Looking Back to Madeenah – Complete book
After he received the first revelation ‘Read!'(Iqra!),’ the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] did not return to the cave of Hiraa (Mount Noor in Makkah) in which he had spent his time in seclusion to meditate. After that, he lived his life on the basis of the instruction of ‘Stand up!’ (Qum! ),’ as is shown in the Quranic chapters of Muzzammil or Muddathhir. Communicating Islam to the creation of Allaah was his primary occupation. A gathering of over 100 000 followers echoed his words, ‘You not only communicated the message to us, you have indeed been the embodiment of the message!’ It is in this confirmation and acknowledgement on Arafaat, during the farewell pilgrimage, that his victory in effective communication became manifest. After this confirmation by the people, he lifted his gaze and exclaimed with the joy of true success, ‘Bear testimony to what they say, O Allaah!’
He was a powerful communicator, educator and orator, absolutely dedicated to clarifying truth from falsehood. By communicating Allaah’s truth, he transformed a savage community into the most beautiful civilisation that arrived as liberators of the weak, oppressed and downtrodden. This religion of truth (Islam) was taken with great fervour to all corners of the globe, and defended with the wealth, families and lives of those who tasted its sweetness. Today, Islam is not only the fastest growing civilisation, but also the only one to challenge the onslaught of the Western materialistic and secularist culture.
Muslims forget the mission of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] from time to time, and have been known to neglect it. Therefore we hope our presentation assists in rejuvenating our commitment in passing on to others this beautiful way of Islam, applying the most efficient means of communication.
Now let us look into Madeenah and see how an enlightened and qualified generation was shaped to transmit the Prophetic legacy.
WE SEE …
The communication of the message is vital, as it deals with the survival of humanity. In Madeenah, all the tools were utilised; every platform was exploited to communicate the message and to eradicate misconceptions or falsehoods.
Jumu’ah was the occasion of the most powerful communication of Islam. The Jumu’ah sessions were disciplined. Companions were not allowed to ask each other to keep quiet. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] viewed anyone who did this as someone who engaged in futile talk.
He identified the three groups who attended Jumu’ah: There was the group that came simply to pass the time. They will receive no benefit from their attendance. Another group came only to supplicate and may or may not have received their wishes. And the third group consisted of those who were blessed, and gained expiation for their sins. They are those who are seriously interested to gain benefit from attending the Jumu’ah and keen that others benefit as well by refraining from disturbing them.
His audience for the Jumu’ah talk is dressed in their best clothes. They all had a bath, brushed their teeth and were smelling fresh. Thus they were ready to receive the teachings; all obstructions were eliminated. ‘Like a father he shares the mission in full with them,’ said Ibn Abu Haala [radhiallaahu anhu].
His eyes expressed seriousness and with a raised voice he addressed the audience like an army commander. Umm Ma’bad [radhiallaahu anha] said, ‘His voice was loud, clear and melodious.’ But he did not shout’.
Teaching circles after each congregational prayer was another powerful tool besides the Jumu’ah sermons to convey the message.
A profound seriousness prevailed during these sessions, interspersed with some light humour to harmonise teacher (the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]) and learner (his Companions). Then a Bedouin entered. ‘When is the final hour?’ he shouted in the Mosque. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] continued his talk without answering. Perhaps he had not heard the shout, or ignored the question as it was inappropriate. He concluded the talk. Then he said, ‘Where is he who asked the question?’ and responded to the question: ‘Prepare for the final hour when you see Muslim leadership in the hands of the most incapable people.’
Disturbance while he was talking was not entertained, but he did not overlook the question. The gathering in which he searched for the person who asked the question was sizeable. He showed here the necessity of choosing the appropriate time for questions. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] was gentle and kind and did not ignore the man’s question or abuse him.
The female Muslims were given a separate session on Thursdays in addition to the other sessions. This was offered to them after they complained to the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] that, by being made to sit at the back, they were marginalised by the males, who sat closer to the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] during the sessions at the Mosque.
The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] was a humble teacher and acknowledged lack of information by saying, ‘I do not know.’
His eloquence was unmatched in Madeenah. He raised his voice so that the whole audience could hear him speak, but he never shouted. Sometimes he asked a person to relay his speeches to the rest of the audience while he spoke as some would not be able to hear him because there were so many people that the ones at the back were too far away to hear him.
The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] knew over one thousand parables, which he used to facilitate understanding and maintain the attention of the audience. He allowed a period of questioning after his teaching sessions. He used mistakes made by Companions to establish the correct way. He posed a question and explained the answer, for example the correct manner of sleeping.
In his speeches, he strove to reach the pure hearts of people and to encourage their natural disposition to receive truth. His style was simple but the genius, the scientist, the philosopher and the masters in logic, mathematics, astronomy and physics could all comprehend and be stimulated by his speeches.
He used body language to help everyone understand. When he explained the great merit of caring for the orphan he showed with his two middle fingers, ‘He or she will be together with me like this in Paradise.’
The Ash’ari tribe said ‘am’ for ‘al’. The Prophet used their dialect when he spoke to them, saying, ‘It is not piety to fast while travelling’ (Laisa min ‘am’ birr ‘am’ siyaam fee ‘am’ safar). Zaid Ibn Thaabit [radhiallaahu anhu] mastered Hebrew and Syriac in two weeks and seventeen days respectively to help the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] to understand the correspondence of these tribes and to write back to them. In these ways, the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] used language to communicate the word of Islam.
Once, a Bedouin entered the Mosque while the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] was teaching. He brought his camel into the Mosque and made the camel kneel; then he tied it. ‘Who is Muhammad?’ he shouted in the Bedouin style. The Companions pointed to the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam], ‘Where is the son of Abdul-Muttalib?’ the man repeated. The Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] replied, ‘I have replied to you.’ The man was harsh in his interrogation of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. The Prophet entertained his questions and answered them without harshness. The man embraced Islam in that sitting and his tribe followed him. This was due to the gentleness of the Prophet’s [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] teaching, as well as the personal attention he offered to individuals who deserved it.
WE LEARN …
- to communicate Islam is the primary duty of Muslims
- Islam is not the property of any ethnic group or of the scholars. It is not the property of so-called Arabs or Malays or Indians, or the elite and rich, as it is perceived due to the conduct of Muslims
- Islam is not only our right, but also the greatest favour from Allaah
- Muslims should not be co-opted into a Kufr or any atheistic, materialistic, secular culture. If they allow this to happen, they shall suffer the humiliation of intellectual and cultural defeat, and Allaah will replace them with others who will deliver his message to the rest of humanity
- Muslims must be clear on the Islamic world view; on Allaah, the universe and man
- Muslims should be the most excellent teachers, applying efficient skills and facilities to establish the Islamic way.
- learn languages and improve our command over our home languages.
- explore issues such as the AIDS crisis and present the Islamic solutions.
- be loving and caring teachers, not exploiters or tyrants.
- not compromise with those who seek to defeat us.
In conclusion, let us remember the school of the Prophet in Madeenah. Remember his vibrancy, his seriousness when communicating Islam.
The absence of a missionary spirit in the Muslim organisation ’caused Muslims, to suffocate and fight among themselves’ one of my respected teachers in Cape Town taught us. He referred to the period when Muslims were serving as slaves at the Cape and concluded that, ‘It is a serious indictment on Muslims that Islam spread more rapidly during the period of slavery and that Muslims were more respected during that period than ever after.’
In conclusion, we should compare our communication of Islam to that of the Prophet [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. How far from or how close are we to Madeenah?