The Call of Prophet Muhammad within the Framework of His Exemplary Personality

The Quran qualifies Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the ‘preacher calling to Allah’ and expresses the duties laid upon him through commands such as ‘to give advice’, ‘to invite’, ‘to declare’ and ‘to warn’. He was given the responsibility to ‘warn’ and to ‘bring good news’ and thereby, he was identified as the one who warns (nazir), warner (munzir) and bringer of good news (mubassir). As the bringer of good news to the entire world, his prophethood embraced a universal dimension.

The Prophet’s call to Islam which started from his immediate family and relatives and then extended onto and went beyond the whole of Arabian Peninsula continued throughout his life with enormous achievement. The methods he implemented in his invitation to Islam were consistent, reasonable, systematic, and realistic and they yielded success. Following this path, the Prophet established around him a group of believers and then created the community who would spread his call onto other lands. He sent letters of invitation to the heads of neighboring states as the Messenger of Allah, and thus he began to spread his call at a universal level, which accelerated in an unprecedented fashion over the following centuries.

Factors Bringing the Success of the Call of the Prophet

The most prominent factors that brought the success of the call of Prophet Muhammad were his own genuine commitment to the religion to which he invited people and his implementation of Islamic principles to his own life. As a matter of fact, he never exempted himself from responsibilities that Islam preached. He was the first one to apply what was made obligatory by Islam and the first to observe what was forbidden. The people closest to him had a similar practice.

Another important factor that led to his success was his persistence in continuing his struggle with patience, rigour, belief and determination without ever falling into hopelessness or pessimism. He carried on with his interpersonal relationships in his call to Islam and benefited from this to a great extent. He not only retained his communication with those who chose Islam, but he also insisted on continuing his existent relationships with his relatives and others who were not Muslims. He paid special attention to tribal chiefs because of the influence they had on their communities. He held meetings and he addressed groups of people in places like shops, bazaars, fairs and houses to introduce them to his call to Islam. He never underestimated anyone when it came to inviting people to Islam.{mospagebreak title=The Method Followed by the Prophet in His Call to Islam}

The Method Followed by the Prophet in His Call to Islam

Prophet Muhammad attributed great importance to knowing the people he addressed himself to and he took into consideration their feelings, demands and personal characteristics. He valued people; he was always interested and he tried to get closer to them. He acted on the principle of finding common grounds with the people he communicated.

He prioritized forgiveness, tolerance, gentleness, compassion and mercy over hatred, anger and hard-heartedness. It is stated in the Quran that as a divine blessing, the Prophet dealt with people gently and he is also warned that had he been rough and hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around him.

Prophet Muhammad never threw people’s faults in their faces; he made his criticisms without giving names, because talking about someone’s fault openly could have embarrassed that person and turned him/her away. The Prophet persisted in his call with rigour and hope in spite of the various reactions of people he was involved with.

The Prophet did not force anyone to accept Islam. His duty was not to make people follow the religion, but only to invite and warn them. Using force to convert people into Islam could only create unfavorable consequences. It could only help spread hypocrisy to which Islam is strictly against, for it creates insincerity in people. On the contrary, Islam places great emphasis on genuineness and genuine belief. The method that Prophet Muhammad followed was to call people to Islam with good advice. Acting on these fundamentals, he never forced any Jews, Christians or any other members of another religion into abandoning their belief and becoming a follower of Islam.

He called them to Islam without any violation of their will. He let them have the freedom of belief and conscience on certain conditions even if they did not accept to become a Muslim. The Quran explains that people cannot be forced to believe in Islam and that it is not right for the Prophet to overdo it beyond his strength because of his sense of responsibility.

Our Prophet’s call to Islam was not tinged with any personal interests. The Quran states that he does not ask for a price in return for his duty of warning and inviting people. In fact, Muslims continued to regard the call to Islam as an indispensable part of their religious responsibilities after the passing away of the Prophet.

One important attribute that Allah the Almighty wanted the Prophet to have should also be pointed out here. The Prophet is thus commanded to call people to Islam in Surat al-Muddassir: "Arise and warn. And your Lord do magnify, " and then he is commanded to "purify his garments", which is very striking when considered in reference to the call to Islam.

There has been extensive commentary written on what the ‘garment’ that should be purified is, all with references to the inner and outer life of human beings including actions, heart, elementary passionate nature, morals and clothes.

It is obvious that the cleanliness of one’s body and clothes and the purity of heart and morals are all very important in terms of communication.  Prophet Muhammad was the Messenger of Allah from then on with that call. He was commanded to call people to Islam and be particularly careful about inner and outer cleanliness in the process.

For the entire text, please see Saricam, Ibrahim, ¨¨Hz. Muhammed ve Evrensel Mesaji (Prophet Muhammad and his Universal Message),¨¨ Diyanet Isleri Baskanligi Yayinlari, Ankara, 2005.


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