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21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 5

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Law of Respect: People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Than Themselves

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The Law of Respect states that people will only follow those who are stronger than themselves. To understand this law within the context of the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) life, you simply need to look at the caliber of people who chose to follow him. Umar ibn al Khattab, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Khalid bin Waleed, Ali bin Abu Talib, Uthman bin Affan, Asma bint Yazid, Muad ibn Jabal, Musab ibn Umayr, Asma bint Abu Bakr, Az-Zubayr ibn al Awam, Talha bin Zaid, Sumayyah bint Khubbat, Abdullah ibn Masud, Abu Ubaydah ibn al Jarrah, Rumaysa bint Milhan, Salman al-Farisi, Suhayb ar-Rumi, Abu Dhar al-Ghifari and Hamza just to name a few.

Leaders, warriors, poets, business moguls, chieftains and scholars from various places of various ages and talents all chose to follow the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The greatest united collection of human beings to ever walk the face of the earth was assembled under his leadership and followed him to the extent that their level of loyalty to him was something that the world had never witnessed before.

They followed him because they respected him and knew that he was stronger than them, because people don’t follow leaders who have a lower capacity then themselves. Another example of the strength of the Prophet’s leadership is that, after his death, the Muslims were never completely unified again.

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • What do you do intentionally to become a stronger leader every day?

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Adnan Jalali is a former School Teacher and Principal/Head Master turned Leadership Trainer, Executive Coach and International Keynote Speaker. Adnan is the founder of The Jalali Group (jalaligroup.com), a Consulting firm focused on Leadership & Personal Development. The mission of the Jalali Group is to develop inspirational leaders across the globe. Adnan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from Texas State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Houston. He holds a Teacher’s and School Director’s License in Texas and is a certified Leadership Trainer, Coach and Speaker with the John Maxwell Team. He is currently working on a project to develop inspirational leaders in Colombia, South America.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ahmed

    December 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    When you say stronger, stronger in what sense? Physically stronger, emotionally, or spiritually? Does the rule still apply if a person is simply stronger in one area, but not as strong in others?

    • Adnan Jalali

      January 3, 2015 at 3:08 AM

      I’m sorry for the late reply. I just saw this comment. Great question Ahmed!
      What the law is referring to is strength specifically in relation to leadership. People will only follow stronger leaders than themselves.
      I hope that helps.

  2. Route 114 Teacher

    December 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Studying and emulating the Seerah of our prophet, companions like Amr Ibn Al Aas, Khalid bin Waleed et al gives immense inspiration and motivation not just to the younger generation but to all age sector.
    May Allah make us the leaders of our Ummah. Ameen

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