Effective Principles of Muhammad’s ﷺ Leadership

Introduction:

It is a fact that the Prophet Muhammad (SM.) was the supremely successful man in the entire human society.  But he was not just a hero, said Thomas Carlyle. According to the Quran, he is the best example for all mankind. He has shown us the right way of achieving supreme success in this world. By studying the life of Prophet (SM.), we can derive those important principles which were followed by the Prophet (SM.). Indeed, the Prophet of Islam (SM.) was a positive thinker in the full sense of the world. All his activities were result-oriented. He completely refrained from all such steps as may prove counter-productive.

First Principle: To be positive

This principle is well explained in a narrating of Aysha (R.) in Sahih al-Bukhari. Hadith no-3560.

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها، أنها قالت ما خير رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بين أمرين إلا أخذ أيسرهما ما لم يكن إثما فإن كان إثما كان أبعد الناس منه و ما انتقم رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم لنفسه إلا أن تنتهك حرمة الله فينتقم لله بها.

She said, “Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted the easier choice.” To choose the easiest option means to begin from the possible, and one who begins from the possible will surely reach his goal. And if both options were evils, he would be farthest from them. He never took revenge for his own seek till the dignity of Allah had been hampered.

Second Principle: To see advantage in disadvantage

In the early days of Mecca, there were many problems and difficulties. At that time, a guiding verse in the Quran was revealed. It said: فإن مع العسر يسرا إن مع العسر يسرا

“With every hardship there is ease, with hardship there is ease.” (94:5-6)

This means that if there are some problems, there are also opportunities at the same time. And the way to success is to ignore the problems and avail the opportunities.

Third Principle: To change the place of action

This principle is derived from the Hijrah. Hijrah was not just a migration from Mecca to Medina. It was to find a more suitable place for Islamic work, as history proved later on. So, the Hijrah is a travel to collect more power, more strength and to be more fitted to run his mission. As Almighty Allah said, ألم تكن أرض الله واسعة فتهاجروا فيها )٤:٩٧(

Fourth Principle: To make a friend out of an enemy

The Prophet (SM.) of Islam was repeatedly subjected to practices of antagonism by the unbelievers. At that time the Quran enjoined upon him the return of good for evil. And then, as the Quran added, فإذا الذي بينك و بينه عداوة كأنه ولي حميم.

“You will see your direst enemy has become your closest friend.” (41:34)

It means that a good deed in return of a bad deed has a conquering effect over your enemies. And the life of the Prophet (SM.) is a historical proof of his principle.

Fifth Principle: To turn minus into plus

After the Battle of Badar, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken as the prisoners of war. They were educated people. The Prophet (SM.) announced that if any one of them would teach ten Muslim children how to read and write he would be friend. This was the first school in the history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims and all of the teachers were from the enemy rank. Here I shall quote a British orientalist who remarked about the Prophet of Islam. He faced adversity with the determination to writing success out of failure.

Sixth Principle : The power of peace is stronger than the power of violence

When Mecca was conquered, all of the Prophet’s (SM.) direst opponents were brought before him. They were war criminals, in every sense of the world. But the Prophet (SM.) did not order to kill them. He simply said, ” Go, you are free.” The result of this kind behavior was miraculous. They immediately accepted Islam.

Seventh Principle: Not to be a dichotomous thinker

In the famous Ghazwa of Muta, Khalid bin walid decided to withdrew Muslim forces from the battlefield because he discovered that the enemy was proportionately outnumbered. When they reached Medina, some of the Muslims received them by the word ” O Furrar ( O deserters!)”

The Prophet (SM.) said, ” No. They are Kurrar ( men of advancement). ” Those Median people were thinking dichotomously , either fighting or retreating. The Prophet(SM.) said no. There is also a third option and that is to avoid war are find a time to strengthen yourself. Now history tells us that the Muslims, after three years of preparation, advanced again towards the Roman border and this time they won a resounding victory.

Eighth Principle: To bring the battle in one’s own favorable field

This principle is derived from the Ghazwa of Hudaibiyya. At that time, the unbelievers were determined to engage Muslims in fighting, because obviously the were in an advantageous position. But the Prophet (SM.) , by accepting their conditions unilaterally, entered into a pact. It was a ten-year peace treaty. Until then, the meeting ground between Muslims and non-Muslims had been on the battlefield. Now the area of conflict became that of ideological debate. Within two years, Islam emerged as victorious because of the simple reason of its ideological superiority.

Ninth Principle: Gradualism instead of radicalism

This Principle is well-established by a hadith of al- Bukhari. Aysha (R.) said that the first verse of the Quran were related mostly to heaven and hell. And then after a long time when the people’s hearts had sifted, the specific commands to desist from adultery and drinking were revealed in the Quran. This is a clear proof that for social changes, Islam advocates the evolutionary method, rather than revolutionary method.

Tenth Principle: To be pragmatic in controversial matters

During the writing of Hudaibiyyah treaty, the Prophet (SM.) dictated these words: “This is from Muhammad, the Messenger of God.” The Qurayshi delegates raised objections over these words. The Propjet(SM.) promptly changed the word and ordered to write simply Muhammad, son of Abdullah.

These were the principles through which the Prophet of Islam(saw) gained that success which has been recognized by historians as the true success. Source: Khan , Muhammad W. [1998]”Prophetic Principles of success.” Minaret, September issue, pp.8-9

George Barnered Show said, “If all the world was united under one leader then Muhammad(SM.) would have been the best fitted man to lead the peoples of various kind’s ideas and dogmas to peace and happiness.”

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