The Qur’an has stated that the very sending of the Prophet Muhammad to the world was a mercy to all of creation.
By: Ibrahim H. Malabari
This is a misconception of the Prophet’s teaching that is deeply set in Western attitudes toward Islam and one that has no basis whatsoever. The Prophet (peace be upon him), who was sent as a mercy to all creation, taught his followers that God has many names which he has revealed to his creation. Of these, the Merciful and Beneficent are the most cited attributes in the Qur’an and two of the most important.
Every chapter (except one) in the Qur’an begins by the invocation: “In the name of God the Merciful, the Beneficent.” In fact, the name “Merciful” (Ar-Rahman) as a name for God was not known to the Arabs when it was first revealed in the Qur’an. It was introduced to them by revelation and when they asked what it referred to, it was revealed:
Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.” (Al-Israa’ 17:110)
Moreover, the name “Merciful” is not just one of his many beautiful names; it holds a very important place in Islam. It is an established principle in Islam that God’s Mercy overrides His Wrath. Indeed, the Prophet reported that God says, “My Mercy overcomes my Wrath.” There are numerous verses and reports from the Prophet of Islam that establish the centrality of God’s mercy and compassion. For example, the Prophet states that “Allah is compassionate and loves compassion. He provides for compassion in a way he does not for harshness.” (At-Tabarani)
In another report, the Prophet states, “Allah has one hundred portions of mercy and He has sent one to the world and divided it amongst his creation. So by it, they treat each other with compassion and mercy. He has held back 99 portions with Himself so that he may have mercy on his servants on the Day of Judgment.” (Muslim)
The Qur’an has stated that the very sending of the Prophet Muhammad to the world was a mercy to all of creation. Indeed God’s mercy not only pervades the cosmos, but it is also a fundamental legal and ethical principle in Islam. The scholars have shown that God’s mercy is manifest in the legal rules that has been revealed to humanity.
One can also see mercy in the Prophet’s teaching of the hereafter, that is heaven and hell. The very nature of hell as a place of human suffering and punishment is often cited as a reason to support the conclusion that God is vengeful. However, a closer analysis of the way heaven and hell is described in the Qur’an, as well as their purpose, will offer a glimpse of God’s mercy even in the world to come.
When God describes heaven and hell in the Qur’an, the descriptions of hell are often very brief in comparison to those of heaven. For instance, chapter 55 of the Noble Qur’an contains 22 beautiful and eloquently detailed verses regarding heaven while only 7 of its verses are concerned with hell.
Further, the Qur’an indicates that hell has not been created for arbitrary reasons. Rather, the Qur’an, while describing hellfire, often complements the descriptions with reasons as to why its dwellers ended up there in the first place.
In many places the reasons concern one’s social behavior, such as being uncharitable to the poor or unjustly exploiting people. It is interesting to note that many of these sins involve the wrongdoer and other people, and are not just “sins against God.”
Therefore, punishment and hellfire itself are related to justice, and by extension, God’s mercy. Should a merciful God allow for criminals to go unpunished? Should He allow for the wrongs perpetrated against victims to go unaddressed? Of course not! Therefore, hell and punishment is in itself a mercy to the victims of wrongdoing, and a necessary aspect of justice.
Keeping within the parameters of justice, the Prophet was clear to note that punishment will not take place until all the procedures of a fair trial are complete: records will be presented, witnesses will be called, even our eyes, ears and joints will give testimony. No one shall be wronged. Moreover, while God through His mercy will reward in great abundance those that are righteous to exponential degrees, He will not punish the wrongdoers except for their crimes and bad deeds – no more. The Qur’an states:
Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have better than it; and whoever comes with an evil deed – then those who did evil deeds will not be recompensed except [as much as] what they used to do. (Al-Qasas 28:84)
Even while the Qur’an speaks about punishment and hellfire, it often concludes the statements with ideas of God’s mercy and forgiveness, usually mentioning that “He is the most Merciful, the Most Forgiving.” Even when addressing wrongdoers and criminals, God encourages them not to despair from His infinite Mercy and forgiveness. As God states:
Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Az-Zumar 39:53)
In this light, the Prophet’s teachings show that punishment can even be seen as a merciful action of God. There are Prophetic traditions that indicate that for many people entering hell, it would prove to become a mode of purification, whereby sinners will finally enter heaven after paying for their evil deeds. Without hell, it would be unjust for these people to enter heaven, and yet without hell, they could not have had the opportunity to taste and appreciate heaven –again showing the merciful reasons behind God’s creation of hell.
