THE HOLY PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON HIM)
Leadership, what is it means? According to John C Maxwell in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, leadership can be defining as: "leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less." Meanwhile, Warren Bennis' definition of leadership is focused much more on the individual capability of the leader: "Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential” (http://www.teal.org.uk/leadership/definition.htm).
Based on the above definition of leadership, I personally think that The Holy Prophet Muhammad Bin Abdullah (peace be upon him) is a perfect leader that match the definition and a good example of leader that should be followed by others. I choose him as my inspiration because of his noble character, charismatic as a leader, and his strategic vision. For me, to be a good leader, one must not only have good influential skills, but also good moral values to be followed, because a good leader is the leader who lead by example. And, Prophet Muhammad Bin Abdullah (peace be upon him) have this both qualities.
Therefore, there is no doubt a Jewish American, Michael H. Hart listed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the most influential man in the history, in his book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. Hart explain the reason he listed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to the top list in his book, as follows;
“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Of humble origins, Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world's great religions, and became an immensely effective political leader. Today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive. The majority of the persons in this book had the advantage of being born and raised in centers of civilization, highly cultured or politically pivotal nations. Muhammad, however, was born in the year 570, in the city of Mecca, in southern Arabia, at that time a backward area of the world, far from the centers of trade, art, and learning.”
The Holy Prophet Muhammad Childhood Background
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born on 12 Rabiul Awwal, equal to 20 April 570 Masihi. He belonged to the Bani Hashim clan. The Bani Hashim clan was part of the Quraisy tribe and one of the prominent families of Mecca. However, it seems not to have been prosperous during Prophet Muhammad's early lifetime. During two months in his mother womb, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lovely father, Adullah Bin Abdul Mutalib, left the world because of an illness. Therefore, he becomes an orphaned since he was born.
He then was given to his foster-mother, Tsuwaibah and then, Halimatus Sa’adiah as it is the tradition of the Arab society to let their child lives with Bedouin family in the desert, as the desert life was considered healthier for infants. He lives with Halimatus Sa’adiah for two years, but some says four years. After that, he lives with his biological mother, Aminah binti Wahab. However, Aminah binti Wahab then passed away when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was six years old. After being a full orphaned, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) then lives with his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib but for two years only because his grandfather passed away when he was eight. He then was took care by his uncle, Abu Talib who was doing a trading business to support his life and his family.
Independent, Responsible, and Matured Young Man
Abu Talib is a generous person who always helps others. Because of his generosity, Abu Talib was poor and strugglead to keep his family fed. Even though still at the young age, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) always think that he never wanted to be a burden on the shoulders of his uncle. He wanted to fend for himself. To make sure that his uncle did not have to struggle to keep him fed, he did whatever he could to help his uncle. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) help his uncle by being a shepherd even though he was eight at that time. He also gained experience in commercial trade by accompanied Abu Talib during the trading journeys to Syria. The working experience and hardship that he went through build him up as a young man who was more independent, responsible, and matured. He then became a successful business man by the age of twenty five.
The Trusworthy or Al-Ameen
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also known as Al-Ameen or The Trustworthy one among his tribes. They gave him this title, because they considered him to be the best man among them, the one who was never known to have told a lie. It is said that they had so much faith in Prophet Muhammad. They would advise one another to seek help or his services when needed. They would say: “If you want to entrust your wealth for safeguarding, entrust it to this trustworthy, honest man, for he will never touch it. If you look for someone who never tells a lie and never breaks his word, go directly to Muhammad, because whatever he says is true.” (Reehab Ramadhan, 2011).
Prophet Muhammad's Principles of Communication
As the Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) always try to establish a good dialogue with people. Despite used the various means of communication that belonged to his era, he also took into account the psychological particulars of the individual and society in order to present the message in the best and most effective way. He always considers the mind and emotion of the people he communicate with by respecting their sensitivity and using the phrases that would not hurt them.
