Paper at the International
Leadership Training Program held at Islamabad 22 December - 6 January 1996 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule,
Sr.MB ChB, MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Faculty of Medicine International Islamic University
PO Box 70 Jln Sultan Petaling Jaya Selangor DE 46700 Fax (603) 757 7970
Abubakr al Siddiq
Omar al Farooq
Abubakr tells Muslims to correct
Characteristics of a leader:
Abubakr’s speech on his election
Leadership for a higher purpose
Accountability to people
Righteous leaders are followed
Abubakr’s will to Omar
Sayings by and about Omar (al
Leader must exercise leadership:
from Omar’s first speech
Leader must have initiative
Omar worries about a camel in
Omar, a gentle ruler
Omar’s desire to be on
the people’s level
Omar’s desire to visit
Leader recognizes stronger persons
Softness and hardness
Wisdom of leader
Leading is by influence
Leader should not adopt a position
of superiority over people
Leader should live and eat like
Leader admits mistakes
Leader encourages followers to
tell the truth in front of him
Leader accepts correction by
Traits of good leadership
THE DISCUSSION LEADER OR THE MEMBERS (IN TURNS) WILL PRESENT THE MAIN POINTS IN THE BACKGROUND READING SECTIONS PRE-ASSIGNED
THE PREVIOUS WEEK
Abubakr is remembered for the
following: (a) he was the companion of the prophet in the cave on migration from Makka to Madina. (b) Abubakr was asked by
the prophet to lead prayers when the prophet was in his last illness (c) He was the first believer in Makka (d) He had firm
iman that knew no doubts (e) He had wisdom and vision (f) He put his focus of unity of state after death of prophet (g) he
took a firm stand in riddat wars preserved religion and unity (h) He laid foundation for empire in Byzantine and Persian lands
(I) He collected Qur’an
Abubakr had good manners and
was a loved personality. He was a leader in his tribe in charge of settling blood feuds. He was a successful cloth merchant
due to his good personality. Even before Islam, he had good morals; he did not drink alcohol. Did not participate in jahiliyyah
worship. When the prophet called him, he did not hesitate to accept Islam
He called others in Islam. He
used his wealth to help poor Muslims. He was neverangry except for Allah. he
was a constant companion of the Prophet. he planned the logistics of the hijra and was the prophet’s companion on the
In Madina, Abubakr started as
a farmer. He was always with the prophet. Abubakr and Omar were the closest advisers of the Prophet. Abubakr was kind to badr
prisoners of war. He understood and supported the prophet’s strategy at Hudaybiyyat. He led the pilgrimage after Hudaybiyyat.
He led salt when prophet was sick (9) firm stand at death of prophet. His firm and wise stand at saqifa averted civil war.
On ascension to the khulafat,
Abubakr did not oppress opposers to his election. During the riddat wars, the usually soft Abubakr was tough and stood firm
for the truth. He stabilized the state in his reign by such courageous stands. He took a firm stand on refusers of zakat.
He was firm with pretenders to prophethood. He dispatched Usamah’s army to fulfil the prophet’s command although
there were many dangers in Madina at that time. He initiated the Syrian and Iraq campaigns that resulted into the expansion of the Islamic state.
Abubakr was a full-time leader
devoted only to his work. He was aware of his limitations and brought about him men who could complement him. He asked for
obedience from the people only if He obeyed Allah and did not assume that he had a right to rule. He governed by shura.
Abubakr was pre-occupied with
ummatic welfare in the last 2 weeks of his life when he was sick. He consulted the companions before appointing Omar as the
next khalifa. He undertook self criticism on his activities. He returned all the salary he had earned as khalifa to the public
Abubakr died with no wealth.
he was buried in his old clothes; he said that the living needed new ones. He ordered his funeral should not distract from
The main lessons we learn from
Abubakr are : (a) Simple life (b) Honesty (c) Politeness (d) Firmness (e) Caution (f) Against self-admiration (g) Self criticism
(h) Accepting criticism (I)
Abubakr’s main achievements:
(a) Abubakr was able to maintain the unity of the ummah after the passing away of the prophet (b) He stood firm and defeated
the apostates (c) He stood form against the refusers of zakat (d) the started the era of conquests (d) He collected the Qur’an
Omar was known for being tough.He however had a soft spot in him.This
was demonstrated on many occasions.Before accepting Islam, he confronted his
Muslim sister in Makka and beat her.When he saw blood he was very sorry and
was profoundly affected.Her bravery and steadfastness softened him.
