Monthly Archives: May 2015

How did the Prophet teach Moral Lessons ?

In Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to set aside time every morning to teach his Companions. He was renowned for his eloquence and clarity of speech. He did not speak too quickly, and though his phrasing was precise, he did not speak slowly, or in fragments with lots of pauses. It was easy for everyone to follow what he said.

‘A’ishah described his way of speaking as follows: “Allah’s Messenger did not ramble on the way you do these days. His speech was clear and precise. Those who listened to him easily remembered what he said.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (3568) and Sahih Muslim (2493)]

Almost every day, he would sit in the mosque in Madinah with his Companions gathered around him. He would often start a discussion by posing a question. Once, he asked: “Might I inform you of the gravest of major sins?” When his Companions replied in the affirmative, he said: 

“The gravest of major sins are to associate partners in worship with Allah, to disrespect your parents, and to bear false witness.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (2654)] 

Sometimes, he posed questions to open their eyes to some new idea or perspective that they had not thought of before. For instance, once he asked: 

“Do you know what it means to be bankrupt?” 

They replied that it means to possess neither money nor goods. He said:

With respect to my followers, the one who is bankrupt is one who is brought forth on the day of judgment with prayers, fasts, and charity to his credit, but he had spoken ill of some people, falsely accused some people, misappropriated the wealth of others, and assaulted people or shed their blood. Those he had wronged will be compensated from his good deeds until he has no more to his credit. Then the remainder of those he had wronged will be compensated by having some of their sins placed on him. As a consequence, he is consigned to Hell. [Sahih Muslim (2581)]

Sometimes, he simply wanted to stimulate their minds. Once he asked: “Tell me which tree is like a Muslim. Its leaves do not scatter everywhere and it yields up its fruit on a regular basis.” His Companions suggested one desert tree after another, and each time the Prophet replied in the negative.

Then it occurred to ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab that the tree in question might be the date palm. However, he was the youngest of the ten Companions in the Prophet’s company on that occasion, and his father ‘Umar as well as Abu Bakr were also present, so he felt shy to speak. Then the Prophet said: “It is the date palm.” [Sahih al-Bukhari (2209) and Sahih Muslim (2811)]

The Prophet would sometimes repeat a statement three times to emphasize its importance. For instance, once when enumerating the major sins, he came to the point where he said: “And beware of making false testimony; beware of bearing false witness.” He began repeating it over and over again, until his Companions started to utter: 

“If he would only desist…” [Sahih al-Bukharī (2654)] 

They were not saying this out of boredom, but out of anxiety and concern for the Prophet, because they could see how much it was affecting him.

Sometimes, the Prophet took his Companions by surprise with a question in order to bring the discussion to a surprising conclusion. For instance, once he asked: “Who among you is fasting today?” This question took them off guard, since he had not even hinted to them earlier that they should fast on this day. Had he done so, they would have all been fasting.

They all sat silently for a while. Then Abu Bakr spoke up: 

“I am fasting, O Messenger of Allah.” 

Then the Prophet asked: 

“Who visited a sick person today?” 

Again, they were all quite, until Abu Bakr again spoke up saying that he had done so. Then he asked two further questions: 

“Who followed a funeral procession today?” 


“Who fed a poor person?” 

Each question was met with silence until Abū Bakr spoke up admitting that he had done so.

Finally the Prophet said: 

“Anyone who carries out these four deeds in a single day will enter Paradise.” [Sahih Muslim (1028)] 

Sometimes, the Prophet used drawings to illustrate his point. On one occasion, he drew a square on the ground. He then drew a straight line going through the middle of the square but emerging out of it at the top end. Then he drew other smaller lines coming from the edges of the square and pointing inwards towards the larger straight line. Then he asked his Companions: 

“Do you know what this means?” 

They replied: “Allah and His Messenger know best.”

