The Problem Solver


In the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.

With the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times.

Crossing out problems and writing solutions on a blackboard.

Parts: Intro I   II  III

Why do Muslims love the Prophet (saw)?

Because when there were problems, he would find ways to solve them.

If you were to ask any non-Muslim citizen of the U.S. how they would classify a “Muslim”- as either a “problem solver” or “problem maker”- I would wager to bet that most people would identity Muslims as “problem makers.”  What’s even more troublesome is that if you were to ask many Muslims this same question, you would probably get the same answer.

For many centuries in our rich history, the Islamic community was considered a benefit and a beacon of hope for all those looking for solutions to their problems.  Unfortunately, along the way, our community has suffered such a decline that we are now seen as the cause of problems rather than solutions.

When the Prophet (saw) was about the age of 35, the Quraysh decided it was time to rebuild the Ka’bah in an effort to make it safer in the face of nature  (a flood had nearly demolished it).  When their work was almost finished, a problem arose: which of the chiefs of the various tribes would have the honor of placing the sacred Black Stone in its original position?  This was a serious dispute, as it almost led to a battle.  Luckily, one of the chiefs made a proposal:

“Let him, who enters the Sanctuary first of all, decide on the point.”

The first to enter, was none other Muhammad (saw).

The chiefs rejoiced: for this was “Al-Ameen” (“The Trustworthy”), he would certainly be able to decide on a solution that everyone could agree to.  And the Prophet (saw) did not disappoint; he first asked for a garment and then spread it on the floor.  He then placed the stone in the center and asked all of the representatives of the different tribes to lift the garment together- and thus lift the stone and take it to its proper place-together.  The Prophet (saw) thereafter laid the stone in the proper place with his own hands.   The problem was solved, the anger subsided, and everyone kept their honor: Al-Ameen had come through once again.

Nowadays, our problems stem from many different angles, but one of them is that we are too busy identifying and making problems rather than identifying and solving them.  Thus, we should take a few lessons from this incident.  Although the Prophet (saw) was not a Prophet at the time and still very young, he used his wisdom, common sense, and problem solving ability to quell the dispute.  Secondly, this incident highlights the importance of building a positive reputation through honesty, hard work, and sincere care for the community at large.  We should be the people and community others come to for help in solving their problems, not the other way around.  Lastly, when problem solving we should try and involve everyone equally so as not to favor one person over another.

Muslims love the Prophet (saw) because he was trusted by his people as a person who cared for their needs and was just while solving their disputes.  He did not shy away from benefiting the people, rather, he went out of his way to make things easier for the peopleIt is through his example that the early generations of Muslims went through great lengths to ensure that the problems of the oppressed were solved, and it is through his example that we in the future generations may shake off the reputation as “problem makers” and inshaAllah (“God willing”) regain our reputation as problem solvers.

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