The Prophet’s Means in His Call And In Conveying His Message

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What is the source of the message? What is the first source in Islam?

In accordance with the command of the following verses: “O you wrapped up (in a mantle)! Arise and deliver thy warning!” (al-Muddaththir 74; 1-2) “O Messenger! Proclaim the (Message) which has been sent to you from your Lord. If you do not, you will not have fulfilled and proclaimed His Mission…” (al-Maidah 5; 67) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) began conveying the message of Islam. He exerted all his efforts and energy to save humans from going astray and to help them to achieve eternal salvation.

Our Prophet (pbuh) conveyed the religious rules, regulations, commands and prohibitions by using lawful means. At the head of these come the Holy Qur’an, the Prophet’s miracles, his exemplary life, his invitations and feasts, teachers and missionaries trained by him, and his letters and delegates sent to foreign rulers. We need to analyze the Prophet’s missionary means well, and such an analysis will teach us the best way to deliver Islam to people in every place and time, and it will clear our horizon and enlighten our path.

A.  The Holy Qur’an

“…(O Prophet) but warn by the Qur’an him who fears My threat.”

Qaf 50; 45

The Holy Qur’an builds up the foundation and methodology of the Prophet’s missionary activities. Based on the succinct sayings of the Prophet (pbuh):

“1) The Qur’an guides a person through all kinds of trouble

2) It consists of information about previous societies, about the state of future societies, and about the rules of the incident which will take place amongst the people

3) It distinguishes the right from the wrong

4) It is not something of no benefit

5) Allah the Almighty will destroy the mischievous ones who give it (the Qur’an) up

6) Allah the Almighty will mislead those who look for guidance other than its guidance

7) It is the most trustworthy rope from Allah the Almighty, His supreme remembrance, and His straight path

8) Those who hold it tight will never go astray

9) Those tongues which recite it will not err

10) Scholars could not be satisfied with it

11) It never loses its freshness through its frequent recitations

12) Its superiority and miraculousness never ceases

13) When jinns listen to it, they could not help but say “…They said, We have really heard a wonderful Recital!” (al-Jinn 72; 1)

14) Those who use the Holy Qur’an in their speech speak the truth

15) Those who base their rulings upon the Qur’an reach the right decisions and issue just rulings

16) Those who apply it in their lives obtain spiritual reward

17) It is the Divine Word and those who are invited to it find the straightes path.” (Tirmidhi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 14; Darimi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 1)

Hasan al-Basri (q.s.) says:

“Allah the Almighty revealed one hundred and four books. He summed the knowledge included in these books up in four of them: the Torah, the New Testament, Psalms, and the Qur’an. Then He inserted the knowledge of the three books into the Qur’an.” (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, II, 450)

The Holy Qur’an, which possesses the above mentioned general characteristics, was revealed to the heart of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and it is the greatest miracle of his prophethood. He (pbuh) comprehended the Truth through it and his inner world was enlightened by means of it. He transmitted its prosperity to people’s hearts and exerted his entire effort to take humanity to its enlightened atmosphere. Imam Shafii (may Allah have mercy on his soul) describes this as follows:

“The words of Muslim scholars are the interpretations of the Sunnah. And the content of the Sunnah is the exegesis of the Holy Qur’an. Every ruling issued by the Prophet (pbuh) is what he understood from the Qur’an and what can be included as the contents of the Qur’an.” (Ibn Kathir, Tafsir, I, 4; Kattani, II, 122)

It is stated in the verses:

“Alif Lam Mim. This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil).” (al-Baqara, 2; 1-2)

“Alif Lam Ra (This is) a Scripture which We have revealed unto you (Muhammad) that thereby you may bring forth mankind from darkness unto light, by the permission of their Lord, unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise.” (Ibrahim 14; 1)

By means of the Holy Qur’an our Prophet, a mercy to the universe, took people out of the darkness of disbelief, polytheism, and oppression to the light of faith, Islam, and ihsan. This enlightened path is the sacred path leading to Paradise and to the manifestation of Allah drawn by Allah the Almighty the Omnipotent.

This is expressed in a verse:

“So We have only made it easy in your tongue that you may give good news thereby to those who guard (against evil) and warn thereby a vehemently contentious people.” (Mayram 19; 97)

The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, or the language of people to whom it was revealed. And as a result of our Lord’s great Blessing, it was made easy on the Prophet’s tongue. By this means Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was able to convey the Qur’an to his people; by means of the Qur’an he gave the joyful tidings of Paradise to the pious believers and warned those who obstinately resisted the truth and showed enmity towards it.

The Qur’an, which has been facilitated for the people and about which people have been asked to contemplate, has the special effect of influencing its listeners. For someone who is right-minded even listening to the Qur’an is enough to realize that it is God’s words. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had the responsibility to transmit the Qur’an to humanity, which is stated in the following verse:

“If one amongst the Pagans asks you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure…” (al-Tawba 9; 6)

In other words, accustoming the ears hear the sound of the Qur’an helps faith settle into the hearts. In some other verses it is stated that the Prophet’s characteristic of being the bearer of glad tidings and the admonisher of the torments of the Hereafter were exercised only through the Qur’an. (al-Shura 42; 7; Qaf 50; 45; Furqan 25; 52) Another verse informs the Messenger of Allah the manner of his method in inviting others to the path of Islam:

“Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching…” (al-Nahl 16; 125) Exegete Tabari interprets the word “wisdom” as the Holy Qur’an and the phrase “beautiful preaching” as the lessons and advice in the Qur’an which prove the unity of Allah and encourage believers. According to this interpretation invitation with wisdom and beautiful preaching means that it can be done by reciting and talking about the verses of the Qur’an.

The Holy Qur’an is the greatest miracle of the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) said,

“There was no prophet among the prophets but was given miracles and as a result of which people had a sense of security or had belief, but what I was given was the Divine Inspiration which Allah revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will be more than those of any other prophet on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari, I’tisam, 1)[1]

In this report, the Prophet (pbuh) relates his hope about having the greatest number of followers with the miracle of the Qur’an. There is wisdom behind this:

The Qur’an does not resemble other miracles which happened at an exact time and were valid only for that time. It addresses human intellect through its style and meaning. Therefore, as long as intellect and contemplation exist in this world, Qur’anic verses will be read and contemplated upon. As a result, every day a new subtlety of the Qur’an will come to light.

Its meanings do not address a certain group of people of a certain time but it embraces the whole of humanity at all times. This is why there have been, and will always be, who affirm the miraculous character of the Qur’an. Consequently, the number of the Prophet’s (pbuh) followers will continue to increase.[2]

The magnificent literary style of the Qur’an affects and fascinates people from all levels of society. This is why there are reports in the books of Islamic history about the polytheist who could not help but listen to the Qur’an even though they did not believe in it.

One night Abu Sufyan, Abu Jahil, and Ahnas b. Sharik came secretly to Prophet’s house to listen to the Qur’an. Every one of them hid in a place unaware of the presence of the other. They spent the whole night listening to Prophet’s recitation of the Qur’an. When they were leaving early in the morning, they saw each other. They then began to criticize one other saying:

“We should never do this again. If someone had seen us, it would have placed a doubt in his heart.” And then they left. But the same thing happened the next day and the following day. Finally they told each other:

“We will not leave until we swear that we will never do this again.” They left after they agreed upon not coming back. (Ibn Hisham, I, 337-338)

If the Qur’an has such a great effect upon those who refuse to believe just because of their stubbornness and grudge, its effect is undoubtedly much greater upon those who sincerely and faithfully open their hearts to Islam. One of the best examples of this is as follows:

The ruler of Abyssinia had sent seventy of his people to Medina along with Ja’far (r.a.). All of them were softhearted prominent religious authorities. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) recited chapter Yasin (36) to them. They began to cry while they were listening and said:

“This is very similar to the words revealed to Jesus (A.S.)” Then they converted to Islam and then Allah the Almighty revealed the following verses:

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the messenger you will see their eyes overflowing with tears on account of the truth that they recognize; they say: Our Lord! We believe, so write us down with the witnesses (of truth).” (al-Maidah 5; 83) (Qastallani, I, 292; Diyarbekri, II, 31; Tabari, Tafsir, VII, 4)

The verses below express how much the true scholars who know with certainty that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah are moved by the miraculous effects of the Qur’an:

“Say: whether you believe in it or not, it is true that those who were given knowledge beforehand, when it was recited to them, fall down on their faces in humble prostration, and they say: Glory to our Lord, truly has the promise of our Lord been fulfilled. They fall down on their faces in tears, and it increases their (earnest) humility.” (al-Isra 17; 107-109)

Allah the Almighty calls the Qur’an and the information given in it the “al-Naba al-Azim – tremendous tiding.” (Sad 38; 67) This tremendous tiding shapped the agenda of the time and deeply affected everybody. When polytheists attacked the invitation of the Qur’an, it responded to their questions and clearly showed them the falsity of their faith and thoughts. It also presented them scenes from Hell and warnings about the painful torment awaiting the non-believers.

