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The Prophet (a.s.) paid too much attention to education

The Prophet (a.s.) paid too much attention to education. He cared much for the spread of knowledge and sciences and for the struggle against illiteracy. He made the seeking of knowledge an obligation on Muslims and ordered knowledge to be written down lest it would be forgotten.[1] He blamed those who did not learn saying, “What about some peoples who do not learn from their neighbors or acquire knowledge?!” He imposed punishment on those who did not try to know or learn.[2] He did not differentiate between men and women in education because no nation could develop under ignorance.

Among Muslims there were some famous teachers whom the Prophet (a.s.) ordered to teach Muslims writing, reading, the Qur'an, and the teachings of Islam. Sa’eed bin al-Aas, who was a scribe of nice handwriting, taught the people of Medina by the Prophet’s order.[3] Ibadah bin as-Samit taught writing and taught the Qur'an to some people of as-Suffah.[4] Abu Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah was also a teacher. Ibn Tha’laba narrated, “Once, I met the messenger of Allah and said to him, ‘O messenger of Allah, would you send me to a man of good teaching?’ He sent me to Abu Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah and said to me, ‘I am sending you to a man who will teach you well.”[5]

The Prophet (a.s.) imposed a certain ransom on the prisoners of the battle of Badr, and whoever was unable to pay the ransom had to teach writing and reading to ten children from the children of Medina. A prisoner was not to be released except after teaching the children, and thus writing and reading were widespread in Medina.[6]

Education of women

The Islam’s situation toward education and literacy is clear and it does not concern men away from women. As an example, the Prophet (a.s.) ordered ash-Shifa’ the mother of Sulayman bin Abi Hatmah to teach Hafsah the Ant[7] Spell as she had taught her writing.[8]

As for the tradition “Do not teach them (women) writing, do not make them live in rooms, and teach them the Sura of an-Noor” is a fabricated tradition.[9]

Lady Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, (a.s.) taught the Muslim women the principles of Islam and the rulings of religion. Lady Zaynab, Imam Ali’s daughter, did not only teach women, but she also was an authority in fatwas that the companions and other Muslims came to her asking about the religious rulings and the laws of Islam, and when her brother Imam al-Husayn (a.s.) was martyred, she was the only authority as to the religious rulings.   

Once, Asma’ bint Yazid al-Ansariyyah came to the Prophet (a.s.) and said to him, “I am a messenger of a group of Muslim women; they say as I say and have the same thought as mine. Surely Allah has sent you to men and women equally. We have believed in and followed you. We, the women, are confined to houses, are the place of men’s lusts, and the bearers of your children, and men are preferred to us in congregational prayers and escorting the dead. When they go for jihad, we keep their properties and bring up their children; so do we participate with them in the reward, O messenger of Allah?”

The Prophet (a.s.) admired her speech and he said to his companions, “Have you heard a woman asking about her religion better than this one?”

They said, “No, O messenger of Allah.”

The Prophet (a.s.) kindly said to the woman, “O Asma’, you may go and inform the women, who have sent you, that one’s good wifing to her husband, her seeking of his satisfaction, and doing according to his acceptance equal all that which you mentioned.” 

 

The woman left while she was delighted by the Prophet’s saying.[10]

The house of hospitality

The Prophet (a.s.) built a house for guests called ad-Dar al-Kubra (the big house).[11] It was the first house in Medina to be taken for this concern. The delegations that came to the Prophet (a.s.) to announce their faith in Islam or for other things stayed in this house. Habib bin Amr narrated, “We were seven persons that once came to Medina. We met the Prophet (a.s.), who was going to escort a dead person after being invited to that. We greeted him and he replied to our greeting. He asked who we were and we said, “We are from Salaman coming to pay homage to you as Muslims with all our tribe that we have left there.”

