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
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
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
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 her father).
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, 622 AD.
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 ages.
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
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 next year.
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
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
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
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