Therefore, from the above, one can see that Prophet Muhammad’s teachings show God not to be vengeful, but Merciful and Compassionate, in this world and the next.
Source: Taken from the author’s book “Ten Questions and Answers about the Prophet Muhammad.”
The Prophet Muhammad explained to this people that Allah is the only god and summoned them to believe in Allah.
By: Harun Yahya
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last prophet. Through the verses that begin with “Say”, Allah conveyed to our Prophet (peace be upon him) what needed to be said to people. Through these verses, our Prophet (peace be upon him) communicated Allah’s message.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that those who fear Allah and seek to be forgiven, should follow him:
Say, “If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive you for your wrong actions. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” ( Al-`Imran 3:31)
This call of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) still applies universally. Allah enjoined strict obedience on the messengers He sent, and in many verses, states that obedience to the messengers is, in actuality, obedience to Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also stressed the importance of obedience in the hadith: “Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah, and whoever obeys the ruler I appoint, obeys me, and whoever disobeys him, disobeys me.” (Al-Bukhari)
For this reason, obedience to the messenger is at the heart religion and showing this obedience surely comes about through strict submissiveness to the issues conveyed by messengers.
He Did Not Ask for any Wage in Return for His Services
As all other messengers, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), stated first and foremost that he did not ask for any recompense in return for his communicating Allah’s message. He stated that he did everything to earn Allah’s approval and that he awaited his reward from Allah alone. Some of the verses through which Allah commanded the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to tell people that he did not ask for any rewards from them are as follows:
They were the ones whom Allah guided, so follow their guidance. Say, “I do not ask you for any recompense for this. It is simply a reminder to all mankind.” (Al- An`am 6:90)
Say: “I have not asked you for any recompense: Keep it for yourselves. My reward is the responsibility of Allah alone. He is the witness of all things.” (Saba’ 34:47)
In another verse, on the other hand, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who told his people that he did not expect any rewards, made his main goal clear, saying:
“I do not ask you for any recompense for it—only let anyone who will, take the right path to his Lord.” (Al-Furqan 25:57)
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) Stated that those who wanted to see miracles to believe would still fail to believe, even if they did see miracles.
Although the signs of Allah’s existence are obvious, disbelievers find pretexts not to believe and ask for miracles from Allah. The Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) people also asked him to work miracles in order not to adhere to him; the reason why such people asked for miracles was not to have faith or to deepen their faith; it was simply a pretext for their unwillingness to submit themselves to Allah. Allah commanded the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to say the following to these people:
They have solemnly sworn by Allah that if a Sign be given them, they will believe in it. Say: “The Signs are vouchsafed by Allah alone.” How can you tell that even if a Sign be given them, they will indeed believe in it? (Al-An`am 6:109)
Every man is destined to die on a certain day, which is decided in Allah’s sight. When that time comes, angels assigned by Allah descend on man to take his soul. If it is the death of a faithful person, then angels greet him, giving him the good news of Paradise and take his soul with ease. If it is the death of a disbeliever, on the other hand, then angels inform him that he will be exposed to a degrading torment. At that very moment, seeing what should have been obvious to them, those who disbelieve will submit themselves. However, after that point, nothing, not even having faith, will avail the disbeliever, for the time granted to him is already up. Allah conveyed this fact to those seeking excuses for their disbelief and commanded the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to address the people as follows:
Are they waiting for the angels to come to them or for your Lord Himself to come, or for one of your Lord’s Signs to be given to them? On the day that one of your Lord’s Signs does come, faith shall not avail the soul that had no faith or did not put its faith to good uses. Say: “Wait, then if you will; we too are waiting.” (Al- An`am 6:158)
He Was Only a Human Being
Out of pride, non-God fearing people decline to obey a human being or accept that he could be superior to them, in spite of their own certainty about him. As we have also seen in the case of the past nations to whom messengers were sent, such people believe that messengers should possess attributes beyond ordinary human ability and power; in order not to obey them, they offer many excuses, saying that he could not have been a Prophet, for he was an ordinary person “walking in the market place.”
