Human Resource Management and Islam


Islam is not just any religion or a mere theology. It is much more than that, it is a way of life. Islam has a moral code and a constant sense of accountability for every action coupled with a plethora of rewards for doing the required tasks and few penalties to maintain discipline. Contrast that to the Western model of leadership and management and we can easily observe that there is a huge void of spiritual, ethical and moral values that are directly linked to religiosity. This is so because they have built a wall separating religion and work making religion that is something that is something which is done part time and only at home.

From the very onset of man onto the face of this Earth there has been project management and structured guidance that is flexible yet productive. The Human Resources – top professionals involved in a project, particularly the project managers, being the most important must be given correct guidance and training not only to deliver the final product successfully, but also to implement a methodology which leads to a top-level product in the most correct ethical, moral and religious manner. For this, we look into the scenario of the creation of the Father of Mankind and the First Prophet of Islam, Adam and how Allah trained and guided him.

People are of the most important asset for any organization. Even in the world ecosystem, Allah tells us in the Quran in Surah al-Baqarah

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.”

Allah has created us to be His slaves and to act as His vicegerents on Earth so that we can delegate His commands in the world. This shows the important ranking that man holds in this world.

People are the key factor that determine the failure or success of the organization. From the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ we see how when he called his own people, the Quraysh to Islam they opposed him and tried to sabotage his mission. On the other hand we see that the Ansar were dedicated people who lived up to their words and delivered not just what they had promised but much more than that. Just the difference in the attitude of the two people played such a huge role in the outcome of the leadership of Arabia.

We see in the ayah quoted above that Allah created man and declares him to be a Khalifa over all that is on Earth. Basically, it is the responsibility of this Khalifa to take care and manage the affairs of those on Earth. In our context of Human Resources, this is quite similar to the duties of a manager. The Project Manager that has been sent to Earth is there till the purpose of the project which is the test of man is completed. The Project Manager is replaced over time by another who is more adaptive to the demand of the project and updated plans to develop the project better. These Project Managers are the Prophets of Allah who give us our updated orders which are the Books of Allah from the Highest Management on how to run and work through our life. The final and the best of all the Project Managers to be sent and recognized by the Highest Authority was Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

Returning to the story of Prophet Adam we see that these managers and through them their team is put through an intensive yet thorough, specialized, accelerated training. Allah teaches him, gives him the necessary tools and guidance that he needs to get started. We see that Allah forgives and pardons a mistake of this new team which were bound to happen in the learning curve. Another Project Manager named Iblees fails because of a lack of humility, arrogance, wanton disregard of rules and an ego that prevented him from admitting learning from his mistake.  In the Ultimate Manual, the Quran, we see how Allah is contrasting between a good and a bad manager for us to learn from.


What is Human Resource Management?

Human Resource Management is making the most effective use of the people involved with a project.

Planning Human Resource Management

This involves identifying and documenting project roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships. From the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ we see how he would designate people of different strengths to different positions. Even towards the end of his blessed life we see that he instructed to have Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer hence signifying that Abu Bakr would be the Imam, Khalifa and leader of the people after the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ was known for his easy going attitude because of which every companion loved him dearly and everyone thought that they were the closest to the Prophet ﷺ. This made the atmosphere of the organization extremely positive and heightened productivity levels. People didn’t do work because they were forced to do it but rather because their relation with their leader and manager was such that they would do anything to not let him down.

Acquiring the Project Team

This involves getting the needed personnel assigned to and working on the project. From the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ we see how he sent Musab Ibn Umair as the first ambassador in Islam to Yathrib, later to be known as Madinah to teach the people the message of Islam. Musab was chosen because of the skill sets which he possessed and which the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ identified as being key in educating the people of Madinah about Islam. Likewise, the Prophet ﷺ would sent specific companions with a particular skill to a certain tribe because of how they would complement each other and how it would benefit the Muslims and the message of Islam.

Developing the Project Team

This involves building individual and group skills to enhance project performance. From the Makkan Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ we see how in that period of 10 years after attaining Prophethood, he ﷺ built, nurtured and developed those around him. The major highlight of the Makkan life of the Prophet ﷺ is seen as developing in the Muslims the trust in Allah and building the leaders who would go on and take blossom in Madinah. This was where their foundations were built and strengthened. As mentioned before, the team is the key to success or the door to failure. Investing in them both professionally as well as personally will definitely benefit the organization in the long run.

