Claritas Books, UK 2021 Hardcover : 179 pages
ISBN-10 : 1800119895 ISBN-13 : 978-1800119895
Given the Islamic Prophet Muhammad’s immense impact on history, there are surprisingly few books that specifically analyze his leadership. The few that exist maintain that Muhammad was a wonderful leader because he was a wonderful man; that is, he succeeded in his mission because of his superior morality and personal qualities.
Professor Joel Hayward sees this as an incomplete and almost inadequate explanation. He does not disagree that Muhammad was a moral and decent man. Yet he has approached the Prophet’s leadership from a different vantage point. He has scrutinized the earliest Arabic sources impartially according to the strict standards of historical inquiry in order to ascertain whether Muhammad’s conscious actions, behavior and methods can provide any substantial and meaningful insights about the effectiveness of his strategic leadership. Hayward concludes that Muhammad was an uncommonly astute, situationally aware and self-reflective man with the ability to create and communicate a believable strategic vision of a necessary and desirable future. When reinforced constantly by his emotionally intelligent, skillful and very hands-on leadership, his cleverly communicated vision persuaded increasing numbers of people to follow him and risk everything willingly in the struggle to make real the bold new world he foresaw. Through original, meticulously researched and rigorous analysis, Hayward demonstrates that Muhammad was “a profoundly effective leader”. This engaging, accessible yet deeply scholarly book makes a major contribution to both leadership studies and the Prophet’s biography.
Awarded the prize of Best International Non-Fiction Book at the 2021 Sharjah International Book Awards
Kirkus Reviews said that Hayward, who is "undeniably one of academia’s most visible Islamic thinkers," had produced "a learned history of Islam and Muhammad that succeeds in its goal of providing contemporary and future managers with valuable insights from his life on successful leadership strategies". Kirkus praised the book’s "full command of Islamic theology and the Arabic language as well as its rich endnotes," and concluded that it "eschews academic and religious jargon for an accessible narrative geared toward the general public, both Muslim and non-Muslim."
The Muslim World Book Review: "The appearance of any work by British-New Zealand scholar Joel Hayward is a matter of interest and significance for those interested in history, but the breadth, scholarship and intellectual ambition of this tome make it of particular importance. … his sources are impeccable and his interpretation irreproachable. This engrossing and sympathetic study portrays the Prophet as a highly competent and reliable human being possessed of significant political and spiritual talents. … The book is wall to wall strengths. … This volume is very intensive and disciplined, compact but with a remarkably comprehensive interior. … This book is an accessible and comprehensive presentation of a complicated issue and the author successfully combines an expert account of the biography of the Prophet with a knowledgeable investigation on the subject of efficacious leadership. … I found this book absorbing, vivid, and stimulating. This is an essential addition to the literature for both students and the general reader."
— Abdullah Drury, The Muslim World Book Review, Vol. 42, No. 2 (2022), pp. 20-23.
From LoveReading: The Leadership of Muhammad is “insightful and intellectual”. Looking “not only at the theological texts, Hayward references early Arabic sources to examine the ways that Muhammad excelled during his twenty-three years as a leader.” The book is “authoritative and informative” and the writing is “clear and accessible throughout, making it easy to comprehend for non-academic purposes … Whether you’re looking for a book of History, Islamic studies, or an interesting look into great leadership, The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction has plenty to offer.”
— “Indie Books We Love”, LoveReading, 12 October 2021
From the San Francisco Review of Books: Star Rating: 5 / 5 "Learning from history is one reason humanity keeps advancing and achieving seemingly impossible feats. The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction by Joel Hayward employs an objective approach to examining Prophet Muhammad as a leader. The book goes beyond just assuming his good character qualifies him as a good leader and employs a thorough analysis by exploring different angles, including Muhammad's leadership role in the military and the power structure he developed through it, his success as a religious leader with numerous converts, and his relationships with others, from the most powerful to the least popular. What new insights can be discovered from an exploration of Muhammad's role as a leader centuries ago and how will they benefit our current generation? Find out in Joel Hayward's groundbreaking book. ... "I felt so much richer in knowledge after reading the book. Even the methods used to treat the subjects are worth learning, like the deductive reasoning used in explaining why Muhammad's good-naturedness does not automatically result to him being a good leader. The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction is filled with events and practices from history, enriching readers with information and resources about the early days of Islam. I was confident about the information since the author is a celebrated historian and strategic studies scholar who makes use of "established methodology of the historical discipline." The book's critical approach will appeal to academic minds, although the language is simple and direct enough to carry all readers along. "Humanity has been through several interesting phases, and I always find books that explore different times in history irresistible. Fortunately, The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction did not disappoint because it's a great source of knowledge about Muhammad and the beginning of Islam. In fact, in addition to being historically informative, it offers valuable lessons about leadership that could help world leaders, decision makers, teachers, and people from all walks of life to communicate and lead better. Several noteworthy leadership qualities are extracted from Muhammad's exploits, of which many still have an impact today."
Reviewed by Foluso Falaye
From OnlineBookClub.org: "In The Leadership of Muhammad, Joel Hayward debunks the usual arguments regarding the reasons Muhammad was a successful leader, pointing out the logical fallacy embedded in these arguments. As a scholar of history, Hayward explains the actual reasons for the success of Muhammad as a leader. … leaving room for rational engagement. … Perhaps the most interesting part of this book for me is the concept of having an objective discussion about such a grand figure based on historical facts, rather than positive bias or negative distortion. Regardless of whether everyone agrees or disagrees, the author is bold and brilliant enough to approach things from a different angle, unafraid to be challenging. … There was nothing I disliked about this book. It was informative, intellectually stimulating, and fun. The Leadership of Muhammad earns four out of four stars."
From ForReadingAddicts.co.uk: Hayward approaches the life of Muhammad with remarkable scholarly detachment and objectivity. He had previously published books on non-Islamic leaders, including Horatio Lord Nelson, and his approach to all of them is the same. Avoiding hagiography, he creates a psychologically believable portrait of Muhammad by critically interrogating the earliest sources and by explaining Muhammad’s ideas, actions and patterns of behaviour in terms of the historical, geographical and cultural context in which he lived. … Hayward’s book is compactly written and argued. In only 179 tightly written pages he creates a thorough and detailed explanation of what Muhammad thought and did as a leader. He studiously avoids psychobabble and recourse to the types of modern leadership concepts and jargon that ruin so many historical accounts by making anachronistic assertions that couldn’t possibly be true. … I strongly recommend The Leadership of Muhammad. It is a ground-breaking, meticulously researched, objective account of the leadership of one of history’s most influential humans. Hayward tells us a lot in a few words, but what he reveals is highly illuminating and of wide interest.
— Mohamed A. Amer, For Reading Addicts
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