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The prophet Mohammed

The Prophet Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula . His father, Abdullah, died several weeks before his birth in Yathrib (Medinah) where he went to visit his father’s maternal relatives. His mother died while on the return journey from Medinah at a place called ‘Abwa’ when he was six years old. He was raised by his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, and then by his uncle, Abu Talib.

Under the guardianship of Abu Talib, Muhammad began to earn a living as a businessman and a trader. At the age of twelve, he accompanied Abu Talib with a merchant caravan as far as Bostra in Syria. Muhammad was popularly known as ‘al-Ameen’ for his unimpeachable character by the Makkans and visitors alike. The title Al-Ameen means the Honest, the Reliable and the Trustworthy, and it signified the highest standard of moral and public life.

Upon hearing of Muhammad’s impressive credentials, Khadijah, a rich merchant widow, asked Muhammad to take some merchandise for trade to Syria. Soon after this trip when he was twenty-five, Khadijah proposed marriage to Muhammad through a relative. Muhammad accepted the proposal. At that time, Khadijah was twice widowed and forty years old.

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.Resting on the top of one of the mountains north of Mecca, the cave is completely isolated from the rest of the world.

Cave hira in mecca

On August 10, 610 CE, Prophet Muhammad was in solitude in the cave on Mount Hira. He was startled by the Angel Gabriel and angel said, “Recite.” “I cannot recite,” he (Muhammad) said.Muhammad himself described: “Then he took me and squeezed me vehemently and then let me go and repeated the order ‘Recite.’ ‘I cannot recite’ said I, and once again he squeezed me and let me ’til I felt my soul about to leave my body. Then he said, ‘Recite.’ I said, ‘I cannot recite.’ He squeezed me for a third time and then let me go and Gabriel said:

“Read in the name of your Lord who created – created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood) Read: for your Lord is Most Bountiful, who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.” (Quran 96:1-5)”

he Prophet repeated these verses. He was trembling with fear. At this stage,this Divine Inspiration so affected that he hurried home,but was unable to escape from divine presence,which repeated Muhammad reached home and told Khadijah what had happened. She covered him with blankets, consoled him, and reminded him that he had always been a man of charity and honesty, and that God would not lead him astray.

It is reported that Khadijah and Muhammad first approached Khad-ijah’s cousin, Waraqa ibn Nawfal, for advice on the experience. Waraqa was a Christian convert and multilingual scholar .Waraqah was learned scholar of Old and New Testaments. He reassured her that Muhammad had been called on as a Messenger but warned him, “People will accuse him of falsehood, persecute, exile and attack him

For the first few years of his Mission, the Prophet preached to his family and his intimate friends. The first women to convert was his wife Khadija. After three years prophet was directed by a revelation to start preaching openly to every one. Then he climbed on a hill and called the people according the custom of Makkah City. He asked the people, O, people of Makkah, “Can you believe if I inform you that there is army behind this hill is ready to attack on city”. People replied, “Definitely, you are ‘Al-Amin’ and you never tell a lie”. At this reply, he conveyed his message. O, people of Makkah listen there are no god but Allah. Worship only Allah and don’t associate any one with Allah. . The Quraish, leaders of Makkah, took his preaching with hostility. The most hostile and closest to the prophet was his uncle Abu Lahab and his wife. Initially, they and other leaders of Quraish tried to bribe him with money and power including an offer to make him king if he were to abandon his message. When this did not work, they tried to convince his uncle Abu Talib to accept the best young man of Makkah in place of Muhammad and to allow them to kill Muhammad. His uncle tried to persuade the Prophet to stop preaching but the Prophet said: “O uncle, if they were to put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to stop me from preaching Islam, I would never stop. I will keep preaching until the message of god prevails or I die.”

