You all remember that the Prophet Muhammad borrowed money from a Jew from the 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 didn’t borrow money from a Jew out of need, or because his companions were negligent to his needs, rather than he meant to lay down a law that you can deal with people of the book (buy from them and sell them).

If the Prophet never dealt with people of the book, you would not be allowed to do so, hence he set up an example for you and laid 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, yet, how did he migrate from Makkah 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 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 was sneaking out of Makkah 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 the nation would 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 Muhammad) 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 Is a Good Example to His Nation

Anyhow, the Prophet Muhammad is a law-giver, and when he consulted his companions, he laid 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 Rak’as incident- the Prophet 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 had chosen a spot according to his own judgment, a polite enthusiastic companion of best quality asked the Prophet:

“Has Allah 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, asking if this spot was chosen by Revelation, he wouldn’t have said a word. The Prophet 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 approved of his plan and agreed to carry it out, and he moved the army to that spot. (Ibn Kathir: Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, 2)

This is leadership, and this is how the Prophet 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, beware 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

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 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, furthermore, 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 Muhammad consulted his companions to lay down a law to be Sunnah after his death. Al-Baihaqi reported, by Al-Hasan, 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 consulted Umm Salamah (his wife) in the Agreement of Hudibiyah, 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 others, and you teach them to accept consultation and advice.

The Adviser and the One Who Is Advised Are to be Rewarded

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 thanks 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 Baihaqi in the Shu’ab, authenticated by Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with both of them, he said:

“When the verse “and consult them in the affairs” was descended, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: Allah and His messenger (Muhammad) don’t need consulting, however, Allah descended this Ayah out of mercy on my nation, and whoever consults others 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 summarize 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 “democratic management”, it is when a hospital manager for example asks doctors around him: “what do you think of so and so?”

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 mandatory to take. This is because Allah said in the following verse:

{Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah.} (3:159)

When the consulted 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.

By Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi