Amin Abdul Aziz


Muslims are increasingly being exposed to different ideas of how a society should be governed. While democracy, or perhaps more accurately, ‘the right to self-determination’ is widely aspired, Sharī’ah-based opinions are also increasingly participating in the ‘leadership’ debate. If the right to self-determination is indeed the basis of an ideal leadership, then surely the opinions of the Islamically-conscious must also be included. This discussion addresses three critical components in this debate. First, is the concept of ‘leader’. Second, is the concept of ‘follower’. Third, is the concept of ‘leadership’, which is the relational quality between leaders and their followers. The Islamic leaders’ true task is to strive for the people’s success both in the dunyā and in the ākhirah by leading them along, what al-Fārābī calls, the ‘path of happiness’ (aṭ-ṭarīq as-sa’ādah). To operationalise this connection, the jurisprudence of the ṣalāh provides guiding parameters. First, are the pre-conditions (شروط) of ṣalāh, which must be maintained throughout; failing which would invalidate the individual congregant’s prayer. Among the pre-conditions of ṣalāh, for example, are physical and ritual purity, and the entire congregation must face the same direction, that is the qiblah. Translated into socio-organisational terms, the Muslim community, organisations, the state, must all orient towards the same policy ‘qiblah’, or strategic objectives. This thought paper is, of course, only an entrée to a more elaborate discussion; expanding considerably when the congregational ṣalāh conceptual model is scrutinised further, thus elucidating Islamic notions of ‘leaders and leadership’ in more detail.

Keywords: Governance, Leader, Leadership, Follower, alāh


Oxford English Dictionary

Quran, 4:59