He said:

The line going through the middle of the box represents the human being. The other lines aiming towards it are the trials of life that come at him from all directions. If a person manages to avoid one of those trials, he will run into one of the others. The surrounding square is the lifespan that encompasses a person. The extension of the line outside the box represent hiss hopes. The person remains busy with those hopes, but the term of life comes to an end before they are fulfilled. [Sahih al-Bukhari (6417)]

The purpose of these daily gatherings in the mosque was to teach his Companions about Islam and provide them with moral lessons. However, it was not about lecturing or preaching. It is always a dynamic discussion; never a one-way exchange, and it was always thought-provoking.

Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî, former professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Know him !


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Message and Method of the Prophet

Some of the major aspects of the mission and method of Prophet Muhammad are eloquently presented in a speech which one of his companions, Jafar ibn abi Taalib, made to the Christian ruler of Abyssinia in Africa in the year 616 CE. Jafar was the spokesman of a group of early Muslims who had sailed across the Red Sea and sought asylum in Abyssinia from the persecution of the pagan Makkans:

“0 King,” he said, “We were a people steeped in ignorance, worshipping idols, eating the flesh of dead animals, committing abominations, neglecting our relations and ill-treating our neighbors, and the strong among us would oppress the weak.

“We were in this state when God sent to us a messenger from among us, whose descent and sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness and honesty were known to us.

“He summoned us to worship the One True God and to renounce the stones and idols we and our fathers used to worship apart from God.

“He ordered us to speak the truth, to fulfill all that is entrusted to us, to care for our relatives, to be kind to our neighbors, to refrain from what is forbidden and from bloodshed.

“He has forbidden us from engaging in obscene and shameful acts, from speaking falsehoods, from devouring the property of orphans and from vilifying virtuous women.

“He commanded us to worship God alone and to assign no partners unto Him, to pray, to pay the purifying tax and to fast.

“We deemed him truthful and we believed in him, and we followed the message he brought to us from God…”

From Jafar’s speech on the mission and method of the Prophet, we see that the first thing he stressed was the worldview of Tawhiid, the worship of the One True God. To be on the straight and natural way, the human being’s first duty is to gain or regain a correct knowledge of and belief in God. From this knowledge he will come to accept the wisdom and authority of God. From this will spring correct action.

As an indication of this method of the Prophet in bringing about individual and social transformation, his wife Aaishah is reported as saying that the Prophet did not start by telling people not to drink wine and not to commit fornication and adultery. He started by telling them about God and the Hereafter until they had firm belief in them. It is only then he told them not to drink or commit adultery and they obeyed him. “Had he started by telling them not to drink wine or not commit adultery; they would have said, ‘We will never abandon them?”

From Jafar’s speech, we learn that the Prophet encouraged all the natural moral virtues such as truthfulness, kindness, generosity, and justice. And he condemned all the naturally repugnant vices such as false speech shamelessness, adultery and fornication, ignorance, and oppression.

There is also the testimony of Jafar on the truthfulness of the Prophet. Both before and after he became a prophet, Muhammad had unchallenged reputation of a person who was always truthful and trustworthy. For this he was known as As-Saadiq and Al-Amiin respectively.

In fact, mission and method fused in the Prophet since we are told by Aaishah, may God be pleased with her: “His character was the Quran.” To reject the Prophet is to reject the Quran and to reject the Quran is to reject the human being’s only authentic source of Divine guidance.

The importance of the Quran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad plays a vital role in forming a valid and satisfying worldview for the human being in whatever time or place he or she may live. Since the Quran is the final and complete message of God to humanity and since there will be no prophet after Muhammad, it is especially important for people everywhere to discover or rediscover the meaning and relevance of the Quran to their lives. Whether you live in the north or the south, the east or the west, whether you live in the so-called developed and advanced world or the underdeveloped and impoverished world, whether you are a male or female, young or old, the Quran has a message for you. In fact, it is the message for you.

The Quran stresses the Oneness of God and the duty of the human being to acknowledge and worship God alone. If we approach the Quran with sincerity it reveals the age old questions about the nature of the human being, the purpose of his life and the various choices and destinies open to him. In other words: Who are we? What are we doing here on earth? And where do we go from here?

Adapted form the book “ISLAM the natural way” by Abdul Wahid Hamid

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Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Know him !, The message


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