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The Life of Prophet Muhammad Through the Lens of Leadership

What Makes a Great Leader? Lessons from the Prophet

Republished with the author’s kind permission from

Law of Inner Circle: A Leader’s Potential is Determined by Those Closest to Him

The Law of Inner Circle states that the level of your potential is determined by those who you choose to surround yourself with. I’ve already mentioned some points related to this topic in the Laws of Respect and Magnetism, however, I want you to ponder over one point related to this law.

Our potential as leaders is determined by those in our inner circles. What is your potential? What would you be doing if you were living at 100% of your potential in life? I want you think about this and create an image in your mind of you at your absolute best. What would you be doing daily?

I think too many of us settle for lives that aren’t our best. I think this is one aspect of the Sunnah that is not present in our discourse at all: the Sunnah of living to your full potential. Was there anything that the Prophet set out to do that he didn’t accomplish? Did he not live out to his full potential? Did the Companions not actively seek to live out the best lives possible?

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The Prophet didn’t haphazardly choose his inner circle. He knew where he wanted to go and what he wanted to accomplish, so he made sure that the people who were closest to him were world changers like himself!

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • What does the best version of you look like?
  • Who do you need to have in your inner circle to help you live up to your full potential?

Law of Empowerment: Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others

The Law of Empowerment states that leaders who are secure in their leadership make it a point to empower others. To understand this, let’s consider the opposite… an insecure leader.

Have you ever worked with or for someone who was insecure in their leadership? Their insecurity will usually manifest itself through lack of gratitude for their subordinates and co-workers; overemphasis on personal accomplishments and under emphasis on others’ accomplishments; purposefully limiting the growth of their subordinates, coveting their position and seeking titles for the sake of the title and not for greater service.

The Prophet empowered so many leaders around him in various capacities. He empowered his wives by seeking their counsel and implementing it. He empowered youth by giving them REAL responsibilities. He selected young leaders amongst his companions to lead armies, spread and carry the message to foreign lands, and become scholars and teachers in order to carry the message forward after his death. He empowered the slaves and poverty stricken of their society; gave them dignity and important roles such as appointing Bilal (a former slave) as the Muaddhin (Caller to Prayer).

Empowering others is a critical part of the Sunnah for leaders to follow.

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • How does a leader go from being insecure to being secure?
  • How do you empower others that you lead and are responsible for?

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