Sunday, April 18, 2004

UCI MSU Alkalima Spring 2004 Editorial

Originally posted May 19, 2007 3:39 PM PST
Original link was ""


Being a stickler for equal rights, I’ve always believed that leaders
are made, not born. However, last quarter, if someone had told
me that leaders are born, not made, I would have wholeheartedly
agreed with them. Being in a leadership position myself, I
encountered several problems that tested my abilities and
frustrated me to the extent that I resigned myself to the idea that
I was not born to lead people - that regardless of how much I
worked towards it, I would never be the charismatic, dynamic
leader I always wanted to be.

Yet when the Alkalima staff arrived at the theme of "Leaders and Revolution" for its
next issue, I slowly began to reaffirm my initial belief that leaders are, in fact, made,
and not born. True, there are those individuals who have a natural tendency to take
charge and elicit responses from their followers, but being a leader means much
more than being charming and engaging. Acquiring the skills that make a leader
takes time and energy, and a determination to succeed. The mark of a true leader is
perseverance, thriving in adversity and making light of any discomfiting situation that
confronts her. What makes a leader truly exceptional is her ability to create positive
change - change so dramatic that it may even be considered revolutionary. Changing
long-held dictums and challenging the way people think is never an easy
undertaking, but when done effectively by a strong leader, the results are

No one ever said being a leader would be easy. It takes sacrifice, resilience, and
most importantly patience. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), the best of men
and leaders, sacrificed so much for the sake of Islam and was a just and patient
leader. He led by example, placing the good of his people before his own. His
complete faith and trust in Allah allowed him to rise above the challenges that
confronted him, for only through Allah’s guidance and mercy does a leader truly

"If ye help not (your leader), (it is no matter): for Allah did indeed help him, when
the Unbelievers drove him out: he had no more than one companion; they too were
in the cave, and he said to his companion, ‘Have no fear, for Allah is with us’: then
Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw
not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers. But the word of Allah is
exalted to the heights: for Allah is Exalted in might, Wise" (The Holy Qur’an 9:40).

When one does become a leader, however, it is her moral obligation not to abuse her
power, because her people will do whatever she wants and directs them to do.
Currently, the United States suffers international censure - a plight the American
people have to face - because of the mistakes made by the miscalculations of its
leaders. A leader must take responsibility for her actions, for the extent of the
influence that a leader holds over her people is immeasurable. Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,
the face of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, carried so much influence
over his people that they were willing to sacrifice their lives because he believed it
would further their movement. He was a frail, nearly-blind 73-year-old who was
paralyzed from the neck down, and yet he held so much pull over his people. Setting
aside his actions and political agenda for a moment, one cannot help but marvel at
the extent of Yassin’s power and influence, especially since Israel thought that it was
necessary to use three missiles to eliminate him.

So many leaders - even those in some "Muslim" countries - have made thoughtless and irresponsible decisions, and thus - regardless of whether they deserve it - an entire people is subsequently labeled as selfish and inhumane.

When you really think about it, leaders incite revolutions. They may not necessarily be violent or political revolutions, but some form of change does result from a leader. What is variable is whether that revolution a positive - an outcome that rests in the hands of none other than the leader and her faith and trust in Allah.

Shahtaj Siddiqui
Alkalima Newsmagazine

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