Since the Arab society of the time was very fond of poetry, they were easily impressed by an eloquent speech and showed interest in it. Their interest in poetry was so powerful that one line was enough for them to praise or to abase someone. Since non-believers knew that the Qur’an possessed a very strong literary effect, they did not just prevent themselves from listening to it but also trying to prevent others. They exhorted:

“… Do not listen to this Qur’an and make noise therein, perhaps you may be overcome.” (Fussilat 41; 26) The following report about Walid b. Mughirah adequately manifests this matter:

“One day Walid b. Mughirah came to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked of him:

“Read me something from the Qur’an.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) recited the following verse:

“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and giving to kith and kin, and he forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: he instructs you, that you may receive admonition.” (al-Nahl 16; 90) Walid told him:

“Recite it one more time.” When the Prophet (pbuh) recited the verse, Walid could not help but say:

“By Allah there is such beauty, eloquence, and light in this word that it is like a very green tree whose roots are watery and branches are filled with fruits. No human can utter such words. It certainly is superior to all the other words and no other word can outdo it. It can easily overcome its rivals.”

Walid stood up and went to Abu Bakr’s house. He asked some questions about the Qur’an and received answers to them all. Then he went to Quraish and said:

“What Ibn Abi Kabsha[3] says does indeed deserve to be admired. It is neither poetry nor magic nor nonsense. It certainly is the word of Allah.” When some people from Quraish heard Walid’s words, they made plans to prevent him from converting to Islam and succeeded.” (Hakim, II, 550; Tabari, Tafsir, XXIX, 195-196)

Walid, who was one of the foremost men of letters of his time, was astonished by the salient language and eloquent style of the Qur’an but he was not bestowed with the honor of embracing Islam.

Another example of the Qur’an’s impressive nature can be seen in the incident of Umar’s conversion to Islam. Before his conversion, Umar was one of the harshest enemies of the believers. One day, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) prayed in the house of Arkam saying:

“O Allah! Strenghten Islam with Amr b. Hisham or Umar b. al-Khattab whichever is more beloved to You.” (Ibn Hisham, I, 367) Umar (r.a.) narrates:

“Before I embraced Islam, one day I went out of the house to find and torture the Prophet. He had come to the mosque before me. I stood before him. He began to recite chapter Haqqah (69). I was amazed by the eloquence and clarity of the words that I was hearing. I thought:

“Maybe he is a poet like the people of Quraish say.” At that moment the Prophet began reciting the verses:

“But nay! I swear by all that you see and all that you see not that this is verily the word of an honored messenger; it is not the word of a poet: little it is you believe!” (al-Haqqa 69; 38-41)

I thought:

“Maybe he is a soothsayer and he sensed what I was thinking.” Just then the Prophet recited another verse from the same chapter:

“Nor is it the word of a soothsayer: little admonition it is you receive. It is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds.” (al-Haqqa 69; 41-43) When the Messenger of Allah finished the recitation of the chapter, I felt relieved and my heart inclined towards Islam. (Ibn Hanbal, I, 17; Haythami, IX, 62)

Finally, Umar (r.a.) was entranced by the beginning verses of surat Taha (20) which he heard in his sister Fatimah’s house. He said:

“How wonderful and valuable these words are!” And he came back to the Prophet (pbuh) and embraced Islam. (Ibn Hisham, I, 369-371)

We can see the Qur’an’s great influence by Umar’s conversion to Islam. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) benefited from the miraculous nature of the Qur’an to invite people to the true religion.

The poet Tufail b. Amr al-Dawsi was one of the people who embraced Islam because of the miraculous language of the Holy Qur’an. When he came to Mecca, some people from Quraish came to him and gave him some advice:

“O Tufail! You are a poet and a respected member of your tribe. You came to our town, but be careful about that man. He has been a problem for us. He destroyed our society and our jobs. His words are like magic enchanting people and destroy their relationship with their fathers, brothers, and wives. We are afraid that what happened to us might also happen to you and to your people. Never talk to him and listen to anything he says.” Tufail was influenced by their suggestions so he decided not to listen or talk to the Prophet (pbuh). When he arrived at the Ka’bah, he even placed some cotton into his ears so as not to hear what the Prophet was saying. Then he thought:

“Shame on me! I am an intelligent poet. I can distinguish between good and bad speech. So what could be wrong with listening to what this man is saying? If it is good I will accept it; if it is bad I can reject it.” Then he began to wait. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) left to go home, Tufail followed him and entered his house after him. Then he said:

“O Muhammad! Your people told me such and such about you. They scared me so much that I stuffed cotton into my ears so as not to hear you. Then thanks to Allah I managed to listen to you. Would you please tell me about your mission?” Tufail continued his words:

“Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told me about Islam and recited from the Qur’an. By Allah until then I have not heard anything as beautiful as the Qur’an and any religion better than Islam. I immediately bore witness that there is no god but Allah and embraced Islam.

Tufail attained light, peace, and relief in Islam. A few days later he asked permission from the Prophet (pbuh) to go back to his tribe to convey the message of Islam. He also asked the Prophet (pbuh) to pray for him to bestow on him the ability to do some kind of miracle in order to show his people and prove his words. As a result of Prophet’s supplication, first a light appeared right between his eyes, then upon his request this light left his face and appeared on top of his staff. Then he went back to his tribe. (Ibn Hisham, I, 407-408; Ibn Sa’d, IV, 237-238)

Another example demonstrating that the Qur’an was the essence of the Prophet’s mission is given by Uthman (r.a.):

“I went to visit my aunt Arwa. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) came with me. I began to watch him. I was feeling sad that day. The Prophet (pbuh) turned to me and asked:

“What is wrong O Uthman?” I said:

“I am sad because of what they are doing to you and saying about you.” Just then, he said “La ilaha illallah” and I began to shiver. After that he recited the following verses from chapter al-Zariyat (51):

“And in heaven is your sustenance, as (also) that which you are promised. Then, by the Lord of heaven and earth, this is the very Truth, as much as the fact that you can speak intelligently to each other.” (al-Zariyat 51; 22-23) He then stood up and left, but I ran after him and converted to Islam. (Ibn Abdilber, IV, 1779)

Similarly the six people from Medina who were present at the first Aqabah pledge of allegiance embraced Islam following the Prophet’s recitation of verses 35-52 of chapter Ibrahim. (14) (Ibn Hisham, II, 38-40; Ibn Sa’d, I, 217-219; Haythami, VI, 42)

The Companions trained by Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) as instructors and missionaries of Islam also followed the same method. Abu Bakr (r.a.) used to warm people’s heart to Islam by soothing them through the Qur’an. He was a compassionate, soft-hearted and gentle person. In aid of the oppressed non-believers, he had built a small place to worship at the corner of his garden. Whenever he recited the Qur’an, his voice would tremble in awe and he would begin shedding tears. Those who hear his recitation while passing by his house would stop and listen to him. Sometimes there would be crowds in front of his house and the people of Quraish were not happy with this scene. They were scared that Abu Bakr’s recitation of the Qur’an was going to cause their children and slaves to go astray. They went to complain about him to his guardian Ibn al-Daghina. Ibn al-Daghina told Abu Bakr:

“O Abu Bakr! Either sit in your house quietly or announce that you no longer are under my protection.” Abu Bakr (r.a.) gave him the following response:

“I return your guardianship to you. Allah’s protection is enough for me. (Bukhari, Manaqib al-Ansar, 45; Ibn Hisham, I, 395-396)

We observe one of the most remarkable examples of preaching by using the Qur’an in Mus’ab b. Umair’s (r.a.) invitation of Usaid b. Hudair and Sa’d b. Muadh to Islam. In Medina Mus’ab (r.a.) had awakened the hearts and minds of many by means of the Qur’an. He combined the enchanting and persuasive tone of the Qur’an with his beautiful voice and won many people’s hearts. He had educated the Medinan helpers, who opened their doors to the migrants of Mecca. (Ibn Hisham, II, 43-46; Ibn Sa’d, III, 604-605; Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, I, 112-113)

The recitation of the Qur’an with a spiritually improved heart leaves indelible traces on people’s souls. Everybody is benefited from it to the extent of their knowledge and wisdom. There are all kinds of cure for spiritual problems. Every single verse has the quality to cure the troubles of both individuals and the whole society. This is why Muslim preachers need to know how to choose which verses should be read to which audience. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would pay special attention to this matter. He would choose and recite verses in accordance with the state of his audience. He disciplined his Companions in the same manner. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would tell his envoys which verses and chapters they should recite considering the beliefs of the country that they were going to be visiting. For instance, he told Iyash b. Abi Rabi’a, his emissary to the head of Himyar, to recite chapter al-Bayyinah (98). (Ibn Sa’d, I, 282)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would write some verses in his letters considering the faith of his addressee. The Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) also paid him (pbuh) the utmost attention in order to employ the Holy Qur’an as an instrument in their call to Islam.

Believers who migrated to Abyssinia and Meccans who wanted to return them to Mecca were in the court of the king of Abyssinia. The king listened the claims of Meccan polytheists but he wanted to hear the other side of the story before giving any judgment, and summoned Ja’far ibn Abi Talib to the court to answer the charges against the Muslims, and there Ja’far (r.a.) gave a most memorable speech. While listening to Ja’far’s defense the King asked him:

“Do you have anything in your memory of the things that were revealed to the Prophet of the Muslims by Allah?” Ja’far (r.a.) replied in the affirmative and began to recite verses from chapter Maryam (19). He recited the verses about Zechariah (A.S.), John the Baptist (A.S.), and finally about Mary mother of the believers. The Quranic verses softened the hearts.

These verses intentionally chosen by Ja’far (r.a.) were about issues which about which the Christians could also relate to. When Ja’far (r.a.) ended his recitation, the Abyssinian King raised his head and said:

“Certainly the fountainhead of what I have just listened to and that of the verses revealed to Jesus (A.S.) are the same thing. He then turned to the Meccan envoys and told them:

“Go back to your home. By Allah I will never give Muslims to you and they are free to live in my kingdom for as long as they wish.” (Ibn Hisham, I, 358-360)

In addition to the matchless eloquence and the clarity of the Qur’an, Ja’far’s ability and wit in choosing the appropriate verses played an important role in this incident, which occupies a very significant place in Islamic history.

