Abu Ummamah Al-Bahili narrates:
“A young man came to the Prophet , and said: “O Messenger of Allah Taa'la, give me the Permission to Fornicate.” The people present quickly surrounded him and began to rebuke him warning him from speaking in such a way. The Prophet said: “Let him come close.” The youth came near the Messenger of Allah Saand sat down. Then the Prophet saying: “Do you wish the same for your mother?” The Youth said: “No! By Allah Taa'la O' Messenger of Allah Taa'la, , May Allah Taa'la make me your ransom.” “And neither do people wish it for their Mothers,” said the Prophet . “Do you like the same for your Sister?” The Youth again replied: “No! By Allah Taa'la O' Messenger of Allah Taa'la, , May Allah Taa'la make me your ransom.” “Nor do other people like it for their Sisters,” said the Prophet . “Do you like the same for your Paternal Auntie?” The Youth again replied: “No! By Allah Taa'la oh Messenger of Allah Taa'la, , May Allah Taa'la make me your ransom.” “Nor do other people like it for their Paternal Aunties,” said the Prophet . “Do you like the same for your Maternal Auntie?” The Youth again replied: “No! By Allah Taa'la oh Messenger of Allah Taa'la, , May Allah Taa'la make me your ransom.” “Nor do other people like it for their Maternal Aunties,” said the Prophet . Then the Messenger of Allah Taa'la, placed his hand on him and prayed: “Oh Allah Taa'la, forgive his sin, purify his Heart and enable him to preserve his chastity.” The Narrator of this Hadith says thereafter, the Youth was never again distracted by such thoughts.1
This Hadith is an unparalleled example of the Pivotal position held by Mercy and Wisdom in the method of all callers of Islam. Hearing the Words the Young man uttered would shock anyone, then how much more grave would the offence be; being as it was in the presence of the Holy Prophet himself. Had someone else been in the place of the Holy Prophet , he may have severely reprimanded the youth and have him thrown out of the Masjid! In fact, the onlookers were just about to do that before the Prophet interceded perceiving that something must have caused this confused Young Man to make such a bizarre request and that instead of being met with rebuke and derision. What he in fact needed was a sincere friend to compassionately advise him.
The great Hadith Scholar, Sheikh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghudah has commented on this Hadith saying:
“See how the Prophet succeeded in removing the desire for fornication from the Heart of the Youth by counselling him in privacy one to one, employing self self-assessment and trying to get the Youth to appreciate the gravity of what he was saying rationally without resorting to the quoting of the Qur'anic verses that forbid fornication or the Verses, which threaten the fornicator with a severe punishment appreciating that - at this time – the former method would be more effective in removing the evil from the Heart of the Youth in terms of his perception and understanding. The lesson to be learned from this incident is that the Callers of Islam should resort to the use of reason alone on some occasions with certain kinds of people if the situation so demands. Just as in the case of the Youth whose heart the Prophet cleansed of fornication by this guiding through rational self-appraisal. 2”
The above was just one example of the Prophet 's care and use of wisdom in Dawah Ilal-Lah. Futhermore, it is well known that he would take special care in addressing his listeners. For instance, he would make sure his sermons were not too long and he would pepper them with short anecdotes and stories to maintain the attention of the listeners 3. He would also employ other devices to engage the minds of the listeners such as posing them questions, and sometimes presenting before them the same messages of Islam in new and different ways. Take for example the Hadith all our readers will have heard:
“Support your brother be he the oppressor or the oppressed 4”
The background of the Hadith is less well known, in actual fact, these words were originally a slogan From the Jahili – pre-Islamic – times, which the tribal warrior Jundub bin Anbar first said and which became common amongst the Pre-Islamic Arabs. Jundub obviously meant it in its apparent sense, namely that it is incumbent upon one to risk life and limb to help a member of one's tribe regardless of whether he is the oppressed or the oppressor. Now in the age of the Holy Prophet employs this same saying in exhorting the Muslims to justice. The companions who were listening were given an unexpected mental jolt; they were at a loss in trying to find a rational explanation for what the Prophet had said, especially since what they had been taught by the Holy Prophet in the highest of morals and justice. The Companions immediately asked: “O Messenger of Allah, , but how?” The Holy Prophet explained what he exactly meant by using this Jahili Slogan, that supporting one's brother when he was the oppressor meant stopping him from him Oppression. Clearly, the Holy Prophet 's resorting, to the employment of this Jahili Slogan was to communicate a simple message to his listeners in a way that would leave an impression and would be more effective then merely saying: “Stop your brother when he oppresses and help him when he is oppressed.”