The Prophet (a.s.) asked his servant Thowban to take those men to the guest-house that Habib described as a big house with a garden of date-palms and that there were some Arab delegations in it.[12]

The Prophet (a.s.) also had assigned a house, which belonged to Makhramah bin Nawfal,[13] for the reciters of the Qur'an who came to Medina from other places.[14]

The Islamic economy

Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) established for Muslims a developed economy that would be able to remove poverty and put an end to deprivation. The following are some of the Prophet’s means in his economy:

1. The encouraging of agriculture

In the first Islamic age and later, agriculture was the main pillar of the general economy of Muslims. The Prophet (a.s.) encouraged Muslims to practice agriculture and often asked them to plant date-palms. Once, the Prophet (a.s.) entered Umm Mubashshir al-Ansariyyah’s garden of date-palms and said, “No Muslim seeds a seed or plants a plant and a man or an animal eats from it, except that it shall be as charity for him.”[15]

Ibn Shihab narrated, “One day, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, when he was the caliph, sent for me and said, ‘Sa’d bin Khalid bin Amr bin Uthman came and said to me ‘O Ameerul Mo'minin, give me a bare piece of land for I was informed that the messenger of Allah said: ‘No man plants a plant except that Allah will give him reward as much as the plants (he has planted) and the fruits.’ Have you heard this?’ I said, ‘Yes.’”[16]

There are many traditions transmitted from the Prophet (a.s.) encouraging Muslims to practice agriculture. The Prophet (a.s.) said, “No man plants a plant except that Allah will record for him rewards as much as the fruit that comes out of that plant.”[17]

2. The encouraging of labor

The Prophet (a.s.) encouraged labor in all permissible fields and he invited people to it because it is the most important element in production. Once, he took a worker’s hand and began kissing it before his companions saying, “This is a hand that Allah and His messenger love.”[18] The Prophet (a.s.) considered labor as honor and sacred struggle for the sake of Allah, and that Allah had not sent a prophet except that he was a laborer. Anyhow, Islam insistingly invites its followers to work and it dispraises unemployment and laziness.

3. The forbidding of usury

Islam is too strict in forbidding usury and in determining severe punishment for whoever practices it. It has been mentioned in some traditions that “a dirham out of usury that a man knowingly eats is worse, near Allah, than thirty-six commitments of adultery.”

Islam has prohibited usury to build its economy on sound scientific bases that have no kind of injustice. Surely, usury is one of the worst means of gaining wealth and accumulating it by a certain group of people with no exertion or effort.

4. The prohibition of cheating

Islam has prohibited cheating whether against the seller or the buyer. When cheating takes place in dealings, Islam gives the option to repeal the dealing and to give the cheated one his dues.

5. The prohibition of monopoly

Monopoly leads to the confusion of markets, excessive prices, and poverty. Therefore, Islam has prohibited it. Many traditions in this concern have been transmitted from the Prophet (a.s.); here are some of them:

The Prophet (a.s.) said, “Whoever monopolizes the foods of Muslims Allah will afflict him with leprosy.”[19]

He said, “No one monopolizes except a wrongdoer.”[20]

He said, “How bad a monopolizer is! When Allah cheapens prices, he will be grieved and when Allah makes them high, he will be delighted.”[21]

He said, “The importer to our market is like a mujahid in the way of Allah, and the monopolizer in our market is like a disbeliever in the Book of Allah.”[22]

Islam has legislated to confiscate monopolized goods and to price them in a way that does not disadvantage citizens. Jurisprudents have mentioned the period of monopoly and the (monopolized) goods that should be confiscated.

6. The watch of the market

From the important actions in the Islamic economy is the watch of the market lest cheating happens or prices go high that may affect people.

7. Taxes

Islam has imposed taxes to be paid to the poor and the needy such as the zakat of fitr that must be paid after the end of Ramadan by every Muslim; young or old, male or female. It is about three kilos of food or their price.

8. The zakat of monies

This tax is obligatory on four kinds of food; wheat, barley, dates, and raisins when they reach a certain quantity (nisab; the definite minimum value) that is about eight hundred and fifty-five kilograms, and whatever exceeds that must be taxed. If the crops are irrigated by rainwater or flowing water, the amount of the tax is one tenth and if they are irrigated by a means, the amount of the tax is a half of the tenth. This tax is also obligatory on sheep, cows, and camels when they reach the nisab. It is also obligatory on (gold) dinars and dirhams. This tax is to be given to the poor of the same area and not to be taken abroad.

9. The Khums

There are many true traditions transmitted from the infallible imams of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) on the khums (fifth) that is obligatory on minerals, the treasures taken out of seas, and the monies mixed with ill-gotten monies.