These examples clearly prove how significant and influential the Qur’an was, and still is, as an instrument in the call to Islam. This is why Muslim preachers must have a strong knowledge of the Qur’an and use it adequately in their missionary activities. They should even try to become a living Qur’an just as the Prophet (pbuh) was and invite people to Allah by means of their morals and manners shaped by the Qur’an.

B.  The Prophet’s Miracles

Bâkî mu’cizelere ne hâcet vasf-ı hak isbâtına

Câhil iken el, senin ilmin yeter bürhân sana[4]

(Fuzûlî)

Miracles are extraordinary events that take place at the hands of the prophets and render their audience unable to demonstrate something similar. The Qur’an states that prophets were forced to demonstrate some miracles in order for people to accept their teachings and invitation.

It should be stated that miracles are not imperative proofs of prophethood but just signs showing its authenticity and affecting the audience instantly. The real object of prophethood is to teach virtues and good morals. This is why the prophets’ morals and exemplary lives were more important and had more effect upon the non-believers than the demonstration of instantaneous, external, and temporary events of an extraordinary nature. People need to follow the customs of the prophets. Allah the Almighty expresses that the Qur’an should be enough for those non-believers who ask for a miracle:

“Yet they say: Why are not Signs sent down to him from his Lord? Say: The Signs are indeed with Allah: and I am indeed a clear Warner. And is it not enough for them that We have sent down to thee the Book which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is Mercy and a Reminder to those who believe.” (al-Ankabut 29; 50-51)

Non-believers’ requests for miracles were not sincere and were not done with the intention of accepting the truth. Their only reason to make such requests was to mock, deny, and stand against the truth. When a mirable was demonstrated, this would have caused the destruction of the deniers. Since the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) did not want his people to be destroyed because of this sin, he usually opposed such requests. The following presents a good example of this:

One day the polytheists of Quraish asked the Prophet (pbuh) to show a miracle. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked:

“What kind of miracle do you want me to show?” They replied:

“Transform the hill of Uhud into gold for us.” He (the Holy Prophet) asked again:

“If I do this, would you acknowledge my prophethood?” They said:

“Yes, if what you say is true and if our faith will make you happy, then transform the hill of Uhud into gold for us and we will believe in you.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked one more time:

“Will you really do what you say?” The polytheists swore and responded in the affirmative. Upon which Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) prayed to Allah. Then the Archangel Gabriel (A.S.) came and stated:

“O Muhammad! Your Lord sends His greetings to you and says: “If you wish, I will transform the hill of Uhud into gold for them. But I will punish severely all those who deny My message afterwards. If you wish, I will not do what you prayed for and leave the gates of repentance and mercy open for them.” After which the Prophet (pbuh), a mercy to the universe, prayed:

“Dear Lord! Please do not turn the hill of Uhud into gold and then punish them. On the contrary, keep Your gates of mercy and repentance open for them. Give them time until they become repentant.” Later, the polytheists got scared and changed their requests. The following verse was reveled as a result of this incident:

“And we refrain from sending the Signs, only because the men of former generations treated them as false: we sent the she-camel to Thamud to open their eyes, but they treated her wrongfully: we do not send signs save to warn (not to destroy or to punish).” (al-Isra 17; 59) (Ibn Hanbal, I, 242; Tabari, Tafsir, XV, 108)[5]

Nonetheless, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) showed miracles from time to time and because of them many people converted to Islam. In the early years of his mission, a bedouin came to the Prophet (pbuh) and asked:

“What is the proof that you are the Messenger of Allah?” Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) replied:

“Let me summon a bunch of dates from that tree. They will bear testimony that I am the Messenger of Allah.” He called to it and the bunch began to climb down from the tree and finally fell right before the Prophet (pbuh). It said:

“Peace and blessings be upon you O Messenger of Allah!” When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) commanded the bunch:

“Now go back to your place” it went back up and attached itself back into its old place. And the bedouin immediately converted to Islam. (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 6)

Below are some of the Prophet’s other miracles, which strengthened the faith and helped people to find guidance:

A polytheist came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said:

“I will not convert to Islam unless you revive my dead daughter.” They went to her grave. When the Prophet (pbuh) addressed the dead girl, she arose out of her grave and said:

“Here I am O Messenger of Allah!” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked her:

“Would you like to stay with your father on earth?” She replied:

“No, because I have met on the other side something that is much more superior than my parents.” Then she went back into her grave and disappeared.

It is also known that at least two more miracles happened in Prophet’s life similar to this one. (Qadi Iyad, I, 279; Hamidullah, I, 125-126)

According to another report, when the Prophet’s uncle Abbas was brought to Medina amongst the captives of the battle of Badr, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told him:

“O Abbas! Yu are a rich man so pay ransom for yourself, for Aqil your brother’s son, for Nawfal b. Harith and for your contracted slave Utba b. Amr.” Abbas said:

“O Messenger of Allah! I am a Muslim. Quraish forced me to join the battle.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told him:

“Allah knows your faith. If you are telling the truth, Allah will reward you; however, in appearance your state was against us, therefore you need to pay your ransom” and he also confiscated from Abbas 800 pieces of gold as war booty. Abbas said:

“O Messenger of Allah! At least count this money as our ransom.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told him:

“No, it is the war booty that Allah has taken from you and given to us.” Abbas said:

 “O Messenger of Allah! It looks like you will make me beg for the rest of my life.” Upon this Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked him:

“O Abbas! What about the pieces of gold that you gave to your wife Umm al-Fadl?” Abbas was surprised, and when he asked: “Which gold?” Allah’s Messenger said:

“The gold that you gave to your wife Umm al-Fadl on the day that you were leaving Mecca and then you said to your wife: “I do not know what will happen to me. If something happens to me, give such and such amount to Ubaidullah, such and such amount to Fadl, such and such amount to Qusam, and such and such amount to Abdullah.” Abbas was surprised all the more by these words and asked:

“Who told you this?” The Prophet (pbuh) replied:

“Allah told me.” Upon which Abbas converted to Islam saying:

“I swear by Allah Who has sent you as His Messenger, nobody except I and Umm al-Fadl knew this. You certainly are the Messenger of Allah.” (Bukhari, Jihad, 172; Ibn Hanbal, I, 353; Ibn Sa’d, IV, 13-15)

This miracle affected Abbas to such an extent that he converted to Islam.

Another instance that consists of a miracle of the Messenger of Allah took place as follows:

According to the narration of Umar (r.a.) someone from Sulaim clan hunted a big lizard and brought it to the Prophet (pbuh):

“I swear by Lat and Uzza that I will not believe in you until this lizard declares its faith in you.” Upon this Alah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked the lizard:

“O lizard! Whom do you worship?” The lizard replied in eloquent Arabic:

“Here I am at your service O Messenger of Allah! I worship Allah who owns the Throne in heavens, reign on earth, the path in seas, mercy in Paradise, and punishment in Hell.” After that the Prophet (pbuh) asked:

“Then who am I?” The lizard replied:

“You are the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds and the last Prophet. Those who acknowledge you are saved and those who deny you are perished.” Then the man excitedly said:

“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. You are the true Messenger of Allah. By Allah you were the one that I hated most in my youth, but now I love you more than myself and my children. I believe in you with my inside, with my outside, and with my entire limbs.”

Then he narrated the miracle he had witnessed to one thousand people and all of them came and converted to Islam. (Haythami, VIII, 293)

Beside the miracles that the Prophet (pbuh) showed to guide people to the straight path, he also demonstrated miracles to his Companions, who were under physically and spiritually difficult circumstances.

Jabir b. Abdullah (r.a.) narrated:

“People became very thirsty on the day of the Hudaibiya Treaty. A small pot containing some water was in front of the Prophet (pbuh) and when he had finished the ablution, the people rushed towards him. He asked,

“What is wrong with you?” They replied,

“We have no water either for performing ablution or for drinking except what is present in front of you.” So he placed his hand in that pot and the water started flowing among his fingers like springs. We all drank and performed ablution (from it).” Jabir (r.a.) was asked:

“How many were you?” he replied,

“Even if we had been one-hundred-thousand, it would have been sufficient for us, but we were fifteen-hundred.” (Bukhari, Manaqib, 25)

A similar miracle was narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira:

“We were accompanying the Apostle (pbuh) in a march (towards Tabuk). The people’s provisions were almost depleted and the situation became so critical that the soldiers decided to slaughter some of their camels. Upon which Umar (r.a.) said:

“O Messenger of Allah, I wish that you could pool together what has been left of the provisions with the people and then invoke Allah’s blessings upon it.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) did accordingly. The one who had wheat in his possession came to him with his wheat, he who had dates with him came with his dates and he who possessed stones of dates did likewise It was asked:

“What did they do with the date-stones?” They said:

“The people were sucking them and then drank water over them.” And then the narrator continued:

“He (the Holy Prophet) invoked the blessings of Allah upon these provisions. And there occurred such a miraculous increase in the stocks that the people replenished their provisions fully. At that time he (the Holy Prophet) said:

“I bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and I am His messenger. The bondsman who would meet Allah without entertaining any doubt about these two fundamentals would enter heaven.” (Muslim, Iman, 44)

As it can be seen from the examples above, Allah’ Apostle (pbuh) sometime used miracles to warm people’s hearts to Islam while performing his mission. In this context he manifested many miracles. However, we should also remember that the Prophet (pbuh) showed all these miracles with the help and permission of Allah the Almighty not by his own initiative.

