Leadership and Subordination An Islamic Perspective

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Louay Safi

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.Abu Ja'far al Man~ur, the founder of the 'Abbasid state, once posed a question to some of his confidants: Who is the hawk of Quraysh? They replied: The Commander of the Faithful (Amir al Mu'min1n) who established the reign, quieted upheavals, and extinguished ordeals. He said: You have not answered my question. They said: Is it Mu'awiyah? He said: No. They said: Is it 'Abd al Malik ibn Marwan? He said: No. They said: Who else, 0 Commander of the Faithful? He said: 'Abd al Ra}: iman ibn Mu'awiyah, who escaped by his cunning the spearheads of the lances and the blades of the swords, traveling the desert, and sailing the seas until he entered an alien territory. [There] he organized cities, mobilized armies, and reestablished his reign after it was completely lost, by good management and strong resolve. Mu'awiyah rose to his stature through the support of 'Umar and 'Uthman, whose backing allowed him to overcome difficulties; 'Abd al Malik, because of previous appointment; and the Commander of the Faithful through the struggle of his kin and the solidarity of his partisans. But' Abd al Rab man did it alone, with the support of none other than his own judgment, depending on no one but his own resolve. (Ibn al Ath1r, 5: 182)

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