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12 Prophetic Methods of Education

12 Prophetic Methods of Education

It is reported in the biography of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) that he sent messages to different kings and leaders in a way to spread the Word of Allah and disseminate the message of Islam. Among the then world leaders who received such noble messages was Caesar, the Roman Emperor.

In that message, the Prophet addressed him as, “The Great Man of Byzantine”. This tribute of honor given to him contained a recognetion of the emperor’s being great – though, for the Romans, not for the Prophet. He also quoted in his message the following words:

{O People of the Book, come to a word common between us and you that we worship none but Allah.} (Aal `Imran 3: 64)

Here, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did a number of things. Firstly, he honored the addressee and accorded him the due respect. Secondly, he mentioned in his message a common factor between the addressee and himself.

The life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is abundant in examples of this sort in which the Prophet knew how to approach the invitee, attract his attention, draw his heart nearer to him, and then start to invite him to Islam or to educate him if he was already a Muslim.

Marvelous are the techniques and methods that were adopted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). These methods are to be emulated by those who take the responsibility of following his honorable steps and task themselves with that great burden.

Among the methods that were adopted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are the following:

1. Education by setting an example

{O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do. Grealy hateful in the sight of Allah is that you say what you do not do.} (As-Saff 61: 2-3)

The Prophet never preached anything that he himself does not perform and he taught all Muslims to do the same in obedience to the above Qur’anic ayah (i.e. verse) and many others as well.

To recognize the importance of this method, we can cite one example from the Hudaibiyah Treaty: When the writing of the peace treaty was concluded, Allah’s Apostle said to his companions, ‘Get up and slaughter your sacrifices and get your head shaved.’ None of them got up, and the Prophet repeated his order thrice.

When none of them got up, he left them and went to Um Salamah and told her of the people’s attitudes towards him. Um Salamah said, ‘O the Prophet of Allah! Do you want your order to be carried out? Go out and don’t say a word to anybody till you have slaughtered your sacrifice and call your barber to shave your head.’

So, the Prophet went out and did not talk to anyone of them till he did that, i.e. slaughtered the sacrifice and called his barber who shaved his head. Seeing that, the companions of the Prophet got up, slaughtered their sacrifices, and started shaving the heads of one another, and there was so much rush that there was a danger of killing each other.” (Al-Bukhari)

2. Education through Q & A

This can be attested to by recalling the famous hadith in which the Archangel Jibril came to the Prophet asking him about faith, Islam, ihsan(i.e., perfection), and the Hour; the Prophet answered him in full detail and further commented that the questioner was Jibril who came to teach the Companions – using this method in cooperation with the Prophet – the matters of their religion. (This hadith can be found in Muslim)

3. Giving speeches and sermons

The Prophet used to constantly and regularly offer the Friday Sermon (khutbat al-Jumu`ah) in which he admonished the Companions and taught them about their religion. He earnestly addressed the needs of the then emerging Muslim community and the issues that would appear to them in their daily lives. He also paid great attention to the purification of their souls and getting their hearts attached to the hereafter.


About Dr. Ali Al-Halawani


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