The Seal of the Prophets
Muhammadsa was the prophet of Islam and the one to whom the final religion was revealed by God. He was born in a noble family in 570 CE in Mecca, Arabia and was a descendant of Prophet Abrahamas. The word ‘Muhammad’ literally means ‘praiseworthy’.
Prophet Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, died a few months before his birth and his mother, Amina, died when he was just six years old. He was then cared for by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, who also died two years later. He was then looked after by his uncle Abu Talib.
Despite these hardships, the Holy Prophetsa grew up to be an honest, dignified, truthful, and intelligent person. He helped his uncle with his trade, sometimes accompanying him on his travels to other lands.
Prophet Muhammadsa led a pious and simple life. He was well-known for his willingness to help others and his conduct earned him the titles of As-Siddique (the most truthful) and Al-Amin (the most trustworthy).
When he was twenty-five years old, Prophet Muhammadsa married a respectable widow named Khadijara who was fifteen years older than him. She was so impressed by the noble character of the Prophetsa that she placed at his disposal her wealth and slaves – whom he set free. He also distributed much of the property among the poor.
Commencement of prophethood
Prophet Muhammadsa used to spend his time in the remembrance of Allah. Often he would meditate in a cave called Hira situating a few miles away from Mecca. When he was forty years old, he had a vision in which Angel Gabriel appeared and conveyed to him the first revelation from Allah in the following words:
Recite in the name of your Lord Who created, created man from an adhesive clot. Recite, and your Lord is the Noblest, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not.
Holy Quran 96: 2-6
The Holy Prophetsa was so overawed by this experience that he rushed home and related it to his wife Khadijara, who then took him to her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal who was a Christian hermit. On hearing what had happened, Waraqah said:
The angel who has descended on you is, I am sure, the same angel who previously descended on Moses.
He was evidently referring to the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him” foretelling the arrival of a great prophet. This, in fact, marked the beginning of the mission of the Prophetsa as an apostle of Allah.
The verses noted above are the first verses of the Holy Quran chronologically revealed to Prophet Muhammadsa. Over the next twenty three years, the entire Holy Quran was revealed to him and to this day it remains completely unchanged.
Prophet Muhammadsa denounced the worship of false deities and preached the Unity of Allah. He said that Allah alone is worthy of worship and nothing else is equal to Him. He helped the poor, liberated slaves and established equal rights of women. He told his followers to be patient during hardships and to pray to Allah. His mission was to eradicate evil and iniquity and to establish goodness and piety in the world.
Struggles and successes
The idolaters of Mecca did not listen to Prophet Muhammadsa and opposed him tooth and nail. He and his followers were persecuted in every way. They were subjected to all sorts of indignities, and the Muslim slaves were treated particularly badly. After thirteen years of persecution at the hands of the Meccans, Muhammadsa was directed by Allah to migrate to Medina, a city located about 260 miles north of Mecca.
However, even there the Meccans did not let him live in peace. They were hell-bent on destroying Prophet Muhammadsa and his followers that they started attacking Medina. They fought a number of battles against him, but were defeated. Prophet Muhammadsa only fought in defense when the enemies had already taken up arms to fight the Muslims. But despite all this, when he became victorious, he declared a general amnesty to his enemies.
“The life of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, was a life of grand success. In his high moral qualities, his spiritual power, his high resolve, the excellence and perfection of his teaching, his perfect example and the acceptance of his prayers, in short, in every aspect of his life, he exhibited such bright signs that even a person of low intelligence, provided he is not inspired by unreasonable rancour and enmity, is forced to confess that he was a perfect example of the manifestation of Divine qualities and was a perfect man.”
Founder of the Ahmadiyya Musilm Community
When Mecca was finally conquered by Prophet Muhammadsa, it was done peacefully without any battle or bloodshed. Furthermore, the Holy Prophetsa was extremely forgiving and magnanimous towards his enemies that he even forgave the man who had murdered his own daughter.
He invited the whole world to Islam but also granted everyone freedom to practice their own faith under the protection of Islam.
Prophet Muhammad’s life was indeed remarkable because within its span of some sixty two years, the whole gamut of human experiences seems to have been played out in it, from poverty to riches, from failure to success, from friendlessness to unquestioned power and from persecution to kingly authority.
He was resigned to being an orphan, was an affectionate adopted child, an honest trader, a loving husband, a kind father, a caring neighbour, a great warrior and general, a just judge and law-giver, an enlightened statesman, a faithful friend and above all, a prophet and the preacher of the Word of Allah.
He passed away in 632 CE leaving behind a very pious and righteous community of believers who continued his mission to spread Islam in all parts of the world despite heavy odds. Today there are more than one billion people around the world who adhere to the principles taught by this great Prophet.