Description of Muhammad
Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Mecca ( Makkah), Arabia, on Monday, 12 Rabi’ Al-Awal (2 August A.D. 570). His mother, Aminah, was the daughter of Wahb Ibn Abdu Manaf of the Zahrah family. His father, ‘Abdullah, was the son of Abdul Muttalib. His genealogy has been traced to the noble house of Ishmael, the son of Prophet Abraham in about the fortieth descend. Muhammad’s father died before his birth.
Before he was six years old his mother died, and the doubly orphaned Muhammad was put under the charge of his grandfather Abdul Muttalib who took the most tender care of him. But the old chief died two years afterwards. On his deathbed he confided to his son Abu Talib the charge of the little orphan.
Journey to Busra – Christian Monk merits Muhammad
When Muhammad was twelve years old, he accompanied his uncle Abu Talib on a mercantile journey to Syria, and they proceeded as far as Busra. The journey lasted for some months. It was at Busra that the Christian monk Bahira met Muhammad. He is related to have said to Abu Talib: ‘Return with this boy and guard him against the hatred of the Jews, for a great career awaits your nephew.”
Muhammad’s honest and honorable character
After this journey, the youth of Muhammad seems to have been passed uneventfully, but all authorities agree in ascribing to him such correctness of manners and purity of morals as were rare among the people of Mecca. The fair character and the honorable bearing of the unobtrusive youth won the approbation of the citizens of Mecca, and b y common consent he received the title of “Al Ameen,” The Faithful.
In his early years, Muhammad was not free from the cares of life. He had to watch the flocks of his uncle, who, like the rest of the Bani Hashim, had lost the greater part of his wealth.
Muhammad’s marriage to Khadijah
When Muhammad was twenty five years old, he traveled once more to Syria as a factor of a noble and rich Quraishi widow named Khadijah; and, having proved himself faithful in the commercial interests of that lady, he was soon rewarded with her hand in marriage. This marriage proved fortunate and singularly happy. Khadijah was much the senior of her husband, but in spite of the disparity of age between them, the most tender devotion on both sides existed. This marriage gave him the loving heart of a woman who was ever ready to console him in his despair and to keep alive within him the feeble, flickering flame of hope when no man believed in him and the world appeared gloomy in his eyes.
Muhammad’s Visions and struggle to fight depression
The first vision was followed by a considerable period, during which Muhammad suffered much mental depression. Only Almighty Allah knows what Muhammad must have been thinking and feeling at that time. He may have been worried about his visions, uncertain as to how the majority of the Makkans would treat Allah’s blessing, since their own interests were at stake. The Makkans, at that time, relied heavily on trade that revolved around polytheistic and pagan rituals of false idols and statues and other things that they worshipped. One can’t contemplate his future and responsibilities to the people of the world, as well as the challenges that Allah Almighty had chosen him for.
Prophet rises to start his mission for Allah
The angel spoke to the grieved heart of hope and trust and of the bright future when he would see the people of the earth crowding into the one true faith. His destiny was unfolded to him, when, wrapped in profound meditation, melancholy and sad, he felt himself called by a voice from heaven to arise and preach.
“O you (Muhammad) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allah) magnify!” (Ch 74:1-3 Quran)
He arose and engaged himself in the work to which he was called. Khadijah was the first to accept his mission. She was to believe in the revelations, to abandon the idolatry of her people and to join him in purity of heart and in offering up prayers to Allah the Almighty.
The Holy Quran is a Miracle
There are some seventeen places in the Quran, in which the Prophet Muhammad is challenged to work a sign, and he answered them all to the same or similar effect: Allah has the power of working miracles, and has not been believed; there were greater miracles in nature than any which could be wrought outside of it; and the Quran itself was a great, everlasting miracle. The Quran, the Prophet used to assert to the disbeliveers, is a book of blessings which is a warning for the whole world; it is a complete guidance and explains everything necessary; it is a reminder of what is imprinted on human nature and is free from every discrepancy and from error and falsehood. It is a book of true guidance and a light to all.
As to the sacred idols, so much honored and esteemed by the pagan Arabs, the Prophet openly recited:
“They are but names which you have named – you and your fathers – for which Allah has sent down no authority.” (CH 53:23 Quran)
When the Prophet thus spoke reproachfully of the sacred gods of the Quraish, the latter redoubled their persecution. But the Prophet, nevertheless, continued his preaching undaunted but the hostility of his enemies or by their bitter persecution of him. And despite all opposition and increased persecution, the new faith gained ground. The national fair at Okadh near Mecca attracted many desert Bedouins and trading citizen of distant towns. These listened to the teachings of the Prophet, to his admonitions, and to his denunciations of their sacred idols and of their superstitions. They carried back all that they had heard to their distant homes, and thus the advent of the Prophet was made know to almost all parts of the peninsula.