C. His Exemplary Life

Revîşi pâk gerek da’vî-i İslâm edenin[6] (Eşrefoğlu Rûmî)

The good and praiseworthy actions and behavior of the preacher are among the most important means used in the call to Islam and to Allah the Almighty. A preacher of Islam should be like a living book from which his audience reads the principles of Islam. In order to make the message of Islam reach the audience and be successful, its preacher should be a good example and apply the principles that he preaches to his own life. In other words, a preacher must have the characteristics of praiseworthy morality, consistency of speech and actions, and unity of knowledge and actions because human nature tends to accept seeing behavior and actions more than simply hearing about them. Put differently, Islam needs to be represented by actions rather than preached in words.[7]

In the verses below Allah the Almighty invites preachers of Islam to be exemplary people and wants their actions to not conflict with their words.

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do.” (al-Saff 61; 2-3)

“Do you enjoin right conduct on the people, and forget (to practice it) yourselves, and yet you study the Scripture? Will you not understand?” (al-Baqarah 2; 44)

The words of those who do not have a strong personality and whose words are not compatible with their actions will not have any effect upon their listeners. Therefore, prophets and their followers have to be careful about the consistency of their words and actions. The Prophet Shu’aib (Jethro) (A.S.), who is also known as “the preacher to the prophets”, addresses his people as stated in the verse below:

“…I wish not, in opposition to you, to do that which I forbid you to do…” (Hud 11; 88)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), who was the most excellent exemplar in every aspect of his life, demonstrated this attribute perfectly.

Allah’s Messenger was so careful about living in accordance with his teachings that those who looked at him did not need anything else to be convinced that he was telling the truth and to acknowledge his prophethood. Abdullah b. Rawaha’s following line is a good statement of this reality:

“Even if he did not come with evident miracles, just looking at his blessed face, observing his morals and disposition give you satisfactory knowledge.” This is not an exact translation of the Arabic sentence!

This admirable attribute existed in the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) before his prophethood. He had lived a decent life for forty years and never been involved with the sins and ugliness prevalent in his society. This fact is referred to in the following verse:

“…I dwelt among you a whole lifetime before it (the revelation came to me). Have you then no sense?” (Yunus 10; 15-16)

These divine statements shed light on the life of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) before his prophethood, and in a way it’s a warning of the Prophet’s (pbuh) saying:

“O Meccans who stubbornly and persistently oppose me! I was amongst you for forty years before I brought you the Qur’an. Is not my existence for such a long time amongst you enough to know how trustworthy I am and that the Qur’an is nothing but the word of Allah?”

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was the most superior one in munificence, most perfect one in modesty, most eminent one in nobility, most trustworthy one, strongest one in endurance, and the farthest one from all kinds of dissipation amongst his people. Al-amin (the most trustworthy one) was the Prophet’s second name. When he was twenty five years old, he was known in Mecca only by the name of al-Amin. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 121, 156) See how nicely Khadijah (r. anha) emphasized this characteristic of the Prophet (pbuh) in the following report:

“Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist those who are deserving and afflicted by calamity. You speak the truth. You are trustworthy. You have good morals.” (Bukhari, Bad’ul wahy, 1; Ibn Sa’d, I, 195)

In his first address on the hill of Safa Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) presented his exemplary life as his primary proof to persuade his listeners. He (pbuh) began his speech by asking:

“If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me?” and his audience replied:

“We have not experienced any lie from you.” As a result of this response our beloved Prophet (pbuh) began to convey them the message of Islam. (Muslim, Iman, 355; Ibn Sa’d, I, 200)

The following example about the necessity of the consistency of words with actions of the preachers is also very remarkable. When the ruler of Umman received the Prophet’s letter inviting him to Islam, he asked for information about Prophet’s life. After receiving what he had requested, he said:

“Allah granted me the opportunity to know this illiterate Prophet. He would not order goodness unless he lives it first in his own life and he would not prohibit a wrong action unless he gave it up himself first. He will certainly be victorious. He cannot be stopped. He will certainly be superior and will not be left alone. He keeps his word and fulfills his promise.” Finally, he converted to Islam saying “I definitely accept that he is a prophet.” Then he composed a poem about his conversion addressing a Prophet’s emissary Amr b. As (r.a.):

“Amr brought be such a truth that no truth exists beyond it. The adviser of that Truth is a true adviser. O Amr! I openly submit myself to Allah. An eloquent tongue is shouting my state in these valleys.” (Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah, I, 262)

When Abdullah b. Salam, a prominent Jewish scholar of the time, saw the Prophet’s face, he said: “This face cannot belong to a liar” and then converted to Islam. (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 42)[8]

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) attached importance to the fact that his message be material rather than be abstract statements. According to the narration of Anas (r.a.) “Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would want Muhajirs and Ansar to pray right behind him in order to see closely and learn (how to pray) directly from him.” (Ibn Majah, Salat, 44)

Again when he performed his pilgrimage, he demonstrated most of the rites while he was on his camel to let believers see easily and he said:

 “O People! Learn your rituals (by seeing me performing them), for I do not know whether I will be able to perform pilgrimage after this one.” (Ibn Hanbal, III, 318; Muslim, Hajj, 310)

Just as being an example in performing the acts of worship, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) became an actual criterion in abstaining from prohibitions. For instance, Allah’s Apostle had a gold ring and he used to wear it with the stone towards the inner part of his hand, and so the people had similar rings made for themselves. Later, the Prophet sat on the pulpit and removed his ring saying,

“I used to wear this ring and turn its stone towards the palm of my hand.” He then threw it away and said,

“By Allah, I will never wear it.” Therefore, all the people threw away their rings as well. (Bukhari, Aiman, 6)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) prepared the circumstances for the people he invited to Islam in order for them to see the living Islam and so make their decisions accordingly. Instead of gathering the captives of the battle of Badr in one place, he advised his Companions to host them one by one. The aim of this approach was to let the captives see closely how the Companions lived Islam, the beauty of Islam, and thus to let their hearts warm to the path of the truth. (Ibn Hisham, II, 288)

Similarly, the same aim was observed in the Companions’ hosting the members of foreign delegations separately. (Ibn Hanbal, III, 432) For instance when the delegation from Taif came to Medina, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) hosted them in the mosque to let them listen to the Qur’an, to see how believers peacefully pray in reverence. (Abu Dawud, Imarah, 26)

After teaching them Islam, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would send the new converts back to their towns so that they could convey the message of Islam to their people through their exemplary lives. Malik b. Huwairth narrated:

“I came to the Prophet with some men from my tribe and stayed with him for twenty nights. He was kind and merciful to us. When he realized our longing for our families, he said to us,

“Go back and stay with your families and teach them the religion and tell them the things needed to be told.” Then the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordered us to do some more things some of which I still remember and others of which I do not. . Then he (the Holy Prophet) continued:

“Offer the prayer just as you saw me praying and one of you should pronounce the Adhan for the prayer when it is time is due and the oldest one amongst you should lead the prayer.” (Bukhari, Adhaan, 18)

Ottomans sent religious families with exemplary lives first to the lands they conquered following the custom of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). People who saw the believers’ sincere and peaceful lives embraced Islam in crowds. Today preachers of Islam have to apply the same method in delivering the message of Islam all around the world.

D.  Teachers and Missionaries Trained by the Prophet (pbuh)

“O Messenger of Allah! Send us an instructor to teach us our religion and the Qur’an.” (Hamidullah, Wathaiq, p. 52)

While preaching Islam by his actions and words Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) also trained many instructors and missionaries which enabled him to deliver the message of Islam to a much wider audience. He appointed his talented Companions as instructors both inside and outside of the borders of Mecca and Medina. Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) also sent missionary envoys to the neighboring tribes which requested instructors from him to learn Islam.

After the migration, our Prophet (pbuh) had a special section built next to the mosque which he used like a college and trained the teachers and missionaries of Islam. Those who were trained in that school are known as “Ashab al-Suffah or the Companions of suffah.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was their head instructor. Some Companions like Abdullah b. Mas’ud, Ubai b. Ka’b, and Muadh b. Jabal also gave lessons. The needs of the Companions of suffah were covered by the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), and he also encouraged the wealthy Companions to help them.

Since the Companions of suffah were constantly with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and were busy with learning, they mastered the regulations of Islam, the Qur’an and Sunnah well. When newly converted tribes asked for an instructor, the Prophet (pbuh) usually sent some of the Companions of suffah. Thus, they played an important role in conveying and spreading the message of Islam.

From the first day that Our Prophet (pbuh) began to call people to Islam, he considered everybody who believed in him to be a prospective instructor. Indeed he stated at the end of his farewell sermon that:

“… It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey this message to those who are absent, for some of those to whom it is conveyed may comprehend and apply it better than some of those who have heard it directly…” (Bukhari, Adaahi, 5)

Following the directions of the Prophet (pbuh) these distinguished people enlightened their surroundings like candles.

