The 10 golden rules of success: The Prophet Muhammad’s strategy
Continued from last week
Rule 6: Plan and prepare while exercising restraint – never act in haste and without being prepared with a long range strategic plan, specific goals, the resources to execute the plan, most important of which are qualified and trained dedicated teams
The consideration that should be uppermost in the believer’s mind is what serves the interests of the Almighty God Allah and Islam, not his own personal interests and settling one′s accounts by force. The preoccupation must be with the preaching of the message of Islam: If there is a clash between personal interests and the long range interests of preaching Islam, then preaching of the faith must come first.
The Prophet, who endured all kinds of personal losses in his life, knew that the continuation of efforts to spread the faith and of serving Allah and the Muslims′ success in this life and the next lay in their pressing on with the missionary work.
It is important to know that when one has a purpose in life, that purpose assumes overriding importance. With the absence of such purpose, one becomes preoccupied with every trivial matter. On the other hand those, whose purpose is to propagate the faith, avoid clashing with others on any issue, for this would be detrimental to the ultimate purpose of our ultimate mission.
Rule 7: Seek peace – the power of peace is by far stronger and more effective than the turbulence of violence
One of the most important lessons one can derive from the Prophet′s character is that he always wanted a peaceful environment because he believed that the power of peace enhances efforts to bring God in peoples′ lives and is stronger and more lasting than the havoc and turbulence of violence. When he signed the treaty of Hudaybiya, he effectively started a new era of peace for the Muslims. The treaty allowed the Muslims to intermingle with the rest of the pagan idolaters of Makkah in peace instead of being looked upon by the Makkan idolaters as a threat. It is reported that the number of those who accepted Islam was 10 times the number of the Muslims that came to fold in over 19 years. After conquering Makkah, he and the Muslims became the rulers of many of the same people who tortured them, killed their family members and companions and confiscated their properties. These people were undeniably war criminals who expected to be put to death immediately. Yet the Prophet did not utter one word of blame. He said: “go you are all set free.”
This superior civilised gesture demonstrated the superiority of peace over violence and the forgiving nature of those who love and serve God. The result was the immediate acceptance of Islam by those very people who attacked its followers. In the long-term, Islam captured the imagination of the world.
Rule 8: Capitalise on the positive. Turn liabilities into assets. See advantage in disadvantage – making the best out of one’s enemy
After the battle of Badr, about 70 of the enemy were taken prisoners. All of them were highly educated Makkans. They represented a tremendous liability to the Muslims because of their lifestyle and the resources necessary to keep them. In an effort to turn this liability into great assets, the Prophet (s) announced that any of these war criminals who were willing to teach 10 children of Madinah how to read and write would be freed. These services were taken instead of collecting ransom money. This was the first school in history of Islam in which all of the students were Muslims, and all of the teachers were from the ranks of the enemy.
Rule 9: Be realistic – pragmatism instead of idealism leads to success
In the time of Prophet Abraham, hajj (pilgrimage) was performed in the lunar month of Zul-Hijjah. Since the lunar year is 11 days shorter than a solar year, its months do not revolve with the seasons. This went against the commercial interests of Quraysh. They wanted hajj to fall in the summer each year, and for this purpose they adopted a method called Nasiee. This consisted of adding 11 days on to the lunar calendar every year. They kept the names of the lunar months but in fact they followed a solar calendar. That meant that hajj would fall in the proper date once every 33 years. In order to reset the Abrahamic traditions, the Prophet had to end this tradition. He could have issued a decree to change all that in the month of Ramadan 8 AH when Makkah was opened up.
Instead, he bided his time. There were just two years left until the completion of the full 33-year course of Nasiee. He waited for those two years. Although he was the leader who prevailed over the pagans, he did not perform hajj in these two years. Only in the third year (10 AH) did he participate in the pilgrimage. This was the farewell pilgrimage and the year the record was set straight as put by Abraham as he announced: time has run its full course.
The Prophet’s entire policy was moulded by the wisdom gifted to him by God. His every move was designed to be in accordance with the pattern set by God. It was for this reason that all his efforts and policies produced highly fruitful results.
Rule 10: Bring the missionary struggle to fruition by redeploying efforts and resources in other fields where positive results may be expected
The Prophet was attacked by Makkans after migrating to Madinah. He proceeded to prepare to establish defence forces but he did not focus only on the field of military action. His strategy called for establishing the Muslim community as the standard of excellence in dealing, in societal relations, in justice and in finance to the extent that Muslims became – in a very short period of time – the most trusted merchants who ran free markets for the first time in Madinah.
Until the peace treaty of Hudaibiyah was signed, the only meeting ground between the Muslims and non-Muslims had been on the battlefield. Now, with the peace treaty, the area of conflict became that of ideological debate and behavioural contrast. Then, the one-time enemies began interacting with each other on a large scale. During this period of interaction, the ideological maturity and excellence of Islam and the Muslims asserted itself. As a result, large numbers of the former enemies of Islam became Muslims. In this way, the number of Muslims increased. Ultimately, the Muslims started occupying high-level positions of influence – solely on the strength of their education, character, respect in the community, sincerity in serving all and their large numbers.
In a very short period of time, Madinah became a producer of food and crops and the preferred stopping stations of the trading caravans. It simply became the model of the First Ummah in the history of mankind. That is why its name was changed from Yathrib to Madinah or the Civilised City.
The believers are repeatedly motivated to bring their missionary struggle to fruition by redeploying their efforts and resources in other fields where positive results may be expected.
Prophet Muhammad received the mission on approx. February 12th, 610 AD. He was the last and the seal of all Prophets (33:40)
His preaching mission extended over 23 years. Prophet Muhammad was entrusted with propagating God′s words and message to others. It was this role that brought him on a collision course with his fellow countrymen and women. All forms of adversity – from the pain of hunger to the trepidation of battle – were inflicted on him. Yet, through the 23 years of his mission, he remained just and circumspect in his actions. His conduct was governed by his fear of displeasing God. During this mission, he changed the history of Arabia and laid the foundation for a permanent change in world history.
We need to listen, read, study, reflect, apply and emulate these 10 golden character traits of our beloved Prophet Muhammad in order to start our journey – yes, long journey – towards capturing the imagination of our children, our families, our communities, our nation and the world exactly as he (s) did.
A Juma’a khutbah by Dr Yahia Abdul-Rahman at the Masjid of Brighter Horizons Academy, Texas, United States.