The oldest and noblest
tribe in the whole of Arabia was Banu Hashim. They were the descendants of
Ibrahim through his son Isma"il. The Arabs respected and loved them for
their goodness, knowledge and bravery.
Abd al-Muttalib was the
chieftain of Banu Hashim and he was also the Guardian of the Ka"bah. Among
his ten sons, "Abdullah was the father of the Holy Prophet.
In Mecca, baby boy muhammad
was born on 17th Rabi" al-Awwal, 570 AD.His father "Abdullah, son of "Abd
al-Muttalib, died before he was born and when he was six, he lost his loving
mother Aminah bint Wahab.His Grandfather, "Abd al-Muttalib, took the
responsibility of bringing up the orphan. At the age of ten, he was berefted
of his venerable grandfather.On his deathbed, he appointed his son Abu Talib
as the guardian of muhammad.Gentle, soft spoken, tall and handsome boy,
muhammad, accompanied the trading caravans of Abu Talib, across the deserts,
giving him deep insight into nature and man.
The wealthy noble widowed
lady Khadijah, looking for a manager for her rich merchantile caravans,
selects muhammad, the Trustee. Able and fair dealing,muhammad is a
tremendous success. Khadijah already an admirer, made him an offer of
marriage. muhammad was twenty five and Khadijah forty. In spite of this
disparity in age, the marriage proved to be a very happy one.
Lover of nature and quite
worrried about human sufferings, muhammad very often retired to Mount Hira"
for meditations. One night, Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Majesty) a voice
addressing him, commanded "Recite in the name of thy Lord." Deeply excited
by the strange phenomena of Divine Visitation,muhammad hurried home to his
wife, Khadijah, who listened to him attentively and said that "I bear
witness that you are the Apostle of God." After an interval, the voice from
heaven spoke again "O thou shrouded in thy mantle, arise, and warn, and
magnify thy Lord."
This was a signal for him to
start preaching the gospel of truth of One God. In the beginning muhammad
invited only those near him, to accept the new Faith. The first to embrace
Islam among women was Khadijah and among men "Ali. Soon after, Zayd ibn al-Harithah
became a convert to the new Faith.
For three long years, he
laboured quietly to wean his people from the worship of idols and drew only
thirty followers. muhammad then decided to appeal publicly to the Quraysh to
give up idol worship and embrace Islam.The new Faith, is simple without
complications, practical and useful for everyday life. It commands to
believe and do good, keep up prayer and pay the poorrate, two orders giving
four principles of a successful way of life.Almost ten years of hard work
and preaching, in spite of all persecution,produced over a hundred
followers, physical cruelties and social boycott made life unbearable in
Mecca. The Holy Prophet of Islam advised his followers, to seek refuge in
the to seek refuge in the neighbouring country of Ethiopia. Eighty eight men
and eighteen women sailed to the hospitable shores of the Negus, under the
leadership of Ja"far at-Tayyar (brother of "Ali) and the cousin of the Holy
several times the chieftains
came to Abu Talib saying, "We respect your age and rank, but we have no
further patience with your nephew. Stop him or we shall fight you." Abu
Talib asked muhammad for his decision.With tears in his eyes, the Apostle
firmly replied, "O my uncle! If they place the sun on my right hand and the
moon on my left, to force me to renounce my mission, I will not desist until
God manifests His cause or I perish in the attempt."
In a period of troubles,
trials and tribulations two major tragedies afflicted muhammad. First the
venerable guardian uncle Abu Talib died and shortly afterwards his noble
wife Khadijah died, leaving behind her daughter Fatimah (peace be on her) -
the only child she had from the Holy Prophet - the daughter who looked after
her father so much so that the prophet called her Umm Abiha (the mother of
With the death of the old
patriarch Abu Talib, the Meccans planned to assassinate the prophet. Under
Divine guidance, he asked "Ali to sleep in his bed and muhammad put his
green garment on "Ali. While the murderes mistook "Ali for muhammad, the
Holy Prophet of Islam escaped to Medina.
The Muslim era of Hijrah
(Emigration) is named after this incident and dated from 17th Rabi" al-Awwwal,
From the time he came to
Medina, he was the grandest figure upon whom the light of history has ever
shone. We shall now see him as the King of men, the ruler of human hearts,
chief law-giver and supreme judge.The Preacher who went without bread, was
mightier than the mightiest sovereigns of the earth. No emperor with his
tiaras was obeyed, as this man in a cloak of his own clothing.