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told people who had such expectations that he was only a human being and that those who had any intention of attaining salvation should turn to Allah alone.
Say: “I am only a human being like yourselves. It is revealed to me that your god is One God. So let him who hopes to meet his Lord act rightly and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.” (Al-Kahf 18:110)
Again, in the face of such expectations on the part of his people, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told them that he was only a reminder, that he only fulfilled his Lord’s commands and that those following him would find salvation:
Say: “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. Then if they turn away, he is responsible only for what he is charged with just as you are responsible for what you are charged with. If you obey him, you shall be rightly guided.” The Messenger is responsible only for giving a clear warning. (An-Nur 24:54)
He Was Submissive To Allah
As with all disbelieving nations, the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) people also attempted to argue about Allah. Against his nation who assumed such an ugly attitude, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) communicated them that he submitted himself to Allah:
Say, “Do you argue with us about Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord? We shall both be judged by our actions. To Him alone we are devoted.” (Al-Baqarah 2:139)
He Had Faith in Allah Alone
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained his people that Allah is the only god and summoned them to believe in Allah. He warned against a grievous torment. Almighty Allah says:
Say: “This is my path. With inner sight, I call on you to believe in Allah, I and all who follow me. Glory be to Allah! I am not one of the idolaters!” (Yusuf 12:108)
Say: “I call only upon my Lord and do not associate anyone else with Him.” Say: “I have no control over any good or evil that befalls you.” Say: “No one can protect me from Allah and I will never find any refuge apart from Him. My mission is only to make known His Messages.” “As for one who disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he shall abide in the Fire of Hell, remaining in it timelessly, for ever and ever.” (Al-Jinn 72:20-23)
He Would Never Follow Disbelievers
To his people, who strove to divert him from the straight path, slandered him, threatened him with murdering and exiled him, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) conveyed the following message:
Say: “I am forbidden to worship those you invoke besides Allah.” Say: “I will not yield to your whims and desires. If I did, I would go astray and cease to be on the right path.” Say: “I have received veritable proofs from my Lord and yet you deny Him. I have no power to hasten that which you challenge. Jurisdiction over this is Allah’s alone. He tells the truth and He is the Best of Arbiters.” (Al-An`am 6:56-57)
Source: Taken from the author’s book “Our Messengers Say.”
Knowledge of the unseen is Allah’s alone. Allah informs us that He grants this knowledge only to those He wills.
