The importance of leadership has never been questioned in any human society. All human institutions have acknowledged its indispensability in all affairs. The society whether macro or micro, survives as a result of the kind leadership that exists therein. This is because leadership is a system which has its origin in the essence of the Divine Being Himself, Allah. All the crises in the modern world are not unconnected with the failure of leadership in the contemporary human society.
From the earliest days of man, the relevance and essence of leadership have remained the same. Times may change. Cultures and traditions may vary. Attitudes and dispositions may be altered, but the principles of leadership are constant. Though these principles may be hidden behind the veil of rhetoric, clothed in the garb of proverbs, concealed in the plot of stories or disguised in the cloak of religious idioms, their essence is the same. It is therefore in his light that people only ask questions about what constitutes true leadership and not why there should be leadership.
When Allah created the entire cosmos, He gave the leadership of the cosmos to man and appointed the Prophets as leaders among men while He chose Muhammad (saw) as the leader of the Prophets. It is therefore because of this that the best of leadership qualities are found in him.
It is however necessary to assert that leadership depends largely on followership if it must be effective. This is because leaders are leaders because there are followers. In Islam, three key elements are important to leaders: God-consciousness, patience and competence. For followers, God-consciousness, humility and trust are very essential. Indeed, distrust and discontent may trigger a disaster if leaders are not God-fearing and open in their dealings with the followers. Thus, to a very large extent, followership is the mirror image of leadership.
Accountable leadership is achieved where the actions of the leader have a trans-worldly reference. If the leader venerates that Awesome Power that is above all, he will be transparent in his dealings because he is aware that there is an ever-present, all-piercing Eye that sees him. If followers have such a leader, it is natural that they will not fail in their own responsibilities.