A Simple Thought – Friday, 12th September 2021

Leadership of talk and tale

The trouble with leadership is that it is unavoidable and inevitable. It is also indispensable as it is inexpendible. Whoa! That is a lot of adjectives clustered all into one, and perhaps needs more seminal forewords. Aah! But that is exactly the point of how leadership has evolved in recent years, globally, with no exception.

Before you jump to castigate this as one of those needlessly fulminating op-eds, please pause, and think again.

By definition, leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organisation. Those who take up leadership are known as leaders. Rudimentary stuff, right? Not so much when it comes to their function for they are the people to whom others turn to in times of crises or distress, they provide beacons where dark phases engulf a people and their aspirations, they stand in the way of peace or war, and pretty much chart the course of how this group or organisation fares, in aggregate.

Today’s leaders are not leaders by merit, well generally speaking at least, they are purposefully planted figure heads who are supposed to serve a predetermined wider agenda (of course for the common good, what else?), they harbour deep seated sentiments of leaving behind their own legacies, and their world view of things is seldom straight forward. Again, your interjection is valid but clouded. Your reference of diplomacy and what leaders are taught to do, more often than not, leaves entire populations in abject poverty and destitution, their high level connections end up benefitting a handful while the majority basks in sufferings of all kinds.

This is not to steal away all their credibility, but the reality that faces us today is that the system that makes up a leadership environment, is dodgy at best and deviates tremendously from the path of its original purpose.

Upon studying the dictates of Imam Ali’s letters to Malik ibn al-Harith al-Ashtar, a salient feature that keeps emerging now and again, is summed up simply as ‘Even if you are a leader, you ae just a servant of God’ , and unless leaders learn to live at par with their subjects, know more about their issues, do real things to alleviate their plights, and then foster positive vibes and values amongst all, only the can we comfortably relinquish this claim

About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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