Prophet Muhammad style of Communication as a World leader

Ali Zohery

Introduction

Hudaibiya treaty between Prophet Muhammad and Qoraish was a beginning of a new phase in the prophet’s journey to accomplish his mission and preach his call for the divine faith to all nations. The prophet planned to spread the message of Islam beyond Arabia. He decided to write to neighboring kings, including those of the superpowers, inviting them to Islam. In order to make the selection of ambassadors to the rulers, he asked his companions to assemble in the Mosque. After performing the obligatory prayer, he addressed them: “ O people! Allah has sent me as the one who is compassionate to mankind and the prophet to the world. Therefore, preach(the message of Islam) on my behalf, Allah will have Mercy upon you…” The prophet then selected some of his very competent companions as ambassadors to kings and heads of States. The ambassadors were conversant with the languages spoken as well as with the political conditions of the countries to which they were sent.

Research Questions

The scope of this research is to answer the following questions:

1) How did Prophet Muhammad communicate with the other world leaders in his time in particular and the mankind in all the times in general?

2) What values and communication strategies are evident from the letters to the world leaders and the last sermon of the prophet to all mankind?

Methodology

Content analysis is the method of data collection for this research: “ Prophet Muhammad style of Communication as a world leader.” This methodology is an approach to qualitative and quantitative research that is used to identify specific characteristics in textual messages (Morris R., 1994). The textual messages in this research are the letters that the prophet sent to the world leaders at his time. In addition, his speeches, orations or sermons that he delivered to address the mankind in general, especially the last sermon of the farewell pilgrimage.

During the twenty-three years of the prophethood of Muhammad, there were many of the speeches, orations or sermons that Prophet Muhammad communicated through to deliver his message to people. The message of Islam was not only for the people of the Arabia, but also was intended to be universal.

Contents analysis looks at the characteristics of communication messages, their contents and the producers of these messages ( Rubin, R.B., Rubin, A.M. & Piele, L.J. 1996). The study is analyzing some of the speeches and events through which the prophet communicated the message of Islam to the people.

The unit of analysis of this study is the Prophet Muhammad’s individual speeches to his followers or the written messages to world leaders at his time. Codes such as dates, events, locations and circumstances (peace or war). Using the content analysis, as a method to collect the data requires defining the categories involved in the research study. The definition of the categories will help to clarify the coding scheme and that will lead to the reliability of the research. (Hamza, M. J., May 1997)

The researcher is investigating the effects that the speeches of the prophet had on his followers. What were the results of the written messages to the world leaders, at his time? This will shed the light on the communication techniques and strategies that the prophet used to deliver his message to the world.

Significance of the Study

The Prophet Muhammad’s techniques in communication and his leadership style played a significant role in accomplishing his goal in delivering the message of Islam to the world. Researching these techniques and style will uncover an important phase of the methods through which the religion of Islam is reaching 1.2 billion Muslims on the planet of Earth.

Findings - Review of literature

The prophet sent ambassadors to:

1. Heraclius, Emperor of Bayzantines ( Eastern Roman Empire)

2. Chosroes II ( Emperor of Persian Empire)

3. Negus, King of Abyssinia

4. Muqawqis, Ruler of Egypt

5. Harith Gassani, Governor of Syria

6. Al- Mundhir bin Sawa, Ruler of Bahrain

The dominion, prestige, splendour and might of the above kings and rulers who devided the world among themselves during the seventh century, would indicate what a memorable step was taken by the prophet.

The wording of the Prophet’s letters was similar. The text of the letter sent to Heraclius was as follows:

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This letter is from Muhammad the slave of Allah and his Apostle to Heraclius, the ruler of the Byzantines. Peace be upon him who follows the right path. Furthermore, I invite you to Islam and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your subjects. And I recite to you Allah's statement:

“O People of the Scriptures! Come to a word common to you and us that we worship none but Allah and that we associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords beside Allah. Then if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to Allah). (Qur’an: Surah 3, Ayah 64).”

All the Prophet's letters were stamped with the words: “Muhammad Rasul-ullah" (Muhammad the Messenger of Allah). Three of the Prophet’s letters have been preserved.

The reactions of the Monarchs were deferent. Heraclius, Negus and Muqauqis received the letter from the Prophet with all due respect that each gave a courteous reply. Negus and Muqauqis showed the highest regard to the envoys. Chosroes II was indignant, he tore the letter into pieces, saying, “My slave dares to write me thus” when his reply was conveyed to the prophet, he said, “ even so shall God shatter his kingdom to pieces.” Choroes II wrote to Badhan, who was his governor in Yemen, to get the prophet sent to him in Ctesiphon. Badhan deputed Babwayh to tell the prophet what Choroes II had written to him and that he had come to take him to the king. But when Babwayh came to Medina, the prophet told him. “ God has given Sherveh power his father and he has killed Choroes II.” The prophecy of the prophet was the reason that the ruler of Yemen became a Muslim, when the news came to him afterwards identical to what the prophet stated.

Global morals, values and principals of the prophet Muhammad

The material life that the people of this world are living lead some people to kill themselves because of the lack of the spiritual side of their life. Religions are the primary source of a balanced life. In this research, I will address what the religion of Islam would offer the world a balanced religious and secular life.

