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The Barakah of Consultation (Shoora)

Consultation (Shoora) within Islamic tradition is a noble act and reflects the way of the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions (RA). Shoora should be an important aspect of Muslim organisations, be it within business or the charity sector.


The benefits of shoora or consultation are immense. It helps to arrive at good and strong decisions, promotes consensus and when done with God and the Prophets seerah (pbuh) in mind, then such decisions include the barakah of God. Another well-known aspect of shoora in a life of a Muslim is the concept of Istikhara, where a Muslim directly consults God to clear any indecisions in a person’s life.


I sometimes come across organisation within the Muslim sector where despite prolonged time spent consultation / shoora, the decision making process is not effective and unfortunately this results in conflict among decision makers and sometime loss in time and resources.


Having spent considerable time reviewing governance within the UK Government sector and the Corporate FTSE 100 sector, I feel something that the Muslim world should have adopted, it is ironic that the West understands and benefits from.


The following are some of the common issues with consultation in organisations with solutions – lets not waste the barakah and benefit that comes from a good and effective consultation:


Why wait for meetings

Consultation or shoora is sometimes intertwined with formal meetings – this delays the decision making and prolongs the consultation unnecessarily. Consultation should not be conditional on holding meetings.


Solution: The decision making process should be broken down and should start well before the meeting where formal decisions are to be made. The process of decision making and consultations should be separated.


I know it all

Depending on the decision required, the consultation should include professional input. A mind-set that already portrays ‘We are perfect and know it all’ can never benefit from consultation – it becomes a useless exercise. The Prophet (pbuh) valued this, lets not undermine it.


Solution: Consultations should be conducted with respect and an open mind and with the overall objective in view.


Scatter gun often shoots the wrong target

The aim of the consultation should be to manage risk, explore opportunities and to plan – when emotions take over then instead of addressing these aims, it becomes a process in which point of views are aired with no clear output – often the case.


Solutions: A framework should be agreed for consultations to ensure it does not deviate from its initial objectives. There are many well developed, tried and tested techniques and tools available to support good consultations i.e. six thinking hats is one technique, I endorse.


By Nasir Rafiq BA ACA – Governance Expert

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