Tag Archives: Faith

On Transitional Leadership…Envisioning Success

‘‘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,

Mukhtar
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Faith in the Family of Man

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others toward you, make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” (The Noble Qur’an 5:8)

“O you who believe!  Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor…” (The Noble Quran 4:135)

‘‘We must work on our personal behavior…I am speaking of intelligent profitable behavior. It is to behave in a certain way, to favor a good future and prosperous outlook. I am emphasizing intelligent and profitable behavior. The more serious area of behavior is caused by the way we think. Go and stand by the strength of somebody. Everyone has a good side, a good sensitivity or some good quality…Look for the good and don’t give up…The Muslim is supposed to look for something to build on before looking for something to tear down…We should remember and practice that wisdom. When having to confront each other as family, or as brothers and sisters, or as friends or strangers, remember this: Look for something to build upon before looking for something to tear down. That will help tremendously.’’—Imam W. D. Mohammed (ra)

Just like for all people, “the Islamic family is the first Muslim government for the individual. Within the family we learn that there is authority, responsibility, and accountability; we learn that there are mutual ties that bind the family and that there are duties parents owe to children and vice versa.

We learn discipline, communication, understanding, and compassion. And hopefully, within the micro government of family, we develop the social and intellectual skills to function in the macro governments of our schools, masajid, and communities. For Muslims, these systems of government are interdependent and the dome topping each is the Holy Qur’an and the life of Muhammad (S). Genesis of New American Leadership, p. 41.

Islamic government begins with the individual and the rights of the individual to realize his or her highest potential while respecting the rights of others and the society in general. Government is an essential element in the organized management of rights and resources. When there is more than one individual, the need for government becomes apparent.

There have been and still exists many forms of government from feudalism, monarchies, and theocracies, to serfdoms, parliaments, and republics. As Muslims, we believe that the Prophet established the model government during the early development of Islam in Medina and Mecca. In a political context, true Islamic government is a democratic republic.

Many years ago, Imam Mohammed stated that democracy in the Islamic context does not simply mean freedom (blind passions and ambitions to do as we please no matter the outcome or effect on others) as we have been given in American contemporary culture. Instead he commented that freedom is the ability to think, to reason and to develop the intellect responsibly.

Free-[dome] means a free mind and it implies some structure and authority for our thinking and decision-making. Dome means head, the top portion of a structure; the crown. As Muslims, we are free to move within established boundaries—to be ‘‘free thinkers’’ as long as we have something guiding our thinking (something to serve as a dome over the intellect).

Our freedom is the ability to develop the individual and society within the established boundaries of Qur’an and Hadith without stifling the creative processes of reasoning, rational discourse, and the presenting of opposing view points. Free thinking does not mean irrational thinking, poor reasoning, or spiritual extremism that serves neither the individual nor society well. Genesis of New American Leadership, p.40.

Once we understand the natural order that God wants, we can make real progress as an individual or a group. Many developments during the last part of the twentieth century are manifestations of the natural development toward interdependence.

The specialized sharing of information in cyberspace via the world-wide web, the interlinking of macro-economics among the nations, and the emergence of free-market economies and democratic reforms are not accidental. These interdependent characteristics are an outgrowth of the natural development toward mutual cooperation, shared outcomes and the gradual elimination of virtual domination by the few. Allah (SWT) denies domination to all who seek it.

Interdependence is not served by racism, extreme nationalism, ethnicism, religious intolerance and other xenophobic tendencies. Despite occasional bumps along the global path of human relations, humanity is moving further away from racism and destructive nationalism. The world is becoming the neighborhood that the great reformer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others envisioned”…(Genesis of New American Leadership, p. 42.) The question is what are you and I doing to help the ‘neighborhood’ along? What is our masjid doing? Is the American Muslim Community sufficiently interdependent to help usher in the next level of reformation and progression for the global community?

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

Sincerely & respectfully,

Mukhtar
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Trusting in the Group Intellect: A Critical Component of Faith – Part 2

“By the soul and the proportion and order given to it; and its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right…” The Noble Qur’an: Sura Shams, Ayah 7

“O my Lord! bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous…” َThe Noble Quran: Ash-Shu`arā’ Ayah 83

(Con’t -from Part I)…What are some of the actions that typify a loss of faith in the group intellect:

1.Subjugating half of the group intellect by gender and denying them even the right to literacy, much less an education.

