“Imam” is an Arabic word which means “Leader”. Imam is the leader of a country who runs administrative tasks of a country. Leader posses some qualities of leadership including qualities of personal character and the ability to motivate others towards the realization of specific goals are on top of the list. Leadership qualities can easily understand from Quran and Sunnah which we are going to discuss in this article.
Allah Almighty and His Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has guided humanity in every aspect of life.They have also guided us in matters of selection of our leader who can lead us. Everyone has different perceptions related to the choice of leadership. But we have to consider Quran and Sunnah when we have to specify leadership qualities of our leader. In Holy Quran, Allah Almighty says: “And We made them leaders, guiding by Our command; and We inspired them to do good works, and to observe the prayer, and to give out charity. They were devoted servants to Us” (Quran, 21:73)
From the above verse of Holy Quran, we concluded that it is Allah Almighty who appoints the leader. It is not selected by anyone, nor given in a will, nor established by the committee. The role of the leader is also summarized, to guide and establish the Islamic society. The main aspects of leadership are Knowledge and Power as mentioned in Holy Quran: “Have you not considered the assembly of the Children of Israel after [the time of] Moses when they said to a prophet of theirs, “Send to us a king, and we will fight in the way of Allah “? He said, “Would you perhaps refrain from fighting if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “And why should we not fight in the cause of Allah when we have been driven out from our homes and from our children?” But when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers. And their prophet said to them, “Indeed, Allah has sent to you Saul as a king.” They said, “How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him and he has not been given any measure of wealth?” He said, “Indeed, Allah has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah gives His sovereignty to whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing [in favor] and Knowing.” (Quran, 2:246-247)
From the above verse of Holy Quran, we came to know that Knowledge guides the leader to the right path he is able to assimilate the situation wisely due to his knowledge and then after penetrating the situation he should have the power to take decision accordingly. If he does not have power than he is unable to implement his decisions that’s why he should have both power and knowledge. Power specifies the psychological decision and physical power. Besides knowledge and power justice, patience sound judgments are also important attributes which should be possessed by the leader.
Being a Muslim we all are leaders in some aspects as mentioned by Holy Prophet (SAW) in one of His hadith in these words: “All of you are shepherds, and each of you will be asked concerning his flock” (Bukhari). Leadership is about teamwork as no one can alone accomplish anything without followers and for sure Allah’s help. And the important one is that effective leaders are those who are servant leaders. Good leaders are good followers, humble, piety, truthful, simple and they realize that success only comes from Allah (SWT).
There is a system of leadership in Islam so the leaders are to be obeyed, and they call to the truth. May Allah (SWT) give us knowledge and strength to choose our leaders by keeping in view the attributes pointed out by Allah and Prophet Muhammad (SAW)! Ameen