#UKM LESSON 4: Evidence; the name of the Game.

Imagine you woke up this morning and went over to the room of your parents to greet them, only to find your 15 year old brother/sister narrating being carried by an angel to meet the Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him), walk through Jannah with him and was brought back by an angel the previous night.

Please…just be honest.

What’s the first thought that will cross your mind about your sibling (even before your thought of the saying of the Prophet that whoever sees him in a dream has really in fact seen him)?

Exactly…Nuts!!! “He’s nuts! What the heck’s he talking about? That’s like soo impossible!”… you’d think.

I wonder what you would have really thought of someone who said he had been taken by an angel on a special type of mule with wings (Buraq) not just to meet Prophets of old, but to see Heaven and Hell, met Allah at a bow’s length, pray in the Mosque of Jerusalem and come home…all in one night (and yeah, there weren’t any airports and train stations…so I hope you get the idea..)

Al Israa wal Mai’raaj: The Night Journey; an interesting and important journey that Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon him) embarked on.

In as much as I’d love to talk about the journey itself, our scope will be limited to what transpired the next morning after he related his experience to the people of Makkah. But just in case you’d love to read about it, I’ll leave the title of some books which you can refer to.

(And don’t worry, I’ve not forgotten about our Triplets. They’re around here…somewhere…)

So, according to the book “The Noble life of the Prophet” by Dr. Ali Muhammad As Sallabee, the Prophet related his occurrence to the people saying:

 “Verily, last night I prayed Al’Eesha in this Masjid; I also prayed in it in the morning. Between these two times, I went to Jerusalem, and a group of Prophets were raised before me. Included among them were Ibraheem, Moosa and ‘Eesa. I led them in prayer and spoke to them”

The people around him found what he said very hilarious. Some narrations have it that it was Abu Jahl who actually assembled the people to come and listen to what the Prophet had said, due to the extent to which he found what he heard very hilarious. “How was it possible that he could have gone to Jerusalem…in one night? Meet “dead” prophets? Naaah.” Mind you, the people indisputably believed that the Prophet was a man of truth and trustworthiness. He was known as Al Amin. But this one to them, was just too much comedy to laugh over…wayyyy too much.

So in a mocking tone, he was asked to describe how Jerusalem looked (amongst other questions, but we’ll limit it to this one, for the sake of our discussion)…and here’s where it gets really interesting.

He doesn’t go telling them “You know that I don’t lie guys. Remember, I’m Al Amin. You guys gave me the name because you know I’m trustworthy”.

He thought smart….he gave them facts.

He described to them exactly how Jerusalem looked (of course, with the help of Allah). And he does not miss a detail. We are told those among the Quraish who had ever visited Jerusalem were one word…Dumbfounded. It was just too detailed to be true.

Congratulations! You just met one of the Triplets!

Really? (You may ask with a surprised face).

Yep…and her name’s Logos.

She and her other siblings (Pathos and Ethos) trace their lineage to Ancient Greece.

For the Greeks back in the days, not just Public Speaking, but Oratory (eloquence, which is a perfected form of Public Speaking) was THE big thing. They groomed young boys from birth; right from the food they ate to the lifestyle they lived. Potentials went through rigorous training and selection processes under their masters just learn the art. Try reading on Demosthenes, known to be one the best orators who ever lived in Greece, then you’ll get a picture of the extent to which men would go just to master the art.

According to them, the three triplets (as I like to call them), used in the right mixture, are the foundation of acing the art of Oratory.

The Greeks explained “Logos” as “appealing to the listener’s logic” which to them, can only be achieved by providing one’s audience with hardcore, credible and reliable facts about what one is talking about.

In fact, Social Psychologists John Cacioppo and Richard Petty in 1979 developed the Elaboration Likelihood Model, a deep communication model that looks at how listeners unconsciously process information they receive from an external source. Under this model, there are two ways people process information; the Central pathway or the Peripheral pathway. The Central pathway is persuaded by facts, quality of evidence and logical layout of issues, whilst the Peripheral pathway is persuaded by the speaker’s physical appearance, reputation, flow in language and expertise status when it comes to the content of the message. Usually when communication is taking place, one pathway is more likely to be influenced than the other, depending on how the speaker is communicating. It has a strong correlation with rules of Oratory according to the Greeks; the Central Pathway is lit up by Logos, and the Peripheral two by Ethos and Pathos.

(Now, stay with me buddy. I know this is a lot of heavy stuff).

But hold your horses! Here’s where we get to see some “crazzzy” stuff.

Now, at the time the Prophet was asked the questions, he knew the questioners were seeking facts, meaning, he had already read his audience’s mind. It was obvious from the tone of the question that, their Peripheral Processing Pathway was closed. So it definitely wouldn’t be the time to remind the people of how much of a truthful person he was. The only way to be able to get to them, he noticed, is to communicate to their Central processing pathway.

And what lits up that pathway? Facts. Hardcore, verifiable facts. Hence, he skipped being “Mr. nice guy” and instead shot them with Facts.

And it worked! The description he gave about Jerusalem shook them the heaviest because there were some in their midst who knew exactly how Jerusalem looked like…and described he had just described it with no mistake. That was a verifiable fact.

That’s quite impressive for a man who never took a Communication 101 class or never had the chance SA be grilled by the masters of the art in Ancient Greece. He aced the art. He was an orator by all standards.

And this is just one of the many instances where he exhibited such intelligence.

So what do we learn from today’s lesson?

As a public speaker aspiring to become and orator, it’s important to always lace your talk with facts from credible sources. Don’t think because people respect you and see you as “the whole, the whole”, they will be easily persuaded by your mere status in society or your good works. The true listener judges you not by your appearance or status, but by how much sense and facts your message holds. Opinions you express in your talk may not be verifiable, but the hardcore verifiable facts available to back your opinions make your opinions much easy to accept.

That’s why if you’re a Da’ee and you just go telling Non-Muslims they should accept Islam because it’s the best way of life in the world, you’ll be seen as someone who’s trying to buy people’s minds. What makes it the best way of life? What statistics are available to show that countries that adhere to the Islamic way of life make better progress in societal living than those that don’t?

That, is what we call “Appealing to the Logic of your audience”.

Opps! I can hear Pathos crying somewhere in the garden close by Kauthar. Looks like she wants to meet you too…smiles.

Do come along with a cup of Sobolo and some Pinkaso next week and meet me at Kauthar next Wedneday in shaa Allah, so we can break our fast with it and then you can meet Pathos too (He’s quite shy, you know…hehe)…smiles.

May we live to see the beginning and end of this blissful month…Ameen.

(Errmnn yeah…and still on the Pinkaso; I like mine warm and moist, with a little sugar sprinkled on it)

(P.S. : So just as I promised, the books you can read on the Night Journey of the Prophet are “The Noble Life of the Prophet” by Dr. Ali Muhammad As Sallabee and “The Sealed Nectar” by Saifur’ Rahaman Al-Mubarakpuri. And don’t forget to let me know some of the lessons you learnt from this write up and the other write ups…Smiles).