Prophetic Way of Showing Concern Towards People
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) spoke with all people asking them about matters of their own concern. This was customary with the Prophet, so that his guests would feel at ease.
Commentary by Adil Salahi
This Hadith related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad speaks of the Abd Al-Qays delegation’s visit to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Madinah. Members of the delegation were from a tribe living in the eastern provinces of today’s Saudi Arabia, and the Prophet had some correspondence with them, starting when one of their members, Munqidh ibn Hayyan, visited Madinah on a trade trip. The Prophet explained the message of Islam to him and he accepted the faith. The Hadith quotes a member of the delegation who reports:
“When we decided on visiting Madinah, we set out on our trip. Shortly before our arrival, we met a man riding fast on a young camel of his. He greeted us and we replied to him. He stopped and asked us to which tribe we belonged. We said: ‘We are a delegation from Abd Al-Qays.’ He said: ‘You are welcome here. I have come on purpose to see you and to give you a happy news. The Prophet said to us yesterday as he looked to the east: ‘You will receive tomorrow the best Arab delegation, coming from this eastern side.’ I was restless through the night. So, early in the morning I prepared my camel and set out fast for a time. Then I thought that I should start on my journey back home, when the first of your camels appeared.
“He then turned his camel back and sped on his way home, until he arrived and met the Prophet who was sitting with a number of his companions from both the Muhajireen and the Ansar. Addressing the Prophet, he said: ‘May my parents be sacrificed for your sake! I have come to give you the news of the arrival of the Abd Al-Qays delegation.’ He said: ‘How do you know about them, Umar?’ Answered he: ‘They are following me fast. They will be here in no time.’ He mentioned how he saw them. The Prophet said to him: ‘May God give you happy news.’ The people with the Prophet began to prepare themselves to receive the newcomers.
“The delegation arrived and both the Muhajireen and the Ansar were delighted to see them. When the new arrivals saw the Prophet and his companions, they let their mounts free and came forward speedily. The seated people moved to give them space to sit while the Prophet remained reclining. A man from among them, nicknamed Al-Ashajj, but known as Mundhir ibn A’idh ibn Mundhir stayed behind. He collected their camels, sat them down and relieved them of their loads gathering it all together. He then took out a box of his luggage and changed his traveling clothes and put on a suit of his best garments. He came towards the Prophet walking calmly. The Prophet asked them: ‘Who is your chief and the one whose lead you follow?’ They all pointed to Mundhir. The Prophet asked: ‘Is he the descendant of your chiefs?’
“They said: ‘In pre-Islamic days, his forefathers were our chiefs, and it was he who has led us to Islam.’ When the man drew near, he wanted to sit at a corner, but the Prophet sat up and said to him: ‘Come and sit here, Ashajj.’ (This was the first time he was nicknamed Al-Ashajj, which means ‘one with a cut in his forehead’. When he was an infant, a donkey hit him with its hoof, making a moon-like mark in his face). The Prophet sat him next to him and was very cordial to him, speaking to him at length.
“The people asked the Prophet many questions and he answered them all. As they were about to finish, the Prophet asked whether they still had some of the food they have carried with them. They answered in the affirmative, going fast to their luggage and each of them bringing some dates. They were all placed on a hide in front of him. He had with him a date branch stripped of its leaves which he used to hold in the middle. He pointed with it to a date container and said: ‘Do you call this kind Al-Ta’dood?’ They answered in the affirmative. He said: ‘And do you call this one Al-Sarafan?’ They said: ‘Indeed.’ He again asked: ‘Do you call this kind Al-Burni?’ They again answered: ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘This is the best of your dates and the most ripe.’
“Some of the tribe’s elders say: ‘This last type was plentiful and we used to feed our camels and donkeys from it. But when we returned after this trip, we were keen to grow more of it until it became our main dates and we found out that it yielded blessed harvests.’”
We see how the Prophet spoke with these people asking them about matters of their own concern. This was customary with the Prophet, so that his guests would feel at ease. We also see how the Prophet’s companions took his word seriously, even when it did not refer to something related to religion. When the Prophet described a particular type of dates as the best and most beneficial, they concentrated on farming it, and soon began to yield its benefits.