Islam: The Qur'ānic Overview

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The Prophet Muhammad

(peace be upon him)

The Prophet was born in 570 C.E. in Makkah in Arabia into the clan of Banū Hāshim, the descendant of the Prophet Ismā'īl (Ishmael - peace be upon him). Before his birth his father 'Abdullāh died, and so his grandfather, 'Abdul Muttalib, looked after him. He lost his mother Āminah at the age of six and, a year later, his grandfather. It was finally his uncle, Abū Tālib, who provided him with all the assistance that he required.

Khadījah, a wealthy widow of Makkah, engaged him in trade and the Prophet carried out the assignment with honesty. She eventually offered him her hand in marriage which the Prophet accepted.

The crude polytheism of Makkah and its despicable social customs and injustices always made the Prophet anxious and disturbed him greatly. In search of peace, it became his practice to retire for several days from the hustle and bustle of Makkah to the solitude of Hira, a cave on the Mountain of Light in Makkah. It was in this cave at the age of 40, that he received the first revelation of the Qur'ān through the angel Gabriel and from then on he began promoting the message of Islam.

Makkan idol-worshippers saw the Islamic message as an open threat to their religion, prestige, rank and authority. The spread of the message not only aggravated the opposition of the Makkans but also brought anger and hostility. The believers remained firm in the face of social boycotts, imprisonment, abuse, physical torture and brutal executions.

The Prophet then permitted the Muslims to migrate to Madinah where they would be safe to practise their faith. The Makkans, however, were very disturbed by this new development and plotted to kill the Prophet . When the Prophet learned about this conspiracy he migrated from Makkah to Madinah in 622 C.E.

This Hijrah, migration of the Prophet , was the turning point in the history of Islam and from that day the Islamic Hijrah calendar began.

The Prophet was warmly welcomed by the Muslims in Madinah. He created brotherhood between the Ansār, helpers of Madinah, and the Muhājirūn, immigrants from Makkah. He constructed the mosque and decided to build his modest home in the courtyard of the mosque, where he stayed in absolute simplicity till his death and is buried there.

He established an Islamic State in Madinah and united Muslims under the Divine code of law. Under his political and religious authority the Prophet combined legislative, judicial and executive functions. In Madinah, however, he continued to face hostility from his enemies and was compelled to fight a number of battles. In 630 C.E. (8 Hijrah) he was able to conquer Makkah without shedding blood. All the idols in and around the Ka'bah were destroyed and Allah's House was purified for the worship of the One true God. The Makkans who had used their military force in different encounters were forgiven and an amnesty was granted to all. The Qur'ān says: "We sent you not, but as a Mercy for all creatures" (21: 107).

During his stay in Madinah, the Prophet implemented the social, economic and political commandments of the Qur'ān. Through the process of evolution he was able to change the course of the lives of hundreds of his zealous Companions.

The Prophet led an extremely simple and frugal life. He was a modest, truthful, trustworthy, considerate and affectionate person. He was very fond of children. He visited the sick and attended funerals. He was courteous. His speech was sweet, clear, brief, full of thought and wisdom, and heart penetrating. He possessed a good memory, practical wisdom and inventive genius. The rich and the poor, black and white, the powerful and the weak were all treated equally by the Prophet . He did not hesitate to risk his life in the defence of truth and the administration of justice.

While accepting various challenges in his domestic, social, economic and political life, he never neglected his spiritual assignments and his relationship with Allah. Throughout his prophetic life he did not move a hair's breadth away from the will of Allah.

No man has ever been born who has been loved and meticulously followed during his lifetime and even after his death as has the person of the Prophet ( - may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Allah says about him in the Qur'ān:

"And surely thou hast sublime morals" (68: 4).


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