Omar was a practical man of action.
Omar was brave and very daring.When he became a Muslim he declared his conversion
in public in Makka. He and Hamza led the first public demonstration in Islam when they led Muslims from their hiding places
to pray in from of the Kaaba.Omar unlike all other companions migrated in public
from Makka and dared any who wanted to challenge him.
Omar was physically and mentally
very strong. This enabled him to exercise a very dynamic leadership.He was able
to work hard. He could personally attend to many details and follow up projects.He
exercised more control over state affairs that did Abu Bakr.
Omar slept very little. He was
always working. Omar was able to follow-up affairs of far- away provinces by use of the postal system, hajj, spies, and tours
Omar gave trouble to those who
came after him because he set very high unattainable standards for those after him.
TEXT ANALYSIS: ABUBAKR’S
INSTRUCTIONS: READ OUT EACH TEXT ALOUD TWO TIMES. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE MAIN POINTS RAISED. WRITE DOWN THE MAIN
LESSON(S) YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TEXT.
ABUBAKR TELLS MUSLIMS TO CORRECT
“If I am upright then follow
me; but if I deviate straighten me out”
CHARACTERISTICS OF A LEADER:
ABU BUKAR’S SPEECH ON HIS ELECTION
“O Men! Here I have been
assigned the job of being a ruler over you while I am not the best among you.If
I do well in my job, help me.If I do wrong, redress me.Truthfulness is fidelity, and lying is treason.The weak shall
be strong in my eyes until I restore to them their lost rights, and the strong shall be weak in my eye until I have restored
the rights of the weak from them.No people give up fighting for the cause of
God but God inflicts upon them abject subjection; and no people give themselves to lewdness but God envelops them with misery.Obey me as long as I obey god and His Prophet.But if I disobey God’s command or His Prophet’s, then no obedience is incumbent upon you.Rise to your prayer, that God may bless you” (Muhammad pp 508-511)
LEADERSHIP FOR A HIGHER PURPOSE
The Holy Prophet (p.b.h.) was
called back (by Allah) and people were not far away from the age of Kufr (infidelity) I became afraid that people might revert
to their old religion and fall into differences.I therefore, accepted this responsibility,
although I did not like it. Hayat 2: 24 - 25
ACCOUNTABILITY TO PEOPLE:
“Keep a close watch on
me.Help me, if I am keeping right, if I go wrong, put me right.Follow me till I am obeying Allah and do not pay any heed to me, if I defy Allah”. Hayat 2:24
RIGHTEOUS LEADER ARE FOLLOWED
“Such conditions shall
prevail as long as the leaders of the people stick to the path of righteousness.Don’t
you see that every tribe has a leaders and the people follow him.These leaders
ought to be righteous”. Hayat 2:802
ABU BAKR’S WILL TO UMAR:
“....I invite you to perform a task which is very tiresome.Fear
Allah O Umar! in obeying Allah and maintain piety in obeying Him. Piety is a guard (against evils).This is Caliphate which is taken over by one who may carry out its responsibilities.One who order rightful acts and himself does wrong, asks others to do good and himself act badly would
soon lose his earnings, and deeds.Thus if you are appointed as a Caliph to look
after the affairs of people, you should try to desist from shedding blood, keep your belly empty from their wealth and save
your tongue form causing disgrace to them.You should do all this if possible
and one has no capacity to perform anything except by the help of Allah”. Hayat.
TEXT ANALYSIS: OMAR’S SAYINGS
INSTRUCTIONS: READ OUT EACH TEXT ALOUD TWO TIMES. MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE MAIN POINTS RAISED. WRITE DOWN THE MAIN
LESSON(S) YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM THE TEXT.
According to Abu al-Sa’ib
[Salm b. Juadah]-Ibn Fudayl-Dirar-Husayn al-Murri ‘Umar said, “The Arabs are like a tractable camel that follows
its leader. So its leaders should watch were he is leading it. By the Lord of the Ka’bah, I shall certainly carry them
along the [straight road].
