Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (‘peace be upon him’) was born around 570 AD (or 571 AD, the year of the Elephant according to Surah (Chapter) 105 in the Quran) in Makkah, known today as Mecca, Saudi Arabia. He ﷺ belonged to the tribe of Hashemite, Quraysh. His father’s name was Abdullah, and his mother’s name was Aminah. Muhammad’s ﷺ father passed away while on a business trip, just before his mother delivered him. After Muhammad ﷺ was born, his grandfather Abu Mutalib named him Muhammad. He was taken care of by his milk mother Halimah for some time and returned back to his mother Aminah afterwards. When he was around 6 years old, his mother passed away, after which he was raised by his grandfather. When he was around 8 years old, his grandfather also passed away. After that, he ﷺ was raised by his uncle Abu Talib until he grew up. Due to the Prophet’s parents and grandfather having passed away when he was young, and also because he followed his uncle travelling around for his trading business, he didn’t have the chance to learn reading and writing. So, he was illiterate.
Besides herding sheep, he was employed to travel for trade too. Once he was employed by Khadijah, a rich business lady. Khadijah was attracted to him because of his work ethic, his attitude, his manners, and his honesty. After that, they got married when the Prophet ﷺ was 25 years old and Khadijah was 40 years old. Khadijah was his only wife during their 25 years of marriage, and they had 2 sons and 4 daughters. Both sons passed away when they were young. Before he became a prophet, Muhammad ﷺ had already earned his reputation for honesty, being just, and keeping promises. These qualities earned him the nickname “Al-Amin” which describes a person who is honest.
When the Prophet ﷺ was around 35 years old, the Kab’ah was under maintenance and the main tribes were involved and shared the maintenance work. When the time came for them to put back the “black stone”, the tribes could not reach an agreement on who would put the “black stone” back for 4-5 days. So, they decided that whoever is the first to arrive at the Kab’ah that day, they would accept that person as a judge to decide which tribe could place the “black stone” back to the Kab’ah. When they saw the Prophet ﷺ arrive, they all cheered as they all believed he was very honest and fair in judgment. After knowing the details, the Prophet ﷺ placed the “black stone” on a cloth and asked each tribe to carry one of the corners to transport the “black stone” to its place. Then he ﷺ picked up the “black stone” and placed it in the Kab’ah.
When he ﷺ was young, he was very careful in his mannerisms. He liked to ponder around which led him to mount Hira outside Mecca. He ﷺ would go here for meditation from time to time. At around 610AD, the Prophet ﷺ was 40 years old. During his meditation on mount Hira, he ﷺ received his first revelation from Allah (God). He ﷺ was strongly hugged by Angel Gabriel and then asked to “read”. He replied that he couldn’t read. Angel Gabriel hugged him again and asked him to read; he replied that he couldn’t read. The third time, Angel Gabriel did the same and the reply was the same, after this, the Qur’an’s verses 96:1-5 were revealed.
“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 which he knew not.” (Quran 96:1-5)
When the Prophet ﷺ received the first revelation, he was so scared and ran back to his wife Khadijah and asked her to cover him. Khadijah comforted him. After knowing the whole incident, she showed full support to him and assured him that no bad would befall on him since he was such a person who would show care to the poor and those in misery. After that, she brought him to meet her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal who was an Arab Christian priest. Waraqah acknowledged his call to prophecy as authentic and said: “There has come to him the greatest Law that came to Moses; surely he is the prophet of this people. I wish I could become young to follow you and help you to fight against the attack later.” Not long after, Waraqah passed away. After the meeting, the Prophet ﷺ understood his mission, and the next Qur’an verses were revealed some time later.
“O you who covers himself [with a garment], 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.”
From then on, Prophet ﷺ started to spread the message of Allah. The first three years were only among families and close friends. The first to believe was his wife Khadijah, followed by his good friend Abu Bakr and his cousin Ali bin Abu Talib.
And warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred.
