All perfect praise is for Allaah alone. We beseech His peace and blessings upon Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Without any fear of contradiction, it can be correctly said that the best of Teachers is our beloved Prophet. This is not debatable. The following narration is one of the countless evidences affirming this point.
Mu’awiya ibn al-Hakam As-sulamee said: While I was praying with the Messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam), a man in the company sneezed. I said: Allaah have mercy on you! The people stared at me with disapproving looks, so I said: Woe be upon me, why is it that you stare at me? They began to strike their hands on their thighs, and when I saw them urging me to observe silence (I became angry) but I said nothing. When the Messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had said the prayer (and I declare that neither before him nor after him have I seen a leader who gave better instruction than he for whom I would give my father and mother as ransom). I swear that he did not abuse, scold, beat or revile me but said: Talking to persons is not fitting during the prayer, for it consists of glorifying Allaah, declaring his Greatness and recitation of the Qur’an or words to that effect. I said: Messenger of Allaah. I was till recently a pagan, but Allaah has brought Islaam to us; among us there are men who visit soothsayers. He said, Do not go to them. I said. There are among us men who take omens. That is something which they find in their breasts, but let it not turn their way (from freedom of action). I said: Among us there are men who draw lines (by way of fortune telling). He said: There was a prophet who drew lines, so if they do it as he did, that is allowable. I had a maid-servant who tended goats by the side of Uhud and Jawwaniya. One day I happened to pass that way and found that a wolf had carried a goat from her flock. I am after all a man from the posterity of Adam. I felt sorry as they (human beings) feel sorry. So I slapped her. I came to the Messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and felt (this act of mine) as something grievous I said: Messenger of Allaah, should I not grant her freedom? He (the Prophet) said: Bring her to me. So I brought her to him. He said to her: Where is Allaah? She said: He is in the heaven. He said: Who am I? She said: Thou art the Messenger of Allaah. He said: Grant her freedom, she is a believing woman [Soheeh Muslim]
Firstly, Al-Imaam Shamsul Haqqul Azeemul ‘Aabaadi (rohimohuLlaah) in his Sharh of Sunan Aboo Dawood said what is apparent in the hadeeth is that the person who sneezed said AlhamduliLlaah and that was the reason Mu’awiya ibn al-Hakam As-sulamee said YarhamukaLlaah (Allaah have mercy on you!). So the first thing to learn in this hadeeth is that whenever a Muslim sneezes and says AlhamduliLlaah, you (the Muslim who hears it) should say YarhamukaLlaah…as mentioned in some other ahadeeths.
Also, being patient with the people when they make mistakes is from the sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah. This was the reason for his (Mu’awiya ibn al-Hakam As-sulamee) declaration that he had never seen a leader before or after the Messenger of Allaah who would give better instructions to the people. How about us? If this same incident happens today how many of us would be patient to correct such a person? May Allaah rectify our affairs.
Besides, the Prophet paid attention to know the condition of the person who made the mistake before knowing the best approach with which to correct him. This is easy to comprehend…the approach to speak with a learned person is different completely from the approach with somebody who is not learned. This is evident from the discusses that the Messenger of Allaah (sollaLlaahu ‘alayhi wa sallaam) conducted with the people who lived during his time. When he spoke with the learned people from amongst his Companions, there was a way he spoke with them, when he spoke with the Jews it was completely different from the way he spoke with the Christians. Brethren, carefully study people and know their level of knowledge before attempting to correct them.
Moreover, saying YarhamukaLlaah is not permissible during solah because it is from the speeches of the people. But for he who sneezes during solah, then it is permissible for him to say AlhamduliLlaah because it is not from the speeches of the people. That was the reason for which the person who said AlhamduliLlaah was not corrected. May Allaah increase us in beneficial knowledge.
Furthermore, because of the manner with which the messenger of Allaah (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallaam) corrected him, he was encouraged to ask questions. Now he asks questions about aqeedah (creed). He was commanded not to visit the soothsayers (and we are not exempted as well). In addition, he asked about taking omens, and the Messenger of Allaah made him understand that it is just something people find in their hearts, and it should not prevent them from doing what they want to do.
Lastly, at the point of freeing a slave the Messenger of Allaah asked her a good question which many people today still fail to answer correctly. Where is Allaah? She said: He is in the heaven (above the heaven and over his arsh and not resting on it). With this, the Messenger of Allaah affirmed that she was a believer and ordered that she should be freed.
I beseech Allaah to show us the Truth as being the Truth and grant us its following and show us the misguidance and falsehood as being falsehood and grant us the ability to abstain from it.
May Prayers and Peace be upon Muhammad (sollaLloohu ‘alayhi wa sallaam), his household and Companions, and on the generality of the Muslims who follow them upon goodness.
Written by Aboo ‘Aa’ishah Al Odeomeey; compiled from the teachings of Ustaadh Ibroheem bn ‘Abdurrouf (Aboo Naasir)