Thursday, October 20, 2016

Prophet Muhammad

 Muhammad, an Arabian unlettered person established the religion Islam on this earth in the 7th century. Muhammad was born in 570 A.D. in Banu Hashim clan of powerful Quraish tribe in Mecca. His father’s name is Abdullah and mother is Amina. His father died months before his birth. When he was only 6 years old his mother died. The orphan went to his uncle Abu Talib’s custody. At the age of 25 Muhammad married 40 year old Khadiza- a widow merchant of Mecca. It was Khadiza who proposed to marry him. Khadiza was a rich beautiful woman at that time. Many had wanted to marry her earlier. She was attracted by the virtues of Muhammad. Muhammad never married before Khadiza died at the age of 65 when polygamy was no matter at that time. "When none believed me, she did. She made me a partner in her wealth." Those are the words of the Prophet about his first wife. She lived with him 25 years. She was the first to adopt islam when she was 55.

 When Muhammad was 40 he revealed it that he had been appointed the last prophet or messenger by the god Allah. He was the Seal of the Prophets mentioned in the Quran. Muhammad used to be in meditation in the cave of mount Hira nearby Mecca from the age of 35. The revelation took place there where angel Gabriel met him first. Muhammad said, “My predecessors were Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Noah, Adam.” People of Mecca astonished to hear this. They said, “Didn’t god find any person to appoint a prophet other than an orphan like you?” There were 360 pagan idols of god in the holy house of Kaaba. People were used to worship those gods. Muhammad’s declaration of prophecy was a nuisance for the people of Mecca. However, very few of them heeded Muhammad’s new preaching. Muhammad said it that there is only one god whose name is Allah. People should believe that unseen incorporeal being and lead their own lives according to the instructions of that very god. Allah has no partner nor does he have an heir. He doesn’t have any wife so he can’t have any son or daughter, nor he is born or gives he birth. He is the only creator of every thing. He creates whatever he likes. He created the first human Adam who had no parents. When Allah wants to create anything just he says ‘be’ and becomes it instantly. He has no beginning and ending. He is everlasting, omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the greatest scientist.

People distrusted Muhammad. Are you going to change our beliefs we got from our forefathers? Go away. We are not to believe you. In thirteen years of Meccan life Muhammad got few people as his followers. The social condition of the Arab world was so bad at that time. There was no Justice. People could do whatever they liked. The position of women in the society was very disgraceful. Female children were buried alive. People could kill a person for the slightest excuse. Telling lies was no offense. This condition of Arab is called the age of darkness. Muhammad blamed Meccan people for their misdeeds. He revealed Allah’s words to the people. Muhammad used to write down the verses whenever he got those by the angel Gabriel. There were some literate followers to write down those words uttered by Muhammad. Muhammad himself was an illiterate, so he couldn’t write or read. The written book was called Al Qur'an. People said to him, “you are telling lies; these words are not from the god, you yourself have composed these verses.” People started to call him mad. Quranic verses are in poetic forms. So, people said, “you have composed these poems.” This is so surprising that the people of Mecca who once used to call Muhammad ‘Al Amin- a truthful’ because Muhammad never told a lie in his life now they are blaming him for lying. Another surprising thing is that they called an illiterate person a poem composer. They asked him to show miracles which were shown earlier by the prophets like Moses and Jesus. Muhammad said, the Qur'an itself is the latest miracle for you. Why do you ask for miracles? Miracles of Moses and Jesus also were challenged by many people. Miracles had been called magic by them. Telling lies is an offence. People tell a lie to save their own lives or worldly gaining such as fame and wealth. People of Mecca proposed to him we’ll make a palace for you; give away preaching. Muhammad said, “If you give me the sun in my one hand and the moon in the other yet I’m not to stop that.” Muhammad told this to make them realize that if they give him huge property yet he is not to stop preaching. Gradually the adherents were increasing.

