Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – Handling Explosive Situations
One thing that stands out when we study the character of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his natural ability to handle explosive situations. When competition is keen, honor is at stake or a feeling of injustice is nurtured, great care should be exercised in order to defuse the situation. Whenever a situation threatened to go out of control, the Prophet displayed cool wisdom that was certain to prevent a potential disaster. This came to him naturally, displayed long before he became a prophet.
A few years before his prophethood, when the people of Makkah pulled down the Kaaba and rebuilt it, a dispute arose as to which of their clans should have the honor of putting the Black Stone back in its position. This was considered a matter of great honor, and each clan wanted it. The whole community attached great importance to every honorable action. Therefore, none of them was ready to allow the others that privilege without first putting a fight for it. Several days of arguments could not settle the matter and tempers rose sharply. The situation threatened to develop into a bloody conflict. However, someone suggested that they should agree on arbitration and the arbiter turned out to be Muhammad (peace be upon him).
When the dispute was put to him, he realized that no one was prepared to give in. Therefore, he sought to satisfy everyone. He placed a robe on the ground and put the Black Stone in the middle. He asked the chiefs of all clans to hold the robe and lift it. As they moved to the right corner, they lifted the robe up to the right level. Muhammad then took the Black Stone and placed it in position. He did so as the arbiter, and as such he was not representing his own clan. Thus, no clan could claim a special honor in the process, none was left out. Another situation occurred on his arrival in Madinah. There were two major Arab tribes in Madinah, the Aws and the Khazraj, each of which included several clans. Rivalry between the two tribes was fierce. Only a few years earlier they went into a five-year war against each other. Moreover, within each tribe, its clans sought to add to what brings it honor and pride. As the Prophet arrived in Madinah, each clan wanted to be his host. What could bring them more lasting honor than to be the hosts of Allah’s messenger? He would be receiving Allah’s revelations in their midst. Therefore, every single clan invited him to be their guest, promising protection and hospitality. Any choice the Prophet made would have delighted some of his supporters and dismayed others. He could not wish to make such a choice at the very beginning of his stay in Madinah, where he was in effect seeking refuge.
The Prophet simply released the reign of his she-camel and told his eager hosts that the camel had its orders. Thus, he moved in Madinah, allowing his she-camel free reign while people cleared the way for her. At one point, she sat down close to a solitary house. The owner, Abu Ayyub, came out, overjoyed and took the Prophet’s little luggage inside. The Prophet was to be his guest until he has had suitable accommodation of his own. Thus, no jealousies were allowed to creep in. The Prophet did not favor one clan over another. It was an aspect of the Prophet’s wisdom that he would look for whatever was certain to maintain good feelings among people so that there would be no room for rivalry or conflict.