Managing the Project Team

This includes tracking team member performance, motivating team members, providing timely feedback, resolving issues and conflicts, and coordinating changes to help enhance project performance. From the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ we see numerous cases of this management. We see how in the Battle of the Trench the Prophet ﷺ lead the companions from the front by digging the trench with them. When the companions had to tie a stone on their stomachs to ease the pangs of hunger they saw that the Prophet ﷺ had tied two stones on his stomach. He motivated them from the core.


Motivation generally can be divided into 2 types:

• Intrinsic Motivation: This causes people to participate in an activity for their own enjoyment.

• Extrinsic Motivation: This causes people to do something for a reward or to avoid a penalty

When it comes to motivation we see that the Prophet ﷺ motivated the Muslims not just with the success in this world but also in the hereafter. Even though he ﷺ used to give them glad tidings and prophesied the Muslims to defeat the Romans, Persians and conquer Yemen he always made sure that their long term and subsequently the main aim was the pleasure of Allah and attaining success in the hereafter. The success in this world could be counted as minor milestones and steps on the way ascending to the happiness of Allah. His motivation technique was such that it encompassed both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Very few world leaders can boast of achieving such a feat in their lifetimes.


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow argued that humans possess unique qualities that enable them to make independent choices, thus giving them control of their destiny.

Destiny is not a new concept in the Muslim world. A major factor in the Muslim creed is the concept of qadr. Qadr could be translated as fate or predestination. Muslims believe that Allah in His Infinite Knowledge knows everything that is happening or is to happen. That is one spectrum. On the other end, we as human beings have been informed by divine revelation as to what is deemed correct or incorrect in the court of Allah. Based on that it is now up to us to make our decisions. Based on the decisions we make we will get results in this world as well as the hereafter. Our life both here and in the hereafter is anchored on the independent choices that we make.

Maslow developed a hierarchy of needs which states that people’s behaviors are guided or motivated by a sequence of needs.


McClelland’s Acquired-Needs Theory

As per this theory specific needs are acquired or learned over time and shaped by life experiences, including:

• Achievement (nAch): Achievers like challenging projects with achievable goals and lots of feedback.

• Affiliation (nAff): People with high nAff desire harmonious relationships and need to feel accepted by others, so managers should try to create a cooperative work environment for them.

• Power: (nPow): People with a need for power desire either personal power (not good) or institutional power (good for the organization). Provide institutional power seekers with management opportunities.

From the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ we see how he gauged his companions and those around him and built them in such a way that they could benefit the Muslims and the message of Islam the most. From the companions like Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf who had lost all his wealth in Makkah we see how he didn’t merely accept help from his Ansar brother but rather set a challenging goal of setting up his own business in the markets of Madinah and worked hard to get it.

As for affiliation we see how before the coming of the Prophet ﷺ to Madinah, the major tribes of Aws and Khazraj who were residing there were involved in a Civil War with each other. They were ridiculed by the Jews residing there as being farmers and lesser people. They constantly threatened them that a Prophet would soon appear among them and grant them victory over the Arabs. This was a key factor that led the people of Madinah to immediately accept the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ with open hands, since they had been hearing of his coming for a long time.

Power could be good for a person or destroy them completely. From the adab of Islam is that we don’t choose such a person as a leader who himself promotes himself as being a leader and shows a want for power. This can be seen in the case of Abdullah Ibn Ubayy Ibn Salul from the tribe of Khazraj who was the leader of the hypocrites in Madinah. He was to be elected as the ruler of Madinah but the coming of the Prophet ﷺ put an end to any such hopes. He constantly showed his anger at not being chosen as the leader of Madinah. Such people become toxic for the organization and it becomes very important for the manager to identify such individuals and deal with them before they harm the cohesion within the organization.

On the other hand we see the Leader of the Faithful, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. Here is a man who didn’t want to, and never aspired for leadership or office. But the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had identified in him the traits of a natural leader whom the people loved, respected dearly and would obey. The Prophet ﷺ asked Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayers in his place. Not just this but even after the passing of the Prophet ﷺ, Abu Bakr was elected unanimously with the consensus of all the Muslims. Many Muslim jurists cite this occasion as the first ijma in the history of Islam.


McGregor’s Theory X and Y

This theory was popularized by Douglas McGregor regarding human relations approach to management in the 1960s. This theory states that:

Theory X: It assumes workers dislike and avoid work, so managers must use coercion, threats and various control schemes to get workers to meet objectives.

