About Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم

Author “Amjad Tarsin”

Considered by many to be the most influential human being to ever live, Muhammad was born in the 6th century C.E. in Mecca, a city founded by the Prophet Abraham and his son Prophet Ishmael. His influence is still felt across the globe and appreciated by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Over one billion people worldwide commit to the Prophet Muhammad’s teachings – most conforming to the spirit of his message, while others distort his teachings. Now is the time, more than ever, to properly comprehend this historical and religious figure in order to better understand one another in this global community.

Muhammad’s father died before his birth, and his mother Aminah was told by a voice from the heavens to give her son the then unknown name of Muhammad, ‘the praised one.’ Orphaned at a young age, his uncle raised him for most of his life. As a young man, Muhammad enjoyed an esteemed reputation, being known throughout the city as ‘the truthful and trustworthy.’

At the age of forty, during one of his spiritual seclusions in a cave on the outskirts of Mecca, the angel Gabriel gloriously manifested himself to Muhammad pronouncing revelation from God. Alarmed and shivering he fled to his wife, begging her to wrap him in a cloak. He feared for his sanity, concerned that a desert spirit might be pursuing him. More revelations soon followed and Muhammad came to the understanding that he was not only a prophet in a long line of prophets such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses, but that he was the last of them who was sent with a universal message. He continued to receive revelation through Gabriel for many years to come. These revelations came to be known as the Quran, the Muslim holy book.

For thirteen years he invited his clan in Mecca to worship the one God, to sit with slaves in spiritual solidarity, to respect women as soul-full equals and the source of human mercy, and to care for the widow, the orphan, the weak and the oppressed. At first people ridiculed and feared Muhammad’s message because it threatened the Meccans’ financial gains because pilgrims from all over Arabia came to visit the idols in Mecca, and, consequently, spend their wealth. The ridicule soon turned to oppression, and many of the Prophet Muhammad’s followers were tortured and killed. When asking God for assistance, the Prophet was ordered to patiently persevere the suffering. Several years later his entire clan was excommunicated causing many to starve to death, including his beloved wife Khadija and uncle Abu Talib. The Meccans’ ill treatment culminated in an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the Prophet Muhammad’s life, after which he was exiled from the city of his birth.

The Prophet then moved to Madina, where he established an unprecedented peace between the city’s two largest tribes who had been suffering from feudal wars for centuries. With the Prophet Muhammad as its leader, the city’s virtue was restored and the population began to prosper once again. He also secured the rights of the Jewish minority by granting them full citizenship and freedom to practice their religion without constraint.

The peace the Muslims enjoyed in Madina would not be long-lived. Even while exiled, the Meccans continued their attempts to undermine the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet’s growing influence was a threat to their dominance in Arabia. After successfully establishing a stable community, God told the Prophet through revelation that he and his community could now defend themselves. In battle against the merciless and tyrannical, he was as courageous as a great lion; and with the weak and oppressed, he was as gentle as a shepherd.

After several large battles, the Muslims and the Meccans established a treaty, which was violated by the Meccans only two years later. The Prophet then gathered an army of ten thousand soldiers and marched upon Mecca, conquering it without bloodshed. After suffering twenty bitter years at the hands of the Meccans, in which he lost his wife, uncle, and several other companions, Muhammad was now in a position of complete control. The Meccans were at his mercy; and mercy they were given. The Prophet Muhammad told the Meccans that they were free and would suffer no harm. He said to them, “This is the day of mercy. This is the day that God will exalt the Quraysh (the primary tribe of Mecca).”

In twenty-three short years the Prophet Muhammad spread monotheism throughout the peninsula, unified warring tribes, taught the honor of women, and established that all people were equal in the sight of God. He elevated the low and lowered the arrogant that they might meet in that middle place known as brotherhood. He infused within people a love of learning unleashing a creative power that would lead to some of the most extraordinary scientific breakthroughs in human history.

The Prophet Muhammad’s entire life, up until his last breath, was spent in the liberation of others. He liberated people from misguidance, oppression, and greed. Even on his deathbed, his last words were, “Treat your women well, and do not oppress your servants…O God, my highest companion, O highest companion.” The world needs a deeper understanding of this man – his gentleness toward children, his love of animals, his concern for the weak and oppressed, and his sense of justice always tempered with mercy. He taught us that forbearance is greater than revenge; forgiveness more lofty than punishment; and compassion more effective than austerity. Above all, he taught us mercy. And in these difficult times, we are all in need of more mercy in the world. Celebrate Muhammad. Celebrate mercy.

Source: “Celebrate Mercy”

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