“Please choose me as your vice captain,” pleaded Omar.
Ali was perplexed. He was the captain of the school cricket team and responsible for selecting the best team that could win them the approaching inter-school cricket tournament. Omar was his best friend, yet Ali knew that he was not a competent leader. Ali couldn’t pick him as the team’s vice captain. But how could he disclose this to Omar?
“Omar, I need to be fair. I have to select the right boy as my vice captain. Someone who I can rely on to lead the team in my absence. Someone I can consult for advice. You are my best friend, but I need someone who is a good leader too,” Ali tried to explain to Omar, hesitatingly.
But Omar got really annoyed and disappointed. “Why don’t you just say that you want to boss around and not give me a chance?” He puffed up with an enraged face, ready to stomp off the field.
Coach Farhan was overhearing this uneasy conversation from afar. “Guys! What’s up? There seems to be some bad blood developing here, huh?”
Ali just shrugged his shoulders helplessly. Omar glared at Ali silently, still red in the face.
“Okay everyone, let’s take a break from the match. Huddle up and bring your refreshments.” Coach Farhan signaled to the rest of the team. The boys brought their cola and water bottles and sat squarely on the ground buzzing in a circle. There was still a queer silence between Ali and Omar.
“Who knows the governors of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (rtam)?” Coach Farhan suddenly asked.
Everyone looked blank and wondered what this was about. Wasn’t this sports time? Why was Coach Farhan talking about Islamiat?
“Alright, don’t wake up your brains, guys. Let it go back to sleep.” He joked. Everyone smiled and giggled.
“The Prophet (sa) appointed his governors on the basis of their knowledge and practice of Islam and their skills for the job. This was much needed after Islam began to grow and spread out of Madinah into the world. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (rtam) followed the same method after becoming the first Caliph after the Prophet’s (sa) death. He reappointed the same people as governors for that location as they were the best leaders.”
The boys nodded their head, still unsure why Coach Farhan was suddenly talking about this.
“Abu Bakr (rtam) appointed people of the region, which was also the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa), as the leader knew the customs and sensitive problems of the local people better than someone coming from outside. He took advise from senior companions of the Prophet (sa) for the best man for the job and next he talked to the person he wanted to select to find out how eager he was to take up that particular mission.” Coach Farhan sipped some water to take a break.
Now the team started looking at Ali and Omar.
The coach continued: “The main duties of the governors were to establish prayers, oversee the Muslim army, govern the newly-conquered lands, take the pledge of loyalty on behalf of the Caliph, manage treasury funds, maintain peace, and educate people about Quran and Islam.”
“Really? But our present-day governors do none of what you have mentioned.” Ali spoke out, surprised.
“Yeah! They are too busy tweeting on social media and attending talk shows like celebrities. They have little clue about what people’s real troubles are,” chipped in another player.
“Exactly! And do you know why?” The coach challenged.
“They are not loyal?” added Omar.
“No! They are not fit for the job,” stated Coach Farhan.
“Leadership is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires knowledge and ability. And it can only be developed by practice and hard work. But what happens when you give a car to a driver who has rarely driven before?”
“He crashes into others,” Ali reasoned.
“Exactly. And he puts his own and others’ lives in danger. Likewise, when we deliberately select the wrong people or incompetent people for a role that they are not ready for, the entire team suffers. So it’s not about being anyone’s favourite or best friend. It’s about choosing the best man for the best job. And you all have talents but different ones. That’s how Allah (swt) has created you.”
Omar looked away, and Ali felt a bit uneasy. It was difficult to say no to his best friend, but he was relieved that Coach Farhan had helped explain his point.
Slowly, Ali walked over to Omar and patted him strongly on his back. “Omar, there is one job you are fit for and no one can take your place. You are my best buddy!”
Omar smiled weakly.
“And you are a promising wicket-keeper, so you are booked for that spot in my team! As for being vice captain, you can wait a bit and polish your skills more. You will get your chance when the time is right. You will have to become the best leader on the team to take care of other’s needs and nurture it!” winked the Coach.
Omar shook hands with Ali, “Alright… I get the point. I will be so good that you won’t be able to turn me down!” Omar nudged Ali in the stomach.
And finally the match resumed.