Mozaik Islam

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The Prophet of Islam

The Prophet of Islam

The Prophet Muhammad –peace be upon him- was born in Mecca, a city that is located in modern-day Saudi Arabia, in 570 AD (53 BH). His father, Abdullah bin Abd Al-Muttalib, died before his birth. His mother, Aminah bint Wahb, died of illness when he was six years old. As an orphan, Muhammad was sent to be raised by his grandfather, who died two years later.

Finally, the young boy passed to the care of Abu Talib who is known as his paternal uncle. Some Muslim scholars underscore that these early tough events, which have befallen in the life of the messenger, enable him to stand up against the hard confrontation of the polytheists and the unbelievers.

Personal Character

As a young man, Muhammad worked as a shepherd, and later as an apprentice trader for his uncle. As he grew, Muhammad gained a reputation for thoughtfulness and integrity. People nicknamed him Al-Sadiq (The Truthful), because he never told a lie; and Al-Amin (The Trustworthy), because he never cheated. He was called upon frequently to mediate disputes between the noble people of Mecca. Muhammad was also known for his disdain of the pagan culture that predominated among the people of Mecca. He never worshipped the idols of Quraysh, the tribe to which he belonged. Instead, he made long retreats to a mountain cave called Hira’, outside of Mecca, where he meditated. When he was 25 years old, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, a 40-year-old Meccan widow known for her strong character, successful trading business, and nobility, proposed to him. They married in the year 595 AD (28 BH).

The First Revelation

At the age of 40, while he was in solitude at Hira’, Muhammad experienced the first incident of revelation. He said the Angel Gabriel came to him and instructed him in the following words, which later became known as the first revealed verses of the Quran:

{{Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous, Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)], Has taught man that which he knew not.}} (Holy Qur’an 96:1-5)

Muhammad’s response to this initial experience was plenty of fear and shock. He returned home and was comforted by his tender wife Khadijah, who later became the first believer in his message.

In the following years, the Angel Gabriel instructed Muhammad to take the words of the Qur’an to the public.

Mecca, at that time, was a center for trade and idol worship in the whole country of Saudi Arabia. This made it a city of considerable prestige and wealth. The city’s leaders feared Muhammad’s monotheistic message for it would jeopardize that actual status.

His Teachings

Muhammad led a humble life: he had never distinguished himself from the others–he had no body guards, and moved without an entourage. He told people that his job as a messenger of God was simply to reaffirm what God had already revealed to humanity through previous prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

In the monotheistic worldview, God created humankind as dignified creatures endowed with free will. Men and women are entrusted with leading a life of goodness, in the hope of reaping the ultimate benefits in the daily life and in the next life. Although no single verse summarizes all the teachings of Islam, the following excerpts from the Holy Qur’an represent the Straight Path God has chosen for His believers:

{{ Say (O Muhammad): “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawâhish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allâh has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand. “And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allâh, This He commands you, that you may remember. “And verily, this (i.e. Allah’s Commandments mentioned above) is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious).”}} (Holy Qur’an 6: 151-153)

The poor, the oppressed and women were among the early believers in Islam. The Qur’an declared equality as a universal value that is applied to all kinds of people in the world. Additionally, the Qur’an prohibited Mecca’s unacceptable pagan practices, such as female infanticide as well as the holy verses had encouraged freeing slaves for the sake of Allah. Muhammad taught that there should be no distinction between Arabs and non-Arabs, or between Whites and Blacks. Muhammad said all humans are the same before Allah.


The stunning rhythm and depth of content which is contained in the Qur’an’s verses captured the attention of even the most eloquent Arabs. Mecca’s pagans disparaged Muhammad as a mere poet, but the Muslims believed in the Qur’an as the ultimate miracle of faith; a testimony in support of Muhammad’s prophecy. The early Muslims cherished the verses, memorized them, wrote them down, and struggled to work them out in their quotidian life. The pagans of Mecca ridiculed Muhammad’s claim to prophecy, and rejected his teachings. For the next decade, Muhammad – peace be upon him, and the early Muslims were subjected to inhumane treatment. Muslims were killed, tortured and boycotted for three years; their properties and holdings were taken by force. In response, Muhammad – peace be upon him, encouraged his followers to migrate to neighboring cities and states. He told them about Christian Abyssinia (today’s Ethiopia) for it would offer them a good refuge because it was ruled by a just king.

