, whereas mercifulness, kindness, and forgiveness have given way to brutality and harshness. Furthermore, the leadership that the Qur’an promotes are applicable in various walks of life not only politics, including work and home.
“Copyright © Louay Fatoohi. Article Reproduced
From the Author’s Blog By His Permission”
You are right Ghulam Mohiyuddin saheb, whenever we discuss
any particular topic, we must be aware of at least verbal implications relating to that particular topic.
And of course, we love our religion and our Prophet, but from any aspect,it
does not mean that we do not respect, and degrade rest of the prophets, sent to the entire humanity, and also it does not establish any sense
of supremacy at all.
@rational mohammed yunus - 2/11/2014 8:47:25 AM
“Muhammad (S.A.W) is really the best
personality in the world"
is it not supremacy of the prophet
over others. please tell me one Sufi you revere most doesn't hold this view. no
matter how much you, mr yunus and mr GM speak against the supremacy, it is ingrained
in the pysche pf every Muslim.”
Paying due respect to someone in
positive sense, is not supporting and promoting the idea of supremacy at all,
rather, degrading someone’s honor and depriving peoples of their due Respect
and dignity in a negative sense, and feeling superior to all others in
authority, power or status is supremacy in fact. Great reformers and
personality of this world must be given their due respect and honor, it does
not establish any sense of supremacy at all, if someone feel so, he/she is in
the gravest misconception.
“Muslims can tolerate insult of
Allah but not of the prophet”
I strongly believe, a true believer
cannot tolerate insult of god at any cost, regardless of his/her religion and
faith, and I think it should not be permissible in any religion.
And dear rational, my question is to
you that, why Muslim should tolerate insult of prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? And at
large, why people should tolerate insult of their respective prophets? If
someone insults you, you do not tolerate it on this forum (NAI), then why
blasphemy should not be considered as moral crime at list.
Rational says, "which Sufi doesn't belive in supremacy of the islam and its prophet."
You are clutching at straws! These are not the kinds of arguments any intelligent commentator would make. Of course Muslims love their religion and their Prophet, but if you want to learn what supremacy means, read Maududi.