How do I Properly Address a Gathering According to Sunnah?

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How do I properly address a gathering according to sunnah?

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

By looking into the Sunnah literature, one would find that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was the best teacher, preacher and advisor. He used many ways and forms in order to teach and advise people, and because of his beautiful methods of teaching, the lives of many people changed forever.

The following are some points that may be taken into consideration when addressing a gathering:

1) The discourse or speech should be moderate in terms of the duration. It should not be so brief that one is unable to deliver the message properly; neither too long that people become tired and bored.

Imam Muslim (Allah have mercy on him) has a chapter in his Sahih titled “Chapter on being moderate whilst giving a discourse” in which he records the following Hadith of Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him).

Shaqiq (Allah be pleased with him) reports: “We were sitting at the door of Abd Allah (ibn Mas’ud) waiting for him (to come out and deliver a discourse to us). Yazid ibn Mu’awiya an-Nakha’i happened to pass by us, so we said to him: “Inform him (Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud) of our presence here. He went in and Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud did not take much time in coming out to us and he said: “I was informed of your presence here but nothing hindered me from coming out to you except the fact that I did not wish to bore you, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would be considerate in giving us a discourse fearing that it might prove to be boring for us.” (Sahih Muslim, no. 2821 & Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 68)

2) One should speak to the audience according to their intellectual capacity and capability. It is improper to discuss complex issues of religion in front of an audience that may not be able to grasp properly what one is saying. Hence, one should deliver the discourse according to the mental ability of the people.

There are numerous examples of this in the life of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would converse with people according to their mental status. His advice to someone who had just entered Islam would be different from someone who became a Muslim some while back. His beautiful advice to the villager who urinated in his Masjid, to the one who asked him about going for Jihad and he commanded him to serve his parents and other such advices are all examples of this.

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Treat people according to their individual status.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, bab al-Adab)

3) The contents of one’s discussion should be appropriate and according to the need of the time and the audience. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was asked on many occasions as to what was the most virtuous of deeds and he gave different answers on each occasion, according to the need of the time. To one he said, Jihad, to another, having faith (iman) in Allah and His Messenger and to another offering prayer on its time.

This was also due to the reason that a particular individual was negligent in a certain matter of Islam, hence it was given emphasis by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace).

Thus, one should discuss matters that are relevant to the time and relevant to the people who are in the gathering.

4) One should ask the audience questions in order to awaken them and have their attention. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would many times pose a question to the companions and then answer the question himself. This is also a means of one’s message being drilled into the minds of the people.

5) Using of examples in order to simplify what one is saying is also greatly recommended. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) in many Hadiths used examples to explain the matters of Shariah to the companions and us, for example:

Abu Musa (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The example of a believer who recites the Qur’an is that of a citron (a citrus fruit) which is good in taste and good in smell. And the believer who does not recite the Qur’an is like a date which has a good taste but no smell. And the example of a corrupt person who recites the Qur’an is that of al-Rayhana (aromatic plant) which smells good but is bitter in taste. And the example of a corrupt person who does not recite the Qur’an is that of a colocynth which is bitter in taste and has no smell.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 7121)

6) Explaining difficult matters with illustration on a board or projector etc is also encouraged. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would at times clarify certain matters by drawing on the ground.

Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) drew a few lines and said: “This is (man’s) hope, and this is the time of his death, and while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line (death) comes to him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 6055)

7) At times, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would make gestures with his noble hands to describe something; hence this is something that is also recommended.

Sayyiduna Abu Musa (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts support each other.” And he (Allah bless him & give him peace) interlaced his fingers (while saying that). (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 2314)

Thus, it is from the Sunnah to explain certain matters physically with gestures so that the content gets firmly drilled into the mind of the listeners.

8) Having a question & answer session is also something that is extremely beneficial, so that if the listener has a burning question or doubt, it is answered.

Allah Most High says:

“Ask the people of knowledge if you don’t know.” (Surah al-Nahl, v.43)

Sayyiduna Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “The cure for ignorance is to question.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, 1/142)

9) At times, it is better to repeat something in order to emphasise its importance. In many cases, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) would repeat a certain statement thrice, so that there remains no doubt in the listener’s mind.

10) One should always prepare his discourse beforehand, for a discourse or speech with preparation is usually more effective. The speaker should dress in a dignified manner keeping in mind the aspect of cleanliness. He/she should be calm, gentle and not say anything without thinking of the consequence. Yes, one may raise one’s voice at certain times if there is a genuine need to do so, as it has been related from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that he became greatly angered to the point that his eyes became red.

11) Finally, one should always remember that actions speak louder than mouth. Thus, one should try and practice on what one is preaching to others, for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) was a physical example of what he taught.

Allah Most High says:

“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example.” (Surah al-Ahzab, (33:21)

The above are just some of the etiquettes when addressing a gathering. It has been primarily based on the excellent treatise al-Rasul al-Mu’allim wa asalibuhu fi al-ta’lim by the late Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah (Allah have mercy on him). 

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK.

Article taken (with Thanks) from Daruliftaa


 

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