Dr. Meraj Ahmad Meraj - India*
The Moral Base of Islamic Leadership

Islam, the only unique religion of the world which does not leave the issue of leadership unturned. For the betterment of human society, it clearly discusses the idea, concept and nature of leadership and gives detailed principle, guideline and direction in this context.

Leadership in Islam is a kind of trust ‘amanah’. It represents a psychological con- tract between a leader and his followers that he will try his best to guide them, to protect them and to treat them fairly and with justice. Hence, the focus of leadership in Islam is on doing well.

Leadership in Islam is a responsibility and a trust that leaders feel when they deal with their followers. Leadership in Islam is to serve the members of the organization, the community, the society and the humanity at large. 

Trust, accountability, competency and consultation are some basic features the forms the moral based id Islamic leadership. 

Trust:  Islam recognizes that leadership is exercised at different levels. “Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. The ruler, who has authority over people, is a guardian and is responsible for them. A man is a guardian of his family and is responsible for them. A woman is a guardian of her house and family and is responsible for them. A servant is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. So, all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges. 

Accountability: A leader is accountable to God in the first instance but he/she is accountable to the people they serve as well. Accountability to God and accountability to people are closely linked in the Quran and the tradition. Accountability to God is one of the major themes of Quran. Accountability to the people has been emphasized in the Quran. 

Competency: Competency is the ability of the leader to perform his/her duties as a leader. It involves knowledge, training, and the ability to motivate people. Branches of knowledge which are essential for an effective leader are history, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Consultation: Mutual consultation is one of the formal part moral based Islamic leadership in decision making process. This will strengthen the people spirit and allows the all members to be part of the decision making process. 

The operating principles of the proposed moral based leadership in Islam are Ihsan, justice, honouring the pledge, resoluteness, and acceptance.

Ihsan:  Ihsan, the Arabic word which means excellence. It the meaning of doing one’s best. Quran commends people who endeavour to excel in what they do “God commands justice, excellence, and generosity towards relatives. Ihsan is a higher level of being conscious of God. Ihsan is an essential operational principle for effective leadership in Islam. 

Justice: Justice is not only a fundamental construct in Islam, but it also provides a safeguard that consideration turns into special favours to those who belong to the inner circle of a leader. Islam emphasizes the principle of justice when there is a need for making a judgment.

Acceptance: One of the fundamental concepts of leadership in Islam is the importance of people’s approval of a leader. Islam urges people to take active role in choosing a leader. The pledge of allegiance was a way to show people’s acceptance of a leader.

The moral based Islamic leadership demonstrates the role of a leader duties and responsibilities towards people, society and country. The concept of moral based leadership transforms the whole society into right direct of the justice peace and development. Justice is an essential operational principle for effective leadership.

The Islamic view of leadership is that every Muslim is a leader in his or her own way. Everybody has leadership responsibility ‘kullukum raa’i’ and everybody is accountable on how well they discharged that responsibility.

*Dr. Meraj Ahmad Meraj

Assistant Professor

Department of Arabic, Aliah
University, Kolkata


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