• Prophet Muhammad (s)
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Muḥammad [1] b. ʿAbd Allāh (Arabic: محمد بن‌ عبد اللّه ; b. 'Am al-Fil /571 Mecca – d. 11 /632 Medina ) is the prophet of Islam, whose mission was essentially the advancement of monotheism and morality . He (s) was also a social reformist and a political leader. He (s) was the last prophet of God, and his major miracle was the Qur'an .

Although the Prophet (s) was born in the polytheistic society of Arabia , he never worshiped any idols. He also avoided the inappropriate manners that were rampant in pre-Islamic Arabia. He (s) was chosen by God as a prophet at the age of forty. Although the polytheists of Mecca persecuted him and his followers for many years, neither he nor his followers gave up following Islam . After thirteen years of preaching in Mecca, he immigrated to Medina. This immigration ( Hijra ) marked what became the beginning of the Islamic calendar . In Medina, he established an ever-expanding community of believers, the Muslim ummah .

Because of the efforts of the Prophet (s), the pre-Islamic Age of Ignorance ended, and the polytheistic society of Arabia was transformed into a monotheistic society in a short time. Towards the end of the Prophet's (s) life, almost everyone in the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam. The number of Muslims has continued to grow ever since, and Islam is now the fastest-growing religion globally.

The Prophet (s) enjoined his followers to adhere to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt (a) . He designated Imam 'Ali (a) as his successor on various occasions throughout his life, including the event of Ghadir .

Lineage, Teknonym, and Epithets

The Prophet's lineage is as follows: Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib (Shyba al-Hamd, 'Amir) b. Hashim ('Amr al-'Ula) b. 'Abd Manaf (al-Mughira) b. Qusayy (Zayd) b. Kilab (Hakim) b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr (Quraysh) b. Malik b. Nadr (Qays) b. Kinana b. Khuzayma b. Mudrika ('Amr) b. Ilyas b. Mudar b. Nizar (Khuldan) b. Ma'add b. 'Adnan.

His mother was Amina bt. Wahb b. 'Abd Manaf b. Zuhra b. Kilab.

Al-'Allama al-Majlisi has said, "All Twelver Shi'as agree that Abu Talib , Amina bt. Wahb and 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib and all of the forefathers of the Prophet (s), dating back to the time of Adam (a) , were believers [in God]." [2]

His teknonyms were Abu l-Qasim and Abu Ibrahim. Some epithets of his were: al-Mustafa (the chosen), Habib Allah (beloved one of Allah), Safi Allah (chosen one of Allah), Ni'mat Allah (gift of Allah), Khiyarat Khalq Allah (the chosen one from the creatures of Allah), Sayyid al-Mursalin (master of the prophets), Khatam al-Nabiyyin (the last of the prophets), Rahmat li-l-'Alamin (a blessing for the two worlds), al-Nabi al-Ummi (the unschooled Prophet).

The exact year of the Prophet's (s) birth is not known. Ibn Hisham and some others have written that it was in 'Am al-fil (literally, "the year of the elephant"), the year in which Abraha al-Ashram and his elephants attempted to destroy the Ka'ba . But this does not help much, since it cannot be said for certain what year the year of the elephant was. However, taking into consideration that the Prophet's (s) demise was in 632 CE and that he was sixty-three years old at the time of his demise, the year of his birth must have been either 569 or 570 CE. [3]

The date of his birth is Rabi' I 17th according to the majority of Shi'a scholars, and Rabi' I 12th according to Sunnis . [4]

Muhammad (s) spent his childhood as an orphan. A few months after 'Abd Allah (his father) married Amina , the daughter of Wahb (the chief of the Banu Zuhra family ), 'Abd Allah went on a business trip to Damascus , and passed away on his return in Yathrib (now Medina). Some historians say that his death was before Muhammad's birth, and some have written that he passed away a few months after Muhammad (s) was born. Muhammad (s) spent his early childhood with a woman from the Banu Sa'd tribe, named Halima , who breastfed him. Muhammad lived his first years with his wet nurse and her husband in the desert.

When Muhammad (s) was six years (or four years old according to some reports), he traveled to Yathrib with his mother, Amina, to see his relatives from the side of Abd al-Muttalib 's mother (i.e., Banu 'Adi b. Najjar). However, on her way back to Mecca , she passed away in Abwa' and was buried there. Amina was 30 years old when she passed away.

After the loss of his mother, Abd al-Muttalib undertook the guardianship of Muhammad (s). When Muhammad (s) was eight years old, 'Abd al-Muttalib also passed away. Since then, Muhammad's (s) uncle, Abu Talib , took care of him. [5] In the house of Abu Talib, his wife, Fatima bt. Asad , was so kind to Muhammad (s) that when she passed away, the Prophet (s) said, "Today, my mother has died!". [6]

First Journey to Syria and the Christian Monk's Prophecy

Historians have written that as a child, Muhammad (s) accompanied his uncle Abu Talib in one of his journeys to Damascus . On the way, they stopped in a place called Busra , where they met a Christian monk whose name was Bahira . He saw the signs of prophethood in Muhammad (s) and advised Abu Talib on how to treat him (Muhammad) best. He especially advised him to protect Muhammad (s) from the Jews who were his enemies.

It is recorded that when the caravan moved away from Bahira, he asked Muhammad (s) to stay and told him that, "By al-Lat and al-'Uzza , I command you to answer my questions!" Muhammad (s) responded to Bahira by saying, "Don't ask me to answer you in the name of al-Lat and al-'Uzza because I do not hate anything more than them". [7] . Then, Bahira asked him to answer by the name of Allah .

Hilf al-Fudul

One of the most important events in the life of Muhammad (s), before his marriage, was his participation in an agreement called Hilf al-Fudul in which some of the youths of Mecca pledged "to support any person under oppression and defend their rights" [8] .

Second Journey to Syria

When Muhammad (s) was twenty-five years old, Abu Talib told him, "The caravan of Quraysh is ready to go to Damascus. Khadija bt. Khuwaylid , has given money to some of your family members to conduct business for her and to take their shares of profit. She might accept for you to join them if you would like to." Then, he spoke with Khadija and she accepted. Ibn Ishaq has written that when Khadija saw the trustworthiness and the dignity of Muhammad (s), she told him that she would pay him a bigger share than others if he accepted to conduct business using her money. [9]

After that business trip, Khadija married Muhammad (s).

"The best of you are the best of you to their wives."

Payām-i Payāmbar , p. 432 – 433

Muhammad (s) married Khadija (a) when he was twenty-five years old. [10] Khadija lived with the Prophet (s) for 25 years and passed away 10 years after Bi'tha . Khadija gave birth to a few children, the boys of whom died in childhood. The most famous of her daughters was Lady Fatima (a) .

After dimise of Khadija, the Prophet (s) married Sawda bt. Zam'a . The next wives of the Prophet (s) were:

  • Zaynab bt. Khuzayma
  • Zaynab bt. Jahsh
  • Juwayriyya bt. al-Harith
  • Safiyya bt. Huyyay
  • Maymuna bt. al-Harith
  • Mariya bt. Sham'un known as Mariya al-Qibtiyya. [11]

All of the Prophet's (s) children, save for Fatima (a) , died when the Prophet (s) was alive and his descendants are all from the line of Fatima (a). In total, he had three sons and four daughters:

  • Al-Qasim : the Prophet's (s) first child who died in Mecca at the age of 2.
  • Abd Allah : born in Mecca shortly after the beginning of the Prophet's (s) mission and died there.
  • Ruqayya : died in Medina , 2 /624
  • Zaynab : died in Medina, 8 /629-30
  • Umm Kulthum : died in Medina, 9 /630
  • Ibrahim : died in Medina, 10 /631
  • Fatima (a) : was martyred in Medina, 11 /632. (the Prophet's (s) progeny is continued only through her) [12]

Except for Ibrahim who was from Mariya al-Qibtiyya , all other six children were from Khadija bt. Khuwaylid .

Placing al-Hajar al-Aswad

Placing al-Hajar al-Aswad (black stone) on the Ka'ba happened before the Prophet's (s) mission began and confirmed his social status amongst people of Mecca . History has it that the Ka'ba was respected even amongst the polytheistic Arabs of the pre-Islam, during the Age of Ignorance . Once a flood damaged the Ka'ba and ruined its walls, the Quraysh reconstructed the walls. When they wanted to place the al-Hajar al-Aswad (black stone) onto the Ka'ba, an argument broke out between the chiefs of the Quraysh's families as to which of them should do it. Each of them wanted to have the honor of placing the stone back onto the Ka'ba. The argument was heated and they even brought a tub full of blood and put their hands in it, which was a type of pledge that they had to fight until one of them won. Finally, they agreed to accept the judgment of the first person who would enter al-Masjid al-Haram through the gate of Banu Shayba and to do whatever that person said. The first person who entered was Muhammad (s). The nobles of the Quraysh said that Muhammad (s) was trustworthy and that they would accept his judgment. Then, they told him what had happened. Muhammad (s) said, "Let us spread a piece of cloth." They did so, and he then placed the black stone on it. Then, he said that "The chief of every family should come and hold a corner of this cloth." They lifted up the cloth and brought the stone to the place it had to be installed, then he lifted the stone and placed it back onto the Ka'ba. By such a judgment, he prevented an imminent war. [13]

According to the Twelver Shi'as , the mission of the Prophet (s) began on the Rajab 27 / June 25 , 610 . [14] In the years prior to his mission, Muhammad (s) spent a lot of time in solitude, worshiping God . He would spend a month in solitude in a cave called Hira' , at the mountains and would worship God there (see: tahannuth ). After the month was completed, he returned to Mecca and circumambulated the Ka'ba seven times or more before returning home. [15] He was in the cave of Hira' when the mission began and verses of the Qur'an were revealed to him. Later, Muhammad (s) described the event:

It is widely believed that the Prophet (s) was forty years old at the beginning of his mission. [16] With this revelation which triggered his mission, the Prophet (s) returned to Mecca reading these verses, which are in Qur'an 96 . Upon that feeling which was new to him at that night, naturally, he returned to his house immediately. There were three people in his house that night: his wife Khadija , his cousin Ali b. Abi Talib , and his adopted son Zayd b. Haritha . [17] The holy Prophet (s) first began to teach Islam to his own family and so the first people who believed in his prophethood were his wife from amongst the women, and Ali b. Abi Talib from amongst the men. At that time, Ali was under the guardianship of the Prophet (s). [18] Other people mentioned in other sources as the first Muslims are Abu Bakr and Zayd b. Haritha. [19] Although the initial invitation was limited, the number of Muslims began to grow and soon they began to go out of Mecca and pray with the Prophet (s). [20]

Public Invitation

It is recorded that Muhammad (s) invited people secretly to Islam for three years after his mission. However, because of the order of the revelation of the verses of the Qur'an, some believe that the Prophet's (s) public invitation was carried out very shortly after the first revelation. [21]

In the beginning, the Prophet (s) invited people to abandon worshiping multiple gods (idols) and to begin worshiping one God (i.e. monotheism ). In the beginning, prayers were in two units. Later, it was an obligation for travelers to perform the prayers in two units and for others to perform it in four units. At the time of prayers, Muslims would hide from others in the splits of mountains and other faraway places to perform the prayers. Gradually, the Muslims began to grow in numbers in Mecca . [22] It is well-known that three years after the beginning of his mission, God ordered the Prophet (s) to invite people to Islam publicly [23] . Ibn Ishaq writes that the Prophet (s) told Ali (a) , "O Ali! God has told me to call upon the closest of my family to worship Him. So slaughter a sheep and provide some bread and a bowl of milk". Ali (a) did so and approximately forty members of the family of 'Abd al-Muttalib gathered together and ate the food, which was not enough for the number of people present there. However, they all ate the food till they were full, which was miraculous. When the Prophet (s) wanted to begin his speech, Abu Lahab said, "He has enchanted you all (for food!)". Because of this, confusion spread, and all the guests left. The Prophet (s) invited them again on another occasion and told them:

As al-Tabari writes, after the Prophet (s) declared his invitation to Islam amongst his relatives, he said:

This narration has been transmitted by other historians and writers of the Prophet's (s) biography and is among the most famous hadiths. (see: Hadith Yawm al-Dar ) [25]

"Good manners and good neighborhoods cause regions to flourish."

Payam-i Payambar, pp. 773 – 774

Enmity of Quraysh and Its Consequences

As the number of Muslims grew, the chiefs of the Quraysh became more worried about it. They went to Abu Talib (the Prophet's (s) uncle and protector) and asked him to stop his nephew from the mission of prophethood that he had started. They asked him to give Muhammad (s) over to them so that they could kill him and in return, they offered Abu Talib the guardianship of Ammara b. al-Walid who was -in their opinion- a handsome and wise young man. Abu Talib responded by exclaiming: "Shall I give my son to you so that you can kill him and raise your son? What a difficult task! [26]

The Quraysh could not harm the Prophet (s) because of tribal customs, and if they did, they would enter a war with Banu Hashim and other tribes would interfere and the situation would become too difficult to bear. Therefore, their opposition to the Prophet (s) would consist of using foul language and causing minor injuries. However, they would harass other new Muslims, as this same type of protection did not extend to them. [27]

The conflict began to escalate. So, the chiefs of the Quraysh went to Abu Talib again and asked him to stop his nephew from the path he was following. Abu Talib informed the Prophet (s) about their request and the Prophet (s) said: "By God, I swear, that if the sun was given to me in my right hand and the moon on the other, I would not abandon my mission." Abu Talib said: "Then follow your mission, and I will not let them harm you." After that, the Quraysh became more determined to harm him and his followers. [28]

Immigration of Muslims to Abyssinia

As the number of new Muslims grew, the hostility of the Quraysh towards them also increased. Abu Talib supported the Prophet (s), so the Quraysh could not harm him due to the tribal pacts. However, they felt no limits in harming his followers because they had no protection. The harassment and torture of his followers deeply upset the Prophet (s). To practice their faith freely, he ordered them to immigrate to Abyssinia . He told them that, "There is a king there who harms no one. Go there and stay there so that God frees you from the trouble here." When the Quraysh learned of the immigration of these new Muslims, they sent 'Amr b. al-'As and 'Abd Allah b. Abi Rabi'a to the king of Abyssinia to implore him to return those Muslims to Mecca. After a lengthy trial, when the king heard the representatives of the Quraysh and the responses of the Muslims, he refused to submit to the requests of the Quraysh. Thus, the representatives of the Quraysh returned to Mecca empty-handed. [29]

Boycott of Banu Hashim

When the Quraysh saw that Islam was spreading in Mecca and that the king did not hand over the immigrants, they decided to put Muhammad (s) and his followers under severe economic sanctions. Doing so, they wrote a treaty which said nobody could marry any of the children of Hashim or 'Abd al-Muttalib. Further, nobody could sell or buy anything from them. Then, they hung this decree in the Ka'ba (as the sign of its great obligation). Thereafter, Banu Hashim and Banu 'Abd al-Muttalib had to live under the boycott in Shi'b Abi Talib . [30]

The sanctions lasted two or three years. During this time, the Muslims lived in extreme difficulty. A couple of their relatives would smuggle wheat or other essentials to them so that they could have the bare minimum. One night, Abu Jahl , who was a bitter enemy of Banu Hashim, was informed of this and stopped Hakim b. Hazam from bringing wheat to Khadija . Others interfered and criticized Abu Jahl for the severity of his actions. Eventually, some of the Quraysh felt guilty and chose to side with Banu Hashim. They wondered why Banu Makhzum should live an easy life while the children of Hashim and 'Abd al-Muttalib should live in difficulty. Thus, they decided to end the treaty. And some of those that had signed it decided to tear up the treaty. Ibn Hisham narrates from Ibn Ishaq that when they went in the Ka'ba, they saw that termites had miraculously eaten the treaty and that only the phrase "Bismik Allahumma" [In Your name O Allah] had remained of it. Ibn Hisham narrates that "Abu Talib went to a meeting of the Quraysh and said: "My nephew says that termites have eaten the treaty and that only the name of God remains. See for yourself, and if he is right, end the boycott. If he is lying, I will hand him over to you".

When they went to see the treaty, they saw that termites had indeed eaten all of it except for the portion with the name of God. It was in this way that the sanctions against Banu Hashim eventually ended, and they left the valley." [31]

Journey to Ta'if

Immigration to medina, first allegiance of al-'aqaba.

In the eleventh year after Bi'tha (3 BH/620), the Prophet (s) visited six people from the tribe of Khazraj and told them about the message of Islam. They returned to Yathrib and informed the people of their city about the invitation. Next year (2 BH/621), twelve people of Medina gave allegiance to the Prophet (s) after the hajj pilgrimage in an area called al-'Aqaba . They solemnly vowed:

  • not to associate anyone with God
  • to not steal
  • not to commit adultery
  • not kill their children
  • not to slander anyone and to obey the Prophet Muhammad (s) in his orders.

The Prophet (s) then sent one of the Muslims, Mus'ab b. 'Umayr , with them to Yathrib to teach them the holy Qur'an and to report back to the Prophet (s) with an assessment of the situation in the city and how receptive the people were to Islam. [34]

Second Allegiance of al-Aqaba

The following year (1 BH/622), 73 men and women gathered again after the pilgrimage in al-'Aqaba. The Prophet (s) went to them with his uncle al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib . It is reported that 'Abbas first spoke to them and said, "O people of Khazraj! Muhammad (s) is one of us, and we protected him against all harms as much as we could. Now, he (s) is going to come to you. So support him if you can and defend him from his enemies. Otherwise, let him go now". They answered by saying, "We have heard you now, O Messenger of God! Tell us whatever you and your God please!" The Prophet (s) recited a few verses of the Qur'an and then said, "I accept your allegiance with the condition of supporting me like your relatives." Representatives of the people of Medina pledged allegiance to him and vowed to be enemies of his enemies, friends of his friends, and at war with anyone who was at war with him. They called this pledge Bay'at al-Harb . After this, the Prophet (s) allowed the Muslims to immigrate to Yathrib. They went to Yathrib and were warmly welcomed. Those who immigrated to Medina were later called the Muhajirun [i.e., the immigrants] and those who received and hosted them in Yathrib were called the Ansar [i.e., the supporters]. [35]

Dar al-Nadwa Conspiracy

The chiefs of the Quraysh felt that Islam has posed a danger to them, especially when they discovered that a new group had converted to Islam, leading Islam to become more established among people. They felt further threatened because the people of Medina had pledged their allegiance to the Prophet (s). They were terrified of the possibility that the Prophet (s) would take revenge on them for all of the torture and harassment that he and his followers had faced at their hands. They thought that even if the Prophet (s) did not want to wage war against them, he would still be a severe threat to them as Yathrib was the largest city close to Mecca. The businessmen of Quraysh would travel to Yathrib to sell their goods, and each of them had valuable customers there, important to the success of their businesses. They would suffer a huge economic loss if they were to lose access to that city. To prevent such a loss in profit, they concluded that they had to ignore their tribal pacts and kill Muhammad (s). However, killing him was not an easy task because if they did so, Banu Hashim would take revenge. So, they held a meeting in Dar al-Nadwa in order to find a solution for their problem and concluded that a group of young men from all tribes would attack Muhammad (s) and kill him together. This way, his killer would not be one person and Banu Hashim could not take revenge because they could not wage war against all of the tribes in Mecca, and they would be forced to accept a ransom instead of taking revenge.

That night, when the Quraysh attempted to carry out the assassination of the Prophet (s), he had already left Mecca by order of God, and Ali (a) was lying in his bed instead. The Prophet (s) and Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafa stayed in a cave near Mecca called Thawr for three days so that those chasing him could not find him and had to return to Mecca empty-handed. Then, the Prophet (s) and Abu Bakr continued on their way to Yathrib. [36]

Arrival in Yathrib

There is a disagreement amongst historians as to which day of Rabi' I the Prophet (s) left Mecca and when he arrived in Yathrib . Ibn Hisham narrates that the Prophet (s) came in Quba (a village in the outskirts of Yathrib) on Monday , the 12th of Rabi' I. Ibn Kalbi has written that he left Mecca on Monday, the 1st of Rabi' I and that he arrived in Quba on Friday , the 12th of Rabi' I. Some other historians have narrated that the Prophet (s) came in Quba on the 8th of Rabi' I. More contemporary European and Muslim historians have said that it took him nine days to travel to Quba, and he arrived there on the Rabi' I 12 , 1 / September 24 , 622.

Later, the immigration of the Prophet (s) to Yathrib was used to mark the beginning of the Islamic calendar . However, the month of Muharram became the calendar's first month, and Rabi' I is the third.

When the Prophet (s) arrived in Quba, he built a mosque which was called the mosque of Quba . [37]

Ali (a) stayed in Mecca for three days after the Prophet (s) departed for Yathrib. He returned everything that people had entrusted to the Prophet (s). Then he himself traveled to Yathrib alongside other members of the family of the Prophet (s) including Fatima (a) , his beloved daughter. They joined the Prophet (s) at the house of Kulthum b. Hadam in Quba before heading to Yathrib together. [38] The Prophet (s) arrived in Yathrib on Friday with a group of people from Banu Najjar . He held the first Friday prayer at the tribe of Banu Salim b. 'Awf .

When he entered the city, everyone wanted to host him to bring honor to their families. The Prophet (s) said, "Wherever my camel sits, that is where my house will be." In response to the invitation of the people, he said, "My camel is just an agent and knows where to go." The Prophet's (s) camel sat in front of the houses of Banu Malik b. Najjar, where his mosque ( al-Masjid al-Nabawi ) was later built on. It was the property of two orphans who would dry fruit dates there. The Prophet (s) bought the property from Mu'adh b. 'Afra' who was their guardian. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari took the Prophet's (s) luggage and belongings to his house. The Prophet (s) stayed at his house for a brief time until they built a room for him. Muhammad (s) helped them in building the mosque. They also built a suffa (stage) extension for the poor companions of the Prophet (s) to live in. They were to become famous as companions of Suffa . [39]

The immigration of the Prophet (s) from Mecca to Yathrib, which later became known as the Hijra , was a significant event in the life of the Prophet (s) and the history of Islam . After this immigration, the city became known as "Madinat al-Rasul" (city of the Prophet) and, in short, "Medina".

The Prophet (s) officially made a pact of brotherhood between Muhajirun and Ansar and took Ali (a) as his own brother. [40] There were also a few people who had accepted Islam by their tongue but did not harbor true faith in their heart, they were hypocrites ( Munafiqun ). Soon after the Prophet (s) entered Medina, he established a constitution between different groups of people in the city, including the Jews . [41]

Hypocrites and Jews

While most of the population of Medina was either Muslim or friends with the Prophet (s), all of the inhabitants of the city and its surroundings were not completely in love with the Prophet (s). 'Abd Allah b. Ubay , who was about to become the chief of the city, but was denied of this because of the people accepting the message of the Prophet (s), was not happy and would not remain silent. Although he called himself a Muslim, he would secretly plot schemes against Muhammad (s) and his followers and had a relationship with the Jews of Medina who would also plot against the Prophet (s). [42]

Such people were named hypocrites and they were spoken of in the first verses of the holy Qur'an that were revealed to the Prophet (s) in Medina. This was because they were causing problems for the Prophet (s) and the Muslims. Dealing with them was more difficult than dealing with the non-Muslims because they called themselves Muslims, and thus the Prophet (s) could not openly fight with them. [43]

Verses of the Qur'an threatened them that God and the Prophet (s) were aware of their true beliefs and knew that calling themselves "Muslims" was just a plot to protect themselves. [44]

'Abd Allah b. Ubay continued to cause troubles until his death ( 9 /631). Although the Jews had signed the Constitution of Medina , they were not happy living with the Muslims. They played friendship games with Muslims. Even some of them (Jews) had outwardly become Muslims. The reason for this discontentment was that before the Islamic government , they controlled the city's economy and traded widely with the Bedouins and polytheists of Mecca. They (Jews) were expecting 'Abd Allah b. Ubay to become the chief of Medina so that their financial power would increase. However, the coming of Muhammad (s) and the expansion of Islam under his command prevented this. Moreover, they could not accept a prophet who was not of Jewish lineage. Therefore, they expressed their opposition to Muhammad (s). Apparently, it was Abd Allah b. Ubay who had a hand in provoking them. The Jews would claim that "the prophet we expected is not Muhammad" and mentioned verses of the Torah that contradicted verses of the Qur'an , saying that "what is in the Qur'an is not the same as what is in our books." Some verses of the Qur'an were then revealed to the Prophet (s), suggesting that verses of the Torah had been distorted over time by Jewish scholars to promote their positions. Eventually, the holy Qur'an attempted to sever the relationship between Islam, Christianity and Judaism . And just to show the Arabs that, compared to Jews, they were a separate nation [45] . [46]

Change of Qibla

The Prophet (s) prayed towards the al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine for seventeen months after entering Medina. During this time, the Jews harassed the Prophet by their persistent criticism. They said: "Muhammad (s) had no Qibla until we taught him about it." These rather harsh criticisms upset the Prophet (s) and one day, in Rajab 2 /623-4, while he was performing the afternoon prayers in the Banu Salama mosque , a verse was revealed to him commanding him to change the Qibla to al-Masjid al-Haram [47] . The Prophet (s) instantly turned his face towards the Ka'ba . After that, the mosque became known as the Dhu l-Qiblatayn mosque .

Battles before the Conquest of Mecca

Battle of badr.

Since the Prophet (s) had made the second allegiance with people of Medina at al-'Aqaba , a battle with the Quraysh seemed inevitable. The first encounter with the Quraysh took place in the month of Safar in the second year after Hijra /August 623. This encounter was called Ghazwa Abwa' or Wuddan in which there was no violent clash, only a minor fight. Another encounter, Ghazwa Buwat , occurred in Rabi' I /September of the same year which just like the first one there was no violent clash. Then, in Jumada I /November, there was news that a caravan of the Quraysh led by Abu Sufyan had begun traveling from Mecca to Damascus . The Prophet (s) went to an area called Dhat al-Ashira to confront them, but the caravan had already passed it before the Muslims arrived. Their attempt was unsuccessful because a few spies in Medina, who had become aware of the Muslims' plans, were able to reach and inform the caravans from Mecca that there was a threat ahead of them and that the caravans should change the route or speed up to avoid them. [48]

Eventually, in the same year (2/624), there was an important battle between the Muslims and polytheists of Mecca. This battle, called the Battle of Badr , was won by the Muslims even though they were less in number. Many polytheists were either killed or captured and many more escaped. [49] In this battle, Abu Jahl and around 70 other chiefs of the Quraysh were killed and roughly the same number captured. Only 14 Muslims were martyred in Badr . In this battle, Ali (a) made great sacrifices and helped the Prophet (s) enormously. He also killed some bold warriors from the army of Mecca and his valor assured the victory of Islam (36 or 37 polytheists were killed by him). [50]

Battle with Banu Qaynuqa'

The first battle with the Jews came about a few weeks after the Battle of Badr which led to the great victory of the Muslims. The Jews of Banu Qaynuqa' had a castle outside of Medina . Their business was to make objects out of gold and other precious metals. It is narrated that once, an Arab woman went to the market to sell her goods in Banu Qaynuqa's market and sat at a jewelry store. One of the Jews tied her clothes from behind and when she tried to stand up, her clothes were drawn to the side and they mocked her by laughing at her. The woman cried and asked for help from the other Muslims in the market, causing a fight. A Muslim rose to help the woman, and in the scuffle that ensued, killed the Jewish man and the Jews killed him, causing the situation to become worse.