Theory Y: It assumes individuals consider work as natural as play or rest and enjoy the satisfaction of esteem and self-actualization needs.

A similar but much more highly efficient system is seen in Islam. Allah has set rewards for obeying commands and punishments for disobeying commands. Allah in His perfect system of things has balanced out the need for threat and yet at the same time given glad tidings of reward to His slaves for doing good.

Islam teaches us to worship Allah out of love for Him but with a healthy balance of fear and hope.

Allah tells us in the Quran:

تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ

They arise from their beds and they supplicate their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend from what We have provided them. [Surah As-Sajda, 16]

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ

Verily, they would hasten to good deeds and supplicate to Us in hope and fear, and they were humbly submissive to Us. [Surah Al-Anbiya, 90]

Allah further tells us:

وَاتَّقُوا يَوْمًا تُرْجَعُونَ فِيهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ ۖ ثُمَّ تُوَفَّىٰ كُلُّ نَفْسٍ مَّا كَسَبَتْ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

Fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah. Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly. [Surah Al-Baqarah, 281]

Fear of accountability makes a person think twice before they embark on an action. It is the quality of mindfulness and awareness that Allah cultivates in the heart of a Muslim.

Allah says:

إِنَّا أَنذَرْنَاكُمْ عَذَابًا قَرِيبًا يَوْمَ يَنظُرُ الْمَرْءُ مَا قَدَّمَتْ يَدَاهُ وَيَقُولُ الْكَافِرُ يَا لَيْتَنِي كُنتُ تُرَابًا

Verily, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say: Oh, I wish that I were dust! [Surah An-Naba, 40]

To summarize, Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim famously said:

الْقَلْبُ فِي سَيْرِهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الطَّائِرِ فَالْمَحَبَّةُ رَأْسُهُ وَالْخَوْفُ وَالرَّجَاءُ جَنَاحَاهُ فَمَتَى سَلِمَ الرَّأْسُ وَالْجَنَاحَانِ فَالطَّائِرُ جَيِّدُ الطَّيَرَانِ وَمَتَى قُطِعَ الرَّأْسُ مَاتَ الطَّائِرُ وَمَتَى فُقِدَ الْجَنَاحَانِ فَهُوَ عُرْضَةٌ لِكُلِّ صَائِدٍ وَكَاسِرٍ

The heart on its journey towards Allah the Exalted is like that of a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunter and predator. [Madarij As-Salikeen]


Staffing Management Plans

A staffing management plan describes when and how people will be added to and taken off the project team. We see an example of this during the caliphate of Umar Ibn al-Khattab where he removed the legendary war general Khalid Ibn Waleed and demoted him in the Muslim army. This was because people had started associating victory because of his presence and expertise instead of from the Mercy of Allah. This was a very tough yet necessary decision made by the Umar al-Faruq. From this we derive a lesson that a manager should always be ready to shoulder the responsibility of taking the difficult decisions which are important to restructure the team and enhance the output in general.

We can incorporate many Islamic principles and teachings even in the technical functionalities of human resource management:


Often it is seen that organizations and generally those which are affiliated to the government advertise regarding an opening in the organization, to only people belonging to a specific group, race, or gender. In some cases this policy could be understood and tolerated but when this becomes the norm then this goes against the Islamic teachings and the Sunnah. The other groups could fulfil the same job scope requirements and many a times perform the same task with higher efficiency and output. It is upon the people incharge of the hiring process to base their decision on the skillset of the person and to gauge the talent the person brings to the table instead of skin colour or other such ignorant forms of judgement.

Imam Ahmad narrated from Abu Nadrah: Someone who heard the khutbah of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ on the second of the days of at-Tashreeq told me that he said: “O People, verily your Lord is One and your father is one. Verily there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of a non-Arab over an Arab, or of a red man over a black man, or of a black man over a red man, except in terms of taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?” They said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ has conveyed the message. [Grade: Saheeh by Sheikh al-Albani]

Due to such hidden or open biases in the recruitment policy the talent pool of the organization is affected. Ahmad & Sadeq (2006) summarize that this goes against the concept of:

1.    Justice – Al-‘Adl

2.    Fulfilment of the contract with the employer to look after the interest of the organization – Ifa Al-‘Aqd

3.    Right of others in dealings – Huquq Al-‘Ibad)

Of the many ayat that Allah mentions about this case incldue:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded. [Surah an-Nahl, 90]

Training and Development

If water becomes stagnant, it starts to become foul and attract a host of unwanted organisms towards it. Likewise when an organization becomes stagnant in terms of its staff then the organizations starts to fall behind. Technology is moving at a lightning pace today. If the organization doesn’t keep up with this change and keep learning then they fall in the danger of becoming redundant in a highly dynamic market. This can be seen in the case of Nokia and other major corporations who went from being superpowers in the tech business to something of the past in the blink of an eye.

