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Prophet Muhammad as a politician and leader


Establishing the principle of consulting others

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was in the habit, before making any important decision concerning the nation or the route of an army, of gathering the early converts to Islam, the leaders of the army and also the youth to consult them about the matter. In fact, this is what his Lord ordered him to do in His Book. Allah (Glorified is He) says,

{…and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]} [Surah Al-Imran: 159].

This happened for the battle of Uhud when Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) formed a military advisory council with the early converts to Islam from the Muhajareen (immigrants to Medinah) and the leaders of Al-Aus and Al-Khazraj (in Medinah). They all exchanged their views about what should be done in that particular situation.

The Prophet’s opinion was that they should stay in Medinah to protect it, and not leave the city, but some of the renowned Companions who did not partake in the battle of Badr suggested that they go out to meet the enemy. They kept insisting on their view; Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him) encouraged this idea the most.

Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not follow his opinion, although it was the more correct view, and followed the view of the majority instead. Consequently, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to leave Medinah and meet the enemy on the battlefield.

Muhammed’s true merit was his remarkable prowess as a skillful politician

(Muhammed’s true merit was his remarkable prowess as a skillful politician, more than just a Prophet who received revelation from Allah. It is not possible for anyone who understands Muhammed to degrade his dignity. Whoever does this has oppressed himself and oppressed Muhammed)

[Prince Kaytan].

Italian orientalist

What do you think of the Prophet’s stance in consulting his Companions and following their views? State evidence for your answer from the Prophet’s biography.

Establishing a just state which gives equal rights for all

With regards to solving conflicts, the Prophet (peace be upon him) established a just rule to judge between those who have a disagreement. It is: The one who makes the claim has to bring the evidence, and the one who denies is considered innocent until proven guilty. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

«If you accepted what people claim, a man would claim the wealth of others and their blood. However, the one who makes a claim has to bring the evidence [to support his claim], and the one who denies [the claim] is considered innocent until proven guilty» [related by Al-Bayhaqi].

Due to the Prophet’s great concern for justice and giving everyone their rights, the Prophet (peace be upon him) warned about using eloquent speech and false arguments as a means of taking the rights of others. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also stated that if he gave a judgement which turned out to be not just, it is not permissible for the one who won the case to take what is not his right. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

«I am only a human, and you bring your disputes to me. Some of you may give a more eloquent excuse than others and so I judge in his favour according to what I heard [from him]. But, whatever is judged for someone from the rights of his brother should not take it (this right), as it is a piece of fire for him» [related by Al-Bukhari].

Islam is more than just a religion

[Islam is more than just a religion; it is a collection of legal and political theories…in short, it is a complete cultural system that addresses both religion and the state]

[Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht].

German economist, banker and politician

The Prophet (peace be upon him) was just with everyone, no matter who they were, and he did not give anyone preferential treatment over others. A lady of nobility stole and the leaders of Quraish did not want the punishment of stealing to be applied on her and wanted the Prophet to show favour to her. But the leaders knew how just the Prophet (peace be upon him) was. Therefore, they looked for someone to intercede for her with the Prophet (peace be upon him). They went to Usama ibn Zayd to ask him to talk to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in order for him to not carry out the legal punishment for stealing on the lady. They did not want him to cut off her hand because of her noble position. Consequently, Usama talked to the Prophet (peace be upon him) about her, but the Prophet’s face changed colour due to his anger, and he said,

«‘Are you interceding [for someone] with regards to the legal punishments of Allah?’ Usama said to him, ‘Forgive me, Oh Prophet.’ At the time of the Isha (Night) Prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stood up and gave a sermon. The Prophet (peace be upon him) praised Allah by referring to His sublime attributes and then said, ‘To proceed. Those before you were ruined; if one of their nobility stole, they would leave him [without punishing him], but if a weak person stole, the legal punishment was applied on him. By Him in Whose Hands is my soul, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammed, stole, I would cut off her hand.’ Then he ordered for the lady who had stolen to have her hand cut off» [related by Muslim].

Has history, past or present, ever known such greatness, justice and equality like this?!

Mention three incidents that illustrate the Prophet’s justice and equity when carrying out the legal rulings

Protecting the society and making it safe and secure

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

«The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the best one from among the people, and the most generous and the bravest. One night, the people of Medinah were alarmed by some sound, and therefore they went towards the noise. The Prophet met them as he was returning [from the sound]. He had reached the source of the noise before them, riding Abu Talha’s horse with no saddle on it. Around his neck was a sword and he was saying, ‘Do not worry, do not worry’» [related by Al-Bukhari].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) reached the sound which had scared the people before they reached it. This was in order for the Prophet (peace be upon him) to protect them. After that, he calmed their fears with gentle, comforting words.