According to Ya’qub b.
Ibrahim-Isma’ilb. Ibrahim-Yunus-al-Hassan [al-Basri]: ‘Umar said, “When I find my self in a position when
I feel comfortable, but that means my people have no access [to me], then this [can not] [continue] to be my position; I [must
once again] be on the samelevel as my people.
According to Khallad b. Aslam-al-Nadr
b. Shumayl-Qatan-Abu Yazid al-Madini-a client of ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan: I was riding behind ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan
one hot day when there was an extremely hot wind blowing and he came to the alms-animal pen.There was a man wearing a waist wrapper and an upper garment with another wrapped around his head.He was driving camels into the pen; the is, the alms-camel pen. ‘Uthman said, “Who do you think
this is?” We finally reached him and he was ‘Umar b. al-Khattab. (‘Uthman) said, “He is indeed ‘the
strong, the trustworthy one!”.
According to Ya’qub b.
Ibrahim-Isma’il-Yunus-al-Hassan: ‘Umar said, If I live, I shall certainly travel for a whole year among my subjects,
God willing. I know that people have needs that do not reach me.Their governors
will not refer them to me, nor will they themselves come to me.I shall travel
to Syria and
stay there two months. Then I shall travel to the Jazirah and stay there two months.Then I shall travel to Egypt and stay there two months.Then I shall travel to Bahrain and stay there two months. Then I shall travel
to al-Kufah and stay there for two months.The I shall travel to al-Basrah and
stay there for two months.Indeed, what a fine year this will be!
According to Muhammad b. ‘Awf-Abu
al-Mughirah ‘Abd al-Quddus b. al-Hajjaj-Safwan b. ‘Amr-Abu al-Mukhariq Zuhayr b. Salim-Ka’b al-Ahbar. I
stayed with a man called Malik who was under the protection of Umar b. al-Khattab. I asked him how one could get access to
the Commander of the Faithful. He replied that there was no door barring the (way to Umar) or any obstacle, that he would
say his prayers, would then sit down, and anyone who wished could talk to him.
Accordingto ‘Umar b. Ismail b. Muhalid al-Hamdani-Abu Mu’awiyah-Abu Hayyan-Abual-Zinba’-Abu al-Dihqanah ‘Umar b. al-Khattab was told that there was someone from al-Anbar
who had some knowledge of the state register [and was asked] if he would take him on as a secretary.‘Umar replied, “In this case, I would be taking on as a [confidant] someone from outside the
[community of the Believers!”.
According to Yunus b. ‘Abd
al-’A’la-Ibn Wahb-’Abd al-Rahman b. Zayd-his father-his grandfather; Umar b. al-Khattab addressed the people
and said, “By Him who sent Muhammad with the Truth, if one camel were to perish untended on the bank of the Euphrates,
I would fear that God would hold the Khattab family responsible for it”.Abu
Zayd added that the Khattab family meant himself, no one else.
According to Ibn al-Muthanna-Ibn
Abi Adi-Shu’bah-Abu ‘Imran al-Jawni: Umar wrote to Abu Musa, “There are stillprominent men who refer the needs of the people [tome] on
their behalf. So honor those prominent men who are in your jurisdiction. It is justice enough for an uninfluential Muslim
that he be treated fairly in juridical decisions and in the division [of spoils after being referred to me]’.
According to Abu Kurayb-Ibn Idris-Mutarrif-al-Sha’bi:
A Bedouin came to Umar and said, “My stallion camel has both mange and saddle sores; give me a mount”. ‘Umar
replied to him, ‘Your camel does not have mange and saddle sores!” (The bedouin) turned away, reciting the following:
Abu Hafs Umar has sworn by God’s name That no mange or saddle sores have afflicted [my mount].Forgive him, God, that he has given a false oath! (‘Umar exclaimed, “O God, forgive me!”
He called the Bedouin back and gave him a [fresh] mount.
According to Ya’qub b.