The organization should encourage and provide a means for their employees to gain additional skills and knowledge be it technical or soft skills through training and development programs. Doing so boosts productivity and develops a bond between the team members and the organization. It shows that the organization cares about the betterment of the employees and this feeling of mutual respect would push the team to give their best in return. It makes the work environment more conducive. From the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ we can see many instances where he would build his companions before assigning them to a task they weren’t familiar with.

Zayd bin Thabit narrates: “The Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘O Zayd! Learn the language of Jews for me. I do not trust in Jews related to my written documents.’ I learned it in two weeks. When it was necessary to write something to Jews, I wrote it.” [Abu Dawud]

Salaries and Compensation

This is a very important concept to take into account. Money related matters are an amanah (trust) on the person and will be held accountable in the court of Allah for not dealing with it justly.

Allah tells us in the Quran,

وَيْلٌ لِّلْمُطَفِّفِينَ

الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ

وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَو وَّزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ

“Woe to those who deal in fraud, those who take the full measure when they receive from others, but give less when give them in measure or weight.” [Surah al-Mutaffifin, 1-3]

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet ﷺ said,

قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى ثَلاَثَةٌ أَنَا خَصْمُهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ رَجُلٌ أَعْطَى بِي ثُمَّ غَدَرَ، وَرَجُلٌ بَاعَ حُرًّا فَأَكَلَ ثَمَنَهُ، وَرَجُلٌ اسْتَأْجَرَ أَجِيرًا فَاسْتَوْفَى مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُعْطِهِ أَجْرَهُ

“Allah said, ‘I will be an opponent to three types of people on the Day of Resurrection:

1.    One who makes a covenant in My Name, but proves treacherous;

2.    One who sells a free person and eats his price; and

3.    One who employs a laborer and takes full work from him but does not pay him for his lab our.’ ” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

In another famous hadith it was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

أَعْطُوا الأَجِيرَ أَجْرَهُ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَجِفَّ عَرَقُهُ

“Give the worker his wages before his sweat dries.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Even from the other criterion like Maslow’s and others which have been mentioned before we learn that when a person doesn’t have to worry or have psychological stress about things like job security, providing for his family etc then his/her work output and quality increases substantially. If an organization doesn’t take care of their team members and compensate them accordingly then sooner rather than later the members will start resenting the work. Instead of working like a family and giving it their maximum, they will just do the bare minimum with zero enthusiasm. This is detrimental in the overall work atmosphere and productivity levels of the organization.

Those who are not performing up to the mark should also be informed and guided in the right direction so that they may work harder to build and achieve their targets.


Important HR Management Lessons from the Seerah

Building a Reputation

From the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, we learn that even before he was bestowed with the office of Prophethood he was known as Sadiq and al Ameen – the truthful and the trustworthy one. Even those who opposed his mission severely didn’t hesitate to leave their valuables in his safe-keeping because they had no doubt that he would not break his trust and promise. From a project management perspective, such kind of trust and relationship needs to be built both within the team as well as with the other stakeholders involved so that

We see how our mother, Khadija assessed Prophet Muhammad ﷺ both before hiring him and even after hiring him to do business on her behalf. As a manager it is very important to see who is being brought into the team and to check if they are capable to fulfil the demands of the duties along with maintaining their ethics and morals.

Overlook Jeers and Taunts of Competition

Throughout the life of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ we see that his enemies constantly tried to ridicule him and bring down his morale. He replied to all of this not with the same but always with a smile on his face. His reply was his work and his actions. They kept talking and he kept working. This is a very important characteristic for a project manager. He/She will face many negative comments about their work sometimes from the competition and at times even from their own team. What matters is not to let negativity seep into the team or else it causes panic and breaks the morale completely. Having a positive outlook of things and bringing forth results is what matters while climbing the ladder of success.

