Leadership in Islam Essay

5838 Words24 Pages
THE LEADERSHIP PROCESS IN ISLAM Rafik BEEKUN, Ph.D. Chair and Associate Professor of Management and Strategy Mail Stop 028, University of Nevada Reno, NV 89557-0016 (702) 784-6824 and Jamal Badawi, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Management St Mary’s University 8 Laurel Lane, Halifax, N.S. Canada, B3M2P6 Office/fax: 902 445 2494 Please do not quote or cite without the express written permission of the authors. © 1999 by Beekun and Badawi 1 Leadership in Islam is a trust. Often, it takes the form of an explicit contract or pledge between a leader and his followers that he will try his best to guide them, to protect them and to treat them fairly and with justice. Hence, the focus of leadership in Islam is on integrity and justice. Given the recent emphasis on ethical behavior in the leadership literature (Kouzes and Posner, 1995), an examination of the moral bases of leadership from an Islamic perspective may provide some interesting insights for the field of leadership in general. In this paper, we will examine what leadership is from an Islamic perspective, discuss the moral dimensions of leadership and uncover the characteristics of leaders and followers as suggested by Islam. Defining Leadership in Islam To begin with, Muslims base their behavior as leader and/or as follower upon the Word of God as revealed in their holy book, the Qur’an. They believe that the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (saw)1, has modeled the way for Muslim leaders and followers for all times. This belief is supported when God says the following about Muhammad (saw): And you stand an exalted standard of character.2 Muhammad’s (saw) example, then, is what both Muslim leaders and followers seek to emulate. According to the Prophet Muhammad (saw), leadership in Islam is not reserved for a small elite. Rather, depending upon the situation, every person is the “shepherd” of a flock, and

More about Leadership in Islam Essay

Open Document