Uploaded on September 6, 2021
COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP: ACHIEVABLE GOAL, BUT HOW?
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam
In our considered opinion collective leadership is absolutely indispensable to assure progress of Muslims; to resolve numerous issues; to create mutual amity and harmony; to avoid confusion, eradicate disintegration and promote national integration. So long as collective leadership does not spring up into existence, collective leadership will not emerge. Until then it will not be possible to see Muslims making progress, nor problems will end and national integration will remain far away. In a previous essay, we deliberated on the importance of collective leadership, why collective leadership is indispensable and why in the present scenario the need for collective leadership has assumed greater significance. The present column attempts to explain how the goal of collective leadership can be achieved, how it can be brought into a reality, what methods can be followed in this direction, and then we will focus on the main points that should be pursued.
Collective leadership aims at four important prerequisites: appreciation, coordination, cooperation and collaboration.
The first prerequisite is appreciation, which means encouragement, admiration and recognition of others’ efforts. Those working in different departments necessarily deserve motivation and admiration they rightly deserve. It should be a part of our mission to make such people feel that they are doing commendable and constructive work and both the nation and community are reaping fruits of their laudable work and that they should persist in working in their respective areas with the same hard work, perseverance and spirit. The second prerequisite is coordination which involves entering into close contact with those who are engaged in some noble work and are therefore our invaluable asset. We should create strong bonds with them, creating pleasant communication. There is a need to sit with them and discuss issues and challenges we are confronted with. The third prerequisite is cooperation, which entails that we should support people who are actively involved in their operations by all means; we should stand by them. We should cooperate with them and restrain from causing hurdles in their way, promoting them in their mission. We should acquaint people with their noble achievements. We should make them feel they are not alone in their noble cause and many a people are there to join them in their mission. The fourth prerequisite revolves around the need for collaboration. We should move along with people, work together; promote mutual cooperation and partnership. Sitting together leads to the resolution of issues; as communication is the key to mindful discussion that ultimately leave no room for misunderstanding.
Above mentioned prerequisites constitute the foundation of collective leadership. Along with this, the emphasis on education is critical. Contacts should be developed with those working in the area of education, medical sciences and other academic fields, seeking their services, bringing them all along, using their knowledge, experiences and observations for the benefit of the country and community.
It is suggested here that a committee should be formed comprising people of letters, intellectuals, thinkers, journalists, authorities, ulama, preachers, social workers and other leading personalities. All of them should come together, thus giving way to the creation of a joint committee; to prepare them intellectually for sympathizing with both community and nation; they should be persuaded to render their services in different branches and let the ummah benefit from their presence. The Message should reach out to the masses; all means of communications should be put into service; modern technology and social media should be pressed into service, and the essential message should be taken to every single individual of the ummah.
While forming a committee discussed above, it is essential and important that all sections of specialists and groups are gifted with distinct capabilities; all of them are endowed with competence and merit. When people drawn from medical, legal, journalism, religion, politics, sociology, economics, and other disciplines will come together, it seems perfectly legitimate to think that they will share their thoughts, suggestions and ideas with each other, an exercise which, hopefully, will generate strong guide line or modus operandi. Thus, they will reach a point where a firm objective and plan will see the light of the day.
To build collective leadership and unity of the community, it is also essential that lurking fears, misgivings and fears are completely erased; none should be suspected about his intentions; no misgivings about people we associate with should ever be entertained. If someone indulges in polluting the environment and minds, or launches misgivings, we should directly investigate the matter in question instead of giving way in our hearts any doubts and misgivings since doubts and misgivings are the main obstacles in the way of unity and collective leadership.
The main obligation of the Muslim community includes the welfare and prosperity of humanity, doing good to humans, annihilating ignorance, introducing humans to guidance and enlightenment, and showing them the right path. All praises to Allah for addressing the Muslim community as the “Best People”. The Holy Qur’an says: “O people of Islam, You are the best people ever raised for the good of mankind because you have been raised to serve others; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in Allah.” (3:111). One of the main obligations of the Muslims to guide people to do good and engage wholeheartedly in welfare work, and to refrain people from falling for what is evil. Moreover, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (Amar Bil M’aroof wa Nahi ‘Anil Munkar) holds the key to the worldview and value system of Islam. Our distinct identity lays in this Qur’anic concept of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. It is on the basis of this distinctive quality that we are declared as the “Best People”. Besides this, we should popularise the idea of honouring humanity; our social obligations should include the promotion of justice, equality, freedom, and fraternity. Islam subscribes to the ideals of honouring human kind and respecting human beings. The basic principles of Islam do not allow anyone’s supremacy over others, nor does it tolerate enslavement and exploitation of others; the practice of oppressing people is alien to Islam. Islam believes in equal rights and equal treatment. Therefore, it is our main obligation to spread this message of Islam to the masses across the world; it is also our obligation to protect people from discrimination, those who are being targeted on the basis of race and region. In our own country, there is a section constantly trying to enslave humans and deprive them of the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution; the mission of this misguided section is to deny humans right to equality, freedom, justice and equality. It is therefore necessary to foil these attempts, dumping their nefarious designs in the mud. To achieve this goal we shall have to come forward and let the collective leadership assume a major role in this endeavor.
Collective leadership alone will achieve all these goals explained above at their ease. This will also help in advancing the mission of the Muslim community. On the strength of collective leadership and under its guidance we will be able to protect the oppressed; justice will prevail in our society; discrimination among humans on the ground of wealth, region, race and caste will meet its final demise.
(The writer is General Secretary, All India Milli Council)