Abu Bakr (r.a.) was one of the prominent ones from among these distinguished people. He immediately began to invite people to Allah openly as soon as he embraced Islam. Abu Bakr (r.a.) was a gentle person loved by everyone. He was a good mannered, trustworthy, and honest merchant. Since he was knowledgeable and a good speaker many people would come to benefit from him. He would speak about Islam and Allah to those whom he saw fitting. Zubair b. Awwam, Uthman b. Affan, Talha b. Unaidullah, Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas, Abdurrahman b. Awf and many others embraced Islam by his guidance. (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, III, 80)

Twelve Muslims who had met the Prophet (pbuh) at the second Aqabah pledge of allegiance began to spread Islam in Medina. Later, ansar wrote a letter and sent it to the Messenger of Allah. The letter consisted of the following request:

“O Messenger of Allah! Send us an instructor to teach us our religion and the Qur’an.”

Upon which Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) appointed Mus’ab b. Umair (r.a.) as an instructor and sent him to be the pioneer of Islam in Medina. (Ibn Sa’d, I. 220; Hamidullah, Wathaiq, p. 52)

This young Companion, an admirer of the Prophet (pbuh), began to tell people about Islam day and night. As’ad b. Zurara (r.a.) was one of the first converts to Islam and helped Mus’ab (r.a.) in his mission. The following information which we will narrate from the Islamic history books clearly shows the reasons for the success of Mus’ab’s policy and method of preaching.

One day As’ad b. Zurar and Mus’ab b. Umair (r. anhum) sat by the well in the garden of Zafar clan. When Sa’d b. Muadh, one of the prominent members of Abdulashhal clan, heard this, he told Usaid b. Hudair:

“You are a calculating man who does not need anybody. Go to those men who came to our neighborhood to ruin the faith of our weak and warn them not to come here again. If As’ad b. Zurara was my relative, I would do it myself.”

Usaid picked up his spear and went there immediately. He told them angrily:

“What brought you here? Have you brought this stranger to ruin the faith of our weak? I do not want to see you doing this again. If you value your lives, leave this neighborhood immediately.” Mus’ab (r.a.) acted sagaciously and said to him:

“Would you sit and listen to what I say? You are an intelligent man. If you like what I say, you may accept them or if you do not, you won’t.” Usaid said:

“You are right.” and stuck his spear to the ground and sat down.

Mus’ab told him about Islam and recited parts of the Qur’an.

As soon as Usaid listened to the Qur’an, the light of Islam shone in his face and his heart softened towards Islam. He converted to Islam saying about the Qur’an:

“What lovley and lofty words!”

After a while, Sa’d b. Muadh came to them in a fury, but like Usaid, he embraced Islam after listening to Mus’ab (r.a.). Then he went to his people:

“O sons of Abdulashhal! How do you know me?” They said:

“You are a noble person, superior in thinking and a good leader.” Upon which Sa’d b. Muadh told them:

“Until you declare your faith in Allah and His Messenger, let talking to any of your men or women be prohibited.” No one from the Abdulashhal clan was left who did not embrace Islam that evening. (Ibn Hisham, II, 43-46; Ibn Sa’d, III, 604-605; Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, I, 112-113)

Just like Medina, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) sent some of his Companions as instructors to other regions. One day after performing the dawn prayer, he turned to the congregation and asked:

“O Ansar and Muhajir! Which one of you would go to Yemen?” Abu Bakr (r.a.) said:

“I would O Messenger of Allah!” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) kept his silence and did not respond to him. Then he asked again:

“O Ansar and Muhajir! Which one of you would go to Yemen?” Umar (r.a.) said:

“I would O Messenger of Allah!” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) kept his silence and did not respond to him. When he asked for a third time:

“O Ansar and Muhajir! Which one of you would go to Yemen?” Mu’adh b. Jabal (r.a.) said:

“O Messenger of Allah! I would go.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told him:

“O Mu’adh! This job is yours.” Then he turned to Bilal (r.a.) and asked:

“O Bilal! Bring me my turban.” When his turban was brought, he wrapped it on Mu’adh’s head. Then he asked:

“How will you judge when the occasion of deciding a case arises?” He (Mu’adh) replied:

“I shall judge in accordance with Allah’s Book.” He (the Holy Prophet) asked:

“What will you do if you do not find any guidance in Allah’s Book?” He replied:

“I shall act in accordance with the Sunnah of the Apostle of Allah (pbuh).” He asked:

“What will you do if you do not find any guidance in the Sunnah of the Apostle of Allah (pbuh) and in Allah’s Book?” He replied:

“I shall do my best to form an opinion and I shall spare no effort.” The Apostle of Allah (pbuh) then patted him on the breast and said:

“Praise be to Allah Who has helped the messenger of the Apostle of Allah to find something which pleases the Apostle of Allah.” (Ibn Hanbal, V, 230; Ibn Sa’d, III, 584; Diyarbekri, II, 142)

Besides Mu’adh (r.a.) Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) sent Ali (r.a.) to Yemen. Ali (r.a.) said that:

“Some people from Yemen came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said:

“O Messenger of Allah! Send us people to teach us the religion of Allah and judge amongst us according to the book of Allah.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) told me:

“O Ali! Go to the people of Yemen and teach them Sunnah and judge amongst them by the book of Allah.” I said:

“O Messenger of Allah! I am young and inexperienced. I may face issues that I do not know.” Upon this Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) put his hand upon my chest and told me:

“Go! Allah will inspire the right judgment in your heart and give perseverance to your tongue.” After the Prophet’s words I have never had doubts about my judgments. (Ibn Majah, Ahkam, I; Hakim, III, 210)

Like the Prophet (pbuh) the first four rightly guided caliphs of Islam sent instructors and missionaries to the various regions of the Muslim lands. For instance, upon a request coming from the governor of Damascus, Umar (r.a.) sent Mu’adh b. Jabal, Ubadah b. Samit, and Abu al-Darda ( r. anhum) to teach the Qur’an and the regulations of Islam. He advised them:

“Begin preaching and teaching Islam from the city of Humus. You will find its people with different abilities. Some comprehend quickly. If you meet such people, guide some people to them to learn the Qur’an. After making some advancements, one of you should stay in Humus, one of you should go to Damascus, and the other one of you should go to Palestine.”

After they had served in Humus for a while, Ubada (r.a.) stayed there, Abu al-Darda (r.a.) went to Damascus, and Mu’adh b. Jabal (r.a.) went to Palestine. After Mu’adh (r.a.) passed away due to the plague, Ubada (r.a.) took his place. Abu al-Darda (r.a.), on the other hand stayed in Damascus until the end of his life. (Ibn Sa’d, II, 357)

One of the remarkable points of these reports is that these instructors stayed and served in the cities to which they had been appointed until the end of their lives and did not return to Medina.

Abu Idris al-Khawlani narrated a memory about those days as follows:

“I entered the Damascus mosque and there was a young man with a beautiful mouth and white teeth sitting with some people. When they disagreed about something, they referred it to him and proceeded from his statement. I inquired about him, and it was said, “This is Muadh b. Jabal.” The next day I went to the noon-prayer, and I found that he had preceded me to the noon prayer and I found him praying.”

Abu Idris continued, “I waited for him until he had finished the prayer. Then I came to him from the front and greeted him saying,

“By Allah, I love you for the sake of Allah!..” (Muwatta, Sha’r, 16)

Muslim states established after the four rightly guided caliphs followed the Prophet’s method of Islamization of the lands that they conquered. They sent instructors and callers of Islam to such lands.[9]

Only twenty thousand of the one hundred and twenty thousand Companions who had been present at the farewell sermon of the Prophet (pbuh) died in and were buried in Mecca and Medina. With their love and joy the rest of those Companions set off on journeys and spread all around the world to deliver the message of Islam. For centuries they enlightened the people with the light of the torch they had received from the Messenger of Allah. Today, many people in all parts of the world are in need and wait for the call of their Creator to be conveyed to them. Those who follow in the footsteps of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and his Companions (r. anhum) should mobilize all their efforts to meet those people’s needs.

E.  Letters and Envoys

“O Messenger of Allah! Send us wherever you would like to send us. We will obey and fulfill your command. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 264)

Another means used by the Messenger of Islam (pbuh) in his call were his letters and his delegates to the rulers of neighboring countries. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) sent his emissaries to the countries where he did not have a chance to go himself. Thus he fulfilled his mission through his envoy.

According to these sources our Prophet (pbuh) sent some letters during the Meccan period. For instance, in the first years of his prophethood, when an old man named Aksam b. Sayfi from the tribe of Tamim sent a letter and asked for information about Islam, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) replied to his request by the following letter:

From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Aksam b. Sayfi …

May the peace of Allah be upon you. I inform you about my praises to Allah. Allah commands me to say “La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu – There is no god but Allah Who is the One with no partners.” and preach these words to everybody. All creation and rules belongs to Allah. Everything is His. Allah creates them, takes their lives, and resurrects them in the Hereafter. Return is most certainly to Him. I informed you about the prophets’ message. You will undoubtedly be asked about the Great Tiding. You will soon hear its news.” (Hamidullah, al-Wathaiq, p. 254-255)

In his letter which he sent with the first group which migrated to Abyssinia, he invited the king of Abyssinia to Islam and asked him to protect the believers who came to seek shelter in his kingdom. Nonetheless, the Prophet’s attempts to establish connections with neighboring countries through letters and envoys began in the sixth year after his migration to Medina. When the Prophet (pbuh) came back to Medina from the treaty of Hudaibiya, one day he went to his Companions and said:

“O People! Allah the Almighty has surely sent me as a mercy to everybody. Do not oppose me like the disciples of Jesus (A.S.), the son of Mary, opposed him.” Companions asked:

“How did the disciples opposed him?” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:

“He invited them to a thing to which I will invite you. Those whom he sent to near places obeyed him and found salvation, while those whom he sent to far lands frowned and acted slowly.” The Companions stood up and said:

“We will go wherever you would like us to go. We will fulfill your order. By Allah we will not oppose you in anything.” When Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) decided to write letters to the rulers of neighboring countries, the Companions told him:

“O Messenger of Allah! They will not read a letter unless it is sealed.” Then Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had a silver ring made for himself and engraved upon it the words: “Muhammad, Messenger of Allah.” Later he used this ring to seal his letters.” (Muslim, Libas, 57, 58; Ibn Sa’d, I, 264)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had his letter to Ashama, the king of Abyssinia, written as follows:

“In the Name of Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful,

From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Ashama the king of Abyssinia. Embrace Islam. I inform you of my praises to Allah that there is no god but Him. He is the Ruler, the Holy, the Peace, the Guarantor, and the Guardian. I bear testimony that Jesus son of Mary is the spirit and word of Allah. Allah dropped him into the chaste, pure, and protected Mary so that she became pregnant with Jesus. Just like Allah created Adam with His Hand and Breath, He created him (Jesus) with His Spirit and Breath.