The Quraish began to persecute Muslims by beating, torture and boycott of their businesses. Those who were weak, poor or slaves were publicly tortured. The first person to die by this means was a Muslim women by the name Umm Ammar (the mother of Ammar Ibn Yasir). The Muslims from well-to-do families were physically restrained in their homes with the condition that if they recant they will be allowed freedom of movement. The Prophet was publicly ridiculed and humiliated including frequent throwing of filth on him in the street and while he prayed in the Ka’bah. In spite of great hardships and no apparent support, the message of Islam kept all Muslims firm in their belief. The Prophet was asked by God to be patient and to preach the message of Qur’an. He advised Muslims to remain patient because he did not receive any revelation yet to retaliate against their persecutors.

When the persecution became unbearable for most Muslims, the Prophet advised them in the fifth year of his mission (615 CE) to emigrate to Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) where Ashabah (Negus, a Christian) was the ruler. Eighty people, not counting the small children, emigrated in small groups to avoid detection. No sooner had they left the Arabian coastline, the leaders of Quraish discovered their flight. They decided to not leave these Muslims in peace, and immediately sent two of their envoys to Negus to bring all of them back. However, Negus allowed them to stay under his protection after he investigated Muslim belief and heard the revelations about Jesus and Mary, which appears in Chapter 19, entitled Mary, of the Qur’an. The emigrants were allowed freedom of worship in Abyssinia.

The Quraish then made life even more difficult for the Prophet by implementing total ban on contact with the Prophet’s family (Bani Hashim and Muttalib). The ban lasted for three years without the desired effect. Just before the ban was lifted, the Prophet was contacted by the leaders of Quraish to agree to a compromise under which they should all practice both religions (i.e., Islam and Idolatry). Upon hearing this, the Prophet recited a revelation (Chapter 109) he had just received and which ends with the words: “… For you your religion and for me mine.” The ban was lifted when leaders of Quraish discovered that their secret document on the terms of ban, which they had stored in Ka’bah, was eaten by worms and all that was left were the opening words ‘In the name of god’ The effects of the three-year boycott left the Prophet with more personal sorrow when he lost his beloved wife Khadijah and uncle Abu Talib soon after the ban was lifted.

the prophet experienced the events of al-Israa and al-Miraaj (621 CE). In the Al-Israa, Gabriel took the Prophet from the sacred Mosque near Ka’bah to the furthest (al-Aqsa) mosque in Jerusalem in a very short time in the latter part of a night. Here, Prophet Muhammad met with previous Prophets (Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others) and he led them in prayer. After this, in Al-Miraj, the Prophet was taken up to heavens to show the signs of God [More… The Dome of the Rock]. It was on this journey that five daily prayers were prescribed. He was then taken back to Ka’bah, the whole experience lasting a few hours of a night. Upon hearing this, the people of Makkah mocked at him. However, when his specific description of Jerusalem, other things on the way, and the caravan that he saw on this journey including its expected arrival in Makkah turned out to be true, the ridicule of the nonbelievers stopped. The event of Israa and Miraaj is mentioned in the Qur’an – the first verse of Chapter 17 entitled ‘The Children of Israel.’

In 622 CE, the leaders of the Quraish decided to kill the Prophet and they developed a plan in which one man was chosen from each of the Quraish tribes and they were to attack the Prophet simultaneously. the Prophet was informed of the plan .The Prophet, after making arrangements, left with Abu Bakr in the night he was to be assassinated. They went south of Makkah to a mountain cave of Thawr [see Qur’an 9:40], and after staying three nights they traveled north to Yathrib (Medinah) about two hundred fifty miles from Makkah. Upon discovery of his escape, the leaders of Quraish put up a reward of one hundred camels on him, dead or alive. In spite of all their best scouts and search parties, Allah protected the Prophet and he arrived safely in Quba, a suburb of Medinah [Qur’an 28:85]. This event is known as the ‘Hijra’ (migration) and the Islamic calendar begins with this event. The people of Aws and Khazraj in Medinah greeted him with great enthusiasm in accordance with their pledge made at Aqaba less than a year ago during the annual pilgrimage. One by one those Muslims (men and women) of Makkah who were not physically restrained, and who could make a secret exit, left for Medinah leaving behind their properties and homes.