10. The government’s responsibility

The government is responsible for the struggle against poverty through some means like the preparation of jobs and equal opportunities for the citizens lest unemployment and neediness spread in the society, and the subsidy to those whose incomes do not cover their living, besides the payment of the debts of those who can not pay their debts. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,  “Whoever dies while there is a debt on him and his heirs cannot pay it, we are responsible for paying his debt.”

The change of the qibla to the Kaaba

The Prophet (a.s.) used to offer his prayers towards Jerusalem, but on Tuesday the fifteenth of Sha’ban in the second year of Hijra the qibla was changed (by Allah’s order) to the Kaaba. The place where the Prophet (a.s.) offered prayers was called the mosque of the two qiblas.[23] The Prophet (a.s.) offered prayers towards Jerusalem for sixteen months.[24] And in the second year of hijra too, the Prophet (a.s.) was ordered to fast during the month of Ramadan and to pay the zakat of fitr a month after the change of the qibla.[25]

The Prophet consults with his companions

Though he was an infallible prophet sent by Allah, Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) consulted with his companions about most political and social affairs following the saying of Allah to him (and consult with them upon the matter).[26] Abu Hurayra narrated, “I have never seen anyone more consulting with his companions than the messenger of Allah.”[27]

Surely, the Prophet (a.s.) was in no need of anyone’s opinion, but he consulted with his companions to unite and spread love among them. Historians say, “He (the Prophet) consulted even with women and he regarded their opinions.”[28]

The Prophet’s scribes

The Prophet (a.s.) depended on some of his companions to record the Qur'an that was revealed to him and to write, by his dictation, the letters he sent to the kings and rulers, besides the documents of treaties and truces and other concerns. The following were the Prophet’s clerks:

1. Imam Ali (a.s.): he recorded most of the revelation[29] and he wrote for the Prophet (a.s.) his agreements, truces, and other affairs.[30]

2. Ubay bin Ka’b al-Ansari: he was the first one who recorded for the Prophet (a.s.) after his emigration to Medina.[31]

3. Zayd bin Thabit al-Ansari: he recorded the revelation besides his writing letters to the kings. Some letters that came to the Prophet (a.s.) were in Syriac, and so the Prophet (a.s.) ordered Zayd to learn Syriac and he learned it, and then he began writing to the kings in Syriac.[32]

4. Abdullah bin Arqam: he wrote the letters to the kings and he wrote for ordinary people their contracts and dealings.[33]

5. Ala’ bin Uqbah: he sometimes wrote for the Prophet (a.s.).[34]

6. Az-Zubayr bin al-Awwam: some historians mention that he was among the Prophet’s scribes.[35]

7. Mu’ayqeeb bin Abi Fatima: he recorded for the Prophet (a.s.) the spoils.[36]

8. Khalid bin Sa’eed: he scribed for the Prophet (a.s.) all affairs taking place before him. The Prophet (a.s.) sent him as an official on the charities of Yemen.[37]

9. Handhalah bin Rabee’: al-Ya’qubi mentioned him as one of the Prophet’s scribes.[38]

It has been mentioned that the Prophet’s scribes were about forty-two ones. Al-Mugheerah bin Shu’bah, Mu’awiya bin Abi Sufiyan, and Khalid bin al-Waleed were mentioned among the Prophet’s scribes, but we do not trust or rely on that, for these persons had a black history full of vices and sins and the Prophet (a.s.) knew well what there was in their inners and souls that were full of hypocrisy. So was it possible that the Prophet (a.s.) neared them to him and entrusted to them the writing of his letters?

The Prophet’s seal

The Prophet (a.s.) took for himself a seal made of silver impressed on it ‘Muhammad the messenger of Allah’.[39] The reason behind that was that one of his companions said to him that those whom he sent letters to would not read them if they were not sealed with his seal, and thus he made a special seal for himself.[40]

The political document

When the Prophet (a.s.) settled in Yathrib and took it as his capital, he began writing down a political document that was very important and has been described by the orientalists as ‘the constitution of the people of Medina’. This document assigned private and public laws for the people of Medina and their brothers of the Muhajireen (who had come from Mecca to live in Medina). It also determined for the Jews who lived in Medina their courses and made them free in practicing their rites besides some obligatory conditions. Here is the text of the document:

“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

1. This is a book from Muhammad the Prophet, the messenger of Allah, to the believers and Muslims from Quraysh and the people of Yathrib and whoever follow, joins, and struggles with them.

