Faith Friday: The Servant Leader

I love reading hadiths. They're like short stories that provide insight to the message of the Qur'an and the hadith qudsi below is one that made a huge impact on me.

"Allah (mighty and sublime be He) will say on the Day of Resurrection: 'O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not.' He will say: 'O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?' He will say: 'Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him?  

O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not.' He will say: 'O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds?' He will say: 'Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you not know that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me?
O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me water to drink and you didn't give Me water to drink.' He will say: 'O Lord, how should I give You water to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds?' He will say: 'My servant So-and-so asked you to give him water to drink and you gave did not give him water to drink. Had you given him water to drink you would have surely found him with Me.'" {Sahih Muslim}

How beautiful is that? I looked at this hadith in two ways. First, God is close to His creations, and He is especially near those who are weak and suffering. Second, one way to become closer to God is by being there for others and helping them in their time of need. Essentially, Islam promotes servant leadership. What's servant leadership? It sounds like an oxymoron right? Here's a definition:

click here for an explanation of each characteristic

"...a leadership philosophy which implies a comprehensive view of the quality of people, work and community spirit. It requires a spiritual understanding of identity, mission, vision and environment. A servant leader is someone who is servant first, who has responsibility to be in the world, and so he contributes to the well-being of people and community

A servant leader looks to the needs of the people and asks himself how he can help them to solve problems and promote personal development. He places his main focus on people, because only content and motivated people are able to reach their targets and to fulfill the set expectations."

My sister explained that servant leaders choose to remain as 'one of the people' and she gave Gandhi and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as examples. In many cases, servant leaders prefer to be unknown and spark social change from behind-the-scenes.  This is interesting stuff and I want to know more!

It's a good thing Imam Afroz Ali, founder of Al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development (Australia) and Managing Director of Seekers Guidance, will be in Kuala Lumpur to conduct a workshop about servant leadership and a talk about spirituality and food. I'd be surprised if you don't know who Imam Afroz is, but just in case you don't here's a video I took of him responding to a question about women in Islam. You can also check out this blog to know more about him.

Workshop: Servant Leadership
Sunday 7 October 2012
1.30 pm – 5 pm 
Research & Information Centre On Islam 
No. 89, Ground Floor, Jalan Aminuddin Baki, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Symbolic token RM 5 upon entry
Open to everyone, please invite friends and family, Muslims or non Muslims
Register by emailing aminrahman [at] gmail [dot] com OR zainhd [at] wago [dot] com [dot] my

Talk with Q&A: Spirituality and Ethics of Food
Monday 8 October 2012
8.30 pm
Mukha Cafe, Lorong Rahim Kajai 13, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail
Open to everyone

Our biggest downfall as Muslims is not practicing what our faith advocates. The key to addressing this problem is to increase our conviction by gaining more knowledge. I hope to see you at these events, inshaa Allah. Jumaah mubarak everyone! 


washi said…
Servant Leadership! I like that Sha; thank you so much for explaining the concept.

Will share so we can all benefit inshaAllah :)
Laila said…
MashaAllah :) thanks for this post.

Ikhlas said…
JazakAllah khair for sharing this beautiful hadith! :)
Shahirah Elaiza said…
@washi @LaiLa @Ikhlas Your welcome and wa iyyakum =)
Anonymous said…
Assalamualaikum..Just wanted to share this link with you on everyday leadership . thank you:)
amirahms said…
Salam alaik Sha...amirah here... Nice one! That servant leadership topic really interests me...maybe someday you could share some notes on the Imam afroz ali workshops u attended... I didn't get to know about it until I read ur blog.. bummer :( ...but im sure u'll share some gems right! Thanks! n have a blessed day! :)