The Prophet Muhammad (saw)
Social Life

Some of Prophet Muhammad's Principles of Communication

ImageThe Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him - pbuh) was someone who understood the importance of communicating with people; he did not converse with or embrace only those who were believers. Rather, he saw all people, irrespective of religion, language, race, sex, social status or role, as possessing value, and thus he established good communication with all of them. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) brought the divine message into a form that people could perceive, hear and feel, about which they could read, talk and write. He set examples that could be brought to life and practiced. As a prophet, Muhammad (pbuh)'s mission and goal was to establish a good dialogue with people and to communicate. To this end, he not only used the various means of communication that belonged to his era, but also took into account the psychological peculiarities of the individual and society in order to present the message in the best and most effective way.

1. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Identified Himself as a Source of the Message:

As we know, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) led a very natural life in Mecca. Before the advent of his prophethood, he was known as a reliable person in the community, but his other characteristics were unknown. Thus, when his prophethood was proclaimed, the people objected, saying: "What! Has the Message been sent to him - (of all persons) among us?..." (1) He was ordered to say "...Say: ‘If God had so willed, I should not have rehearsed it to you, nor would He have made it known to you. A whole life-time before this have I tarried amongst you: Will you not then understand?'" (2) Some of the words with which Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) identified himself known are: "I am just a Messenger, the One Who transmits guidance to the right way is Allah." (3) "I have been sent to perfect morals." (4) "I have been sent as a teacher. (5) "I ask for forgiveness to Allah one hundred times a day." (6) During the Battle of Badir, when some wanted to offer their own guard duty to the Prophet, so that he would get more blessings, he told them: "You are not more powerful than I, nor I than you; I have no need of the blessings you have received." (7) He was careful with his sympathetic behavior to create feelings of equality among people. In the same way that he made his characteristics apparent, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was also careful about the characteristics of the people around him.

2. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Paid Attention to the Characteristics of the Individual:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) desired that a person who was to perform public services, for example, the imam of a congregation, should be the person who knew and read the Qur'an the best. When there were more than one person with an equal ability to recite the Qur'an, then there were objective criteria to be followed; first, the person who knew and implemented the Sunnah and religious practices best would be chosen; if there was equality in this then the person who had first emigrated would be chosen, and if there was equality here, then the eldest would be selected as imam. In addition, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated that it would not be right for someone to take on the role of imam in place of an authorized person without the permission of the latter person. From this behavior we can conclude that the Prophet showed the necessary consideration for the relationship between younger and older people and between position and status.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was careful about individual differences when conversing with people. For example, he had a conversation with a Bedouin, whose wife had given birth to a black child; the Bedouin denied that the child was his. "My wife gave birth to a black child. I want to reject this child" the Bedouin said. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) asked: "Do you have camels?" "Yes" "What color are those camels?" "Red" "Are there any white, black or grey camels among these?" "Yes, of course. There are grey camels among them." "Well, where do you think these grey camels came from?" "O Prophet, that is in their blood; they take after the ancestors." "Perhaps this boy has taken after someone in his ancestry (he resembles them)." The Prophet did not merely say, relying on his authority as prophet: "No, I tell you as the Prophet of Allah that this is your child." Rather, he spoke in a way that the Bedouin could understand, taking care to use an example that is related to the Bedouin's life, and thus, by benefiting from the experiences of the addressee he was able to solve a problem in a convincing manner by having the Bedouin come up with the solution himself.

3. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Took into Account the Characteristics of the Society:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) spoke to a variety of people. Some of them were able to see him, listen to him, share their daily life with him and constantly be under his influence. Others did not have such an active relationship with him, while still others joined the believers later or were part of the following generation. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was able to understand the social psychology, as well as the individual characteristics of the people who made up the society, and thus used different methods of communication. For example, he acted according to the conditions of the region he was in when eating, drinking or dressing. Again, when speaking or delivering a speech, he constantly observed the abilities of the addresses who listened to him, and the examples he used were chosen from a world in which the addresses lived and which they understood well. From animals, the most common examples he would use would be camels, and from plants he would use the date. Some of the people around him were from the city while others were Bedouins (living in the desert). For this reason, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), while forwarding a message that was to cover all ages and all people, acted wisely in the difficult task of establishing communication with the first addresses; he chose methods that were in accordance with their concepts and thoughts, their perceptions and abilities.

4. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Established Communication with People at Every Opportunity:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) actively communicated with the people around him; he treated those who came to visit him kindly and he visited those who could not come, trying to forward the message to them. He would wander around fairs and he went to Taif for purposes of communication. In addition, among those actions that he practiced and recommended were hospitality to guests, visiting those who were not able to visit, the maintenance of relationships, visiting those who were not well and taking part in funerals.

There was a Jewish child who served the Prophet. When the child became ill, the Prophet went to visit him. The Prophet sat by the child's head and informed him that he wished for the child to become Muslim. The child looked at his father, and his father indicated that he should follow Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); thus, this child became Muslim. His general approach and recommendation was: "...if one person comes to Islam through you this is better for you then owning red camels." (8) The Prophet was pleased when the child became Muslim and he expressed his pleasure "Thanks be to Allah Who has saved him from the flames through me." (9)

5. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Used Sympathy to Affect the Person Being Addressed:

Allah introduced His Prophet as "Let it be sworn that such a prophet has come among you that any troubles you have will be troublesome for him; he is fond of you, he is tender, merciful to the believers." (10) The expression in the Qur'an: "Now hath come unto you an Apostle from amongst Yourselves" (11) focuses on the empathetic attitude of the Prophet. In a hadith the Prophet wanted to try to have the believers understand one another and to understand what each other were feeling: "....when a servant does not want for his neighbor or brother what he wants for himself then he does not fully believe." (12)

6. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Brought Love for Mankind to the Fore:

The Prophet commanded: "If you love a fellow Muslim, let them know." (13) One day he took hold of Muaz b. Jabal's hand and said: "O Muaz, I swear to Allah that I truly love you." Then he said "O Muaz, do not neglect to say at the end of every prayer say ‘My Lord! Help me to commemorate you, to thank you and to serve you well!" (14)

Another saying of his was: "I swear by Allah ...that you will not enter heaven as long as you do not believe. You cannot believe if you do not love one another. Shall I tell you what to do if you love one another? Greet one another." (15)

7. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Addressed the Mind and Emotions:

One of the important principles of communication presented by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was addressing the mind and the emotions. It is known that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) addressed the minds and emotions of those around him when communicating with them. For example, some of the Companions told him: "O Allah's Prophet! The wealthy have taken the blessings and gone. They pray like us, they fast like us, but they give more to charity than we can." The Prophet replied, "Do you think that Allah has given you nothing to donate? Every time you praise Allah, every time you say Alhamdullilah (thank God), every time you say "La ilahi illallah" (There is no god but Allah), whenever you command good or frustrate evil these are donations to be blessed."

8. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Gave Importance to People and the Things They Valued:

"Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides God, lest they out of spite revile God..." (16) suggests that we should give importance to those things that other people value. For this reason, even if we reject the thoughts and ideas of non-religiosity and disbelief, it is not considered moral to attack the thoughts and opinions of another person, no matter who they are.

The daughter-in-law of the chief of the hypocrites, Abu Jahil, accepted Islam during the conquest of Mecca. At this point, out of fear of her husband Ikrime, she fled to Yemen after accepting Islam and receiving the promise of forgiveness from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then her husband was found and brought before the Prophet: "Welcome, traveler!" the Prophet said, smiling. Then he turned to his friends and said "Ikrime will join you; when you see him do not denigrate his father Abu Jahil, because such an insult will hurt those who are alive." (17)

9. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Benefited from the People's Skills:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) paid attention to people's different skills when appointing them to tasks. In fact, someone once asked him "When will the Day of Judgment come?" he answered "When the trusts are lost, then you shall await the Day of Judgment." When the same person asked how the trust was to be lost, the Prophet answered "When tasks are given into the hands of unqualified people." (18)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) called Khalid b. Velid, who was renowned for his military skill, Seyfullah (the Sword of Allah), complementing him on his skill and success. (19) The Prophet used a poetical style of communication, in keeping with the style of communication of the age. He defended Islam through the skills and talents of the poets and benefited from them in opposing the unbelievers. He said "There is wisdom in poetry, because the poet can wound more than the arrow of the Quraish." (20)

10. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Won People over by Giving Presents: 

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would give presents to those around him and receive presents from others to strengthen friendship, consolidate love, to win hearts, to direct them towards Islam, to prevent possible evil, or as a reward. Once he bought a camel from a young Companion called Jabir, and after paying the money for the camel, he presented it to the young man. (21)

11. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Presented the Message Easily and Gradually:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) paid attention to the ability of the human mind to process and perceive information, and as necessitated by the prophetic mission, he presented the divine message gradually, starting first with what was simple and easy. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) sent Muaz to Yemen and made the following recommendation to him: "You are going to a tribe from the People of the Book. Invite them to testify that there is no god but Allah and that I am His Messenger. If they accept this, inform them that Allah has commanded them to pray to Him five times a day every day. If they accept this, inform them that Allah has commanded a zakat (charitable alms) to be paid by the wealthy to the poor. If they accept this, do not take the most valuable goods (for this). Be wary of the curses of the oppressed, because there is no veil between the curses of the oppressed and Allah." (22)

12. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Appointed the People around Him to Spread the Message:

In the Farewell Sermon, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "You who are here take my words to those who are not here. Perhaps those who are here will bring my words to ones who have better comprehension of my words and who will protect my words better." (23) Once the Prophet said: "Those who have heard my words and memorized them should pass them on as they have heard them, thus leading them to Allah's light. There are many people who have knowledge that will understand better than they. Even though many are not scholars they have knowledge." (24)

In this way, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ensured that the message would be passed on. He gave responsibility to those around him to protect of authenticity of his words when spreading the message. "A lie said in my name is not like a lie said in another's name. A place has been prepared in hell for the person who wittingly lies in my name." (25) 

In another saying, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) describes those who knowingly hide the information contained in the message: "He who hides information when asked about it and who does not pass it on to the people will be restrained from the fire on the Day of Judgment." (26)

13. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Demonstrated Patience and Tolerance to Negative Reactions:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)'s wife, Aisha, asked him if he had ever lived through a more difficult day than that of the Battle of Uhud. He answered as follows: "Yes, I have experienced much oppression from your tribe. The worst of this was what they did to me on the day of Akabe (in Taif). I wanted to seek shelter with Ibn Abdulyalil in Taif, but he refused (to help me). He turned me away and I was walking away in deep sorrow. By the time I had arrived at Karnussealib I still had not recovered. When I lifted my head there I saw a cloud shadowing me. When I looked closely, I saw Angel Gabriel in the cloud. Gabriel called to me: "Allah has heard what you said to the tribe and how they have refused you. He has sent you the Angel of the Mountain.' Then the Angel of the Mountain called to me and greeted me. Then he said ‘O Muhammad (pbuh)! Allah heard what the tribe has done. I am the Angel of the Mountain. What do you want me to do? If you wish I can bring these two mountains down on their heads.' Then I said ‘No, I only wish from Allah that they will worship Allah and not see anything as partners to Him.'" (27)

14. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Preferred Good Actions and Did Not Seek Revenge:

Sumama b. Usal, of the Hanife, met the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Mecca where the Prophet invited him to Islam; the latter responded: "If you make this suggestion one more time I will kill you." He was a person who was so full of enmity that another time he wanted to kill the envoy sent by the Prophet. A troop of Islamic soldiers captured him and brought him to Mecca. The soldiers had not recognized him. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recognized him immediately and tied him to a pillar in the mosque and requested that he be treated with respect. In the masjid, at the beginning and the end of the prayers the Prophet would go up to him and offer Islam to him. Sumama just answered "If you are going to kill me you will be killing a murderer who has spilt blood; if you want a diet of blood I will give you what you desire." Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) did not answer him, but just walked away. Sumama saw what was going on in the mosque and what kind of religion Islam was. Three days later, when he received the same answer, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) requested that Sumama b. Usal be set free without any ransom. Surmama was impressed by this behavior and when he had been set free he left the mosque and after cleaning himself up in a place outside the city he went to the Prophet again, informed him that he had become Muslim and said: " Until now you were the most disgusting man in the world; now I admire you more than anyone else."

15. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Sometimes Employed Socio-Psychological Pressure or Used Warnings or Rebukes:

Sometimes Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) applied socio-psychological pressure. According to the hadiths Ka'b b. Malik, for some reason, failed to participate in a military expedition. This behavior of his was not met with pleasure by the Prophet and he refused to speak to Ka'b b. Malik for fifty days. There were two other people in the same situation. This behavior, i.e., not looking in their faces and having no communication whatsoever with them, was a punishment for not going to battle with the other Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said in an upset and angry manner "Stand up and go away until Allah's judgment arrives!" to Ka'b b. Malik. |The latter said that these fifty days made the world a prison for him.

A while later, in response to his sincere repentance, Allah informed the Prophet that Ka'b and the other two had been forgiven in the following verse: "(He turned in mercy also) to the three who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to them, for all its spaciousness and their (very) souls seemed straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from God (and no refuge) but to Himself, then He turned to them, that they might repent: for God is Oft-returning, Most Merciful." (28)

1. Al-Sad, 38/8.

2. Al-Yunus, 10/16.

3. Ahmad b. Muhammad (pbuh) bin Hanbal, Musnad, Cağrı Yayınları, Istanbul, 1992, (IV,101).

4. Malik bin Anas, Muwatta´, Cağın Yayınları, Istanbul, 1992, 47/Husnu´l-Hulk, 8 (H, 904).

5. Abu Abdillah Muhammad (pbuh) bin Yazid Ibn Maja, Sunan, Cağın Yayınları, Istanbul, 1992, Muqaddime, 17 a, 83).

6. Ibn Maja, 33/Edeb, 57 (H, 1254).

7. Ahmad bin Hanbal, Musnad, (1,411).

8. Bukhari, 62, "Ashabu´n-Nabi," 9 (IV, 207); Muslim, 44, "Fadailu´s Sahaba," 34 (II,1872).

9. Bukhari, 23, "Funerals," 80 (II, 97); Abu Davud, 20, "Funerals," 5 (IH, 474).

10. Bukhari, 23, "Funerals," 80 (II, 97); Abu Davud, 20, "Funerals," 5 (IH, 474).

11. At-Tawba, 9:128. Al-Kahf, 18:110.

12. Muslim, l, "Iman," 71 (I, 67).

13. Muslim, l, "Iman," 71 (I, 67).

14. Abu Dawud, 2, "Salat," 361 (II, 181).

15. Muslim, l, "Iman," 93 (a, 74).

16. Al-An´am.

17. Kattani, Taratib, vol. 1, p. 271.

18. Bukhari, 3, "Ilim," 2, (a, 21).

19. Bukhari, 62, "Fadailu´l-Ashab," 25 (VI, 318).

20. Muslim, 44, "Fedailu´s- Sahaba," 157 (H, 1935).

21. Muslim, 22, "Musakat," 110 (E, 1221).

22. Muslim, l,"Iman," 29 (I, 50); Bukhari, 24, "Zakat," 1 (II, 108); 41 (II, 125).

23. Bukhari, 3, "Ilim," 9 (I, 24).

24. Abu Dawud, 24, "Ilim," 10 (IV, 68); Tirmidhi, 39, "Ilim," 7 (V, 34).

25. Bukhari, 23, "Funerals," 34 (II, 81); Muslim, Muqaddima, 4 (1,10).

26. Abu Dawud, 24, "Ilim," 9 (IV, 67); Tirmidhi, 39, "Ilim," 3 (V, 29).

27. Bukhari, 59, "Bad´ul-Halk," 7 (IV, 83); Muslim, 32, "Jihad," 111 (II, 1420).

28. At-Tawba, 9:118.



Budi Suprapto
Budi Suprapto21.12.2017

Impressed article. Thank you so much



Mustafa Monjur
Mustafa Monjur09.03.2012

tnx for dis excllnt article...jazakallau khair.