1 Shaktiramar

Small Essay About Prophet Mohammed


1. THE LIFE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (PBUH)



Asslamu alaykum! Welcome to ‘the introduction to the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).’ There has never been a human being so well-respected, loved and followed as Muhammad (pbuh), the final messenger of Allah. There has never been a person who has changed world history so dramatically as Muhammad (pbuh) and his message. The Prophet (pbuh) was the single most important person in the history of the world.

The reason for Muhammad’s (pbuh) success was that he was sent with a pure message from Allah, the creator of all mankind. This message would help us understand how to live our lives. It would tell us about good and bad and about wrong and right. This message would tell us about mankind (about you and me), the universe and the rest of creation around us. This message would tell us about Allah and about our relationship with Allah. The message also told us about the Hereafter, the Day of Judgment, Heaven and Hell.

The Qu'ran is this pure message that was revealed to Muhammad 1400 years ago. These are the words of Allah that were sent to the prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Allah has guarded it and kept it pure from changes and errors. The purpose or mission of the prophet (pbuh) was to deliver this message to Mankind and to follow its teachings.

There is no other message that has such an impact on mankind as the Qu’ran. There are no other revealed books that have been kept pure from changes like the Qu’ran has. The Qu’ran has changed the lives of billions of people in the world. It has helped them become better people and live according to the will of Allah.

There were many prophets that came before prophet Muhammad (pbuh) - 124,000 we are told from Hadith. The Qu’ran tells us that every nation was sent a prophet. The mission of the prophets was to tell their people about Allah and invite them to live their lives according to Allah’s command. This helped them be good and generous people who looked after and cared for each other. The good people would be rewarded with heaven and the people that rebelled and refused the prophet would be punished with hellfire.

When the prophet died, the people would forget part of the message and then add bits to the original message. Eventually, the messages became completely different and the people went astray again. Allah would send another messenger to guide them back to the right path.

This cycle of prophets coming and the people going astray continued for a long time. When Muhammad (pbuh) came, the cycle was broken. The big difference was that the message of Muhammad (pbuh) was for everyone and would never change. If the people went astray, they could turn back to the original message (the Qu’ran) and be guided again. If they did not understand things they could look into the Sunnah which is a practical guide of how the Qu'ran is followed.

Allah said that he would guard the message (the Holy Qu’ran) from any changes. We find that the Qu'ran we have today is the same Qu'ran that was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) through Angel Jibrael. There is not a word or letter difference between the original and today’s Qu’ran. If anyone goes on the wrong path or gets mixed up, they can read the Qu’ran and receive guidance.

There are no more messengers to come after Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He was the seal of the prophets. The prophet (pbuh) told us on his last sermon – ‘I have left nothing but two things – the Qu’ran and the Sunnah – follow these and you will never go astray.’

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Makkah to Amina and Abdullah. Abdullah passed away before Muhammad (pbuh) was born and was brought up by Amina, his mother. When he was six, his mother passed away and then he was looked after by his loving grandfather Abdul Mutallib. Two years later, Abdul Mutallib also passed away and Muhammad (pbuh) was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib.

Muhammad (pbuh) lived a simple life, marrying Khadija when he was twenty five years old. At the age of forty, the first verses came from Allah in the month of Ramadan. The Angel Jibrael brought these first five verses to Muhammad (pbuh). These words were written down by the scribes and memorised by the Muslims. This message continued for twenty three years and is known as the Qu'ran – the word of Allah.

The people originally refused to follow Muhammad (pbuh) and persecuted him. There were only a handful of people who followed Muhammad (pbuh) and his teachings. The Prophet (pbuh) and his followers suffered many hardships in Makkah. After thirteen years, they left Makkah and migrated to Yathrib (Madina) where many people accepted Islam and the teachings spread very quickly.

The Makkans were not happy; they tried to attack the Muslims on many occasions. These were times of trial for the Muslims. There were times when the Muslims faced many problems and hardships but they continued to struggle on. The Muslims were eventually successful and managed to secure peace in the whole region. Many people began to accept Islam in Arabia but the Makkans continued to plot against the Muslims.

Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions returned to Makkah and the House of Allah. The Muslims then removed all the idols from the Ka'bahand Muhammad (pbuh) forgave these people who had persecuted and harmed him for so many years. There was great happiness and rejoicing in Makkah.

Islam continued to spread and reform the Arabs. After the prophet (pbuh) passed away Islam continued to spread all over the world. The rightly guided Khalifas that came after Muhammad ruled justly and cared for the people. There was justice throughout the lands as more and more people, tribes and countries accepted the teachings of Islam.

