Friday 31st Oct 2014
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STRATEGIC THINKING, PLANNING AND
EXECUTION IN PROPHET MUHAMMAD'S DAWAH

Cover Story

By SYED HAMED ABDUL RAHMAN ALKAF

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) was able to successfully accomplish his mission from words into deeds and from one person to a state within a short span of 23 years. In view of the limited space available to us, we shall deal briefly with Prophet Muhammad’s strategic thinking, planning and execution in all aspects and spheres of his Dawah: propagation, political, social, economic, finance, war and peace, and international affairs.

 
IN THE FIELD OF DAWAH

He took advantage of his close relationships with his wife Khadijah, his cousin Ali, his servant Zaid and called them towards Islam. It was a big moral victory that his closest people believed in his truthfulness. He widened that circle when he called his very close friend Abu Bakr to Islam and who instantly responded by embracing Islam.

He was not only patient with his uncle Abu Talib but was also patient with his tribe Banu Hashim when he and his companions were economically and socially boycotted in Abu Amer valley. He did not insist that they must believe in him first and then lend their support to him.

He advised his companions to migrate to Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia) whose king was a just ruler. With this step he internationalised his message, which crossed from Asia to Africa. There, the first interaction between Islam and Christianity took place.

When he and his mission were encircled in Makkah, he tried to break that confinement by calling those tribes who used to come to Makkah to perform their Hajj rituals. He went to Taif to preach his message. He continued his efforts to break the siege until he got the tribes of Aus and Khazraj from Medina who vowed to support him wholeheartedly and unconditionally.

 
IN THE POLITICAL FIELD

Soon after his arrival in Medina, he united his companions from Makkah, Medina, Jews and others under the banner of the first written constitution of the world in which all parties agreed to recognise him as their leader, supreme commander and final judge in case of their disputes. In his capacity as the head of the City-State of Medina, he launched a well planned campaign to make the tribes around Medina either his allies or to be neutral in his forthcoming struggle with his arch enemies: the Quraysh.

This struggle was actually aimed at endangering the economic and financial lifeline of Quraysh making them sensitive to new economic and military dangers. At Al Hudaybiyah he showed his great diplomatic skills when he was able to extract from Quraysh a de facto recognition of his regime with which they agreed to sign a 10-year truce which afforded the golden opportunity to spread his message in the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.

When the Roman emperor started concentrating his troops in the northern borders of Arabia, Prophet Muhammad moved swiftly and began preparations to meet the Roman armies. This was happening at a very crucial moment when everything was against him, but he realised that it is the battle of nerves and determination and stood high to face the challenge and was able thereby to spread his political influence well beyond the borders of Arabia.

Twice he announced his intended enemies as is seen in the case of the Battle of Tabuk and the Victory of Makkah, as both situations demanded demoralising his enemies with his willingness to face the challenges posed by them. Otherwise it was his habit not to reveal his war strategies. He kept everything connected with his migration to Medina so much so that he first went to south instead of north to perplex them. During all his small expeditions or major battles he did not disclose his target to surprise his enemy.

 
SAFEGUARDING HIS MESSAGE

To safeguard the Qur’ān which is the cornerstone of his message, he resorted to use two means:

A. Recording the revealed pieces of the Qur’ān which he dictated immediately after the end of revelation process. This recording played a very important role in the compilation of the Qur’ān after his death.

B. He himself memorised the Qur’ān and asked his companions to memorise it as he was himself taught by the angel Gabriel. This rendered a great assistance in checking and verifying the written texts when the compilation process was completed in the period of the third Caliph of Islam, Osman bin Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) and only one official copy with various recitations was agreed upon and circulated.

 
STRATEGY TO IMPLEMENT NEW WAR TACTICS

This was reflected first in the very first Battle of Badr when one of his companions suggested he should take over the water springs/wells so that the enemies are deprived of so much needed water. It was a serious blow to Quraysh who were demoralised due to the lack of water for one thousand strong army in addition to the dancing and serving girls. He surprised Quraysh and their allies who were all out to invade Medina to wipe out Islamic Movement in its cradle when he dug about a 5544-meter long and 4.62-meter wide and 3.234-meter deep trench in the north and north-west of Medina. The ditch was a big surprise to them and made them standstill until Allah the Almighty sent a strong wind storm on their camps, and deployed His other invisible forces to make them return without achieving their diabolic objectives.

 
TO TAKE ENEMIES BACK
Twice he used this war tactic:

A. At the Battle of Uhad Muslims were defeated but Abu Sufyan for some unknown reason decided to return to Makkah without destroying Medina. The Prophet knew that he might rethink and come back again. So he called upon his trustworthy companions to come and chase Abu Sufyan’s army although they were wounded both in their bodies and souls and no one was expecting from them to take arms in those hopeless circumstances. As real and true believers, they came out in response to their leader’s call and chased their enemies who were actually intending to come back to finish their unfinished tasks. They heard Muhammad with his loyal and dedicated companions was following their trail with high fighting.

This swift but minutely calculated exercise demoralised them and they retreated to Makkah. Thus he, with his daring initiative, turned his defeat in Uhad into a victory – moral as well as material – delivering the message that to win over Muhammad and his companions is a very difficult job.

B. He took the strong Jewish tribe, Banu Qurayza, who broke the pledge to defend Medina jointly against any outside invader and attacker by conspiring with Quraysh and their allies for putting dagger in the back of the Prophet which he and his companions were busy day and night, in defending allied forces under the leadership of Quraysh. He, with a speed of a hawk, landed upon the traitors with his faithful and devout friends direct from ditch giving them no time to store food, water and arms in their castles. He, thereby, shortened the siege period and forced them to come to his terms.

 
STRATEGY TO EDUCATE HIS PEOPLE

A. The Prophet was deeply conscious of the importance of literacy and education for his people as his mission began with the word ‘Read’! At the end of the Battle of Badr, he ordained that those prisoners of war who were unable to pay their ransom in cash or kind to teach Muslim children reading and writing. In this way he spread literacy among the up-coming generation of Muslim children making them teachers for their offspring.

B. When he discovered that the Jews often manipulate not only pronunciation of certain words but did not hesitate in going as far as to hide the texts of Torah, their sacred book, he ordered his companions, Zaid bin Sabith (may Allah be pleased with him) to learn the Hebrew language to be able to know directly what is in the text of their book. With this he put an end to their criminal tactics.

These are but few of his lessons/ strategic thinking, planning and execution. Blessings of Allah be to him. Amen.



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