The Weight of Power: Ruling the Self to Serve Others
You hold tremendous power, even if you may not be aware of it. You have the power to perceive your environment and to act upon it by making decisions that can generate many outcomes. At this moment, your sphere of influence may be limited to yourself, but as you grow, so too will your influence and your responsibilities. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, encouraged us to channel the power we hold, for “each and every one of you is like a shepherd, and each and every one of you has a flock to take care of, and each and every single one of you will be held responsible” (Bukhari).
Being thrust into a position to lead, by choice or by fate, is a heavy responsibility to bear as you become accountable to those around you. In such a position, you must be critically aware of yourself and your intentions. If not, your service can quickly become self-serving, rather than serving others. Would you allow yourself to become like the Pharaoh, who proclaimed to his people, “I am your Lord Most High,” (Quran 79:24) and subjugated them? Or do you take lessons from Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, whose wife Aisha, may God be pleased with her, described him as someone who would constantly be “serving his family” (Bukhari) while he was home? As such, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, exemplified his teaching that “the leader of a people is their servant,” (Bayhaqi) placing service before self-interest and starting with himself and his loved ones.
Both Pharaoh and Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, made conscious decisions to lead their people towards arduous goals. If you were allowed to be in a similar position, how would you act? To "be the change you wish to see in the world" starts with you, navigating your doubts, desires, and dreams, and enriching the lives of yourself and others in your home and in your community.
Whom do you serve and why? How will you check yourself and your intentions? Where do you draw the line? Are you willing to sacrifice your desires, and if so, for what? How do you manage the stress of responsbility? What will be the legacy you leave behind?
We encourage you to creatively explore these concepts and more in Regional and National competitions and workshops during MIST 2023. Remember that unique projects displaying creativity and insight will be judged most favorably.
See previous years' themes here