The Prophet proposed a treaty to establish peace, brother-hood and equality among citizens of Madina. All citizens of Madina including Muslims and non-Muslim accepted it. It was the begining of Muslim state. Now the enemies of Islam started assault from all sides. In result many wars occurred between Muslims and non-believers of Makkah. War of Badr was first and few other famous were Uhud and Allies (The Trench). A large number of Muslims lost their life, women were widowed and children orphaned. The Prophet married several women between his age of fifty-six and sixty to provide the shelter and to these women. Aishah, Umm Salamah, Juwayriah and Safiyah are famous names among the wives the Prophet . All of the wives of the Prophet were widows or divorced except Aishah .

In 622, the Prophet traveled toward Makkah with 1500 of his companion for Hajj (annual pilgrim of Ka’bah) When they reached at the city of Hudaibiya. Quraish of Makkah stopped them there and after some negotiation an agreement was signed that they can come for Hajj next year. This agreement facilitates the Muslims to exchange the ideas among the people of the whole region with interference. The Prophet sent messages to several kings and rulers inviting them to Islam. Many delegations from all over the Arabia came to the Prophet and large number of people accepted Islam with in a couple of years

In 629 CE, the Treaty of Hudaybiyah ended by the violatetion of the terms from Quraish. Quraish attacked on men of Bani Khuza’ah who were the allied with the Prophet . After confirming all the reports of attack, the Prophet marched toward Makkah with his 3,000 companions from Madina. Muslims from other Arab communities joined him on the way. Total of 10,000 reached at Makkah after sunset. Quraish of Makkah were surprised to see the campfire. Abu Sufyan the leader of Quraish came forward and accepted Islam. The Prophet entered in Makkah with his forces without any bloodshed. Before entering in city he announced to citizens of Makkah that anyone who remained in his home, or in the Abu Sufyan’s home, or in the Ka’bah would be safe. The Prophet went directly to the Ka’bah. He magnified Allah for the triumphant entry in the Holy city. The Ka’bah was then cleansed by the removal of all three hundred sixty idols, and it was restored to worship of only One True God. The Prophet forgave all of his enemies in Makkah.

The people of Makkah then accepted Islam including the staunch enemies of the Prophet. A few of the staunchest enemies and military commanders had fled Makkah after his entry. However, when they received the Prophet’s assurance of no retaliation and no compulsion in religion, they came back and gradually the message of Islam won their hearts. Within a year (630 CE), almost all Arabia accepted Islam. Among the Prophet’s close companions were Muslims from such diverse background as Persia, Abyssinia, Syria and Rome. Several prominent Jewish Rabbis, Christian bishop and clergymen accepted Islam after discussions with the Prophet.

The great change in Arabia alarmed the two superpowers, Byzantines and Persians. Their Governors, particularly the Byzantines, reacted with threats to attack Medinah. Instead of waiting, the prophet sent a small army to defend the northmost border of Arabia. In the remaining life of the Prophet, all of the major battles were fought on the northern front. The Prophet did not have a standing army. Whenever he received a threat, he called the Muslims and discussed with them the situation and gathered volunteers to fight any aggression.

The Prophet performed his first and last pilgrimage in 632 CE. One hundred twenty-thousand men and women performed pilgrimage that year with him. The Prophet received the last revelation during this pilgrimage. Two months later, Prophet Muhammad fell ill and after several days died on Monday, 12 Rabi al-Awwal, the eleventh year after Hijra (June 8, 632 CE) in Medinah. He is buried in the same place where he died.

At the end of his mission, the Prophet was blessed with several hundred thousand followers (men and women) of Islam.They faithfully carried the message of Islam after the Prophet, and within ninety years the light of Islam reached Spain, North Africa, the Caucasus, northwest China and India.

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