EXAMPLES TO SHOW
THE EXTRAORDINARY INTELLECTUAL CAPACITY
OF GODíS MESSENGER
® The KaĎba
had been partly ruined by rain and resultant floods. The Quraysh restored it;
the moment came when the Black Stone had to be put back in its place. It would
be an honour for the individual or clan who did that since the Black Stone was
revered for its sanctity. A conflict was about to ensue between the clans,
anxious to acquire that honour, when one of the disputants suggested that they
should refer the matter to the arbitration of whoever first would appear at the
KaĎba. To everyoneís relief, the first to appear was Muhammad. They shouted
The Trustworthy One is coming!
explained the problem to Muhammad, who was not yet a Prophet, but surely being
prepared by God for his future mission. He asked them to fetch a piece of cloth,
which he spread on the ground. Putting the Black Stone on it, he told the chiefs
of the clans to each take a corner of the cloth. In this way they raised the
Stone to the required height. Then, the future Messenger of God, upon him be
peace and blessings, took it himself and put it in its place. Thanks to his
wisdom, the danger of a war between the clans was averted.1
Messenger was unique in his ability to assess the spiritual and mental
capacities of those he was to address. He also understood very well how best to
speak to a particular individual at a particular time and under particular
circumstances, without having recourse to immoral devices like flattery or
falsehoods. On an occasion, a man named Husayn, renowned for his persuasive
rhetoric, came to Godís Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, hoping to
dissuade him from his mission. Godís Messenger listened carefully to his
argument and after Husayn had finished his speech, the following dialogue ensued
Husayn, how many deities do you worship?
Eight, one in the heavens and the others on earth.
Which one of them do you call upon when a misfortune befalls you?
Upon the one in the heavens.
Which do you call when your goods are gone?
Upon the one in the heavens.
Messenger asked several more questions of the same fashion and, on receiving the
same answer each time, concluded:
One - according to you - in the heavens alone answers your calls but you
still associate partners with Him. Is this not what I have been preaching?
There is no deity but God. So, become a Muslim and be saved!2
apparently simple argument was enough to defeat Husayn, who was left, according
to his own reasoning, no alternative but to accept Islam or stubbornly persist
in unbelief on no better grounds than to please the caprices of his own selfhood
or yield to the pressures of his environment.
Bedouin is often called Ďa man of the desertí, a way of life to which
certain experiences are peculiar. For example, it happens many times that he
will lose a camel, or forget where he has placed things, or be caught in a
storm. However many deities he worships in his daily life, he will do nothing
other than pray to God, the One, the Unique Creator of the universe, and
Powerful over all things, for help and rescue. Or his inner sense and sound
conscience will speak the truth to him under the enchanting sky of the desert or
in the darkness, and he will then acknowledge the Oneness of God, as Hamza, the
uncle of Godís Messenger, upon him be peace, did with the words:
Muhammad! I have perceived in the darkness of the desert night, that God
is so great that He cannot be restricted within four walls!3
Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, had the extraordinary ability of
knowing the mood of every individual and accordingly taking him Ďby the soulí.
For example, it is reported from Abu Tamima by Ahmad ibn Hanbal that a Bedouin
came to Godís Messenger one day and asked:
Are you Muhammad?
Yes, I am Muhammad, Godís Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings,
Bedouin asked again: ĎWhat do you invite people to?í
Messenger replied as follows:
invite people to God, the All-Majestic. I invite them to Him alone,
without associating any partners with Him. He is God whom you call upon
when a misfortune befalls you and He who removes it from you. It is to Him
alone that you pray in the time of drought and famine and He sends rain
and causes the grass to grow. It is also Him you entreat when you lose
something in the vast desert and He causes you to find it.
simple words, accurate and straight to the point, were enough for the Bedouin to
awake to the truth, and he made the oath of allegiance to Godís Messenger,
upon him be peace.4
other than the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, has ever been
able to form a community of the virtuous out of people with hardened hearts. The
Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, employed the dynamics granted
to him by God, the All-Mighty, in so effective a way that historians and
sociologists have since been unable to fully grasp the revolution he achieved in
all its many dimensions. That revolution was such that the waves it made have
swept through the ages and continue to attract people from all over the world,
in increasing numbers, into the peaceful Ďoceaní of Islam.
Master of the Prophets solved problems, as Bernard Shaw pointed out, as easily
as one drinks coffee. Even in the face of the most unexpected emergencies which
would drive into panic even men of the greatest wit and sagacity, he never lost
his calmness and solved the problem in the best way possible. His every deed,
his every decision, his every word, proved him a man of exact balance, who never
conquest of Makka, many former enemies of Islam accepted belief. After years of
enmity and battle, it was naturally difficult for them to acquire sincerity of
belief at the very outset of their conversion. So, Godís Messenger, upon him
be peace and blessings, in order to Ďreconcile their heartsí and enable them
to become committed more fully and sincerely to Islam, preferred them over the
others in the distribution of the spoils of war following the Battle of Hunayn,
which took place shortly after the conquest of Makka.
spoils consisted of 24,000 camels, 40,000 sheep and goats and 10,000 pounds of
gold and silver. Godís Messenger gave Abu Sufyan and his family 300 camels and
250 pounds of gold and silver, 200 camels to Hakim ibn Hizam, and 100 camels
each to Nusayr ibn al-Harith, Qays ibn Asiyy, Safwan ibn Umayya, Malik ibn Awf,
Akra ibn Habis and ĎUyayna ibn Hisn. By doing this, Godís Messenger, upon
him be peace and blessings, also repaired the wounded pride of the Makkan
the younger Muslims among the Helpers (the Ansar of Madina), however devoted to
Godís Messenger and the cause of Islam they were, were upset at the
distribution, not because of attachment to worldly things but because those
Makkan chiefs had once been the most bitter enemies of Islam and had inflicted
severe blows upon them in the previous battles. This upset might have caused the
beginning of a movement of dissent among the Muslims. When informed of the
situation by SaĎd ibn ĎUbada, who was one of the two leaders of the Helpers,
Godís Messenger ordered that the Helpers should come together in a certain
place where he would address them. When they were assembled, he began his
address to them in a dramatic way to attract and hold their attention and to
impress their souls. He said:
Community of the Helpers! I have heard that you are displeased with me.
this striking opening, he continued in that powerful impressive style, reminding
the Helpers of Godís blessings upon them through him. He said:
you not in misguidance when I came to you? And has God not guided you to
the truth through me?
you not in poverty when I came to you? And has God not enriched you
you not in internal conflicts when I came to you? And has God not
reconciled you through me?
Helpers gave the same unanimous answer to each question of Godís Messenger,
upon him be peace and blessings:
True, O Godís Messenger! We are indebted to God and His Messenger!
reminding them of Godís infinite blessings upon them through him, Godís
Messenger recounted the services of the Helpers to Islam, saying:
Community of the Helpers! If you had desired, you could have answered me
differently and said:
people denied you but we believed in you; you came to us left alone to
yourself, but we admitted you and protected you. Your people exiled you
but we embraced you. You came to us with nothing to subsist on, and we met
all your needs. If you had responded to me so, you would have told the
truth and no one would have stood up to contradict you.
Community of the Helpers! If you were upset when I gave some worldly goods
to those whom I desired to become Muslims, do you not wish to return home
with Godís Messenger while the others are returning with camels and
sheep? I swear by God, in Whose Hand of Power is my soul, that if all
other people took a different direction from that of the Helpers, I would
go, without hesitation, along with the Helpers. Had it not been for the
Emigration, I wished so much I had been one from the Helpers! O God,
protect the Helpers and their descendants!
words were enough for the Helpers to burst into tears, and all of them responded
with one voice, saying:
We are content with God and His Messenger. We desire nothing else.5
uttered extempore, this speech, besides nipping in the bud a possible dissenting
movement, reconquered the hearts of the Helpers, may God be pleased with them
all. It will be worthwhile briefly to analyze this in order to understand its
First of all, this speech was made to the Helpers separately from the
Emigrants. Since the ones who felt offended by the Prophetís
distribution of the war spoils were from the Helpers. Godís Messenger
excluded the Emigrants to enable him to deliver a more precise and direct
speech and to get the addressees to concentrate more on what he would say.
By excluding the Emigrants, Godís Messenger honoured the Helpers
specifically and exerted a psychological influence upon them from the
A further merit of this decision is that some of his statements, such as
Ďwhile the others are returning with sheep and camelsí, might have
hurt the feelings of Makkans. Similarly, his praise of the Helpers and
prayer for them exclusively might have hurt the feelings of the Emigrants,
who had left their families and native land for the sake of Godís
Second, the speech, when considered in its Arabic original, is
extraordinary for the eloquence of its rhetoric.
Third, it is worth repeating that Godís Messenger had won the attention
of his listeners after the dramatic opening and then, by continuing to
speak to them and for them, he succeeded in keeping them in rapt
Fourth, Godís Messenger did not resort to flattery or a diplomatic mode
of statement. Rather, he spoke in plain sincerity, which was vital in
securing the desired influence upon the listeners.
Fifth, the extempore nature of the speech was also significant in
obtaining the desired result. The freshness and force of such an
unprepared address, on such occasions, is often more affecting than
examples I have cited to illustrate the intellect of Godís Messenger
demonstrate that he did not speak or act of himself; rather, what he said and
did carried the charge or force of one fulfilling a Divine mission.
Hanbal, 3.425; Ibn Hisham, Sira, 1.209.
2. I. Hajar, al-Isaba, 1.337.
3. Ajluni, Kashf al-Khafaí, 1.147.
4. I. Hanbal, 4.65; 5.64.
5. Bukhari, ďManaqib al-Ansar,Ē 1,2; Muslim, ďZakat,Ē 132-41.