If you want to write about a person’s life history, you start with the history of his ancestors, the place of his birth, his qualities and his achievements. The Holy Prophet is that personality, who Prophet Ibrahim raised his hands towards the heavens in prayer for.
“Our Lord, raise up in them a messenger from among them, who shall recite to them Your revelations, and teach them the book and wisdom, and purify them…” (2:129)
The Prophet is that person, about whom Allah says:
“Indeed Allah conferred (His) favour upon the believers when he raised up a messenger (Muhammed) among them from their own selves.” (3:164)
Scholars of many religions have written thousands of books. It is impossible to write all the details concerning the Prophet’s life.
The Prophet’s name, told to us by Quran, is Muhammed, the Highly Praised.
“And Muhammed is only a Messenger.” (3:144)
The Quran tells us Prophet Isa called him Ahmed.
“Giving the glad tidings of a messenger who shall come after me, whose name is Ahmed.” (61:6)
Some of his titles are Muhammed, Karim and Mustafa while his kuniyat is Abul Qasim and Abdullah.
The Holy Prophet was born at dawn on Friday 17th Rabiawwal, 55 days after the event of the Elephant, 570 AD, in Mecca. The Prophet’s father, Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib, passed away in Madina, on the return from a trip to Syria. He was buried in Madina.
It was an Arab tradition to send their children to the deserts, for fostering. This was so the children would grow up speaking Arabic correctly. The Prophet was fostered by a lady of the tribe of Saadia, Halima, daughter of Abdullah. After six of his childhood years in the desert, Bibi Amina, who was from Madina, took Prophet Muhammed, to see his mother’s family and his father’s grave. This was the Prophet’s first journey to Madina. On the journey back to Mecca, Bibi Amina passed away at Abwa, where she was buried. Umm-e-Aiman, female-servant of Bibi Amina, returned with the orphan back to his grandfather in Mecca. At the age of six, the young boy had already lost the care of his father, and now he lost the love of his mother.
After this, his grandfather became his guardian and carer. At the age of eight, he suffered the loss of his grandfather. Before his death, Hazrat Abdul Muttalib, left his orphaned grandson under the care of his son, Abu Talib. Abu Talib raised the Prophet as his son, and Fatima Binte Asad looked after him with the love of a mother. Following the will of Abdul Muttalib, they loved their nephew more than they loved their own sons. Abu Talib kept his nephew with him, and for this reason, Prophet Muhammed, at the age of twelve, accompanied his uncle to Syria. Even at this young age, the Prophet was recognised for his noble character. He was noted for his trustworthiness, honesty, kindness, endurance and courtesy. It was this excellent character, which earned him a place as a member of the League of the Virtuous, at the age of twenty, amongst the elders of Quraish. The League had pledged to protect the weak, and oppose the tyrants and oppressors. The Historian, Ibn-e-Hisham, wrote in His book, Sirat-un-Nabi, volume one, page 118, that the talks of the truthfulness and loyalty of twenty-five year old Muhammed reached every home, including the house of Maleekatul Arab, Hazrat Khadija binte Khuwaylid. She requested that he take her wealth with her trade caravan to Syria. The impressive character of the Holy Prophet became the reason of their marriage. At the time of their marriage, Prophet Muhammed was twenty-five and Bibi Khadija forty.
When Prophet was thirty, Allah granted him a helper and brother like Ali, to carry his burden in the time of difficulties and become his defender. Imam Ali’s birth filled the Prophet with boundless happiness. Imam Ali says in Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 190, “When I was only a child, he (Prophet) took me over. He used to press me to his chest, and lay me beside him in his bed touch his body with mine and make me smell his smell."
