Father's name: Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib
Mother's name: Aminah bint Wahb
Spouse: Khadijah bintKhuwaylid,SawdabintZamʿa ,Aisha bintAbiBakr ,Hafsabint Umar ,ZaynabbintKhuzayma ,Hind bintAbiUmayya ,ZaynabbintJahsh ,Juwayriyabint al-Harith ,RamlahbintAbiSufyan,RayhanabintZayd ,SafiyyabintHuyayy ,Maymunabint al-Harith ,Maria al-Qibtiyya
Children:Qasim ,`Abd-Allah , Ibrahim ,Zainab , Ruqayyah , Umm Kulthoom , Fatimah Zahra
Race or Ethnicity: Middle Eastern
Sexual orientation: Straight
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, Abu Talib, became the guardian of his orphan nephew. Though respected by the clan of Hashim and the people of Mecca in general, Abu Talib 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 Abu Talib 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.
He was last prophet. The military career of Muhammad lasted for the final ten years of his life when he served as the leader of the ummah at Medina. Muhammad spent his last ten years, from 622 to 632, as the leader of Medina in a state of war with pagan Mecca. Muhammad and his Companions had earlier migrated from Mecca to Medina in what is known as the Hijra following years of persecution by the Meccans. Through raids, sieges, and diplomacy, Muhammad and his followers allied with or subdued some of the tribes and cities of the Arabian peninsula in their struggle to overcome the powerful BanuQuraish of Mecca. They also sent out raiding parties against Arabic-speaking communities ruled under the Roman Empire. Muhammad was believed by the Muslims to be divinely chosen to spread Islam in Arabia, and Muhammad ultimately permitted warfare as one aspect of this struggle. After initially refusing to accede to requests by his followers to fight the Meccans for continued persecution and provocation, he eventually proclaimed the revelations of the Quran: "Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged -truly Allah has the power to come to their support- those who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, 'Our Lord is Allah'..." (Quran, 22:39-40)"After the first battle of Badr against the Quraysh, he is reported as having said "We have returned from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad (i.e. the struggle against the evil of one's soul)." John Esposito writes that Muhammad's use of warfare in general was alien neither to Arab custom nor to that of the Hebrew prophets, as both believed that God had sanctioned battle with the enemies of the Lord. Upon arrival in Medina he set about the establishment of a pact known as the Constitution of Medina, to regulate the matters of governance of the city, as well as the extent and nature of inter-community relations, and signatories to it included the Muslims, the Ansar and the various Jewish tribes of Medina. Significant clauses of the constitution included the mutual assistance of each other if one signatory were to be attacked by a third party, the resolution that the Muslims would profess their religion and the Jews theirs, as well as the appointment of Muhammad as the leader of the state. Muslims who did not migrate were subject to increased persecution, and the threat to the life of both the Ansar and the Muslims was such that they were reported as having to sleep by their weapons all night.‘ Abdullah bin Uabi bin Salul, who was the Madinan chief of the tribes ‘Aws and Khazraj before Muhammad's emigration was sent an ultimatum to either fight or expel Muhammad, or face action in the form of a military campaign that would exterminate his people and enslave his women. Sa'dibn Mua'dh, an Ansar, went to Mecca to learn how to perform the Umrah and there was accosted by Abu Jahl at the Kaaba who threatened he would kill him, had he not been in the company of Omaiya bin Khalaf. Sa‘d then challenged him to commit any such folly if he wanted to court a risk to the Meccan trading caravans. As tensions escalated the Muslims began to take defensive measures such as stationing guards around Muhammad and sending out reconnaissance patrols. The Muslims, who fled Mecca's persecution to Medina, had left all their possessions and houses in Mecca, which were unlawfully expropriated by the Meccans. This sacrifice is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran where they are promised forgiveness and Heaven. The Muslims were initially not given permission to fight. Small groups of men were only sent for intelligence gathering, but are reported as not having followed orders to engage in violence-free missions.
The Caravan raids refer to a series of raids which Muhammad and his Companions participated in. The raids were generally offensive and carried out to gather intelligence or seize the trade goods of Caravans financed by the Quraysh, (such retaliation was rationalized as being legitimate actions because many Muslims left their possessions and wealth behind when they migrated from Mecca). The Muslims declared that the raids were justified and that God gave them permission to defend against the Meccans' persecution of Muslims. By expanding their military operations and negotiating with the nomads, the Muslims had created an alliance with greater resources than Mecca, alone, could muster. The Meccans in their turn made alliances with Bedouin tribes. Two large alliances faced each other, poised for further warfare. By old custom, during the months of pilgrimage, tribal hostilities stopped and all were free to visit Mecca . In March 628, Muhammad put on the garb of a pilgrim and taking a force and camels for sacrifice, set out for Mecca . According to the early chronicler IbnIshaq, Muhammad took 700 men (Guillaume 1955, p. 500). According to Watt, Muhammad took 1400 to 1600 men (Watt 1957, p. 46).The Meccans did not accept the Muslim professions of peaceful intent and sent out an armed party against them. The Muslims evaded them by taking a side route through the hills around Mecca, and then camped outside Mecca, at Hudaybiya. IbnIshaq describes a tense period of embassies and counter-embassies, including a bold foray by Uthmanibn Affan into the city of Mecca, where he was temporarily held as a hostage. The Meccans told the Muslims that Uthman had been killed and open warfare seemed imminent. Then the situation shifted radically. Uthman was revealed to be alive, and the Meccans expressed their willingness to negotiate a truce. Some elements wanted a confrontation, but Muhammad held out for a peaceful resolution.