Then declare what you are commanded and turn away from the polytheists.
According to Hadith Al-Bukhari:
“One day, the Prophet ﷺ ascending the Safa mountain he shouted: “Ya Sabahah!” (an Arabic expression when one appeals for help or draws the attention of others to some danger). When the people of Makkah had gathered around him the Prophet ﷺ said to them, “If I told you that horsemen were advancing to attack you from the valley on the other side of this mountain, will you believe me?”. “Yes”, they replied, “We have always found you truthful.” The Prophet ﷺ said, “I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe punishment.” After this vivid analogy the Prophet ﷺ asked them to save themselves by declaring that Allah was one and that he, Muhammad, was His messenger. He ﷺ tried to make them understand that if they clung to polytheism and rejected the message he had brought to them, they would face Allah’s punishment. Abu Lahab (his uncle) said, “May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason?” Then Abu Lahab and the Meccan went away.
Since Islam had totally changed the perspectives of religion, culture, social problems, etc. it also affected the profits of the existing system, so the pagans started to oppress Muslims. Due to the early age, Muslims were still very weak that Allah sent the Qur’an:
“And when you have withdrawn from them and that which they worship other than Allah, retreat to the cave. Your Lord will spread out for you of His mercy and will prepare for you from your affair facility.”
Say, “O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.”
After that, Prophet ﷺ allowed some of the Muslims migrate to Abyssinia in two separate occasions. At that time, Negas, the King of Abyssinia was a pious and just Christian King. He accepted and protected the Muslim migrants. Prophet ﷺ didn’t leave Makkah and the oppression had increased tremendously. They were pushed to live in a mountain and got boycotted for three years. However, his wife and followers still didn’t give up the belief even they were in such a big pain.
In 619AD, when Muhammad ﷺ became Prophet 10 years, his uncle Abu Talib passed away and he had been given him support and protection under all the pressures throughout these years. At the same time, his wife was also passed away. They had been together 25 years, she was always there for him no matter what. At that year, in Islam, called “the Year of Sorrow”.
Approximately in 621AD, one night, when the Prophet ﷺ was in a house which was outside Makkah, Angel Gabriel received the order from Allah to accompany Prophet ﷺ to travel from Makkah to Masjid in Jerusalam by mounting a beast name “Buraq”. After that, they were traveling to the seven heavens and met all the prophets in different level of heavens. At the Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary, the Prophet received daily five prayers ordered by Allah. After his returning, he told his experience, many fell to disbelieve and some became stronger in believe. Qur’an mentioned:
“Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
Prophet’s ﷺ preaching information had been spread around Arabia and it reached to people from Yathrib (nowadays Medina). People from Yathrib had sent two separate delegations to meet with Prophet ﷺ. The delegation from Medina pledged themselves and their fellow citizens to accept Muhammad into their community and physically protect him as one of their own.
In 622AD, the migration of Muhammad ﷺ and his followers from Mecca to Medina. Prophet ﷺ instructed his followers to emigrate to Medina until nearly all of them left Mecca. According to tradition, the Meccans alarmed at the departure, plotted to assassinate Muhammad. When he was warned of the plot, Prophet ﷺ slipped out of Mecca with his companion, Abu Bakr.
After approximate eight days’ journey, Prophet ﷺ entered the outskirts of Medina, but did not enter the city directly. He stopped at a place called Quba, some miles from the main city, and established the first masjid there. After staying some time at Quba, Prophet ﷺ started for Medina and upon reaching the city was greeted cordially by its people.
Among the first things Prophet ﷺ did to ease the long-standing grievances among the tribes of Medina was draft a document known as the “Constitution of Medina”, establishing a kind of alliance or federation among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca. The document specified (not all listed below):
– rights and duties of all citizens
– the relationship of the different communities in Medina (including between the Muslim community and other communities, specifically the Jews and other “Peoples of the Book”).
