A Heartfelt Plea
The Prophetic Approach to Reformation
Mawlana Muhammad Imran Attari
Chairperson of Dawat-e-Islami’s Central Executive Committee
The prosperity and improvement of any society hinge upon the proper upbringing of its members. It is crucial to recognize that societies are shaped by the individuals within them. When individuals are not adequately nurtured and educated, the overall state of the society, both in terms of moral values and economic well-being, can suffer significantly. The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم provided guidance to those who were involved in disbelief, polytheism and trapped in the immoral state of the Arabs, and with the grace of Allah Almighty, many exquisite and priceless diamonds were formed. Whenever the opportunity arose, he would educate his noble Companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم, as well as people in general.
Our master صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم possessed remarkable ability to discern people’s temperaments, habits, and psychological states. He treated each individual according to their position and carefully educated them in a way that made them receptive to his teachings. This article presents accounts of the Prophetic education approach and the positive outcomes resulting from his guidance.
The way in which our beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم cultivated individuals was underpinned by wisdom and insight. If news of wrongdoing would reach him, he would typically bring attention to that incorrect notion or inappropriate action at a collective level. The advantage of this was that others would also benefit. Just as the mother of the believers, Sayyidah ꜤĀˈishah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا states, “Whenever the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would receive news regarding a person, he would not say, ‘What is the matter with so and so who says such and such,’ rather he would say, ‘What is the state of those people who say such and such.’”
The Messenger of Allah’s practical training and conveyance of the message
Once, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم saw a Companion رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ wearing a gold ring, so he removed it, cast it aside, and said to him, “Does anyone from among you wish to take hold of a burning coal of Hell?” This had such a profound impact on the Companion رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ that after the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم left, it was said to him, “Take your ring and benefit by it somehow.” But, he replied, “No! By Allah, I will never pick up the ring that was thrown away by the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم!”
If that Companion رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ wished, he could have sold the ring and profited by it, gifted it to someone, or given it to someone for whom it was permissible to wear, such as a female family member. However, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ refused to do this as the ring was cast away by the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.
The beloved Prophet’s removal and throwing away of the gold ring was an example of his practical training. Just as Muftī Aḥmad Yār Khān NaꜤīmī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states, “This is practical guidance, for he forbade evil by force. The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘Whosoever sees evil, should change it with his hand, and if he is unable to do this, then with his tongue, and if he is unable to do this, he should consider it wrong in his heart.’”
The blessings of avoiding lying
A person once came to the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and said, “I wish to bring faith in you, but I have love for drinking alcohol, committing indecency, stealing, and lying. People have informed me that you declare such things to be forbidden, and I do not have the ability to leave all of them. If you prohibit me from just one of them, I will accept Islam.” The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, “Give up lying.”
Consequently, he embraced Islam, agreeing to the conditions set forth. Later, upon leaving the Prophet’s company, some people offered him alcohol, and he found himself in a dilemma. He contemplated, “If I drink the alcohol and the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم questions me about it, lying would mean breaking the promise I made with him. On the other hand, confessing would subject me to the ḥadd (punishment stipulated by Islamic law).” Therefore, he stopped drinking alcohol. Likewise, when opportunities to steal and commit indecency presented themselves, the same thought occurred in his mind, which led him to avoiding these evils too.
When he visited the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم for the second time, he said, “You did the best thing. By forbidding me from lying, doors to other sins were also closed for me.” In this manner, the man repented from all of his sins.
Look at the piercing insight of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم! Through the light of his blessed intellect, he recognised that by abandoning lying, this individual would also be saved from other sins. Thus, he instructed the man to avoid lying, and it came to pass that he turned away from other sins too.
Rectification at the time of eating
Read another account regarding the training of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and how he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم beautifully rectified another’s mistake with wisdom. The son of Sayyidah Umm Salamah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا, Sayyiduna ꜤUmar b. Abī Salamah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا narrates, “I was under the care of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, and (whilst eating) my hand would roam here and there around the dish. He said: يَا غُلامُ سَمِّ اللهَ وَكُلْ بيَمِينكَ وَكُلْ مِمَّا يَلِيكَ, meaning, ‘Dear child! Mention the name of Allah (recite بِسْمِ اللّٰہِ), eat with your right hand and eat from what is near to you.’(Sayyiduna ꜤUmar b. Abī Salamah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا then remarked:) After this, I always ate in this manner.”
The beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم began by addressing him in the most beautiful and positive of manners. He commenced by mentioning the etiquette of eating, lest he feel like he was being admonished, and then in the end, he stated that one should eat from the part of the dish that is nearest to them. In doing so, the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم rectified him in such a way that he made it seem like the final point was a general point of guidance just like the other points mentioned.
If our goal is to educate and guide others in the right way, we must thoroughly study the life of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and observe how he wisely dealt with people, considering their dispositions and tendencies. It is written in Tafsīr ‘Azizi:
Intelligence has one hundred parts, ninety-nine of which were granted to the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, and the one who wishes to familiarise himself with the noble Prophet’s intelligence should meticulously study the books of sīrah.
I earnestly appeal to all those who love the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and aspire to help others, regardless of your respective fields in life, to carefully study the life of the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Through this you will come to realise how the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم guided people with wisdom, whilst being mindful of their natures and tendencies. Play your part in educating the society, and adopt wisdom and individual effort to achieve this.
May Allah Almighty allow us to rectify ourselves, and grant us the ability to rectify others with wisdom and in accordance to Islamic law.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم