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Real Leaders Lead By Example

“O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?” – Qu’ran, 61:2

We hear it often, people say “success breathes success”. Whether it be in the context of a business, organization, or a captain of a team. Without true leaders, success doesn’t permeate. One thing that has constantly amazed me about these leaders is that they don’t show arrogance. Nor do they neglect or belittle any work that is being executed by the workers they manage. A combination of God consciousness and humbleness, keeps them in check.

One brother I know, that is a president of a non profit in NY, Masha’Allah, he is involved with every task you can think of, from strategy to tactical work, he leads by example. You would think that a president of such an organization would be busy in meetings and wouldn’t be involved with day to day tasks that are often deferred to people underneath his leadership. Or he wouldn’t find time to visit his volunteers. It’s not the case, and to me he embodies the true qualities of a leader.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) articulated this beautifully when he said:

“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of the people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects: a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for his subjects, a woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and of his children and is responsible for them, and the slave of a man is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. Surely, everyone of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock.” Source: Sahih Bukhari 6719

The reason I put the verse from the Qur’an above is because often times, you find some individuals who claim themselves as “leaders”, get trapped in their own egotistic bubble as their organizations advance. They get too caught up in sending orders while chilling. Not practicing what they preach. They forget when things are going well, it was team work, or when things fail, they blame those who they manage. True leaders always thank Allah, then give others credit first when things are going well and take blame first when failures occur.

Being in a position of leadership is a big test, if you screw up, you take others with you. It’s no coincidence the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) produced extraordinary people like Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali (may Allah be pleased with them all). He wasn’t just telling others to feed the hungry, he was doing it himself. Actions speak louder than words, and when leaders rise to the occasion, they leave a lasting positive influence that continues.

I’ll end with a quote from Abu Bakr (R) when he elected as the Caliph:

“O People! I have been chosen by you as your leader, although I am no better than any of you. If I do any wrong, set me right. Listen, truth is honesty and untruth is dishonesty. The weak among you are the powerful in my eyes, as long as I do not give them their dues. The powerful among you are weak in my eyes, as long as I do not take away from them what is due to others.

May Allah (swt) give all of our leaders guidance. Ameen.

Please keep me in your dua’s. Jazak’Allah Khair.