Later, the Prophet (s) warned the Jews about the consequences of what they were doing and told them that they had to surrender if they wanted to stay in the city. Banu Qaynuqa' responded to the Prophet (s) by saying that he should not be proud of defeating the Meccans since they were not warriors. They claimed that if they fought the Prophet (s), they would show him how powerful they were. Then, the following verse was revealed:

Say to the faithless, 'You shall be overcome and mustered toward hell, and it is an evil resting place.' (12) There was certainly a sign for you in the two hosts that met: one host fighting in the way of Allah and the other faithless." Quran, 3:12-13

Thus, the Muslims surrounded their castle and the Jews surrendered after 15 days. Abd Allah b. Ubay implored the Prophet (s) not to kill them, and the Prophet (s) agreed, exiling them to Syria . The siege of the Banu Qaynuqa Jews occurred in the month of Shawwal , 2/April 624. [51]

Battle of Uhud

In 3/625, the Quraysh asked for help from their allied tribes, and sent an army led by Abu Sufyan towards Medina . Initially, the Prophet (s) wanted to stay inside the parameters of Medina but then decided to meet the army outside the city. The two armies met somewhere near the Mount Uhud . Although the Muslims were initially close to victory, they ended up losing the war. This was because of a trick played by Khalid b. Walid and the ignorance of a group of Muslims which let the Meccans attack them from behind, killing many Muslims in the process. It was in this battle that Hamza , the uncle of the Prophet (s), was martyred. The Prophet (s) took serious injuries during the war, causing a rumor of his demise among both sides. This was another reason that the Muslims became disheartened at the battle. They returned to Medina dejected and sad at their loss. A few verses were then revealed to console them.

Battles of Banu Nadir and Dumat al-Jandal

In 4/625-6, there were a few small fights with tribes around Medina, as they did not see Islam to their benefit. They felt that if they allied together, there was a chance that they could invade Medina. In the two events of Raji' and Bi'r Ma'una , in which Muslim missionaries were killed by the allied tribes, there is an indication of their alliance and the Prophet's (s) efforts in preaching Islam. [52]

In that year, one of the most important battles of the Prophet (s) took place with one of the Jewish tribes of Medina, called Banu Nadir . The Prophet (s) held a meeting with them, in which they tried to assassinate him. Later, they were forced to migrate from Medina. [53]

The following year ( 5 /626), the Prophet (s) and the Muslims went to a region called Dumat al-Jandal which was on the borders of Syria . When the Muslim army arrived there, the enemy had fled and the Muslims returned to Medina. [54]

Battles of Ahzab, Banu Qurayza, and Banu Mustalaq

In 4/625-6, Abu Sufyan attempted to bring a group of Meccans to fight at Badr , but he changed his mind when he was halfway through Medina and pulled his army back. This escape directly hit his reputation with the chiefs of the Quraysh , and in order to restore it, he had to amass a great army. He finally managed to gather an army of 7,000-10,000 people in 5/627, which included 600 mounted warriors. This massive army headed towards Medina, and the battle that ensued was called the Ahzab (the Arabic word al-Ahzab means parties) because Abu Sufyan's army basically comprised of several different tribes/parties. Also in this war, a group of Jews from Banu Nadir who lived in the castle of Khaybar , joined with the Quraysh and Ghatfan against the Prophet (s). Further, the Jews of Banu Qurayza who lived around Medina and had previously promised not to support the Quraysh, broke their agreement and allied with the Meccans. To confront the approaching army, the Prophet (s) had only 3,000 people who were all foot soldiers (save a few horsemen).

Unlike the Battle of Uhud , the people of Medina accepted to take defensive positions and stayed inside Medina. In order to defend the city from an onslaught, the Prophet's companion, Salman al-Farsi , proposed the strategy of digging a trench in front of the city. Since Medina was surrounded and protected by palm gardens and buildings except on one side, the enemy could not invade the city from those sides. Thus, digging a trench on the only open side where an attack was possible in the north, would keep the city safe from attacks. Before the Meccan army arrived in Medina, the trench had already been dug. The enemy was shocked when they arrived since they had not anticipated or seen such a blockade before. Mounted soldiers could not jump over the trench, and if they tried to approach it, Medinan archers would prevent them from coming any closer.

'Amr b. 'Abd Wad and 'Akrama b. Abi Jahl decided to jump across the trench. Audacious as he was, 'Amr was killed by Ali (a) . At the first glance, it seemed like Medina was going to be defeated. What could the little army of Muslims do against the massive army that was ready to attack their city? First, the Prophet (s) wanted to separate the tribe of Ghatfan from the Meccan army. So, he (s) sent an offer to them that one-third of the crops of Medina would be theirs if they did not help the Quraysh. The Ansar of Medina asked the Prophet (s): "Is this treaty a revelation ?" When he replied in the negative, they said: "Then, we would not accept that. Even in the past, when God had not yet guided us, we would not accept such a belittlement. How can we belittle ourselves today, when God has saved us by you?" Therefore, the treaty was not made.

But, very few people who did not reveal being Muslims, associated with Banu Qurayza and Ghatfan at the same time and made the two tribes distrustful about each other. Divine help arrived and a strong cold storm began, making the situation even more difficult than it was for the Meccan army. Abu Sufyan ordered the army to withdraw to Mecca, and so Medina was relieved after 15 days of being under siege.

The outcome of the Battle of Ahzab was a very positive one for the Muslims, but it was fatally tragic for the Meccans. It became clear that the Meccans had lost any prospects for business in Medina forever. In addition, Medina was in a strategic location and served as an obstacle in the path that the Meccans traveled on from Mecca to Syria . So, the Quraysh businessmen could no longer continue their businesses easily.

Abu Sufyan 's leadership was weakening in Mecca day by day, and the Quraysh had been disgraced in the face of other tribes. The unexpected victory of the Muslims in the Battle of Ahzab had attracted Bedouins to Islam, as they believed that an extraordinary power had supported the Muslims. After this, the situation became favorable for the Muslims. [55]

After the Battle of Ahzab, the Prophet (s) tried to solve the problem of the Banu Qurayza. According to the Constitution of Medina that they had signed soon after the arrival of the Prophet (s) in Medina, these Jews would be protected unless they rose against the Muslims. However, since they had allied with Muslims' enemies in the Battle of Ahzab, the constitution no longer applied. Further, it was obvious that their threat was not minor at all. So, the Prophet (s) went to them and surrounded them, keeping them under siege for 25 days, after which they surrendered. The tribe of Aws , who had been allied with the Banu Qurayza told the Prophet (s): "The Banu Qurayza are allied with us and they regret what they have done, so, treat our alliances the same way as you treated the Khazraj 's alliances ( Banu Qaynuqa' ). [We ask you this] since we saw you forgave those Jewish captives and handed them to the one they were allied with, 'Abd Allah b. Ubay ." The Prophet (s) left the judgment of the captives of Banu Qurayza up to Sa'd b. Mu'adh , who was the chief of the tribe of Aws ; and Banu Qurayza accepted. Sa'd said, "My opinion is that we kill their men and capture their women and children." So, this was done. [56]

However, some historians are skeptical of this story. In fact, Shahidi has said that:

In the year 6 /628, the Muslims conquered the Banu Mustalaq tribe who were gathering forces against the Prophet (s). [58]

Battle of Khaybar

The last war that occurred before the Conquest of Mecca and after the Treaty of Hudaybiyya was the Battle of Khaybar. In 7 /628, the Prophet (s) conquered the Jews of Khaybar who had allied with his enemies several times before. Khaybar which was a castle near Medina was seized by the Muslims. After the victory, the Prophet (s) agreed that the Jews could continue farming in the region, however, they had to give a part of their crop to the Muslims every year. [59]

In the battle of Khaybar, capturing one of the castles was very difficult. The Prophet (s) first sent Abu Bakr and then 'Umar to attempt to seize the castle, but they failed. Then the Prophet (s) said that,

The next day, he called Ali (a) and cured Ali's (a) eyes (which were infected at the time) with saliva from his mouth and told him, "Take this flag and proceed, may God give you victory." Ibn Ishaq narrates from Abu Rafi' that, "Ali went near the castle and fought with the Jews. When his shield fell after one of the Jews had hit it, he took a door of the castle and used it as his shield until victory was achieved and he dropped it [the door] when war was finished." Abu Rafi' says, "Seven people and I tried hard to lift the door, but we could not!" [60]

Treaty of Hudaybiyya

Many events in 6/627-8 ended favorably for the Muslims, such as the Battle of Ahzab , the surrender of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza , and two or three other battles that they won. Further, the bring-backs of war which they had collected, raised the status and respect of Islam in the eyes of the population to the extent that many tribes converted to Islam or signed peace treaties with Muslims.

Therefore, it was an opportune time for the Prophet (s) to show the glory of Islam to the people of Mecca and to call them to Islam. In Dhu l-Qa'da , 6 /April 628, the Prophet (s) along with 1,500 people from Medina went to Mecca in order to perform the pilgrimage . The Quraysh prepared to stop the Muslims from the pilgrimage when they became aware of this. First, they sent Khalid b. Walid and 'Ikrama b. Abi Jahl to prevent them from coming to Mecca. The Prophet (s) arrived in Hudaybiyya , a place marking the beginning of the Haram (sacred land), and sent a message to the Meccans that "we have come for pilgrimage, not war." It was a humiliation for Quraysh to see their enemies enter Mecca and perform Hajj. But on the other hand, they could not prevent anyone from entering Mecca to perform Hajj, as Mecca was the free land of God. Finally, a peace treaty was agreed upon and signed between the Prophet (s) and the representatives of Mecca. According to the treaty, they would not engage in warfare with each other and allies of each other for the next ten years. However, the Muslims could not enter Mecca that year, but the following year, the Quraysh would leave the city for three days and the Muslims would be permitted to enter to perform the pilgrimage. Another article in the peace treaty was that if a Meccan man were to come to the Prophet (s), the person would have to be returned to Mecca. However, if someone were to go to Mecca, they would not have to return them. Further, the treaty permitted that other tribes were free to ally either with the Quraysh or with Muhammad (s). [61]

Some of the companions of the Prophet (s) were angry about the contents of the treaty and considered it to be a failure for the Muslims since they could not understand its importance and benefits. However, the signing of this treaty was a great victory for Muslims because the Meccans had completely disregarded the Prophet (s) and his companions until then. They had intended to kill all of them, and in this treaty, they finally recognized the Muslims on an official basis and dealt with them as equals. Moreover, it was written in the treaty that tribes were free to ally with the Prophet (s) or the Quraysh. So, the treaty would be broken if either the Muslims or the Quraysh waged war on their allies. Later, the Quraysh broke this condition, and the Muslims conquered Mecca. A short time after signing the treaty, a Meccan who had become Muslim was going to be returned to Mecca (as per the treaty). However, he escaped on the way, and instead of going back to Medina, he hid in a place which was on the path that the Quraysh's caravan took while traveling to Syria . Gradually, some of the Muslims of Mecca joined him at this spot and became a threat to the caravans of the Quraysh as they lay in wait. Since it was not appropriate here for the Prophet (s) to return them to Mecca, the Quraysh were forced to ask him to call them back to Medina, and so, the issue of returning refugees was canceled. More importantly, when the Quraysh violated one of the articles of the treaty, the Meccans were forced to submit to the Muslims. [62]

Inviting the Rulers of Neighboring Countries

In 7/628-9, when the Prophet (s) was no longer occupied by the troubles of the Quraysh (because of the Hudaybiyya peace treaty), he decided to invite rulers and kings of neighboring countries to Islam . Thus, he wrote letters to the East Roman Emperor , King of Persia , Nəgusä of Abyssinia , Ghassanid king of Syria , and the Emir of al-Yamama . [63]

Pilgrimage to Mecca

In Dhu l-Qa'da of 7 /629, the Prophet (s) went to Mecca for pilgrimage , as was agreed upon in the Hudaybiyya peace treaty . The glorious arrival of the Prophet (s) and the Muslims into Masjid al-Haram , their performing of the 'Umra , the glory of their rituals, and the great respect that Muslims paid to the Prophet (s) was magnificent in the eyes of the Quraysh . It became clear to them that they would not have the power to resist the Prophet (s), and those who were smarter realized that the former system was collapsing, and a new door had opened for the people. Therefore, two of their chiefs, Khalid b. Walid and Amr b. 'As , rushed to Medina and became Muslim. [64]

Conquest of Mecca

According to the Hudaybiyya peace treaty , all tribes were permitted to ally either with the Muslims or the Quraysh , as they wished. The tribe of Khuza'a allied with the Prophet (s) and Banu Bakr allied with the Quraysh. On 8/629, Banu Bakr fought the tribe of Khuza'ah, and the Quraysh supported Banu Bakr in this battle. In this way, the Quraysh had broken the Hudaybiyya peace treaty since they had fought against one of the Prophet's (s) allies. Abu Sufyan then realized that such a violation would have consequences, and rushed to Medina to attempt to renew the treaty, but he could not.

