By Huda Shaka`
The Prophet Muhammad’s (s) methodology of teaching his companions
This post is my way of commemorating the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam – may the peace of Allah be upon him), the greatest role model, teacher, and leader to walk this earth.
To understand the importance of Hadith and its effect on the Prophet’s companions, one must have an idea of the Prophet’s teaching methodology.
Of course, the methodology of the Prophet (s) in spreading knowledge was in line with that of the glorious Qur’an. Below are the highlights of this methodology as mentioned by Dr. Ajaj Al-Khatib (link to Part I for reference):
1. Gradual teaching:
The Qur’an was gradual in correcting the people’s faith, manners, acts of worship, legal system, and societal interactions. The Prophet Muhammad (s) explained and implemented the teachings of the Qur’an as they were revealed.
2. Places of knowledge:
As is well-known, the first Islamic ‘school’ was the house of al-Arqam in which Muslims gathered during the Makkan era, away from the disbelievers of Quraysh to learn Qur’an and Hadith.
Moreover, the companions of the Prophet (s) would constantly study the Qur’an and its explanation and interpretation (i.e. the Hadith of the Prophet [s]) amongst each other wherever they got the chance. Thus, Hadith was memorized and studies along side the Qur’an from the earliest days of Islam.
At a later stage, the masjid became the house of spreading knowledge and Islamic rulings (fatawa), in addition to a place for performing acts of worship.
Nevertheless, Prophet Muhammad (s) did not confine the spreading of knowledge to a particular place. He would be asked questions on the street or in a gathering and would not hesitate to answer. We know from the stories of the companions that the Prophet of Allah (s) would often sit with them, teaching and purifying them.
3. Practical application:
The Prophet (s) would teach his companions a few verses of the Qur’an at a time, explaining to them the meanings and the fiqh rulings in the verses. The companions would learn the verses, understand their meaning, implement them in their daily lives, and only then would they move on to learn more verses.
Many of the greatest companions learnt the Qur’an this way, ten verses at a time, including `Abdullah ibn Mas`oud and `Uthman bin `Affan (may Allah be pleased with them).
4. Speaking to people at their level:
The Prophet of Allah (s) was always be conscious of the background, education, and culture of his audience – always addressing them at their level, with words they would comprehend and to which they could relate.
The Prophet Muhammad (s) stayed away from excessive strictness in worship and rulings, and would choose the paths that would bring ease to the people–in any matter. The Prophet (s) encouraged his companions to truly understand the matters of their deen (way of life: Islam). He would instruct them to ask questions on matters they were ignorant of, and forbid them from giving a fatwa (religious edict) without sufficient knowledge.
6. Teaching women:
Prophet Muhammad (s) paid attention to the teaching of women, just like he did to the teaching of men. He would dedicate a special time to sit with the Muslim women answering their questions and teaching them their deen.
Through the above methodology, Prophet Muhammad (s) was able to ingrain the beliefs and teachings of Islam in the hearts and minds of his companions.
Oh Allah, may Your Mercy, Peace and Blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, and May You grant us his companionship in Jannah, ameen.
Next – Part IV: How did the Hadith spread during the lifetime of the Prophet (s)?
Originally posted at Muslamics.