Islamic Studies Prophet Muhammad Qur'an Seeking Knowledge

Pedagogy of Mercy

A Lecture by Suhaib Webb | Transcribed by Fuseina Mohamad

Surat Al-Fatiha Series: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IV | Part VPart VIPart VIIPart VIIIPart IXPart X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV

Now, before we continue I’m going to ask a question.  Do you really feel in yourself this responsibility towards the Qur’an?  It’s difficult if you were raised on the ‘Bam!’ madhab. This has a psychological effect. That’s why, subhan’Allah (glory be to Allah), when I was in the masjid, I would find that the adults did not want to come to the masjid. And when they would see me, when I was dressed in my big beard with my topi and stuff on, they would see me and think, “Oh my God, here comes a mawlisaab, man. Do you see a stick?” Because their whole childhood was built on this.


Whereas the Prophet ﷺ was a mercy for people (21:107).  He was a very good teacher.  He was a forgiving teacher.  He used to deal with people differently.  For example, as related by Imam Muslim, one time a man came into the masjid of the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet and his companions were in rukoo.  And you know we have that now also where people run to the salah line.  I can’t stand that.  Sometimes I break my rukoo on purpose just to teach them to slow down.  You know how it is when you go into rukoo and a guy walks into the masjid and he sees and then he makes the DSL wudu for about 10 seconds, and then he runs to the front line and pronounces, “Allahu akbar!” because he wants to let the Imam know he’s there now. The man in the hadith was wiser than we are.  He made rukoo in the doorway, and he walked to the salah of the Prophet like that while he was still in rukoo.  He was a sahabi (Companion of the Prophet). Sahabis were not clones, they were human beings.  And then he joined the salah.  After he was done the Prophet called him and said, “May Allah reward you for your enthusiasm!  But don’t do it again.” Subhan’Allah, look at the way of the Prophet ﷺ.

Another sahabi, Mu’awiya ibn Hakam, became Muslim right before the time of `Asr. And the Prophet ﷺ taught him. Nowadays when someone becomes Muslim before `Asr we don’t teach them how to pray `Asr until next year. When Mu’awiya became Muslim the Prophet taught him before the time of `Asr came. He also told him, “If anybody sneezes, say, ‘yarhamak Allah’ (may Allah be merciful towards you).” So Mu’awiya (ra) was excited. He repeated to himself, “Yarhamak Allah, yarhamak Allah. Masha’Allah, the Prophet ﷺ taught me this! The Prophet ﷺ taught me this!” He was so excited, subhan Allah.

Do we feel this excitement when we learn something? He was so excited. How many of us think we’re above the hadith and say, “Oh, I know the hadith, man. Who are you?” Or we say, “Oh, I don’t like that scholar, man, he’s a buster. He’s not with my group, I don’t like him.” Who are you, subhan’Allah? We should love all the ‘ulema. We should respect all the ‘ulema. We should ask Allah to forgive them for their mistakes.

So Mu’awiya learnt yarhamak Allah then the time of `Asr came and he joined the prayer, and somebody sneezed really loudly. And Mu’awiya said “Yarhamak Allah!” in Salat al-`Asr. And the Prophet ﷺ was the Imam. Then Mu’awiya said, “Yahamak Allah, man! What’s up? Yarhamak Allah!” He said it like that, subhan’Allah, he was hard. Then the Companions, as he said, “They threw their eyes at me.” And he said, “I was looking at them and said, ‘Yo, what’s up, man? Why are you all looking at me?’” Really, this is the translation from Arabic of what he said. He said, “May my mother lose me.” Which is like saying, “Hey, what’s up? You got a problem? Step outside.” So he said, “Why are you all looking at me like this?” Then they started beating their knees and Mu’awiya said, “I came to the conclusion they were telling me to shut up.” So he was quiet. And then afterwards, subhan’Allah look at the Prophet ﷺ. No stick, no verbal abuse, no physical abuse, no intimidation. Subhan’Allah, he had mercy with firmness.

Mu’awiya said, “The Prophet ﷺ called me. And by Allah, I never saw a teacher before or after better than the Prophet ﷺ. He didn’t hit me, he didn’t abuse me, and he didn’t do like this. He was so nice, the face of Rasul Allah ﷺ.” The Prophet ﷺ called him and said, “In this salah there is no talking. Only Qur’an and tasbeeh.” There was no hitting, there was no abuse, there was no intimidation, there was no shaming. There was teaching.

This should be our relationship with the Qur’an. But for many of  us our relationship began with mister green jeans with a big stick beating us upside our head. This was not the method of Rasul Allah ﷺ. Those of you who experienced this, wallahi, this is not the way of the Prophet ﷺ. This is the way of ignorance.

Aisha (ra) said in Sahih Muslim, “The Prophet Muhammed ﷺ never hit a woman.” Never. He never hit a woman with his hand. The Prophet ﷺ never hit people. He was not known to have hit anyone.

So we start now with the Qur’an, and how to benefit with the Qur’an.

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.

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