Emerging Leaders - Kickoff Video


Emerging Leaders and the Qur’an — An ICIT Empowerment Initiative

Afeef Khan
ICIT Principal

Topic 1: Problem Statement

ICIT has long been supportive of programs that promote social and economic justice. Although some progress has been made, our analyses of global events over the years indicate one very persistent problem area.

People need a practical way to systematically apply Qur’anic guidance and the Prophetic way to improve their joint problem solving skills.

Let’s break this statement down to reveal its important parts, starting with the word “people.”

In our news coverage of the Islamic movement we frequently highlight the actions of national leaders, while giving less attention to people who are community leaders.

It is the job of top leaders to authorize and direct the work that needs to be done to put systems in place to uphold justice. In contrast, the job of lower level leaders is to manage and make it easy for other people to carry out the work.

So, establishing justice involves lots of people. To be effective in our efforts, our joint problem solving skills must improve. We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of developing a broad range of skills at both individual and team levels.

Now, let’s move to the phrase “practical way to systematically apply.”

In the context of performing work on a broad scale, accomplishing this often calls for using tools and methods as ways of getting things done. When used properly, they bring the kind of structure that helps shape individual and team behavior in a good way.

For example, to be an effective problem solver, you need to be able to construct a clear problem statement. It has to fit the context of the situation. In other words, it needs a frame of reference within which the problem can be solved.

Another example is using a problem solving method such as breaking a problem down into smaller parts and then trying to solve each part.

Or maybe look for how the smaller parts might be related to other smaller parts and then combined such that the new combination can be solved.

Because our collective problem solving skills are relatively weak, we find that we are unable to address tough issues in a successful way.

Topic 2: Approach

We have been using what we refer to as a community building hub to develop and implement our marketing approach for about three years. The hub was started in early in 1442 when we set up a shura (consultation) process using the ShuraForAll tool.

This is an online tool that is designed to bring people together to decide on a course of action to take. Once a course of action is chosen, the tool is used to guide the work that is performed using teams. It is also used to manage the effort to deliver the intended results.

An online community building hub is established when someone takes the initiative to set up a shura using the ShuraForAll tool for the purpose of working toward solving a community problem.

In our case, we wanted to actively engage certain persons who we knew were passionate about helping ICIT better serve its customers and improve financial performance. These individuals are located in Australia, Canada, India, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States.

So, the idea of setting up a hub using the shura process made sense for us.

Our starting point was to identify target markets and learn what each was trying to accomplish. We chose to concentrate first on what we call emerging leaders — people who include mentors, community organizers, teachers, trainers, advisors, facilitators and others.

They generally operate at individual and community levels and not at regional or national levels.

Recognizing this helped shape our thinking. We realized that operating at these lower levels would likely make our work easier.

We could start by working with people we knew well. Then once we understood what they are trying to accomplish, we could introduce ways to systematically apply Qur’anic guidance and the Prophetic way that would help them.

We decided to name this effort Emerging Leaders and the Qur’an — An ICIT Empowerment Initiative.

Throughout this effort our intent is to deepen our relationship with ICIT customers and the communities they live in. We want to help them tackle problems that are often overlooked by existing top leaders. Problems like the lack of opportunities to earn a living. Poor quality education and training. Not enough affordable housing. Inadequate healthcare.

In working toward better outcomes, we decided to combine the use of the shura process and the waqf (endowment) system.

The primary role of the waqf system is to provide sustainable financial support throughout the community building effort. What makes it distinctive is that it enables communities to grow and optimize their resources through broad participation.

Topic 3: The Idea in Practice

With the kickoff of the ICIT empowerment initiative, we have started to build on earlier work done in Nigeria. Resulting from the early stage implementation of a Training That Builds Communities program, five emerging leaders have completed their requirements.

Two of them have taken on leadership roles in setting up the initial operation of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Innovation Hub in Bauchi Nigeria. This hub is designed to be a collaborative workspace for the university and local business and residential communities.

These two emerging leaders are in charge of designing and implementing a skills training program at the hub for participants at all skill levels. They are integrating the use of the shura process in the training program.

As ICIT continues to think about practical ways to systematically apply Qur’anic guidance in addressing issues, we recognize the significant role that this process plays.

This is especially true for the university innovation hub where training activities are being designed for participants to work in joint-cross-community teams as they develop skills and resolve local issues.

In this setting, participants learn to set objectives and carry out action steps where they help each other improve individual and team performance. While new skills and capabilities are being built, research has shown that achievement and productivity is higher in cooperative situations than in competitive or individualistic ones.

Returning to the matter of combining the shura process with the waqf system, ICIT has decided to establish a waqf named TAQ Waqf. Among other aspirations, it aims to identify and cultivate new Islamic leaders by helping them shape the direction of change.

The primary assets of the waqf are literary works in digital format. These include The Ascendant Qur’an English translations and tafsir volumes. Revenue derived from sales and services related to these assets provide sustainable financial support.

TAQ Waqf also generates revenue from services offered through using the ShuraForAll tool. An excellent example of this is the implementation of the community building hub construct described earlier.

Just as ICIT uses the hub construct to combine the use of the shura process and the waqf system to address issues and solve problems, we plan to promote and provide training support for other organizations to do the same.

By functioning in this role, ICIT becomes the centerpiece of an ongoing expansion of community building hubs. Our intent is to use this comprehensive approach to systematically apply Qur’anic guidance and the Prophetic way to improve people’s joint problem solving skills.

Thank you.

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