Who is Muhammad (pbuh)
“And we have sent you O Muhammad, not but as a mercy for humankind and all that exists.” (Quran 21:107)
Who is Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Makkah in the year 570 A.D. Since his father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was of a deeply religious nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira near the summit of Jabal al-Nur, the ‘Mountain of Light’ near Makkah.
Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, is the man beloved by more than 2 billion Muslims. He is the man who taught us patience in the face of adversity, and taught us to live in this world but seek eternal life in the hereafter. It was to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that God revealed the Quran. Along with this Book of guidance God sent Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), whose behavior and high moral standards are an example to us all. Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) life was the Quran. He understood it, he loved it and he lived his life based on its standards. He taught us to recite Quran, to live by its principles and to love it. When Muslims declare their faith in One God (Allah Almighty), they also declare their belief that Muhammad (pbuh)is the slave and final messenger of Allah (God).
How did Muhammad (pbuh) become a prophet and a messenger of God?
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) refused to worship the traditional tribal deities and often retreated to meditate and worship the One God of his ancestor, Abraham. At the age of 40, while meditating in the cave of Hira in the mountains above Makkah, Muhammad (pbuh) received the first of many revelations (from God through the Angel Gabriel pbuh), beginning with the Arabic word Iqra, meaning “Read” or “Recite.” Soon afterwards, he was commanded to convey the Divine message and thus became the last messenger of God, according to the Qur’an. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Qur’an.
The first five verses revealed to him were the following:
“Read, in the name of your Lord, Who Created
Created man, out of a clot (embryo).
Proclaim! And your Lord is Most Bountiful,
He Who taught the use of the pen
Taught man that which he knew not.” (Qur’an, 96: 1-5)
As soon as he began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him, he and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra, ‘migration’, in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.
After several years, the Prophet and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. Before the Prophet died at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far East as China.
Most Respected in the Human History
Throughout history and around the world non-Muslims have shown great respect and honour for Prophet Muhammad and he is considered influential in both religious and secular matters. Modern day statesmen described him as scrupulous about pledges, intense in his devotion to his friends and followers, intrepid, fearless, and with absolute trust in God and in his own mission. Prophet Muhammad taught Islam as a way of life, founded an empire, laid down a moral code and instituted a code of law focusing on respect, tolerance and justice.
What is it about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that inspires such respect? Is it his gentle and loving nature, his kindness and generosity or is it his ability to empathise with all of humanity? Muhammad (pbuh) was a selfless man who devoted the last 23 years of his life to teaching his companions and followers how to worship God and how to respect humanity. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was acutely aware of just how much responsibility had been thrust upon him by God. He was careful to teach the message just as God had prescribed and warned his followers not to adulate him the way Jesus, son of Mary was praised.
Final and Seal of the Prophets
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is considered the final messenger of God, the “Seal” of the Prophets.
Any claimants to prophethood after Muhammad (pbuh), who died in 632 C.E., are not accepted by Allah (God) and hence also Muslims. The below verse from Holy Quran testifies this truth:
“Muhammad is the father of no man among you. He is the Apostle of Allah and the seal of the Prophets.
Allah has knowledge of all things.” (Qur’an -33: 40)”
Muslims do not worship Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); they understand that he is only a man. However, he is a man worthy of our utmost respect and love. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) loved humanity so much that he would weep out of fear for them. He loved his people with such deep and profound devotion that God remarked on the depth of his love for us in Quran.
“Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad) from amongst yourselves. It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to God, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers he is full of pity, kind, and merciful.” (Quran – 9:128)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us to love God and to obey Him. He taught us to be kind to each other, to respect our elders, and care for our children. He taught us that it was better to give than to receive and that each human life is worthy of respect and dignity. He taught us to love for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us that families and communities are essential, and he pointed out the importance of a stable and moral society. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught us that men and women are equal in the sight of God and that no one person is better then another except in respect to his or her piety and devotion to God.
Muslims also believe in the same Prophets mentioned in Jewish and Christian traditions, including Noah (pbuh), Moses (pbuh), Abraham (pbuh) and Jesus (pbuh), and they believe that all prophets came with the same message – to worship God alone, without partners, sons or daughters. There is a difference, however, between all other prophets and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Before Muhammad (pbuh), prophets were sent to particular people in particular places and periods. Muhammad (pbuh) however, is the final Prophet and his message is for all of humankind.
Finally Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is:
The supreme example for all people – he was the exemplary prophet, statesman, military leader, ruler, teacher, neighbour, husband, father and friend.
Quite simply he (pbuh) is the man who will stand before God on the day of judgement and beg God to have mercy on believers (God-willing). He (pbuh) will intercede for the believers with the will of Allah Almighty. Muslims love him (pbuh) because he is the slave and messenger of God, he is a mercy to humankind and his gentleness, and devotion to humanity is unprecedented. Again, this great Prophet (pbuh) wanted every single human being on earth to go to heaven (after the death) by worshipping one true Creator and Sustainer i.e. Allah the Almighty.