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Musings On Leadership

This one is kind of personal.

You know, for anyone in a position of leadership, it can be really hard to let go. It’s not always a power struggle or obsession.  Sometimes it’s simply that you care a lot about the organization you were leading and want it to be taken care of.

So when you finally do leave, you look back at your organization… and it’s doing just fine. And you’re almost shocked. Like how could this be possible?

I’m almost chuckling to myself as I’m writing this because it sounds so silly. I mean, Islamically, whatever you do is for (should be!) the sake of Allah. It doesn’t matter if you were appreciated for what you did or not. It shouldn’t matter. Because if you did it solely for His sake, it will be worth it for you in the long run, regardless of how you were treated.

I guess this may be how parents must feel after their children move on in life and are independent of their parent’s help. The parent spends years investing in their child-  emotionally, physically, financially. The child cannot survive without the parent… and then, seemingly in a blink of an eye, the child is now an adult themselves and living on their own, not needing the parent in any way.

I’m not a parent (ha. ha.) but it felt similar. In this case, I’m assuming it is the infamous shaytaan messing with yo’ mind. Because if what you did was truly for the sake of Allah… why do you still feel that pang when the organization has its successes… without you?

This is kind of a raw post. I don’t really have a conclusion because it’s still an ongoing process for me. This was a huge reminder to me that even when the job is done, the renewing of intentions is not. Maybe my intentions were solid then (I pray to God they were) but later on, when you let your guard down, shaytaan pounces. And all the hard work you may have put in will mean nothing if your intentions destroy it. It’s scary.

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab relates that he heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say, “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose hijrah was to Allah and His Messenger, then his hijrah was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose hijrah was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his hijrah was to what he made hijrah for.” [Agreed upon]

When I first started having these feelings, I thought it was just a leadership thing. I can see it really isn’t. It goes straight back to the basis of every action – be it for a leadership project or not: intentions. It is never for the people or for your resume or for some other worldly – as the basis. It is always, first and foremost for the sake of Allah… yes, other benefits do come out of it. But if isn’t for the Sake of the Most High to begin with, the other benefits won’t last through the dunya AND akhirah.

May Allah swt allow us to constantly renew and purify our intentions for His sake and His sake alone. Ameen.


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