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THE CONCISE NATURE OF THE PROPHET’S SAYINGS

Another dimension of the intellect of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, is that he was very concise in his speeches. We must remember that he is the leader, not only of those who lived during his lifetime, but of every believer to come until the Last Day. As emphasized in the previous section, he was in the position of one who addressed people of every level - from 7th century Bedouins to scientists of the highest level to come just before the Day of Judgement. No generation would contradict him. Accordingly, after we scrutinize his sayings, as well as the Qur’an, with due care, we come to understand that not only do they complement each other in style and content, but that there is no contradiction between them and established scientific knowledge. Millions of people have, from the beginning of Islam, found in them an answer for their intellectual problems and a cure for their spiritual diseases, as well as a model for their behaviour in all circumstances.

The sayings and speeches of God’s Messenger are so enchanting and captivating, so informative that just as his contemporaries were enlightened intellectually and revived spiritually through them, so also countless scholars and scientists, from exegetes of Qur’an, traditionists and jurists of the highest calibre, to the great spiritual guides of different moods and temperaments, as also specialists in the fields of science and humanities, have, next to the Qur’an, all found their sources in them. A single word of his is, even today, enough for many people, not less than it was for his contemporaries, to reform their lives and beliefs when they hear it. He used to acknowledge this to be one of God’s blessings and, in order to emphasize it as a blessing, he sometimes used to say:

I am Muhammad, an unlettered Prophet; there is no Prophet to come after me. I have been distinguished with conciseness of speech together with comprehensiveness of meaning.1

Also he used to say:

O people! I have been honoured with conciseness of speech and giving the final judgement in all matters.2

The nightingale is said to convey the gratitude of plants and flowers to the All-Provider. Likewise, God's Messenger came to sing the praises of God in the ‘garden’ of humanity and to announce God’s Commandments with his enchanting ‘songs’. His words opened ever-fresh flowers in the hearts of people and reduced the sayings of others to nought, however persuasive they seemed on the surface. The believers were purified by the deep serenity of his words, exhilarated by the bright atmosphere he created through his speeches, as well as by the love his personal conduct inspired.

God’s Messenger removed, through his words and deeds, the veils from the ‘face’ of nature and embellished the ‘book of the universe’ with Divine inscriptions.

Many of those famous for rhetoric or oratory and poetry have either preferred to listen to him or greatly benefited from his sayings. Thousands of literary men have devoted their life to the study of his sayings and compiled many volumes of books about or out of them, and many thinkers and scholars have quenched their ‘thirst’ with the ‘water of life’ they contain. In order to express the beauty and comprehensiveness of his words, we had better adapt, with a slight difference, a couplet uttered about the Qur’an:

Almost nothing of this world has come unveiled or pure,

But the words of the Messenger preserve their purity undefiled, and still wait to be understood fully.

God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was unlettered, and therefore not influenced by the written culture of the time. He was of so sound a conscience, so comprehensive in intellect and so pure in character, that only he could have received the Divine Revelations. His mind and heart were fed by Divine Revelation exclusively and each of his words and deeds was a ray from that Revelation, being a sign of his Messengership. Like a bright, crystal cup of clear, sweet water, his intellect was so pure that the Divine Revelations entered it and emerged from it drop by drop, in the form of words in their first clarity.

The primary expression of the Divine Revelation is the Qur’an. It is also the primary source for Islamic law. Although it contains guidance pertaining to all aspects of human life, the number of questions and problems put to God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, meant that a second form of Revelation was necessary - implicit Revelation or inspiration. It was required either to clarify the answers found in the Qur’an or to establish new principles related to the conduct of the believers. This, together with his sayings and conduct in everyday life, makes up the second source of Islamic law, which we call the Sunnah, and we will discuss it in the second volume .

Every Prophet was supported by the miracles relevant to their time and environment. For example, magic was widespread at the time of the Prophet Moses, upon him be peace, and so the miracles that appeared at his hands were of a similar nature. As the practice of medicine was in demand at the time of Jesus, upon him be peace, the miracles he worked were related to healing. Similarly, when Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, emerged as a Prophet, four crafts enjoyed popularity in the Arabian peninsula:

1. Eloquence and fluency in writing and speaking,

2. Poetry and oratory,

3. Soothsaying and divination,

4. Knowledge about the events of the past and about cosmology.

The Qur’an challenged the known experts in these four fields and forced them to surrender. The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, surpassed them all through his wonderful eloquence, knowledge of the cosmos, and his predictions, most of which have proven, and the rest of which wait their due time to be proven, to be true.

As the Prophethood of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is universal and will last until the Last Day, no one has been, and ever will be, able to compete with him in eloquence and linguistic style. His words, together with the Qur’an, supersede all literary works. Their excellence is everlasting and will become increasingly vivid as their meanings are discovered in parallel to the passage of time. His words and the Qur’an are of such extraordinary nature and so full of meaning that millions of saints and gnostics have obtained perfect knowledge of Divine Essence, Attributes and Names through them. The hidden truths concerning the Unseen worlds - angels, jinn, the Hereafter, Paradise and Hell - have all been unveiled through them. Also, they have together been a pure, inexhaustible source for hundreds of thousands of jurists, interpreters of the Qur’an, traditionists, historians and scientists, as well as sociologists and psychologists. The Qur’an and the Sunnah have brought light to the lives of billions and shown them how to pray, fast, give alms, how to make pilgrimage, and even how to eat and drink, and how to speak, in short, how to act at every moment of their lives.

1. Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal, 11.412.
2. ibid., 11.425.


Recommended Reading:
Examples of concise sayings of God's Messenger

Last Updated on November 25, 2000

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