Acting with consultation is a Divine command and a very significant Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). Allah the Almighty reveals the significance of consultation to the Believers through His Messenger’s personality:
“Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust.”(3; 159)
Consultation about their important matters is a characteristic of believers as described by the given verse: “who (conduct) their affairs by mutual Consultation” (42; 38)
The Messenger of Allah used to consult his Companions about the important matters of Muslim community. Even though he was supported by Divine revelation, he preferred to act with consultation to be an example for the Muslims. In fact in the Battles of Badr and Handaq (Trench), he (pbuh) consulted his Companions about where and how the Muslim army should fight. Again in the Battle of Uhud he followed his Companions’ idea and met the enemy outside of Madinah, even though his view was to have a defensive war at home.
Human beings are under the influence of their feelings, and they think and make their decisions according to them. That is why acting with consultation provides more accurate and blessed services; however, it is an important principle to choose the people to whom we consult from intelligent, knowledgeable, easygoing, and pious believers. It is an obvious fact that the decision made by a group would be more accurate than the decision of an individual. The Prophet (pbuh) expressed this fact as follows:
“Those who made istikharah (seek guidance from Allah for the right decision through a dream) would not be disappointed; those who consult would not regret afterwards and those who cut down expenses would not become poor.” (Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawaid, II, 280)
Consultation also reveals that we esteem the opinions of the persons we consult with, which would in turn, give them energy and enable them to serve more eagerly. On the other hand, it decreases the egotism of the men of service to a minimum and protects them from the dangers of pride. Not to deign to appeal to consultation are signs of pride, arrogance, and considering yourself better than others.
The result of consultation must certainly be applied. Insincere consultations which are performed as a habit do more harm than good. Consultation must be done with skilled and qualified people and everybody should be able to tell their opinion so that truth and blessings would be realized. If the person consulted with is not qualified, then the result will be full of errors and inexact. We should not allow mistakes to happen in a similar manner of the oddity of consulting a lawyer about a matter of medicine.
The consulted person should not only be qualified in the consulted matter, butmust also be a man of good morality and free from prejudices. Otherwise there is a possibility to mislead the advised, which produces counter effects. On the other hand, we should avoid any bias and misconceptions, and impartially listen to the person who seeks our advice.
A man of service should prefer his brothers’ pleasure over his own pleasure. Those who insist on doing everything alone become tired and bored, and easily adapt their minds towards negativity. They begin to belittle those around them and become enslaved by their love of power. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) says about those kinds of people:
“Allah the Almighty revealed to me that we should be humble amongst ourselves and none should show pride upon the others…”(Muslim, Jannah, 64)
In this respect a real and mature man of service considers himself the last man in the line of service by getting rid of his egotism.