In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah! Peace and blessings to Sayyidina Muhammad, the trustful and faithful. O ’God we have no knowledge except what You have taught us, You the Omniscient and the All-Wise.
Teach us what is beneficial to us and let us benefit from it and increase our knowledge.
Show us the truth and help us follow it, and show us the untruth and help us avoid it. Let us be among those who listen and follow the best of what is said. Admit us by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.
The prophet’s consulting PBUH with his companions:Dear brother, we are in the lesson 23rd of the series: “Prophetic traits”. In our last meeting we have reached the topic of consulting the companions by the prophet PBUH, and you should know that this topic is one of the most serious issues that are related to our daily life, Allah the Almighty said addressing the prophet PBUH:
﴾ and consult them in the affairs ﴿
Hence, Allah the Almighty is ordering the prophet PBUH to consult his companions, let me ask: who is the prophet? He is the master of mankind, the most beloved creature to Allah, the one who is gifted with shrewdness, the best of Adam’s sons, the one whom revelation was descended upon, and he is the infallible, yet, and despite all these characters and privileges, he was asked by Allah to consult his companions, Allah said:
﴾ Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). ﴿
What does concern us in all that?
What is the wisdom behind consulting?
Why, despite the endless wisdom that is included in Allah’s Words, Allah asked the prophet PBUH to consult his companions?
The reason to that is to sooth their souls by consulting them, namely, when you order someone and he has to carry out your orders, he will feel himself as a means in your hands, however, on the other hand, when you consult him, you give him the feeling that he is your partner, and this is one of the educational tactics.
The prophet used to consult his companions in all Ghazawat (battles), and consequently, when the companions recommended meeting the enemy and went out with the prophet PBUH to fight them, they won’t feel as means rather than partners.
Therefore, consulting soothes the souls of the consultants.
When you ask your wife for her opinion on something you are intending to do in your house by saying: What do you think of that matter? Then she says: Yes I see this a right thing to do, and you start doing it, she will never feel being bossed by you, rather than being treated as a partner to you.
Hence, the first wisdom the prophet gained by consulting his companions is soothing their souls.
Wisdom behind consulting:Whenever Allah orders his believers of something, he will show them the wisdom behind this order, and by doing so, Allah is soothing their hearts, and this exactly what was meant by the prophet PBUH when he said to Abu Bakr and Umar:
((If you two are agreed upon a counsel, I would not oppose you))
What does this mean? It means that when the prophet PBUH said those words, he was then choosing the wise and the prudent among his companions to ask for their opinion (or else he won’t say: “I would not oppose you”), and by this act, he was supporting his opinion by theirs. Al Nu’man Ibn Basheer said: the prophet PBUH said on the pulpit:
((He who is not grateful for a little cannot be grateful for the abundance, and he who is not grateful to people cannot be grateful to Allah [whereas]to talk about Allah’s blessings is gratitude, and leaving it is ingratitude (kufr). The community (jama'ah) [leads to]mercy, and dissension [leads to]debasement.))
When you prefer an opinion which you see is right and evidence-based, and then you consult another person who recommends the same opinion, you will pluck up strength by that.
Hence, you will feel supported when you see an opinion and consult a friend who agrees upon what you are going to do, thus, you will feel the rightness in your opinion, and this is called “strengthening”.
Therefore, the first wisdom behind consulting is soothing the souls, whereas the second wisdom is that the prophet PBUH feels strength because of his companions’ opinion.
We should ally with the opinion of scholars’ majority:
I for one, when I am asked a question, which I know its answer, and I give it to the inquirer supported by evidence from Quran or Sunna or the opinion of schools of thoughts, will be relieved when another scholar gives me the same answer as I gave to that person. Man sometimes feels stronger because of his brother, as when they support his opinion, that makes him feel relieved, still among the herd, and still one of the believers’ group.
Accordingly, one should never choose the weak opinion, the solitary one, the poor in evidence, and the odd, yet, he should ally by the majority of scholars and Muslims. It was reported by Anas Ibn Malik, he said: I’ve heard the prophet PBUH saying:
((My nation will never gather upon misguidance, and if you witness any conflict, then follow the majority of my nation))
You should know that the prophet PBUH is exclusively infallible by Allah, while his nation is inclusively infallible through Muslims’ gathering, and they never gather on something wrong.
Whenever you read interpretation books, they say in it most of the time: The majority of scholars said so and so, hence, be with the majority (of course not the majority of mobs rather than the majority of scholars) of the believers, as the Majority of mobs are most likely astray.
