And suddenly, we are in the month of love. But, what sort of love?
This month of Rabi’ul Awwal is the month when every believer including you (suddenly) talks passionately about love, particularly the ‘love’ towards our Prophet, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. No surprise, this is the month of Mawlid after all.
“None of you is a believer till I am dearer to him than his child, his father and the whole of mankind.”
While the concept of love itself isn’t precisely understood by the public (to link to future’s article by Prof Am about love towards Prophet), the general perception embraced by the public is that our Prophet ﷺ is a significant figure residing in every Muslim’s heart: to mention during Tahiyya recitation, to be grateful to for the blessing of Islam, to be as righteous as he is, to treat him with great respect and reverance, to defend him from mockery, and to invoke Salawat upon him.
For so long, Muslim Leaders and Daies have made the topic of Salawat for the Prophet ﷺ as the headline in celebrating this month. The verses below, together with numerous other Islamic resources were often cited to highlight the importance of, and the rewards for, invoking Salawat for our beloved Prophet ﷺ.
“Indeed, Allah and His angels confer blessing upon the Prophet. O you who have believed, invoke blessing and peace upon him.”
Notice that in the Quran, Allah ties the concept of love with ittiba’ (اتّباع) or ‘to follow’. Love in faith is something that requires more than a one-way connection (love Allah-follow Prophet-get Allah’s love and forgiveness):
“(O Messenger!) Tell people: ‘If you indeed love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you and will forgive you your sins. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.'”
Thus it is very ‘Islamic’ indeed to invoke Salawat, but Islam is not only about that. Indeed Salawat is highly encouraged by our Prophet himself so that our everyday life is inspired by his example – Uswah Hasanah in practising this comprehensive Deen of Islam.
“There is indeed a good example (Uswah Hasanah) for you in the Messenger of Allah – for the one who has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah profusely.”
It is walking in his footsteps in all aspects of Tarbiyyah, Da’wah and Jihad, and not only his Akhlak, apparel and hairstyle.
1. Uswah Hasanah in Leadership
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is our example and role model in leadership. What we mean by leadership here is the kind of leadership that contributes to, and builds up strategically, the mission of Islamic revival – the prophetic mission.
Regardless of what level of leader you are or what industry you are involved in, the mission of Islamic revival still falls onto your shoulder. Making an example of the attributes and qualities of the Prophet’s leadership could never be separated from the goal of Islamic revival itself, for it was the goal that drove and guided his entire leadership.
In empowering you as a Muslim Leader and a Daie, Tarbiyyah in leadership is a must. Granted that mastering the corpus of Islamic knowledge would make you a scholar, to be a good teacher you will need to be trained in teaching skills. Similarly, for the mission of Islamic revival to be effective, every single one of you should be well-trained in the Prophet’s leadership to lead the ummah well towards the goal.
2. Uswah Hasanah in Human Resource Management
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is also our example and role model in human resource management. He displayed great competence in management functions – planning, organising, leading and controlling – to achieve the goal of his prophetic mission.
Among the small group of the early Sahabas, he managed their diverse talents well for the benefit of Da’wah. Among the diverse tribes and clans in Makkah and Madinah obsessed with assabiyah, he managed them towards unity. Overall, he managed his task as the final messenger effectively that the light of Islam is able to reach you today.
Thus, in your Tarbiyyah as a Muslim Leader and a Daie, Tarbiyyah in human resource management is crucial so that your Da’wah works are not conducted randomly and unprepared. Being trained in this management leads you to think beyond preaching and talking about the theories, thus making you a better agent of this mission.
3. Uswah Hasanah in Finance
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was brilliant in financial management that Khadijah trusted him with her business before their marriage. With this wisdom and divine guidance, he ﷺ could comprehend the issues arising from the economic system practised among the Arabs, and advocate for their Islamic solutions. The vital importance of the Islamic financial know-how was reiterated by the Prophet in his last sermon.
Thus, in your Tarbiyyah as a Muslim Leader and a Daie, Tarbiyyah in Islamic financial management is crucial whether in managing small or mega projects at the national level. The obvious point is that if you cannot handle the resources well on a small scale, how can you manage a country? The country now needs a more God-mindful leader like you in managing its finances.
4. Uswah Hasanah in Social Conduct
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had a good grasp of the working of the social system during his time. For instance, if we study the earliest figures among the Sahabas that became believers, we can see that they came from multiple demographic backgrounds – children, women, slaves, noblemen, businessmen, tribes. He ﷺ did spread the word of Allah to everyone following Allah’s decree, while also considering the social situation inside and outside of Makkah to leverage his work in achieving his goal.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was also socially renowned in Makkah for his praiseworthy attributes even before his prophethood. People trusted him and listened to his word. His deep concerns for the wellbeing of his society brought him, many a time, to seclusion where he could focus his thoughts on the moral regress of his society and how it could be resolved. That speaks volumes for his genuine social caring.
The lesson you can take from your Tarbiyyah as a Muslim Leader and a Daie, Tarbiyyah is that social intelligence and social skills are imperative in Da’wah. You can’t afford to be a social amateur trapped subconsciously in your own class bubble; because if you are you will be handicapped in understanding the social conditions of your mad’u. You will be incapable Muslim Leaders and Daies.
5. Uswah Hasanah in Communication
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was a great communicator. He paid attention to individual differences and nuances which allowed him to communicate the message accordingly. What and how he explained Islam to a Bedouin wasn’t the same as he did to a city man. He considered the peculiar characteristics of tribes and utilised the right method of communication with them.
Furthermore, he ﷺ established engagement with people at every opportunity he could find in order to show them what the best of akhlak look like and thereby invite them to Islam. His communication and engagement skills were his vital tool in conducting his prophetic mission.
As a Muslim Leader and a Daie, Tarbiyyah should adequately equip you to recognise the importance of communication and engagement skills. Not all audiences are okay with randomised preaching. Some may require customised treatment; for instance, a mutual discussion approach instead of a talk down dictating approach. Not all situations need fiery rhetorical speech – sometimes they only need your soothing empathy to open their hearts.