– The community defined in the Constitution of Medina, Ummah, had a religious outlook, also shaped by practical considerations, and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes.
– Any internal discrepancy or disagreement will be judged by Allah and His messenger.
At the same time, the “Constitution of Medina” also include the following (not all listed) with the Jewish tribes:
– United as Ummah, no animosity.
– Share the cost of war
– Protect their assets.
– Ensure the freedom of belief and no harms can be done in any praying places.
– Not to support each other’s enemy.
After this, the Prophet ﷺ followed the Qur’an revelation and started to establish the five daily prayers, Friday congregation, fastings, charity, pilgrimage in Medina. However, the pagans in Mecca was not given up to destroyed Islam, so they incited lots of injustice, disagreement or argument during that time.
At around 624 AD, to give a lesson to the pagans in Mecca, they decided to attack a caravan returning from Syria. The news leaked out, the caravan changed the route and at the same time, asked help from Mecca. Prophet led around 300 followers to face the pagan army with around 1000 people. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his followers won the “Battle of Badr” and they saw the victory as confirmation of their faith, and Muhammad said the victory was assisted by an invisible host of angels. The victory strengthened Prophet’s position in Medina and dispelled earlier doubts among his followers.
At around 625 AD, in order to maintain economic prosperity, the Meccans needed to restore their prestige after their defeat at Badr. Abu Sufyan, the leader of the ruling Quraysh tribe, gathered an army of 3,000 men and set out for an attack on Medina. Prophet ﷺ led his Muslim force to the Meccans to fight the Battle of Uhud. When the battle seemed close to a decisive Muslim victory, the Muslim archers left their assigned posts to raid the Meccan camp for booty. Meccan war veteran Khalid ibn al-Walid led a surprise attack, which killed many Muslims, including Hamza (the Prophet’s uncle) and injured Prophet ﷺ. The Muslims withdrew up the slopes of Uḥud. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory. For the Muslims, the battle was a significant setback. According to the Quran, the loss at Uhud was partly a punishment and partly a test for steadfastness.
After the battle of Uhud, Abu Sufyan and the other pagan leaders realized that they had fought an indecisive action, and that their victory had not borne any fruits for them. The pagans considered Islam a threat to their economic security and political supremacy in Arabia, and they could never be reconciled to its existence. The Makkan leaders began preparations for an all-out war – a war that would put an end to all other wars by erasing Islam. In two years of preparation, the Quraysh raised a fighting force of ten thousand warriors. This was the largest force ever assembled by the Arabs till that time.
At around 627 AD, they were marching towards Medina. When news of this tremendous mobilization reached Muhammad ﷺ and the Muslims in Medinah, it struck them all with panic. The Prophet ﷺ convened an emergency meeting of his principal companions to consult them in the matter of defending the city. At the end, they adopted the strategy suggested by a Persian convert, Salman al-Farsi, who knew far more of the techniques of warfare than was common in the Peninsula, advised the digging of a dry moat around Medina and the fortifications of its buildings within. The Muslims hurried to implement this counsel. The moat was dug and the Prophet ﷺ worked with his hands alongside his companions lifting the dirt, encouraging the Muslim workers, and exhorting everyone to multiply his effort.
When the Makkans arrived, they could not proceed further. So, the Makkan commanders decided to lay siege to Medina, and to force the Muslims to surrender, through attrition. After many days of siege, plus bad weather, and the strategy from another follower, the armies left without serious fighting. After the failure, all the tribes between Medina and the Red Sea and between Medina and Yammama to the east, signed treaties of peace with the Prophet of Islam. In history, this incident named as “the Battle of Trench” or “the Battle of Confederation”.
At 628 AD, Prophet ﷺ announced his intent to perform `Umrah and set out with 1400 men, unarmed except for the sheathed sword normally carried by a traveler. When the Quraysh learned of this, they gathered to prevent them from reaching al-Masjid al-Haraam. A peace treaty was drawn up between the two sides in Hudaybiyyah where the Muslim camped at that time. The treaty consisted of the following:
– Both parties would cease hostilities for a period of ten years.