﴾ And most of them follow nothing but conjecture ﴿
The majority I am pointing to is the majority of Muslims, and I might say in other occasions: be with the minority, and by this I mean: be with the minority of believers when the majority of people don’t have faith.
Hence, firstly: consulting soothes the souls, secondly: it strengthens the consultee, assuring him that he is on the right path, as consulting gives strength and self-confidence.
The prophet set up a good example by consulting his companions:
The delicate point in the whole matter is that when the prophet PBUH consulted his companions carrying out Allah’s order to him, he lied down a law by this act, in order to be carried out by his nation after him.
Given he is a prophet who is infallible and never errs, is guided by revelation, is supported by Allah, is protected by the divine providence, and is gifted by unlimited wisdom, what about generations of rulers and scholars to come after him of his nation? They don’t level up with Him, thus, if they are doubtful in respect of any matter, they will be in dire need to resort to consulting. Hence, he made consulting a Sunnah and he set up an example for them.
Given the prophet PBUH is in no need for consulting his companions because of his wisdom and his infallibility, he consulted them though in order to set up an example for scholars and rulers, who will come after his death. Thereby, he lied down a law in consulting sh3er.
All of you remember the incident when the prophet PBUH performed only two rak’at in a four Rak’at’s prayer, and then he was told by his companions:
((O Messenger of Allah, has the salah been shortened or have you forgotten [part of it]?' The Prophet said: 'It has not been shortened, nor did I forget any part of it." He said: 'Yes, O Messenger of Allah, you did forget.' Thereupon the Prophet asked (the people) and they confirmed to him that he offered only two rak’at, so he PBUH said: I forgot to make this sunnah that should be followed))
If the prophet PBUH were never to forget, not even once, through out his mission, how would he lie down the law of Sujood Al Sahoo? The only way to do so is to forget, and for that Allah said:
﴾ We shall make you to reauthor (the Qur'an), so you (O Muhammad) shall not forget (it), Except what Allah, may will ﴿
Out of profound wisdom, Allah said: “except what Allah may will”, which means that the prophet PBUH should forget once to lie down the law of Sujood Al Sahoo, and his superiority protects him from forgetting, yet, Allah made him, for the wisdom of law-giving.
Again, the prophet PBUH consulted his companions to sooth their souls and get strength from their opinion, but definitely, he is in no need for their opinion and recommendation, as he is infallible, supported with revelation, and is gifted with wisdom, hence, he can do without their reasoning, yet he did so in order to set up a good example for them.
Allah ordered the prophet to be an example and law-giver:You all remember that the prophet PBUH borrowed money from a Jew from people of the book, and to this, a narrow minded person might say: Is it rational that the prophet took money from a Jew, whereas he was surrounded with his companions who were ready to sacrifice their souls and hearts for him? The answer to that is so easy: The prophet PBUH didn’t borrow money from a Jew out of need, or because his companions were negligent to his needs, rather than he meant to lie down a law that you can deal with people of the book (buy from them and sell them).
If the prophet PBUH never dealt with people of the book, you would not be allowed to do so, hence he set up an example for you and lied down a law by such an act.
Another example to clarify this idea: what do you think of the prophet’s courage? He was described by his companions as follows:
((When the battle used to become fierce and the eyes seemed to be coming out of the sockets, we were to look for the Prophet in order to find a shelter behind him, as he was the closest one among us to the enemy))
This means that the courage of all the companions wasn't up to the prophet’s courage PBUH, yet, how did he migrate from Mecca to Madinah?
He did that undercover, hid in the cave of Thawr, asked someone to bring him news, asked another to bring him food, and a third to wipe off his traces, why do you think he did that?
Why didn’t he migrate like our Master Umar who challenged all the infidels? Umar said:
((Whoever wants to cause grief for his mother and leave his children orphaned, then let him meet me behind that valley))
One might wonder: O Lord, who had more courage, your messenger, or this noble companion? The companion
(Umar) was challenging the infidels, whereas the prophet PBUH was sneaking out of Mecca and hiding in the cave of thawr spending three days in it.
The answer to this is very easy: If the prophet migrated as Umar did, then daring perils would be a mandatory for a Muslim, and cautious would be impermissible, hence, all nation will be doomed after him.
Given the prophet’s acts are laws till the Day of Judgment, the prophet was cautious, he considered the causes, and he didn’t challenge Quraish, he resorted to the cave of Thawr, he stayed in it for three days, he asked someone to bring him news, another to wipe off his traces, and a third to bring him food, not to mention that he hired a non-Muslim expert in trace tracking (he preferred expertise).