By: Harun Yahya
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told his people that none of the partners they ascribed to Allah had any might. He reminded his people that Allah is one God, and none of the things which they ascribed as partners to Allah would harm anyone or do any good. Some of the relevant verses are as follows:
Say: “Pray if you will to those whom you deify besides Him. They cannot relieve your distress nor can they change it.” (Al-Isra‘ 17:56)
Say: “Have you pondered on those you invoke besides Allah? Show me what part of the Earth they have created. Or do they have a share in the heavens? Produce a Book for me revealed before this one or some other shred of divine knowledge, if you are telling the truth.” (Al- Ahqaf 46:4)
Trust in the Destiny Ordained By Allah
Every event in the eternal past was predetermined by Allah. A man is bound by a destiny ordained for him. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told his people that they would not encounter anything other than what was predestined for them, for which reason they need to trust in Allah moment by moment and earn the rewards of such an attitude:
Say: “Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Guardian. It is in Allah that the believers should put their trust.” (At-Tawbah 9:51)
The Prophet (peace be upon him), by his submission to Allah, was an example to all Muslims, and he warned people that they would never have the power to change anything that came from Allah. He (peace be upon him) said, “Everything is by decree—even incapacity and ability.” (Malik’s Muwatta’)
He said to Ibn `Abbas, “When you ask for anything ask it from Allah, and if you seek help seek it from Allah. Know that if the people were to unite to do you some benefit, they could benefit you only with what Allah had recorded for you, and that if they were to unite to do you some injury, they could injure you only with what Allah had recorded for you. The pens are withdrawn and the pages are dry.” (Tirmidhi)
The Unseen Is Seen Only by Allah
The word “unseen” in the Qur’an means everything beyond one’s perceptions and knowledge, everything concealed from the eyes. Knowledge of the unseen is Allah’s alone. Allah informs us that He grants this knowledge only to those He wills. Almighty Allah stated that it is Allah Alone Who knows the “unseen”:
Say: “Allah knows best how long they stayed. His are the secrets of the heavens and the Earth. How perfectly He sees, how well He hears! Man has no protector apart from Him. Nor does He share His rule with anyone.” (Al- Kahf 18:26)
Say: “No one in the heavens and on Earth knows the Unseen except Allah.” Men shall never be aware of when they will be raised to life. (An-Naml 27:65)
Allah Possesses Infinite Might
It is Allah Who creates every condition that people need to survive. The location of the earth in the solar system, the atmosphere that provides the required environment for life, water, an essential part of life that covers a great part of the earth, the movements of the Earth that enables the rise of the sun every morning and its sinking every evening and many such other happenings take place by Allah’s Will.
Allah (Glory be to Him) reminds people about His Superior Might:
Say: “Think! If Allah made it permanent night for you till the Day of Rising, what god is there other than Allah to bring you light? Do you not then hear?” Say: “Think! If Allah made it permanent day for you till the Day of Rising, what god is there other than Allah to bring you the night to rest in? Do you not then see?” (Al-Qasas 28:71-72)
The Prophet Muhammad told his people to look at the signs of creation in this world and to take lessons from them. Seeing these flawless signs of creation, people should grasp another important fact. Allah, Who is able to create all these things, will surely create their exact counterparts in the Hereafter. Allah (Exalted be He) explains this important fact to people:
Say: “Travel about the Earth and see how He brought creation out of nothing. Then later Allah will bring about the Second Creation. Allah has power over all things.” (Al-`Ankabut 29:20)
Allah Is the Creator of Everything
Man is a weak being with many inadequacies. He can only lead his life if Allah wills. However, Allah, Who is the Owner of everything, is far removed from all sorts of inadequacies and is exalted above all weaknesses. He is not in need of anything. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded to speak thus to his nation:
Say: “Am I to take anyone other than Allah as my Protector, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth, He Who feeds and is not fed?” Say: “I was commanded to be the first of the Muslims,” and, “You shall serve no other god besides Him.” Say: “I will never disobey my Lord, for I fear the punishment of a dreadful Day.” (Al-An`am 6:14-15)
Allah’s Path Is the Sole Straight Path
The only way to lead an honorable and beautiful life is to tread the path to which Allah summons man. Those who associate partners with Allah and seek the approval of other beings, will be punished by a great humiliation both in this world and in the Hereafter. For this reason, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told his people that the main way to salvation both in this world and beyond is the way of Allah. Almighty Allah says:
Say: “Are we to call on something besides Allah which can neither help nor harm us, and to turn on our heels after Allah has guided us, like someone the devils have bewitched, leaving him confused and stupefied, despite the fact that he has companions calling him to the right path, saying, ‘Come with us’?” Say: “Allah’s guidance, that is true guidance. We are commanded to submit as Muslims to the Lord of all the worlds.” (Al-An`am 6:71)
Disbelievers were unwilling to obey the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and thus they put forth many pretexts to deny the Qur’an. One of the most outrageous of these claims was that the Qur’an had been written by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). However, the Qur’an reveals countless miracles, thus confirming that it could not be the work of a human being. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminded his people about this fact and reaffirmed that Allah had sent it. Some of the relevant verses are as follows:
Say: “The One Who sent it down is He Who knows all hidden secrets in the heavens and Earth. He is Ever- Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Furqan 25:6)
Say: “Do but consider: If this Qur’an is indeed from Allah and you reject it, who could be more misguided than one who openly defies Him?” (Fussilat 41:52)
The Qur’an is the just book through which Allah communicates to His servants the demands. He makes upon them the purpose of their existence, the way of living they have to adopt both in this world and beyond and many other facts man needs to know.
