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Seeking Permission

Lessons in Islamic Work: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII

http://www.flickr.com/photos/afsart/3190045393/One of the results of having an amir, leader, or decision-making process is that decisions have a process by which they should be made. Indeed, this sounds so simple that it is almost foolish to state it, but it is many times forgotten.

This is an important principle in organizational work because if a person was to make their own decisions and own initiatives at all times then there is no cohesion to the group. When there is a set decision-making process, ideas should pass through that mechanism before they are acted upon. A common mistake is when people begin organizing something and then seek permission afterward. This puts the decision-maker in a very tough position because if they say, “Yes,” they are encouraging the undermining of the system and if they say, “No,” they are blocking the initiative of the members.

It reminds me of when I was a kid and we really wanted someone to spend the night at our house. What we would do is invite the person and even have them talk to their parents and then after that was all done, we would go to our parents and ask them. This was a little trick that we did to put the pressure on our parents and make them approve. Of course it would always drive them crazy, and they made it very clear that any time we did this we would not have our way. We never liked that of course but both parties understood what was being done. It was a covert attempt to undermine the authority of our parents. Of course in retrospect this is not a healthy situation for all parties involved. As a kid it seemed normal, but as an adult, one notices multiple breakdowns in the unity of the group (in this case the family).

It is a seemingly simple thing but when ignored can lead to chaos and misunderstandings. So, when there is a decision-making process, that process should be followed, and if there are complaints or problems, they should be addressed directly to the leadership.

About the author

Jamaal Diwan

Jamaal Diwan was born and raised in Southern California and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Third World Studies and a minor in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego . He accepted Islam in 2003 and has been married to his wife, Muslema Purmul, since 2004. He has served with the Muslim Student Association (MSA), MSA West, and Muslim American Society (MAS) at varying capacities. He remains an active MAS member and is a scholarship student with the Islamic American University. Jamaal is a graduate of the Faculty of Shariah at al-Azhar University in Cairo and has done some graduate work in Islamic Studies from the Western academic perspective. He recently finished serving as the Resident Scholar at the Islamic Center of Irvine (ICOI).

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