When the Prophet reached the age of thirty-five, the Holy Kaaba was being re-built. The four tribes came to an agreement to construct one wall each. When the Kaaba was completed, they argued over which tribe would have the honour of placing the Hajr-e-Aswad in place. The tribes were coming close to a war, when someone suggested, “We will ask the first person who enters the mosque tomorrow morning and will act on his advice. Everyone agreed and when the morning came the first person to enter the mosque was Muhammed. The people were pleased that such a wise person would take the decision. They acted on his advice, the Hajr-e-Aswad was placed on a veil, and each tribe leader held up a corner each. As they raised it up, the Holy Prophet positioned the Hajr-e-Aswad in place. The people realised that a just and fair decision had been made and the Prophet’s fame grew. According to the History book Munuj-uz-zahab, Volume one:
At that time an experienced man proclaimed, “One day this great man will become superior to the rest of the nation, and will become a person of state and dignity. “
Prophet used to go to Mount Hira for worship, where he spent a long period of time, sometimes even a month. Bibi Khadija would bring up his food, and Imam Ali would sometimes spend time with the Prophet up there. When Holy Prophet reached forty years of age, and everyone acknowledged his honourable and well-known character. On 27th Rajab, the first revelation was revealed there, which was the first five verses of Surah Alaq, which begins, “Read (O Muhammed) in the name of your Lord who created (all) things…” This occasion is called Bisat (starting apostleship.) For three years, the Prophet kept this a secret, and only Bibi Khadija, Imam Ali, and forty people had become Muslims. Prophet Muhammed was then ordered to invite his nearest kinsmen. The Quran says, “And warn your nearest kinsmen.” (26:214) The Holy Prophet invited his relatives and announced his message of ones of God and his Prophethood. He asked of a helper from among them but only Ali was willing. This event is known as Zul Asheera.
The Holy Prophet was ordered to proclaim his message openly. “Therefore, you just announce that you have been commanded and turn away from the polytheists.” (15:94) Prophet Muhammed announced on Mount Safa, “God has sent me to you as a messenger to guide you.”
In the book Al-Isahba, Volume One, Page 588, it is written:
When the Prophet announced the oneness of God, the people were furious and attacked him. Harith, son of Abihala, came to the Prophet’s defence. While he was fighting, he was killed and became the first martyr of Islam.
Nothing could stop Muhammed preaching the truth. He was called a magician, a mad man, insulted and abused, bribed with wealth and authority but he resisted all appeals to worldly motives and stood firm to the message of Allah.
Five years after his announcement of Prophethood, on 20th Jamadi-Awwal, Allah granted his Prophet a daughter, who Quran calls Kawther. “Verily we have given you (O Muhammed) Kawther (abundance).” She was named Fatima Zahra.
In this same year, in the month of Rajab, eleven faithful men and four women migrated on the orders of the Prophet to Abyssinia. Two years later, 110 believers again migrated to Abyssinia. Those that were left behind were forced to live in Shab-e-Abu Talib, where they spent three years. The tenth year after Bisat, after facing three years of difficulty, they returned to Mecca. Two months later, in Shawwal, the protector of the Prophet, Abu Talib passed away. The grief was still fresh in his mind, when Bibi Khadija also left this world. These two deaths left such an impact on the Prophet’s life that he named this year, “The Year of Grief.”
The situation was worsening in Mecca. After the death of his wife and uncle, the Prophet became helpless. He moved towards Taif, where the people treated him like those of Mecca. They threw stones at him, injuring him. Within ten days, the Prophet was forced to leave their lands. Prophet returned to Mecca, hurt and wounded.
The Prophet was facing difficulties when the people of Yathrib were in luck. Two Madina citizens met with the Prophet at Hajj time on the eleventh year of Bisat. The Prophet invited them to Islam and they accepted. These men returned to Madina, where soon the Prophet’s message spread. The following Hajj, twelve people arrived in Mecca to meet the Prophet. They accepted Islam and swore allegiance to the Prophet. They asked for a teacher of the Quran, the Prophet sent Musab bin Umair. Islam began spreading quickly in Madina.
