“He has taught him to talk (and understand)”
– Al Quran
The art of effective communication stems from the understanding of the ideas being shared regardless of the mode, channels, or philosophy if it can be understood the job is done! From times immemorial, man has been communicating in one form or another. Indeed the fact that identifies man from other creatures is the ability to communicate and that too with great effect on impacting behaviors and outcomes. Books upon books have been published in the light of sophisticated communication models theorized by several experts. The religion of Islam had set the basic rites of effective and productive communication some 1400 years ago.
The core fundamentals of religion are dictated by the revelations sent through divine angels to the holy Prophets and then transmitted to the respective peoples. Language is perhaps the greatest invention of man and some rightly argue that language itself is perhaps divine for it is the lifeblood of human evolution as we have witnessed.
In Islam, honesty and as such clarity has been the cornerstone of the foundations laid for better human existence. To that effect, the very process of revelation has been set in stone of honest and clear communication. It has been the question of the Prophets’ unquestionable fidelity that has made sure that the greatest living miracle of the written word, The Holy Quran, remains intact, word by word down to the dialect, more than a thousand years.
“We never sent a prophet, but with the language of his people, so that he can explain clearly to them. So, God astray whom He pleases, and gives guidance to which He will, and He is God Almighty, the Wise.” (QS. Ibrahim, 4)
When Islam came into being the oral communication with immediate feedback was considered the norm and the Arab prided themselves in the power of their language and their personal power and prowess of prose and poetry. This cultural aspect enabled the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to establish a means of communicating directly with his followers and reaching out to the masses. This then built the foundation of vicarious learning adopted by the sahaba and was transmitted with great care to all mankind to follow.
The basic concept upon which all theories of communication rest is the sender, receiver model which incorporates aspects of medium and noise. The purpose is that the message must be transferred to the right audience in a manner that the meaning of the said message is not distorted nor lost in the noise of the channel being used to communicate.
Islam has become the symbol of having communicated with finesse un-parallel before and after the Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet not only have been preserved but the message continues to be relevant and just as clear in spite of how the times, people, ecosystems have changed in over a thousand years.
To exemplify the focus of communication, the other example is the Azaan (call of prayer). It is such a simple, effective, and powerful tool that reminds people about Salah (Obligatory prayer). The system of azaan breaks through the surrounding noise, geographical disparities and does what it needs to remind the Muslims about time for prayer. This mode does not necessitate and provision of a platform but simply the call of human voice broadcasted for all people.
Further, the Friday sermon is communication that warrants instant feedback, a conversation with the masses to refresh the core concepts and encourage people’s interaction with each other, and the scholars to address confusion and ask for advice. A process of two-way communication that is not only effective, being effort driven, but also a continuous and repetitive message is sent across for ensuring better recall and reinforcement.
Islam encourages the use of communication with care in terms of honesty and integrity, timeliness, and associated checks and balances. It is the final word of the Lord Almighty and it has been time again tried and tested by the mortals and has come up unquestionable and scientifically impossible to improve. Lessons need to be learned about our modern world communication from the basic principles laid down by Islamic teaching which continue to be relevant and simple.