Umar Al-Khattab submits to Islam
During this period, ‘Umar Al-Khattab adopted Islam. In him the new faith gained a valuable adherent and an important factor in the future development and propagation of Islam. Hitherto he had been a violent opposer of the Prophet and a bitter enemy of Islam. His conversion is said to have been worked by the miraculous effect on his mind of a Surah of the Quran which his sister was reading in her house, where he had gone with the intention of killing her for adopting Islam.
Thus the party of the Prophet had been strengthened by the conversation by his uncle Hamza, a man of great valor and merit; and of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, both men of great energy and reputation. The Muslims now ventured to perform their devotions in public.
People of Madina accept Prophet
The repulse greatly discouraged his followers; however, the Prophet boldly continued to preach to the public assemblies at the pilgrimage and gained several new converts, among whom were six of the city of Yahtrib (later called Medina), of the Jewish tribe of Khazraj. When these Yathribites returned home, they spread the news among their people that a prophet had arisen among the Arabs who was to call them to Allah and put an end to their inquiries.
Hijra – Islamic Calendar marks this date
Thus was accomplished the hijrah, or the flight of Muhammad as called in European annals, from which the Islamic calendar dates.
Prophet Muhammad’s last days
The health of the Prophet grew worse. His last days were remarkable for the calmness and serenity of his mind. He was able, though weak and feeble, to lead the public prayers until within three days of his death. He requested that he might be permitted to stay at ‘Aisha’s house close to the mosque during his illness, an arrangement to which his other wives assented. As long as his strength lasted, he took part in the public prayers. The last time he appeared in the mosque he addressed the congregation, after the usual prayers were over, in the following words: “O Muslims, if I have wronged anyone of you, here I am to answer for it; if I owe anything to anyone, all I may happen to possess belongs to you.” A man in the crowd rose and claimed three Dhirhams which he had given to a poor man at the request of the Prophet. They were immediately paid back with these words: “Better to blush in this world than in the next.”
The Prophet then prayed and implored Allah’s mercy for those who had fallen in the persecution of their enemies. He recommended to all his followers the observance of religious duties and the leading of a life of peace and goodwill. Then he spoke with emotion and with a voice still so powerful as to reach beyond the outer doors of the mosque: “By the Lord in Whose hand lies the soul of Muhammad as to myself, no man can lay hold on me in any matter; I have not made lawful anything excepting what Allah has made lawful; nor have I prohibited anything but that which Allah in His Book has prohibited.”
Then turning to the women who sat close by, he exclaimed: “O Fatimah, my, daughter, and Safia, my aunt, work you both that which procure you acceptance with the Lord, for verily I have no power to save you in any wise.” He then rose and re-entered the house of Aisha.
The death of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him
After this, the Prophet never appeared at public prayers. A few hours after he returned from the mosque, the Prophet died while laying his head on the bosom of Aisha. As soon as the Prophet’s death was announced, a crowd of people gathered at the door of the house of Aisha, exclaiming: “How can our messenger be dead?” Umar said: “No, he is not dead; he will be restored to us, and those are traitors to the cause of Islam who say he is dead. If they say so let them be cut in pieces.” But Abu Bakr entered the house at this moment, and after he had touched the body of the Prophet with a demonstration of profound affection, he appear at the door and addressed the crowd with the following speech: “O Muslims, if anyone of you has been worshipping Muhammad, then let me tell you that Muhammad is dead. But if you really do worship Allah then
know that Allah is living and will never die. Do you forget the verse in the Quran:
“Muhammad is not more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn your back on your heels (as disbeliveers)?
And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful.” (Ch 3:144 Quran).
Upon hearing this speech of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar acknowledged his error, and the crowd was satisfied and dispersed.
Al-Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle, presided at the preparation for the burial, and the body was duly washed and perfumed. There was some dispute between the Quraish and the Ansars as to the place of burial; however, Abu Bakr settled the dispute by affirming that he had heard the Prophet say that a prophet should be buried at the very spot where he died. A grave was accordingly dugin the ground within the house of Aisha and under the bed on which the Prophet died. In this grave the body was buried, and the usual rites were performed by those who were present.
Thus ended the glorious life of that Prophet Muhammad.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.