Muhammad – peace be upon him, tried to take his message outside of Mecca. He went to a nearby mountain town called Ta’if, but its leaders sent their youth to throw stones at Muhammad – peace be upon him – until, after suffering considerable physical injury, he left.


Muhammad’s hardships mounted when his uncle Abu Talib passed away, leaving him without a strong ally in Mecca. Soon after his uncle’s death, he was secretly visited by leaders of the two major tribes of Madinah, a town 300 miles to the northeast of Mecca. The leaders, whose tribesmen fought one another in lengthy wars, converted on the spot to Islam for they were the neighbors of the Jews who used to tell them about the last messenger whose time is coming sooner.

The people of the Madinah vied out the Jews to be the followers of the messenger of the end of the world. Thence, they invited Muhammad – peace be upon him, and the Meccan Muslims to live in the Madinah. The Meccan Muslims left their homes gradually. Some of them have left their families, money, and their holdings for the sake of Allah Almighty.

Their excruciating sufferance was bearable for the love of their Lord and His messenger. One can call their Love and loyalty as the best feelings that one can utter and be aware of. Their departure was soon discovered by the leaders of Quraysh, who decided to eliminate Muhammad, the last one to leave. But during the night when they were about to kill him, Muhammad, peace be upon him, had escaped with his closest friend Abu Bakr, may Allah be praised with him. In the Medina, safe from the Meccan persecution, Muhammad was now free to call others to Islam, and his followers increased rapidly. To Muslims, he was both a messenger of God who shared with them divine revelation, and a political leader who governed their public affairs.

Under the guidance of Muhammad, the Charter of Madinah was developed. Some people argue that the Charter was the first pluralistic constitutional framework known to mankind. Not only did it recognize the several tribes engaging in free trade inside and outside of the Madinah, it also acknowledged Jewish tribes as a collective entity bonded with Muslims through attachment to a system of rights and obligations. The Charter of the Madinah created an environment where all could lead a moral life and band together to oppose aggression of any sort.

Mecca’s leadership attempted to prevent Muhammad’s movement from establishing the roots of Islam in the Madinah. They organized military expeditions against the Islamic city, but they were eventually defeated.

Spread of Islam

Forced to recognize that they could not eliminate Islam- the divine message, or defeat the Muslims, the pagans of Mecca concluded the Treaty of Hudaybiyah with the Muslims. They agreed on maintaining peace and on observing neutrality in their conflicts with third parties. Effectively, the treaty recognized Muslims as a new force in Arabia and acknowledged their freedom to move unmolested throughout the region. During the months of tranquility that followed, Muslims sent preachers to all directions; many people and tribes in Arabia converted to Islam.

In 630 AD (8 AH) Meccan allies breached the treaty when they massacred a group of traveling Muslims. Following the attack, great numbers of Muslims get gathered in the Madinah. Then, this army marched towards Mecca. The numbers and dedication of Muslims astounded the leaders of the city. The prophet and his followers decided not to fight. Entering Mecca, Muhammad gave amnesty to all people who did not want to fight, and so stayed inside their homes. Except for few minor incidents, the opening of Mecca was one of the most astonishingly bloodless military victories in the world history.

The people of Mecca, who had relentlessly oppressed Muhammad and his followers for more than two decades, feared retribution. However, they were treated with the greatest magnanimity. In a grand public gathering at the town center, Muhammad asked them, “What do you think I will do with you?”, “You are kind, and the son of a kind brother,” their leaders answered. “Go, you are free!” Muhammad replied. The Muslims understood these words to mean total forgiveness. No home was pillaged; no property was confiscated.

Over the years, the pagan Meccans converted to Islam. The Prophet removed all the idols in and around the Ka`bah. The cubic monument at the center of the city is believed to have been built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Ever since, the Muslim call to prayer has been heard five times a day in this ancient sanctuary.
Yasser Gabr & Houda Karkour, Islamic Propagation Office in Rabwah, Riyadh