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. 

Arabia before Muhammadsa

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. 

570-610: Early Life 

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

610: Revelation Begins 

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:

Narrated Aisha: (the mother of the faithful believers) The commencement of the divine inspiration to Allah's Messengersa was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright daylight, 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 used to take with him the journey food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again till suddenly the truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophetsa replied: "I do not know how to read."

The Prophetsa 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 (or what shall I read)?' Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said: 'Convey thou in the name of thy Lord Who created, Created man from a clot of blood..."

Then Allah's Messengersa returned with the inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid and said: "Cover me! Cover me!" 

They covered him till his fear was over and after that he told her everything that had happened and said: "I fear that something may happen to me." 

Khadija replied: "Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones." 

Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin Abdul Uzza, who, during the pre-Islamic period became a Christian and used to write the writing with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa: "Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!" 

Waraqa asked: "O my nephew! What have you seen?" 

Allah's Messengersa described whatever he had seen. 

Waraqa said: "This is the same one who keeps the secrets (angel Gabriel) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out." 

Allah's Messengersa asked, "Will they drive me out?" 

Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said: "Anyone (man) who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly." 

But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was also paused for a while. 

- Bukhari

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.

610-622: Muslims Persecuted in Mecca 

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.

622: Assassination Attempt and Migration

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.

624: The Meccans declare war on the Muslims

Following Muhammad'ssa migration, the Meccans threatened the people of Medina with genocide:

You gave protection to our companion. We swear by Allah, you should fight him or expel him, or we shall come to you in full force, until we kill your fighters and appropriate your women.

Abu Dawud

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. 

628-632: The Victory of Islam

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.

632: The Farewell Sermon

In his final year, Muhammadsa delivered the famous Farewell Sermon summarising the teachings of Islam:

...O people! Indeed, your Lord is one and your father is one. Indeed, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by taqwa (righteousness)...Allah has made your blood and your sacred as this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this city of yours. Have I conveyed the message?" They replied, "You have conveyed it, Messenger of Allah!" He said, "Let whomever is present tell whomever is absent...

ibn Hanbal