Prophet Said be Realistic | Maria Khan | TOI | September 9, 2010
The Prophet's Mecca strategy was based on realism. Realism is an essential part of the teachings of Islam.
When the Prophet of Islam started his mission in Mecca, during the first 13 years he had to face severe opposition from leaders of the Quraysh tribe who ruled Mecca. To counter the atrocities committed by the Quraysh, Umar Farooq, the Prophet's companion, sought permission for an armed conflict with the Quraysh. But the Prophet was not in favour of confrontation. Conflict, he realised, would have been counterproductive in this case. The Prophet's Mecca strategy was based on realism. Realism is an essential part of the teachings of Islam.
There are two ways of dealing with a problem. One is planned action after due consideration. The other is impulsive action driven by emotion, without a thought for possible consequences. The Prophet followed the first; he avoided confronting those hostile to him and migrated from Mecca to Medina.
While in Medina, the Prophet dreamt that he and his companions were performing Umra in Mecca. Prophet Muhammad and his followers set out on a peaceful journey to Mecca. When they reached Hudaibiyyah near Mecca, the Quraysh stopped them. At this point, the Prophet started negotiations for peace with the Meccans. The Hudaibiyyah Pact, a 10-year no-war pact, was signed between Muhammad and the people of Mecca. One clause laid down was that the Prophet would not enter Mecca. He had to return to Medina from Hudaibiyyah. The conditions he'd agreed to were disadvantageous to Prophet Muhammad and his companions, but he realised the importance of a treaty that guaranteed peace in the region for a decade, and enable him to teach Islam unhindered.
A non-confrontationist approach was preferred. The Prophet was a stronger believer of status quo – not just accepting a situation passively but taking action of an exalted nature. Controversies are sorted out. At this stage, the unwise think that if they surrender, their prestige will suffer. However, a wise person refrains from entering into any further conflict, as that only results in greater losses. With an unemotional approach and reasonable thinking, both sides can move away from the point of conflict and find ways to resolve the issue. The Prophet did exactly that. He removed away from the area of conflict and diverted his energies to the peaceful propagation of Islam.
The Prophet firmly believed that one should not react impulsively to a problem. It's better to find a way out using the opportunities available. Even if one has to accept all the conditions of the opponent, to begin with, it might be pragmatic to do so.
After sorting out controversial issues, one can strengthen oneself to the point where the equation of power changes and the issue gets resolved without any conflict. This is what the Prophet did at Hudaibiyyah.
After he returned to Medina, two years later, as a result of his preaching, there was an enormous increase in the number of his companions. And when the Meccans violated the pact, the Prophet marched with his companions peacefully towards Mecca. The peace treaty gave the Prophet the opportunity to strengthen himself. Seeing the increased number of his followers, the Meccans embraced Islam without any bloodshed.
It's in nature's scheme of things that where there are problems, there are also opportunities. Success can be attained simply by availing of those opportunities. But people generally get entangled in problems thinking that unless hurdles are first removed, the journey ahead cannot be undertaken.