From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat
Muhammadsa, the Holy Prophet of Islam, (570-632) is believed by Muslims to be the greatest of all prophets and messengers, who founded the religion of Islam after receiving revelation from God.
Violence, slavery and the unjust treatment of women were some of the negative social practices found in pre-Islamic Arabia. There were no schools and many Arabs were uneducated and illiterate. The rich would often devote their days to drinking parties and gambling. Some families practiced female infanticide. Men would inherit step mothers as their wives. Polygamy was practiced in an unlimited fashion - in fact, some men would take multiple wives from among a group of sisters at any given time. Many suffered from extreme poverty.
From a young age, Muhammad'ssa was acknowledged by his people as having a highly moral character. He freed slaves and gave his money to the poor. He took particular care of orphans - he was an orphan himself. His honesty was so famous his people named him “The Truthful One”. He did not follow the polytheistic faith common to Arabia and instead believed only in one God.
Muhammadsa would travel from his hometown Mecca to the nearby Cave Hira to spend days at a time engaged in prayer and it was on one such occasion that revelation began:
News of Muhammad'ssa claim quickly began to spread. When his closest friend, Abu Bakr, heard the news, he visited the Prophet directly. Muhammadsa began to explain what had happened. Abu Bakr refused to listen and asked again if the rumours were true? When Muhammadsa answered positively, Abu Bakr immediately accepted him and noted any extended explanation would have diminished the value of his faith. Many of the earliest adherents to Islam were those who had known Muhammadsa best prior to his claim, including his cousin Ali and a slave he had freed and adopted named Zaid.
Muhammadsa had previously been a great favourite of the people of Mecca. However, news of his claim was met with derision and he was labelled a madman. The chieftains initially made the Prophet a figure of fun. However their amusement began to subside and was replaced with aggressive hostility as his message began to spread. Muhammadsa promoted the freedom of slaves, rights for the poor and had rejected the prevailing religious order. His message drew Mecca's weakest to rally around him and gradually a small group of followers was established. These new teachings were seen by the rich and powerful to be a direct challenge to their social order.
The Meccans began to systematically persecute the followers of the new faith. The Muslims were comparatively weak, poor and few in number. They faced regular beatings, torture and murder. Muhammadsa himself was attacked and publicly humiliated. Filth would be thrown upon him in the streets, rocks upon his home. However, he remained determined and at last Mecca's chiefs offered him enormous wealth, power and the most beautiful women in Arabia if only he would agree to abandon his faith. He would not disobey the teachings revealed by God even if he were offered the sun and the moon, he replied. Instead, the Muslims remained steady upon their new religion and responded entirely peacefully and in a law-abiding manner to the persecution they faced.
The danger reached its most intense faze during an economic boycott of the Muslims and the relatives of Muhammadsa which lasted for several years. The Muslims were left poorer than ever and regularly found themselves on the verge of starvation in the desert heat. After a great deal of pain, the Meccans took pity and ended the city-wide boycott, but several of Muhammad'ssa closest companions succumbed - his wife Khadija and uncle Abu Talib both passed away within a month of the boycott's end.
Having failed to stem the progress of Islam, the chiefs of Mecca began plotting the assassination of Muhammadsa. News of their plan reached him and so Muhammadsa migrated to Medina, where the message of Islam had been accepted by many already. The Muslims who migrated to Mecca were forced to leave all their wealth and property behind. With a large number of Medina's residents already Muslim, Muhammadsa was naturally chosen as the head of the city. As leader, he granted rights and religious freedom to people of all faiths.
Following Muhammad'ssa migration, the Meccans threatened the people of Medina with genocide:
The Meccans marched towards Medina with a force of 1,000 soldiers, aiming to wipe out Islam. Muhammadsa responded with 313 Muslims. Ill-equipped and outnumbered three-to-one, they met the Meccans at Badr. The Muslims emerged victorious with the chiefs and generals of their opponents falling and the Meccans forced to retreat.
The Meccans continued at war with the Muslims, but after more than four years, pressure began to mount. The Meccan's noted their constant rejection of the peaceful endeavours of the Muslims made it seem they did not want an end to hostilities. Moreover, the Muslim strength and numbers had increased and their enemies had not been able to defeat them. The Meccans finally agreed to enter into a peace treaty with Muhammadsa.The treaty, initially agreed for a minimum of ten years did not last even two. In 629, the Meccans and their allies disregarded the terms by carrying out an unprovoked and lethal attack on a tribe allied to the Muslims - whom the terms of the treaty had protected - named Khuzaa. The Khuzaa sent special riders to Medina to inform Muhammadsa of events and demand the Muslims defend their tribe.
So, Muhammadsa marched upon Mecca at the head of a Muslim army of 10,000.He announced the Meccans would be treated peacefully if they did not fight, saying: “By God, you will have no punishment today and no reproof”. So, Mecca fell with almost no bloodshed or fighting and only a dozen or so deaths and Muhammadsa demonstrated great magnanimity; even Habbar, the Meccan man who had murdered Muhammad'ssa pregnant daughter Zainab was granted a pardon.
In his final year, Muhammadsa delivered the famous Farewell Sermon summarising the teachings of Islam: