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  • Writer's pictureAnees Bhayat

The Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ was the final messenger sent by Allāh to humanity, in order to guide the people to His Oneness and obedience.

Born in Makkah (Mecca) in April 570BC on a Monday, Muḥammad ﷺ was a child of noble descent. He was from the clan of Banū Hāshim, from the tribe of Quraysh. They were well respected due to their residence in the proximity of the Ka‘bah, which was held sacred throughout Arabia and visited for pilgrimage annually. This meant that the Quraysh, naturally, looked after the affairs of the Ka‘bah and played host to the many pilgrims, for which they were repaid with respect.

The father of Muḥammad ﷺ passed away whilst his mother Āminah was pregnant with him. Muḥammad ﷺ was thus born an orphan. After spending a while with her new-born, Āminah sent him to be brought up by a tribe living in the mountains, as was customary among the Meccans in those days. Muḥammad ﷺ grew into a strong, healthy, eloquent young child, and was returned to his mother at the age of four.

When he was six, his mother Āminah passed away and he was consequently taken into the care of his grandfather, ‘Abdul Muṭṭalib, who loved him dearly and recognised the potential in him. However, in a matter of approximately two years, he also passed away.

His paternal uncle, Abū Ṭālib, now took Muḥammad ﷺ into his care. He showed great love, affection and support towards his nephew, raising him as his own son, if not more. It was under the guidance of his uncle that he matured into a man, working as a successful businessman and shepherd.

As he grew older, Muḥammad ﷺ became popular among his people for his salient characteristics. His honesty and trustworthiness was unparalleled, as was his cool temperament, dealings and relations with the people. He would always look out for and help the weak; support the poor; actively campaign for matters of truth and justice, and enjoin ties of kinship.

He married a widow, Khadījah رضي الله عنها at the age of 25, with whom he had six children-two sons and four daughters. His sons passed away during their infancy, while the four daughters lived to marry.

When Muḥammad ﷺ reached 40, he received revelation from Allāh through the angel Jibra’īl whilst in the cave of Ḥirā. This meant that he was now a prophet. Shell-shocked at the responsibility placed upon him, he rushed home to his wife Khadījah رضي الله عنها, who consoled him and offered her unreserved support.

The message in the initial pieces of revelation was clear: recognise your Maker; the Being that created you, who is One. This message was conveyed by the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ to those close to him, and many of them embraced this message. Among the very first of the believers were his wife, and his dear friend Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه.

During this period, the Arabs did not believe in a sole deity; instead they worshipped numerous idols. This tradition had continued on from their ancestors and so the message of One God was a concept they were evidently hostile to and apprehensive about. When the Prophet ﷺ preached openly, the people of Makkah turned against him and everyone who had accepted his message. They took to torturing the weak, trying to intimidate them into renouncing their new faith. They tried to buy out the Prophet ﷺ, appease him, and even assassinate his noble character. However, those who embraced the faith were unwavering in their belief and stood firm, with many losing their lives in the process. The Prophet ﷺ wasn’t one to be ever tempted by worldly luxuries, and his exemplary character shone through all the dirt they tried to taint it with.

Eventually, when they saw no escape except through assassinating him, the Prophet ﷺ was instructed by Allāh to migrate, and Yathrib (later to be known as Al-Madīnah) was chosen as the destination. The resident tribes of the Aws and the Khazraj, collectively known as the Anṣār, accepted Islām and welcomingly hosted the Prophet ﷺ as well as their Muslim brethren who had migrated. Thus Al-Madīnah became the bedrock from where Islām developed and flourished.

It was after the migration that a Muslim community formed and developed. From this point, revelation also guided towards everything required to form an ideal community that was based on Islāmic values; where consideration for others was the motto, and justice was upheld.

However, the people of Makkah did not let the Prophet ﷺ and the Muslims rest even here, hundreds of miles away. Thus, battles ensued as a result of the Makkans attacking and at times allying with neighbouring tribes that held hostilities with the Muslims in Al-Madīnah.

In the sixth year after migration, which was the nineteenth year after prophethood, the Muslims and the Makkans signed an historic treaty at Al-Ḥudaybīyyah. In it they agreed upon a ceasefire for ten years and opened up trade routes between the two places. However, in the eighth year after migration, the Makkans broke the treaty by attacking one of the tribes allied to the Muslims.

Having been forced out of their homeland eight years ago, along with having left behind loved ones and wealth that was consequently usurped by the Makkans, the Muslims always longed to revisit and liberate Makkah. This was now their cue, and the Prophet ﷺ marched onto Makkah with approximately 10,000 Companions. The Makkans were going through a period of difficulty and were unable to counter the Muslims. Makkah was therefore liberated with minimal bloodshed. The Prophet ﷺ, after entering it victorious and in total dominance, addressed the Makkans, knowing full well the crimes they had committed against himself and the Muslims. He asked, ‘O the assembly of Quraysh! What do you think I am going to do with you?’

Knowing the excellent character of Muḥammad ﷺ, they replied, ‘[You are] an honourable brother, son of an honourable brother…’ imploring him and confident in being shown mercy. In total embodiment of his exemplary and noble character, he said, ‘I say to you just as Yūsuf (Joseph) said to his brothers, ‘There is no blame on you today’, go, for you are all free!’

After this climax, the Prophet ﷺ lived on for approximately two more years, passing away in Al-Madīnah on a Monday after a period of illness. With his demise, humanity bid farewell to the concept of prophethood, but the rise of a religion that was destined to be its companion until the end of times.

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