METHOD OF CONVEYING THE MESSAGE
striving is not only an essential feature of the delivering of the Message but
it is actually an important element of the Prophetic method.
A Prophet is, so to
speak, obsessed with how he is to perform his duty. To this end, he considers
all the circumstances and does everything permitted, without concerning himself
with God’s domain, never worrying about the results. He knows that it is not
in his power to make anyone accept the Message, that his duty is only to convey
the Message and to do everything possible and permissible by God so that people
become convinced of its truth. On this point, the Qur’an declares:
Assuredly, you [O
Muhammad] guide not whom you like but God guides whom He wills. And He
knows best those who receive guidance. (al-Qasas, 28.56)
Many Prophets lived with
no one accepting their Message. However, they did not lose heart, weaken in
resolve, or resort to means not permitted by God, like violence, terror or
deception, despite having to suffer every kind of hardship and tortures of the
most pitiless sort. When the Last Prophet - Muhammad - upon him be peace and
blessings, was severely wounded in the Battle of Uhud, some of his Companions
requested him to invoke God’s curse on the enemy, but he prayed for them
O God, forgive my
people and guide them to truth, because they do not know.1
He made this supplication
with his face bleeding profusely, since he had once said:
I am now as if I
was seeing a Prophet who, while his face was bleeding prayed for his
people: ‘O God, forgive my people, because they do not know.’
All the Prophets reacted
in the same way to the torments and false accusations they suffered from their
people. For example:
The leaders of the
people of Noah said: ‘Verily, we see you in clear deviation.’ He said:
‘O my people! There is no deviation in me, but I am a Messenger from the
Lord of the Worlds! I convey unto you the messages of my Lord and give
sincere advice to you. And I know from God what you know not.’ (al-A’raf,
The leaders of Hud’s
people, who were unbelievers, said: ‘We see you surely in foolishness;
and we think you are among the liars.’ He said: ‘O my people! There is
no foolishness in me, but I am a Messenger from the Lord of the Worlds. I
convey unto you the messages of my Lord and I am a trustworthy adviser to
you’. (al-A’raf, 7.66-8)
Nothing changed during
the history of Prophethood. The Prophets conveyed the messages of their Lord
without thinking of any return other than God’s pleasure. There is no people
to whom a Messenger was not sent, as expilicitly affirmed in the Qur’an:
Whoever goes right,
then he goes right only for his own soul’s benefit. And whoever goes
astray, then he goes astray only to his own loss. No laden soul can bear
another’s load. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger. (al-Isra’,
And verily We have
sent among every people a Messenger (saying): ‘Worship God (alone), and
shun all false deities’. (al-Nahl, 16.36)
After he received the
first Revelation in the cave, Hira, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and
blessings, returned home in a great excitement. Wrapped up in his vestment, God
O you who wrapped
up in your vestment, arise and give warning! Magnify your Lord! Cleanse
your garments, and keep away from all pollution. Do not show favour,
seeking worldly gain! Be patient for the sake of your Lord! (al-Muddaththir,
Again, he received the
O you folded in
garments! Keep vigil the night long, except a little; half of it, or a
little less, or a little more, and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured
rhythmic tones. We are about to address to you words of great gravity.
Every Prophet conveyed
God’s Message to his people without becoming wearied or daunted. The harsh
reactions of people could not hinder a Prophet from his duty. For example,
[Noah] said: ‘O
my Lord! Day and night I have called my people. But my call has only added
to their aversion. Each time I call on them to seek Your pardon, they
thrust their fingers in their ears and cover themselves with their
garments, persisting in sin and magnifying themselves in insolent pride.
Further, I have called to them aloud. Further, I have spoken to them in
public and in private, saying: “Ask forgiveness from your Lord: for He
is Oft-Forgiving.”‘ (Nuh, 71.5-10)
When a people rejected
the call of a Prophet and persisted in unbelief and corruption on earth, God’s
wrath usually fell upon them. We read in the Qur’an the story of several
devastated peoples, and we see their ruins all over the world.
important points in conveying the message
The following three
points are important in conveying the Message of Islam:
Intelligence is important
in assessing the person to whom the Message is to be delivered. Concerning this,
a Prophetic Tradition reads:
We, the community of the
Prophets, are commanded to address people according to their level of
A good preacher should
know how to approach the one he wants to address and how to win his friendly
attention. This point can be illustrated by many examples from the life of God’s
Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. Here are two of them:
God’s Messenger, upon
him be peace and blessings, at first, won the heart of ‘Umar by showing
appreciation of his good sense, saying: I cannot understand how a reasonable man
like you can expect anything from inanimate objects like stones, wood or earth.
He also inspired
confidence in ‘Umar through his good conduct. Above all, the commitment he
displayed in worshipping God had so great an effect on ‘Umar that at last he
came to God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and was as obedient
and reverent before him as a well-mannered child before a respected father.
One day, a young
man (whose name appears, from different narrations, to have been Julaybib)
came to God’s Messenger and said: ‘O God’s Messenger, give me the
permission to fornicate, for it is something I cannot resist.’ Those who
were present reacted in different ways. Some scoffed at the young man,
others pulled him by the skirt of his robe, and still others made as if to
strike him. But the compassionate Prophet, upon him be peace and
blessings, drew him nearer to himself, and the following conversation took
place between them:
- Would you agree
that someone should do such a thing with your mother?
- My mother and
father be your ransom, O God’s Messenger, I do not agree with that.
- Indeed, no one
agrees that his mother should be a party in such a disgraceful act.
Would you agree that someone should do the same with your daughter, if
you had one?
- No, O God’s
Messenger, may my soul be sacrificed for you!
- Indeed, no one
agrees that someone should do the same with his daughter. Would you
agree that your wife, if you had one, should be a party to such an
- No, I wouldn’t,
O God’s Messenger!
- Would you agree
that the same be done to your sister or aunt?
- No, I wouldn’t.
- Indeed, no one
agrees that it should be done with his wife, sister or aunt.
was enough for the young man to forsake his desire. But God’s Messenger
concluded the ‘spiritual operation’ with a supplication. He put his
blessed hand on the chest of the young man and prayed: O God, forgive him,
purify his heart and maintain his chastity!2
Julaybib became a model
of chastity. Some time later he married through the intermediation of God’s
Messenger. Not long after that he was martyred in a battle after he had killed
seven people. When his dead body was located on the battlefield, God’s
Messenger put his hand on his knee and said: This one is of me, and I am of him.3
God’s Messenger was so
competent and successful in educating the people that it constitutes a
conclusive proof of his Prophethood: the most uncivilized, crude, ill-mannered,
ruthless and ignorant people of the world at that time were transformed into the
most praiseworthy guides of humanity in a very short period. I wonder whether
even the largest, best-equipped group of professional educators, modern
pedagogues, sociologists, psychologists, teachers and the like, could achieve in
a hundred years anywhere in the modern civilized world even a hundredth of what
God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, accomplished in twenty-three
years in the uncivilized desert of Arabia fourteen centuries ago. The efforts
made, and the techniques applied, to remove so insignificant a bad habit as
smoking with almost negligible success, prove that the Prophet Muhammad, upon
him be peace, was without parallel or equal in the education of people.
His wisdom and intellect
will be discussed more fully in the next section.
1. Qadi Iyad, Shifa’ al-Sharif,
1.105; Bukhari, Anbiya’, 54; Muslim, Jihad, 105.
2. Ibn Hanbal, 5.256-7.
3. Muslim, Fada’il al-Sahaba,