The Sahabah, the companions of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh), worked hard to practice the ideals of Islam and teach it to the people. Through the efforts of the Sahabah and the early Muslims we are Muslims today, Alhamdu-lillah.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was kind and honest. He looked after his family and friends. He had good character and respected the elders. He looked after the orphans and the poor. He was concerned for the wellbeing of all people. He never stole or swore at anyone. He was loved and respected by everyone – the Muslims and the non-Muslims.

The prophet’s character and actions are also recorded in the Hadith books which give us an insight into this great man. Many people try and follow the example of the prophet (pbuh), indeed he is a role model for all Muslims. We should also be kind and good – following the example of the prophet (pbuh) throughout our lives.

In the Seerah class, you will learn a lot about the prophet (pbuh) and about his life. The lessons are very simple and are only a small introduction to the life of our prophet Muhammad (pbuh). You should spend some of your own time and learn more about this great man.

This article is from the second edition of Jihad in the Qur’an: The Truth from the Source. The book is now in its third edition.

Prophet Muhammad was born in 570 CE (Common Era) in the city of Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula, part of modern day Saudi Arabia. As his father had died shortly after marriage, his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib became his guardian. ‘Abd al-Muttalib was the respected head of the clan of Hashim and the tribe of Quraysh, to which his clan belonged. With the Quraysh being the biggest and most influential tribe in Mecca, ‘Abd al-Muttalib was seen as the master of all of Mecca. The Quraysh had a special status in Mecca because they used to be in charge of the sacred Ka’ba. The Qur’an tells us that this holy edifice was built by Prophets Abraham and his son Ishmael:

And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House [Abraham prayed]: “Our Lord! Accept from us; surely You are the Hearing, the Knowing (2.127). Our Lord! Make us Muslims and raise from our offspring a nation of Muslims. Show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Surely, Your are the Relenting, the Merciful” (2.128).

This means that the Ka’ba was built around 1900 BCE, which is when Abraham is thought to have lived. The Ka’ba maintained its venerable status as the destination of pilgrimage in the eyes of the pilgrims and the Arab population of the Arabian Peninsula down the centuries. ‘Abd al-Muttalib was personally in charge of the Ka’ba.

The Prophet was only about five to six years old when he lost his mother. Orphan Muhammad then lost his grandfather and custodian ‘Abd al-Muttalib at the age of eight. Now one of ‘Abd al-Muttalib’s sons, AbuTalib, became the guardian of his orphan nephew. Though respected by the clan of Hashim and the people of Mecca in general, AbuTalib did not possess the high status and influence of his father. Had he been more fortunate financially, he might have aspired to acquire that special leadership status.

When Muhammad was twenty five years old, he was hired by a woman called Khadija to take her merchandize to Syria. Khadija, a widow fifteen years Muhammad’s senior, later proposed marriage to him, which he agreed to. They lived together for almost a quarter of a century, until the death of Khadija about 8-9 years after the revelation of the Qur’an.

It is interesting to note that Muhammad did not get married to any other woman during Khadija’s life, despite the fact that polygamy was common practice in that society. Living out his youth with only one woman in that highly polygamous environment contradicts Muhammad’s lecherous image in the Western mind.

Muhammad was deeply interested in matters beyond this mundane life. He used to frequent a cave that became known as “Hira‘” on the Mountain of “Nur” (light) for contemplation. The cave itself, which survived the times, gives a very vivid image of Muhammad’s spiritual inclinations. Resting on the top of one of the mountains north of Mecca, the cave is completely isolated from the rest of the world. In fact, it is not easy to find at all even if one knew it existed. After visiting the cave, I found myself concluding that Muhammad must have been divinely guided to that hideaway, even if he had chosen it consciously. Once inside the cave, it is a total isolation. Nothing can be seen other than the clear, beautiful sky above and the many surrounding mountains. Very little of this world can be seen or heard from inside the cave. The inhabitant of that cave was obviously interested in things beyond this world and its material riches.

It was in that cave in 610 CE, i.e. at the age of forty, that Prophet Muhammad received from Allah the first verses of the Qur’an. Then and there, history changed.

The Qur’an continued to be revealed in fragments to Prophet Muhammad over the following twenty two years. The last words of the Book were revealed to the Prophet shortly before his death in 632 CE. We will read more about the Qur’an in section 2.2.

In the first two to three years after the revelation, the Prophet preached Islam secretly to individuals whom he trusted. When he started calling people to Islam publicly, the new religion gradually attracted more people but, not surprisingly, also increasing hostility from the idol worshipping population of Mecca. The Prophet was subjected to harassment and abuse. However, armed with patience, resilience, and determination, and protected by his uncle AbuTalib and the clan of Hashim, the Prophet was able to carry on preaching the new faith to people.