You can’t say: “I don’t deal but with Muslims”, when you are afflicted with an intractable disease, and a Non-Muslim Doctor is the only expert to cure it.
The master of mankind (the Prophet PBUH) hired a non-Muslim expert in trace tracking; therefore, you should seek expertise per se even if it is owned by a non-Muslim doctor, when you have a health problem, or an intractable disease that bewildered the other doctors, and since life is priceless, you should make use of his expertise for your own benefit.
The prophet PBUH is a good example to his nation:Anyhow, the prophet PBUH is a law-giver, and when he consulted his companions, he lied down a law for us, for rulers after him, and for scholars, in order to consult in our matters.
In another incident –similar to the two Ruk’at’s incident- the prophet PBUH set up a practical example. It was in Badr Battle, as he had chosen a spot for it. One might say: O Lord, wasn’t it better that You sent Gabriel to the prophet to choose the right spot for Badr? Well, it is possible, but why did not Allah send Gabriel? Was it possible that the prophet was inspired in his heart in the respect of the most suitable spot for Badr? Well, it is possible as well, but why none of this had happened? After the prophet PBUH had chosen a spot according to his own judgment, a polite enthusiastic companion of best quality asked the prophet:
"Has Allâh inspired you to choose this very spot or is it stratagem of war and the product of consultation?"
Pay attention to the accuracy of the companion, as, if this spot was chosen by Revelation, he wouldn’t have said a word
The Prophet (PBUH) replied
"It is stratagem of war and consultation." The man said: "This place is no good”
As simple, humble, spontaneous, and friendly as he was, and without neglecting, bashing or dismissing the adviser, the prophet never considered that question as an act of discrediting to his judgment.
The prophet asked:
Where is the best place? And the man pointed to the perfect place and the Prophet (PBUH) approved of his plan and agreed to carry it out, and he moved the army to that spot.
This is leadership, and this is how the prophet PBUH set up an example for his nation after him.
If you happened to be advised by a sincere and enthusiastic person, bringing all needed evidence to support his advice, be ware of going arrogant, rejecting, or turning away from him, and don’t ever do what breaks him because he dared to advise you, but be the other way around.
The believer accepts the advice and thanks the adviser:
Dear brother, pay attention to what I am about to say:
Those who praise you won’t exalt you, on the other hand, those who criticize you are those who exalt you. Whenever you are criticized by something to which you avoid doing, you will sublime, and whenever you are praised by someone, you will be keen on your recent behavior and will never sublime.
I always recall our Master Umar’s saying: “I love the person who gives me my blemishes as a present”.
This is the way a believer should be, he should be flexible towards advice, a good listener to it, grateful to the person who offered it, he should never despise him, nor should he bash or abandon him, further more, he should never consider the advice as an act of crossing a red line, yet, he should thank the adviser.
As a law-giver, the prophet PBUH consulted his companions to lie down a law to be Sunnah after his death.
Baihakee reported, by Al Hasan, May Allah be pleased with him, he said in regard of the following Ayah:
﴾ and consult them in the affairs ﴿
Allah is aware that the prophet could dispense with the need of his companions; however, he wanted to lie down a law to those who will come later on.
Nowadays, you can make use of this law practically. If you have a family you can consult your wife in fundamental matters, and there is no harm in doing so.
Along with the same line, the prophet PBUH consulted Umm Salamah (his wife) in the Agreement of Hudibiya, and carried out her opinion, so no harm in consulting your oldest sons in order to sooth their souls, strengthen your opinion, and make them feel as partners in the family, and above all you teach them to humble down in their life, to consult sh3er, and you teach them to accept consultation and advice.
The adviser and the one who is advised are to be rewarded:Dear brother, he, who accepts the sincere advice given to him, will attain the same reward of the person who offers it.
When you offer your advice you will get a reward, and he, who accepts it politely and thank you for it will get a reward as well.
You should know that you are rewarded when you offer the advice, likewise you are rewarded when you accept it, and rehearse saying to the adviser: May Allah reward you for advising me with goodness.
