By Huda Shaka`
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI
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.
This article is an important one and I am glad you have brought the topic of hadiths up. I hope you will continue the series by also discussing the issue of how “false” hadiths has crept into the books and how we can be aware of them. I do not think Muslims do not believe in the sunnah of the Prophet or reject all hadiths. But certain hadiths that have been relayed that seem so out of sync with the Prophet’s sunnah or the Quran but are still called “sahih” hadith, have put much doubt in people’s mind about the authenticity of all hadith. For example, there is a hadith still in circulation that says that a husband’s status is so much higher than a wife’s that if he requests his wife to lick the puss off his dirty wounded feet, she should do it. Now I have the hardest time even swallowing the idea that our beloved Prophet would debase a woman so low. His sunnah was to treat his wives and his female companions with the highest degree of respect. Yet the hadith still circulates that if Allah allowed a human to prostrate to another human, the wife should prostrate to her husband! Yet in the Quran, Allah counts as one of the best women on earth Asya, the wife of the Pharoah, who completely disobeyed her husband and left his religion for the religion of Allah, and has promised her the best place in heaven.
So sister, it is not the hadith that match the Quran that distrub people not to trust all hadith, it is these kinds of so called hadiths that make one doubt the true authenticity of all hadiths. While the scholars of the past have tried their best to ensure the accuracy of hadith, that does not mean that our generation should stop using their methodology of confirming everything we hear and read about the Prophet, and make sure that it follows in accordance with the Quran and the general characteristic of the Prophet. It is a much bigger sin to promote a false saying of the Prophet, than to doubt a hadith that may be accurate.
Unless you discuss this issue of hadith sciences, it will be very hard to remove the doubts that linger about hadiths in general.
i agree with umm zaheen. I think that people would rather dissent from haidths altogether then believe that the one who Allah swt sent down as a mercy to humankind would say such a thing. But I don’t take issue with the prophet, I take issue with the scholars. And where are our female scholars? How come muslims are always assuming that the scholars that authenticate these hadiths were truly pious and had the best of intentions. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but if someone truly hated islam, wouldn’t the most effective way of destroying it be to pretend to be pious and accredit something horrible to the prophet which he did not say nor do. The language of such hadiths as umm zaheen mentioned do not only contradict the prophet’s seerah, but also the Quran’s attitude towards women. Honestly I reject all hadith that belittle women to such a degree, and if I am wrong then Allah forgive me, but my gut and my brain tell me I’m not wrong.
I’d recommend that you read this article written by Sr. Shazia Ahmad about ahadith that seem unfair to women: http://www.virtualmosque.com/ummah/women/questioning-the-hadith/
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