Some people may need seclusion to maintain their purity of heart and mind. Psychologists say that man’s thinking becomes more mundane when one is in a crowd.
This may be true in as far as ordinary leading figures are concerned. God’s messengers, however, elevate the masses and are never pulled down by the masses. Some of Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) companions used to complain that when they sat with the Prophet they felt to be at a high level of mental awareness which they could not maintain when they got home.
Because of the strength of his relation with his Lord, Muhammad could make the earth heaven and transform ordinary people into angels. His companions were always remembering God when they were with him, and they urged one another to attend to their worship and fulfill the duties assigned to them by God.
The Prophet disliked gatherings where people were oblivious of their duties. He looked unfavorably at any gathering in which God is not glorified. He said: “When a group of people break up after a meeting in which they have not remembered God or glorified him, their meeting is just like a gathering around a dead donkey. They are sure to regret it.”
Should they have a meeting in which matters relating to both this life and the life to come are mentioned, they should be keen to retain its benefit and remove its evil by concluding it with a prayer for forgiveness. The Prophet teaches us: “Whoever sits with some people when they exchange much idle conversation, let him say before leaving: ‘All glory and praise be to You, my Lord. I bear witness that there is no deity other than You. I pray for Your forgiveness, and I repent of my sins’. When a person says this supplication, he is certain to be forgiven whatever took place in that meeting.” Another hadith mentions this supplication and adds: “If that is a good gathering, the supplication becomes its identifier, and if it is a bad meeting, the supplication ensures the supplicant’s forgiveness.”
Social gatherings may lead people to compete for worldly things, and may encourage them to show off and press their own advantages. They may preoccupy people with trivialities, or cause them to transgress. Therefore, the Prophet was keen to end his meetings with people with a prayer for all who are attending. Abdullah ibn Umar reports: “The Prophet rarely left a meeting before saying this prayer for his companions: ‘Our Lord, grant us a feeling of fearing You which is strong enough to keep us away from disobeying You; grant us a level of obeying You that is enough to ensure admission into Your heaven; grant us enough certitude of faith to make all world’s catastrophes seem to us to be light. Our Lord, allow us to enjoy our senses of hearing and sight and to keep our strength throughout our lives, and make these the last of me. Make the one who is unjust to us the pursuer of revenge, and support us against our enemies. Do not make our loss a loss of faith. Our Lord, do not make this world our highest pursuit, or the limit of our knowledge. Do not give power over us to anyone who is unmerciful.”
It was in this fashion that the Prophet ended his meetings. When people left him, they were keenly aware of God’s grace being bestowed on them