Reported by Ibn Uday and Baihakee in the Shueb, authenticated by Ibn Abbas, May Allah be pleased with both of them, he said:
((When the Ayah “and consult them in the affairs” was descended, the prophet PBUH said: Allah and his messenger (Muhammad PBUH) don’t need consulting, however, Allah descended this Ayah out of mercy on my nation, and whoever consults sh3er will never lack reasoning, and whoever doesn’t abide by it, might be afflicted with aberrance))
Do you know that by asking a question to an expert, you are able to summaries fifty years of his experience? If he is an expert in commerce or industry, and you are about to start a business of yours, consult him, and, in general, always consult believers who are honest and wise.
You give respect to the person you consult with:Also the wisdom behind consulting someone is to raise high his self-esteem , to let him feel the importance and acceptance of his opinion, and to feel that he is contributing through his opinion to this family, company, school, or hospital.
This is what is called: ”the democratic management”, it is when a hospital manager for example asks doctors around him: what do you think of so and so? Considering the following Ayah:
﴾ and consult them in the affairs Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah ﴿
In order to avoid turning consulting into chaos, dispersal, business obstruction, and disputes, we should consult and brain storm, as leadership sometimes needs people’s opinion, yet, in the end, you should do what is right, taking into consideration all the opinions, hence, consulting is for taking hints and it is not a mandatory to take, is not it? This is because Allah said in the following Ayah:
﴾ Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah ﴿
When the consultee is poor in his opinion in the respect of a jurisprudent matter for example, in that case, the consultant’s opinion (the scholar who is specialist in jurisprudent matters) is a mandatory to him, and it won’t be a case of consulting to take hints.
Despotism abolishes reasoning and free choice:
Some have said a nice statement in this respect: “Despotism in opinion wastes the sane, and obliges the choosers”.
When someone acts autocratically despite the fact of being surrounded by wise guys, he will cancel their reasoning by such an act. Hence, Despotism abolishes reasoning of wise guys and turns the free choice of choosers to obligatory, and thereby, the sane will turn into foolish when he acts autocratically.
Reported by Al Shaf’ee, by Abu Huraira, May Allah be pleased with him, he said:
((I've never seen someone keener on consulting his companions than the prophet PBUH))
Consultation is a crucial part of the believer’s life:We have missed an important point. As we said before that the wisdom behind consulting sh3er (either you were a principal, hospital manager, company owner, father, business manager, or merchant) is to sooth their hearts, strengthen your opinion, and raise high their self-esteem , we still have another wisdom which unfolds a great educational purpose, as when you consult sh3er you have the chance to get to know their reasoning, their points of view, and you can sift the narrow minded from the wise, the short-sighted from the long-sighted, and the sincere from the unfaithful, hence, when you are consulting, you are testing people in the process without their knowledge.
Consulting is a crucial matter, and Allah the Almighty described the believer saying: they conduct affairs by mutual consultation, Allah said:
﴾ and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation ﴿
And Allah ordered the prophet PBUH in the following Ayah:
﴾ and consult them in the affairs ﴿
This means that Shuraa (Consulting) should be part of the believer’s life.
Consultee is a subject of help and the consultant is trustworthy:When he, whom you offer your advice to, accepts it, makes use of it, and praises you for it, he will be encouraging this righteous behavior which is enjoined by the noble Sunnah, and mentioned in Quran.
The prophet PBUH encouraged his companions to consult each sh3er, and aroused the interest in it, and Aisha, May Allah pleased with her, said: The prophet PBUH said:
((The consultee is aid seeker, and the consultant must be trustworthy, so whenever you are consulted, you should consult of the same opinion you would consult yourself with))
Allow me to mention the following example: If someone asked about your opinion in regard of a young man, and you said to him: He is good or excellent, to which he said to you: Do you think I should accept him as a husband to my daughter? And you answered: yes, then he said: I ask you by Allah to tell me, will you accept him as a husband to your own daughter? At that moment, if you felt deep in yourself that you won’t accept that young man as a husband to your daughter, then you should say that to him, therefore, tell the truth and don’t be diplomatic, as the consultant should be trustworthy. The prophet PBUH said:
((The consultee is aid seeker, and the consultant must be trustworthy, so whenever you are consulted, you should consult of the same opinion you would consult yourself with))
I know some merchants who wear pants made of stagnant color of stock fabric just to tell their customers when they ask if this fabric is good or not: Don’t you see that I wear it. So he is wearing those pants in order to sell the fabric, and this is dishonesty.
Others will use the thing they are selling in order to tell their customers when they are asked about it: I myself use it in my house. One should consult sh3er with the same thing he will consult himself with, and that should be for real not just to display the goods, or out of malice.
By consulting we draw out the best of opinions:
Scholars said: Consulting draws out the sweetest of opinions, and the best of what hidden in chests, exactly like when we take honey from the bee hive.
