Muhammad (in Arabic: محمد) (April 20, 571 - June 8, 632 AD) was an Arabian religious and political leader. Muslims believe he was the last prophet of Allah (God). They believe that he was a descendant of Ishmael, a son of Abraham, the seal of all prophets, and they consider him to be the most important person in the religion of Islam.
The Hijra [change]
After Muhammad failed in Makkah, he took his message to Medina ألمدينة (about 200 miles north of Makkah) where some people learned about him and his followers. They welcomed him into their city, and Muhammad wanted them to convert to Islam. They agreed, and many of his followers went to Medina. This movement from Makkah to Medina is called the Hijrah هجرة . The Hijra was also the beginning of the Muslim calendar. Muhammad stayed behind until all of his people left Makkah safely.
As Muhammad stayed in Makkah, his uncle Abu Lahab trained seven men to kill Muhammad in his sleep. According to the story, they did not see him leave Makkah. The men went into his house and found his cousin, عليّ Ali. Abu Lahab and his horsemen went to the desert to look for him and his friend, Abu Bakr.
His stay in Medina [change]
Muhammad and Abu Bakr (أبو بَكر) arrived in Medina. Some people welcomed Prophet Muhammad to their homes. He used his camel to show everyone where he would build his house. Also, the first masjid of Medina, a small place for prayer, was built in the back of this house.
The people in a strong Jewish tribe in Medina disagreed with the teachings and rules set by Muhammad. This tribe told their allies in Makkah to sell of all the things and homes that Muslims of Makkah left behind. The Muslims and those from Makkah were advised to fight for their property. Prophet Muhammad told them not to do that.
Muslims were called all over Medina to gather at a masjid that Prophet Muhammad prayed in. They were told to fight against the people of Makkah who burned down their homes and robbed their properties.
The wars [change]
The Quraysh pagans of Mecca heard about this, and they sent a larger army numbering 1000 warriors to fight the Muslims. They met in Badr, but the pagans were defeated and Abu Jahl, one of the pagan leaders, was also killed.
But, the Muslims lost the second battle at Uhud. One year after the fight at Badr, the army of Mecca had outside help. Muslim archers failed to listen to Muhammad's instructions and Khalid ibn al-Walid cleverly took advantage of that. Hamza, Muhammad's last uncle, was killed when a slave from Mecca threw a spear into his chest. Muhammad himself was injured.
Then in 627, Abu Sufyan led the Quraysh and its allies to attack Medina itself. However, they could not pass the trench that the Muslims had dug around Medina. After several weeks, the coalition broke up and went home. The Medinians were considered victors.
The truce with Mecca [change]
After the pagans of Mecca failed to gain control of Medina, the Muslims became stronger. The pagans then decided to sign a truce with the Muslims. This means that they would not fight each other for ten years. The Muslims used this as a chance to talk to other people all over Arabia. In three years, many people changed their religions to Islam.
But, this truce did not last for long. After three years of it, a small group of horsemen from Mecca attacked a Muslim camp and killed a few of them. The Muslims in Medina heard of this, and the truce was cancelled. Abu Sufyan, third leader of Mecca in Muhammad's lifetime, tried to resume the truce, but Muhammad politely refused the offer. Muhammad told his followers to be ready to capture Mecca. After Mecca was captured, they went on to capture the Torkan.
The capture of Mecca [change]
In 630, most people in Arabia had become Muslims, and they became part of Muhammad's large army to capture Mecca. Because of the big size of the army, the people of Mecca were afraid to fight back. Abu Sufyan, who was feeling unhappy over the broken truce, went to Muhammad's camp outside Mecca to ask for forgiveness. Muhammad did not say that he would forgive him, so he returned back home. While he was with Muhammad, he changed his religion to Islam by saying the Testimony (al-Ashaada):
|“||I testify that there is no other god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.||”|
The next day, the Muslim army walked towards Mecca. Everyone ran to their homes and closed all doors and windows. They were afraid that the Muslims were going to kill them, because of the bad things they did to the Muslims many years ago. But, the Muslims went towards the Kabah, believed to be built by Abraham and his elder son, Ishmael. Bilal ibn Ribah, a former Ethiopian slave, shouted out loud to the people of Mecca that they were all safe: "All those who lay down arms are safe. All those in the house of Abu Sufyan are safe. All those behind closed doors are safe."
Abu Sufyan heard this in his home. From this, he learns that Muhammad forgave him. At that time, Muhammad and his followers removed and broke all idols from the Kaaba. The idols were statues that were worshiped as gods. Muhammad forgave all citizens of Mecca. At the end, Bilal climbed to the top of the Kaaba and called for prayer. This was Muhammad's victory in spreading Islam all over Arabia. But, because he was old, he would not live for long.
