Prophet Muhammed’s manner of calling others to Allah and educating the people

Prophet Muhammed’s manner of calling others to Allah and educating the people

Allah (Glorified is He) is truthful when He says in His noble Book,

{We did not send you [Oh Prophet Muhammed] but as a mercy for all creatures} [Surah Al-Anbiya: 107].

Before we discuss the manner of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) when calling others to Allah, we should reflect and contemplate on Allah’s saying,

{It is by the mercy of Allah that you [Oh Prophet Muhammed] deal gently with them. Were you severe or hard-hearted, they would have dispersed from around you. So pardon them, ask forgiveness for them, and consult them about the community’s affairs}[Surah Al-Imran: 159].

We learn from this ayah (verse of the Quran) some of the manners of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), his being merciful and easy, which reflected on his dealings with those around him and consequently on his manners when educating and calling others to Allah.

Below is an explanation of the methods Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used when educating and calling others to Allah (Glorified is He) which indicate how very eager Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was for all people to be guided:

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, «Make matters easy, do not make them difficult, and give people good tidings, do not make them run away from you»[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) preferred to encourage people (making them hope for rewards) than threatening them (with punishments)

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) knew the character of man and that some things attracted them and other things pushed them away. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) also knew that some were active and others were weak, and that nothing is of benefit for some people but to make then hope for rewards, yet others are not deterred or disciplined by anything but reference to Allah’s punishment.

For this reason, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) took into consideration all these cases so referred to Allah’s reward and His punishment, but he preferred to refer to Allah’s reward more than His punishment as such a method is more beneficial and fruitful. This fact is clear in the discussion of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) with Abu Tharr (may Allah be pleased with him) which Abu Tharr reported. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«‘There is no person who says, "There is no god but Allah," and then dies in such a state but he enters paradise.’ I (Abu Tharr) asked, ‘Even if he had committed zina (illegal sexual intercourse) or had stolen [other people’s property]?’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘Even if he had committed zina or had stolen.’ I repeated, ‘Even if he had committed zina or had stolen?’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Even if he had committed zina or had stolen.’ I asked again, ‘Even if he had committed zina or had stolen?’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) again replied, ‘Even if he had committed zina or had stolen, in spite of what you want, Oh Abu Tharr’»[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Anyone who contemplates on this narration will notice how eager Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was to make people hope for Allah’s rewards.

Using rational arguments and discussions

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to address the intellect. An example of a situation in which he relied on rational arguments when calling others to Allah is the time a youth came to ask permission to commit zina!! How did Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) reply to him and how did he deal with such a request?

Abu Umamah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported for us this story, saying,

«A young man came to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit zina.’ Those around him started to surround him, saying, ‘Stop?! Stop?!’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said to the young man, ‘Come nearer.’ So the young man went close to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) then said, ‘Would you like that for your mother?’ The youth replied, ‘No, by Allah. May Allah make me a ransom for you.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) explained, ‘And others do not like this for their mothers.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) continued, ‘Would you like that for your daughter?’ The youth replied, ‘No, by Allah, Oh Messenger of Allah. May Allah make me a ransom for you.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) explained, ‘And all the people do not like this for their daughters.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) asked, ‘Would you like this for your sister?’ The young man said, ‘No, by Allah. May Allah make me a ransom for you.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) replied, ‘And all other people do not like it for their sisters.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) then said, ‘Would you like this for your aunt on your father’s side?’ The youth answered, ‘No, by Allah. May Allah make me a ransom for you.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) explained, ‘And all other people do not like it for the aunts on their father’s side.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) continued, ‘Would you like this for the aunts on your mother’s side?’ The young man replied, ‘No, by Allah. May Allah make me a ransom for you.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘And all other people do not like it for the aunts on their mother’s side.’ Then Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) placed his hand on him and supplicated, ‘Oh Allah, forgive his sin and purify his heart.’ The youth became chaste and never entertained the idea of zina again»[related by Ahmed].