2. Subjugating other parts of the group intellect and denying them a voice in the affairs of state based on their color, caste, and religion.

3.Failing to prioritize the allocation of the public treasury to make education affordable at all levels (from pre-school through graduate education) to all citizens.

4. Succeeding to governing leadership by genetic birth right and essentially espousing the de facto declaration that only those who come from my loins are wise and sincere enough to lead.

5. Investing more in prisons than you do in education.

The list above is not all-inclusive. Are there signs in your masjid that the group intellect can’t be trusted? Are there signs in our national Islamic community life that the group intellect can’t be trusted? Are there signs in the international ummah that the group intellect can’t be trusted?

Now think about the consequences of the actions above. Think about the consequences over time of the wasted human intellect. The UNCF’s familiar slogan is quite appropriate that “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” What about a billion minds?

You know, as Americans and as citizens in the West, we pride ourselves on the level of development we have achieved as a nation or civilization. But what are we comparing ourselves to?…The answer, most likely, is we’re comparing ourselves to historical empires or dynasties, or present industrialized countries or the undeveloped nations. Such comparisons have their place.

But, where could we be as a nation if every child had the opportunity to get an education through graduate school?  Where could we be if women and ethnic minority populations had equal access to leadership across the spectrum without unfair discrimination?

What is the opportunity cost of the resulting underutilization of the gross intellectual capacity that is simply dissipated because of arrogance and ignorance which by the way feed upon each other? That is,  my arrogance won’t allow me to see you as a powerful intellectual capacitor, so I remain ignorant of your abilities and capacity to not only solve problems, to be a creator (small “c”) of new opportunities.

How much further would our society be and the whole world if we had greater respect and appreciation for and trust in the group intellect?

Why “One learned man is harder on Satan than a thousand ignorant worshippers”

“G-d hath not created anything better than Reason, or anything more perfect, or more beautiful than Reason; the benefits which G-d giveth are on its account; and understanding is by it, and G-d’s wrath is caused by disregard of it.” –The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)

Our Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) gave us this paradigm that one learned man is harder on Satan than a thousand ignorant worshippers. How can that be? Worshippers have faith! Faith in Who…faith in G-d. But what makes them ignorant is that they don’t have faith in the greatest gift that G-d has given them for the management of their lives as Khalifa (Vicegerents on the earth)..they don’t have faith in the intellect and not only the individual intellect, but the group intellect–each other…they don’t have faith in the group intellect.

And when you don’t have faith in the group intellect, darkness stays upon the face of the deep and there cannot be light. And the first verse of Qur’an: Read in the Name of thy Lord and Cherisher cannot be fully fulfilled; and the Kingdom will not come and His Will not be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Remember, G-d does not change the condition of a people until they first change what is in their hearts (The Noble Qur’an: Sura Ar-Ra`d, Ayah 11). The change in the heart however is just the beginning stage of change that can remake the world. The beginning stage of faith in our ability to make social change and to create a just balance in society begins with at least a feeling in the heart against wrong and injustice. But we can’t stop there. In time, you have to speak out against wrong and then you have to do something against wrong. And the “you” I speak of is the you plural..it’s you and me. Certainly the social proclamation comes from a single person initially, but true, lasting, and fundamental change comes when the group emerges and coheres for progress based on faith in G-d and faith in one another.

Satan doesn’t want any of us (Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) to have faith in G-d. But I believe we have arrived at the time where Satan is content to let the strong believer have faith in G-d. Satan just doesn’t want you to have faith in one another and in one another’s ability…in one another’s heart and just as important, one another’s intellect.

If we want to be a model family, a model masjid and community, a model nation and global community, then we must dismantle the paradigm that the group intellect is some sort of zero-sum game of “have” and “have nots,” and start comparing ourselves to the model that G-d wants in the group intellect as a true measure of our progress.

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

Sincerely & respectfully,

Mukhtar
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