In the month of Ramadan in 8 /630, the Prophet (s) went to Mecca with 10,000 Muslims. He began his trip while nobody knew of it. When they arrived, they stayed in a place called Marr al-Zahran . Abbas , the Prophet's uncle went out of his tent at night and searched for some Meccans in order to tell them to inform the Quraysh about the Prophet's (s) trip to Mecca. This was so that they could come to the Prophet (s) before he arrived in Mecca and a battle occurred. However, he suddenly saw Abu Sufyan, sheltered him, and took him to the Prophet (s). Abu Sufyan then became a Muslim. The following day, the Prophet (s) ordered Abbas to make Abu Sufyan stand in a place where he could see the Muslims accompanying the Prophet (s) passing by. When Abu Sufyan saw their glory and the massive number of Muslims, he told Abbas, "the kingdom of your nephew has grown!" Abbas said, "This is the prophethood, not the kingdom!" Abu Sufyan replied, "Yes, Indeed!" Then Abbas went to the Prophet (s) and told him that "Abu Sufyan is the type of person that wants to have the privilege." The Prophet (s) said that "Everyone [in Mecca] who goes to his house and shuts their door will be safe. Also, anyone who is sheltered in Abu Sufyan's house will be safe as well. Anyone who enters Masjid al-Haram will also be safe." The great crowds of Muslims entered Mecca. Ibn Hisham narrates from Ibn Ishaq that Sa'd b. 'Ubada , the chief of the tribe of Khazraj had come to Mecca that day and said, "Today is the day of massacre! Today is the day of disrespect and the violation of sanctity." He wanted to take revenge on the Quraysh and the 'Adnani families and sought revenge for the people of Medina. To avoid the misconception that the Islamic victory would be a form of tribal revenge, the Prophet (s) sent Ali (a) and told him, "Take the flag from Sa'd for today is the day of mercy." There was no fight between the Meccans and Muslims, save for a few arguments. The Prophet (s) went to Masjid al-Haram and circumambulated the Ka'ba seven times and then stood at the front of its door and said,

People abandoned every tribal claim except for the positions of serving the Ka'ba and giving water to the pilgrims. The Prophet (s) stayed in Mecca for two weeks and arranged for different jobs to be done. Among these, was sending some people around Mecca to destroy any idols or idol houses, and further, to destroy the idols that were in the Ka'ba.

The noble way that the Prophet (s) treated the Meccans showed the glory of Islam and the nobility of the Prophet in front of the former opposition to Islam. The Quraysh, who had not hesitated to harass the Prophet (s) and his followers in every possible way for twenty years, feared the punishment that they would face. When they heard the Prophet (s) say, "I free all of you!" they became determined to fight against the infidels instead of fighting against Islam. [65]

Battles after the Conquest of Mecca

Battle of hunayn.

No less than 15 days after the Prophet (s) had come to Mecca, a few large families from around the Arabian Peninsula who had not yet become Muslim, allied against him. So, the Prophet (s) left Mecca with a large army. When they arrived at a place called Hunayn , the enemies ambushed them using surrounding valleys and began to shoot arrows at the Muslims. The shooting was so intense that the Muslims' retreated, and only a few remained. However, those who retreated then returned, attacking the enemy and eventually defeating them. [66]

Battle of Tabuk

Among the most important events of 9/630 is the Battle of Tabuk . The Prophet (s) was informed that the Romans had gathered a great army at Balqa' and were planning to attack the Muslims. However, because the summer was scorching and extremely hot, and the season of ripe fruits had arrived, people wanted to stay at home and relax. In fact, the treasure house was half empty. The Prophet (s) did not use to aim at certain targets before campaigning, however, in the Battle of Tabuk, he announced that they were going to go to war with the Romans because of the difficulties that they had on the way. A few complained about the prospect of war and said: "It is summer and it is hot! Don't go now!" They were bitterly reproached in the Qur'an :

…and they said, 'Do not go forth in this heat.' Say, The fire of hell is severer in heat, should they understand. Quran, 9:81

The soldiers of the Muslim army numbered 30,000 [67] and this was the highest number of soldiers in the Muslim army in all of the battles of the Prophet (s). It was also perhaps the highest number for an army in the Arabian Peninsula till that day.

In this war, the Prophet (s) left Ali (a) in Medina to take care of its affairs. The hypocrites used the situation to say that the Prophet (s) did not want Ali (a) to accompany him on this trip. When Ali (a) became upset and complained about this to the Prophet (s), the Prophet (s) told him: "I appointed you as my deputy, since to me, you are like Aaron (a) to Moses (a) , except that there is no prophet after me." (see: Hadith Manzila )

The army suffered extreme thirst on the way, and when they arrived in Tabuk , they were informed that the news of the Romans gathering against them had not been true, then with no conflict they returned.

The Battle of Tabuk was the last confrontation (or attempt) between Muslims and non-Muslims in the lifetime of the Prophet (s). After that, all of the Arabian Peninsula submitted to the Muslims. It was after this battle that most tribes sent a representative to the Prophet (s) to inform him about their conversion to Islam and their obedience to him. This period later came to be known as the Sanat al-Wufud (the year of delegations/guests). [68]

Sanat al-Wufud

After the Battle of Tabuk, Islam began to spread all over the Arabian Peninsula . Delegations from different tribes came to Medina and became Muslim. In fact, the Prophet (s) stayed inside Medina for all of 10 /631-2 (called Sanat al-Wufud) and received various delegations. [69] In the same year, the Prophet (s) signed a treaty with the Christians of Najran (see: Mubahala ) [70] and then went on the Hajj pilgrimage. On his return trip from the pilgrimage, in a place called Ghadir Khum , he announced that Ali b. Abi Talib (a) was to become the guardian of the Muslims after he passed away. [71] .

"Two units of prayer in the middle of night is more pleasing to me than the whole world and whatever is in it."

'Allama Tabataba'i , Sunan al-nabi , p. 288

"The worst of sins is to play with the honor of a Muslim brother."

Payam-i Payambar , p. 717

"The most significant virtue on the scale of a believer's actions is good manners; God does not like the foul-mouthed and the wrongdoers."

Payam-i Payambar , p. 701

Last Hajj of the Prophet (s) and Event of Ghadir Khum

The Prophet (s) went for his last pilgrimage in Dhu l-Qa'da , 10 /February 632. He taught the rulings of the Hajj during this Hajj journey.

The Quraysh had saved some privileges for themselves, the same privileges that they had before the advent of Islam. In addition to key-holding, managing, and giving water to the Hajj pilgrims, they regarded themselves as separate from and superior to the other tribes in doing rituals. In this last Hajj journey, the Prophet (s) negated the privileges that the Quraysh had held for themselves and had deprived others of.

Among the things abolished was the purchase of clean clothing for the pilgrimage permitted only through the Quraysh. There was a custom that the clean clothes required for the pilgrimage could only be bought from the Quraysh, and if they were not, they had to circumambulate the Ka'ba naked. Another practice abolished was that the Quraysh moved out from Muzdalifa , as opposed to 'Arafat as all other Hajj pilgrims did. They believed this to be an honor for themselves, but the Qur'an nullified this privilege:

Then stream out from where the people stream out… Quran, 2:199

The Muslims saw that Muhammad (s) was from Quraysh, but that he was moving out from 'Arafat like all of the others. It was in this journey that the Prophet (s) told the people,

In a region called Juhfa where the peoples of Egypt , Hijaz and Iraq split up to travel to their own regions, is a place called Ghadir Khum . Here, on the Prophet's (s) return to Medina , before everyone split in different directions, he received an order from God to appoint Ali (a) as his successor and who would direct the Muslim community towards a specific goal. In the massive crowd of Muslims, approximated at 90-100,000, the Prophet (s) said,

After returning from the Hajj, when the glory and power of Islam had grown, the Prophet (s) became sick. Nevertheless, he had prepared an army under the leadership of Osama b. Zayd in order to respond to the Muslims' defeat in the Battle of Muta . However, before this army left for the battle, the Prophet (s) passed away and left this world to meet his Lord. He passed away at a time when he had established unity throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula and had brought Islam to the gates of the two great empires of Rome and Iran .

In the beginning of 11 / 632 , the Prophet (s) became sick and passed away. Before he passed away, when he was very ill, he gave a farewell speech to the Muslims and advised them to be kind to one another. He also said "If I owe anything to anyone, they should come to me to ask for it or else, they should disregard it. If I have annoyed anyone, I am ready to be punished in retaliation for it" [72]

The Prophet (s) passed away on Safar 28 / May 25 or on Rabi' I 12 / June 7 of 11 / 632 at the age of 63. It is mentioned in Nahj al-balagha that at the time of his demise, the Prophet's (s) head lay on the chest of Ali (a) . [73]

At the time of his demise, none of his children were alive except for Fatima (a) . All of his other children had passed away, including Ibrahim , who was born one or two years before the Prophet's (s) demise. Ali (a), with the help of some others, as per the Islamic tradition, washed the Prophet's (s) body and shrouded and buried him in his house, where it is now located in Masjid al-Nabi .

Successor of the Prophet (s)

While Ali b. Abi Talib (a) and the Banu Hashim were washing the corpse of the Prophet (s) as per Islamic tradition, a few influential Muslims decided to choose the next leader for the Umma -- disregarding what the Prophet (s) had said just two months prior to his demise (see: Event of Ghadir Khum ). A number of people from Mecca (the Muhajirun ) and Medina (the Ansar ) gathered in a place called Saqifa Banu Sa'ida . They wanted a ruler to be chosen for the Muslims as soon as possible. However, an argument erupted over who should be chosen for such a position and finally, they pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr .

Position in Shi'a Beliefs

According to the Shi'a school of thought , Muhammad (s) was a prophet and messenger , and he was the seal of the Prophets , with no prophet after him. The Prophet (s) was one of the five Prophets of Great Stature and brought a noble religion to humanity from God . The Prophet (s) is the first of 14 Infallibles (a) . He was infallible not only in receiving and delivering the revelation , but in all aspects of his life. Many miracles have been reported from the Prophet (s), the greatest among which was the Qur'an . (see: Miracles of the Prophet (s) )


The Prophet (s) lived for forty years amongst the people before he began his mission. During this time, his character showed no signs of any bad qualities. He was known as an honest and trustworthy individual. Afterward, when the Prophet (s) delivered the message of God , the infidels could not deny the Prophet's (s) virtues, but rather they denied the Qur'anic verses. This matter has been mentioned in the Qur'an as well,

…Yet it is not you that they deny, but it is Allah's signs that the wrongdoers impugn. Quran, 6:33

Also, it has been quoted that Abu Jahl once said: "we do not deny you, but rather we deny these verses". [74] When the Prophet (s) began to deliver the message of God to the Quraysh , he asked them, "Would you believe me if I told you that [enemy] troops are positioned behind this mountain?" The audience replied in the affirmative and said: "Yes, you have never lied to us". The Prophet (s) then said that he was sent by God to warn them. [75]

In addition to his glorious past, being Arab, and his distinguished tribe and family played a crucial role in the Prophet's (s) status and success. The Quraysh was an important and famous tribe amongst the Arabs. This eminence caused many of the other tribes to acknowledge the Quraysh's superiority over them and would obey them in some cases. On the other hand, the ancestors of the Prophet (s) ( Qusayy b. Kilab , Hashim , and 'Abd al-Muttalib ) were known as honorable and distinguished men amongst the Arabs. At the time, the Arab community had a limited cultural relationship with other regions. This caused them to have pride in their Arabism and they were prejudiced against others and would deny their words on the basis that they were not Arabs, ordering them to acknowledge only what was "theirs'". This Qur'anic verse probably indicates this fact:

Had We sent it down upon some non-Arab, and had he recited it to them, they would not have believed in it. Quran, 26:198-199

Since Islam was first presented to the Arabs, being one of them was an advantage for the Prophet (s). This issue has also been mentioned in the Qur'an.

The greatest quality of the Prophet (s) was his impeccable character and behavior (Akhlaq). The Qur'an says of him:

and indeed you possess a great character. Quran, 68:4

It is said that he was quiet and did not speak unless it was necessary. He always opened his mouth slightly and never more than half of it was open. He would smile and never laughed out loud. When he wanted to face someone, he turned his entire body. He loved the cleanliness and the smell of perfume. When he would pass somewhere, people would realize that it was him who had passed because of his fragrant smell. He was never arrogant. He lived a simple life and would sit on the ground to eat food. He never ate his fill and remained hungry on many occasions, especially when he first arrived in Medina. However, he never led a completely ascetic life in the way that many monks did. In fact, he has said that he benefited from the good of this world. His conduct towards Muslims and those of another faith was graceful and chivalrous. His conduct was so pleasant in the eyes of Muslims that they would speak of its details throughout generations. Today, it is the model of their lives and religion. [76]

Imam 'Ali (a) describes the conduct of the Prophet (s) as follows, "Everyone who met him for the first time was in awe of him. Everyone who was in his company began to love him" [77] . "The Prophet (s) would look at his companions equally and never looked at one of them longer than the other" [78] . "When he shook hands with someone, he would never withdraw his hand first" [79] .

The Prophet (s) spoke with everyone according to their level of intellect and understanding. [80] He was famous for his forgiveness of those who had wronged him; [81] to the extent that he even forgave Wahshi who was the murderer of his uncle, and Abu Sufyan who had been the archenemy of Islam. He was amicable with everybody and had the valuable quality of making everyone feel as though they were special to him.

The Prophet (s) lived with self-discipline. Throughout his entire life, he did not designate a spot for himself (in a place of superiority whilst sitting with others). In fact, the simple clay rooms that were beside the mosque belonged to his wives. Their roofs were made of palm wood and the screens that hung at their doors were made of goat or camel hair. He would use a pillow and a leather bed that was filled with palm leaves, over which he slept his entire life. His undershirt was made from a coarse fabric that itched the body and he wore a robe made of camel hair. This was despite the fact that after the Battle of Hunayn , he gifted 4000 camels, more than 4000 sheep, and a great amount of gold and silver to various people.

His food was simpler than his house, clothes, and property. Months would pass by where no fire was lit in his house to cook food. His staple diet consisted of dates and barley bread. He never ate to his fill for two consecutive days, nor would he eat to his fill two times per day. There were many nights where he and his family slept while they were hungry. Once, Fatima (a) brought her father barley bread and said, "I baked bread and thought that I must bring you some." He ate that and said to her, "This is the only thing that your father has been eating for the past three days." Once, he wanted to eat dates in the date garden of one of the Ansar and said, "This is the fourth day that I haven't eaten anything." Sometimes, he would tie a stone to his stomach due to the extremity of his hunger (so that his hunger would be temporarily relieved). Upon his demise, his armor was pledged with a Jew as security for 30 cups of barley. [82]

Organization and Tidiness

The Prophet (s) was very organized in his life. After the construction of the mosque , he named every column in the mosque and marked each of them for specific activities; e.g. [83] the column of Wufud , which was the place for delegations and meetings, the column of Tahajjud which was the place for night prayers, and so on. He arranged the lines of the congregational prayer so straight that it was as if he was arranging wooden poles, and once he said, "O Servants of God! Arrange your lines, otherwise, dissent will grow amongst you" [84] . He was very organized with regard to scheduling his time. He had divided his time into three parts: one for worshipping God , one for personal activities, and one for activities with the people. [85]

He would always look in the mirror to arrange and comb his hair. In fact, he was always well-groomed, not only in front of his family but also in front of his companions. He would take care of his appearance even while traveling and would always carry five things: a mirror, kohl, a comb, a brush, and a pair of scissors. [86]

The Qur'an describes the Prophet (s) as Ummi which was an attribute given to someone who did not know how to read or write. The Prophet (s) could not read or write. The Qur'an says:

You did not use to recite any scripture before it, nor did you write it with your right hand… Quran, 29:48

which seems to imply that the Prophet (s) could neither read nor write before revelation . The verse continues:

…for then the impugners would have been skeptical (that you have learned Quran from someone other than Allah). Quran, 29:48

Some Hadiths from Him

  • The faithful should not be [full from] eating if they are not unaccompanied by their neighbors [who have nothing to eat] [87] .
  • The faithful should not ambush anyone to kill them [88] .
  • Faith is not accepted without action, nor is action accepted without faith [89] .
  • One will not succeed in their work without three things: God-wariness to keep him from committing sins, and morals in order to treat people leniently and with patience (with) which they can avoid ill-mannered people [90] .
  • Be patient with people so that you too are treated with forbearance [91] .
  • There are three kinds of people who harm the religion: knowledgeable sinners, tyrant leaders and ignorant religious authorities [92] .
  • The most hated, but permissible action in the eye of God is divorce [93] .
  • Be friends with the poor since they have eminence on the Day of Judgment [94] .
  • The best in the eyes of God are those who have better manners [95] .
  • The most beloved servants before God are those who are the most beneficial to the servants of God [96] .
  • The best of you are the best to your wives [97] .

Collections of the Prophet's (s) Hadiths

According to the Shi'a school of thought , hadiths (narrations) from the Imams (a) are binding sources for Islamic law and theology in the same way that hadiths from the Prophet (s) are sources of Islamic law. As such, they both need to be followed and observed. In this respect, there is no difference whether the narration comes from the Prophet or the Imams (as the Imams are following the Prophet's tradition and there is no conflict). The four primary sources of hadith for the Shi'as are al-Kafi , al-Tahdhib , Man la yahduruh al-faqih and al-Istibsar . They do not separate the hadiths of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) from each other, but rather they are grouped together by subject.

However, there are certain books that have collected the hadith of the Prophet (s) only or have dedicated chapters for hadiths of the Prophet (s). Some of these sources include:

Tuhaf al-'uqul 'an al al-Rasul (s): This book was written by Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani , who was a great Shi'a scholar and jurist of the 4th/10th century. This book is an invaluable collection of narrations and pieces of advice from the Prophet (s) and Imams (a) and even has a dedicated chapter for sayings of the Prophet (s).

Al-Majazat al-Nabawiyya : This book was written by al-Sayyid al-Radi . This collection of the Prophet's (s) hadiths focuses on certain aspects of the Prophet's narrations and groups them into categories like subtle advice, admonitions, implications, and allegories.

Makatib al-Rasul (s) : This book was written by Ayatullah Ahmadi Miyaniji , and it contains the letters of the Prophet (s) to kings, officials and agents. It also includes pieces of writing on treaties, contracts, and some other miscellaneous issues.

Sunan al-nabi : This book was written by 'Allama Tabataba'i . It aims to give a brief overview of the morals and manners of the Prophet and what is known as the "conduct of the Prophet (s)".

Nahj al-fasaha : This book was compiled by Abu l-Qasim Payanda . It is organized into two sections: hadiths and sermons and includes the narrations and sayings of the Prophet (s).

  • Imam 'Ali (a)
  • Lady Fatima (a)
  • Ahl al-Bayt (a)
  • Ghadir Khum
  • Companions of the Prophet (s)

Further Reading

  • Al-Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir , Hayat al-Qulub , Ansariyan Publication.
  • Subhani, Jafar , The Message , Islamic Seminary Publications.
  • Tabatabaei, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn , 2007, Sunan al-Nabi , trans. Tahir Rida Jaffer, Islamic Publishing House, ISBN 978-0-9733622-7-5
  • Mutahhari, Murtada , The Unschooled Prophet , Islamic Propagation Organization.
  • Musawi Lari, Sayyid Mujtaba , Seal of the Prophets and His Message , trans. Hamid Algar.
  • Payandih, Abu l-Qasim , Nahj al-Fasaha (Height of Rhetoric) , trans. Husayn Vahid Dastjirdi, Ansariyan Publications, First Edition 2007, ISBN 978-964-438-819-4.
  • Shareef al-Qurashi, Baqir , The Life of Muhammad, the Greatest Liberator, the Holiest Prophet , Trans. Abdullah al-Shahin, Ansariyan Publications, First Edition 2007, ISBN 978-964-438-867-5.
  • Rizvi, Sayyid Muhammad, 2006 / 1427 AH, Muhammad, the Messenger of God: A Brief Biographical Sketch , North American Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities ( NASIMCO )
  • Al-Jibouri, Yasin, Muhammad , Qom, Ansariyan Publications.
  • Personalities: What Non-Muslims Say About Muhammad, The Prophet of Islam
  • Nasr, Sayyid Husayn, The Prophet and Prophetic Tradition - The Last Prophet and Universal Man .
  • Amini, Ibrahim, 2011, 1432 AH, 1390 sh, [ Prophethood and the Prophet of Islam , Translated by: Sayyid Athar Husayn & S. H. Rizvi, Qom, Ansariyan Publications.
  • Rizvi, Sayyid Sa'id Akhtar, The Life of Muhammad The Prophet , Dar al-Tabligh North America.
  • Rizvi, Sayyid Muhammad, 2006 (1427 AH), The Concept of Polygamy and the Prophets Marriages , North American Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities (NASIMCO)
  • ↑ He is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah , the Prophet Muhammad , Allah's Apostle , the Last Prophet , Prophet of Islam and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet , Mohammed , Mahamad , Mahammad , Muhamad , and many others.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 42.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 38.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 43.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām'' , p. 38.
  • ↑ Yaʿqūbī, Tārīkh al-Yaʿqūbī , vol. 1, p. 369; Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 49.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 1, p. 141-142.
  • ↑ Ibn Isḥāq, al-Sīyar wa al-maghāzī , p. 59; Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 39.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām, p. 39-40.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 46-60.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 60-61.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām, p. 38.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 67.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām, p. 41.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 41.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 1, p. 262.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 1, p. 264-266.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 1, p. 281-282.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām . p. 41.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām . p. 41-44.
  • ↑ Warn the nearest of your kinsfolk (214) and lower your wing to the faithful who follow you (215) But if they disobey you, say, 'I am absolved of what you do.' (Quran, 26:214-216)
  • ↑ Ibn Isḥāq, al-Sīyar wa al-maghāzī , p. 127; Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 44.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 44.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 1, p. 279; Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 45.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 49.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 51-52.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 53.
  • ↑ Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-rusul wa l-mulūk , vol. 2, p. 343.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 2, p. 60; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-rusul wa l-mulūk , vol. 2, p. 344-346.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 56.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 56-59.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 59.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 59-60.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 60.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 60-63.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 2, p. 150-153.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 2, p. 147.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 67-68.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 68.
  • ↑ When the hypocrites come to you, they say, 'We bear witness that you are indeed the apostle of Allah.' Allah knows that you are indeed His Apostle, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars (in their claim of being Muslims). (Quran 63:1).
  • ↑ O People of the Book! Why do you argue concerning Abraham? Neither the Torah nor the Evangel was sent down until [long] after him. Do you not apply reason? (65) Ah! You are the very ones who argue about that of which you have knowledge. Why then do you argue about that of which you do not know? And Allah knows, and you do not know. (66) Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian. Rather he was a Hanif, a Muslim, and he was not one of the polytheists. (Quran, 3:65-67)
  • ↑ See: Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 68-69.
  • ↑ We certainly see you turning your face about in the sky. We will surely turn you to a Qibla of your liking: so turn your face towards the al-Masjid al-Haram, and wherever you may be, turn your faces towards it! Indeed those who were given the Book surely know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not oblivious of what they do. (Quran 2:144)
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 72-73
  • ↑ Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī , vol. 1, p. 19.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 75.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 79-80.
  • ↑ Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-rusul wa l-mulūk , vol. 2, p. 538-555
  • ↑ Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī , vol. 1, p. 363 ff.
  • ↑ Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī , vol. 1, p. 402-404; Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 3, p. 224
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 86-87
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 87-88.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 90.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 3, p. 302 ff.
  • ↑ Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī , vol. 2, p. 633 ff; Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 3, p. 9 ff.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 410-411.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 90-91.
  • ↑ Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-rusul wa l-mulūk , vol. 2, p. 644 ff.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 92.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islām , p. 94-95.
  • ↑ Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī , vol. 2, p. 885 ff
  • ↑ Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī , vol. 2, p. 996.
  • ↑ Shahīdī, Tārīkh-i taḥlīlī-yi Islā m , p. 97-98.
  • ↑ Āyatī, Tārīkh-i payāmbar-i Islām , p. 537.
  • ↑ Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 1, p. 166-171.
  • ↑ Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf , vol. 2, p. 108-111.
  • ↑ Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā , vol. 2, p. 255.
  • ↑ Nahj al-balāgha , Khuṭba. 202, p. 237.
  • ↑ Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān fī tafsīr al-Qurʾān , vol. 3, p. 294.
  • ↑ Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya , vol. 2, p. ?
  • ↑ "Islam" in Dar dāʾirat al-maʿārif buzurg-i Islāmī , (Great Islamic Encyclopedia).
  • ↑ Qāḍī Ayyāḍ, al-Shifaʾ bi taʿrīf-i huqūq al-Muṣṭafā , vol. 1, p. 150; Yaʿqūb b. Sufyan, al-Maʿrifa wa al-tārīkh . vol. 3, p. 283.
  • ↑ Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār , vol. 16, p. 260.
  • ↑ Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār , vol. 16, p. 237.
  • ↑ Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār , vol. 16, p. 287.
  • ↑ Kandhlawī, Ḥayāt al- al-ṣaḥāba . vol. 2, p. 526.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 35-36.
  • ↑ Dilshād Tihrānī, Sīra-yi Nabawī, manṭiq-i ʿamalī , vol. 3, p. 352.
  • ↑ Muslim Nayshābūrī, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim . vol. 2, p. 31; al-Bayhaqi. al-Sunan al-kubra . vol. 2, p. 21
  • ↑ Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā , vol. 1, p. 423.
  • ↑ Ḥalabī, al-Sīra al-ḥalabiyya , vol. 3, p. 352.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 683, Hadith No. 2545.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 683, Hadith No. 2550.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 684, Hadith No.2553
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 424, Hadith No. 1288.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 211, Hadith No. 293.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 156, Hadith No. 4.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 157, Hadith No. 16.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 160, Hadith No. 29.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 169, Hadith No.184
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 163, Hadith No. 86.
  • ↑ Pāyanda, Nahj al-faṣāḥa , p. 465, Hadith No. 1477.
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The Life of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W)

In the 6th century CE Arabia, the majority of people were pagans. They lived in tribes, each with its own leader. Some were agriculture and cattle farmers, others were merchants and traders, while others raided other tribes for booty as a means of survival.

