Religion as Theory of Everything
And a Case Study of Management Science
Scientists have been working tirelessly for centuries on a single theory: equation and formula that can explain and decode every aspect and facet of physics. A single calculation that solves every mystery and question is the basic notion behind the theory of everything.
Religion has been playing the role of theory of everything ever since the birth of mankind and has made our life simple by providing solutions to problems in every facet of life. Everything is solved; we just have to act on it. From the simple question of how to live, right on up through more complex queries about trade, knowledge and ethics; from character-building all the way down into matters pertaining specifically to rulership, leadership and, managing people, we just have to ask ourselves a single question that will act as a solution for every matter. We just have to ask: “what would our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) do in such a situation?” We have to question just like Theodore Roosevelt used to ask himself this question before Abraham Lincoln’s painting, who was his theory of everything.
Worldly Knowledge vs Divine Knowledge
To know the reality, we should not be bound by the sciences which run on the pillars of refutation and evolution. Instead, we should be bound by our experience of life,” says Khurram Ellahi.
And as my Master, Sir Faiez H. Seyal says: “I believe that any worldly field of knowledge or discipline will always become old as the time passes. But it does not mean that there is nothing to fall back on. There, surely, is something that will pass the test of time.”
“The practices, principles, and traits as listed in Quran are evergreen,” he further adds in his management science handbook ’30 Second Manager’, a discipline that we will briefly explore in this write-up.
Religion as Theory of Everything in Management Science – a Case Study of Promotion
30 Second Manager contains a collection of the global best management and leadership practices. Every practice, principle, and trait is supported by the divine laws of nature either in the form of a Quranic Āyah or by the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
An article from Harvard Business Review titled ‘How to Ask for a Promotion’ by Rebecca Knight mentions key elements that shed light on the importance of strategy in achieving promotion. Let’s take a look at what the article had to say about doing effective homework and research before asking for a promotion.
“It’s smart to gather outside intelligence too, says Nawaz. “The more senior you get, the more likely it is that your promotion is not the sole decision of your manager,” she notes. “Your manager’s peers have input as well.” She recommends “soliciting feedback from a personal board of directors” on your strengths and weaknesses, and speaking to peers to try to “gauge your institutional reputation.” Also ask your colleagues how they perceive your promotion readiness. Remember, when it comes to granting your request, “it’s not just the business results [that matter.] You have to be someone that people are willing to follow.”
The last three lines of the above excerpt reminded me of a similar lesson that I went through in 30 Second Manager. The author Faiez H. Seyal says: “Never ask for any position or promotion. If you are given it on your demand, your colleagues will not like you. However, if others choose you, they would help you succeed.”
The author further strengthens his grounds by adding reference to a Hadith:
“Do not ask for rulership for if you are given it as a result of asking, you will be left to deal with it yourself, but if you are given it without asking, you will be helped in undertaking it.” (Mishkat)
Let’s now analyze some of the leading management literature of the 21st century after going through the sayings above and decipher the true lessons.
• An article from Forbes highlights how a single move from the decision-makers of an organization can result in a negative atmosphere throughout the organization. The writer Kathy Caprino writes: “A promotion doesn’t just affect you, it impacts the entire ecosystem. It will be important that you understand and share your insights on how this promotion will affect the organization as a whole, and also demonstrate a clear grasp on the alliances you’ll need to form (or smooth over) in order to be successful in your new role.”
• Morgan McKinley, a global professional services recruitment consultancy, also shares insights on the traits that an individual must possess in order to achieve a promotion. “Showing that you help colleagues and boost the performance of an entire team rather than just focusing on your personal performance is something leaders and management frequently look out for when considering eligible promotion candidates.”
Truth Always Prevails
Capitalism has defined us in small, medium and large only, this world wasn’t created on the ‘one size fits all’ idea. The corporate culture also promotes a single personality type that will always get the job done and that will have high chances of getting a position/promotion, and that is extroversion. But, let’s analyze what the wife of the business superstar Jack Welch has to say. CNBC Make It covered the leading management thinking with Suzy Welch, this is what the show covered: ‘In the long run, Welch says, “talent almost always wins.” That means, “if you’re on the anti-social side but you’re good — really, really good — eventually organizations take notice.’
The theories have kept changing and will keep changing; what won’t change are the laws of nature. The laws of nature do not change; they are deterministic laws and are not affected by our libertarian free will. Instead, it is us who are affected by the wrong understanding and perception of the laws. In the era of confusion and excess of information, it is time we take a step back and dive into the world of ultimate truth. It is time we unlearn and relearn, and undefine and redefine the truth. It is time we fall back on our Theory of Everything, ask for the truth and, act accordingly.