2. They are one nation among people.

3. The emigrants from Quraysh are as they are;[41] they pay among themselves (to each other) blood-monies and ransom their prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

4. And Banu (family or tribe of) Ouf are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

5. And Banu al-Harith from al-Khazraj are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

6. And Banu Sa’idah are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

7. And Banu Jusham are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

8. And Banu an-Najjar are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

9. And Banu Amr bin Ouf are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

10. And Banu an-Nabeet are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

11. And Banu al-Ous are as they were; they pay among themselves blood-money as before and every tribe ransoms its prisoners in a good manner and justice among the believers.

12. And the believers should not turn their backs to a needy, indebted one of a big family among them and they should give him in a good manner in ransom or blood-money, and that a believer should not ally with another believer’s ally.

13. And the pious believers should be together against anyone from them who oppresses, commits injustice, a sin, aggression, or corruption among the believers, and they all should be united against him even if he is the son of one of them.

14. And let a believer not kill another believer for an unbeliever, and let no an unbeliever be supported against a believer.

15. And the protection of Allah is one (the same); the farthest of them (the believers) is to be protected, and the believers are guardians to each other from among people.

16. And whoever from the Jews who follow us shall be supported and comforted, and shall not be wronged or aggressed by helping others against him.

17. And the peace of the believers is the same; no believer should make peace away from another believer in a fight for the sake of Allah except equally and justly among them.

18. And every troop that fights with us should be replaced by another.

19. And the believers are equal to each other as to their bloods in the way of Allah.

20. And the pious believers should be in the best and straightest guidance…and that no polytheist should protect a property or a person of Quraysh and he should not be protected against a believer.

21. And whoever kills a believer for no guilt and intendedly, shall be bind by him until he satisfies the killed one’s guardian by reason, and that the whole believers should be against him and it is not permissible for them except to rise against him.

22. And it is not permissible for a believer, who has acknowledged what there is in this document and believed in Allah and the Last Day, to support or give protection to a heretic, and whoever supports or protects him then the curse and wrath of Allah shall be on him on the Day of Resurrection and no compensation shall be accepted from him (shall not be pardoned).

23. And whatever you disagree on you should refer it to Allah the Almighty and to Muhammad.

24. And the Jews should spend with the believers as long as they are in fighting.

25. And the Jews of bani Ouf are a nation with the believers; the Jews have their religion and Muslims have their religion, adherents, and themselves except he who wrongs or commits a sin that he shall not harm except himself and his family.

26. And the Jews of Bani an-Najjar shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.

27. And the Jews of Bani al-Harith shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.

28. And the Jews of Bani Sa’idah shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.

29. And the Jews of Bani Jusham shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.

30. And the Jews of Bani al-Ous shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have.

31. And the Jews of Bani Tha’labah shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have except he who wrongs or commits a sin that he shall not harm except himself and his family.

32. And that (bani) Jafnah are a sept from (the tribe of) Tha’labah and they are like them.

33. And Bani ash-Shutaybah shall have the same as the Jews of bani Ouf have and piety is not like sin.

34. And the adherents of Tha’labah are like them.

35. And the retinue of the Jews are like them.

36. And that no one should go away except by the permission of Muhammad, and a vengeance of a hurt is not to be prevented, and whoever ravages he shall ravages but himself and his family, except he who wrongs, and Allah shall be satisfied with that.

37. And the Jews should undertake their spendings, and they should support each other against who fights the people of this document…and they should be loyal and benevolent to each other avoiding sin, and no one should sin against his ally, and support should be for the wronged.

38. And Yathrib is inviolable for the people of this document.

39. And one’s neighbor is like oneself that he should not be harmed or sinned against.

40. And no woman should be given protection except by her family’s permission.

41. And whatever event or dispute taking place among the people of this document that it is feared to cause corruption should be referred to Allah the Almighty and to Muhammad the messenger of Allah.

42. And that neither Quraysh nor those who support it should be given protection.

43. And they (the people of the document) should support against whoever attacks Yathrib.

44. And if they are invited to peace, they should respond to it, and if they are invited to like that, then they should get it from the believers except those who fight the religion…every people should undertake their share that is before them.

45. And that the Jews of al-Ous, their adherents and themselves, have to undertake the same as that of the people of this document with piety from the people of this document, and piety only and no sin. No one commits except against himself and Allah shall be satisfied with what there is in this document.

