Muhammad was born 570 CE at Mecca in Arabia to a family of the Quraysh tribe.
Muhammad's father died before Muhammad's birth, and his mother died when the child was only 6, so Muhammad was raised first by his grandfather, and later by his uncle.
The family was not rich, so Muhammad spent much of his childhood tending animals for others in order to earn his livelihood.
Muhammad worked first as a trader, and gained a reputation for honesty. His nickname was "The Trustworthy".
When he was 25, Muhammad married Khadija, a wealthy widow aged 40. Muhammad soon showed an interest in spiritual matters and would spend time on retreat in the cave of Hira on "The Mountain of Light" (near Mecca).
The First Revelation
In 610 Muhammad had his first revelation - a vision of the Archangel Gabriel, who told him that he was to be a prophet.
Khadija confirmed Muhammad's belief in his mission and declared herself to be his first disciple.
There was a gap of 3 years before the next revelation.
Muhammad was mocked at first by people who claimed that God had forsaken him, but the revelations resumed and over many years Muhammad received the text of the Quran in a series of revelations.
The Last Prophet
Muhammad proclaimed that the Quran was the last Book of God, and that he himself was the last Prophet. With a small group of people who believed what he said, Muhammad began to spread the message.
Muhammad publicly condemned the existing idolatrous local beliefs, and religious customs, which did not make him universally popular.
In 613 Muhammad intensified his public preaching and won more converts. He and his followers were persecuted, and some of them went to Abyssinia to escape.
A long period of difficulty followed, but Muhammad and his followers remained true to the faith and he continued to preach and convert.
In 622 Muhammad moved to Yathrib (later to be called Medina) with 70 colleagues; this is known as the "Hijrah" (which means 'emigration' or 'flight'). Muhammad formed a tribe of those who accepted him as the Prophet, and gradually Islam grew in strength and acceptance.
Death of Muhammad
In 632 CE Muhammad made a final pilgrimage to Mecca with over 100,000 of his followers and gave his last sermon. He died a few months later at Medina.
Page created on 5/28/2004 7:13:16 AM
Last edited 1/9/2017 4:42:08 PM
It is based on the ministry of a man named Muhammad (peace be upon him), and on the words that Allah gave to the world through Muhammad (pbuh).
(NB. Muhammad is so esteemed by Muslims that it is usual to utter the blessing "peace be upon him" after his name. This is often abbreviated to "pbuh" and should be inferred throughout this site.)
Muhammad did not found Islam. Islam was created by Allah at the beginning of time, and in fact Muslims regard Adam as the first Muslim.
Muhammad was the final messenger through whom Allah revealed the faith to the world. There had been earlier messengers, among them Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
Muhammad was not only a religious leader, but a political leader as well. This established a close relationship between religion and "politics" and helped to ensure the rapid spread of the faith, and its influence on the complete way of life in many countries.
In his final sermon Muhammad summarised the heart of Islam:
- Belief in One God without images or symbols,
- Equality of all the Believers without distinction of race or class, the superiority of individuals being based solely on piety;
- Sanctity of life, property and honour;
- Abolition of interest, and of vendettas and private justice;
- Better treatment of women;
- Obligatory inheritance and distribution of the property of deceased persons among near relatives of both sexes, and removal of the possibility of the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few."