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Communicating Effectively

Humans are social beings who continually interact with people. The soundness of our relationship with people is largely based on our interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are the skills that a person uses to interact with other people. Interpersonal skills are sometimes also referred to as communication skills. No matter how hard you work or how brilliant you are, if you cannot connect with people around you, you will lead a life of conflict or emotional detachment from those around you.

We start learning interpersonal skills from the time we are born, the very first and natural means of communication for a baby is to cry and as we grow, we gradually learn how people are likely to react to what we say and do.

Allah Taala says in the holy Quraan:

ولا تقف ما ليس لك به علم إن السمع والبصر والفؤاد كل أولئك كان عنه مسؤولا

And do not involve yourself in that which you have no knowledge of. verily the hearing and sight and what thoughts pass through the heart of a human will be questioned on the day of judgement.

We break up effective communication into 6 parts:

1. “Take to forbearance” Make allowance for human nature and do not be too harsh with those who err. The shortcomings you see in others are simply a reflection of your own human weaknesses. Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam once asked the Ashaab Radhi-Allahu anhu: “Should I not inform you of an individual who becomes forbidden for the fire of hell and the fire of hell becomes forbidden for him?” “A person who is gentle, soft, near the hearts of people and easy going.” (Ahmed)

عَنْ جَرِيرٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ مَنْ يُحْرَمْ الرِّفْقَ يُحْرَمْ الْخَيْرَ

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ زَوْجِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ يَا عَائِشَةُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ رَفِيقٌ يُحِبُّ الرِّفْقَ وَيُعْطِي عَلَى الرِّفْقِ مَا لَا يُعْطِي عَلَى الْعُنْفِ وَمَا لَا يُعْطِي عَلَى مَا سِوَاهُ

2. “Enjoin the Doing of Right:” You can only advise people to do good if you believe they have the potential to do so. Focus on their potential and not on their limitations. If people know we expect good things from them, they will in most cases go to great lengths to live up to our expectations. If you treat people on the basis of what they can be, you help them to become what they are capable of becoming.

3. “Leave alone those who choose to be quarrelsome”

Allah Taala says in the holy quraan :  يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتقوا الله وكونوا مع الصادقين

Oh you who believe, fear Allah and be with those who are truthfull.

4. Use Appropriate Words: “O You who believe! Remain conscious of Allah and always speak appropriate words…” (33:70) Inappropriate words include being sarcastic, hurtful, or saying what you do not mean. Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam has said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or keep silent.” “Watch what you say! Say what you mean, and mean what you say!”

قَالَ يَا عَائِشَةُ إِنَّ شَرَّ النَّاسِ مَنْزِلَةً عِنْدَ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ وَدَعَهُ أَوْ تَرَكَهُ النَّاسُ اتِّقَاءَ فُحْشِهِ

Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said “Oh Aisha, verily the worst of people in the eyes of Allah on the day of judgement will be that person who people avoided because of his bad mouth (or evil tounge)

5. Learn to Listen: “In this (the rise and fall of nations) there is a reminder for everyone who has a heart, everyone who lends an ear with a conscious mind.” (50: 37) Can you lend an ear without a conscious mind? This verse shows the difference between simply hearing and listening. Listening is to hear with the presence of heart and mind. To give thought and to reflect at what is being said. Concentrate on what the speaker is saying. The best way to persuade people is with your ears— by listening to them.

6. Be Conscious of your Body Language: Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. As humans we send and interpret such signals subconsciously.

Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam was reprimanded for frowning in front of and turning his face away from a blind man, because he was annoyed at him interrupting a very important discussion he was having with the chiefs of the Quraish. The blind man could not have possible picked up the body language of Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam yet he was reprimanded so that we may know the importance of non-verbal communication.

Interpersonal skills could be summarised in one short hadith of Nabi Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam who said: “Be a bearer of glad tidings and do not scare people away from you , make things easy and no dot make things difficult.” (Abu Dawud)
May Allah grant us the ability to instill good qualities within ourselves


(based on the jumua talk on 07 Jan 2011)

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