The following year, the thirteenth year of Bisat, during Hajj, sixty-eight men and two women came for a meeting with the Prophet. They invited the Prophet to Yathrib. The Holy Prophet accepted their invitation, and asked his companions to migrate to Yathrib. Meanwhile, the Quraysh planned to murder the Prophet. While the Holy Prophet left Mecca with Allah’s safety, Ali slept peacefully on the bed of the Prophet, as the swords of the Quraysh flashed around him. This was the first of Rabi-Awwal. Holy Prophet spent three days in the Cave of Saur, from where he travelled to the outskirts of Madina, waiting for the arrival of Bibi Fatima and Imam Ali. Here, the first mosque of Islam was built, Masjid-e-Quba. This journey, from Mecca to Madina became known as Hijra, marking the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
The Holy Prophet settled in Madina and Islam began to prosper and thrive. By 1A.H., the words of Adhaan and Iqaama were echoing around Madina. The disbelievers, who were not enemies of the Prophet but of his Divine Mission, saw that Madina had become the centre-place for spreading Islam, and so their anger grew. A famous historian, Tabri, says sixty-two battles took place, against the Muslims. The first, the battle of Badr, Ramadhan 2A.H, and the last Battle of Tabuk, 8A.H.
In 6.A.H, the famous event, Treaty of Hudaybiya, took place, which the Quran describes in the following words. “Verily We have given you a manifest victory.” (48:1) The Treaty of Hudaybiya, which though at the time seemed like a set-back for the Muslims, proved in fact the greatest victory for Islam, moral and social as well as political and its lessons are old to us in Surah Fatah. Victor comes from cool courage, devotion, faith and patience. Fifteen hundred people left for Umra, with the Prophet and, returned with an agreement made.
In 7A.H, Imam Ali gained the Muslims victory against the Jews at Khayber, with his strength and courage. When the Holy Prophet returned, there were not one, but two celebrations; victory at Khayber, and the return of Jaffer, brother of Ali, from Abyssinia. Seeing the victory over the Jews at Khayber, the Jews of Fadak gave land to the Holy Prophet, which he gave to his daughter, Fatima. In 7A.H, the Prophet also wrote letters to the neighbouring rulers inviting them to Islam. .
In 8A.H, the Conquest of Mecca took place, where twelve thousand people accompanied the Prophet. This was the place where people would greet the Prophet with stones and insults, hurting him and wounding him. Now, eight years later, they were flocking in thousands to catch a glimpse of him. People thought the Prophet would declare The Day of Revenge, but the Holy Prophet declared The Day of Mercy. The Prophet said, “I will behave towards you as Yosef behaved towards his brothers. The Quran says, “He said, there is n reproach on today, may Allah forgive you, and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” (12:92)
The Holy Prophet cleared the Kaaba of the idols, and after eighteen days, left Mecca. In 9A.H, the Christians of Najran came to find out about this man called himself a “Prophet.” This was when Mubahila took place.
“Come let us call our sons and your sons, ands our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, and then let us humbly pray and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars.”
In 10AH, the Prophet left for Hajjatul Wida, Farewell Hajj, with over a million people. On coming back, after taking part in Hajj, they stopped at Ghadir-e-Khum. Then Jibrael, arrived with the word of God,
“(O Muhammed) Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you do not do it, (it will be as if) you have not delivered His message (at all).” (5:67)
A pulpit of camel-saddles was made on which Prophet declared,
“Allah is my Mawla; I am the Mawla of the faithful. I have a clear authority over heir souls. And of whomsoever, I am Mawla, (this) Ali is now his Mawla. Oh Allah! Love those who love Ali, and hate those who hate Ali.”
At that moment, the verse of Quran was revealed,
“This day I have perfected for you your religion, and have completed my favour on you, and have chosen for you Islam (as your religion).”
Islam had been perfected, and a guide had been selected. Prophet returned to Madina, where after two months and two days later, at the age of sixty-three, on 28th Safar, 11A.H, he left this world. Imam Ali says in sermon 195:
“When the Prophet died, his head was on my chest, and his (last) breath blew over my palms, when I made it pass over my face. I performed (his) funeral bath, Allah may bless him and his descendents, and the angels helped me. The house and the courtyard were full of them.”