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Muhammad

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Muhammad
570/571 AD - June 8, 632 AD = 62 yrs
See also    Muhammad in Ved and Puraan

Prophet Muhammad's name has been mentioned in Bhavishya Puraan, 3/17. Read his life sketch here.

Muhammad Saahab's name (Mohammed, or Muhammad bin Abdullaah) appears in Bhavishya Puraan, 3/17  Muhammad Saahab was the one who started Muslim (Islam) religion. His followers consider him the Messenger or Prophet of God (Allaah). He was the last prophet according to Quraan. he is considered the restorer of monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. Their religious book (scripture) is Quraan (Koraan).

He was born in 570 AD in the Arabian city of Meccaa. His parents died at an eary age and he was brought up by his uncle Aboo Taleeb. he worked as a shepherd and merchant and was first married at the age of 25. He did not like his life so he went to a mountain cave for meditation. According to Islamic beliefs it was here, at the age of 40, in the month of Ramaadaan, where he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him (literarily. Islaam) is the only way (Deen = Dharm) acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God. Some became his followers and some went hostile. The hostile people treated his followers harshly.

To escape persecution, Muhammad sent some of his followers to Abyssinia (today's Ethiopia) before he and his remaining followers in Meccaa migrated to Medinaa (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islaamik calendar, also known as the Hijaree Calendar. In Medinaa, Muhammad united the conflicting tribes, and after eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, his followers, who by then had grown to 10,000, conquered Meccaa. In 632, a few months after returning to Medinaa from his Farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and he had united the tribes of Arabia into a single Muslim religious polity.

The revelations, Aayat (the signs of God) which Muhammad received until his death, later became the verses of Quraan. His life and deeds have been debated and criticized by his followers as well as his opponents over the centuries - this makes difficult to write his biography. But he is revered as a true prophet and Manifestation of God in the Bahaai Faith. The Quraan is the primary source of Muhammad's life. The name Muhammad means "Praiseworthy" and occurs only four times in the Quraan. The Quraan addresses Muhammad in second person, not by his name but by the appellations, prophet, messenger, servant of God ('abd), announcer (basheer), warner (nathir), reminder (mudhakkeer), witness (shaahid), bearer of good tidings (mubashshir), one who calls [unto God] and the light-giving lamp (siraaj muneer).

Birth of Muhammad
Tradition places the year of Muhammad's birth as corresponding with the Year of the Elephant, which is named after the failed destruction of Meccaa that year by the Aksumite King Abraha (in Ethiopia) who had in his army a number of elephants. Muhammad's father, Abdullaah, died almost six months before he was born. According to the tradition, soon after Muhammad's birth he was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as the desert-life was considered healthier for infants. Muhammad stayed there with his foster parents till he was two years old. At the age of six Muhammad lost his mother Ameenaa to illness and thus he became an orphan. Then he was brought up by his paternal grandfather for two years. When Muhammad was 8 years old his grandfather also died. He now came under the care of his uncle Abboo Taleeb, the new leader of Baanoo Hashim tribe. While still in his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on trading journeys to Syria gaining experience in the commercial trade, the only career open to Muhammad as an orphan. According to tradition, when Muhammad was either 9 or 12 years old while accompanying the Meccans' caravan to Syria, he met a Christian monk or hermit named Bahira who is said to have foreseen Muhammed's career as a prophet of God.

Little is known of Muhammad during later years of his youth, and from the fragmentary information that is available, \it is hard to separate history from legend. It is known that he became a merchant and "was involved in trade between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean Sea".

How the Quraan Began
At some point Muhammad adopted the practice of meditating alone for several weeks every year in a cave on Mount Heeraa near Mecca. Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Heeraa, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the year 610 and commanded him to recite the verses - Quraan, Sooraa 96, Aayat 1-5. Some say that when he first received this message he got deeply distressed but Khadeejaa consoled him, while others say that it was not so. He welcomed Angel Gabriel as if he was expecting him. The initial revelation was followed by a pause of three years during which Muhammad further gave himself to prayers and spiritual practices. When the revelations resumed he was reassured and commanded to begin preaching. Muhammad's mission also involves preaching monotheism.

Muhammad's wife Khadeejaa was the first to believe that Muhammad was a prophet. She was soon followed by Muhammad's ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abee Taalib, close friend Abboo Bakar, and adopted son Zaid. Around 613, Muhammad began his public preaching. Most Meccans ignored him and many mocked him, while a few others became his followers. There were three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and the weak, mostly unprotected foreigners.

As the number of his followers increased, he became a threat to the local tribes and rulers of the city whose wealth rested upon the Kaaba, the focal point of Meccan religious life, which Muhammad threatened to overthrow. The powerful merchants threatened him to stop his preaching but Muhammad refused. In 615, some of Muhammad's followers emigrated to the Ethiopian Aksumite Empire and founded a small colony there under the protection of the Christian Ethiopian emperor Ashaamaa ibn Abjaar.

