quotes At Ramadan’s school: Leading by fasting

06 April 2024
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Updated 06 April 2024

At Ramadan’s school: Leading by fasting

Ramadan holds a unique place in the hearts of Muslims worldwide and is celebrated for its deep spiritual significance — a month dedicated to fasting, prayer and special moments with family. Lately, though, my thoughts have wandered beyond these traditional observances. I have come to see Ramadan in a new light, as if it is a hidden school for nurturing future leaders. It is fascinating how this holy month quietly shapes us into the kind of leaders we are intended to become.

The first thing that came to my mind was the self-discipline. Ever tried not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset? It is tough! But here is where it gets interesting: Persevering through this daily challenge during Ramadan teaches us a kind of self-control that is gold for anyone wanting to lead. It is like training for a marathon; you are building this inner strength that tells you “if I can do this, I can beat any challenge that comes my way.”

To make the most of this, set clear intentions for your personal and leadership growth at the beginning of Ramadan. Reflect daily on your actions and decisions, and consider keeping a journal to track your progress and insights.

The next thing that strikes me is that Ramadan is a heart-opener. Feeling those hunger pangs ourselves, we start getting a real sense of what it is like for those who do not have enough to eat. Our ability to empathize grows enormously during this time. Leaders need this empathy to understand and care for the people they are leading. In addition, Ramadan encourages us to help others through zakat (giving to those in need), reminding us that being a leader is also about lifting others up, not just climbing the ladder ourselves.

This is a perfect opportunity to engage in community service. Whether it is through organized events or simple acts of kindness within your neighborhood, every act of service reinforces the leadership quality of putting others first.

Ramadan is a heart-opener. Feeling those hunger pangs ourselves, we start getting a real sense of what it is like for those who do not have enough to eat. Our ability to empathize grows enormously during this time.

Ever noticed how Ramadan makes you more thoughtful? Those peaceful moments, maybe before breaking your fast or during prayers, are perfect for some deep reflection. It is a chance to think about where you are heading, not only in your personal life, but also in your career or studies. The best leaders are the ones who make time for reflection, and then move forward with clarity and strategy. Ramadan gives us practice at this, teaching us to pause, think and move ahead with purpose.

One challenge we might face is maintaining energy levels. Balancing suhoor and iftar meals with beneficial nutrients can help sustain your energy throughout the day. Also, finding moments for short rests or naps can be incredibly refreshing.

Ramadan teaches us to think long term. Fasting from sunrise to sunset every single day for an entire month? That takes patience, my friends. And patience is a must-have for anyone stepping into a leadership role. Whether it is guiding a team through a challenging project or chasing your own dreams, the ability to stick with it, even when the going gets tough, is what makes the difference. Ramadan teaches us that good things come to those who wait (while working hard, of course).

When we think about Ramadan, we will all agree that there is one thing it is famous for, which is bringing people together. Those iftar dinners with family and friends are not just about the food (delicious as it is); they teach us about the power of community. When we share food, help cook and pray together, it strengthens our sense of belonging and teamwork. And let us face it: No leader can make it on their own. Being able to collaborate as part of a team, inspiring others and getting inspired in return: That is what real leadership looks like.

At the end, while we are all focusing on fasting, praying and spending time with loved ones, Ramadan is quietly equipping us with the skills we need to be great leaders. From self-discipline and empathy to reflection, patience and teamwork, the lessons are all there. And the best part? These skills do not only make us better leaders, they also make us better people, too.

As there are still more days in Ramadan, let us keep an eye out for these lessons. Let us embrace them, learn from them and carry them with us long after the month is over. Because who knows? The world’s next great leader could be reading this right now.

Firas Abussaud is a petroleum engineering systems specialist with more than 21 years of experience in the industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and a Master of Science qualification in construction engineering and management from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Beyond his technical expertise, he is interested in photography, graphic design and artificial intelligence.