His death [change]
In 632 AD, on June 8, Muhammad became very sick. Before he died, he told his followers about his death. He is buried in the chamber of his wife Aisha (RA) in Medina, where the Masjidu-n-Nabiy (Mosque of the Prophet) is. In Medina, his friend Abu Bakr went to the Masjidu-n-Nabiy and shouted to the people:
|“||If any of you worship Muhammad, you should know that Muhammad is dead. But those of you who worship Allah(swt) (God), let it be known that Allah(swt) (God) is alive and cannot die.||”|
Although Muhammad died, Islam soon spread all over the Middle East. Then, centuries later, it continued till it reached Africa, Asia and Europe. Islam has become one of the world's biggest and fastest growing religions.
When Muslims say or write the name of Muhammad, they usually follow it with Peace and Blessings be upon him (Arabic: صلّى الله عليه وسلّم sall-Allahu `alayhi wa sallam). For example, "Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him)". In printed matter, a calligraphic symbol is frequently used instead of printing the phrase.
No images of Muhammad [change]
Muslims do not make or show images of Muhammad. The Qu'ran does not state that images of Muhammad must not ever be made, but it does contain passages that forbid the creation of idols. There are also passages against the creation of images of God in the Hadith. Many Muslims, especially Sunni Muslims, believe there should be no pictures of Muhammad. If non-Muslim people create images of Muhammad, this is often seen as disrespectful.
In 2005, a Danish newspaper published political cartoons of Muhammad. This led to violent protests in the Arabic World, and elsewhere. More than 100 people died as a result of the protests. Johan Galtung, a Norwegian mathematician and peace activist, tried to help both sides come together and talk about this. According to Galtung, the attacks against Danish institutions ended, after the government had invited talks.
Other pages [change]
Further reading [change]
- Adil Salahi (2002). Muhammad: Man and Prophet. Islamic Foundation (UK). ISBN 978-1-86204-290-2.
- Andrae, Tor (2000). Mohammed: The Man and His Faith. Dover. ISBN 978-0-486-41136-1.
- Armstrong, Karen (1993). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper. ISBN 978-0-06-250886-7.
- Berg, Herbert, ed. (2003). Method and Theory in the Study of Islamic Origins. E. J. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-12602-2.
- Cook, Michael (1983). Muhammad. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-287605-8 (reissue 1996).
- Dashti, Ali (1994). Twenty-Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad. Mazda. ISBN 978-1-56859-029-5.
- Hamidullah, Muhammad (1998). The Life and Work of the Prophet of Islam. (s.n.)(Islamabad: Islamic Research Institute). ISBN 978-969-8413-00-2.
- Motzki, Harald, ed. (2000). The Biography of Muhammad: The Issue of the Sources (Islamic History and Civilization: Studies and Texts, Vol. 32). Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-11513-2.
- Rodinson, Maxime (1961). Muhammad. New Publishers. ISBN 978-1-56584-752-1.
- Rodinson, Maxime (2002). Muhammad: Prophet of Islam. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. ISBN 978-1-86064-827-4.
- Rubin, Uri (1995). The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muhammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims (A Textual Analysis). Darwin Press. ISBN 978-0-87850-110-6.
- Schimmel, Annemarie (1985). And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4128-0.
- Stillman, Norman (1975). The Jews of Arab Lands: a History and Source Book. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 978-0-8276-0198-7.
- Warraq, Ibn (2000). The Quest for the Historical Muhammad. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-1-57392-787-1.
- "Muhammad". Encyclopedia Britannica. http://original.britannica.com/eb/article-9105853/Muhammad. Retrieved 2008-07-18.
- Muhammad’s Biography, The Religion of Islam. Found January 23, 2007
- "Arabic Presentation Forms-A" (PDF). The Unicode Standard, Version 5.2. Mountain View, Ca.: Unicode, Inc.. 2009-10-01. http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/Unicode-3.1/U31-FB50.pdf. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
- Ann Goldman, Richard Hain, Stephen Liben (2006), p.212
- Engber, Daniel (February 7, 2006). "Does Islam ban images of Mohammad?". Slate Magazine. http://www.slate.com/id/2135670/. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
Other websites [change]
- Non-sectarian biographies
- Muhammad, article on Enyclopaedia Britannica Online
- Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet - PBS Site
- Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet - UPF (Producer's Site)
- Encarta Encyclopedia
- 1911 Encyclopedia article on Mahomet
- William Muir: The Life of Mahomet
- The Hero as Prophet A passionate championship of Prophet Muhammad as a Hegelian agent of reform. by Carlyle, Thomas (1795-1881) On Heroes and the Heroic in History. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1966.
- Muslim biographies