Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was the son of Hazrat Abdullah and her mother’s name was Hazrat Amina. He was born 570 AD in Mecca. His father died before his birth. Still a small child of six, his mother died. He was brought up by his grandfather Abdul Muttalib and after his death by his uncle Abu Talib. He belonged to the clan of Bani Hashim, which was part of the Quraish tribe. Hazar Abdu’l Muttalib was the chief of the tribe. He had traveled with his uncle as an apprentice trader to vast areas of Arab peninsula. Abu Talib always cared and protected his nephew and defended him throughout the testing times until the last breath of his life. Mohammed (PBUH) was a quiet, amiable and pleasant boy. He grew up to become a fine young man and was known for his excellent manners. The fame of his honesty in his conduct and dealings reached to four corners of the world and he was referred to as al-Saadiq (The Truthful One) and al-Amin (The Trustworthy One).
When he reached the age of twelve he journeyed to Busra, well known trade centre in Iraq with his uncle Abu Talib. There he was seen by a Christian monk named Georges. The monk recognized him by his description. He took his hand and said: ‘This is the chief of the Worlds, God will send him as a mercy to the Worlds.’ Abu Talib said: ‘How do you know this?’ He said: ‘We find mention of him in our books.’ He asked Abu Talib to take him back fearing for his safety. As an adult, Mohammad worked as a trader between the cities of Mecca and Damascus , and earned a great reputation in the process.
At the age of 25 he had married Hazrat Khadijah. She was a well know business woman and the Prophet was working in her establishment. She was 15 years his senior. She died after 25 years of marriage. As a philosopher, thinker and believer in one God he did spent the great deal of his time in seclusion at Mt. Hira near Mecca. The first revelation occurred to him in 610 AD, at the age of 40. when he went to meditate at the cave of Hira. In his first revelation the angel appeared before him and said “Read. Read in the name of your Lord Who created, created man from a clot. Read and your Lord is the most Generous, Who taught with the pen, taught man what he knew not” (56:1Q). Prophet understood the Divine Message and returned shivering to Hazrat Khadijah and said: Wrap me up, wrap me up. He was wrapped and the normalcy returned. The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) conveyed the news and the Message to Lady Khadijah and his cousin Hazrat Ali. Ali and Lady Khadijah both embraced the new revelation instantly and without any hesitation. Khadijah was thus the first woman to believe in the Messenger of Allah and the first woman to pray with him. She supported him whole-heartedly and spent all her wealth in the way of Allah. She was the first woman that the Prophet married and he married no other during her lifetime.
The Prophet of Islam began to deliver the Message of Allah to his countrymen – Convert from pagan polytheism, immorality and materialism. Repent from evil and worship Allah, the only true God.
He was always careful to clarify his role in God’s work – he was only a prophet. He was not an angel; he did not know the mind of God, he did not work miracles. He simply preached what he had received. His teachings threatened the Meccan way of life, both moral and economic, he and his followers experienced heavy persecution. It first took the form of mockery, but soon turned into open violence. Members of the small movement were stoned, covered in dirt as they prayed, beat with sticks, thrown into prison and refused service by merchants.
We know that at the end of sixth century AD humanity had lost all the guidance that came from its Creator and Sustainer as how to live, act and behave on earth. There were no human rights anywhere in the world. Under the domination of both the superpowers of the time, the Roman and the Persian Empires, only the ruling class was enjoying all rights and privileges. In his preaching of the message and in his calling people to the truth, he displayed such steadfastness, firmness and courage that, in spite of the antagonism of big powers and great religions, and of his own people and tribe, even of his uncle, he never showed even the slightest trace of hesitation, anxiety or fear, and he successfully challenged the world, and prevailing systems.
In sixty three years of his life, he had to fight many wars. However, as the history reveals, the Prophet of Islam never initiated or instigated any wars. He made sure that when he had to fight for the survival of nascent Islamic state, his followers would engage with great discipline. He had always ensured that there would be no injury to the innocents. He used only the minimum force. Women, children and non-combatants were not to be harmed. When the enemy stopped fighting, they were given immediate sanctuary. Striking a blow in anger, even in battle, was prohibited.
He was a messanger of Truth and a Peace Maker also. We know that Peace is a state of mind where one lives without apprehension, discomfort or fear of the other. A peacemaker is one who mitigates conflicts and nurtures good will and brings about a sustainable balance to the society. What brings peace? Justice gives birth to peace and when there is justice, a sense of security permeates in individuals and the societies. He was the most accomodative administrator, ruler and kind to his adversaries. Following are few examples of his dealing with his opponents:
MADINAH CHARTER – It is one of the first pluralist constitutions of a state that offered freedom to practice ones faith. Each group was allowed to apply their own faith laws to their situation. HUDAIBIAH – Prophet gave an example of learning to respect the otherness of other, one of the greatest examples that can be applied in peace making in most situations. INTERFAITH DIALOGUE – Muhammad (PBUH) was the first Human in history to have initiated an interfaith dialogue. He showed tremendous respect for the otherness of others.
In the desert culture of Arabia, Society in 7 th century, had given hardly any rights to women. The new born girls used to be buried alive. In the Holy Book Qur’an, that was revealed upon him Allah said that on Judgment Day “buried girls” will rise out of their graves and ask for what crime they were killed. Islam taught that men and women were equal before God. According to the Holy Book, men and women are each other’s garment, protector, supporter, respect and honor. He announced that women were free to marry, divorce, own property and business in a time when women were considered a chattel. He was a radical women’s Liberator. Islam grants women divinely sanctioned inheritance, property, social and marriage rights, including the right to reject the terms of a proposal and to initiate divorce. “You have rights over your women,” he is reported to have said, “and your women have rights over you.” Part of Prophets’s legacy was to end infanticide and establish explicit rights for women.
The best way to honor the prophet is to follow his message of Peace.
By Naim Naqvi
Image Source: Calligrphic Representation of Mohammad’s Name (PBUH)