The skills of communication have recently become one of the skills that people seek to learn. Big institutions, especially those that have a direct contact with people, organize training courses on communication skills. However, it is very important to point out that all the rules and principles of this field of knowledge are not ‘new’: they can easily be found in the Prophetic Sunnah. That is to say Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the perfect example of how to communicate with people. In this article, I shall seek to shed light on some of the aspects of the exceptional communication skills of the Noble Prophet (peace be upon him):
Eye contact: One of the rules of good communication is that you have to divide your eye contact, that is, do not look at one person or in his eyes all the time. One of the Prophet’s companions said that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was talking to us as if he was talking to each one of us individually. This feeling was due to the fact that he (peace be upon him) was distributing his eye contact to give everyday a feeling of importance and intimacy.
Keeping a smile: One of the skills of communication is to have a smiling face to win other people’s approval. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was never seen frowning except when someone committed a sin or violated the rules of religion.
Having self-control: To be a good communicator, you have to have self-control, that helps you to bear with the silly acts done by others. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) showed that on a lot of occasions, even with those who did not show enough decorum or courtesy in dealing with him. The result was always that those who were rude to him felt ashamed because of his noble manners and refined conduct.
Linguistic competence: According to the rules of communication, a good communicator should have linguistic abilities that enable him to answer questions, talk to people and convince them to use the least number of words, but the most effective ones at the same time. This is so apparent when a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) asking for advice, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) only said, “Do not get angry.” The man repeated his question thrice and the Prophet (peace be upon him) repeated his answer thrice emphasizing the importance of what he said in spite of the small number of words. In other words, if the man does not get angry, he will avoid a lot of mistakes and blunders caused by wrath and anger. At the end, I would like to stress that all the skills of communication taught to people nowadays are found in the Prophetic Sunnah as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the ideal example of how to deal with people in a very unruffled and respectable manner regardless of their religious, cultural or racial background. Allah describes the noble manners of the Prophet in the Holy Qur’an in different places such as, “And you (stand) on an exalted standard of character.” (Qur’an, 68:4)
By: Dr. Khaled Tawfik