Michael H. Hart in his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History stated:

“ My choice of Muhammad (The Prophet of Islam) to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.”

In his book, “Islam Teaching and Principles” Mohamed Higab stated that the message of Islam is general to all mankind. Scholars who interpret the meaning of the Quran state that any verse beginning with the phrase: “ You People” actually addresses mankind. The prophet Muhammad himself remarked: “ I am a messenger, sent by God to you in particular, to mankind in general. I am warning you,..” The message of Islam has a universal stamp, because its purpose is to serve all of mankind without color or racial discrimination. In Islam, all are treated equally: there was one human race at the creation of the universe, one form of human nature, and so it is now. God desires different nations to get to know one another for a purpose: A) getting together in friendship leads to peace instead of strife. B) It helps man to make better use of the wealth of the earth through co-operation and exchange, rather than remain limited to the production of one region. The surplus in anyone kind of goods may be exchanged for another, which that region needs and does not possess. This is an example of how the prophet Muhammad addressed religious and secular issues in his message to mankind.

Prophet Muhammad's Last Sermon

After praising and thanking Allah the Prophet said:

"O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn 'Abd'al Muttalib [the Prophet's uncle] be waived. Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that i waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al Harithibn.

O People, the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the /000000000 in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to forbid that which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban.

Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right, then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadhan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white - except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belogs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you.

I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people."

In international communication and Globalization, Oliver Boyd- Barrett stated that cultural studies has a great deal to offer in the study of how global texts work at a local level…The prophet Muhammad directed his last speech to all mankind. He was addressing his speech to the loving and the sincere Muslims who were with him at that that time, but he was speaking to all mankind. He was speaking to all mankind through those Muslims. For this reason He said to them: O people or O mankind. He used this terminology eight times in the same speech. He never used the terminology of: O Muslim! Or even O Believers! His message was and is still to every person everywhere in the world irrespective of his religious or political affiliation.

The universal values of the last sermon of the prophet Muhammad are:

· Equality of Mankind

The message that the prophet delivered, included a very important concept, i.e., equality of mankind. People are equal in the sight of ALLAH and in front of the law. The prophet stated that “ no Arab has any privilege over a non-Arab, except that based on piety.”

· Declaration of Human Rights

The charter of the UN on Human Rights was written in the 40’s, but the human rights in Islam were recognized, declared and excuted for over 1400 years. Every place one reads in the farewell Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad, will find clearly the declaration of human rights. This declaration is summarized as follows:

1. Freedom to all

2. Sanctity of life, wealth and property

3. Equality of all races

4. Justice in front of the law and in front of ALLAH

5. Women’s rights and obligations. They were to be treated as partners but not as subjects.

6. No exploitation or monopoly. The rich is not to be richer while the poor is to be poorer.

7. Rights of others are to be preserved and to be delivered.

8. People are to take this declaration seriously, they are to preach it and to practice it too, every where they go or move.

· Sanctity of Life and Property

The sanctity of life and property was pronounced clearly by the prophet in his farewell speech. People are to be protected, their lives are to be preserved and their properties are to be saved.

· Abolition of Usury

The concept of economic exploitation is totally prohibited in Islam. Usury is a form of economic exploitation, therefore, Islam prohibited this type of business. Because of such economic monopoly and exploitation in a capitalistic system, the rich will become richer and the poor will become poorer.

· Rights and Duties of Women

In his farewell speech, the prophet Muhammad spelled out the best declaration for women’s rights. He demanded that the husbands should treat the wives with kindness and gentleness. Men are to know that their women are their partners. The prophet recognized the duties and the responsibilities of both partners and emphasized that the man is the HEAD, while the women is the HEART of the family.

In their book, Leadership A Communication perspective, M. Z. Hackman and C. E. Johnson described the democratic leader’ communication style that the leader encourages the followers participation and involvement in determination of the goals and procedures. The democratic leader realizes that the followers are capable of making informed decisions. Democratic leader does not get intimidated by the suggestions provided by the followers but believes that the contributions of others would improve the overall quality of the decision making.

In situations that there were no instructions from ALLAH to Prophet Muhammad, the prophet used to ask his followers about their opinions in the matter. For example, during one of the battles, a follower advised the prophet to change the location of the Muslim troops. When the prophet realized that the suggestion of the follower would benefit their fighting the enemy, he asked the troops to change their location to the follower’s suggested one.

Conclusion

The prophet message of Islam was intended to the Arabs at the seventh century but to all mankind at all times. He took advantage of the peace treaty between him and Quraish tribe, his main enemy, and sent ambassadors to the world leaders at his time. He informed them about the message of Islam. Most of these leaders responded positively except one.

The prophet Muhammad was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level. There are sayings from the prophet related to every activities that the person might encounter during the day or the night. Islam is a way of life.

The farewell speech of the prophet Muhammad was directed to all mankind at all times and for all generations. He laid down the foundation of morality, justice, equality, brotherhood, and accountability. He abolished economic exploitation, human enslavement.

He demanded that the congregating Muslims should deliver his message to all mankind. Accordingly, they did deliver the message. For this reason, the message of Islam has spread through the centuries to every corner in the world. The number of the Muslims has exceeded one billion people.

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