Public Relation is defined as “building the image of an entity (company, institute, governments or even countries) and constructing its reputation in the eyes of the masses”. Public relation is not a new term; it has been practiced by different civilizations in different times.
History of Public Relations:
Civilizations like Greek Civilizations and Roman Civilizations also have their own history of practicing Public Relations. Let us have a look at them.
Greeks practiced public relations with the help of Sophists and Orators to maintain and sustain relations with the public in a deliberate manner. In the period of Greeks, the Orators and Sophists used to inform the public about the announcements and decisions made by the Parliament; they also used to convey the feedback of the public to the Parliament in the same way.
Later in Roman Era, it was practiced by the Romans; the Romans had a quite different way of practicing Public relations. They used to organize carnivals, parades and festive events for their public. The main purpose was to promote the goodwill of the Government to the people.
We today practice both the types in Public Relations. However, there is one more civilization and a religion that was spread because of the definitive Public relations practices it employed. This article will shed light on that religion and will highlight the strategies that made Islam a successful religion like we see it today.
Spreading of Islam – Best Example of Public Relation Practices
All religions that are flourishing today were innate and spread due to the sole practice of Public Relations. Islam is one such religion that has its own history of practicing public relations and due to that practice; Islam is thriving today even after 1400 years.
For defining public relations properly and describing the Islamic practices that are associated with Public relations, all topics of the articles will also be lessons of Public Relations in Islam.
Life of Muhammad:
Hazarat Muhammad s.a.w is not a prophet for Muslims alone. He s.a.w is a prophet for whole mankind. If we study the life of Muhammad s.a.w, we will see that throughout his pre Islamic life He s.a.w was well-known for his honesty and truthfulness in whole of the Arab. This provides us with the first lesson of Public Relations in Islam:
Lesson 1: Be Truthful and Honest:
Hazarat Muhammad s.a.w used to be kind with all people including women, children and old people. He s.a.w used to speak truly with everyone in business, Financial and personal matters. That is why people used to keep their belongings with Him s.a.w whenever they find it necessary as they knew He s.a.w was honest. These qualities are today taught to all people who are pursuing a career in the field of Public Relations.
“A loyal PRO is always successful”
Pre Islamic Life:
In the Pre Islamic life, He s.a.w was often made arbiter to deal with matters regarding quarrels, property matters and more. People liked His s.a.w’s decisions and respected Him s.a.w for his justice.
Even after Islam, He s.a.w started preaching the new religion to people not by force but by telling the qualities. That is why His s.a.w followers started to increase at a rapid pace as they saw truth in the new religion. This brings us to the second lesson of Public Relations in Islam…
Lesson 2: Increase Goodwill by True Information not by Exaggeration:
Except for a few people who believed Muhammad s.a.w from the beginning, arabs doubted that Muhammad s.a.w was a real Prophet. They used to give all kind of problems they thought of to Him s.a.w. However, due to Hazarat Muhammad S.a.w tolerance and incitement towards Islam without force, made them see light in the teachings of Muhammad S.a.w. Finally, this was the only turning point that made them convert to Islam.
Old Woman Who Used to throw trash on Muhammad S.a.w:
This reminds us of an incident about an old woman who used to throw trash on Muhammad s.a.w whenever He s.a.w used to pass from the alley where she lived. This happened for quite some time. However, one day she did not throw the trash on Muhammad s.a.w. Therefore, Muhammad s.a.w got worried and went to her house. He s.a.w found that she was ill. Therefore, he made arrangements so she could get better, like bringing medicine to her and cleaning her house and making dinner and lunch for her. This made the old woman apprieciate Muhammad S.a.w’s kind behavior and made her accept Islam.
“Good PR practice is to be kind with proponents as well as opponents.”
Sending Letters to Kings of Different Countries:
Hazarat Muhammad S.a.w was the only Prophet who used the art of public relations in preaching the message of Allah by letters. He instead of waging war on the neighboring Arab countries sent those letters that invited them to Islam. Most of the Kings accepted His s.a.w’s invitation and converted to Islam. While, others had to step down from their Kingship as the countries were converting to Islam.
This brings us to another important lesson of Public relations in islam and that is:
Lesson 3: Communicate with Your Public – Take them in Confidence:
Hazarat Muhammad s.a.w took the Kings of different countries in confidence by the letters he wrote to them. At that time there was no other way to communicate but this communication method is still practiced by public relations officers.
Farewell Sermon: Also known as the last sermon, farewell sermon is the last sermon of Hazarat Muhammad s.a.w to all people of the world. What can be a better public relation communication then the propagation of the message of God to His s.a.w’s people and that is what He s.a.w did.
Islam in Last 1400 years:
In the last 1400 years, we are experiencing that the circle of people who are converting to Islam is on the rise. Many people including important personalities have converted to Islam just because of the Preaching of Islam by Ulema and the truth these people see in the religion.
As the Public Relations definition describes, it is a sustained effort to keep up the goodwill. We can see that being employed in propagating a sustained message of Islam to non-Muslims.
“Practice of PR is a sustained effort that goes on and on…”
It can easily be concluded that Public Relations was not only practiced by Romans and Greeks but also if we study the emergence of Islam as a religion we can clearly see public relations in Islam and the strategies that Muhammad s.a.w used and that are still used by the followers of Islam to provide knowledge of Islam to non-Muslims.
This article is part of an assignment for Public Relations subject.