‘‘The art of transition is to preserve change amid order and to preserve order amid change.’’ —A. N. Whitehead
Adapted from Genesis of New American Leadership…
The difficulty with transition is the inability to change everything at once…transition without vision is like a blind man without a cane. It’s difficult enough to walk through walls that one can see.
Vision is one of the distinguishing characteristics of leadership; without it, there can be no effective leadership. From where should the faith leader’s vision come? It should come from a strong foundation in the idea that G-d has already granted the victory. For Muslims, we should seek the vision for the future first by having faith in Allah. It is only through faith that we gain the courage to pursue something bigger and better. It is faith that gives the courage to perceive the vision and it is faith that provides the comfort when facing overwhelming odds to attain the vision. Faith is especially relevant when changes are initiated in the social order.
Part of the methodology for managing great change is in anticipating great difficulty. At the time of change, the leader himself or herself does not clearly grasp the degree of difficulty that may lie ahead. So that leader must work from a higher inspiration. The Qur’an says: “O ye that believe! Fear G-d, and believe in His Apostle, and He will bestow on you a double portion of His Mercy: He will provide for you a Light by which ye shall walk (straight in your path), and He will forgive you (your past): for G-d is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. That the People of the Book may know that they have no power whatsoever over the Grace of G-d, that (His) Grace is entirely in His hand to bestow it on whomsoever He wills. For G-d is the Lord of Grace abounding (Sura Hadid, Ayats 28-29).”
Leaders working for social change to end prejudice, racism, bloodshed, genocide, or other persecution, and to establish a just order and the best environment to nurture the G-d-given potential in each human being, are prepared for the difficult task ahead by the Mercy and Guidance of Allah (SWT). And these leaders are all over the world. We call some of them religious leaders or political or civil rights leaders, but they (by the Grace of Allah) have become bright beacons of faith and torchbearers of human excellence. It is Allah who inspires that type of leadership and provides the vision.
Vision also means insight (in-sight). To have something in sight implies that there is a goal or outcome and a direction. If there is a direction, then there must be a plan and strategy and the strategy is held initially by the one who is most familiar with the circumstances, the times, and the people. Furthermore, this leader must be driven by faith in Allah (SWT) and possess an unyielding commitment to succeed in spite of the difficulties…only then will the visible and invisible walls that block progress begin to fall.
Left open for further thought and research…Peace until next time.
Sincerely & respectfully,
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated from its original posting for accuracy and comprehensiveness.