46. And this book does not protect any unjust one or a sinner, and whoever goes away shall be safe, and whoever stays in Medina shall be safe except he who wrongs or sins, and Allah shall reward whoever is pious and fearing Allah, and (so shall) Muhammad the messenger of Allah.”[42]

This document organized the social relations between the Muhajireen and the Arab tribes living in Medina and the Jews and the other tribes. Wellhausen has analyzed this document and said, “It has come down to us from the heaven.”[43] Prof. Lutfi Jum’ah, as well, has analyzed this document and discussed its contents and values.[44]

[1] Kanzol Ummal, vol. 5 p. 22, al-Bayan wet-Tabyeen, vol. 1 p. 161, Kashf ad-Dhunoon, vol. 1 p. 26.

[2] Majma’ az-Zawa’id, vol. 1 p. 64.

[3] Al-Istee’ab, p. 393 edition of India.

[4] Al-Istee’ab, printed on the margins of al-Isabah, vol. 2 p. 374. As-Suffa was a shed beside the mosque where homeless, destitute people lived.

[5] Kanzol Ummal, vol. 11 p. 237.

[6] The System of the Prophet’s Government, p. 131, quoted from al-Matali’ an-Nasriyyah fil-Usool al-Khattiyyah by Abul Wafa’ al-Hurini.

[7] Ant is the name of a certain disease.

[8] Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 6 p. 372

[9] Refer to Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 14 p. 224, ad-Dhu’afa’ (the weak) by ibn Hayyan, vol. 2 p. 302, Shu’ab al-Eeman, vol. 2 p. 477.

[10] Al-Istee’ab, printed on the margins of al-Isabah, vol. 4 p. 237.

[11] Al-Wafa’, vol. 1 p. 555.

[12] The System of the Prophet’s Government, p. 466, quoted from al-Iktifa’ by Ibn ar-Rabee’ al-Kila’iy.

[13] Uyoon al-Athar by ibn Sayyid an-Nas, vol. 4 p. 250.

[14] At-Tabaqat al-Kubra by ibn Sa’d, vol. 4 p. 150.

[15] Sahih of Muslim, vol. 3 p. 1188.

[16] Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 6 p. 378.

[17] Sunan of ibn Majah, vol. 2 p. 727, Sahih of Muslim, vol. 3 p. 1228.

[18] Work and the Rights of Workers in Islam, p. 305.

[19] Sunan of ibn Majah, vol. 2 p. 728.

[20] Sahih of Muslim, vol. 3 p. 1228.

[21] Mustadrak al-Hakim, vol. 2 p. 12.

[22] Al-Mustadrak ala as-Sahihayn, vol. 2 p. 12.

[23] Al-Muntadham, vol. 3 p. 93.

[24] Al-Muntadham, vol. 3 p. 93.

[25] Ibid., p. 96.

[26] Qur'an, 3:159.

[27] Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol. 7 p. 45.

[28] At-Tathkira al-Hamduniyyah, vol. 1 p. 312.

[29] Al-Istee’ab, vol. 3 p. 35.

[30] Al-Kamil fit-Tareekh by ibn al-Atheer, vol. 2 p. 103.

[31] As-Seerah al-Halabiyyah, vol. 3 p. 327.

[32] Tareekh al-Ya’qubi, vol. 2 p. 80, as-Seerah al-Halabiyyah, vol. 3 p. 327, al-Kamil fit-Tareekh, vol. 2 p. 176.

[33] Makateeb ar-Rasool (the Prophet’s letters), vol. 1 p. 21.

[34] Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol. 10 p. 128.

[35] Makateeb ar-Rasool, p. 31.

[36] Al-Kamil fit-Tareekh, vol. 2 p. 199.

[37] As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 4 p. 229.

[38] Tareekh al-Ya’qubi, vol. 2 p. 80.

[39] Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol. 1 p. 128.

[40] Makateeb ar-Rasool, vol. 1 p.

[41] As they were in the state when Islam came.

[42] Tareekh ibn Katheer, vol. 3 p. 224-226, As-Seera an-Nabawiyyah by ibn Hisham, vol. 2 p. 147-150, Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 1 p. 271.

[43] The Revolution of Islam and the Hero of the Prophets, p. 706.

[44] Ibid.


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