I invite you to Allah the One Who has no partner, to be continuous in obeying Him, to abide by me, and to believe in the book revealed to me, for I am the Messenger of Allah. I sent you my cousin Ja’far and a group of Muslims. Host them and do not object. I invite you and your army to Allah. Thus, I fulfilled my duty to deliver (the message) and advised to you. Accept my advice. Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.”

When the king received the Prophet’s letter, he kissed it and rubbed it to his eyes. He modestly descended from his throne, sat down, and embraced Islam by bearing testimony. And then he said:

“If I had the possibility to go to him, I would certainly do it. May Allah be my witness this is the illiterate prophet for whom Jews and Christians were waiting. As Moses (A.S.) gave the glad tidings of Jesus (A.S.), Jesus (A.S.) gave the good news of Muhammad’s (A.S.) coming. Even though getting the news is not same as seeing him personally, what can I do? I do not have much support from the Abyssinians. I am waiting for the number of my helpers to rise and their hearts to warm to Islam.”

Then the king sent the following response to the Prophet’s letter:

“In the Name of Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful,

This is a letter from Ashama the king of Abyssinia to Muhammad the Messenger of Allah:

O the Prophet of Allah! May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you. There is no god but Him, and He is the One Who has guided me to Islam.

You letter about Jesus reached me. I swear by the name of the Lord of the heavens and earth that Jesus did not say anything about himself more than what you said about him. In fact, he is just like you described him. We have perceived why you have been sent and we have hosted your cousin and his friends.

I bear testimony that you are truthful and have been sent to confirm the previous prophets. I took allegiance to your cousin as your representative and submitted myself to Allah the Lord of the worlds. I am sending my son Erha b. Ashama to you. Unfortunately, I cannot influence anybody other than my own family in this respect. If you would like me to come to you, I will do so. I bear testimony that everything you say is true. May the peace of Allah be upon you O Messenger of Allah!” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 258; Hamidullah, al-Wathaiq, p. 100, 104-105)

The Prophet’s letters were usually regarded with friendliness by their addressees. This demonstrates that the Prophet’s message was heard by neighboring countries and it achieved an influenctial state. By using this power and influence, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) invited people to Islam on every occasion.

A letter from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was brought to Hiraql (Ceasar), the Emperor of Rome (who was on a visit to Jerusalem at that time) by Dihya b. Khalifa al-Kalbi. Dihya (r.a.) delivered it to the governor of Busra and the governor passed it on to Hiraql. When Hiraql finished reading the letter, clamor and confusion was raised around him. The Emperor had first wanted to convert to Islam but he changed his mind as a result of the pressure from his people. (Bukhari, Bad’ul Wahy, 5-6; Muslim, Jihad, 74; Ibn Hanbal, I, 262)

Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) sent Abdullah b. Hudhaifa (r.a.) to the Persian Shah Chosroes. He (pbuh) stated in his letter:

“In the Name of Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful,

From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Chosroes the leader of Persians. May peace be upon those who find guidance, who believe in Allah and His Messenger, who bear testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his servant and Messenger!

I invite you to belief in Allah for I am a Messenger sent by Allah to all humanity to warn those who live and inform of the punishment of those who deserve to be punished. Embrace Islam and gain safety. If you turn away from my invitation, the sins of all Zoroastrians will be upon you.”

After Chosroes had listened to the Prophet’s letter, he ordered his men to take Abdullah b. Hudaifa (r.a.) out. As soon as Abdullah left the presence of the Shah, he started his journey back to Medina. He said to himself:

“By Allah, I do not mind either of the two ways (death or life) for myself. I have delivered Allah’s Messenger’s letter and fulfilled my job.” (Ibn Hanbal, I, 305; Ibn Sa’d, I, 260; IV, 189; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, IV, 263-6; Hamidullah, al-Wathaiq, p. 140)

For Companions it was an honor to take the letters of the Prophet to the faraway lands. They never hesitated to fulfill their task. There were those who faced dangerous moments like Abdullah b. Hudhafa (r.a.). Each one of them had only one goal in mind, that was, to deliver the Prophet’s letter to its destination. They would not even think about death, captivity, or other hardships that they might face on their path.

One day Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked:

“O People! Which one of you would deliver this letter to the Muqawqis of Alexandria expecting the rewards just from Allah?” Khatib b. Abi Baltaa (r.a.) stood up and came closer to the Prophet and he said:

“O Messenger of Allah! I can deliver it.” Allah’s Messenger told him:

“O Khatib May Allah bless you in this task.” Khatib took the Prophet’s letter to Muqawqis of Alexandria.[10] Below is what was written in the letter:

“In the Name of Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful,

From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Muqawqis, ruler of the Copts of Alexandria,

Peace be on him who has taken the right course. Thereafter, I invite you to accept Islam. Therefore, if you want security, embrace Islam. Embrace it so that Allah, the Sublime, shall reward you doubly. But if you refuse to do so, responsibility for the transgression of the entire nation shall be yours.

“… O People of the Book come to common terms between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than Allah…” (Al-i Imran 3; 64)

After reading the Prophet’s letter Muqawqis called Khatib b. Abi Baltaa (r.a.) and gathered the clergy. Khatib narrates the rest of the incident as follows:

“Muqawqis told me:

“I will speak with you and ask you some things that I would like to understand.” And he continued:

“Is not your master a prophet?” I replied:

“Yes, he is the Messenger of Allah.” He asked again:

“If he is really a prophet, why did not he pray against his people who forced him to leave his home town and take shelter in another one?” I said:

“You believe that Jesus son of Mary was a messenger of Allah, don’t you?” Since he was a true prophet, would it not be better if he prayed for Allah to raise him up to the skies and destroy his people when they wanted to hang him?” Muqawqis could not find anything to say. After a moment of silence, he told me to repeat what I had just said. I repeated my words. Muqawqis stayed quiet for a while and then said:

“You said a good thing. You are a wise man. You speak wisely and the words are coming from a wise man.” Then I told him:

“A man before you claimed that he was the lord almighty. Allah the Almighty punished him with the torments of this world and the Hereafter. Take a lesson from the end of those before you and do not become a lesson for the generations that will come after you.” Muqawqis said:

“We have a religion and we will not change it unless we find a superior one.” I told him:

“Islam is certainly superior to your religion. We invite you to Islam which Allah has chosen as the religion for humanity. Muhammad Mustapha (pbuh) invites not only you but the whole of humanity. Amongst them the people of Quraish treated him the harshest, and the Jews did him the worst of enmities. The Christians were the closest ones amongst the people. Jesus (A.S.) gave the glad tidings of Muhammad (A.S.) just like Moses (A.S.) had given the glad tidings of Jesus (A.S.). Our invitation to you to the Qur’an is like your invitation to the followers of the Torah to the Bible. Every man needs to follow the Prophet of their time. And you are amongst those who have reached the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, by calling you to Islam, we are not taking you away from the religion of Jesus (A.S.). By contrast, we offer you the opportunity to act in accordance to his prophethood.” Muqawqis said:

“I examined your prophet’s religion. I found that it does not order to give the world up and prohibit desirable and acceptable things. Your prophet is neither a sorcerer nor a liar who claims to obtain news from the unknown. On the contrary, he carries the signs of prophethood like disclosing the unknown world and bringing news from it. But I would like to think a little more about it.” The he wrote the following response to the Prophet’s letter:

““In the Name of Allah The Beneficent, The Merciful,

From Muqawqis to Muhammad b. Abdullah

I read your letter and understood what you have written. I know that the coming of a Prophet is still due. But I thought, he would be born in Syria – I have hosted your messenger with respect and honor. I am sending two concubines for you as presents. These concubines belong to a very respectable family amongst us. In addition, I send you some clothes and a steed for riding. May peace be upon you.”

Muqawqis neither rejected nor embraced Islam. He also enjoined me: “Be careful! Copts should not hear a single word from you.” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, IV, 266-267; Ibn Sa’d, I, 260-261; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, III, 530-531)

Not only sending the Prophet’s letters and their contents are important but also the personality and manners of those delivering the letters. Because it affected the acceptance of the letters to whom they were sent. And the Messenger of Allah, who knew this fact well, paid the utmost attention to his envoys to have various praiseworthy qualities.

As we know from the sources, these delegates were intelligent, eloquent, persuasive, gifted and capable people. They knew and understood the essence of Islam and led exemplar lives.