Therefore, when you consult a believer, you are bringing out his wise opinion.
Two days ago in Tawoosyah mosque I was asked by a brother about a land he bought, but after a while someone claimed to own part of it and he filed a suit case, and when he asked the owner about that matter, his papers weren’t complete, and though this brother won the case and became the owner of the whole land, yet he was not comfortable that part of it is not owned by the main owner who sold it to him, and kept feeling worried for three years. The main owner of the land died and this brother asked me what to do? I said: it is easy, sell the part that you doubt owning and spend it on the poor as Sadaqah, in that case if the land was yours then you paid Sadaqah and will be rewarded for it on the Day of Judgment, and if it wasn’t yours, then it was kept for its owner to be rewarded in the hereafter (because he is now dead and if he were alive he would have given it to him), and by doing so you will be worries free. This man was touched deeply by this solution which he couldn’t figure out himself, as he was worried that he has eaten ill-gotten money, given that he who transgresses a p of land will be in hell, so how about 2000 sq. m. (half acre) of land?
There is a solution for any problem, but you need to seek it in order to find it.
It was mentioned in the relic:
“Polish your minds by deliberation, and seek an aid in your matters through consulting”
Best of times is when you deliberate knowledge with sh3er, consult them, ask for their evidence to support the matter in question, ask for their hints, and swap notes between your opinion and theirs, in that case, you are polishing your mind by deliberation, and seeking aid in your matters through consulting. However, don’t consult just any one; rather you should know who to consult.
﴾ and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.﴿
The criteria of the consultant:
You should consult the believers. Scholars said: the consultant should be trustworthy, respectful, adviser, steadfast, non self-absorbed, non hesitant, no liar, and he should not be fond of the matter he is consulting with (there is no conflict of interests).
Namely, if the matter of consulting is a garden, then you shouldn’t ask someone who is fond of gardens by saying: this garden is for me and for my neighbor, so what should I do? In this case, he might say to you: take it, out of his love to gardens, and he will be carried away by his love instead of being just. Same goes for he who is ascetic about worldly life matters, like when you say to him: there is a disagreement between me and the owner of this store, what should I do? As he might say to you: leave it to him, because he is not interested in tangible things, and by this he is giving an opinion that might be not just for you if you have kids and the store should be yours according to law. Both men will be giving opinion very far from rightness, as the fond of the first will blind him from the truth, and the distance of the second will do the same.
Also don’t consult a stingy person in money related matters, as he will say to you: keep your money for a rainy day, hence, the stingy can’t be a consultant.
Instead, you should consult the trustworthy, respectful, adviser, steadfast, non self-absorbed, non hesitant, and who is not a liar.
Abu Mas’ood, May Allah be pleased with him, reported that the prophet PBUH said:
((The consultee is an aid seeker, and the consultant must be trustworthy, so whenever you are consulted, you should consult of the same opinion you would consult yourself with))
You are at liberty to pardon yourself from giving any opinion, and going silent might be the answer, and remember that you are trusted if consulted, hence, if a great conflict occurred because of consulting, you should pardon yourself from giving any opinion and this is better than giving an opinion that you are not convinced with, or give an opinion opposite to what you know, as this is a major sin, so be ware of consulting sh3er with the opposite of what you know.
Guidance is sought from Allah and consulting from experts:
At-Tabaranee reported by Anas Ibn Malek, that the prophet PBUH said:
((There will be no disappointing in performing Istikharah Salah (seeking guidance from Allah by performing two Ruka’at), and there will be no regret in consulting))
Istikharah is all about seeking aid form Allah, whereas consulting is sought from experts among believers.
Being a believer only is not enough, and being an expert only is not enough, you should have both to be consulted. If the consultant was not a believer, then he won’t be a good adviser, as in his advice, he might have a conflict of interests, so he will hinder it from you, whereas the inexperienced believer will give you his opinion out of ignorance. Therefore, Guidance is sought from Allah and consulting is sought from experts.
Finally: “Whoever consults wise men will be borrowing their minds”.
You can gain fifty years of experience from someone by asking him nicely: What do you think of this matter Master? And remember, he who consults wise men will be borrowing their minds.
I hope that we make use of this lecture practically in our daily life, and get yourself used to consulting sh3er, to asking, to brain storming, to resorting to experts, to the pious, and to the believers, either in you trading or traveling, and beware of acting autocratically, as this will lead you to the worst of your deeds.