– The parties would not interfere with the free movement of one another.
– The Prophet ﷺ would return that year, but the Muslims would be permitted to enter Makkah the following year for only three days.
– Any Muslim man coming from the Quraysh to join the Muslims would be sent back, but any man going from the Muslims to Quraysh would not be sent back.
– Any tribes other than the Quraysh that wished to enter an alliance with Muhammad ﷺ were free to do so, and any that wished to enter an alliance with the Quraysh were free to do so.
Many of the companions were opposed to this “Treaty of Hudaybiyyah” and considered its clauses unfair and biased against the Muslims. However, this treaty actually have some of the following effects (not listed all):
1. To sooth the relationship with the Makka pagans, so the Muslims can concentrate to deal with the powers surrounded Medina in order to strength the position of Muslims.
2. The acknowledgement of the Muslim state status by the Makka as the Prophet ﷺ signed the paper as a leader of a state with equal power.
3. Negotiations leading to the treaty allowed the allies of Quraysh to understand the position of the Muslims and sympathize with it.
After the treaty, Prophet ﷺ sent different delegates to deliver letters to different leaders to invite them into Islam. Meanwhile, to strengthen the Muslim’s position in the regions. In the below Qur’an, Allah revealed the victory was soon:
“Indeed, We have given you a clear conquest That Allah may forgive for you what preceded of your sin and what will follow and complete His favor upon you and guide you to a straight path And [that] Allah may aid you with a mighty victory.”
In 630AD, the Makkans broke the “Treaty of Hudaybiyyah”, Prophet ﷺ gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Makka. The attack went largely uncontested and Prophet ﷺ took over the city with nearly no fighting. Before entering Makka, Prophet ﷺ declared the house of Abu Sufyan was safe, anyone who stayed inside their homes were safe. Nobody was allowed to destroy any facilities, not even allowed to cut one tree, not allowed to harm women, children and old people. After the Prophet ﷺ entered the Kab’ah, he destroyed every idol and statues inside and recite:
And say, “Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart.”
Say, “The truth has come, and falsehood can neither begin [anything] nor repeat [it].”
After migrating to Medina for nine years, he finally returned to his motherland and liberate Makka. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ declared an amnesty for past offenses, except for ten men and women who had mocked and made fun of him in songs and verses. However, some of these people were also later pardoned. He didn’t stay long in Makka and later returned to Medina. After that, many tribes and countries sent their delegates to visit Medina to build goodwill. That year in history was called the “Year of Delegation”.
In 631 AD, the Prophet ﷺ had his first and only hajj in his lifetime after receiving his prophethood. He had his last sermon at Mount Arafat.
The Last Sermon
O people, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present today.
O people, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.
Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to ‘Abbas ibn Abd al Muttalib (Prophet’s uncle) shall henceforth be waived…
Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
O people, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.
O people, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during the m負擔gonth of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.
Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O people, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, the Quran and my example, the sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.
All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. By my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.
This day, those who cover over (the truth of God) have given up all hope of (destroying) your way of life. So don’t be afraid of them; rather, fear only Me. This day, I have perfected your way of life for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your way of life.
In 632AD, Prophet ﷺ was returned to the Medina due to illness and was buried in the Medina. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was 63 years old. He became prophet ﷺ when he was 40 years old. He secretly preached for 3 years in Mecca, 10 years for public missions, and spent 10 years in Medina, total 23 years to spread the Message of Islam. Time unified the scattered Arabian peninsula under the banner of Islam, and brought the ignorant, savage and backward Arab nation into a new era of civilization, politeness and progress. Later generations have given Prophet Muhammad ﷺ a high rating no matter what are their religion background. However, no evaluation can compare with Allah’s evaluation of Prophet in the Qur’an.
“And indeed, you are of a great moral character.“