These delegates were chosen from the people who had, for some reason, already visited the lands they were sent to and knew the customs, beliefs and thoughts of their people. They also knew their language. They were neat and organized for these are very important qualities by which to influence the audience. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:

“You are coming to your brethren; so tidy your mounts and tidy your dress, until you become like a mole, which is the symbol of the face of beauty, among the people. Allah does not like ugly appearances, obscene words or deeds.” (Abu Dawud, Libas, 25)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) made very significant recommendations to his delegates. For instance, he wrote a letter to Haris, Mesruh, and Muaim b. Abdikulal, who were in Himyar. When he was sending the letter with Iyash b. Abi Rabia al-Mahdhumi, he advised him that:

“When you arrive there, do not enter at night. Wait for the morning. Then perform ablution and offer two cycles of prayer. Pray for Allah to bestow upon you success and to receive a friendly reception. And then make your preparations well. Take my letter in your right hand and give it to them with your right hand. If you do so, they will accept you.” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 282)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) sent many letters and envoys. He used them as instruments in his mission. He exerted the utmost effort under the circumstances of the time, and efforts bore fruits both in the short and long-run and prepared the basis for the neighboring countries to accept Islam.

In this age, when telecommunication is so easy and technology is so advanced, we need to benefit from all kinds of the technological achievements in conveying the message of Islam to humanity.

F. Guest Delegations

“Go back and stay with your families and teach them the religion and tell them whatever needs to be said.” (Bukhari, Adhan, 18)

During the final years of the Medinan period when Islam became known around Medina, delegates from neighboring tribes began to come to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and embrace Islam. These delegates had various objectives and requests:

1) To inform that their tribe converted to Islam and to pledge allegiance on behalf of their people

2) To learn the Islamic regulations and teach them to their people when they return

3) To ask instructors and missionaries to teach them Islam

4) To sing treaties and accept to pay jizya tax even though they did not accept to convert to Islam

5) To discuss religious and scholarly matters with the Messenger of Allah

6) To learn the situation of the Prophet and the Muslim state

Below are some examples in this context.

One of the guest delegates came to the Prophet (pbuh) was from the tribe of Tayy. When they came to Medina, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was in the mosque. He looked at the delegates and said:

“I advise you something better than Uzza which has no benefit to you but which you worship.” Zaid al-Hayy said:

“O Messenger of Allah! I came to you from a place nine-day away exhausting my animal. My nights were sleepless and my days were waterless.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) held Zaid’s hand and told him:

“All praises be to Allah Who brought your heart closer to faith and brought you here after passing many obstacles.” and then asked:

“Who are you?” Zaid replied:

“I am Zaid al-Hayy. I bear testimony that there is no god but Allah and you are His servant and Messenger.” Allah’s Messenger told him:

“You are not Zaid al-Hayl but Zaid al-Hair from now on.”

When the Prophet (pbuh) told the delegates of Tayy about Islam and offered them to embrace it, they immediately converted to Islam. (Ibn Hisham, IV, 245; Ibn Sa’d, I, 321)

Representatives of Sa’d-i Hudhaim from Yemen had already embraced Islam. They came to Medina to pledge allegiance and learn the stipulations of Islam. One of them Abu Nu’man narrates:

“We set off on a journey to go to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). When we arrived at the gate of the Prophet’s mosque, we saw that the Prophet (pbuh) was leading a funeral prayer so we waited. After the prayer, Allah’s Messenger turned to us and asked:

“Who are you?” We said:

“We are from the Sa’d-i Hudhaim clan.” He asked again:

“Are you Muslims?” We replied affirmatively. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) asked:

“Have you prayed in your brother’s funeral?” We replied:

“O Messenger of Allah! We thought we were not allowed to do that until we pledged allegiance to you.” Then the Prophet (pbuh) told us:

“You become Muslims no matter where you accept Islam.”

We pledged allegiance and then went back to our camping site. Allah’s Messenger ordered his Companions to treat and host us well. After we stayed for three days in Medina, we came to the Prophet to say goodbye. As we were leaving, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) gave an order to Bilal and he gave us many silver pieces as presents and we went back to our tribe. (Ibn Qayyim, III, 652-653; Ibn Sa’d, I, 329-330)

Envoy from the Banu Tujib is another good example for the delegates that learned Islam from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and returned to their tribes to teach what they learned. A thirteen-man envoy came to the Prophet (pbuh). They brought their almsgiving with them. This pleased the Prophet very much. He welcomed the envoy and ordered Bilal al-Habashi to host them well. The envoy of Banu Tujib said:

“O messenger of Allah! We brought to you the right of Allah in our possessions.” Allah’s Messenger told us:

“Take it back to your people and distribute it among the poor.” The envoy said:

“O Messenger of Allah! We brought you the amount left after we gave our share to the poor.” Abu Bakr (r.a.) said:

“O Messenger of Allah! There is no envoy among the Arab tribes like the one from Banu Tujib.” Our Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Guidance is in the hand of Allah the Almighty. He opens the heart of those for whom He wants goodness.”

Banu Tujib’s envoy asked the Prophet (pbuh) about issues from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Answers to their questions were given to them in writing, and because of their efforts, the Prophet’s love and interest deepened for them. After staying for a few days the envoy wanted to go back. They were told:

“Why do you hurry?” They said:

“We will go back to our people and tell them what we saw, asked, and learned from the Messenger of Allah.”

They came to our beloved Prophet (pbuh) and said goodbye. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) sent and asked Bilal (r.a.) to give them some gifts. He also told Bilal to give them gifts more than the other tribes had been given. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 323; Ibn Qayyim, III, 650-651)

As can be seen in this incident, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) took more interest in those who were demanding and eager to learn abou the Qur’an and Islam. Similarly, the Prophet (pbuh) appointed one of the members of an envoy as the leader of it because of his knowledge of the Qur’an even though he was the youngest member. (Ibn Sa’d, V, 508; Ibn Hisham, IV, 185; Ibn Hanbal, IV, 218)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) regarded his guests with the utmost care and courtesy. He always talked to them politely and complementarily. His polite treatment and close attention to the problems of his guests made Islam heard and received well in every way.

Since delegates were representatives of a group of people, it was necessary to treat them with courtesy and respect; because their gratification meant the gratification of their tribes, whereas their dissatisfaction meant a distancing of their tribes from Islam. These prophetic principles have maintained their validity for all time.

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had designated a special place in his mosque to meet foreign delegates. This place was called “ustuwat al-wufud or the pillar of the delegations.” Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used to put on nice and clean clothes when he was expecting a delegation. He also ordered his Companions, who were going to be with him in the meeting, to do the same. For instance, he wore costly clothes made in Yemen when he (pbuh), Abu Bakr, Umar, and Ali (r. anhum) were going to meet a delegation from Kinda. (Ibn Sa’d, IV, 346)

Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) also appointed some of his Companions for the protocol. Their job was to inform the Prophet (pbuh) about the arrival of the delegations and to meet the delegations and give them instructions about how to act in the presence of the Prophet. Abu Bakr (r.a.) was responsible for the protocol, the Prophet’s personal servant, Thawban (r.a.), was in charge of serving the guests while Bilal (r.a.) organized the kitchen duties. Delegates were sometimes offered meat and bread and sometimes milk and bread. (Kattani, I, 348)

Our prophet (pbuh) would ask about the delegates’ health and state, get information about their land, listen to their requests, answer their questions, and take care of their problems. (Nasai, Umra, 5) Many times he (pbuh) would compliment his guests and serve them personally. For instance, he had once begun to serve his guests when his Companions requested:

“O Messenger of Allah! May our parents be sacrificed for you. Let us serve them.” He said:

“They have served my Companions and in return I would like to reward them” and he continued to serve them. (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman, VI, 518; VII, 436)

Day and night whenever he (pbuh) found time, he would visit and talk to the members of guest delegations. For instance he used to visit and have a talk with an envoy from Thaqif every day after the night prayer. One night he remained standing for such a long time (talking to them) that he placed his weight on one leg and then sometimes on the other. (Abu Dawud, Ramadan, 9)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was extremely modest, sincere, and warm towards his guests. If the delegates spoke in a different dialect, he would address them in their dialect. Moreover, the coldness and formality of diplomatic protocol would not be observed in the Prophet’s words and actions. (Ibn Hanbal, IV, 9, 343)

When the delegates were going back to their home town, the Prophet (pbuh) would ask them to teach their people what they learned from him. (Nasai, Adhan, 8)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) would encourage the visiting delegations to stay for some time in Medina and learn the Qur’an and the principles of their religion. He wanted them to see how he practiced Islam so they could understand it. For instance, when the delegation of Abd al-Qais came, he asked the ansar to host and treat the members of the delegation well. Meanwhile he also enjoined them to learn religious knowledge and to memorize some chapters from the Qur’an in order to recite in their prayers. When the Prophet visited them in the morning, he asked about their health and if everything was alright. They expressed their pleasure. Then the Prophet (pbuh) entrusted them to the ansar one by one or in twos. This was a useful method for them to learn Islam. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was very happy with Abd al-Qais’s determination to learn their religion and with the efforts of the ansar. And he personally checked what they had learned and listened to the chapters they had memorized for their prayers. (Ibn Hanbal, III, 432)

There were special guest houses assigned in Medina for the delegations that stayed ten days or longer. For instance, Abdurrahman b. Awf’s house was used for such purposes and it was also reported that another one was Ramla bint al-Harith’s big and beautiful house. (Abu Dawud, Ramadan, 9; Kattani, I, 347)

The Prophet’s methods and principles are universal principles reflecting the nature and the reality of human being. It is necessary for us to apply these principles in our missionary activities.

