You will become the most proficient in using the various skills in dealing with others when you treat everyone in such a way that he thinks of himself as the most beloved of all people to yourself. For instance, you should treat your mother so grandly that she begins to think you have never treated anyone in such a fine manner. You can say the same about the way you should deal with your father, your wife, your children, and your colleagues. In fact, you can say the same about someone you meet only once, such as a shopkeeper, or a petrol station attendant. You could get all these people to agree that you are the most beloved of all to them, if only you can make them feel that they are the most beloved of all to you!
The Prophet was an expert in this. Whoever reads about the life of the Prophet will find that he would deal with everyone in an excellent manner. Whoever he met, he would be very welcoming and cheerful, such that the person would think that he was the most beloved of all to him, and therefore, the Prophet would also become the most beloved of all to that person. The shrewdest of the Arabs were four, and ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas was deemed one of them due to his wisdom, sharpness and intelligence. When ‘Amr embraced Islam, he was the leader amongst his people, and whenever he met the Prophet , he would always find him very warm and cheerful.Whenever he entered a gathering where the Prophet was sitting, he would be warmly welcomed. When the Prophet would call him, he would use the names that were most beloved to him.
By experiencing such excellent treatment, he felt certain that he was the most beloved of all to the Messenger of Allah . One day, he decided to confirm his feelings, so he approached the Prophet and sat next to him. He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, who is the most beloved to you?’ He said, “A’ishah.” ‘Amr said, “No. I mean, from the men, O Messenger of Allah. I do not mean from amongst your family.” He said, “Her father.” ‘Amr said, “And then?” He said, “Umar bin al-Khattab.” ‘Amr said, “And then?” The Prophet then began to mention a number of people saying, “So-and-so and so-and-so...” in accordance with how early they had embraced Islam and the sacrifices they had made. ‘Amr then said, “I then remained silent, fearing that he may rank me last!” Notice how the Prophet managed to capture ‘Amr’s heart by exercising his outstanding skills. In fact, the Prophet would rank people according to their worth. Sometimes, he would even leave what he was doing to tend to other’s needs, just to make them feel that they were loved and held in high regard. When the Prophet’s influence extended after his conquests and Islam had spread far and wide, the Prophet began sending preachers to various tribes to call them to Islam. Sometimes he even had to send armies. ‘Adi bin Hatim al-Ta’i was a king and the son of a king. When the Prophet sent an army to the Tai’ tribe, ‘Adi ran away from the battle and took refuge in Syria. When the Muslim army reached Tai’ they found it easy to defeat them as they had neither a king nor an organised army. The Muslims would always treat people kindly in wars and respect their emotions, even during battle. The purpose of the battle was to prevent the plots of ‘Adi’s people against the Muslims and to display to them the Muslims’ strength. The Muslims captured some people from ‘Adi’s tribe, amongst whom was ‘Adi’s sister. They took the captives to the Prophet in Madinah and informed him about ‘Adi’s escape to Syria.
The Prophet was surprised, thinking how could he have run away from the ture religion? How could he have left his people behind? However, there was no way for the Muslims to contact ‘Adi. ‘Adi himself did not enjoy his stay in Syria and was compelled to come back to the Arab lands. He then could not but help go to Madinah to meet with the Prophet and make peace with him, or to create some sort of understanding. (It is also claimed that his sister went to Syria to bring him back to the Arabs). ‘Adi said whilst relating his story, “None from the Arabs disliked the Messenger of Allah as much as I did. I was a Christian and a king amongst my people. When I heard about the Messenger of Allah , I despised him and left my people to go to Caesar of Rome. But I disliked staying there, too. So I thought that if I went to this man and he turned out to be a liar, then he wouldn’t be able to harm me, and if he was truthful, then I would know. So I decided to go to him…” “When I arrived in Madinah, the people began to say, ‘This is ‘Adi bin Hatim! This is ‘Adi bin Hatim!’ I continued to walk until I reached the Messenger of Allah who said to me: ‘‘Adi bin Hatim?’ I said: ‘Adi bin Hatim’.” The Prophet became overjoyed by his arrival and welcomed him, even though ‘Adi had previously fought against the Muslims, ran away from the battle, despised Islam and sought refuge amongst the Christians. Despite all of that the Prophet met him with a smile and took him by his hand to his house.
As ‘Adi walked alongside the Prophet , he considered him to be completely equal to himself, since Muhammad was the ruler of Madinah and its outskirts while ‘Adi was the ruler over the Ta’i mountains and its outskirts. Muhammad was a follower of a heavenly religion – Islam, just as ‘Adi was a follower of a heavenly religion – Christianity. Muhammad had a revealed scripture – the Qur’an, just as ‘Adi had a revealed scripture - the Gospel. ‘Adi thought that there was no difference between the two except in terms of power and military might. While they were on their way, three things happened. As they were walking, a woman came and began to shout in the middle of their path, “O Messenger of Allah! I need your help!” The Prophet left ‘Adi’s hand and went to the woman to listen to what she had to say. ‘Adi bin Hatim −who had witnessed many kings and leaders - as he watched this happen, began to compare this with what he knew of the actions of kings and ministers. He thought for a while, until it occurred to him that these mannerisms were not that of kings, but rather of the Prophets! When the woman’s need was fulfilled, the Prophet came back to ‘Adi and they both continued to walk, and as they did, a man came to the Prophet . What did he say? Did he say, “O Messenger of Allah! I have surplus wealth and am looking to give some to a poor person?” Did he say, “I harvested my crops and I have some extra fruit. What shall I do with it?” If only he were to have asked such questions so that ‘Adi would have felt that the Muslims had wealth. Instead, the man said, “O Messenger of Allah! I complain to you about hunger and poverty.” The man was unable to find anything with which to abate his and his children’s hunger, whilst the Muslims around him could barely get by, and hence, were unable to help him. ‘Adi was listening as the man asked the Prophet his question. The Prophet then responded to him, after which he left. When they continued to walk, there came another man who said, “O Messenger of Allah! I complain to you about highway robbers!” Meaning, “O Messenger of Allah! We have numerous enemies surrounding us and therefore cannot safely leave the walls of our city due to the disbelievers and thieves.” The Prophet responded to him with a few words and continued. ‘Adi began
to think about what he had seen. He himself was honoured by his people, and he didn’t have any enemies waiting to attack him. Why then were so many people accepting this religion whilst they were weak and poor? They both reached the Prophet’s house and entered. Inside there was only one couch available so the Prophet gave it to ‘Adi in his honour, saying, “Take this to sit on.” ‘Adi gave it back to him and said, “Rather, you should sit on it.” The Prophet said, “Rather, you should sit on it.” ‘Adi then did as he was told. Then the Prophet began to break down all the barriers that existed between ‘Adi and Islam. He said, “O ‘Adi, accept Islam and you will be safe.” ‘Adi said, “I already have a religion.” The Prophet said, “I know more about your religion than you do.” He said, “You know more about my religion than I do?” The Prophet said, “Yes! Are you not from the Rukusiyya?” Rukusiyya was a sub-sect within Christianity with elements of Zoarastianism. It was become of his skills of persuasion that the Prophet did not ask, “Are you a Christian?” Rather, he circumvented this fact and mentioned something more particular, i.e. the sub-sect of Christianity which he belonged to. This is just as if you were to meet someone in a European country who said to you, “Why don’t you become a Christian?” And you were to say to him, “I already have a religion.”