It was into this society, in 570 CE, that Prophet Muhammad was born into the tribe of the Quraysh, [1] in the city of Mecca. His father [2] died before he was born and his mother [3] died when he was still a young child, and thus, it was his grandfather [4] who brought him up and looked after him. When his grandfather died, his paternal uncle, Abu Talib [5] cared for him.

While growing up, Prophet Muhammad became known as “Muhammad the Truthful and the Trustworthy One” (As-Sadiq, al-Amin).

Early into his adulthood, Prophet Muhammad worked for a successful widow, Khadijah, [6] who was so impressed with his honesty that she asked him to marry her. At that time, the Prophet was twenty-five years old, and remained in this monogamous marriage until Khadijah’s death twenty-five years later.

Often, Prophet Muhammad would take a respite from the bustle of Mecca by traveling to a cave for periods of reflection. During one such time, when Muhammad was forty years old, he heard the voice of an angel named Gabriel [7] giving him a command,

“Recite in the Name of your Lord who creates, creates man from a clot. Recite! Your Lord is the Most Bountiful, who taught the use of the pen, taught mankind that which they knew not.” (96: 1-5)

Prophet Muhammad repeated the words until he had memorized them. He then rushed home and told his experience to his wife, Khadijah who comforted and reassured him. Khadijah and the Prophet’s young cousin, Ali, were the first people to understand and accept that God had chosen “the Truthful and the Trustworthy” to deliver God’s final guidance. Prophet Muhammad continued to receive revelations for over twenty years. [8]

As time passed, it became clear to the ever-increasing number of people that Prophet Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of God. The least receptive people were the powerful Meccan leaders whom dealt in idols and slaves. They benefited mostly from idol worshiping and the pilgrim trade. The Meccans treated Prophet Muhammad with derision, but despite this, he continued to deliver the revelations of God’s mercy and justice which were welcomed by the poor and oppressed.

The Meccans were becoming more and more intolerant of Prophet Muhammad and felt threatened by the messages he was advocating, such as the oneness of God, and with the increasing number of converts to Islam within the region, the Prophet was becoming a serious threat. In an attempt to dissuade the expansion of Islam, the Quraysh exiled the Prophet, his family, and followers from Mecca. The Quraysh then sanctioned an economic blockade on trade and association with the Muslims. [9]

For three years, the Muslims were sheltered in the valley of Abu Talib, near Mecca. In conditions of hardship and hunger, the Muslims often faced the allotment of one date a day; and at times, two people shared one date. Yet, because of the Muslims’ tenacious faith, the siege ended unsuccessfully.

Shortly after the siege ended, the Prophet was once again faced with tribulation. Two of the most influential and dearest people to him died – his uncle, Abu Talib and his beloved wife, Khadijah. Overwhelmed by grief, the Prophet declared that year as “The Year of Sadness.”

No longer being protected and supported by his uncle, the Prophet became more vulnerable to the escalating pressure by the Quraysh.

Leaders from the distant town of Yathrib [10] secretly invited the Prophet and his followers to settle in their hometown and to preach the word of Islam. Before migrating to Madina in 622 CE, the Prophet narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in Mecca. [11]

The migration from Mecca to Madina became known as the Hijrah, which marks the starting point of the Muslim calendar. [12]

Prophet Muhammad was received with excitement and jubilation [13] in Madina, where he became head of what was to become the first Islamic state. Throughout the first ten years in Madina, Muslims witnessed several occasions that were to become milestones in the history of Islam.

The primary task was to build a mosque in Madina. The Prophet himself participated in building the mosque which also incorporated his home. In addition, the companions of the Prophet built their homes in close proximity to the mosque to be near the Prophet.

It was necessary for the Prophet to create a center where its members could assemble; and thus the mosque was not only a place of worship, but also a center of social, political, and educational services.

It was in Madina that the unity of brotherhood amongst the Muslims was introduced. There were two major tribes in Madina: the Muhajireen (immigrants) and the Ansar (indigenous). [14] The Ansar were divided into two groups: Aws and Khazraj [15] – tribes who had been fighting each other for over 100 years. Under a common purpose [Islam], the Prophet appeased the animosity that existed among the two tribes by establishing a form of brotherhood between them. “Now you have become brothers in faith, by pairs,” the Prophet said to his followers. [16] By this method, the Prophet insured the political and spiritual nature of his nation.

Today, the unity of brotherhood continues to remain a tremendous act of equality among Muslims. Islam is a foundation upon which all races, nationalities, cultures, socio-economic levels, and genders can be united by religious kinship.

The Prophet made the institution of matrimony easier as well. The gift of marriage (mahr), which the man is to give to his bride was made moderate, and inter-marriages with other tribes became more accessible as socio-economic or ancestral descent was no longer a major factor in marriage. The establishment of marriage became a form of uniting, securing, and promoting Islam within various tribes and nations. Marriage not only symbolized the religious union of a man and a woman, but also, indirectly influenced and affected social and political ties. The Prophet said, “He who wishes to appear before God with a pure soul, should get married.” [17]

The Prophet set the example of marriage with his own daughter, Lady Fatima. Although many friends and companions of the Prophet had proposed marriage to Fatima, they were made aware that her marriage was not going to be based on affluence, rank, or descent. The men knew that the person that resembled the Prophet in matters of truthfulness, spiritual merit, and moral excellence would be none other than Ali.

The Prophet (by God’s direction) told the suitors that the marriage of Fatima would only occur by Divine order. When Ali approached the Prophet to seek his blessings in marrying his daughter, he was overcome with shyness. The Prophet encouraged him to speak at which point Ali proposed. However the Prophet did not answer him immediately. The Prophet then consulted Fatima and sought her reply, which she accepted. The marriage of Ali and Fatima was then solemnized by God Himself and declared as such by the Prophet .

After the migration to Madina, the Prophet faced continual threats from the Quraysh and the polytheists of Mecca, and the non-Muslims who lived in and around Madina. Peace and security were paramount, yet the Prophet’s attempts to keep peace within the region were proving to be futile. The opposition in Mecca mobilized its troops to demolish the newly established Islamic state in Madina.

Standing firm in the face of military aggression, the Prophet was compelled to defend Islam in what became known as the “Battle of Badr.” The battle erupted only two years after the hijrah (migration), and although the Prophet’s army was far outnumbered – historians report that they were out powered and outnumbered three to one – they triumphed. A story about this battle in the Quran reveals that God sent an army of angels to assist the Muslims against the Meccans. [18]

The Muslim success in the battle gave immense prestige to the infant Islamic community in Madina and struck a major blow to the pride of the Meccans.

The following year, the Meccans wanted to avenge their defeat. On a small mountain called Uhud, west of Madina, the second major battle was fought which became known as the “Battle of Uhud.”

In the beginning of the battle, the Muslims showed signs of victory. However, the insubordination [19] of some Muslim men caused the final setback in the battle in which many Muslims were injured and lost their lives. The Prophet himself was injured and he lost his beloved uncle, Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib, who was one of his greatest supporters.

Although the Battle of Uhud was a setback for the Muslim community, they were able to remain in Madina.

Afterwards, many other victorious defensive battles consolidated the Muslims; [20] hence, Islam became an ever-increasing spiritual and political force in Arabia, which eventually paved the way to the conquest of Mecca.

In the ninth year of the hijrah (630 CE), Prophet Muhammad and his followers entered Mecca after a peaceful surrender by the Meccans. The Prophet went directly to the Kabah [21] to perform the tawaf (circumambulation). As he entered the station of the Kabah, there sat the three main idols that the pagans had worshipped above the Kabah’s door entrance. With his spear, Prophet Muhammad destroyed them while reciting,

“And say, truth has arrived and falsehood has perished, for falsehood is bound to perish.” [22]

Subsequently, more than three-hundred idols were destroyed inside and around the Kabah. The destruction of the idols symbolized the arrival and the proclamation of truth and the end to falsehood. Islam was now home. The Prophet then granted general amnesty to all the Meccans who had fought against him for twenty-two years. Afterwards he addressed them with these words, “You have been unreasonable countrymen. You refuted my prophethood and turned me out of my home, and when I took refuge in a far-off place, you rose to fight against me. You killed my uncle and my best companions. However, in spite of all these crimes of yours, I forgive all of you and make you free, and declare that you may go after the pursuits of your life.” [23]

During the tenth year of the hijrah, the Prophet performed the “Farewell Hajj,” [24] which was also his only and final Hajj pilgrimage. On the day of Arafat, [25] over 100,000 pilgrims were present when the Prophet commenced his sermon by saying, “O people! Hear my words, for it possible that I may not meet you at this place in the future. O people! Your blood and property (honor and reputation) are forbidden toward one another until the day you meet Allah. O people! Your women have rights upon you and you also have rights upon them. You should treat them with kindness and love, and you should provide them with a comfortable means in life…” [26]

After the farewell pilgrimage and three months before the Prophet’s death, the final verse of the Quran was revealed,

“Today I [Allah] have perfected for you your religion, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (5:3)

On the 28th of Safar (the second month of the lunar-based, Islamic calendar) 11 AH (632 CE), at the age of sixty-three, the Noble Prophet died. At the time of his death, the majority of the people in Arabia had accepted Islam as their religion and way of life.

[1] The Quraysh were a major tribe in Mecca, of which the clan of Hashim was a part of and to which Prophet Muhammad belonged. [2] His father was Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib. [3] His mother was Amina, daughter of Wahab. [4] Paternal grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim. [5] His paternal uncle was the father of Imam Ali, and he was one of the chiefs of Mecca and noblemen of Quraysh. He was famous for his generosity, bravery, and dedication in protecting his nephew, Prophet Muhammad. He accepted Islam and supported the Prophet until the end of his life. [6] Lady Khadijah, the first and most revered wife of the Prophet. She was the first female to embrace Islam. Khadijah bore the Prophet children; two sons, Qasim and Abdullah; four daughters: Ruqayah, Zaineb, Um-Kalthum, and Fatima. The male children died while the Prophet was in Mecca, while the daughters survived beyond the advent of their father’s prophethood. Khadijah was known for her noble traits and sincere dedication to the Prophet. Prophet Muhammad once described Khadijah in the following statement: “I have not acquired a better wife after her, she believed in my prophethood at a time when people rejected it. She placed her wealth at my disposal when people deprived me of attaining it, and Allah gave me, only through her, children, and not from any other woman.” Jafar Subhani, The Message, p.190. [7] Angel Gabriel is one of the four Archangels and is considered one of the greatest of all angels since he was the channel through which the Divine books and the scriptures were revealed from God to the prophets. The other three angels are: Izrail, the angel of death; Israfil, the angel assigned to sound the trumpet on the Day of Resurrection; and Mikail (Michael), who watches over the places of worship. [8] See Seerat ibn Hisham, v.1, p.236. [9] Seerat ibn Hisham, v.1, p.350. An economic treaty was initiated by the grand counsel of Quraysh which entailed an endorsement and a pledge, until their deaths, by the community not to end the economic ban on the Muslims with the following criteria: 1. Every type of trade or business with the supporters of Muhammad shall be banned. 2. Association with Muhammad and his followers was strictly prohibited. 3. No one was entitled to establish matrimonial ties with the Muslims. 4. Opponents of Muhammad should be supported in all circumstances. [10] Yathrib was a town approximately 350 miles north of Mecca. Yathrib was later renamed Madinatun Nabi, meaning The City of the Prophet. [11] See Quran 8:30. [12] The Islamic calendar began at the migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Madina, and it is based on the lunar cycles. Two important incidents occurred before the migration to Madina: the birth of the Prophet, during the Year of the Elephant 570 CE, which symbolizes the year that King Abraha came to destroy the Kabah with a herd of elephants (See Quran c.105) and the ordination of Muhammad to prophethood. Islam, in its first thirteen years in Mecca, was constantly suppressed and its followers were tormented. The migration (hijrah) marked the turning point in liberating Islam and its followers. In addition, Madina also provided a safe haven and an opportunity to establish the birth of the Islamic state. Quranic verses regarding rules of social, economic, political, and formal rituals were mostly introduced in Madina. Muslims consider the migration to Madina as an Islamic victory for freedom of religion. [13] The Prophet proceeded to Madina. When his camel descended at a location known as the Valley of Wada and set its foot on the land of Yathrib, the people warmly welcomed and greeted the Prophet with jubilation. The mood surrounding this event is marked by a well-known poem: The white moon rose over us, from the valley of Wada and we owe it to show gratefulness when the call is to Allah. O you who were raised amongst us coming with a word to be obeyed; you have brought to this city nobleness; welcome best caller to God’s way! [14] Muhajireen (Muslim immigrants from Mecca) and Ansar (the Helpers who received the Prophet in Madina) were the two major groups of Muslims in Madina. [15] Aws and Khazraj were major tribes within Ansar that lived and supported the Prophet in Madina. [16] Seerat ibn Hisham, v.1 p.123. [17] Jafar Subhani, The Message, p.358. [18] See Quran 3:124-126. [19] See Quran 3:152; Seerat ibn Hisham, v.2 p.400. [20] Battles such as: Ahzab, which took place in 5 AH (626 CE), Khaybar, which took place in 7 AH (628 CE), Mutah, which took place in 8 AH (629 CE), and Thatusalasil, which took place in 8 AH (629 CE). [21] The Kabah is a cube made of stone. It was first built by Prophet Adam. Later, Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael rebuilt the Kabah’s foundation. The Kabah is the center and direction of Muslim prayers. [22] Quran 17:31. [23] Seerat ibn Hisham, v.4 p.55. [24] See Quran chapter Hajj (22). [25] The Day of Arafat is a holy day for the Muslims and is the 9th day of the 12th lunar Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah. This happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan and marks the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage. The day following Arafat is the major Islamic Holiday of Eid al-Adha. At dawn of this day, Muslim pilgrims will make their way from Mecca to a nearby hillside and plain called Mount Arafat and the Plain of Arafat. [26] Seerat ibn Hisham v.2 p.605.