Take another ingenious example used by the Holy Prophet to stress the importance of giving in charity. He addressed the Companions once and posed them the following seemingly bizarre question: “Who is there of you, who prefers his own Wealth to the Wealth of those who will inherit him?” The Companions all said, “O Messenger of Allah Taa'la, , there is not one of us except his own Wealth is dearer to him then the Wealth of his inheritor.” The Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam said: “Think carefully about what you are saying.” Becoming yet more baffled, the Companions said: “We know of nothing besides this.”
The Messenger of Allah Taa'la, then said: “There is not one of you but that the Wealth of his inheritor is dearer to him then that of his own Wealth.” The Companions were now spellbound in the suspense and anxiousness to hear how the Holy Prophet would unravel this riddle, they said: “How is that O Messenger of Allah Taa'la, ?” He replied, “Your (real) Wealth is that which he has sent on ahead, and the wealth of his inheritor is that which he keeps back.5”
There are numerous such sagacious examples in the Hadith books; one more incident that readily comes to mind is that once, the Prophet forbade his companions from ever abusing their own Parents. The Companions became perplexed by this order for doing such a thing for any one of them was unimaginable. So some of them asked the Prophet what he meant, the Prophet explained that he meant that they must not abuse or insult the father of mother of another person. In anger, they may retaliate by cursing their parents! Thus ultimately they would have become the cause of their parents being abused, which is akin to abusing them oneself. Expressing this point in such a manner is much more effective in communication then a simple direct command.
It is bewildering to say the least that those who call to Islam today deem Islamic Dawah to be a mere formulaic presentation of the Deen, which far from being appealing and captivating, turns people away from Islam! Just as giving Dawah is the Prophet 's Sunnah, so is being innovative and imaginative in how one imparts the Message as the above examples clearly show.
If Muslims and Non-Muslims fail to respond to our lifeless efforts, we ourselves must shoulder part of the blame due to our leaving of this Sunnah of the Holy Prophet .
The source of the Prophet 's wisdom in the above examples was his own keenness and enthusiasm to spread the Islamic Message and save people from the Hellfire. This also tells us if our own efforts lack such wisdom then we do not truly have real concern for the spreading of this Deen, May Allah Taa'la save us.
The Prophet 's concern was always with him wherever he would be, whomever he would be with, whatever he may have been doing uppermost in his mind was somehow, to bring people to their creator. He would not spare any efforts even in the most unlikely and impossible of situations, to call people to Islam. Take the following eye-opening example, one year before the Conquest of Makkah, 7 A.H. The disbelievers grudgingly permit the Muslims to enter Makkah and perform the Umrah. Thousands of Muslim Pilgrims converge for three days one Non-Muslim controlled Makkah under strict conditions of Peace.
It was also during this brief interaction with the disbelievers that the Prophet married Hazrat Maymunah Radiallaho Anha. The Prophet – always looking for opportunities to spread Islam – took the occasion as a golden opportunity to invite the Polytheist to share in the Marriage feast (Walimah) itself. To truly appreciate this gesture, one must bear in mind that the people he was now calling to the dinner had expelled him and his followers from there, Seven Years ago. They had spared no efforts in hurting the Muslims, which lead to several bloody wars and they were on the brink of another one, and beyond that was this invitation, which was for all the Quraish who remember that they had amongst them such war criminals as Wahshi and Abu Sufyan. The Prophet said to them, “What harm is there in you allowing us to stay so that we can arrange for the Marriage here in your Presence? We will then prepare a feast, which you can attend 6.” Obviously, the wisdom behind this invitation was to get the Quraish to come into contact with the Muslims and see with their own eyes the Islamic manners of Charity, Brotherhood, Humility, and the general nobility of the Muslim character. For may be, this might bring them to Islam. This then was the sagacious example of the Messenger of Allah Taa'la, and his level of concern that he is prepared to even invite his inveterate enemies to dinner. Yet when we look at his, 's followers today, their level of concern is such it does not occur to any one of them to invite, for example, their Non-Muslim neighbours - who are far from being war criminals – to dinner for the sake of Deen!
1 Majma Az-Zawaid, Al-Hafiz Nur Ad-Din Al-Haythami (r) vol 1, Hadith No. 129
2 Ar-Rasul Al-Muallim, Sheikh Abdul Fattah Abu Guddah (r) Pg. 100
3 The Companion Ammar bin Yasar (r) says that: “The Messenger of Allah Taa'la, Sallallahu Alayhi Wassallam instructed us to keep our sermons brief,” Sahih Al-Bukhari (English Version) Volume 3. Hadith Number 1102
4 Sahih Al-Bukhari (Arabic), Hadith No. 2444, Pg. 394
5 Kanz Ul-Ummal, Imam Ali Ul Muttaqi, Kitab Uz-Zakah Volume 3, Pg 6 Hadith no. 17002
6 Sharh Maani Ul-Athar, Abu Jafar At-Tahavi, Bab Nikah ul-Muhrim, Volume 2 No. 3205
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