What are the qualities necessary for an administrator and what is the understanding of an administrator according to Islam?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The verses of the Quran and the nature of Islam necessitate the arrangement of the relationships of people with one another and about the worldly life; therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) personally applied the principles of governing the Islamic community he established and became the first president of the Islamic State, which was actually established when he migrated to Madinah. The superior ability and characteristics of administration that the Prophet (pbuh) owned became visible more clearly after that. Although the Prophet (pbuh) had the possibility of making his followers be subject to him unconditionally, he did not tyrannize or dominate them; he made a revolution in administration and the understanding of administration.

During the Era of Jahiliyya (Ignorance), the Arabs were unconditionally subject to the chief of the tribe who represented and ruled them, and were obliged to obey them regarding any issue; they had no right to object to the orders, deeds and behaviors of the chief. The Prophet (pbuh) accepted consultation as the basis of the state administration. He always consulted his Companions related to all issues about which he did not take orders from God Almighty and discussed the issues with them.  

Justice and equity were his indispensable principles. He did not take nobility, position, authority, property and wealth into consideration in the establishment of justice; he tried to be fair all the time. Once, a woman called Fatima of a noble family committed theft and some people interceded with the intention of decreasing her penalty. Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) became very angry and said,  

“I would cut off the hand of a person who committed theft even if she were my daughter Fatima.” (Bukhari, Hudud 12; Muslim, Hudud 8, 9)

He acted based on the principle of competence and merit while appointing people to various levels of government administration. He appointed the people to various posts if they deserved even if they were young or they came from the families that were not noble. He wanted people to obey the administrators and their officials when they were right but he told them that they did not have to obey when they were wrong. Thus, although the Prophet (pbuh) considered the obedience of people to the leader necessary within the limits of the rights and justice, he did not consider people as individuals that had to serve him; on the contrary, he was one of them.

The state administration of the Prophet (pbuh) was nothing but the Islamic principles. As it is expressed in many verses of the Quran (al-An’am, 6/57, 62; Yusuf 12/40, 67; al-Qasas, 28/70, 88), domination, sovereignty, judgment and full administration belonged to Allah in the Islamic rule. In this respect, the authority to impose laws belonged to the Book, which included the revelations sent down by Allah, that is, the Quran. The Prophet himself (pbuh) was in the position of the secondary lawmaker. The decrees the Prophet (pbuh) introduced related to religious issues were either based on the orders he received from God Almighty but that were not included in the Quran (wahy ghayr matluww) through Jibril (as), or his own decisions.

As the head of the state, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) solved the disputes and disagreements between the Muslims in the society or the non-Muslims who were subject to the Islamic state. In such cases, he listened to both the defendant and the plaintiff; he referred to the knowledge of the witnesses if necessary, evaluated the evidence presented to him, and resolved the dispute in a very short time, without lengthening it. He showed great sensitivity to settle the concept of justice and equality related to both parties. He stated that he would judge as a human being based on the speeches they made, the evidence and the witnesses that they would show and that he could not know what was unseen; he stated that, in that case, a person who appeared to be right though he was not and was given the right would in fact had no profit but the fire of Hell. He sometimes referred the cases to His Companions. The governors who were appointed to the provinces carried out the administration on behalf of the Prophet (pbuh) and dealt with the issues related to the court.

The characteristics that an administrator needs to have:

- To have common/good sense: The sign of common/good sense for a person is to do deeds that Allah will be pleased with and to avoid bad deeds that will cause Allah’s wrath.

- Ability: Administration and management necessitate great abilities. People who lack ability should not seek such duties.

- Knowledge: An administrator must know very well his job, religious sciences, history, the customs and traditions of the society, individual and social psychology, sociology, the political, economic, social and cultural structure of the era in which he lives, and the events that occur in the world, and evaluate them. As an administrator, he must know very well his state, the religious, economic, legal and cultural structure of the institution and organization he manages; he must evaluate the issues very well and take effective measures on time without delay.

- Justice: Those who are not fair are never worthy of being administrators. Factors like race, kinship, wealth and poverty must not influence justice. The right of the owner of a right no matter what his race and social level is, must be taken from the oppressor and given to him. The administrator must be both fair and help the execution of justice; he must never make concessions in this respect.

- Courage: The administrator must be courageous. He must never hesitate to take risks when necessary. However, fury and extremism must not be confused with courage.

- Prudence-Foresight: Administrators should have prudence and foresight. A stupid and foolish person cannot be an administrator. The administrator should understand the body language of the people he meets very well. Many facts that cannot be expressed by words, or are hidden behind words, can be read and understood from the attitudes displayed by the body language.

- Honesty: It will be a big disaster for a nation if liars and dishonest people who constantly deceive people become administrators. Honesty/integrity means having the same intention in the heart, the same words in the mouth and the same attitude displayed by the body language.

- Patience-Perseverance: Being an administrator requires great patience. Hasty and unstable people cannot cope with such a heavy duty and load. Patience is determination and endurance. People who are not determined and endurable cannot show patience and cannot show perseverance in defending the truth.

- Forgiveness: Forgiveness is a great ethical characteristic. Therefore, administrators should forgive when necessary. It is a great virtue and merit to forgive a mistake or insult especially when it is about something personal.

- Consultation: The more importance administrators give to consultation and the more they consult qualified people, the more accurate their management, decisions, and actions will be.

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