Altruistic Service Leadership

Ismail Noor

Publisher: Partridge Pages: 162 Price: (paperback) $18.04 ISBN: 9781482853162 Reviewed: October, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

Although our corporations, think tanks and NGOs are relatively modern inventions, leadership is as ancient as mankind itself. Can managers of these modern institutions learn from ancient leadership models? In this book, Ismail Noor attempts to answer this question by applying the leadership lessons learned from Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

For Noor, the essence of Muhammad’s model of leadership is what he terms “altruistic service.” Leaders are to be the servants of those they lead, putting the needs of their followers above their own. Noor describes the specific qualities of such a leader, including passion and compassion; humility married to self-esteem; agility; a willingness to listen and to learn from others, etc. He presents a comprehensive leadership model consisting of what he calls the “three dimensions of life,” the “four postures,” and the “five tenets,” derived from his reading of core Islamic texts and traditions.

The author then shows how Muhammad exemplified this leadership model. He examines the latter’s role as a businessman, political leader, diplomat, military and  family man. He also provides readers with a brief sketch of the Prophet’s life.

Throughout, Noor takes a moderate tone as he gently counters many Western misconceptions about Islam. For example, Noor writes, “The purpose of jihad is to spur an inward struggle to achieve excellence in oneself and in the process strengthening oneself by correcting one’s mistakes.” This is a far cry from the mainstream Western media’s understanding of this term.

The book appears to be a translation or written by a non-native speaker. As a result, some of the author’s locutions are not idiomatic English and appear awkward. And although he cites many non-Islamic sources, Noor relies chiefly on the authority of Muslim writings and traditions, which means that his work will find its most congenial audience among convinced Muslims. Yet non-Muslims who are interested in the views of so-called “moderate Muslims” will also find satisfaction in these pages.

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