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The Prophet Muhammad from the Shia Perspective

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Muslim writers often divide their discussions of prophethood into general discussions of what it means to be a prophet and specific discussions of the prophethood of Muhammad, or, as Faidh Kashani puts it, between absolute and restricted prophethood. As Faidh writes, “The restricted is based on the absolute, and the absolute is manifest in the restricted.” In Muhammad, however, the instance and the universal paradigm are united in one, in a manner analogous to Plato’s early theory of the forms as perfect paradigms, except that for Plato, the paradigm could never exist as concrete embodied reality, for material existence was itself seen as contrary to the ideality of the forms. In Shia thought, on the other hand, there is a single reality that is at once material and immaterial, corporeal and non-corporeal, but at different levels of its existence.

The prophets come as guides to show the path toward God. This also occurs on several levels, the way of the outward law, Shari’ah , the inward way of the Tariqah , and the fully realized way of the truth, Haqiqah . All three of these levels are brought to completion by the Prophet Muhammad, although in different ways. With respect to the law, he is the final prophet to bring a divine law and book. With him, the succession of prophets comes to an end, but divine guidance continues through the succession of the Imams. God completes His religion through Muhammad when the Qur’an has been revealed and Muhammad has announced the divine appointment of Imam Ali (peace be upon him). These two “weighty things” ( Thaqalayn ) – the Qur’an and the Household of the Prophet (peace be upon them) – are like two points that determine a line that extends toward the realization or Haqiqah , indicated by “the Pond” ( Kawthar ), in accordance with the famous narration in which the Prophet is reported to have said:

“Verily, I am leaving behind two precious things (Thaqalayn) among you: the Book of God and my kindred ( ‘Itrah ), my household (Ahlul Bayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of al-Kawthar on Judgment Day).”

The series of divine prophets is one of those who brought divine law, which is the exoteric aspect of Deen (religion in the sense of divine guidance). With the passing away of the Prophet, not only does the individual pass away, but the entire series of prophets also comes to an end. Universal or absolute prophethood is in this way, too, united with the individual prophethood of Muhammad. The esoteric aspect of his mission and the mission of prophethood in general, however, continues through the series that constitutes the Imamate, for the Prophet is not only prophet, but Wali too; and it is his Walayah that continues through the sequence of Imamate. According to some Shia narrations, the Pond is also a symbol for the Prophet’s daughter, Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her), the wife of Imam Ali. Her position as daughter and wife makes her the link that joins prophethood and Imamate, the exoteric and esoteric. The ultimate realization is the offspring of the manifest and the spouse of the hidden. These relations between the external, interior and realization, however, are not merely abstract speculations, for they speak directly to the establishment and spiritual direction of the religious community. Hence, the Narration of Thaqalayn is not merely descriptive; rather, it is guidance to the believers, that they should cling to the divine Book of revelation and the leadership of the Imams in order to approach the Kingdom of God on Judgment Day.

Hajj Muhammad Legenhausen teaches at the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute in Qom, Iran. His blog can be accessed at .

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Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (pbuh&hp)

Home » Islamic Awareness » Islam 101 » Beliefs » Ahl al-Bayt (p) » Prophet Muhammad al-Mustafa (pbuh&hp)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him & his progeny)

Name: Muhammad Title: al-Mustafa; Rasul Allah Kunya: Abu al-Qasim Father: Abdullah ibn Abdul Mutallib Mother: Amina bint Wahhab Born: 17 th Rabi’ al-Awwal, Year of the Elephant/570 CE in Makkah, Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula Died: 28 th Safar, 11 AH/632 CE Age at Death: 63 Buried: Madinah, Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula

Meet Prophet Muhammad

“A man from our people has risen claiming that he is a messenger sent by God… He insults our gods and considers our ancestors to have been fools! He’s corrupted our young ones and created a divide in our community!”

These were the words of Utbah , a resident of Mecca, to a visiting tribal chief named As’ad .

“Who is he?” As’ad asked.

“He’s the son of Abdullah …someone ordinary in social status, but from a well-known family.”

“Where is he?” As’ad continued to inquire.

“There… But don’t listen to what he has to say, don’t even speak to him – for indeed, he is a sorcerer who will bewitch you with his words!”

After some contemplation, As’ad decided that he couldn’t go back to his people before finding the truth about this man.

As’ad proceeded toward the mysterious man and said, “Good morning”.

Muhammad, son of Abdullah , then raised his head and replied,

“God has replaced this greeting with an even better one – a greeting for the people of heaven: ‘May the Peace be upon you’…”

As’ad responded,

“Indeed, this is something new. What is it that you call for, oh Muhammad?”

Muhammad then said,

“To witness that there is no god except God, and that I am the Messenger of God.”[i]

Sixth century Arabian culture held the concepts of trust and valor in high regard. As a people, the Arabs were known for their eloquence and exceptional poetry. But the light of these shining qualities could not pierce through the layers of rust on many Arabian hearts. Incessant tribal warfare impeded civilized development… Widespread superstition curtailed intellectual growth… That age of ignorance even popularized the heinous act of burying baby girls alive![ii]

Muhammad was an orphan for most of his life, as his father passed away before he was born, and his mother died when he was five. Muhammad spent the remainder of his youth under the care of his grandfather and then his uncle.

Muhammad’s upright character distinguished him, even at an early age. He participated in tribal agreements which aimed at ensuring the welfare of the oppressed and defended such agreements throughout his life. Muhammad worked as a forbearing shepherd and then later as a successful merchant. He quickly became known as, “The Honest One” and “The Trustworthy One”.

Muhammad was also a man of deep reflection. If Muhammad could not be found at the workplace or at home, then he was likely busy in contemplation and worship on the mountain of Hira . He climbed up to a nearby cave and would spend hours, days, and even months at a time, pondering the Truth of existence. Muhammad witnessed the reality that God is the radiating Sun of Existence… Without the Light of God, everything in the heavens and the earth would simply be in darkness – utterly nonexistent.[iii]

One day, an angel appeared to Muhammad and said,

“Oh Muhammad, read…”

The unschooled Muhammad replied,

“And what should I read?”

The angel then revealed the first verses of what would become known as the Quran ,

“Read in the Name of your Lord who created; created man from a clinging mass. Read, and your Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the pen; taught man what he did not know.”[iv]

Muhammad realized the grave responsibility that was on his shoulders. Under God’s command, he was to deliver the most complete prescription for success – the Divine Law by which God perfects the body, spirit and mind of humanity. This was the remedy to his society’s ailments and the good tidings of Mercy to the worlds.

Muhammad’s spiritual station as a prophet and messenger of God was aided by the rationality of his principles, his sublime character, and the miraculous nature of the newly revealed Qur’an . The eloquence, depth, and grandeur of the Qur’an baffled the Arabian poets. The Arabs could not fathom how any man could produce such perfection – let alone a man with no formal education. As an interconnected reality of principles, the Qur’an would also remain a miracle available to every nation, for ages to come.[v]

The Struggle

For thirteen years, Prophet Muhammad called the people of Mecca to the principles which God had revealed: Oneness, Divine Guidance, and Judgment Day. He invited the world to Islam: the path of submitting oneself to the Truth. Prophet Muhammad prayed that people would follow God’s directives because they were founded in God’s Absolute Knowledge of what was best.  But in an idolatry-based economy, Oneness was bad for business. Moreover, blind loyalty to ancestors caused many Meccans to fight the changes Prophet Muhammad called for. Prophet Muhammad and his fellow Muslims were persecuted and attacked until God commanded that they migrate. They sought refuge in the city of Yathrib (which later became known as Medina, City of the Prophet).

In Medina, Prophet Muhammad was able to establish a society founded on the principles of Islam. It was a society based on kindness and justice, with every peaceful individual.[vi] Unfortunately, the peace was short-lived, as many groups forced the Muslims into defensive battles for several years. One benefit of these struggles, however, was that they eventually led the Muslims back to Mecca. The Prophet and his followers entered the city without any combat.[vii]

When the Muslim army entered Mecca, Prophet Muhammad told his former enemies,

“I say to you as my brother (Prophet) Joseph said (to his brothers):

‘There shall be no reproach on you today. God will forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.’[viii] ”[ix]

Before Prophet Muhammad left this world, he reminded people of the principle of Divine Leadership. He emphasized that the message of Islam would not be complete without the Divine appointment of a leader to preserve that message. Muhammad was the Seal of All Prophets, but the gateway of Imamah (Divinely appointed leadership) would remain open. Prophet Muhammad declared on numerous occasions that Ali, son of Abu Taleb , and eleven of his descendants were the Divinely selected Imams. These twelve Imams would live to preserve the Message, channel Divine Mercy to the worlds and guide seekers of Truth along the path.[x] ,[xi]

The legacy of Prophet Muhammad is one of Universal principle. Let us recall the account of Utbah and As’ad . If it were not for the insistence of As’ad to seek the truth, he may have been left in the dark about the guiding light of Muhammad. There may be many like Utbah in our day. Our challenge is to revive this legacy of principle in our daily lives. Prophet Muhammad continues to remind humanity with the eternal Word of God,

“So where are you going? It is just a reminder for all the nations; for those of you who wish to walk straight. But you do not wish unless it is wished by God, the Lord of all the Worlds.”[xii]

[i] Pg. 51 of Sayyid al-Mursaleen by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[ii] Pg. 38, 46, 68 of Sayyid al-Mursaleen by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[iii] Pg. 319-320 of Sayyid al-Mursaleen by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[iv] Quran 96:1-5

[v] Pg. 428-431 of Sayyid al-Mursaleen by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[vi] Quran 60:8-9

[vii] Pg. 200 of As-Seerah Al-Muhammadiyyah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[viii] Quran 12:92

[ix] Pg. 202 of As-Seerah Al-Muhammadiyyah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[x] Pg. 238-240 of As-Seerah Al-Muhammadiyyah by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[xi] Pg. 4-6 of Al-A’immah Al-Ithna Ashar by Sh. Ja’far Subhani

[xii] Quran 81:26-29

Muhammad was a prophet and founder of Islam.

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Muhammad was the prophet and founder of Islam. Most of his early life was spent as a merchant. At age 40, he began to have revelations from Allah that became the basis for the Koran and the foundation of Islam. By 630 he had unified most of Arabia under a single religion. As of 2015, there are over 1.8 billion Muslims in the world who profess, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”

FULL NAME: Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim BORN: c. 570 BIRTHPLACE: Makkah, Saudi Arabia DEATH: June 8, 623

Muhammad was born around 570, AD in Mecca (now in Saudi Arabia). His father died before he was born and he was raised first by his grandfather and then his uncle. He belonged to a poor but respectable family of the Quraysh tribe. The family was active in Meccan politics and trade.

Many of the tribes living in the Arabian Peninsula at the time were nomadic, trading goods as they crisscrossed the desert. Most tribes were polytheistic, worshipping their own set of gods. The town of Mecca was an important trading and religious center, home to many temples and worship sites where the devoted prayed to the idols of these gods. The most famous site was the Kaaba (meaning cube in Arabic). It is believed to have been built by Abraham (Ibrahim to Muslims) and his son Ismail. Gradually the people of Mecca turned to polytheism and idolatry. Of all the gods worshipped, it is believed that Allah was considered the greatest and the only one without an idol.

In his early teens, Muhammad worked in a camel caravan, following in the footsteps of many people his age, born of meager wealth. Working for his uncle, he gained experience in commercial trade traveling to Syria and eventually from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. In time, Muhammad earned a reputation as honest and sincere, acquiring the nickname “al-Amin” meaning faithful or trustworthy.

In his early 20s, Muhammad began working for a wealthy merchant woman named Khadijah, 15 years his senior. She soon became attracted to this young, accomplished man and proposed marriage. He accepted and over the years the happy union brought several children. Not all lived to adulthood, but one, Fatima, would marry Muhammad’s cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, whom Shi’ite Muslims regard as Muhammad’s successor.

Muhammad was also very religious, occasionally taking journeys of devotion to sacred sites near Mecca. On one of his pilgrimages in 610, he was meditating in a cave on Mount Jabal aI-Nour. The Angel Gabriel appeared and relayed the word of God: “Recite in the name of your Lord who creates, creates man from a clot! Recite for your lord is most generous….” These words became the opening verses of sūrah (chapter) 96 of the Qur'an. Most Islamic historians believe Muhammad was initially disturbed by the revelations and that he didn’t reveal them publicly for several years. However, Shi’a tradition states he welcomed the message from the Angel Gabriel and was deeply inspired to share his experience with other potential believers.

Islamic tradition holds that the first persons to believe were his wife, Khadija and his close friend Abu Bakr (regarded as the successor to Muhammad by Sunni Muslims). Soon, Muhammad began to gather a small following, initially encountering no opposition. Most people in Mecca either ignored him or mocked him as just another prophet. However, when his message condemned idol worship and polytheism, many of Mecca’s tribal leaders began to see Muhammad and his message as a threat. Besides going against long standing beliefs, the condemnation of idol worship had economic consequences for merchants who catered to the thousands of pilgrims who came to Mecca every year. This was especially true for members of Muhammad’s own tribe, the Quraysh, who were the guardians of the Kaaba. Sensing a threat, Mecca’s merchants and leaders offered Muhammad incentives to abandon his preaching, but he refused.

