THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praised be Allah, the Lord of the Universe, peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet Muhammad, his companions, his kin, and his followers until the Date of the Last Judgment.
Allah says: (And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds). 21:107
And Allah further says: (Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah, of all things knowing). 33:40.
And Allah further says: (And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, ‘O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad [Muhammad]!’ But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, ‘This is obvious magic’)! 61:06.
Muhammad, Son of Abdullah, Son of Abdul Muttalib [Shaibah], Son of Hashim, Son of Abdu Manaf, Son of Mudwar, Son of Kilab, Son of Murrah, Son of Kaab, Son of Lu`ai, Son of Ghalib, Son of Fihr, Son of Malik, Son of Annadwr, Son of Kinanah, Son of Khuzaimah, Son of Mudirikah, Son of Ilyass, Son of Mudwar, Son of Nazar, Son of Maad, Son of Adnan, Son of Ádad, Son of Muqawwam, Son of Náhuir, Son of Tairih, Son of Yaarab, Son of Yashdjib, Son of Thabit, Son of Ismael, Son of Abraham, peace be upon him. In the saying of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, it is mentioned: (Certainly Allah chose the sons of Abraham, Ishmael, and chose from Ishmael, Kinanah, and chose from Kinanah, Kuraish, and chose from Kuraish the Sons of Hasim, and chose me among the sons of Hashim; thus, I am the best, of the best of the best.) Reported by Muslim.
Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him
It was in such environment and life conditions that, in the year of 570, it was born the Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. His father, Abdullah, had died few weeks earlier, and his grandfather raised him. In accordance with the traditions of the time, the child was entrusted to the care of a Bedouin wet nurse, with whom he spent a few years in the desert.
All his biographers affirm that, as a child, Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, sucked only one of his nurses’ breast, leaving the other for the feeding of his half-brother. When the child was brought back home, his nurse delivered him to his maternal uncles, in the city of Madinah.
During the return trip, he lost his mother, who suddenly died in Makkah, and another desolation awaited him – the death of his affectionate grandfather. Undergoing such deprivations at eight years old, he was finally delivered to the care of his uncle, Abu Talib, a naturally generous man, whose resources, however, were always below the needs of his own family.
Thus, the young Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was faced with the need of immediately finding a way to make a living, initially serving as a boy shepherd to some neighbors. At the age of ten, he accompanied his uncle in a trip to Syria, when he took a caravan there, but there is no mention to any other Abu Talib trips. However, there are references that he opened a business in Makkah, and it is possible that Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was with him and helped in this enterprise too.
At the age of twenty-five, Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was already well known in the city for his integrity, availability and character honesty. Then, a single rich widow named Khadija contracted him and asked him to take her goods to sell in Syria. Happy with the uncommon profits he earned and enchanted with the personal charisma of her agent, she offered herself to marry him – reports say she was forty years old at the time. They had a happy marriage. Later, we see him sometimes at the Hubacha fair (Yemen), and at least once in the country of Abd Al Kais (Bahrain and Oman), as mentioned by Ibn Hanbal.
There are reasons to believe that it refers to the great market of Dabá (Oman), where, according to Ibn Hanbal, merchants from China, Hindi and Sind (India and Pakistan), Persia and from the East would reunite every year. A business partner of Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, in Makkah, whose name is Sa’ib, reports: ‘We would recite to each other; when Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was leading the caravan together with him, he would not go home upon the return without settling the accounts with me first; and when I was leading the caravan, upon the return, he would ask about my wellbeing, not mentioning anything about the capital entrusted to me.’
Commencement of the Religious Awareness
Little is known about the religious habits of Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, until his thirty-five years, except for that he never adored idols, which is consubstantiated by his biographers. It is possible to affirm that there was some other people in Makkah that had similarly turned against the senseless practice of paganism, despite of keeping their fidelity to Kaaba as the house devoted to the One Allah, because of his instructor Abraham (peace and blessings be upon him).
Approximately, in the year 605 of the Christian era, the cloths covering the external wall of Kaaba were set on fire, and the building was affected, not supporting the weight of the torrential rains that followed. The reconstruction of the Kaaba was then undertaken, each citizen provided contributions in accordance with their possessions and only donations deriving from honest earnings were accepted. Everyone took part in the reconstruction work, and the shoulders of Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, were injured from carrying stones in order to identify the place where the ritual of circumventing it would start, whereby the dark stone was placed at the Kaaba wall, dated of the time of Abraham himself (peace and blessings be upon him).