Attack not the messenger but the message – From the Seerah we see that throughout the Prophetic mission many of his tribesmen, the Quraysh neglected his message not because they had found fault in his message, but because their ego wouldn’t allow them to accept the fact that someone from a rival clan had become a Prophet. The Prophet’s arch-rival Abu Jahl himself conceded the fact that the message was indeed true but that he would reject it. From a Project Management perspective, we need to have a clear mind with no personal bias involved. As long as it’s beneficial for the project we take an input from all parties involved. Even if a person has some personal reservations with a colleague, they shouldn’t impact the ongoing work of the project. There should be no criticism or personal attacks, rather criticism should only be constructive in nature and should pertain to the opinion only.

Building a Relationship

One of the most striking features that stood out then and baffles many readers even today is the way the companions of the Prophet ﷺ interacted with him. There was so much trust, respect, honour and love that he was more dearer to them than their families and wealth. Whenever the Prophet ﷺ spoke to a person he gave them his full attention. Such was his way of talking that all the companions felt that they were the closest to the Prophet ﷺ. It is very important in a project that there is trust and cohesion with team. What’s even more important is the fact that the team acknowledges and respects the authority of the Project Manager. When the Project Manager makes the team feel at ease and puts that spark to work in them then they wouldn’t need to be forced to work, rather they would be willing to bring way more to the table.

We see from the example of the Battle of the Trench that the Prophet ﷺ was down with his team in the trench digging and carrying material with them. He ﷺ was leading them from the front with his example. It is managers like this who gain the respect and love of the team around them.

We also see here that this Battle was a form of Agile Development where they had to adapt and come up with a new strategy in the course of things to deal with the new development at hand.

Allah says in the Quran,

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ لِنتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

“So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” [Surah Aal e Imran]

This is a very profound ayah from Allah guiding our manager, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This single ayah teaches us the etiquettes of discipline, dealing with those who err, consequences of harsh speech, importance of taking advice, consultation and the most important which is relying solely on Allah for help. Allah revealed this ayah after the Battle of Uhud where many of the Prophet’s ﷺ companions including his uncle, Hamza were martyred because of the archers disobeying his direct command of maintaining their position. During a project we may have inexperienced workers of the team who might feel their method is better and go ahead with it disregarding the advice and orders from those who are more experienced. Here we see how Allah is guiding the Prophet ﷺ to maintain the morale and discipline of a team even after a major setback. Another major lesson to be learnt from this is the importance of consultation. In the course of a project, a manager cannot have his mind run on the minute details of every nook and cranny. That is why it is important to take the advice and feedback from the team so that the management can take into account the different perspectives and the angles involved in a project.

Don’t Disclose all the Details of a Plan

A major lesson that we learn from the Seerah is to not disclose the details of a plan with the entire team at the very beginning. Some might be too scared to make an attempt, some could lose their confidence and much more. Many a times it so happened that the Prophet ﷺ wouldn’t disclose the intention of where or why the army was headed. He used to give them a short term goal in mind but then used to put them into the field. Overthinking and brooding over something for long can kill the desire to do it. So the Prophet ﷺ used to put his team into the thick of things with the required yet minimum resources and they performed. This is an important strategy to adopt when the resources are low, competition is getting stronger or the project is trying to break barriers which are a bit hard to comprehend by those in the lower management side of things.

Showing Trust in the New Members

From the Seerah we see the case of Usama’s army which set out just before the Prophet ﷺ passed away. The Prophet ﷺ built the morale and confidence of this young commander by making him the head of one of the largest Muslim armies that consisted of illustrious names like Abu Bakr and Umar Ibn AlKhattab. Even during the caliphate of Umar Ibn AlKhattab, it is said that he kept the youth involved in his meetings. When other members raised their disapproval, he said that the sharpness and intelligence of the youth is an asset when coupled with the wisdom of the elders. We can clearly see how this worked out when the Caliphate of Umar went on to become of the most successful empires till date.

Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ discussion with Prophet Musa

This is a higher management scenario within the framework of human resource management. We see that during the Prophet’s ﷺ Night Journey he meets Prophet Musa who advises him to ask Allah for a reduction in the number of prayers to be performed in a single day. The Prophet ﷺ follows and listens to Prophet Musa multiple times but then at the end disagrees and does not ask Allah for a further reduction. From this we learn that a manager can learn and take advice from those who are more experienced than them. But it so happens, that with the fast-paced world that we are living in methods and other course of actions also burn out soon and need to be replaced with something better to cope up. A manager learns and builds from the advice and the mistakes of those before him but needs to chart out a new method which is adequate for his time and scenario. Take an input from all, process it but the output should be that which you feel is right after weighing all the options.