The treaty of Hudaybiyyah committed both sides to a ten-year truce. The Muslims were to be allowed to return the next year, to perform the pilgrimage. Free of the Meccan threat, the Muslims expanded their activities against other oases and tribes. They conquered the rich oasis of Khaybar (see Battle of Khaybar) and sent raiding parties against the Ghatafan, Murrah, Sulaym, and Hawaizin (Watt 1957 pp. 52–53).Less than two years after the truce of Hudaybiyyah, the truce was broken by a squabble between tribes allied to the Meccans and Medinans. There had long been bad blood between the Khuza'ah and the BanuBakr bin AbdManat, and the two groups lined up on opposite sides, the Khuza'ah with the Muslims and the BanuBakr with the Meccans. Watt (p. 62) says that some of the Quraysh helped the BanuBakr ambush the Khuza'ah. Shortly afterwards, a large Muslim force of some 10,000 men headed for Mecca. They camped outside Mecca and the usual round of emissaries and negotiations began. Apparently Abu Sufyan had negotiated, then or earlier, a promise that he and those under him would not be attacked if they submitted. A few Meccans, from the Makhzum faction, prepared to resist. On or near January 11, 630, Muhammad sent four columns of troops into Mecca. Only one column met any resistance. Twenty-eight Meccans were killed and the rest of those opposing the Muslim entry fled. The remaining Meccans surrendered to Muhammad. The Meccans, even those who had been notable for their opposition to Islam, were spared. The Kaaba was cleansed of all the idols of Arabian gods, such as Hubal, which were placed in it and the area was established as a Muslim sanctuary. While destroying each idol, Muhammad recited [Quran 17:81] which says "Truth has arrived and falsehood has perished for falsehood is by its nature bound to perish." According to Islamic tradition, the Kaaba was built by Adam as a place of worship, and then later reconstructed by Abraham and Ishmael. After the fall of Mecca, other tribes hastened to submit to the Muslims. Those who did not submit were harried until they submitted. The historian Fred Donner, in his book The Early Islamic Conquests, argues that the early Islamic state organized the nomads, the Bedouin, under the leadership of urban Arabic-speakers. This arrangement was inherently unstable as long as there were any nomads outside Muslim rule. Otherwise, any rebellious tribe had only to move its flocks and tents outside the area that the Muslims controlled in order to be free again. The Muslims would have to control the entire Syro-Arabian steppe in order to be secure. Muhammad, and the caliphs that followed him, Abu Bakr and Umar al-Khattab, put a great deal of effort into extending and solidifying these tribal treaties and conquests.
A few months after the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and suffered for several days with fever, head pain, and weakness. He died on Monday, 8 June 632, in Medina, at the age of 62 or 63, in the house of his wife Aisha. He was buried where he died, in Aisha's house that is now Tomb under the Green Dome of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi at Medina,Hejaz, present-day Saudi Arabia.
The best of the houses is the house where an orphan gets love and kindness.
- Much silence and a good disposition, there are no two things better than these.
- Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.
- When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those, who have been given less.
- It is better to sit alone than in company with the bad; and it is, better still to sit with the good than alone. It is better to speak to a seeker of knowledge than to remain silent; but silence is better than idle words.
- The best richness is the richness of the soul.
- A Muslim who meets with others and shares their burdens is better than one who lives a life of seclusion and contemplation.
- To overcome evil with good is good, to resist evil by evil is evil.
- A Muslim has five duties towards another Muslim; to return a salutation, visit the sick, follow funerals, accept an invitation and say 'God have mercy on you' when one sneezes.
- He who has in his heart as much faith as a grain of mustard seed will not enter hell, and he who has in his heart as much pride as a grain of mustard seed will not enter paradise.
- The strong man is not the good wrestler; the strong man is only the one who controls himself when he is angry.
- Those who are merciful have mercy shown them by the Compassionate One, if you show mercy to those who are in the earth, He Who is in heaven will show mercy to you.
- What is Faith? When your good deed pleases you and your evil deed grieves you, you are a believer. What is Sin? When a thing disturbs (the peace of) your heart, give it up.
- When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the religion, so let him fear God regarding the remaining half.