Tradition relates that in 620, Muhammad experienced the Isra and Miraj, a miraculous journey said to have occurred with the angel Gabriel in one night. In the first part of the journey, the Isra, he is said to have traveled from Mecca on a winged horse to "the farthest mosque" (in Arabic: masjid al-aqsa), which Muslims usually identify with the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In the second part, the Miraj, Muhammad is said to have toured heaven and hell, and spoken with earlier prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. When he was transported to Heaven, he reported seeing an angel with "70,000 heads, each head having 70,000 mouths, each mouth having 70,000 tongues, each tongue speaking 70,000 languages; and every one involved in singing God's (Allah's) praises." After calculation these numbers would mean the angel spoke 24 quintillion (2.401 1019) languages for the praise of Allah. This description is similar word for word to the description of an angel seen by Moses in "The Revelation of Moses".

Last Years in Meccaa
Both Muhammad's wife Khadeejaa and his uncle Abboo Taalib died in 619, the year thus being known as the "year of sorrow". With the death of Abboo Taalib, the leadership of the Baanu Haashim clan was passed to Abboo Lahaab, an enemy of Muhammad. Soon afterwards, Abboo Lahaab withdrew the clan's protection from Muhammad. This placed Muhammad in danger of death. Muhammad then visited Taeef, another important city in Arabia, and tried to find a protector for himself there, but his effort failed and it further brought him into physical danger. Muhammad was then forced to return to Meccaa. A Meccan man named Mut'im b. Adi made it possible for him safely to re-enter his native city.

In Madeenaa
Later he found hope with some men from Yaathrib (later called Madeenaa), so he started moving to Madeenaa. Being alarmed at the departure of Muslims, the Maccaans plotted to assassinate Muhammad. With the help of Alee, Muhammad fooled the Meccaans who were watching him, and secretly slipped away from the town with Abu Bakr. By 622 (called Hijra year), Muhammad was able to emigrate to Madeenaa. Those who migrated from Maccaa along with Muhammad became known as Muhajirun (emigrants). The Arab population of Yaathrib were familiar with monotheism because a Jewish community existed there. Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab tribes in Medina, such that by June of the subsequent year there were 75 Muslims coming to Meccaa for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad.

Among the first things Muhammad did in order to settle down the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Madeenaa was drafting a document known as the "Constitution of Madeenaa" (Ummaa), "establishing a kind of alliance or federation" among the eight Madeenaa tribes and Muslim emigrants from Maccaa, which specified the rights and duties of all citizens and the relationship of the different communities in Medina (including that of the Muslim community to other communities). Those Madeenaans who converted to Islam and helped the Muslim emigrants find shelter became known as the Ansar (supporters). Under this process Muhammad chose Alee as his own brother.

The Muslims who emigrated to Madeenaa, after losing their wealth, started looting Maccaan caravans. Muhammad also supported this by quoting Quraan Aayat. A great battle took place between Maccaans and the Muslims and the Muslims won. This strengthened the situation of Muslims in Madeenaa. At the same time this became the beginning of Total War with Maccaans. After the battle of Badr another battle was fought in which Maccaans lost. Their trade with Syria was also gone. After this an accusation of adultery was made to Muhammad's wife Aaishaa. Muhammad announced the innocence of Aaishaa proved by a revelation and asked people to present four eye witnesses.

Muhammad ordered his 1,400 Muslims, for Umaraa to Maccaa. Maccaa tribes 200 foot soldiers to stop them, but the Maccaans did not allow them to enter Maccaa. Muhammad sent many letters to many kings to become Muslims. he sent his force against the Arabs but got defeated. Later Muhammad sent a message to Maccaa with three conditions, asking them to accept one of them - (1) either the Maccaans paid blood money for those slain among the Khuzaah tribe; or, (2) that they should disavow themselves of the Banu Bakr; or, (3) that they should declare the truce of Hudaybiyyah (conditions of Hajj) null. They agreed to the third one but realizing their mistake they sent a man to renew the Hajj treaty, but then Muhammad began to campaign. In 630, Muhammad marched on Maccaa with an enormous force, said to number more than 10,000 men. With minimal casualties, Muhammad took control of Maccaa. After this Muhammad had to face another enemy and he won him.

At last in the 10th year since Muhammad came to Madeenaa, he got ready o do his first pilgrimage (Hajj). After completing the Hajj, he delivered his last sermon and after this he fell ill and suffered for many days with fever and headache. he died on Monday, June 8, 632 at the age of 63. With his head resting on Aisha's lap he murmured his final words soon after asking her to dispose of his last worldly goods, which were seven coins: "Rather, God on High and paradise." -Muhammad. He was buried where he died, which was in Aaishaa's house.

 

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
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Updated on 05/21/13