 In the mean time the guardian of the prophet uncle Abu Talib and prophet’s wife khadija died. They gave great shelter to the prophet. At this time the prophet in despair was granted ascension (Miiraj). The god Allah lifted him to show the celestial region in the heaven. The prophet met with the God almighty. He returned with a command of 5 times a day Salat as a ritual prayer for Muslims. This news of celestial meeting led the pagans to turn his along with his followers’ life hell. Muhammad in the hope of getting a shelter in other city went to Ta’if- a nearby city of Mecca. There he was not treated well. They drove him away pelting stones on him. Being wounded he immediately returned Mecca. Some followers being intensely tortured physically by the pagans left Mecca for Abyssinia- a Christian territory. Some adherents went to Medina. Meccans confiscated their properties left. At last the Quraysh pagans made their final decision to assassinate Muhammad. Knowing their unjust decision, after 13 years of prophetic life and at the age of 53 Muhammad privately left his motherland Mecca for Medina about 320 kilometers far from Mecca. This is called Hijrat or emigration by Muslims and Muslim Hijri lunar calendar is counted from this year of 622 A.D.

One of the trusted followers and a friend Abu Bakr accompanied him. Later Abu Bakr became the first Caliph of the Islamic empire after the death of the prophet. A killing squad was sent to chase, capture and kill him but they couldn’t be success. People of Medina welcomed him very warmly. He started to live there. Islam was spreading day after day. It is said in the earlier religious book that no prophet is honored by his native people. This is also true for Muhammad. On the way to Medina prophet Muhammad was looking back to his motherland Mecca again and again. Tears were rolling down his cheeks. A sura named Qasas was delivered to him by Allah on the way to Medina. In this sura Allah is promising the prophet that the motherland of the prophet would be given back to him one day. Within a year of migration to Medina the most rigorous religious ritual of fasting the whole month of Ramadan every year was imposed to every adult Muslim man and women. Muhammad after coming Medina brought the several tribal people of Medina into a mutual treaty which is called the constitution of Medina or Medina agreement. This is the first written constitution in the world history. According to this treaty people of different tribes of Medina were committed to fight against the attacking external forces, at least they wouldn’t extend their support to them anyway. People of various tribes in Medina started to live in peace and harmony. There were three Jewish tribes in Medina. They were also in the bond with the prophet. It was supposed that they had been waiting for long to meet the said prophet mentioned in their religious book Torah. When they saw that the prophet is not from them but an Arab then they couldn’t believe that Muhammad is the promised prophet. It is true that Muhammad was not from Israelis but Arabs were also the children of Abraham whose sons are Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac’s descendants are called Israelites and Arabs were from Ishmael.

 Noticing Muhammad’s strengthening position in Medina the people of Mecca made up their mind to attack Medina and kill Muhammad. They built a force of one thousand well armed men. Muhammad came to know this and prepared to defend against the opponent force. The first battle between the both was the battle of Badr in March 624 A.D. Muhammad had only 313 followers in support of him. Very surprisingly Muhammad won the first battle against the very powerful attacking Quraysh force killing 70 pagans when Muslims lost only 14. These casualties of Meccan side were terrible to them because the chief Abu Jahl also was in the dead list. Abu Jahl was the worst enemy of the Prophet Muhammad during his Meccan life. To take the revenge they announced that they would come again.

The following year to fight against him. After Muhammad’s first victory of the battle of Badr, people in mass started to come to Muhammad to adopt Islam. People started to believe it that Muhammad couldn’t win the battle if he was not a god sent prophet. The next year the Meccan people again attacked Medina with an army consisted of 3,000 heavily armed personnel. On the other hand Muslim force was numbering 1,000 only. Later tribal chief of khazraj Abdullah ibne Ubayy withdrew his support. Then the Muslim army numbered the rest 700 men only. At the first stage of the war the Quraysh force was defeated by the Muslim force. Later a group of 50 armed people deployed on a strategic point violated the strict order of the prophet that they shouldn’t leave the point anyway. This violation cost severely the Muslim force. Retreating Quraysh force attacked Muslims again through the unguarded strategic position. The prophet himself got severely injured. The valiant Amir Hamza who was prophet’s paternal uncle was killed in this battle. They couldn’t kill the prophet. So the Quraysh mission became unsuccessful this time too.