Building Blocks

Abdullah Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

أَلَا كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ فَالْإِمَامُ الَّذِي عَلَى النَّاسِ رَاعٍ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ وَالرَّجُلُ رَاعٍ عَلَى أَهْلِ بَيْتِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ وَالْمَرْأَةُ رَاعِيَةٌ عَلَى أَهْلِ بَيْتِ زَوْجِهَا وَوَلَدِهِ وَهِيَ مَسْئُولَةٌ عَنْهُمْ وَعَبْدُ الرَّجُلِ رَاعٍ عَلَى مَالِ سَيِّدِهِ وَهُوَ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْهُ أَلَا فَكُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ

“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

From a management perspective we learn how important it is for the building blocks of a team to deliver. If the small units deliver, then the overall efficiency of the project will also increase. Another important lesson that we learn from this is that no matter what the position of a person on the team, they should always have a responsibility on their shoulders which they are held accountable for.

One of the reasons the Prophet’s ﷺ companions never lied to him and always owed up to their mistakes was because of the way he used to deal with them. He ﷺ never focused too much on the mistake for it was a thing that had already happened in the past. He ﷺ was understanding of their situations, always strived to bring forward solutions to their problems and make them focus on the solution, the end goal, and not the problem itself.

Another point which we can gleam from this was that when you see someone from your organization who has potential, then it is always better to nurture and take care of them for otherwise a time will come when others will offer them with something better which they in reality deserved, and the organization will lose out on a major asset. The Quraysh knew the standing and respect that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ commanded among his people. They not only knew about his potential but even attested to it as can be seen in many reports. Yet despite all these signs of a great leader to be, their short term goals and egos prevented them from succeeding as an organization. They lost out to the people of Yathrib, later to be known as Madinah who with the Prophet ﷺ on their side went on to become the political and spiritual leaders of not just Arabia but half the world. This was way more than what the Quraysh could have ever imagined.

Communication between the team members is very important for the success of the project. A manager should make the atmosphere such that everyone can easily and openly voice out their concerns, ideas and criticism. From the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ we see that before he took any major decision that he would do shoura (consultation) with his companions and ask them for their advice and ideas. Consultation increases participation. It makes the members of the team more likely to help and contribute. It was such shoura which led to the famous idea of Salman al-Farsi of digging a trench around Madinah to safeguard them from the incoming army being suggested. It was something completely unheard of in Arabia. But because of the atmosphere created by the Prophet ﷺ, his companion Salman didn’t feel awkward in voicing out his idea. If the one who gets revelation from Allah did Shoura, then what about us?



Human Resource Management is a key factor in managing people, the affairs of the people and the workplace culture and environment. If carried out and implemented efficiently, it can act as a great asset to the overall growth and a positive thrust in the company’s direction. It works as a springboard to boost the accomplishments, goals and objectives of the organization.

It can be said that the function of Human Resource Management within an organisation is focused on recruiting, managing and directing people and analysing the overall environment of the organization. Human Resource Management further deals with issues related to compensation, performance management, organisation development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, training and many others.

Most if not all and much more of productive human resource strategies can be derived and learned from the life, teachings and guidance of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

If the trees of the world were to become pens and the oceans were to become ink we still wouldn’t be able to fully reflect and write on the teachings that we derive from the Quran and Sunnah in all spheres of life. May Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon His Final Messenger and Our Prophet, Muhammad.


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Mohammad Zahid


Born Najdi, Bred Hijazi, Brought Up Nawabi. Founder - Currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Islamic Studies as well as a Masters Degree in Information Technology at International Islamic University Malaysia. Studying Islamic Sciences under the guidance of Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu. An ardent interest in Islamic History especially the Seerah of our Beloved Prophet. Aims to rekindle the spark to read amongst the Muslim Youth through various projects and activities. An ever expanding appetite for books - Bibliophile. Life is just a transit and we pass away as strangers, a legacy left behind is all that matters.

'Human Resource Management and Islam' have 1 comment

  1. February 27, 2019 @ 3:38 pm Jk

    Jzk for a research Brother on this. A very Long article though :) was able to read 70% of it. Few lessons i took it were
    “Looking for the toxic nature and also a leader who needs to take tough decision when someone isn’t right “


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