Category Archives: Stewardship & Governance

Stewardship and Governance

Dying to Learn: Why Malala Yousafzai’s Cause is a Fard Kifaya for the Worldwide Ummah – Part 1

“We created man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape.”
(The Noble Qur’an, Sura Al-Hijr, Ayat 26)

“The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim…Whoever has a daughter, tutors her on good morals, educates her well and feeds her properly; she will be a protection for him from hell fire.”
–Prophet Muhammed (s)

“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”
–Malala Yousafzai on confronting the Taliban

Includes adaption from Genesis of New American Leadership – The Book

It’s a sad state of affairs indeed when a fourteen-year old has to take the lead in cultivating a national climate for educational excellence. Her story hearkens back to a time in our own country when people were literally dying to read. Malala’s story is one of courageous leadership and an important reminder of why in Al-Islam, freedom of speech is fundamental to the protection and progress of the group intellect and by extension, the society.

Fortunately Malala is not all alone in Pakistan as people express their outrage and she herself follows in the footsteps of other heroines like Malalai Joya of Afghanista or the martyr Meena Keshwar Kamal (ra).

There are many social justice elements present in Malalas’s story, but since Malala’s most recent saga comes in the wake of the freedom of speech outrage that stoked protests across the Muslim world and gripped the global news (see the September 19, 2012 blogpost, Freedom of Speech in the Context of Human Relations and the Body Politic), we’re going to focus on freedom of speech because the attempted assassination of a fourteen-year old by cowards was an attempt to silence her.

The assassination attempt is also an assault on the right to freedom of speech we have all been endowed with by our Creator. Malala’s story must be a galvanizing force for leaders at every level of responsibility to improve access to education and institute safeguards to protect freedom of speech.

Leadership’s responsibility for education is inherent in its responsibility to cultivate a climate for organizational  excellence. All leaders (right down to parents), must work to remove obstacles that undermine the value of education. Steps must be taken to reinforce the Divine right and obligation of the individual to educate him and herself.

In studying the Qur’an, the life of Prophet Muhammed (s), and the early Sahaba (ra), we find that Al-Islam bridges the critical link between education and organizational excellence through four functions that cultivate a climate for educational excellence. They are:

1. Attainment, Acquisition, or search (of knowledge).
2. Use of a standard Qualitative Comparison.
3. Dissemination or Exchange of Information.
4. Protection and Valuation.

For this discussion, we will focus on 1 and 4.…To be continued.

Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.

Sincerely & respectfully,

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Service to the Believer…for Ramadan and All Year Long

“Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide to mankind, also clear signs for guidance and judgment between right and wrong…”                                 The Glorious Holy Qur’an, Sura Al-Baqarah:185

This week, I want to briefly touch on a concept I call “Service to the Believer.”

You don’t get more points for traveling overseas to feed the homeless, while you neglect to feed the children and dependents in your own house, especially if you’re looking to prop up an image to an external audience.

In fact, there is a sequence to charity. It begins at home. From an organizational perspective, the same is true for an organization’s members, constituents, or congregation. Organizational leaders should be paying more attention to the elderly, disabled, and needy families, and even routine hospitality and services for everyone than to external missionary or dawah programs.

Why? Because it you do not have internal community service programs that are sincerely established to make a welcoming, comfortable and attentive environment, then you dawah programs are false advertisement. The Prophet (prayers & peace be upon him) attended to the material and spiritual needs of his people. When he first began his mission, he invited friends and family to dinner first, then he introduced them to the powerful Message of his Prophethood, the Qur’an.

We too have to be more like the Prophet (s) in our organizational focus on the Believer. We have to ask, “Are we providing service to the believer?” I’m not just talking about Jumuah Service, I’m talking about:

1.Visits to the elderly in their homes.
2. Gifts to students for graduation and continuing education.
3. New born acknowledgments and gifts.
4. Anniversary gifts.
5. Free refreshments for Jumuah.
6. Free seminars with snacks.
7. Take a senior out programs.
8. Family fruit baskets.

And this list could go on and on. Be creative in finding new ways to serve the believers in your organization. And if you’re wondering about the revenue for funding a Service to the Believers agenda, pull it from expensive radio broadcasts or other externally focused activities that often cannot be measured in terms of their impact. Dawah is important, but not more important than caring for those who have already responded to the call.

Ramadan is the perfect time to practice charity…why not begin at home and share first with those who have the greatest rights. I wish you a Blessed Ramadan, Enlightened Night of Power, and Joyous Eid Celebration.

Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.

Sincerely & respectfully,

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