Source: Taken from the author’s Our Messengers Say.
When one studies the history of Muhammad’s life, we find that he was actually materially more well off before claiming Prophethood than afterwards.
Those who claim that the Qur’an was written by Muhammad (peace be upon him) have given him a different motive for doing so and can basically be divided into the following groups
– For Material Gain/ Power and Glory
– To Unite the Arabs or to morally reform them
– Epileptic Seizures or Self-Delusions
With Muhammad being perhaps the most well documented man in human history, we can easily examine these claims and compare them to his life.
I. For Material Gain/ Power and Glory
Some claim that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) wrote the Qur’an for some type of material gain or for power and glory. However, this claim is at odds with the historical evidence.
In fact, when one studies the history of Muhammad’s life, we find that he was actually materially more well off before claiming Prophethood than afterwards.
At twenty-five years old, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was married to the wealthy widow named Khadijah and lived a life of relative comfort. However, after his call to Prophethood, his standard of living declined dramatically, sometimes going two months without cooking anything, surviving only on dates and water, because of the extreme hardships that he and his family endured after proclaiming God’s message.
This would not be a temporary sacrifice, but a way of life for him until he died. At no time in his Prophethood did he ever live in a fancy palace, wear the finest clothes or enjoy the luxuries of this world. Even after the early Muslims became successful and started to make financial gains, Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) wives complained about their living conditions and wondered why they had to continue to live so poorly when there was (seemingly) no need.
A revelation then came from God stating:
O Prophet, say to your wives, “If you should desire the worldly life and its adornment, then come, I will provide for you and give you a gracious release. But if you should desire Allah and His Messenger and the home of the Hereafter – then indeed, Allah has prepared for the doers of good among you a great reward.” (Al-Ahzab 33:28-29)
One of Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) companions, describing his room said:
“I noticed that the contents of his room comprised of only three pieces of tanned skin and a handful of barley in a corner. I looked but failed to find anything else. I began to cry. He (Muhammad, peace be upon him) said: “Why are you weeping”? I replied, ‘O’ Prophet of Allah! Why should I not cry? I can see the patterns of the mat imprinted on your body and I am also beholding all that you have in this room. O’ Prophet of Allah! Pray that Allah may grant ample provisions for us. The Persians and the Romans, who have no true faith and who do not worship Allah but they worship their kings, live in gardens with streams flowing in their midst. But the chosen Prophet and accepted slave of Allah should live in such dire poverty?!” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was resting against his pillow, but when he heard me talk like this, he sat up and said, ‘O’ Umar! Are you still in doubt about this matter? Ease and comfort in the hereafter are much better than ease and comfort in this world. The disbelievers are enjoying their share of the good things in this world, whereas the Believers have all such things in store for them in the next.” (Muslim)
Muhammad (Peace be upon him) died poor and his deprivation of this world was self-imposed.