Ibrahim-Isma’il-Ayyub-Muhammad: I was informed that a man who was related to ‘Umar asked him [for money].But he chided him and sent him away.People
spoke to(‘Umar) about him, and he was asked why he chided him and sent him away when he begged from him.He replied “He asked me for some of God’s money.What
will be my excuse if I meet Him when I am a treacherous ruler?Why did he not
ask for some of my money?” (The source) added that (Umar) sent him 10,000 [dirhams].
According to Muhammad b. al-Muthanna-Abd.
al-Rahman b. Mahdi-Shu’bah-Yahya b. Hudayn-Tariq b. Shihab: Whenever Umar sent governors in charge of provinces, he
would say about them, “O God, I have not sent them to take the property (of the people) nor to abuse them physically.Anyone oppressed by his commander has no commander except me”.
According to Ibn Bashshar-Ibn
Abi Adi-Shu’bah-Qatadah-Salim b. Abi al-Ja’ad-Ma’dan b. Abi Talhah: ‘Umar b. al-Khattab gave an address
to this people and said, ‘O God, I call You to bear witness to the commanders of the garrison towns that I have sent
them only to teach the people their religion and the practice of their Prophet, to distribute among them their spoils and
to act with justice. If they have any doubt about any matter, they will refer it to me”.
According to Abu Kurayb-Abu Bakr
b. Ayyash-Abu Hasin: Whenever Umar appointed his governors, he would go out with them to bid them farewell, saying, “I
have not appointed you governor over Muhammad’s community with limitless authority. I have made you governor over them
only to lead them in prayer, to make decisions among them based on what is right, and to distribute [the spoils] among them
justly. I have not given you limitless authority over them.Do not flog Arab
[troops] and humiliate them; do not keep them long from their families and bring temptation upon them; do not neglect them
and cause them deprivation.Confine yourselves to the factual text of The Qur’an,
and do not frequently cite prophetic traditions. I am your partner”. He would also allow vengeance to be taken on his
governors. If there was a complaint against a governor, he would bring together the governor and the complainant. If there
was a genuine case against (the governor) for which punishment was obligatory, he would punish him.
According to Yaqub b. Ibrahim-Ismail
b. Ibrahim-Said al-Jurayri-Abu Nadrah-Abu Firas: ‘Umar b. al-Khattab made the Friday address and said, “O people,
I do not send governors to you to flog you or to take your possessions.I send
them to you to teach you your religion and the way you should follow. If anything other than these is done to anyone, he should
refer I the matter) to me. By Him in whose hand is my soul, I shall certainly permit the law of retaliation to be used against
(any governor). “Up jumped Amr b. al-’As and said, “Do you rally think you will allow the law of retaliation
to be used against any commander appointed over your subjects who disciplines one of them?” (Umar) replied, “Yes
indeed, I shall certainly allow that. Why not, as I have seen the Messenger of God allow the law of retaliation against himself?
Do not beat Muslims and humiliate them; do not keep them log from their families and bring temptation upon them; do not deny
them their rights and turn them into infidels; do not settle them among thickets so that you lose them”.
LEADER MUST EXERCISE LEADERSHIP:
FROM OMAR’S FIRST SPEECH
“...The likeness of the
Arabs is only to a camel led by the nose following its leader’ therefore, let its leader look where he leads.As for me, by the Lord of the Kaaba, I will indeed bring them along on the road”. Tabari 11 : 158
LEADER MUST HAVE INITIATIVE :
“The most sagacious man
is he who displays his own initiative, when he has no directives from his superior to fall back on, or who, without holding
back, gives expression to his own views”. Tabari 13 : 72 - 75
OMAR WORRIES ABOUT A CAMEL IN
“According to Yunus : Umar
b. al-Khattab addressed the people and said, By Him who sent Muhammad with the Truth, if one camel were to perish untended
on the bank of the Euphrates, I would fear that God would hold the Khattab family responsible for it”. Tabari 14 : 105
OMAR, A GENTLE RULER :
“According to Abdul Hamid
b. Baya : Umar b. al-Khattab said, “O subjects, you have an obligation to us to give advice on what is unknown and cooperate
in doing good.There is no forbearance (him) dearer to God and more generally
advantageous then that of a gentle leader.O subjects there is no ignorance more
hateful to God and more generally evil than that of a harsh leader.O subject,
he who enjoins well-being for someone in his midst, God will bringhim well-being
from above”. Tabari 14 : 139
EVERYBODY COUNTS :
The weak are also Muslims”
Tabari 13 : 183
OMAR’S DESIRE TO BE ON
THE PEOPLE’S LEVEL :
“When I find myself in
a position when I fell comfortable, but that means my people have no access (to me) then this (can) not (continue)to be my position; I (must once again) be on the same level as my people”.
