GLOBALISATION refers to a historical process which transforms the spatial organisations of social relations and transactions, generating transcontinental or inter-regional networks of interactions and exercise of power (Held et al 1999).
Figuratively, this development denotes the disappearance of boundaries between countries and its impacts can be seen in many aspects of our lives today.
Disparity in political and economic powers, degradation of the environment and the increasing gaps between the social classes are instances where globalisation has left its mark.
Nonetheless, we must also acknowledge its positive effects through which we are able to discover the existence of different cultures, sharing of technological innovations, immediate connections and communications with people from different continents.
One of the major concerns in today’s globalised world lies in power imbalance.
Three key dimensions – political, economic and social – are the major concerns in the realm of power. They are the driving force for contemporary globalisation.
Three key dimensions – political, economic and social – are the major concerns in the realm of power.
It is also observable that as a result of these dynamics, state legitimacy is decreasing, for example, in aspects of human rights, security, economic and environmental policies.
Arguably, the diminishing state powers in these areas are due to the fact that most of these political, economic and social processes are globally interconnected. Thus in some instances, nation states are mere implementers of finalised international policy decisions.
Traditionally, state power has been seen as territory-centred, indivisible and never could it be internationally delegated to other organisations outside the state.
However, today’s state governments actually are the responsible actors that helped to establish international bodies and agencies at the global arena.
In this sense, globalisation has transformed the very nature and forms of democracy for most countries in the world today.
So, what are the effects of this development on the need for effective leadership? If we look at what is happening around the world today, it is evident that there seems to be a vacuum of credible leaders who can rise to lead the necessary changes that are taking place in the globalised world.
Political leaders for instance, are too caught up in the power struggle game that caused them to lose sight of the real aspirations behind their position of leadership. In general, leaders of all categories in this era of globalisation must be proactive in character and abilities.
What we are noticing around the world today are the creations of false leaders who do not possess the right determination, qualities and aspiration to face the challenges. Problems of leadership are not solved and in some aspects, leaders might be the cause of the problems.
It is important to note that in the globalised world, among the main tasks of leadership is to have a good and lucid understanding of the current political, economic and social dynamics. The ability of leaders to address the related concerns will enable them to face and overcome the adversities posed by the effects of globalisation.
From the Islamic perspective, leadership is centred upon the Islamic moral characters of Iman, Islam, Taqwa and Ihsan. These principle characters centre upon the tawhidik framework on the Oneness of Allah as the Ultimate source of power and the prophethood of Muhammad.
A leader who upholds these principles will look at his position as a trust bestowed upon him by God and not a privilege.
The power that is entrusted to him as a leader must be utilised accordingly to benefit other people and ensure that justice is rightly achieved, and to ultimately transform himself as a better servant of Allah.
Apart from these quintessential pillars, an effective leader should not ignore the need to actually learn and embrace national and global cultures in all of their positive dimensions. Islamic leadership should not confine its paradigm or world view to just address problems surrounding the Muslim world.
A true leader must be able to accept the reality and truth of contemporary cultures which have been shaping the world since the creation of Prophet Adam and his wife, Hawa. Leaders must also appreciate this reality in order to be relevant and acceptable global leaders.
Culture clashes are fast becoming an undesirable social phenomenon and these happen when one does not believe in the right philosophy that says there’s beauty in diversity.
Correct understanding and application of the principles of leadership as promoted in Islam can actually become a panacea for the political, economic and social ills emanating from the dark-side of globalisation. This refers to the central position of knowledge in the teachings of Islam.
It is imperative for global leaders to equip themselves with the right knowledge and to be capable of demonstrating high competencies and correct attitudes.
Within this working framework, they would apply this knowledge in matters relevant to them such as in formulating, implementing, controlling and supervising policies specifically designed to address the problems of their global constituents according to the right order of priorities.
With all the above features in place, the wisdom of leaders who submit to the Islamic view of leadership would be very much sought after, no matter where the decision-making arena is.
The innumerable exemplary events in the Prophet’s Seerah and Islamic legacy should become clear reference for leaders in upholding justice and bringing benefits to mankind.
Nevertheless, the challenge for the present leaders in the globalised world today is to successfully discover and apply the immutable principles available from those identified sources of knowledge and relate it to the context of the problem faced by their immediate and global audience.
Coupled with the right intentions and sincerity, leaders can provide the proper cure for the critical political, economic and social conditions of mankind today instead of being the cause of the current predicaments.