Alhamdulillah, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) blessed me to go to Hajj in the year 1432H as a volunteer for an English-speaking Hajj group that needed someone to deliver programs and help in the organization of the men’s section.
I didn’t know what to expect nor was I clear about my roles and responsibility before I went, but once I arrived, it was clear that I was not going to be simply a volunteer, but had to lead the 250 Hajjis through the rituals and ensure a smooth Hajj campaign from a logistical point of view.
The experience (with all its ups and downs) was truly an intensive leadership development course packed with lessons that I’ll never forget. Here are 10 lessons that I learnt:
1. The Best of Plans
I learnt that Hajj truly runs by the mercy of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). No amount of planning/precautions/backup plans you could have can prepare you for Hajj and all its logistical hiccups.
2. Lead Without a Title
I learnt that a leader is not the one who has a name badge or title but the person who can rise among his people to face a challenge, take a decision and convince others to follow his decisions.
3. Preserving Information
I learnt that sometimes as a leader it’s best not to tell your followers all your plans and to keep some to yourself as backup in case the announced plans don’t work and you seem incompetent if you don’t have any backup plans!
4. Don’t Make Excuses
I learnt that making excuses or even taking responsibility when it’s not your fault is neither productive nor beneficial and you should simply acknowledge the situation if things go wrong and try to decide how you’ll move forward.
5. Listen to the Followers
I learnt that listening to your followers and getting them involved in decision making is key to diffuse any anger if things don’t work out as planned as they’ll feel part of the process and appreciate the difficulty of making decisions in difficult situations.
6. Verify News
I learnt that as a leader you shouldn’t believe everything you hear, as sometimes even your closest advisers have personal motives and want to sway your decision, but you should always verify news before you act upon them.
7. Help Others
I learnt that if you sincerely want to help others, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) will help you and make things easy for you even when it seems impossible to resolve.
8. 4 Ingredients to Win Hearts
I learnt that winning people’s hearts requires
1. Good listening
2. Genuine Care
3. Humour &
4. Good Communication.
9 There’s No Pleasing Everyone!
I learnt that you can’t please everybody but you can always apologize and be kind to them if they are upset with you and they’ll soon forgive you.
10. Allah Leads The Journey
I learnt that in the beginning and in the end, it’s not the leader who makes things happen but it’s Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) who does. The leader is simply a postman who delivers Allah’s Qadar to His people.
And Allah Knows Best.
What other lessons did you bring back from your journey to Hajj? Share below!