Prophet Muhammad Leadership Style Analysis

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Altruistic Service Leadership

Prophet Muhammad’s Model

Cross-Application to Modern Leadership Practices

A Guide for Leaders

Ismail Noor


Prophet Muhammad’s Leadership Model The Paragon of Excellence

“Endeavour to reach (the conduct of) Muhammad For the Right Way of Life is pursuit in his footprints. If you fail to reach him, all else is falsehood and error.”
- Iqbal


In the name of our Creator, Allah SWT, may it please Him that I express my appreciation to the Right Honourable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia’s
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He leads not only by directing, as the word focus implies, but also par example or bil-hikmah, with measured steps and wisdom. Hence the call for Leadership by Example.

Professor John E. Adair, of the Industrial Society (U.K.), who is known to have carried out extensive research on the subject of leadership, wittily stressed that, “a gram of example is worth a kilogram of exhortation,” which suggests that a leader should also practise what he preaches. In a similar vein, a true leader asserts his substantiveness by conveying that his word is always his bond.

As stated earlier, leadership is not all about directing. Followers (jama 'ah), or team members united with a mission (harakah), especially in the modern context, do not like to be bossed around. They prefer to be treated as equals, for they each consider themselves to be valuable contributors in the quest for excellence when pursuing the attainment of a common
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It starts with the natural desire to serve first, then making a conscious choice to lead. The leader is distinctly different from the person who wants to lead first because, more often than not, of a desire for power or to acquire material wealth.

Sayyid Mawdudi, another renowned scholar, commented:

“The rights and powers of the caliphate of God, and in this respect all individuals are equal…no one can deprive anyone of his rights and powers. The agency for running the affairs of the state will be established in accordance with the will of individuals…”

We have the whole phalanx of prophets, saints and a list of egalitarian leaders such as Caliph Umar Al-Khattab, Saladin Al-Ayubi, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Ramon Magsaysay and Mother Teresa and others to testify to this.

Stewardship is the substance that emphasises the use of openness, persuasion and influence – rather than exclusiveness, control and manipulation. Stewardship is putting service to others ahead of self-interest. The test of altruistic, servant leadership is when we choose service over self-interest most essentially to build the capacity of the ensuing generations to empower and govern themselves. It is an inside-out pathway to leader-follower synergy; creating an emotional partnership with those we share power in tandem with the desire to get results with, rather than,
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