For example, he had a conversation with a Bedouin, whose wife had given birth to a black child but the Bedouin denied that the child was his. He told The Prophet by saying:
"My wife gave birth to a black child. I want to reject this child". Prophet Muhammad asked: "Do you have camels?" The Bedouin replied: "Yes" The Prophet asked: "What color are those camels?" The Bedouin answered: "Red" The Prophet: "Are there any white, black or grey camels among these?" The Bedouin: "Yes, of course. There are grey camels among them." The Prophet then asked: "Well, where do you think these grey camels came?" "O Prophet, that is in their blood; they take after the ancestors." "Perhaps this boy has taken after someone in his ancestry (he resembles them)." (Muslim)
Here, we can see that The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not merely say, relying on his authority as Prophet to tell the Bedouin something that he knows it is true. He rather spoke in a way that the Bedouin could understand, taking care to use an example that related to the Bedouin's life. After all, the most important is, he was able to solve a problem in a convincing manner by having the Bedouin come up with the solution himself. This shows the quality of a good leader he have, which is having a good, creative and intelligent communication skills. He understood the importance of communicating with others, therefore he did not converse with believers only but he also established good communication with all of the people he saw without discrimination of religion, language, race, sex, social status and thus.
A Tolerance and a Just Leader
To be a good leader, one must be tolerance to his followers and also non followers. At the same time, the tolerance values did not lead the leader to be unjust. The leader must be just to all people even though he must tolerate with them. This is because, the truth could not be saying as the false and the end could not justify the means. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has both this leadership values well.
Prophet Muhammad desired that a person who was to perform public services, for example, the imam, should be the person who knew and read the Quran the best. When there was more than one person with an equal ability to recite the Quran, then there were objective criteria to be followed. First, the person who knew and implemented the Sunnah and religious practices best would be chosen; if there was equality in this then the person who had first emigrated would be chosen, and if there was equality here, then the eldest would be selected as imam (Yusuf Macit, 2011).
Other story that shows the tolerance and the just in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) leadership is during the Saheefah (Constitution) of Madinah. The Constitution believed to be the first Constitution in the world and is the perfect Constitution ever. The history of the constitution begins when the Prophet migrated to Madinah. In Madinah, he was the political leader of a state, which demanded that clear laws of governance be laid out to ensure the harmony and stability in a society which the Muslims, Jews, Christians and polytheists live together. Due to this, the Prophet laid down a ‘constitution’ which detailead the responsibilities of all parties which resided in Madinah, their obligations towards each other, and certain restrictions which were placed on each.
The Constitution also do not bias to any tribes or religion or prejudice to any non-Muslims. For example, the first article of the constitution was that all the inhabitants of Madinah, the Muslims as well as those who had entered the pact from the Jews, Christian, and idolaters, were “one nation to the exclusion of all others.” All were considered members and citizens of Madinah society regardless of religion, race, or ancestry. People of other faiths were protected from harm as much as the Muslims, as is stated in the constitution of Madinah: “To the Jews who follow us belong help and equity. He shall not be harmed nor his enemies be aided,” (M Abdulsalam, 2011).”
Conclusion – Prophet Muhammad the Most Ideal Leader
Actually there are a lot of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) characteristic as a good leader that I want to mention here. But the values that I already mention above are more enough to prove that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a leader who lead by example and match all the criterias that should a good leader have.
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad SAW-peace be upon him) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah much.” (Qur’an 33 : 21)
John Adair, the writer of the the book The Leadership of Muhammad described the leadership of this Prophet as “He served to lead and knew how to do things at the right time in the right way”. Knowing his struggle and hardship along his journey fisabilillah, learning his moderate approach and how he changed the world forever, make me feel inspired by him. I hope I can do the best to follow his Sunnah and his leadership style.
6. Hart, Michael. 1992. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History.
7. Reehab Ramadan. 2011. Commanded to Love, Prophet Muhammad: A Man of Character.
8. Yusuf Macit. 2011. Prophet Muhammad's Principles of Communication.
9. M. Abdulsalam. 2011. The Prophet's Tolerance Towards Other Religions.
10. Adair, John. 2010. The Leadership of Muhammad. Kogan Page Limited.
Zaitunsyahila Mohamed Ismail