Islam is the best religion for removing differences between the people

(From the first glance, one is able to notice basic ideas in Islam which are very democratic. Islam is the best religion for removing difference of race, colour and nationality)

[Philip Ireland].

First Secretary of the American Embassy in Cairo, 1947

Justice is a great character trait which is inherent in the Prophet’s personality

[The readiness of this man to endure persecution for his belief, the high moral character of those who believed in and followed him and considered him to be their master and leader, and the great achievements he [the Prophet] attained, all of this is proof of the justice and integrity inherent in his [the Prophet’s] personality. The view that Muhammed is an imposter is a view that raises more problems and does not solve anything. In fact, there is no Western leader in history who was not recognized as he should have been as much as Muhammed was]

[Montgomery Watts].

British orientalist

The Prophet’s wisdom was accompanied by firmness and steadfast on the Islamic way of life

It is known that the Prophet steadfastly held onto principles and did not forgo any of these principles, contrary to what is known of politicians being concerned about their personal interests; they change their ideals according to the wishes and desires of the leaders.

A clear example of the Prophet’s steadfastness can be found in his stance with the Bedouin who went to the Prophet to swear allegiance to him [Ibn Al-Khasasiyah (may Allah be pleased with him)].

Ibn Al-Khasasiyah said, «I went to the Prophet to swear allegiance with him to enter Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) told me to bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammed is His slave and Messenger; to pray five prayers [in every twenty-four hours]; to fast in Ramadan; to pay zakat; to perform pilgrimage to Mecca; and to fight in the cause of Allah. I then said, ‘Oh Prophet, there are two of these I will not be able to do; concerning zakat, I only have ten camels, which my family use to travel and to carry their loads. Concerning fighting, anyone who runs away from the battlefield earns Allah’s anger, and I fear that if I go to fight I may dislike death and fear for myself.’ Consequently, the Prophet (peace be upon him) held my hand strongly and then started to shake it. Then the Prophet said, ‘No charity and no fighting in Allah’s cause?! How will you enter paradise?’ I then told him, ‘Oh Prophet, take my pledge.’ So he took the pledge from me with all the conditions» [related by Al-Hakim and Al-Bayhaqi].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) does not compromise and does not accept any compromise

[It is enough, to praise Muhammed, to mention that he did not compromise or accept any compromise for even one moment with regards to his Message, although he was offered many types of compromises and faced fierce opposition. He said, His [Muhammed’s] belief was firm, and no one was as steadfast as him!!]

[Michael Emery].

Italian orientalist

There is another example that illustrates how the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not compromise with regards to his mission. The leaders of Quraish went to Abu Talib and said to him, ‘Oh Abu Talib, you are the eldest among us, and we respect and hold you in esteem.

We have asked you to tell your nephew to stop preaching what he says, but you did not tell him [to stop]. By Allah, We will not withstand this, and will not withstand him swearing against our forefathers, ridiculing us, and speaking badly about our gods. Therefore, stop him from doing this to us, or we will fight both of you until one of the two groups will be destroyed.

This severe threat and warning was difficult for Abu Talib, so he sent for the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him,

‘Oh my nephew, your people came to me and they said such-and-such to me. So spare me and yourself. Do not burden me with more than I can bear.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) thought that his uncle had abandoned him and that he was unable to support him anymore. Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

‘Oh Uncle! By Allah, if they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in order for me to leave this matter, I will not leave it until Allah makes it victorious or I die persuing it.’ Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) started to cry. He stood up and when he turned his back [to leave], Abu Talib called him. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) returned to him, Abu Talib told him, ‘Go and say what you want. By Allah, I will never let anyone harm you.’

This situation, as well as other situations, make clear for us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not accept any compromise between the truth and falsehood, or agree to meet half way between the two. This stems from the nature of the mission for which he was sent; he was a Messenger from Allah to all the people. His responsibility was to tell people about Islam, so it was not possible for him to accept any man-made way of life or other ideas instead of the Divine legislation. This point was very clear in his attitude.

The Prophet’s heart was full of mercy, goodness and noble intentions, unlike those who look for power and wealth

[The heart of that great and noble man was a soul full of mercy, goodness, compassion, righteousness, wisdom, modesty and intelligence. His thoughts did not entail a wish for worldly pleasures, his intentions did not include wanting power and wealth…]

[Thomas Carlyle].

Scottish author, satirical critic and historian

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the greatest influential figure in history

[He [Muhammed] was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels… It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history]

[Michael Hart].

Doctor of Astronomy

How can you follow the Prophet’s example?

1.Read the Prophet (peace be upon him)’s biography and contemplate how the Prophet established rules of justice and equality in the Islamic society.

2.Send prayers upon the best of creation, the just judge and the merciful and wise leader.