The most significant refutation to this claim that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was seeking wealth and power is the following story when the chiefs of Makkah came to him trying to get him to stop preaching his message: “O Muhammad, you are, as you know a noble from your tribe and your lineage assures you a place of honor. And now you have brought to your people a matter of grave concern, whereby you have split their community, declared their way of life to be foolish, spoken shamefully of their gods and religion and called their forefathers disbelievers. Listen to what I propose and see if any of it is acceptable to you. If it is wealth that you seek, we will gather our wealth and make you the richest amongst us. If you seek honor, we will make you our overlord and we will make no decision without your consent. If you seek Kingship, then we will make you our King. And if you cannot get rid of this demon that appears to you, we will find you a physician and spend all our money until you are cured.” Ibn Hisham in his book “Life of the Prophet Muhammad”
When he finished, Muhammad (peace be upon him) had received revelation which stated:
Ha, Meem. * [This is] a revelation from the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful * As a giver of good tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they do not hear. * And they say, “Our hearts are within coverings from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a partition, so work; indeed, we are working.” * Say, O [Muhammad], “I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” And woe to those who associate others with Allah. * Those who do not give zakah, and in the Hereafter they are disbelievers. * Indeed, those who believe and do righteous deeds – for them is a reward uninterrupted. (Fussilat 41:1-8)
So, had his aim been wealth and power, then he could have easily achieved his goal without going through the hardship and poverty he went through up until his death.
II. To Unite The Arabs?
The claim that Muhammad’s goal was to unite the Arabs is also difficult to defend when one looks into the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his own statements against nationalism, tribalism etc.
Firstly, again, had this been his goal, he could have archived it when the Chiefs of Makkah offered him wealth and riches in exchange for him agreeing to stop preaching.
Secondly, the concept of nationalism does not exist in Islam. Islam made the bond of faith and truth and falsehood the most important basis for binding people together and not nationalism, tribe affiliation, race, or ethnicity. Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself spoke out on numerous occasions against this type of ideology stating:
“Let people stop boasting about their forefathers who have died, who are merely fuel for the Hell Fire; or they will certainly be more insignificant with Allah than the beetle which rolls dung with its nose. Allah has removed from you the partisanship of the days of Jahiliyyah (the pre-Islamic period of ignorance) and the boasting about one’s forefathers.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: “Indeed there is no excellence for an Arab over a Non -Arab, nor a Non-Arab over an Arab, nor a white person over a black one, nor a b lack person over a white one, except through piety.” (Ahmad)
The Qur’an is filled with the same message. One example of this is in the following verse:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (Al-Hujurat 49:13)
The examples from both the Qur’an and the statements of Muhammad (peace be upon him) are too numerous to mention them all but this should suffice to make the point.
To be continued…
Source: Taken from the book “Who Wrote the Qur’an?” who is the author?
Makkah never had, nor does it have now, any worldly inducement to offer for settlement. It is a barren, desolate place.
By Khurram J. Murad
It was in the year 570, after Jesus, that Muhammad was born in Makkah, in what is now Saudi Arabia. Arabia, by all accounts, is the cradle of the human race.
Hemmed in by red, black and brown volcanic hills about 80 kilometers to the east of the Red Sea, stands the city of Makkah. It was then a small merchant town on the ancient ‘incense’ route through which passed the great trade caravans between the south and north.
However, Makkah was, and remains, important for an altogether different reason. For here lies the Ka’bah, the ‘first House’ ever set up for mankind to worship their only God.
More than 1,000 years before the Prophet Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, his ancestor, the Prophet Ishmael, raised its walls on very ancient foundations. Close by the Ka’bah lies the well called Zam Zam. Its origin, too, goes back to the Prophet Abraham’s time. It was this well which sprang up miraculously to save the life of the infant Ishmael. In the words of the Bible: And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her: ‘What ails you, Hagar? Fear Not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Arise, lift up the boy, and hold him in your hand; for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and gave the boy a drink. And God was with the boy; and he grew and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. (Genesis 21:17 – 20)
Or, as the Psalmist sings: As they pass through the dry Valley of Baca, it becomes a place of springs; the early rain fills it with pools. (Psalms 84:6)
Makkah never had, nor does it have now, any worldly inducement to offer for settlement. It is a barren, desolate place, where even grass does not grow! There were springs and wells of abundant water nearby in Taif, and a short distance away in Madinah. But it was the first House of God, architecturally an unremarkable cube, but spiritually and civilizationally the most remarkable foundation and spring of life – which made it supremely important, a place of attraction for people from all over the world. Forever, therefore, Makkah has been a great center of pilgrimage.
