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Leadership, Muslims and civic duties

By Haroon Balogun

The indispensability of leadership and followership in nation building is not in doubt. In Islam, there are models of good leadership. The Messengers of Allah are good examples, then Seal of Prophethood is another shining testimony while taking into cognizance the caliphs and their piuos followers. Again, every Muslim remains guided by the acts and practice of the Prophet through the hadiths.

At this auspicious time of electioneering, when there are basket full of promises, when there are political abuses and undoings, when violence and thuggery have become the order of the day. Now, all we need do is to go back, look into the lives of our Prophets and adopt any of these practices into our lives or even recommend them to our political leaders. The beauty of the models lies in the universality of their application.

Leadership in Islam is considered as an amanah (a trust) and a responsibility and that is why every Muslim’s focus of leadership is anchored on doing good and keeping to the promise made to the people.

A leader is required to meet his obligations to Allah, as well as to discharge his duties towards the people (Makhluq) to the best of his abilities. All the campaign promises by the various political parties are amanah. It represents a social contract between a leader and his followers. A good leader must therefore ensure that the promises made are fulfilled. They should protect the people, treat them fairly with justice. The ability to see beyond assumed boundaries, and to come up with solutions or paths that can bring succour to the people and by extension to humanity is another mark a good leader.

For those who are Muslims among the candidates seeking the votes of people, they should understand that the leadership thrust is simply a way to earn either earn Allah’s pleasure or incure His islam.

In doing this, there must be sincere intention to deliver on the promises and work with people of like-minds to project and implement these ideas.

It is a common phenomenon that once the politicians get into power, they become anti-people. They fail to understand that authority vested in them is not their private property. Almighty Allah who gives power is capable of taking the power at any time. The means to which the power can be snatched is also unknow. So, the wise one should do what is right and shun evil.

Unfortunately, we are all witnesses to a lot of misgovernance in the society. The followers therefore must not just sit on the fence but must also play their part in order to get rid of the evil in the society. But how? The right to vote is a sure way of ensuring the society gets better. Vote out bad leaders and enthrone those you feel can do the job. It is one responsibility any Muslim must not shirk from. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) commanded us: “When you see an evil act you have to stop it with your hand. If you can’t, then at least speak out against it with your tongue. If you can’t, then at least you have to hate it with all your heart. And this is the weakest of faith.”

Let us all remember that Allah warns His believing servants of a Fitnah, trial and test, that encompasses the wicked and those around them. Therefore, such Fitnah will not be restricted to the sinners and evildoers. Rather, it will reach the others if the sins are not stopped and prevented.

So, why can’t we be active in what affects our lives as a people?

Our involvement within the political system is also a great way to present to the public an accurate image of Islam, and of Muslims as supporting the issues that are important in our lives, and maintaining high morals and standards.

Political process

It is still a hypothesis that Muslims are more in number in this country. However, it is a vital consituency and being involved in the political process will ensure that we also state our demands before any candidates.

As Muslims, we must take advantage of our rights, and become involved in the process. If we are not being treated fairly, we must exercise our right to participate and vote. That is one sure way the ummah can progress.

Muslims should enjoin good and forbid evil. We must try to be good role models, ensure peace and stability in the society. We must be reminded that we all have a duty to also protect and project the values of peace in Islam especially when there are misconception about Islam following pockets of violence in some part of the world.

We must not be used by some elements to cause violence before, during and even after elections.

Al-Mighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “And verily, the reward of the Hereafter is better for those who believe and fear Allah, and keep their duty to Him (by abstaining from sin and evil deeds, and by performing righteous deeds).” (12:57)



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