OMAR’S DESIRE TO VISIT
“If I live, I shall certainly
travel for a whole year among my subjects, God willing. I know that people have needs that do not reach me. Their governors
will not refer them to me, nor will they themselves came to me. I shall travel to Syria and stay there two months. I shall travel to the
Jazirah and stay there two months. Then I shall travel to Bahrain and stay there two month. Then I shall travel to al-Kufah and stay there for two months. Then I shall travel to
al-Basrah and stay there for two month. Indeed, what a fine year this will be”. Tabari 14 : 104
LEADER RECOGNIZES STRONGER PERSONS
“Had I come to know that
some stronger person is there, I would have better put myself to be beheaded by him than to be his chief”. Hayat 2:
SOFTNESS AND HARDNESS:
“My heart turned as soft
and mild as foams of water and my heart turned harder than stone in matters of Allah” Hayat 2: 43
WISDOM OF LEADER:
“Allah the sublime likes
no tolerance more than the tolerance and politeness of an Imam, and not ignorance is more displeasing to Allah than the ignorance
and haughtiness of an Imam. And one who has the practice of forgiving anything undesirable remains peaceful.One who takes to fairness in his relations with others, will achieve success in his mission.The humiliation of obedience brings a man closer to good end as against the dignity being earned through
disobedience” Hayat 2 : 82
LEADING IS BY INFLUENCE:
“I need such a person while
functioning as Amir look as one of them, but when he is not acting as an Amir, people consider him as their Amir”. Hayat
2 : 61
LEADER SHOULD NOT ADOPT A POSITION
OF SUPERIORITY OVER PEOPLE :
OMAR’S LETTER TO AMRE BIN
“I have come to Know that
you have built up a rostrum for rising above your audience.Is it not enough
for you to deliver speeches in standing posture.Now the Muslims will feel as
if they are much lower than you.Hence, I ask you upon an oath to demolish it
at once” Hayat 2 : 91
LEADER SHOULD LIVE AND EAT LIKE
THE FOLLOWERS : OMAR’S LETTER TO ATTIBA BIN FARQAD
“This wealth has neither
been earned by your hard labor, nor by your father’s and mother’s hard labor.Hence you should provide same food to the Muslim in their homes as you relish in your homes; and save yourself from
luxurious living and copying the styles (of life) and etiquettes of the polytheists and refrain from wearing silk”.
Hayat 2 : 92
LEADER ADMITS MISTAKES :
“Hazrat Abdullah bin Musaab
stated that Hazrat Umar bin Khattab said : Don’t increase the mihrs (dower-money) of your women to more that forty oqiyags
(one oqiyah is equal to 40 dirhems), though she may be the doughter of a high family, i.e. may be Yazid bin al-Hasini Harithi’s
daughter.Whoever settles a higher mihr than this, the amount in excess of it
will put in the public treasury.Hearing this a woman from the women’s
rows stood up.She was tall in stature and had a flat nose.She said: Your shouldn’t have said this. hazrat Umar inquired:And why? That woman said: Because Allah Most Honoured and Glorious has said: And you have given unto one of them a
sum of money (whoever great), take nothing from it”.Qur’an . So Hazrat Umar remarked : The woman said the correct thing and the man committed
Hayat3 : 241
LEADER ENCOURAGES FOLLOWERS TO
TELL THE TRUTH IN FRONT OF HIM :
“The amir is always a loser
before whom one cannot speak the truth and he himself does not speak the truth”.
Hayat 2 : 85
LEADERS ACCEPTS CORRECTION BY
“All praise be to Allah
who has appointed me (Caliph) on such a people who have the capacity to get me straightened if I go wrong”.
Hayat 2 : 86
“If a governor becomes
unprincipled, his subjects adopt the same course, and the person is very unfortunate who bring about misfortune to his subjects”.