Under Kauthar’s Mercy; Speaking tips from Allah & the Prophet (LESSON 1).
“In a land of sand dunes and a time of ignorance, the destiny of a great religion rests on the shoulders of a young man. His name…”
Naaaah…its not Merlin .
Anyone who’s watched Merlin knows there are no sand dunes in the setting of Merlin.
But yes, there was once a land of sand dunes and a time of ignorance. And this one, my dear friend, was not fiction.
I take you on a journey to a land far far away, dating back more than 1400 years ago.
A cold clear night it was, and a 40 year old man was just minding his own business in a dark cave far away from the busy town of Makkah. He sits there quietly, contemplating about life. More especially the lifestyle present in his society; a society plagued with injustice and immorality. This man wonders:
“How can this be? This just can’t be all life is about. There has to be something larger than this life of ignorance locked in my society! There has to!”
In the midst of his deep thoughts, he hears a voice say to him “Read”.
Alone in a dark cave, he wonders…“who just said that? And why ask me to read when I cannot read?” He then replies:
“I do not know how to read”.
All of a sudden, the 40 year old man feels himself being pressed so hard that he can’t bear it anymore, then he is released and the same is asked of him:
(You imagine the man saying to himself. “Okay, this isn’t funny anymore”)
He replies again:
“I do not know how to read”.
After two more similar encounters, he does what any smart guy will do in such a situation; RUN!!!!
He runs off as fast as he can, down the mountains, to his house, and immediately he enters, he asks to be covered with a blanket; he is scared to death. His wife, comforts him and reassures him that he is a man of worth and nothing bad will happen to him.
It is later revealed to him that he is to bear a great and weighty message, one that would eventually turn his own kind against him.
He wonders; “Really? Me? Naaah, I must be mad or something. Who am I? Am I really ready for this task? And how can my own people hate me? I’ve been kind to them? Can they ever do that to me?”
He is just one word…Nostalgic; doesn’t know what to think, doesn’t know what to say.
Fast Forward; 23 years later.
He completes the message that was started by Dada Adam (Blessings of Allah be upon him), transforms a city plagued with ignorance and idol worship to an oasis of beneficial knowledge and centre for one of the most powerful gatherings in the world (Hajj) and leaves a legacy of leaving with followers a complete scriptural guide (Qur’an) and constitutional framework (Sharia) that guides every (and I mean, every) aspect of the follower’s lives.
(Pheww!!! That’s some achievement there! So, who was this man?)
This Man, was Muhammed Ibn Abdullah. (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon him), the last of all Prophets sent to mankind…and his message, Islam.
Hold on Hold on…so, how the heck did that happen? (You may ask)
I mean, how does someone who was scared to death and not even sure of what he had experienced and what he was told just out of nowhere, leave such a legacy, that till date, the world (at least, those who have been truthful enough to say) has seen?
The answer is …. “a few days”.
When we go back to the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammed (Blessings of Allah be upon Him) we are told the revelation seized for a while (a few days) after that encounter.
I mean, like Allah could have just pushed him out into the field and say “Muhammed!!!! I need you out there on streets of Makkah preaching Islam this minute!” Yeah, He could have, after all, “Yafeal allah ma yasha” (Allah does what He wills) right?
But Nope…He didn’t…and its because He knew something..smiles.
Hmnn…what did Allah know? (scratching your head, I do assume).
The power of Belief, Confidence, Passion and strong Conviction.
The Prophet at the time was not having any of the three in terms of the message he was to be tasked with. He didn’t really believe it was to be him, he didn’t even know what the message really was about and his mind was unsettled. He had doubts about what he had experienced. In the narrations of Bukhari, we are told that he had thought of himself a mad man, and tried several times to throw himself off a cliff.
Allah needed him to have his doubts settled. The message he was to spread was a weighty one. Again we are told in the narration of Aisha that he was fatigued and restless out of the encounter he had that night.
When the message seized, he was in yearning of it. He needed to find out if what he went through was weird or true.
He was to be tasked to spread a message to people. He was going to be THE (said with an emphasis) PR for Islam. And to spread a message, you need to believe so much in yourself and most especially, in your message; that it has the ability to transform people to become better people. That’s conviction right there. Confidence most usually comes after conviction.
The problems in society were eating him up. He wanted to help out…he just didn’t know how. He had the passion, but there was no message.
To be a great Public speaker, you need to believe that you are one, have a message you believe in and a deep conviction about your message.
You cannot talk about something you do not have a strong conviction of and don’t believe in. If you are having doubts about your own ability to talk about your message, that’s one thing. To not believe and have no passion about what you’re talking about; that thing that deprives you of sleep or that something you’ll be ready to take a bullet for, that’s suicide. (And trust me, its not something you are moved to do because of money).
It’ll be almost impossible to make an impact as a public speaker.
Think about some of the great Muslim Men and Women Public Speakers of our time…don’t go too far…just stay in Ghana here. Its there; they’re talking Islam and you can see the message actually “flowing in their veins”…its not even blood. That’s a mix of belief and confidence in their ability to deliver on the topic with passion and strong conviction in the message they are delivering.
The Prophet needed to have all three before he started…and so Allah gave him some few days to settle in all three, before he can begin. If there was no wisdom behind it, Allah would have asked him to start there and then, since again, from narrations we have from the Seerah, the Prophet already had experienced some few signs that indicated he would be engaged in the spreading of a great message.
Notice then, that the emphasis here is not with the period that Allah gave him, but on why he gave him that brief period (which somewhat goes on to point the importance of introspection and meditation before a delivery…smiles).
So before you step out to share a thought or a message with people, take a brief moment. Immerse yourself in the message. Feel it flowing through your veins and into and out of your heart. Believe in your ability to deliver it and have a deep conviction that your message is one, worth spreading (That did sound like TEDx right?…haha).
Dalia Mogahed, Bassam Tariq and Alaa Murabit are just some of the few Muslims who have delivered on TEDx platforms…yep, TEDx…and about Islam. Interesting, huhn ?
But that’s it…when you believe in your ability to deliver a message you are passionate about and have a deep conviction that your message is one worth spreading your message and keep hitting on it, people will start listening…and probably give you a chance to share it with the world.
This, is the first and most important step to being a great public speaker; Kind courtesy, Allah Himself.
Of course, you may say: “Ah! Na this girl paa? Really? I know of individuals who have all that and still when they’re on a platform, all I need is a pillow…or an ear plug”
Yep…totally agree. Thing is, they’re probably missing something.
And that…we shall see next week Wednesday, in shaa Allah .
Allah’s peace and blessings be with you all.
(P.S : Sincerely, I must apologise for my really late delivery of the first write up. I do seek forgiveness from you and Allah Almighty. I do love feedbacks, I do questions and I do love, most importantly, to have you share with me any additional knowledge you have as well. May Allah accept our humble efforts to inspire the world with His message [Ameen]…smiles).