Father’s name: Abdullah ibn Abdi’1-Muttalib.
Mother’s name: Aminah bint Wahb.
Birth: Born in Mecca on Friday, 17th Rabiu’l-awwal, in the Year of Elephant.
Death: Died at the age of 63 in Medina on Monday, 28th Safar, 11 AH; buried in his apartment adjoining the mosque, in Medina.
In Mecca, baby boy Muhammad was born on 17th Rabi’ul-awwal, 570 AD. His father `Abdullah, son of ‘Abdu1-Muttalib, died before he was born and when he was six, he lost his loving mother Aminah bint Wahb.
His grandfather, `Abdu1-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.
In his youth, Muhammad participated in Hilf (Confederation of) al-Fudul for helping the widows and orphans and protecting the oppressed.
The wealthy noble widowed lady Khadijah, looking for a manager for her rich mercantile 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, worried about human sufferings, Muhammad very often retired to Mount Hira’ for meditations. One night, laylatul-qadr (the Night of Majesty) a voice addressing him, commanded “Recite in the Name of thy Lord.” (Surah al-‘Alaq 96:1). 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.“ (Surah al-Muddathir 74:1-3) 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 followed by Abu Bakr and `Uthman. `Umar hitherto a violent opponent of Islam, notorious for the persecution of the Muslims and a bitter enemy of the Prophet, embraced Islam, later.
Muhammad is the founder of the great religion of Islam, meaning submitting (oneself or one’s person to Allah). The adherent of Islam is usually designated by the corresponding adjective Muslim. The Persians adopted a different adjective Musalman, from which are derived the Anglo-Indian Mussulman. But Muslims, certainly, dislike the terms Mohammedan and Mohammedanism, which seem to them to carry the implication of worship of Muhammad, as Christian and Christianity imply the worship of Christ.
The new Creed had set in motion a terrific revolution, shaking the very foundations of the world. The vested interests, kings, priests, racketeers, and tyrants all were against, and they united to crush the movement of Islam.
Boys and louts of Mecca started pelting stones and abuses on Muhammad. Brave and loyal `Ali, son of Abu Talib, stopped this by his strong fists. The harassment and tortures, which the Prophet and his small band of faithful followers suffered at the hands of Quraysh were excruciating in the extreme. Some of the believers were dragged over burning sand, imprisoned, flogged and starved, but they firmly held to their Faith till death. Umayyah, master of Bilal, took Bilal to the desert and exposed him bare-back with his face, to the noon-day sun and placed a big stone on his chest and said, “There you shall remain, until thou art dead or thou hast adjured Islam.” Dying with thirst in the heat he would only answer “Ahadun! Ahadun! (One [God]! One!).”
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 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 Prophet. Arab chieftains pursued them and demanded their extradition.
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.”
The Five Purified Ones (Ahlul-Kisa’)
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanliness from you, O People of the House! and purify you a (thorough) purifying. (Surah Ahzab, 33:33)
The Five Purified Ones – Muhammad, Ali, Fatimah, and their two sons Hasan and Husayn – became perfect examples of human conduct. They lived a life of extreme devotion, loyalty, utility, goodness, trust and charity, giving a standard of human values to every action of humanity. Their record of life is that of a work nobly and faithfully done, preaching the Unity of God, the equality of men and obliterating the tyranny of priests and rulers, breaking the shackles of wrangling creeds, oppressive rituals, and soul crushing dogmas; he broke down the barriers of caste, exclusive privileges and tyranny of vested interest. He proclaimed the importance of knowledge learning and hard work.
Though the Holy Prophet was occupied in looking after the affairs of people, but he used to pay special attention to his family too. Some believers, requested him to allow them to buy lands and build houses for him. The reply was revealed by God:
Say: “I do not ask of you any reward, but love for my relatives…; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.“ (Surah ash-Shura 42:23)
Thereupon, the believers asked the Prophet whose love was made incumbent on them? Muhammad answered “Love for `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn.”
Hadith Of Ghadir
Soon after finishing his first and the last 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”* (Surah Maida 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, Fakhru’d-Din ar-Razi in his at-Tafsiru’l-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. He (ar-Razi) writes further that Abu Bakr and `Umar congratulated `Ali in the following words:
Congratulations, O son of Abu Talib! This morning you became my mawla and mawla of every believing man and woman. Once again the voice from Heaven proclaimed:
This day have I perfected your religion and completed My favour on you and chosen for you Islam
* The hadith of Ghadir is mutawatir to Shi`ahs and Sunnis, because it has been narrated through so many chains of transmission by both sects that no doubt can be entertained. As, for the Shiite transmission of this hadith see al-Bihar, vol. 37, pp. 108 -253; and as for others see the book of Imamate, by S . S . A . Rizvi, part 2, pp. 39 – 105, 1985, WOF IS, Tehran – IRAN. as a religion (5:3).
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.
Some Of The Ahadith Of The Holy Prophet
“A man giving in alms one piece of silver in his lifetime is better for him than giving one hundred when about to die.”
“Wish not for death, before its time comes.”
“A slanderer and backbiter shall be shut out from Paradise.”
“Whoever is able and fit and does not work for himself or for others, Allah is displeased with him.”
“The worst of men is, a bad learned man and a good learned man is the best.”
“He is not strong and powerful, who throws people down, but he is strong who withholds himself from anger.”
“He is a hypocrite who when he speaks, speaks untruth; who making a promise breaks it; and who, when trust is reposed in him, fails in his trust.”