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THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAYING A SECONDARY ROLE

In the chapter Al-Zukhruf (Ornaments of Gold), the Qur’an describes a law of nature, which is very important for the purpose of nation-building. The translation of the relevant verse is as follows: Is it they who apportion the blessing of your Lord? It is We who distribute among them their livelihood in the life of this world, and raise some of them above others in rank, so that they may take one another into service; and the blessing of your Lord is better than [the wealth] which they amass. (43:32)

These differences between people are not simply a matter of disparity or discrimination: there is great wisdom behind these differences. They give us a form of direction on how to manage our social system. In simple language, this means that one person must take the primary role and all other members of society must accept a secondary role. This is the only method of organization by means of which a society can achieve its highest targets. It is a fact that a great achievement requires the joint efforts of a great number of people; a single individual on his own cannot achieve the highest of social goals. So, what is the formula for a successful joint effort of this kind? It is: give one able person the role of leadership, while all other persons take a back seat and play a secondary role.

It is a fact that, without joint efforts, no high goal can be achieved, but joint efforts always need someone at the helm of affairs. Without a boss you cannot run a company, without a prime minister you cannot run a government, without the head of the family you cannot run home, without a coordinator, or a supervisor, you cannot run a joint effort. Adherence to the principle of leadership is an integral part of any successful joint effort. Adherence to the principle of leadership is an integral part of any successful joint effort. This being so, the law of nature set forth in the above Qur’anic verse is a great blessing for us. God Almighty created people with differences or disparities. It is this difference or disparity that gives us the opportunity to bow to the principle of leadership in our social activities. This principle could not work if all the members of society were completely equal. Equals need a superior person to manage their affairs. This requires them to accept the principle of leadership.

Every train requires an engine for its smooth running. Without an engine, the train would not be able to budge an inch. The same is true of society. Society is like a train which we need to mobilize, but this mobilization cannot be achieved without an engine to lead the way. The same formula that requires physical movement is applicable to social movement; the social train cannot travel towards its goal without an engine. A secondary role is not an inferior role; it is a role that has a value higher than that of the person primarily in command. The commander will be given only one credit but those who accept the secondary role will be rewarded with double credit because, apart from their normal role, they have proved to have a great ability—ego management. Without learning the art of ego management, no one can successfully play the secondary role.

President

The divine scriptures are God’s beacons to the world. Surely God offered His trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it.
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