The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) is the most successful man to ever walk the surface of this planet. According to the Qur’an, he was an exemplary leader for all mankind, and has shown us ways of achieving the highest level of success in this world and the hereafter. By studying the life of the Rasul from hadith (sayings of the Prophet (SAW)), we can pick out ten vital principles which he followed. Aside from being a positive thinker, the Prophet (PBUH) knew how to “pick his battles”. All his activities were result-oriented. He was cautious about steps that were counter-productive, which are qualities which make for greatness. We can achieve success in our own lives by applying these principles when possible. Examine how this ten basic principles implemented by the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) can help us in your daily life.
1. To Begin from the Possible
This principle is explained in one of Aisha (RA) sayings. She said: “Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier choice.” (Al-Bukhari) To choose the option easiest means to start from the easily achievable and one who begins from the possible will surely succeed. Working from a point of least resistance enables us work ‘smart’ without wasting resources.
2. To See Advantage in Disadvantage
In the early days of Mecca, problems and difficulties were many. At that time, a verse was revealed in the Qur’an. It said: “With every hardship there is ease, with every hardship there is ease.” (Qur’an 94:5-6) Where there are problems, there are also opportunities. Liability can be turned into an asset with creativity and resourceful thinking. As such, always keep an open mind for the possibilities.
3. To Change the Place of Action
This precept is derived from the Hijrah. Hijrah was not only a migration from Mecca to Medina. It turned out to be a great opportunity to find a conducive point from which to set up and exercise Islamic concepts. This also leads again to the first precept.
4. To Make a Friend Out of an Enemy
The Rasul (SAW) was repeatedly subjected to practices of opposition by the unbelievers. At that time the Qur’an encouraged him to return good for evil. And, the Qur’an added, “You will see your direst enemy has become your closest friend.” (Qur’an 41:34) It means good deed in return of a bad deed has overwhelming effect over your enemies. And the Prophet’s life is an historical proof of this principle.
5. To Turn Minus into Plus
After the struggle of Badr, approximately 70 of the unbelievers were taken as prisoners of war. They were knowledgeable people. The Prophet (SAW) announced that if any one of them could train ten Muslim youngsters how to read and write he will be freed. This became the first school within the history of Islam in which all the students were Muslims, and the teachers from the enemy ranks. They said that the prophet (pbuh): “He faced adversity with the determination to wring success out of failure.”
6. The Power of Peace is Stronger Than the Power of Violence
When Mecca was conquered, the Prophet’s opponents were brought before him as war criminals, in every sense of the word. But the Rasul did not order them killed. He simply said: “Go, you are free.” As a consequence, many of the prisoners accepted Islam.
7. Not to be a Dichotomous Thinker
According to history, Khalid bin Walid decided to withdraw Muslim forces from the battlefield when he realized they were out numbered by the enemy. But on arriving at Medina, the muslims were received with disappointment. The Prophet said “No. They are Kurrar (men of advancement).” Those Medinan people were thinking dichotomously, either fighting or retreating. The Prophet said no. There is also a third option, and that is to avoid war and find a time to strengthen yourself. Choose your battles. Three years later, the muslims advanced towards the Romans for a second time and Allah granted them victory.
8. To Bring the Battle in One’s Own Favorable Field
This principle is derived from the Ghazwa of Hudaibiyya. A time came when the unbelievers engaged the Muslims in war, because of the advantage they had over the muslims. The Prophet, accepted their conditions unilaterally and entered into a pact. which was a ten-year peace treaty. Prior to this day the only time muslims and their non-muslim counterpart meet was only on the battlefield. Two years after, Islam emerged as victorious because of the simple reason of its ideological superiority.
9. Gradualism Instead of Radicalism
This principle is well-established by a hadith of Al-Bukhari. Aishah(RA) was quoted as saying the first verses of the Qur’an were related to heaven and hell. And then after a long time when the people’s hearts had softened and their faith strengthen, the specific commands to abstain from adultery and drinking were revealed in the Qur’an. This is a clear proof that for social transformation, Islam advocated the evolutionary means, rather than the revolutionary method.
10. To Be Pragmatic in Controversial Matters
Upon writing of the Hudaibiyyah treaty, the Rasul dictated these words: “This is from Muhammad, the Messenger of God.” The Qurayshi delegates objected to those words as such the Prophet (SAW) promptly changed the wording and ordered Muhammad, son of Abdullah.