By Junaid Ahmed, East London Mosque.

In the vibrant tapestry of Islamic teachings, the concept of Ihsan (إحسان) stands out as a beacon of excellence. Rooted deeply in the ethos of Islam, Ihsan transcends mere perfection or achievement; it is about embodying a state of inner grace, which manifests in all one does. As professionals and leaders in today's fast-paced world, understanding and integrating Ihsan's essence can transform our work and leadership approach.

"It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then indeed He sees you." – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Understanding Ihsan

At its core, Ihsan means to do things beautifully and excellently. It's derived from the Arabic root word, 'Husn' (ﺣُﺴﻦ), which means beauty. In a hadith (saying) of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), when asked about Ihsan, he replied, "It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then indeed He sees you."

This profound statement captures the essence of Ihsan – being mindful and giving one's best, knowing that one's actions are always under divine observation and that one day, we will be held accountable for every action and deed, no matter how small or trivial it may seem to us – and it is in that moment – we will realise the true worth of our actions.

Ihsan in Professional Life

1. Pursuit of Excellence: In the realm of work, Ihsan translates to delivering with excellence. It's not just about completing a task but doing it to the best of one's ability, ensuring quality and striving for continuous improvement.

2. Ethical Conduct: Ihsan also emphasises integrity and ethical conduct. In business dealings, it promotes fairness, honesty and transparency. It discourages cutting corners or compromising on values for short-term gains.

3. Empathy and Compassion: At the heart of Ihsan is a deep sense of empathy and compassion. In leadership roles, this means understanding the needs of team members, fostering a supportive environment, and leading with kindness.

4. Continuous Learning: The quest for excellence, inherent in Ihsan, fuels a passion for continuous learning. It encourages professionals to seek knowledge, upskill, and stay updated in their respective fields.

5. Accountability: As the concept of Ihsan reminds us of the divine observance, it instils a strong sense of accountability. Leaders and professionals become more responsible, owning up to their decisions and their consequences.

The principle of Ihsan offers a holistic approach to professional life and leadership. It's not just about achieving targets or climbing the corporate ladder; it's about the journey, the conduct, and the values one upholds along the way. By embracing Ihsan, we not only enrich our professional lives but also create ripples of positive change in our organisations and communities.