Increasingly, the resistance to Muhammed and his followers grew and they were eventually forced to emigrate from Mecca to Medina, a city 260 miles to the north in 622. This event marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. There Muhammad was instrumental in bringing an end to a civil war raging amongst several of the city’s tribes. Muhammad settled in Medina, building his Muslim community and gradually gathering acceptance and more followers.

Between 624 and 628, the Muslims were involved in a series of battles for their survival. In the final major confrontation, The Battle of the Trench and Siege of Medina, Muhammad and his followers prevailed and a treaty was signed. The treaty was broken by the Meccan allies a year later. By now, Muhammad had plenty of forces and the balance of power had shifted away from the Meccan leaders to him. In 630, the Muslim army marched into Mecca, taking the city with minimum casualties. Muhammad gave amnesty to many of the Meccan leaders who had opposed him and pardoned many others. Most of the Meccan population converted to Islam. Muhammad and his followers then proceeded to destroy all of the statues of pagan gods in and around the Kaaba.

After the conflict with Mecca was finally settled, Muhammad took his first true Islamic pilgrimage to that city and in March, 632, he delivered his last sermon at Mount Arafat. Upon his return to Medina to his wife’s home, he fell ill for several days. He died on June 8, 632, at the age of 62, and was buried at al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) one of the first mosques built by Muhammad in Medina.

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The Scribes of the Prophet Muhammad

It follows from the texts of authentic ancient Islamic history that the Prophet (SA) had a number of scribes in Medina. The scribes wrote the  wahy , the Prophet’s words, public contracts and transactions, the Prophet’s agreements signed with pagans and with Ahl al-Kitab (the followers of the religions recognized by Islam to have existed earlier as true divine religions), the ledgers for  sadaqat  (charities) and taxes, the ledgers for war-spoils and for  akhmos  (plural of khums, an Islamic levy at the rate of one-fifth of one’s savings and other items), and the numerous letters from the Prophet (SA) to various places.

In addition to the divine revelations and the Prophet’s speeches, recorded, and remaining to this day, the agreements signed by the Prophet (SA) and most of the letters from the Prophet (SA) have been recorded in history. In his book: “ Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra “, Muhammad Ibn Sa’d quotes about one hundred letters, most of which he quotes in texts, from the Prophet (SA). Some of these letters, addressed to the sultans and rulers throughout the world, to the chiefs of tribes, to the puppet Roman or Iranian rulers of the Persian Gulf, and to other persons, are invitations to accept the faith of Islam. Some other letters consist of circulars and procedures, which comprise  fiqh  (Islamic jurisprudence). Other letters serve different purposes. A good many of such letters expose their writers, as the scribes indicated their names at the bottom of the letters. It is said that the one who initiated the traditional practice of having the scribe’s name entered at the bottom of a letter was Ubay ibn Ka’b, a known companion of the Prophet (SA).

None of these letters, agreements or books has ever been written in the Prophet’s handwriting; that is to say, nowhere has it been reported that the Prophet wrote by his own hand. More important still, is the fact that there is no observed instance to indicate that the Prophet had written down a single verse of the Qur’an. At a time when each and every scribe of the  wahy,  wrote in the very Qur’anic style, would it be possible that the Prophet (SA) should write, but not in the Qur’anic style, or that he would not write a  surah  (chapter), or at least a verse, of the Qur’an? In the books of history, the names of the Prophet’s scribes have been recorded. Al-Ya’qubi, in volume 2 of his historical work, reports: “The Prophet’s scribes, who wrote the wahy,  letters, and agreements are `Ali ibn Abi Talib, `Uthman ibn `Affan, `Amr ibn Al-`As, Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, Shurahbil ibn Hasanah, `Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh, Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah, Ma’adh ibn Jabal, Zayd ibn Thabit, Hanzalah ibn Al-Rabi`, Ubay ibn Ka’b, Juhaym ibn Al-Salt, Husayn Al-Numayri.”(1)

In ` Al-Tanbih wal-Ishraf “, Al-Mas’udi describes in some detail, the nature of the task undertaken by the scribes, and indicates that they had a more developed sort of activity coupled with a kind of order, organization and work allocation among themselves. He reports: “Khalid ibn Said ibn Al-`As was at the Prophet’s service. He recorded the various needs which came up, and so did Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah and Husayn ibn Al-Numayr. `Abdullah ibn Arqam and Al-`Ala’ ibn `Uqbah recorded documents, contracts and transactions for the public. Al-Zubayr ibn Al-`Awwam and Juhaym ibn al-Salt wrote down taxes and  sadaqat.  Hudhayfah ibn Al-Yaman was in-charge of entering the receipts  (hirazah)  of Hijaz, Mu’ayib ibn Abi Fatimah Dusi recorded war spoils.

Zayd ibn Thabit al-Ansari wrote letters to rulers and kings whilst serving as a translator to the Prophet. He translated Persian, Roman, Coptic and Ethiopian languages, all of which he had learned from those who knew these languages, in Medina. (2) Hanzalah ibn Al-Rabi` was a relief recorder who would take over the function of any one of the above-mentioned people who failed to attend. He had come to be known as: “Hanzalah al-Katib (the writer)”. During `Umar’s Khilafah  when Muslims had earned victories, Hanzalah went to “Raha”, where he died. `Abdullah ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Sarh served as a scribe for a time, but later he lost faith and joined the pagans. Shurahbil ibn Hasanah Tabikhi also wrote for the Prophet and Aban ibn Sa’id and Al-`Ala’ ibn Al-Hadrami also occasionally wrote for the Prophet. Mu’awiyah too wrote for the Prophet but only for a few months until the Prophet’s death. These were the people who served as official scribes to the Prophet. However, we will not mention the names of those who have written a letter or two and who are not named among the Prophet’s scribes.”(3)

In this connection, Al-Mas’udi has made no mention of the “Book of Revelations” nor of the scribes of official documents; among them `Ali (AS), `Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and Ubay ibn Ka’b, etc. He seems to have meant naming those who held a title other than that of recording the  wahy.  In the histories and  ahadith  of Islam, we come across a good many stories of visiting enthusiasts from far and wide who sought, the Prophet’s advice and to hear his preaching, the Prophet (SA) would respond with wise and meaningful words, recorded either concurrently or subsequently. Here too, we find no instance of the Prophet (SA) himself writing a single word in response to the visiting enthusiasts. Obviously enough, if only one line written by the Prophet (SA) could have been found, it would have been preserved by the Muslims as a blessing and great honour for themselves and their families.

Yet, in the case of Hadrat Amir al-Mu’minin, ‘Ali (AS) and the other Imams (AS), we see many instances, where part of their manuscripts have been preserved in their own, or in their Shi`ah (friends’) families. Nowadays, there are copies of the Qur’an, which had been written by these great personalities. The story widely known of Zayd ibn `Ali ibn Al-Husayn (AS), and how they preserved “Al-Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah”, is proof of this proposition. Relating an interesting story in the first part of the second chapter, of his book:  “Al-Fihrist”  Ibn al-Nadim relates: “I became acquainted with a Shi’ah of Kufah whose name was Muhammad ibn Al-Husayn nicknamed Ibn Abi Ba’rah.

He owned a library the like of which I had not seen. He had taken over a library from a Shi’ah of Kufah. The strange thing was the fact that each book or each sheet of the book indicated the name of its scribe. A host of scholars had verified in writing the scribe’s name. At that library were kept manuscripts of the two Imams, viz, Imam Al-Hasan ibn `Ali (AS) and Al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (AS). Also kept in the same place were documents and agreements written by `Ali (AS) and by other scribes of the Prophet (SA).”‘(4)

It is true, that they have thus taken care of the blessed works. How could it be true, therefore, that the Prophet (SA) should have written one line and that that very line should fail to remain, keeping in view the unbelievable regard which Muslims had for the protection of works, sacred ones in particular? By analyzing, the available evidence the question of the Prophet (SA) having written; (even during the period of his prophethood) is out of the question, even if there is little evidence to indicate that he could read at this time. Rather, the greater portion of the available evidence testifies to his having not read, even in this period.


1. Al-Ya’qubi,  Tarikh al-Ya’qubi  vol 2, p 69.

2. In the book:  Jami’ al-Tirmidhi  Al-Tirmidhi narrates from Zayd ibn Thabit that he said: “The Holy Prophet (SA) of Islam commanded me to learn the Syriac language. Also, Al-Tirmidhi narrates in Jami’   al-Tirmidhi  from Zayd ibn Thabit that he said: “The Holy Prophet (SA) of Islam commanded me to learn the language of the Jews and said: “I swear by Allah that I cannot trust the Jews for my letters.” I learned for about one-half of a month. After that whenever he (the Holy Prophet (SA) of Islam) wanted to write a letter to the Jews, I wrote it and whenever he received a letter from the Jews, I read it for him.” In  Futuhal-Buldan  Al-Baladhuri, says on p. 460: “Zayd ibn Thabit said: ‘The Holy Prophet (SA) of Islam commanded me to learn the Book of the Jews (in the Syriac language). Zayd ibn Thabit also said that the Prophet (SA) told me ‘I am worried about my Book because of the Jews.’ Scarcely had one-half of a month or a year passed since I learned it. From then on, I wrote his letters to the Jews and also read to him (to the Holy Prophet (SA) of Islam) the letters the Jews wrote to him.”

3. Al-Mas’udi,  Al-Tanbih wal-Ishraf,  p 245-246.

4. Ibn al-Nadim,  Al-Fihrist, Al-‘Istiqamah Press,  Cairo, p 67.

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Life of Prophet Muhammad

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    Muhammad was born around 570, AD in Mecca (now in Saudi Arabia). His father died before he was born and he was raised first by his grandfather and then his uncle. He belonged to a poor but ...

  13. The Scribes of the Prophet Muhammad

    In the books of history, the names of the Prophet's scribes have been recorded. Al-Ya'qubi, in volume 2 of his historical work, reports: "The Prophet's scribes, who wrote the wahy, letters, and agreements are `Ali ibn Abi Talib, `Uthman ibn `Affan, `Amr ibn Al-`As, Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, Shurahbil ibn Hasanah, `Abdullah ibn Sa'd ...

  14. Portal:Shia Islam

    Shia Islam (/ ˈ ʃ iː ə /) is the second-largest branch of Islam.It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (656-661 CE) as his successor (khalīfa) and the Imam (spiritual and political leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from succeeding Muhammad as the leader of the Muslims as a result of the choice made by ...

  15. Life of Prophet Muhammad

    On 8th of the Islamic month of Safar in 35 AH, the loyal Iranian disciple of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Salman Farsi, or the Persian, passed away in Mada'en in Iraq, where his mausoleum still stands today, with the Prophet's famous hadith inscribed in bold letters on its walls, reading "Salman minna Ahl al-Bayt", which means "Salman is from us the People of the Blessed Household," an ...

  16. Ep 3: Why There Is No Shia Biography Of The Prophet?

    Things you'll learn in this episode of Our Prophet:00:00 - The longest sermon of the Prophet01:39 - Why Shia scholars could not write Prophet's biography?03:...

  17. Prophet Muhammad (saww) A concise biography

    Prophet Muhammad's (saww) ancestry can be traced back to Prophet Ibrahim (as). Prophet Ibrahim (as) is born in the area of Babylon. He is born in the time of the reign of King Namrud, an idol worshipper. Namrud claims to be connected to God, and demands obedience from his followers.

  18. Twelver Shi'ah

    Twelver Shiʿah, the largest of the three Shiʿi groups extant today.. The Twelvers believe that, at the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 ce, the spiritual-political leadership (the imamate) of the Muslim community was ordained to pass down to ʿAlī, the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law, and then to ʿAlī's son Ḥusayn and thence to other imams down to the 12th, Muḥammad ibn al ...

  19. Succession to Muhammad

    Muhammad. The issue of succession following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad is the central issue in the schisms that divided the early Muslim community in the first century of Islamic history into numerous schools and branches. The two most prominent branches that emerged from these divisions are Sunni and Shia branches of Islam.

  20. Companions of the Prophet

    The Shia claim that Muhammad announced his successor during his lifetime at Da'wat Dhu al-Ashira, then many times during his prophethood and finally at the event of Ghadir Khumm. Shias consider that any hadith where Muhammad is claimed to have absolved all ṣaḥābah from sin is a false report by those who opposed the Ahl al-Bayt.

  21. Shia view of Fatima

    This is a sub-article of Fatima Zahra and Shi'a Islam. According to Shi'a scholars, Fatima Zahra was Muhammad 's only daughter. [1] The Sunni belief that he had other daughters by Khadijah denies Ali ibn Abu Talib the distinction of being Muhammad's only son-in-law. She is held in highest of esteem, as being the single most ideal example for ...

  22. Khadija bint Khuwaylid

    Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (Arabic: خَدِيجَة بِنْت خُوَيْلِد, romanized: Khadīja bint Khuwaylid, c. 554 - November 619 CE) was the first wife and the first follower of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.Khadija was the daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad, a noble of the Quraysh tribe in Makkah and a successful merchant.. Khadija is often referred to by Muslims as "The Mother of ...