Converts to Islam, some of whom were slaves, had to suffer all kinds of persecution, including brutal torture and murder, at the hands of the enemies of the new religion in Mecca. In 614 CE, the Prophet had to instruct a group of Muslims to escape the persecution to Abyssinia and seek the protection of its just Christian king. The Quraysh then sent a delegation to the king, carrying precious gifts, to secure the extradition of the Muslim refugees. The king, however, rejected the bribe and let the Muslims stay in Abyssinia.

One year later, the Quraysh imposed economic and social sanctions on the Prophet, his followers, and his clan. As a result, the Muslims withdrew to a mountain in Mecca. The sanctions lasted about three years before collapsing in 618/619 CE without achieving their goals.

Soon afterward, the Prophet lost his wife Khadija. Matters got worse quickly with the death of his uncle and protector. Prophet Muhammad started to suffer more from the disbelievers’ relentless attempts to uproot Islam and destroy its followers. During the pilgrimage season in 622 CE, Muhammad met in Mecca with a number of chiefs from the city of Yathrib, where he had previously sent some Muslims to settle in. Having converted to Islam, the chiefs made a secret pledge to protect the Prophet should the Quraysh try to kill him.

However, the Quraysh learned about the agreement, so the people from Yathrib had to return quickly to their city. Sensing that the danger to Muslims has increased, Muhammad instructed them to immigrate individually or in small groups to Yathrib. The Qurayshites tried to prevent Muslims from fleeing Mecca to Yathrib, but the converts continued to sneak out gradually.

The continuing immigration of Muslims to Yathrib where they had allies was already very bad news for the Qurayshites. This could yet get much worse if Muhammad also would move to that city. They decided that they had no other option but to kill him.

The various clans of the tribe of Quraysh agreed to act as one and assassinate the Prophet while asleep. The idea behind acting collectively was that no one party could be blamed for the killing and become embroiled in a war of vengeance with the clan of Hashim.

The assassination plan, however, was sabotaged by divine intervention. The night the murder was planned to take place, Allah informed His Prophet of the danger and ordered him to secretly leave Mecca and head to the city of Yathrib. The latter became known as “al-Madina al-Munawwara” (the illuminated city), or “al-Madina” for brief, after the arrival of the Prophet.

This famous event, known as the “Hijra ” (immigration), occurred in 622 CE, about twelve years after the revelation of the first verses of the Qur’an. This flight was destined to have far-reaching consequences in establishing the Islamic community, strengthening the position of Islam, and spreading its message.

The Prophet lived in al-Madina for about ten years. By the time of his departure from this world in 632 CE, Islam had become well established as the religion of the Arabian Peninsula and had made inroads in neighboring regions; Muslims had become a major force to be reckoned with in the area.

There are a number of good, detailed English biographies of Prophet Muhammad. One biography written by a non-Muslim is Karen Armstrong’s Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (London: Phoenix Press, 2001). Another one written by a Muslim is Martin Lings’ Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources (Inner Traditions Intl Ltd, 1987).

For easy reference, this is a short chronology of major events in the life of Prophet Muhammad:

Date (CE)

Event

570

Birth of the Prophet in Mecca. His father was already dead when he was born.

575-576

The death of the Prophet’s mother.

578

The death of the Prophet’s grandfather and custodian ‘Abd al-Muttalib. The Prophet’s uncle AbuTalib became his guardian.

610

The first revelation of the Qur’an.

612-613

The Prophet started calling people to Islam publicly.

614

The first immigration of Muslims to Abyssinia escaping the persecution of the idol-worshipping Meccans. They stayed there for three months. A second immigration to Abyssinia, involving more Muslims, took place later on. This time, the immigrants stayed in Abyssinia until 628 CE when they rejoined the Prophet in al-Madina.

615

The tribe of Quraysh imposed economic and social sanctions on Muslims and the clan of Prophet Muhammad, Hashim.

618-619

The collapse of the sanctions.

618-619

The death of AbuTalib, the Prophet’s uncle, triggering increased hostility from the Meccans toward the Prophet.

622

The emigration of the Prophet from Mecca to al-Madina.

624

The first major battle of the Muslims against the disbelievers, known as the battle of Badr.

630

The Muslims conquered Mecca without fighting.

632

The last revelation of the Qur’an.

632

The departure of the Prophet from this world in al-Madina.

Copyright © 2004 Louay Fatoohi
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