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Addressing People With What Suits Them

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 7/12/04

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke to anyone about Islam, he took into account the status of that person and highlighted what would appeal to his mind and values. If he sensed that the man believed in a supreme deity, he would emphasize that such a deity would be in no need of lesser deities. If he felt that his interlocutor believed in spirits, he would stress that such spirits cannot cause any harm or good except by God’s will. But to whomever he talked, the Prophet stressed God’s oneness and that the belief in His oneness is the key to faith. We will cite today two cases of how the Prophet spoke to people of intelligence, using their argument in order to prove the truth of God’s oneness and supreme authority over the entire universe.

The first case is that of Dammad, a man from the tribe of Azd Shanuah who was a faith healer. He reports: “I arrived in Makkah to perform the Umrah, and I found myself sitting with some people including Abu Jahl, Utbah ibn Rabeeah and Umayyah ibn Khalaf. Abu Jahl was saying: ‘This man has divided our community, ridiculed our elders, described our dead as having gone astray and abused our gods.’ Umayyah said: ‘The man is undoubtedly mad.’ His word focused my attention, and I thought of my ability to cure the effects of spirits on people. I left the people I was sitting with to look for the Prophet, but I could not find him that day.

“The following day I saw him praying behind Maqam Ibraheem, near the Kaaba. I sat down until he completed his prayer, and then approached him calling: ‘You, son of Abd Al-Muttalib!’ He came to me and said: ‘What would you like?’ I said: ‘I am a faith healer, and if you would like I will treat you. Do not think your case to be too hard, for I treated harder cases and they were cured. I have heard your people speak about you and how you ridicule their traditions, cause discord in their community and speak ill of their deities. I thought that only a person who has a touch of madness does that.’ The Prophet said to me: ‘Praise be to God. I glorify Him, seek His help, and in Him I believe and place my trust. Whoever God guides to the truth will have none to mislead him and whoever God leaves to go astray will have no one to guide.

“I bear witness that there is no deity other than God, who is the only God and who has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is God’s servant and Messenger.’ These words of his were the best I ever heard. I asked him to repeat what he said and he repeated it. I asked him about what he advocated, and he said: ‘I ask you to believe in God alone and that He has no partners, and to disown idol worship, and to believe in me as God’s Messenger.’ I asked what would be my reward for doing that. He said: ‘Heaven.’ I said: ‘Well. I bear witness that there is no deity other than God, the One who has no partners. I disown idol worship, and I bear witness that you are God’s servant and Messenger.’ I stayed with God’s Messenger until I learned many surahs of the Qur’an before returning home.” (Related by Al-Nassaie and others).

Can we imagine our own reaction if a stranger approaches us and says: “Come here and I will cure your madness!” Compare that with the Prophet’s reaction to Dammad when he said these very words to him. His personal feelings were of no importance.

He felt that the best reply he could give the man was to put to him the basic principles of the divine faith. He did not ask him to believe in them initially. He simply stated that he believed in these. This aroused Dammad’s curiosity and he asked for more information. As Dammad was an intelligent man, he realized that such principles could only be those of divine faith, and he immediately accepted Islam.

The other case we are citing today is that of Hussayn, whose son, Imran, had embraced Islam earlier. People from the Quraysh spoke to him when he arrived in Makkah, asking him to speak to the Prophet “who speaks disrespectfully of our gods.” They walked with him until they sat close to the Prophet’s door.

The Prophet said to those sitting with him, including Imran and his friends to make room for the man. When Hussayn entered, he addressed the Prophet saying: “What is this we have heard about you speaking ill of our gods while your father was a good man who respected his forefathers’ beliefs?” The Prophet said to him: “My father and your father are in hell. Hussayn! How many gods do you worship?” The man said: “Seven on earth and one in heaven.” The Prophet asked: “If you suffer some hardship, to which of them do you pray to lift it?” Hussayn said: “The one in heaven.” The Prophet asked: “And if your livelihood is lost, whom do you pray to replace it?” Again he said: “The one in heaven.” The Prophet then said: “And He alone responds to you, but you associate them with Him. Do you do so because you want to please Him with your thanksgiving, or because you fear that He would cause you harm?” He said: “Neither of these.” Hussayn comments: “I recognized that I never spoke to anyone like him.”

The Prophet then said to him: “Hussayn! Embrace Islam and you will be safe.” He replied: “I have my people and clan to think of. So, what do I say?” The Prophet said: “Say: My Lord! I seek Your guidance to show me the wisest course I should follow. My Lord! Increase my knowledge and make it beneficial to me.” Hussayn said this prayer. He did not leave before embracing Islam. Imran, his son, went up to him, and kissed his head, hands and feet. When the Prophet saw him doing this to his father, the Prophet wept. He said: “I have wept because of what Imran did. When Hussayn came in as an unbeliever, Imran neither stood up nor looked in his direction. When Hussayn became a Muslim, Imran gave him his full respect as a son. I was deeply touched by that.” When Hussayn wanted to leave, the Prophet said to his companions: “Walk with him to his home.” As he left and the Quraysh people saw him, they said: “He has abandoned his religion.” And they dispersed.

In this case, the Prophet put the case very clear to the man who associated seven false deities with God. He showed him that deep at heart he was convinced that the God in heaven is the only One who causes benefit or harm.

The others are nothing. As he looked at the matter in this light, the man recognized the truth, but still feared what might his people’s reaction be if he were to embrace Islam.

The Prophet told him to pray for God’s help. God certainly answers every sincere prayer. Hence, there was no more difficulty to stop Hussayn from becoming a Muslim.

Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli Land-Grab Apartheid Wall built inside the Palestinian territories, here separating Abu Dis from occupied East Jerusalem. (IPC, 7/4/04).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.