CONCISE NATURE OF THE PROPHET’S SAYINGS
dimension of the intellect of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and
blessings, is that he was very concise in his speeches. We must remember that he
is the leader, not only of those who lived during his lifetime, but of every
believer to come until the Last Day. As emphasized in the previous section, he
was in the position of one who addressed people of every level - from 7th
century Bedouins to scientists of the highest level to come just before the Day
of Judgement. No generation would contradict him. Accordingly, after we
scrutinize his sayings, as well as the Qur’an, with due care, we come to
understand that not only do they complement each other in style and content, but
that there is no contradiction between them and established scientific
knowledge. Millions of people have, from the beginning of Islam, found in them
an answer for their intellectual problems and a cure for their spiritual
diseases, as well as a model for their behaviour in all circumstances.
sayings and speeches of God’s Messenger are so enchanting and captivating, so
informative that just as his contemporaries were enlightened intellectually and
revived spiritually through them, so also countless scholars and scientists,
from exegetes of Qur’an, traditionists and jurists of the highest calibre, to
the great spiritual guides of different moods and temperaments, as also
specialists in the fields of science and humanities, have, next to the Qur’an,
all found their sources in them. A single word of his is, even today, enough for
many people, not less than it was for his contemporaries, to reform their lives
and beliefs when they hear it. He used to acknowledge this to be one of God’s
blessings and, in order to emphasize it as a blessing, he sometimes used to say:
am Muhammad, an unlettered Prophet; there is no Prophet to come after me.
I have been distinguished with conciseness of speech together with
comprehensiveness of meaning.1
used to say:
people! I have been honoured with conciseness of speech and giving the
final judgement in all matters.2
nightingale is said to convey the gratitude of plants and flowers to the
All-Provider. Likewise, God's Messenger came to sing the praises of God in the
‘garden’ of humanity and to announce God’s Commandments with his
enchanting ‘songs’. His words opened ever-fresh flowers in the hearts of
people and reduced the sayings of others to nought, however persuasive they
seemed on the surface. The believers were purified by the deep serenity of his
words, exhilarated by the bright atmosphere he created through his speeches, as
well as by the love his personal conduct inspired.
Messenger removed, through his words and deeds, the veils from the ‘face’ of
nature and embellished the ‘book of the universe’ with Divine inscriptions.
those famous for rhetoric or oratory and poetry have either preferred to listen
to him or greatly benefited from his sayings. Thousands of literary men have
devoted their life to the study of his sayings and compiled many volumes of
books about or out of them, and many thinkers and scholars have quenched their
‘thirst’ with the ‘water of life’ they contain. In order to express the
beauty and comprehensiveness of his words, we had better adapt, with a slight
difference, a couplet uttered about the Qur’an:
nothing of this world has come unveiled or pure,
the words of the Messenger preserve their purity undefiled, and still wait
to be understood fully.
Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was unlettered, and therefore not
influenced by the written culture of the time. He was of so sound a conscience,
so comprehensive in intellect and so pure in character, that only he could have
received the Divine Revelations. His mind and heart were fed by Divine
Revelation exclusively and each of his words and deeds was a ray from that
Revelation, being a sign of his Messengership. Like a bright, crystal cup of
clear, sweet water, his intellect was so pure that the Divine Revelations
entered it and emerged from it drop by drop, in the form of words in their first
primary expression of the Divine Revelation is the Qur’an. It is also the
primary source for Islamic law. Although it contains guidance pertaining to all
aspects of human life, the number of questions and problems put to God’s
Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, meant that a second form of
Revelation was necessary - implicit Revelation or inspiration. It was required
either to clarify the answers found in the Qur’an or to establish new
principles related to the conduct of the believers. This, together with his
sayings and conduct in everyday life, makes up the second source of Islamic law,
which we call the Sunnah, and we will discuss it in the second volume .
Prophet was supported by the miracles relevant to their time and environment.
For example, magic was widespread at the time of the Prophet Moses, upon him be
peace, and so the miracles that appeared at his hands were of a similar nature.
As the practice of medicine was in demand at the time of Jesus, upon him be
peace, the miracles he worked were related to healing. Similarly, when Muhammad,
upon him be peace and blessings, emerged as a Prophet, four crafts enjoyed
popularity in the Arabian peninsula:
Eloquence and fluency in writing and speaking,
Poetry and oratory,
Soothsaying and divination,
Knowledge about the events of the past and about cosmology.
challenged the known experts in these four fields and forced them to surrender.
The Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, surpassed them all
through his wonderful eloquence, knowledge of the cosmos, and his predictions,
most of which have proven, and the rest of which wait their due time to be
proven, to be true.
Prophethood of Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is universal and will
last until the Last Day, no one has been, and ever will be, able to compete with
him in eloquence and linguistic style. His words, together with the Qur’an,
supersede all literary works. Their excellence is everlasting and will become
increasingly vivid as their meanings are discovered in parallel to the passage
of time. His words and the Qur’an are of such extraordinary nature and so full
of meaning that millions of saints and gnostics have obtained perfect knowledge
of Divine Essence, Attributes and Names through them. The hidden truths
concerning the Unseen worlds - angels, jinn, the Hereafter, Paradise and Hell -
have all been unveiled through them. Also, they have together been a pure,
inexhaustible source for hundreds of thousands of jurists, interpreters of the
Qur’an, traditionists, historians and scientists, as well as sociologists and
psychologists. The Qur’an and the Sunnah have brought light to the lives of
billions and shown them how to pray, fast, give alms, how to make pilgrimage,
and even how to eat and drink, and how to speak, in short, how to act at every
moment of their lives.
Kanz al-‘Ummal, 11.412.
2. ibid., 11.425.