WalaHaja #11: Mohammed’s authentic model for “Community Management.”; Freeing my religion from hijackers

WalaHaja #11: Mohammed’s authentic model for “Community Management.”; Freeing my religion from hijackers

Pursuing a research project on “Community Management”, starting with a question: How did successful communities around the world go about “running their lives”?

The Muslim community – believers and followers of Prophet Mohammed PBUH as the last messenger from God – now accounts for almost a quarter of living humans, 1.9 Billion.

Growing up, you are taught to treat matters of religion as “take it as it is”, don’t argue, don’t think. Furthermore, religion is often used and referenced as a reason for all kind of “unfair” situations forced upon you, a reference to a misplaced religious quote here and there and your god-given human nature and possibly human-rights are violated, clogged and your wellbeing is trashed behind those who hijack religious teachings for their advantage.

On his deathbed, Prophet Mohammed PBUH, handed over his last pieces of advice to his followers. Humans value the last advice on a deathbed and it becomes a duty and responsibility towards the following generations of devoted followers to pass this advice and wisdom along, with the same clarity by which it was received.

Not to screw it for personal or political gains or hide it to enforce a different reality over a huge population of people.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (107) الأنبياء

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (107) Al-Anbiyaa

The Holy Qur’an specifies that the last prophet was sent as a “mercy” for all the worlds. But the majority of the Muslim population is living in a different reality.

So, what if we explore what were the real teachings of Mohammed PBUH and what they instilled in action before words and what is the closest modern equivalent of these teachings that would pass an authenticity test.

*First: Stakeholder capitalism with a heart*

Mohammed was a trader, all his life he traveled for trade and his trade was successful prior to his message as he was called “الصادق الأمين” “Alsaadiq, Al’amin”, translated to “Truthful” and “Custodian”, it’s the greatest measure of success in business, honesty and transparency and competence and responsibility.

With that Mohammed and his messages did not come to call people for being lazy or unproductive, though, it called for consistent pursuit of self improvement until you reach the ultimate capacity of “truthfulness” and “competence” in handling your affairs, the exact same model embodied by many cultures and philosophies around the world.

With that also Mohammed has shown that “trade and investment” is not an affair to shy away from participating in, though, it’s a critical matter to the individual and the state that is the best for your to participate and engage while adhering to your principles.

So, it’s free trade and investment, with a social responsibility towards your people through Zakah.

“Zakah or Zakat is an Islamic finance term referring to the obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes. Zakat is mandatory for all Muslims in most countries and is considered to be a form of worship.”

So, what is the modern equivalent of that?

Socialism? Obviously not. You might argue that “Stakeholder Capitalism” or “Capitalism with a Heart” is the closest modern concept to what Mohammed has instilled through his actions.

*Second: It’s a Republic (not a hereditary monarchy) الإدارة وليس الملك*

Mohammed PBUH, did not have heirs, nor did he appoint someone to a position of leadership, he only made recommendations of who he thinks is most qualified based on the qualities instilled of “truthfulness” and “competence”.

At the beginning of growth of the “Muslim Community”, the Khalifah, was not chosen as a king, rather, was someone who the majority of people with credible opinion deem to be most “truthful” and “competent” to take leadership.

And the leadership was one of “Responsible Management of Assets and Resources” for a given period of time, not a model of “Ownership” and “Kinghood”. This very basic leadership model has changed with the rapid evolution of “Empires” and the “power hunger” that erupted from competition over land and glory that followed.

The fundamentals of Muslim is to be governed in a “Responsible Republic” that takes into account the needs and competences of all its populations.

*Third: It’s a democracy الشوري*

How does a living community choses what’s best for themselves? They consult their best opinions and choose what is thought to be best for them. Just like “Crowdsourcing” being solutions that comply with their “Principles” and voting on decisions of critical importance to community members.

﴿ وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ﴾

[ الشورى: 38]

“And those who answer the Call of their Lord [i.e. to believe that He is the only One Lord (Allah), and to worship none but Him Alone], and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them;” 38 Al-Shurra, Holy Qur’an

They conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, not by forced top-down decisions and by “power hungry” manipulators and wars, no, by “mutual consultation”, this is the equivalent of “Think Tanks”, “Compassionate Inquiry” and “The Art of Gathering.”

Thus, these three principles; free trade and investment with consideration to the environment and the people though financial contributions, hiring the most truthful and most competent to positions of power throughout the structure, including and especially the Caliphate and keeping it civil through compassionate dialogue among community members to find out the absolute best solution for their problems that does not violate their principles.

This conclusion brings you back to the fact that over hundreds of years, these authentic teachings of what the message of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH has been hijacked and in its essence, this core message not only agrees, but takes the position of leadership over modern theories and models for how to run a community of people.

P.S. And here is a photo of a beautiful keychain made by Bedouin ladies in Nuwibaa, spontaneously chosen to hold the keys for a community project that I’m working on.




Also published on Medium.

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