This story illustrates to us how Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) relied on discussions and rational arguments with those who erred or found it easy to sin. Consider how Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) replied to this young man relying on intellectual and logical arguments to clarify the evil of the path he wanted to follow, how bad that sin actually was and how every individual in the society refuted such an act. Moreover, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) then finished his discussion with the youth by gently and caringly placing his noble hand on the youth’s chest and supplicating Allah to forgive him, purify his heart and keep him chaste. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was thruthful, constantly following this manner of dealing with others, when he (peace be upon him) said,

«Truly, Allah is gentle and loves gentleness, and He gives [rewards] for gentleness which He does not give for roughness, or for any other act»[related by Muslim].

How did Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) act when he replied and dealt with those who were ignorant or who find it easy to sin?

Gentleness with those who were ignorant, and educating others in the best manner, using the nicest and most thoughtful words

There is no better proof of this then the response of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) to an Arab who entered the mosque of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and urinated in front of him (peace be upon him)!!

How did Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) react to this? And how did Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) deal with him?

Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated the response of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) for us, saying,

«When we were in the mosque with the Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him), an Bedouin entered and stood to urinate in the mosque. The Companions of Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Stop! Stop!’ But Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘Do not interrupt him, let him be.’»[that is, let him finish urinating]

«Therefore they left him until he had finished urinating, and then Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) called him and told him, ‘Urine and stool are not appropriate for these mosques. Mosques are [places] for remembering Allah, prayer and reciting the Quran,’» or words to that effect. The narrator continued, ‘After that, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered one of the people to bring a bucket of water and pour it over the urine»[related by Muslim].

This story clarifies for us how Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) dealt with the Bedouin who was ignorant; he was not rough or sarcastic with him! In fact, he left him until he has fulfilled his need (to urinate)…and ordered his Companions not to approach him until he had finished, as Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) feared that he would harm him if they did not wait until he finished!! This was due to the mercy of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) with the ignorant and due to his wisdom in dealing with the situation. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was also very patient when teaching him, educating him in a gentle manner, even though mosques are holy places where no unseeming deeds can be performed and they are not places for such dirts…and finally, Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) taught him the basic role of the mosque.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) called others to Allah in a wise manner, employing gentle words of advice. What was the effect of such a manner on those Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) taught?

Making the best use of situations and chances that arise

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to make us of any situations to teach others, as by employing such a manner leaves a strong and more lasting effect and impression on people’s minds. One such example is mentioned here.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was with his Companions one day when a female prisoner came looking for her child. When she found him, she hugged him. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) wanted to use this chance to illustrate to his Companions how very merciful Allah was, so he told them,

«‘Do you think she would throw her child into the fire?’ The Companions replied, ‘No.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘And Allah does not throw those He loves into the fire» [related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

There are many different situations people live through, unhappy situations and times of fear. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used these different situations to advise others, just as he taught his Companions when they were near some graves. Al-Biraa ibn Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated,

«We went to the funeral of one of the men of Al-Ansar (the Helpers from Medinah) with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and followed the coffin to the grave. When they had finished digging the grave for the deceased,

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) sat down and we sat down around him, being so still that birds could sit on our heads. In the hand of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was a stick with which he was drawing on the ground. He then raised his head and said, ‘Seek Allah’s protection from the punishment of the grave,’ two or three times»

Then he [the narrator] mentioned a long hadith that described the punishment and trials of the grave. [related by Abu Dawood].

Moderation and following a balanced, middle course, and being against extremism

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) followed a balanced middle course when calling others to Islam; he was against extremist views about the religion.