The Quraysh force declared another war in the coming years. The third war went to the favor of the prophet. There were 10, 000 warriors in the Meccan confederate force under the supreme commandership of Abu Sufyan, on the other hand Muslim force were consisted of 3,000 warriors. This time Meccans had an all-out effort to wipe out Muslims from this earth in 627 A.D. Muslim army to defend the Meccan coalition cavalry attacks had dug a strategic ditch outskirts the town of Medina. Muhammad himself participated in the 6 day digging. It began the siege of Medina on March 31, 627 and lasted for 27 days. Meccan troops confounded with the overwhelming defensive tactics of fortifications tried to confront with the Muslim forces many times. At last they went home leaving the battle field. After this incident, Meccan force never dared to attack again Medina. Shortly after this the Muslim force and Quraysh force both came to a 10 year truce when the Muslims attempted to perform Hajj in Mecca in 628 A.D. This treaty was called a great victory in the Quran itself. The treaty lasted about two years. The treaty was breached by the Quraysh and Muhammad decided to enter into Mecca. Muslim army with 10,000 personnel entered Mecca on Monday, December 11, 629 A.D. without any significant resistance. The leader of the Quraysh of that time Abu Sufyan admitted that the gods they are used to worship are powerless. Abu Sufyan adopted islam. Muhammad declared the general amnesty to the inhabitants of Mecca responsible for the past unjust behavior. Then Muhammad entered the holy shrine Kaaba and all the worshipped man made gods were demolished. He said to the people of Mecca, ‘I say to you what Joseph said to his brothers. Today you are free.’ When the conquest of Mecca had been over the prophet had to face another confederate forces at Hunayan. There was a fierce fighting the Muslim forces had to face. Needless to say, this battle of Hunayon went in the favor of the prophet.

  Farewell Pilgrimage

 The prophet in 632 came to Mecca to observe the first Islamic pilgrimage. At the end of the Holy Hajj he stood to address the huge gatherings at Arafat.

 He said, “O People Lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O People
 Listen to me in earnest, worship God, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat. Perform Hajj if you have the means. All mankind is from Adam and Eve. None is higher than another unless he is higher in the obedience to god. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab except in piety. White has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.

 O People
Your wives have a certain right over you and you have a certain right over them. Treat them well and be kind to them. Remember, one day you will appear before God and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

 O People
No prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will emerge. I leave behind me two things, the Quran (the book of allah’s words) and my example, the Sunnah (what I approved to do), and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.” After this addressing the revelation came down: “…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…” (Quran 5:3) Few months after the farewell pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad fell ill and suffered for several days with fever and bad headache and died on Monday, 8 June 632, in Medina, at the age of 63. He was buried where he died.

  What tells the Quran 

 Al-quran is a grand book with discussions on numerous subjects. Many historical events specially related to the previous prophets are described in this book. Some knowledge on Arabic language is very helpful to understand the book better. There are 114 larger or smaller independent Suras in the holy book Quran. Some suras were of Meccan period and the rest are of Medinan. Suras have their respective names. The first Sura Al–Fatiha is recited in every single rak’at in salat prayer. It contains 7 sentences. The largest sura is the second one. First few lines of this sura are:

 1. “aliif-laam-miim.
2. this is that book in which there is no doubt (that it is from Allah); shows the true path to the god believer;
3. those who believe in the invisibles (such as the god, the angels, the heaven, the hell); pray salat and spends (for good purposes such as helping the poor) from what is given by the god to them;
4. and believe in the revelation given to you and given to the others before you and have the surely faith on an after death life;
5. are those on the right path directed by their god and are successful.
6. those who are disbelievers; you warn them or not is the same; Allah has sealed their hearts and ears; there is cover upon their eyes and ultimately there is the violent rigorous punishments awaiting for them.”

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