By the time Muhammad was born, the Ka`bah’s latest guardians, the tribe of Quraysh, had more than 300 idols installed in and around the Ka’bah to be worshipped as lords, gods and intercessors besides the One God. Muhammad was a direct descendent of the Prophet Abraham through the Prophet Ishmael. He belonged to the financially poor but politically strong and noble clan of Banu Hashim from the tribe of Quraysh. As guardians of the Ka’bah, the House of God and the center of pilgrimage for all Arabia, the Quraysh ranked higher in dignity and power than any other tribe. Hashim held the high office of levying taxes and providing the pilgrims with food and water.
Muhammad was born an orphan. His father, Abdullah, died before he was born. His mother, Aminah, too, passed away when he was only six years old. Doubly an orphan, his grandfather, `Abdul‐Muttalib, took him into his care. Only two years later, however, the orphaned boy was bereaved of his grandfather as well, leaving him in the care of his uncle, Abu Talib.
After his birth, the infant child was sent to the desert to be suckled and weaned and to spend part of his childhood among one of the Bedouin tribes, Bani Sa`d ibn Bakr, who live in the southeast of Makkah. This was the usual custom of all the great families in Makkah.
As Muhammad grew up, to earn his livelihood he pastured sheep, and goats, as have done most Prophets. His uncle and guardian, Abu Talib, also took him along with him on his travels with the trade caravans to greater Syria. He, thus, grained experience in trading. Because of his great honesty and diligence and the business acumen he showed in trading, he was soon being sought after to take charge of other people’s merchandise, i.e. for those who could not travel themselves, and to trade on their behalf.
At the age of 25, Muhammad married a lady named Khadijah. A widow, Khadijah was 15 years older than Muhammad. She was a rich merchant of Makkah, and Muhammad had managed some of her trade affairs. It was she who proposed marriage. Khadijah remained Muhammad’s wife and his closest friend and companion all her life till her life till her death 25 years later. She bore him six children, of whom four daughters survived.
Until he was 40, Muhammad led a very uneventful life. What set him apart from his compatriots were his absolute truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity, his sense of justice and compassion for the poor, oppressed and downtrodden, as well as his total refusal to worship any idol or do anything immoral. He was popularly acclaimed for these qualities. Al‐Amin, the Trustworthy, the Honest, al‐Sadiq, the Truthful, were the titles on everybody’s lips for Muhammad, which itself means the Praised One.
At a very young age, Muhammad enthusiastically joined a pact of chivalry for the establishment of justice and the protection of the weak and the oppressed made by certain chiefs of the Quraysh. He took part in the oath when they all vowed that henceforth they would stand together as one man on the side of the oppressed against the oppressor until justice was done, whether the oppressed were a man of the Quraysh or one who had come from abroad.
In later years, at Madinah, Muhammad used to say: ‘I was present in the house of `Abdullah Ibn Jud`an at so excellent a pact that I would not exchange my part in it for a herd of red camels, and if now, in Islam, I were summoned to a similar pact, I would gladly respond.’
A testimony to Muhammad’s character was given by his wife Khadijah as she comforted him at the time when the first revelation came to him. He said later: ‘I fear for my life.’ She replied: ‘By no means! I swear by God that God will never lose you. You join ties of relationship, you speak the truth, you bear people’s burdens, you earn for the poor, you entertain guests, and you help against the vicissitudes, which affect people’s rights.
Muhammad’s wisdom was also acknowledged by all. Once, while repairing the Ka`bah, various clans of the Quraysh disputed violently as to who should have the honor of placing the Black Stone in its place. As they were about to unsheathe their swords and go to war, they made the Prophet their arbitrator and he brought them peace. He placed the Black Stone on his cloak and asked all the clan chiefs to hold its edges and raise it, and then he placed the Black Stone in its appointed spot with his own hands.