He laid the foundation of the
Muslim commonwealth and drew up a charter which has been acknowledged as the
work of highest statemanship, a master-mind not only of his age, but of all
Unlike the Arabs, the
Prophet, had never wielded a weapon, but now he was forced to defend Islam
by force of arms. Commencing from the battle of Badr,a series of eighty
battles had to be fought, which the infant commmunity defended successfully.
Next year, Abu Sufyan, the
famous long-lived enemy of Islam, again attacked the Muslims at Uhud. Hamzah,
the first flag-bearer of Islam and uncle of the Prophet, was killed in
action. In spite of strict instructions from the Prophet, a few Muslim
soldiers deserted their post,when victory was in sight. This changed the
course of the battle. Khalid ibn al-Walid attacked the Prophet and the grave
situation was saved by the timely arrival of "Ali. The enemies ran away and
the issue was decided. muhammad was deeply grieved at the death of Hamzah.
The Muslims had been in self
exile for six years and began to feel a keen yearning for their homeland,
Mecca. The Prophet desired to perform a pilgrimage to Ka"bah. When he
forsook his home town he was weak, but when he wanted to return, he was
strong. He did not use his strength to force an entry into the sacred city.
Finding the Quraysh hostile, muhammad entered into a treaty Known as the
Peace of Hudaybiyyah, appearing not very advantageous to the Muslims, but
which revealed the Islamic character of moderation and magnanimity. For the
strong to excercise restraint and toleration is true courage. Having reached
upto the door of their birth place with hearts over-flowing with impatient
longing to enter it, the Muslims retraced their steps peacefully to Medina,
under the terms of the treaty, which allowed them to perform the pilgrimage
In The 8th year AH, the
idolators violated the peace of Hudaybiyyah by attacking the Muslims. The
enemies were defeated and Mecca was conquered.The Prophet who fled from
Mecca as a fugitive, now returned home as a mighty conqueror. The Rahmatun
lil "Alamin (mercy unto all beings, i.e., the Prophet) entered the city with
his head bowed low in thankfulness to the Almighty (Allah) and ordered a
general amnesty, instead of the mass massacre of those who persecuted him
and his followers.
A great number of Muslim
soldiers were killed in battles at Badr, Uhud,Khaybar, Hunayn and other
places, leaving behind young wives and children. The serious problem of
taking care of the widows and orphans, threatened to break up the moral
fabric of the Muslim Society. muhammad decided to marry these widows and set
an example for his followers to do likewise.
Under the Divine intuition
of his approaching end, muhammad prepared to make the farewell pilgrimage to
Mecca.Before completing all the ceremonies of Hajj, he addressed a huge
multitude from the top of mount "Arafat on 8th Dhi al-hijjah, 11 AH,in words
which shall ever ring and live in the atmosphere.
After finishing the hajj the
Holy Prophet started for Medina. On his way, at Ghadir Khumm the Voice from
Heaven cried: "O Apostle! deliver what has been revealed to you from your
Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message and
Allah will protect you from the people, surely Allah will not guide the
unbelieving people. (5:67) muhammad immediately ordered Bilal to recall the
Muslims, who had gone ahead,who were behind and who were proceeding to their
homes at the junction, to assemble. The famous Sunni mutakallim and
commentator, Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi in his At-Tafsir al-Kabir, vol. 12, pp.
49-50, writes that the Prophet took "Ali by the hand and said: "Whoever
whose mawla (master) I am, "Ali is his master. O Allah! Love him who loves
"Ali, and be the enemy of the enemy of "Ali; help him who helps "Ali, and
forsake him who forsakes "Ali."
On muhammad"s return to
Medina, he got busy settling the organization of the provinces and the
tribes which had adopted Islam. His strength rapidly failed and the poison
(administered at Khaybar by a Jewess) took its deadly toll. So ended the
life dedicated to the service of God and humanity from first to last, on
28th Safar, 11 AH.
The humble Preacher had risen
to be the ruler of Arabia. The Prophet of Islam not only inspired reverence,
but love owing to his humility,nobility, purity, austerity, refinement and
devotion to duty.
The Master inspired all who
came into contact with him. He shared his scanty food; he began his meals in
the Name of Allah and finished them uttering thanks;he loved the poor and
respected them; he would visit the sick and comfort the heart broken; he
treated his bitterest enemies with clemency and forbearance,but the
offenders against society were administered justice; his intellectual mind
was remarkably progressive and he said that man could not exist without
There is no god but One God
and muhammad is the Apostle of God, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him
and his descendants.