9 LEADERSHIP characteristics of Prophet Muhammad that can be extracted from the story of the BATTLE OF TRENCH
A school without good leadership will be chaotic, a hospital without a good director will lose people’s trust, and a business without a good leader would not make a good amount of money. A leader is a necessity in every organization and a good leader will determine its success. By definition, a leader is a person that holds a dominant or superior position within his/ her field that has a high degree of control or influence on others in the organization . A good leader is very important to make sure that everything runs smoothly. In history, we can find many examples of good leaders that brought success in their own fields.
The best example is Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). If we want to learn the characteristic of a leader, just look at his life. There are many events in the seerah of Prophet Muhammad that showed us his excellent leadership. By considering the Battle of Trench, we could extract many examples that showed his high quality of leadership.
1. VISIONARY LEADER
When Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) got the news of the impending attack by the coalition between the Quraish and a few Jewish tribes that lived along the way from Makkah to Madinah, Prophet Muhamad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) remained calm. The condition was critical and the decision that should be taken was unclear and has to be done as quickly as possible. He called his companions for a meeting, to seek advice regarding the action that they should take to face the big numbers of soldiers and weapons in the confederates. In the meeting, he allowed his companions to discuss and decide on how to settle the issue. This is a characteristic of a visionary leader where he informed them of his direction but the companions to decide on how to do it considering their ability to plan and to take a risk. He mobilized people toward his vision.
2. DEMOCRATIC LEADER
He listened to the opinions of his sahabah. He accepted the suggestion by his companion, Salman Al Farisi to dig a trench on the northern part of Madinah, a common place for a battle to take place. It is because the land was flat and suitable for battle using horses and camels. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted the idea even though the strategy was very new in Arabian Peninsula. The Arabs were not familiar with it. Even though Salman Al Farisi was a freed slave man, his idea was well heard and accepted by Prophet Muhammad. He did not look down on others based on their tribe, previous life, and status.
3. AFFILIATIVE LEADER
He put an emphasis on teamwork and connecting each person in the group to create balance and harmony. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) divided the companions into groups of equal numbers of people including himself in each group to take the task of digging the same portion of land. He always inspired others. He did not spare himself from the heavy workload of the task. They work together during the day time and were given rest time at night to be with their family members. His focus was always on the people.Cooperation among people in an organization, working shoulder to shoulder specifically among Muslims is very important to make them strong and act as a single body. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Help you one another in Al Birr and Al Taqwa but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment.”.
4. LEADER WITH STRONG PHYSIC
At the age of 58 years old, during the Battle of Trench, he went through the hardship of the digging work and the battle together with other companions. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than the weak believer.”.
5. SHARING IS CARING
Prophet Muhammad and the sahabah shared the food given to them and eat together. By sharing and eating together, they got the blessing from Allah and the feeling of harmony.
6. LEADER THAT CONTINUOUSLY MAKES DUA
As a leader, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has never forgotten to make dua for the success of the mission, the wellbeing of his companions, and the family members of his companion and his own that was left behind in Madinah. Making dua, it showed his character as a leader with empathy.
7. LEADER WITH GOOD CHARACTER
Aisyah (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked about his character, and Aisha replied that verily, the character of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was the Quran . This is an important factor for us to consider to choose; a leader with good character for us to emulate.
8. CARING LEADER
With regards to the family members who were left behind in Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has assigned a responsible adult Muslim man to look after them, to bring news to him of impending danger, and to protect them. He was always caring about the people.
9. LEAD AND REMIND US OF ALLAH
Above all the characters mentioned about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), one of his most valuable characteristics of him is that he is the one who leads and reminds us (not only his sahabah) to worship only one God that is Allah. He encouraged us to enjoin good and abstain from the evil of ourselves and others.
A leader is to inspire. Throughout history, countless people have been inspired by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), regardless of their belief and ethnicity, among Muslims and not yet Muslim. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is the best leader.
 Surah Al Maidah 5:2
 Narrated by Muslim, 6774
 Summarised from Hadith Sahih Muslim 746. Qatadah reported: I said, “O mother of the believers, tell me about the character of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him.” Aisha said, “Have you not read the Quran?” I said, “O course!” Aisha said, “Verily, the character of the Prophet of Allah was the Quran.”
Leadership style adapted from “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management”
by Alan Murray, published by Harper Business (n.d).
The Sealed Nectar by Safiur Rahman Al Mubarakpuri, published by Darussalam, Oct 2008.
The History of Islam by Akhbar Shah Najeebabadi, published by Darussalam, April 2000.
The Difference between Management and Leadership. Adapted from “The Wall Street Journal Guide to Management” by Alan Murray, published by Harper Business (n.d).