There was a rivalry among the citizens for the honor of returning the stone to its position. By the start of the bloodshed, someone suggested to leave the issue for the Providence, thus accepting the discretion of whoever reached such spot first.
It happened that when Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, who was known as Amin (the honest), showed up to help in the work, as routinely, everyone accepted his discretion.
Without hesitating, Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, asked for a cloak and put in on the ground, placed the stone on it, and asked the heads of all city tribes to take the cloak together. When it was done, he himself placed the stone in its right place, at one of the building’s corners, and thus everybody was satisfied, vanishing any dispute. From such moment on, we see Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, more and more absorbed in spiritual meditations. Like his grandfather, we used to depart to a cave in ‘Jabal an Nur’ (the light mountain) during the whole month of Ramadan – such cave is known as Ghári Hirá –, where he would pray, meditate and share his scarce provisions with pass-by travelers.
He was forty years old and it was the fifth consecutive year in which he would start his annual retreat when, a certain night, close to the end of the month of Ramadan, an angel visited him and announced that Allah had chosen him as his Messenger for the whole humankind. The angel told him the following Divine message:
‘Recite in the name of your Lord who created; Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous, Who taught by the pen, Taught man that what he did not know.’ (Quran 96:1-5).
Deeply moved, he returned home and reported the event to his wife, expressing this fear of it being something diabolic, or made by action of evil spirits. She comforted him saying he had always been a compassionate and generous man, that he had always helped the poor, the orphans, the widows and the persons in need, assuring him that Allah would protect him against all evil.
Then there was a gap in the revelation that would last three more years. The Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, must have felt an initial shock, followed by a stillness, a burning desire, and, after some expectation time, an increasing impatience. The news of his first visions spread and, due to the gap, the skepticals of the city started to make fun of him and to tell evil jokes. They even said Allah had abandoned him.
For such three years of wait, the Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, got more and more down to the prays and to the other spiritual habits and, finally, the revelations were resumed. Allah ensured him that He had never abandoned him; to the contrary, He guided him in the correct path. Thus, he should care for the orphans and for the abandoned, proclaiming the generosity that Allah showed him.
‘By the morning brightness, And [by] the night when it covers with darkness, Your Lord has not taken leave of you, nor has He detested you. And the Hereafter is better for you than the first. And your Lord is going to give you, and you will be satisfied. Did He not find you an orphan and give you refuge? And He found you lost and guided you, And He found you poor and made you self-sufficient. So as for the orphan, do not oppress, And as for the petitioner, do not repel him, But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].’ (Quran 93:1-11).
In fact, it was an order to pray, another revelation. Allah ordered him to warn people against the unlawful practices, to exhort them not to adore any other deity besides the Only Allah, waiving all that displeases Allah.
‘Arise and warn! And your Lord glorify! And your clothing purify! And uncleanliness avoid! And do not confer favor to acquire more, But for your Lord be patient.’ (Quran 74:2-7).
And ordered him to advise another revelation to his own closest relatives. ‘And want your closes relatives.’ (Quran 24:214).
‘Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists.’ (Quran, 15:94).
Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, started announcing his mission, first in secrecy, among his closest friends, and then among the members of his own tribe and subsequently, before the public, through the city and its suburbs. He insisted in the belief in the Single and Transcendent Allah, in the resurrection and in the Last Judgment. He urged charity and benevolence from man and took the required measures to preserve, in writing, the revelations that were being received by him. He ordered his partners to memorize them too, and it proceeded for the rest of his life, as the Holy Quran was not revealed once and for all, but in fragments, as the occasion for such may arise.
The number of believers gradually increased, but considering the paganism denounce, the opposition also became intense by those who were firmly related to their ancestral beliefs. Throughout the years, such opposition arose the persecution and physical torture of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and of those who had adopted Islam.
These persons would be stretched on the scalding sand, cauterized with burning iron, and chained by the feet. Some of them died as a result of the torture, but none of them renounced Islam. In despair, the Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, advised his followers to leave their city of origin and seek refuge abroad, in Abyssinia, ‘where there is a fair king, in whose kingdom nobody is oppressed’. Dozens of Muslims benefited from such advice, but not all of them. Such secret escapes resulted in an even greater persecution by the masters of Makkah to those who were left behind. Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, named his religion ISLAM, i.e. subordination to the will of Allah.
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon the prophet and Messenger of Allah, his kin, his companions, and his followers until the Date of the Resurrection.