Extremism causes difficulties and makes one have unusual religious views and swerve from the balanced middle course of Islam, and it also results in not giving oneself one’s rights or not giving others their rights. A clear example of this is the story of the three people who went to the house Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) to ask about how he worshipped Allah… Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated this story,

saying,

«Three men went to the houses of the wives of Allah’s Messenger asking about how Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to worship Allah. When they were told [how he used to worship his Lord], they considered their worship as being insignificant, and replied, ‘Where are we in comparison to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah has forgiven all his past and future sins!’ One of them said, ‘As for me, I will pray all night.’ Another said, ‘I will fast continuously and not break my fast.’ And the third said, ‘I will abstain from women and will never marry.’ Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) went towards them and said, ‘Are you the ones who said such-and-such? By Allah, I fear Allah (Glorified is He) more than you and I am more obedient and dutiful to Allah (Glorified is He) than you, but I fast [some days] and break my fast [other days], I pray some time and rest other times, and I marry women; whoever does not wish to follow my ways does not belong to me’»[related by Al-Bukhari].

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) is a good example and model with regards to how he called others to Islam, taught the people, was sympathetic with them and far from having extreme views.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«The religion [of Islam] is easy, and no-one makes the religion difficult but he is overcome [by such difficulties]. Therefore, follow a middle course [in worship]; if you cannot do this, do something near to it, and give good tidings…»[related by Al-Bukhari].

Islam follows a middle course with regard to worship. Explain this point referring to the story of those who wanted to make matters difficult for themselves and held extreme religious views.

Shunning people in order to discipline them

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used the disciplinary measure of shunning people with Kaab ibn Malik ( and his companions when they did not attend the battle of Tabuk. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) did not talk to him or his companions, and no one talked to them for more than a month until Allah (Glorified is He) accepted their repentance.

But this method was not the normal way of Allah’s Messenger (may Allah be pleased with him) in dealing with others. The criterion that should be used to decide whether to shun people or not is whether some benefit is attained from it. If some benefit can be obtained from this ostracism, it is Islamically acceptable to tell others to not talk to a particular person, but if harm will result from such an action, it is prohibited to ostracize the person.

Indirect methods of teaching others

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used such a manner in many situations. One such example is the use of his phrase, ‘What do you think of people who,’ without actually specifying any particular person. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used this phrase in the story of Bareerah, when Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) climbed onto the pulpit and said,

«What do you think of people who lay down conditions that are not in the book of Allah?! Whoever imposes conditions that are not in the Book of Allah, his conditions will not be valid, even if he imposed them one hundred times»[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Sometimes Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to direct his words to another person in the presence of the one to whom the words were really directed. One example of this was when two men were sitting with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him). One of them insulted the other after he had become so angry that his face had turned red. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said to his Companions,

«I know a saying that makes any anger disappear; say, ‘I seek Allah’s protection from the accursed Satan.’ His friend said to the man, ‘Did you hear what Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said?’ He replied, ‘I am not crazy’»[related by Al-Bukhari].

Using advice and reminders

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to preach to his Companions intermittently so as not to make them bored and indifferent. Whenever the Muslims gathered together, he took this opportunity to tell them the Message, giving them useful advice and reminders. Al-Arbad ibn Sariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated,

«The advice of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was very eloquent. His words moved the hearts and made the eyes shed tears. One day, we asked him for advice, as we felt it would be one of his last sermons. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘I advise you to listen and obey, even if a slave rules over you; as any of you who live long after me will see many disagreements. You should abide by my sunnah (ways) and the sunnah of the rightly-guided caliphs. Hold onto it with your molar teeth (i.e. strongly). Beware of innovated matters (in the religion), as every innovated matter is a false innovation, and every false innovation is a form of misguidance’»[related by At-Tirmidhi].

Using stories and parables

This is one of the most beneficial methods of teaching others. Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used such methods, as many well-known hadiths relate. One such example is the story of the three men who were stranded in the cave, the story of the leper, the bald man and the blind, the story of the two people who had a bag of gold, and the story of the two from Bani Israel and their debt, as well as other stories full of lessons and exhortations which the books of the biography of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) are replete with.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used various methods when calling others to Allah and teaching his Companions. What is the evidence that supports this fact?

How can you follow the exampleof Allah’s Messenger(peace be upon him)?

1.Be patient and gentle when teaching those who are ignorant, thereby following Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) example.

2.Beware of using force to change any bad actions. Remember how Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to deal with those who found it easy to sin.