Mar 30, 2009, 8:06 AM
Regarding the decision-making of the Prophet of Allah (s), Imam Rida (a) has declared:
The Prophet of God would consult with his companions, and then he would make a decision (Dilshad Tehrani, 1994).
This Narration shows that consultation was an unfaltering tradition of the holy Prophet (s). There are many cases in the life and leadership of the holy Prophet (s) in which he consulted with his companions or summoned consultative meetings to make decision. Below are some of these cases:
In the battle of Badr, the holy Prophet (s) consulted with his companions regarding whether to fight, how to fight, and the prisoners of war.
In the battle of Uhud, the Prophet (s) convened a meeting to discuss how to confront the Quraysh army before he made the final decision
In the battle of Ahzab (otherwise known as Khandaq), the Prophet (s) put the matter of how to confront the great army of the polytheists to counsel.
He also consulted either his people about the battles of Bani Qurazah and Bani Nadir with Jews of Madinha.
He consulted with his companions on the matter of Hudaybiyah, when the polytheists obstructed the Muslim pilgrim caravan on the way to Makkah.
In the battle of Ta’if, he consulted about whether to continue the siege.
He consulted his companions in the battle of Tabuk as well.
During the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet of Allah (s) took counsel when he heard that Abu Sufyan was coming to his camp (Dilshad Tehrani, 1994).
In all these cases, the holy Prophet (s) sought to create a community spirit, a spirit of solidarity, cooperation, and teamwork. In the view of the great Prophet (s), a human society or organization that is administrated on the basis of obstinacy is defunct and does not deserve to survive (Farid, 2006).
The Prophet (s) has started the reason for his appointment to have been culmination of the virtuous ethics [makarim al-akhlaq](Naraqi, 1987/1366):
I have been appointed to complete the virtuous ethics.
Heed the virtuous ethics for indeed my Lord has appointed me with them.
The spread of morality is thus a feature of the Islamic civilization. Furthermore, study of God’s divine pronouncements in this religion shows the cardinal importance and worth of virtuous ethics in the Islamic community.
According to the following verse, the great Messenger (s) is an exemplar of the moral system of Islam:
In the Apostle of Allah there is certainly for you a good exemplar, for those who look forward to Allah the Last Day, and remember Allah greatly. (33:21)
Two points most be considered in regard to this moral system:
First, the scope of ethical teachings in Islam is so wide that even presenting a complete list of these insightful teachings would be a significant endeavour. A passing glance at the luminous narrations of the great Prophet (s) and his moral teachings reveals their wide range. One could say with confidence that the Prophet (s) has not left unsaid even the most miniscule of issues. The most profound and most subtle points in spiritual and moral edification have been stated using short, simple phrases and practical formulas.
Second, the ethical teachings of the Prophet (s), which have been derived from the Holy Quran, are such that everyone can make use of them relative to their level of intellectual and spiritual capacity and perfection. These teachings are such that all individuals in all echelons can benefit from them. Even so, the benefit to the wise and the enlightened of this endless sea of knowledge and truth is much greater.
It is important in every society that education and edification not be exclusive to specific social strata. The educational system must be such that every person may make use of it to the extent of their capacity and abilities (Sadat, 1989).
By institutionalising moral fundamentals among the people and people and presenting practical exemplars in the areas of research, ethics of criticism and dealing with others’ thoughts, ethics of livelihood, social ethics, sexual ethics, political and governmental ethics and ethics of dialogue, the holy Prophet (s) provided the groundwork for the emergence of a great civilization.
INSPIRATION OF PATIENCE, TOLERANCE AND FORBEARANCE
An additional quality that has been cited for the growth and prosperity of civilizations is the spirit of patience and tolerance. The element of ‘patience’ (sabr) is a concept that has been greatly emphasised in the Holy Quran. The word sabr and its derivatives have been repeated in the Holy Quran over one hundred times. In numerous verses the Quran has commanded the Prophet (s) to have patience and tolerance regarding a diverse range of issues. The following are seven examples:
So be patient just as the resolute among the apostles were patient, and do not seek to hasten [the punishment] for them. (46:35)
...and be patient for the sake of your Lord. (74:7)
Be patient over what they say... (38:17)
So submit patiently to the judgement of your Lord, and do not be like the Man of the Fish.... (68:48)
So be patient! Allah’s promise is indeed true. (40:77)
The Messenger of God (s) has the greatest patience in administrating affairs and leading the people. Referring to the statements of historians and scholars, Ibn Shahrashub has stated, “The Prophet (s) was the most patient of people” (Dilshad Tehran, 1994). The Prophet himself has declared, “I was appointed to be the centre of tolerance, the mine of knowledge and the abode of patience” (ibid).
EXAMPLES OF THE GREAT PROPHET’S (S) PATIENCE AND TOLERANCE
In the beginning of his rule in Madinah, the great Prophet (s) accorded the non-Muslim minorities living in the city with respect. In fact, he even made a covenant with them and treated them peacefully for as long as they were faithful in their pact.After the battle of Uhud, several of the Prophet’s (s) companions asked him to curse the Quraysh tribe and the polytheists. He replied, “I have not been appointed to curse or damn but to invite to truth and mercy. O God! Guide my people for they do not know” (Dilshad Tehrant, 1994).
Regarding the patience and tolerance of the Prophet (s) concerning Jewish harassment before they conspired against Muslims or took military action, Dr. Taha Husayn has asserted. “When the Prophet emigrated to Madinah and became established there with his Muhajir and Ansar companions, he did not bear enmity with the Jews or behave badly toward them. He showed considerable tolerance for them and desired that the relations between them would be based on neighbourliness and mutual aid in hardships”.
The Prophet’s (s) tolerance of subversive hypocrites, especially ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay, for the sake of Islam continued until his death in the ninth year of the Hijrah. It has even been cited that the Prophet performed the ritual prayer of the dead (salat mayyit) for their leader.
To be continued