Lessons to be learnt from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are many and it is exceptional how events in his life have been calculated in order to set a universal example for mankind to follow. Consequently it is of no surprise upon analysis of the seerah (the Prophet’s biography/life) when we find that it was not at all an easy road in the dawn of Islam. Amongst these examples we find cases that inform us of situations where actions are taken which serve as eternal reminders and lessons for us all.
Leadership. I have seen in circumstances, whether personal or especially when teamwork is involved, that there are essential traits required for success. There are all sorts of books, courses and publications emerging in this 21st century that claim to have found a brand new approach to teamwork and achieving success; when actually, it was taught to us many years ago.
Before embarking for the Battle of Uhud against the Quraysh, the Prophet (pbuh) was not in favour of doing so. In fact he believed that the Muslims should stay put in Madinah, as did the older Muslims – unlike the younger ones who were eager to meet the Quraysh outside Madinah. And there were those who regretted not having joined the Muslim army in the previous Battle of Badr making them fervent in grabbing an opportunity to do so now. The Prophet (pbuh) then did something amazing. Even if he held a view that no-one supported, he still had the power and authority to impose that on everyone else. He could still say, ‘I know better’. But he did not. Instead he listened and consulted. Finding that the majority were in favour of going out to the mountain of Uhud to meet the Quraysh, he decided to go against his own preference; thus demonstrating that a leader must not ever abuse his authority but exercise a shared responsibility in the decision-making process and acknowledge the views of the team (or army in this case) collectively. What is more interesting is what happens next. Though most were happy with this final outcome, there were some who worried that they may have pressured the Prophet (pbuh) into making a decision against his own will. Leading personalities from the Ansar said to these people:
‘You have forced the Prophet to decide to go out and meet the enemy, when you know that he receives revelations from on high. You would be better advised to leave the matter to him. Whatever he commans you, you should do, and when you see that he is inclined to something or to a certain point of view, you had better follow his inclination.’
When this was put forward to him however, The Prophet (pbuh) stood his ground. He had made a decision based on consultation with the Muslims and he had decided that they would leave Madinah to fight. He was not going to change his mind now and waste time going back and forth. And this beautifully displays The Prophet’s (pbuh) decisiveness. These qualities demonstrated by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) naturally resound with good leadership. It is easy to see how, unfortunately, these traits lack in authorities/leaders across the world/our societies, and how the replenishment of such recommended behaviours may answer many widespread corruption and troubles.
May Allah (swt) allow us to learn and understand the invaluable lessons The Prophet (pbuh) has left behind, implement those into our own lives and societies, and make us successful in this dunya and in the akhira.