G.  Donations, Gifts, Feasts, and Gatherings

People feel indebted towards favors. They have a natural tendency towards property, possessions, and material wealth, and they would like to satisfy this need and desire in various ways. Thus they feel affection towards those who help them to solve their problems and to fulfill their needs. In this way mutual love, friendship, fondness, alliance, and coalescence come alive amongst people. Allah the Almighty states in a verse regarding the characteristics and methods of a preacher:

“Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!” (Fussilat 41; 34)

Therefore, a Muslim preacher should use benefaction as one of the effective means of conveying the message of Islam and give gifts in accordance with the state of his addressees. This way he can turn enmities into friendships and coldness into warm relationships. Indeed, Allah’s Messenger said:

“Exchange gifts to remove enmity and grudge amongst you. And love each other.” (Tirmidhi, Wala, 6)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) accepted the gifts given to him within the limits of these principles. Whenever he had the chance, he was also attentive in giving gifts to his friends and enemies alike. Even during his final illness he ordered his Companions to give gifts to the guest delegations. (Bukhari, Jizya, 6)

Especially during the first years of his prophethood Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used to organize feasts for his close relatives. After the meal, he used to talk to them about Islam and invite them to embrace it. Ali (r.a.) narrates an incident in this respect as follows:

“When Allah the Almighty’s order to warn close relatives about the torment of the Hereafter was revealed (al-Shuara 29; 214), Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) called me and told me to send an invitation to the Abdulmuttalib clan. Then he told me to prepare a meal for them. I fulfilled his order. The Abdulmuttalib clan gathered together, there were about forty men. When they came, the Prophet (pbuh) asked me to bring the dish. I brought it and placed it before the Prophet (pbuh). After he split the meat into pieces and put a piece on the plate, he said:

“Here please eat! In the name of Allah.”

They ate until they were full. I swear by Allah that even a single person could not finish the meal that I prepared for them.

Then the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked me:

“O Ali! Offer them some milk, too.”

I brought them the milk bottle and all of them drank from it. I swear by Allah that not even one of them could finish the milk in the bottle. When they got up from the table, it was like nobody had touched the meal and the milk. No sooner had the Prophet wanted to begin to talk, Abu Lahab prevented him and the tribe left. Allah’s Messenger organized another meeting. He again offered them a feast, after which, he explained Allah’s commands to them. (Ibn Hanbal, I, 111, 159; Ibn Sa’d, I, 187; Haythami, VIII, 302-303)

In this context Allah the Almighty states the manners of entering the Prophet’s house:

“O you who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted to you. But if you are invited, enter, and, when your meal has ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation…” (al-Ahzab 33; 53)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) gave gifts abundantly, especially to muallafa al-qulub or to those whose hearts were to be reconciled to Islam, from his share of the war booty. By giving those people gifts from charity and almsgiving he averted the possible dangers which some of them might cause; thus he relieved the believers’ hearts. Giving them gifts also aimed to strengthen the faith of new converts.

Anas b. Malik (r.a.) reported that a person requested Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) to give him a very large flock and he did so. The man went to his tribe and said:

“O people! Embrace Islam. By Allah, Muhammad donates so much as if he did not fear want.”

Anas (r.a.) said that some people embraced Islam for the sake of the world but later Islam became dearer to them than the world and what it contains.” (Muslim, Fadail, 57-58)

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) never forgot to give gifts to the guest delegations. Once a twenty-people delegation from Bahrain wrote him a letter to visit Medina, twelve of them from the tribe of Abd al-Qais. After they had visited the Prophet (pbuh), they embraced Islam. They asked questions about Islam and learned their new religion.

When they were going back to their country, the Prophet (pbuh) ordered that each one of the delegates from Abd al-Qais be given presents. He gave the representative of the delegation Abdullah b. Awf twelve and a half uqiyya silver as a gift. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 315)

In another instance, a thirteen-people delegation from Bani Murra under the leadership of Harith b. Awf came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) asked them:

“How is your land?” They replied:

“We suffer from drought and famine. Our animals have a very hard time. Pray to Allah for us.” Upon this Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) prayed for them saying:

“O Allah! Water them with Your rains.”

A few days later delegates of Bani Murra wanted to go back to their land. They came to say goodbye to the Prophet (pbuh). He appointed Harith b. Awf as their leader and ordered Bilal al-Habashi (r.a.) to give them some gifts. Bilal gave each delegate ten uqiyya silver except Harith b. Awf, to whom he gave twelve uqiyya silver. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 298; Ibn Athir, Usd al-Ghabah, I, 410)

There were also instances that the Messenger of Allah granted some lands and springs to the delegates visiting him. Once a delegation from Bani Uqail came to the Prophet (pbuh), embraced Islam, and then pledged allegiance to the Prophet on behalf of their people. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) allotted them a place called Aqiq and an inscription written by the order of the Prophet on red leather which read as follows:

“In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful,

This is a writing of Muhammad the Messenger of Allah given to Rabi’, Mutarrif, and Anas:

As long as they perform their prayers, pay their alms, and obey, the land of Aqiq is granted to them. By this assignment, they are not given another Muslim’s right.” (Ibn Sa’d, I, 301-302)

The Prophet’s gifts, donations, and feasts are too many to count. He even asked his followers in his will:

“…show hospitality to the (foreign) delegations as I used to show them hospitality…” (Muslim, Wasiyya, 20)

However, the People’s tendency and desire for worldly possessions at the time of the Prophet was the same as it is in the contemporary age. It may even be worse. This is why we have to employ this instrument in delivering the message of Islam to humanity.

Today, Christian missionaries attach the utmost significance to and invest immense amounts in this matter. It is their realization of people’s tendency towards this world and its effects upon the human soul what directs them to employ this method. Therefore, those who preach Islam in the contemporary age should pay attention to their audiences’ financial problems and try to solve them. This is the most influential method because “the first Islamic message which needs to be given to a hungry person should be to feed him.”

[1] The miraculous character of the Qur’an can be summarized in three points. The first one is that it has such an eloquent and clear style that even the most prominent masters of the Arabic language have not been able to compose a similar work. This character of the Qur’an is so superior that there is no scholar, philosopher, and poet who can even come close to it. The second one is that its linguistic style consists of the effectual characteristics of both poetry and prose. And finally, it contains the truth, for the salvation of human beings in every age.

[2] Indeed the scientific discoveries made many centuries after the Qur’an’s revelation have reconfirmed its miraculous character and that it is the Divine Word. The stages of the creation of human beings, secrets of the universe, earth, the states of the sun and the moon and many other researches in physical, medical, geographical, and social fields reveal these realities. For instance, teleporting objects has been a recent scientific discussion and research has been continuing. In 2001, for the first time some water was disassembled into molecules and successfully teleported to another place. But this scientific fact was informed by the Qur’an about fifteen centuries ago. In chapter al-naml (27) verse 40 it is stated that the throne of Balkis had been brought to her from two thousand kilometers away in less time than twinkling an eye. (Ömer Çelik, p. 113-122)

[3] A man named Abu Kabsha from the tribe of Huzaa’ had opposed to his tribe worshipping the idols. Polytheists used to call the Prophet (pbuh) by the same name for they likened him to Abu Kabsha. According to another view, it was the nickname of one of the Prophet’s maternal or paternal grandfathers or it was the nickname the Prophet’s foster father.

[4] Why should I need other miracles? The Qur’an and your knowledge (sunnah), which you brought when people were ignorant, are enough to prove that you are a true prophet.

[5] Requests for miracles mostly came from the non-believers, whereas believers abstained from showing such disrespect, because seeing the Prophet (pbuh) was enough to feel reassured and believe.

[6] All actions of those who claim to be the true Muslims must be pure, flawless, and in accordance with the regulations of Islam.

[7] Ali Köse who studied native British converts to Islam in his dissertation states in the conclusion part of his study that “Many converts recounted that their conversion was the result of the positive examples of Muslims. Contact with a follower of Islam may have increased the likelihood of conversion and been instrumental in the process. (Ali Köse, p. 194)

[8] Ja’far al-Sadiq (q.s.), one of the early sufi masters of the golden chain, says that:

“Be inviters to Islam not by your tongues but by your exemplary lives. Show modesty, effort, piety, and goodness in your actions. These (attributes) are the real inviters.”

[9] Ottomans who followed the policy of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh), for instance, usually sent scholars and Sufis to the conquered lands. These people were shown where they needed to settle and many times they were given small villages or districts. Those scholars and Sufis, who went to the newly conquered lands, settled there, and founded convents, played a very important role in the Islamization of these lands. For instance, the rate of Muslim population in the city of Trabzon, which had a population of 7017 in 1523 was %14.3. This rate went up to %46.7 in 1553 and %53.62 in 1583 thanks to the efforts of these men and women. In the following years the ratio of the Muslim population to the non-Muslim one continued to rise . (Gülfettin Çelik, p. 88)

[10] There are specific titles for the rulers of neighboring countries: For the emperors of Byzantine “Kaisar,” for the shahs of Persia “Kisra,” for the kings of Abyssinia “Najashi,” for the rulers of Egypt “Pharoah,” for the rulers (or vicegerents) of Alexandria “muqawqis,” for the rulers of Yemen and Shihhir “Tubba,” and for the rulers of India “Batlimus.” These are the titles and not the names of the rulers. (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, XI, 228)

Source: An Excellent Exemplar II , Osman Nuri Topbaş,  Erkam Publications

The Human Reality

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