Source: Taken from the author’s Who Is Muhammad?
Muhammad was a Messenger of the Creator of the universe and that the Qur’an was not his own saying but it was revealed to him from Allah.
By: Mohamed Okasha
Almighty Allah created people and send Messengers to show them His way and caution them against the other way. The final Messenger was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) upon whom the Qu’ran was revealed. Before Prophethood, Prophet Muhammad used to spend days or weeks in seclusion in the Hira’ cave. Once while he was in this cave, the revelation came to him. Lady `Aisha narrated to us the story of the first time of revelation to the Prophet. She said, “The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Messenger was in the form of good dreams, and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira’ where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He said that the angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon, he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said,
Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. (Surah Al-`Alaq 96:1-3) (Al-Bukhari)
Then, revelation continued, and orders came to Prophet Muhammad to proclaim his message and call people to the worship of Allah Alone. The Prophet undertook this duty fully and started inviting people to forsake the worship of idols and worship Allah, the Most High.
Allah (Glory be to Him) revealed upon Muhammad the Qur’an; a miraculous book that astonished people for its matchless style and perfection. The people of Arab Peninsula were renowned for their eloquence and purity of language. The Qur’an challenged them in what they were well versed in, and excelled them. Allah challenged them to bring something like the Qur’an or even a chapter like one of the Qur’anic chapters but they failed. They found that the Qur’an is inimitable in its style and articulacy. Ibn Hisham reported that Abu Al-Walid Ibn `Utbah was well known for his fluency and eloquence. He went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and attempted to divert him away by offering him money and high position among people. When Abu Al-Walid finished his speaking, the Prophet recited some verses from the beginning of Surah Fussilat to him. Abu Al-Walid returned impressed by the style of the Qur’an and said to his people, “By Allah, I heard some words that I never heard alike. By Allah, it is not poetry, magic or soothsaying.”
The Qur’an also included scientific, historical and philosophic facts that were unknown to Arabs at that time. It talked about the creation of the heavens and earth, the beginning of life and stories of the past nations.
The enemies of Islam tried to raise groundless allegations about the Prophet by claiming that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was not illiterate. Rejecting his Prophethood, they wished to prove that Muhammad was able to read and write and that he read the scriptures of the former nations and composed the Qur’an from them. They brought as evidence that during the pact of Al-Hudaibiyah the people of Quraysh refused to write the Prophet’s title “Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah” and asked to remove it. So, he commanded `Ali to replace it with “Muhammad son of `Abdullah” but `Ali refused to erase it. So, the Prophet himself erased it with his own hand. They maintain that erasing means that he could identify it and he was able to write and read. Moreover, some of them say that the Prophet was able to recognize his engraved signature in his seal.
Actually, if we review other narrations of this event, we would reach the truth and get the answer. In another narration of the story of Hudaybiyah, it is reported that the Prophet asked `Ali where was the word “the Messenger of Allah” and `Ali told him. Then, he erased it.
As for the seal of the Prophet on which his name is inscribed, it is also nonsense because all those who use seals for signature are able identify their signature because it is something typed in the mind as a picture especially for an intelligent person like the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Moreover, the endless miracles of the Qur’an prove that it is impossible for a human being to provide it from his own, even if he is the most knowledgeable person. The fact is as simple as that Muhammad was a Messenger of the Creator of the universe and that the Qur’an was not his own saying but it was revealed to him from Allah.
It should be noted that the illiteracy of the Prophet is not something defaming the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whom Allah favored upon all humans. Rather, this was for certain wisdom from Allah, Glory be to Him. It might be that people have firm faith that the Prophet did not bring this book from his own but it is revealed to him. Almighty Allah says,
And you did not recite before it any scripture, nor did you inscribe one with your right hand. Otherwise the falsifiers would have had [cause for] doubt. Rather, the Qur’an is distinct verses [preserved] within the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. And none reject Our verses except the wrongdoers. (Surah Al-`Ankabut 29:48-49)