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Who is Muhammad?


Muslims regard Muhammad (pbuh) as the last of a long line of Prophets and Messengers sent to every nation and tribe. This Prophetic brotherhood includes Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them all). Therefore, Islam regards all expressions of monotheism as coming from the same Source and the Prophets as messengers from the same Almighty God.  Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that the difference between him and the other prophets is that they came primarily to their people but he was sent to all of humanity. For Muslims he is considered to be the seal and finality of all of the Prophets and Messengers as his message transcended all boundaries of race, language and tribe.

Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Makkah in the year 570 A.D. during a time of great ignorance and religious uncertainty. He was from the tribe of Quraish and a direct descendant of the prophets Ishmael and Abraham (peace be upon them). His father died before he was born and his mother passed away shortly after his birth. He was raised mainly by his uncle, Abu Talib, and spent much of his early years as a shepherd. Muhammad (pbuh) became renowned for his sincerity, generosity and truthfulness.  He had a contemplative nature and shunned the idolatry, and decadence of Makkan society.

In later years, Muhammad (pbuh) became fond of leaving the city and meditating in the mountains nearby. He would spend hours gazing at the star-filled Arabian sky and reflecting on his humanity and the divine nature of creation. At the age of 40, he received a revelation from the Angel Gabriel, commanding him to recite and ponder his existence. This was the beginning of the final Divine Testament, the Qur’an, revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) over a period of 23 years – a scripture that would guide him to form a community of believers in One true God. His followers were from different nations and tribes but their faith in God was the same as Messengers of monotheism who came before them. Muhammad (pbuh) had begun a mission that would change the Arabian Peninsula from a state of war, paganism and debauchery to a society of compassion, Godliness and unity. His message would reach the far corners of the earth within 100 years and usher in a period of intellectual and spiritual transformation.

Further Reading

After 13 years of teaching pure monotheism and breaking down racial and class divisions, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was rejected by the leaders of his hometown in Makkah. Many of his followers were tortured and killed. He, eventually migrated to Al Madinah in the north of Arabia and began developing an Islamic society. He laid the foundations of this society in three major ways:

  1. Muhammad (pbuh) strengthened the relationship between the Muslim community and God Almighty by building an all-purpose house of worship that provided services for religious, educational and social affairs.
  2.  He strengthened the relationship between the Muslims, one to another, by developing a type of social contract that provided an operational unity and a source of love and personal bonding. They intermarried, shared their wealth and even engaged in a form of share cropping as a means of economic empowerment.
  3. He strengthened the bond between Muslims and people of other faiths by developing a constitution that enabled the young city-state to meet the needs of minorities. This new arrangement included other faiths in the development and defense of society without compelling them to accept Islam.

Muhammad’s teachings transformed people’s character by bringing out the best in humanity. He was quoted as saying:

“Extend peace greetings among yourselves, provide food to the needy, maintain close relations, observe prayer at night while people are asleep, then you will peacefully enter Paradise.”

“He will not enter Paradise, he whose neighbor is not secure from his wrongful conduct.”

“To remove something harmful from the road is charity.”

“Charity erases sin just as water extinguishes fire.”

“ Show mercy to people on earth, so that Allah will have mercy on you in Heaven.”

“The Believers in their mutual love are like the human body, where when the eye is in agony, the entire body feels the pain. When the head aches, all the body parts will suffer.”

“Provide food and extend greetings to whom you know or do not know.”

These concepts in 6th century Arabia, they were a total revolution in human affairs. No wonder they spread so fast throughout Arabia and beyond. It is no surprise that they continue to inspire people of all nations, languages and ethnicities even in today’s troubled world.