Praise to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and may peace be upon his Prophet Muhammad. One of the great attributes of giving Dawah is to be able to teach with proper etiquettes and no better model than the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Below are five among the countless noble characters which made him the greatest teacher till the end of times.
His manners was the example of the whole of Arabia even in the testimony of his sworn enemies. The story of when Abu Sufyan was summoned by the Roman Emperor Heraclius and the latter enquired about the character of the Prophet. Even him had no choice but to speak well of the good characters of the Prophet of Allah. (Shah, 2015, p. 46).
He would remain calm in the face of people’s mistakes and would always have a calm and gentle way of correcting people ignorance. Perfect example is the story of the Bedouin who urinated in the mosque which stir the anger of all the companions, but the Prophet Muhammad kept his calm and with the utmost manner educated the man of his wrong doings. (Al-Munajjid, 2008, pp. 68-69).
In other situations, he would rather not confront directly someone’s mistake but rather take the approach of making a general statement (Al-Munajjid, 2008, pp. 83-86). This manner not only hides the mistakes of the people concerned but at the same time globally educate everyone concerned by this. It’s also more easily accepted and avoids a negative reaction from the person who made that mistake. (Al-Munajjid, 2008, p. 83) gives the example of the hadith narrated by Anas Ibn Malik where the prophet (peace be upon him) spoke harshly over those who raise their gaze to the heavens while praying. He didn’t pinpoint anyone but spoke generally about it.
The way the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) conveyed his message was stylish in the sense that he maintained some traits and techniques that today are being taught in the Western civilization as proper teaching techniques.
First, as Dr Shah Dawood in his book “Prophet Muhammad as a Teacher” describes, the mastery of the language possessed by the Prophet of Allah was extraordinary despite that he was ummi (illiterate). This mastery is partly due to his upbringing in the tribe of Bani Sa’d bin Bakr who was known for their purity of their language. His speeches were neither too short nor too fast and was enough for the person listening to remember it. The author further mentions that he was systematic in the way he taught. Example given is the story of when he sent Muaadh to Yemen for dawah, he told him “Since you are going to preach to the People of the Book, please call them towards the basic tenet of Islam, namely ‘There is no god worthy of worship, but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet’. If they accept it, then tell them that God had made the five times prayer compulsory. If they accept it too, tell them that God had made obligatory on their part to pay the poor-due (Zakat) and that had to be collected from the rich and distributed to the poor.” (Shah, 2015, p. 108)
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In some other instances, when the topic or message required emphasis, he used to either repeat himself three times or taking oaths in a way to highlight the importance of the message and as means to ascertain the understanding of it. Example (Shah, 2015, p. 49) is the hadith reported by Abu Shurayh that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!” The Companions asked him’ “Who is that person, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said, “That person is he whose neighbor is not safe from his evil.”
Even before his prophethood, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was considered as the most trustworthy person in Mecca and people used to trust him with their goods and valuables. He was called by the title of “Al-Ameen”. On his first public call to Islam on Mount Safa to the people of Mecca, he asked them “Would you believe me if I say that there is an army waiting to attack you on the other side of the hillock?” The whole crowd answered, “Definitely, for we know you as the trustworthy and the truthful! We have never seen you telling lies”. (Shah, 2015, p. 99) . To be able to trust a teacher opens the heart and the mind to accept his teachings and this was one of the noble traits of the prophet (peace be upon him) that in turn caused his companions to give their life to the cause of Islam.
4. Use of Psychology
His creativeness and use of psychology was remarkable and can be seen in many aspects of his life. One of the great examples was after the Hijrah, he created the bond between the people of Mecca who emigrated to Medina by asking the former to adopt one emigrant as his brother and share all he was able to with him. This was an amazing step he took in bonding those two different groups of people.
He also understood the necessity of appreciating excellency and outstanding characters from his companions and he demonstrated that by providing titles to them who to this day are still known by these traits: “’Saifullah’ (the Sword of God) on Khalid bin Waleed, ‘Ameenul Ummah’ (the Trustworthy Man of the Community) on Abu Ubaidah” (Shah, 2015, p. 52).
5. Fairness based on effort
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also had the talent to recognize effort and through this he kept both the poor and the rich on equal par and appreciated every little effort that everyone could make independent of whether it looked insignificant in the eyes of the normal people. Through this appreciation, he nurtured the willingness in the heart of everyone to keep sharing and contributing. This can be clearly illustrated in what happened in the Tabuk Expedition while the likes of Abu Bakr (ra) contributed all he had, Umar (ra) shared half of his entire belongings but on the other hand another companion brought only half a kilo of dates which he strived to earn through the nights of work. The latter’s contribution was highly honored by the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) by placing those dates on the pile of all other donations that were made which in turn made that companion really happy. (Shah, 2015, p. 54)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was divinely blessed with so many noble qualities and his teaching methods are the perfect model to follow. From the old to the young kids, educated to non-educated, man to woman and even to non-Muslims, he showed the perfect manners and teaching techniques which are no doubt a success for those who learn his sunnah and put it in practice.
- Abdullah, A. R. (2009). Who is Allah And His Prophet (PBUH). Darussalam Publishers.
- Al-Munajjid, M. S. (2008). The Prophet’s Methods of correcting People’s Mistakes. IIPH.
- Shah, D. D. (2015). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as a Teacher. Darussalam Publishers.