The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Consultation; an empowering factor in addressing issues

Shura, or consultation, embraces every facet of life and is easily adaptable to a variety of different situations. In Islam, it is encouraged not only in the political realm but on a social scale as well, involving families and professional entities. The holy Quran mentions shura when it refers to those “who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation” (42:38) in the list of people that will have a lasting reward with Almighty Allah. Hence, shura is a binding Islamic principle. Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), used to decide matters of importance, be it within the community or in his home, with the consultation of those around him. He set numerous examples in which he exercised shura, both in seeking advice and heeding it. In this way, he modeled how to be a just leader, an engaging military commander, and a father and husband that continually took counsel from his family. Indeed, shura was an integral process for him and he made it a prevalent practice in his society, fostering dialogue, mutuality, and unity. From the very beginning of his prophethood, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) sought the counsel of his wife, Khadija. The first experience of revelation left the Prophet (pbuh) confused and he immediately rushed to Khadija for solace. Khadija comforted him and assured him that an honest man like him would not be forsaken by Allah. She took him to her cousin, Waraqa ibn Nawfal, a priest, who confirmed that Mohammad (pbuh) was a Prophet. After Khadija’s death, the Prophet (pbuh) did not marry until a lady named Khawla bint Hakeem suggested that he do so for the sake of his children and for his own company. The Prophet (pbuh) asked her to recommend whom he should marry and followed her counsel. Distressed, he went to his wife, Umm Salamah, who advised him to conduct these rites himself first, and his companions will surely follow. The Prophet heeded her suggestion, and as she had predicted, his companions followed suit, resolving the problem. Similarly, shura among families as a whole – including children – is extremely important. Consultation strengthens the family unit and creates a culture of inclusive decision-making. It also cultivates confidence in children and nurtures a trusting relationship within the family. When shura is one of the family’s building blocks, then it is easier to get through the bumps of life, such as growth stages in children, behavioral changes, economic challenges, loss of loved ones, etc. The Prophet (pbuh) has stated, “The believers with the most perfect faith are those with the most perfect conduct and manners. And the best ones amongst you are those who are best to their families.” The Islamic principle of shura is equally important beyond the family. It is a motivating and empowering factor in anything people undertake – from education to work to social causes to hobbies. It enables individuals to feel that their feedback is valuable and they can make a difference in the larger picture. Hence, in general, shura has a very positive influence on all sorts of professional or voluntary endeavors. Last week, a large number of representatives and religious ulamas from different provinces gathered in the tent of the Loya Jirga, where a great meeting titled ‘Strengthening the Islamic system and national unity’ was held. In the meeting, representatives, tribal elders and religious ulamas discussed and exchanged opinions on the important and fateful issues of the country. The Islamic Emirate leaders heard the representatives and ulamas in the meeting as the IEA considers consultation with the mujahid nation as its religious and national duty. For better implementation of the Sharia law, it contacts its people and religious ulamas time to time and holding such meeting is an example. The people of Afghanistan also welcome such consultative meetings if held for consultation with the people, tribal elders and religious ulamas of the country. The shura is very important in Islam as some time later, when Umar, the second caliph, was on his deathbed, he instructed that his successor be chosen by mutual consultation among six companions. In general, the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) kept the spirit of shura alive by routinely seeking counsel and giving advice. This practice was so prevalent that individuals also felt free to approach their leaders without fear. As time has gone by, and with various influences, Muslims in some parts of the world have relinquished this Islamic principle, clinging to rigid hierarchical structures instead. However, shura is a timeless concept which has to be understood and implemented according to the needs of time, place, and circumstances. When properly applied, it becomes essential to the well-being of families and organizations. Ahmad Tamim

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.