Muhammad

Muhammad

Overview
Muhammad sometimes called Muhammad ibn Abdullah,The sources frequently say that, in his youth, he was called by the nickname "Al-Amin" meaning "Honest, Truthful" cf. Ernst (2004), p. 85. was the founderMost Muslims, however, do not consider Muhammad the "founder" of Islam, because according to the Quran, Muhammad was only the last of a series of prophets
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 chosen by God to convey the divine message of Islam.
of the religion
Major religious groups
The world's principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, and is considered by Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s to be a messenger and prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 of God, the last law-bearer in a series of Islamic prophets, and, by most Muslims,Not all Muslims believe Muhammad was the last prophet.
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Quotations

Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn

Ali while Al-Aqra

Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people.

Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, 473
Encyclopedia
Muhammad sometimes called Muhammad ibn Abdullah,The sources frequently say that, in his youth, he was called by the nickname "Al-Amin" meaning "Honest, Truthful" cf. Ernst (2004), p. 85. was the founderMost Muslims, however, do not consider Muhammad the "founder" of Islam, because according to the Quran, Muhammad was only the last of a series of prophets
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 chosen by God to convey the divine message of Islam.
of the religion
Major religious groups
The world's principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, and is considered by Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s to be a messenger and prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 of God, the last law-bearer in a series of Islamic prophets, and, by most Muslims,Not all Muslims believe Muhammad was the last prophet. For example, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 considers Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mīrzā Ghulām Aḥmad was a religious figure from India and the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community. He claimed to be the Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah , and the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims in the end days...

 to be a prophet as well.
the last prophet of God as taught by the Quran. Muslims thus consider him the restorer of an uncorrupted original monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 (islām) of Adam
Islamic view of Adam
Adam is one of the most important figures in the history of the Islamic faith, as he is believed by most Muslims to have been the first human being and the first prophet. Adam's role as the father of the human race is looked upon by Muslims with reverence, who also venerate his wife, Eve, as the...

, Noah, Abraham, Moses
Islamic view of Moses
Musa , known as Moses in the Old Testament, is considered an Islamic prophet, messenger, lawgiver and leader in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that any other prophet...

, Jesus and other prophets
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

. He was also active as a social reformer, diplomat, merchant
Islamic economics in the world
Islamic economics in practice, or economic policies supported by self-identified Islamic groups, has varied throughout its long history. Traditional Islamic concepts having to do with economics included...

, philosopher
Islamic philosophy
Islamic philosophy is a branch of Islamic studies. It is the continuous search for Hekma in the light of Islamic view of life, universe, ethics, society, and so on...

, orator
Dawah
Da‘wah or Dawah usually denotes the preaching of Islam. Da‘wah literally means "issuing a summons" or "making an invitation", being the active participle of a verb meaning variously "to summon" or "to invite"...

, legislator
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, military leader, humanitarian
Humanitarianism
In its most general form, humanitarianism is an ethic of kindness, benevolence and sympathy extended universally and impartially to all human beings. Humanitarianism has been an evolving concept historically but universality is a common element in its evolution...

 and philanthropist
Philanthropy
Philanthropy etymologically means "the love of humanity"—love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of "what it is to be human," or "human potential." In modern practical terms, it is "private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of...

.

Born in 570 in the Arabian
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 city of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib
Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abi Tlib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib also known as Abu Talib ibn al-Muttalib.Talib was in reality the elder son of Abd Munāf and elder brother to Ali Ibn Abd Munāf. He was an head of Bani Hashim clan of Quraysh tribe of Mecca in Arabia. He was married to Fatima bint Asad and was an uncle of the...

. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Discontented with life in Mecca, he retreated to a cave in the surrounding mountains for meditation
Meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....

 and reflection. According to Islamic beliefs it was here, at age 40, in the month of Ramadan
Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

, where he received his first revelation
Muhammad's first revelation
Muhammad's first revelation is the event in which he is said to have been visited by the angel Gabriel who revealed to him a verse from the Qur'an. It was after this event that Muhammad proclaimed to be a prophet of God.-Background:...

 from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching
Dawah
Da‘wah or Dawah usually denotes the preaching of Islam. Da‘wah literally means "issuing a summons" or "making an invitation", being the active participle of a verb meaning variously "to summon" or "to invite"...

 these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One
Tawhid
Tawhid is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion's most fundamental concept and holds God is one and unique ....

", that complete "surrender" to Him (lit. islām) is the only way (dīn)'Islam' is always referred to in the Qur'an as a dīn, a word that means "way" or "path" in Arabic, but is usually translated in English as "religion" for the sake of convenience acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.

Muhammad gained few followers
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 early on, and was met with hostility from some Meccan tribes
Persecution of Muslims by the Meccans
In the early days of Islam at Mecca, the new Muslims were often subjected to abuse and persecution.-Overview:Some were killed, such as Sumayyah bint Khabbab, the seventh convert to Islam, who was tortured first by Abu Jahl...

; he and his followers were treated harshly. To escape persecution, Muhammad sent some of his followers to Abyssinia
Ethiopian Empire
The Ethiopian Empire also known as Abyssinia, covered a geographical area that the present-day northern half of Ethiopia and Eritrea covers, and included in its peripheries Zeila, Djibouti, Yemen and Western Saudi Arabia...

 before he and his remaining followers in Mecca migrated to Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

, which is also known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, 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 Mecca
Conquest of Mecca
Mecca was conquered by the Muslims in January 630 AD .-Background:In 628 the Meccan tribe of Quraysh and the Muslim community in Medina signed a 10 year truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah....

. In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from his Farewell pilgrimage
The Farewell Pilgrimage
The Farewell Pilgrimage was the last and only Hajj pilgrimage the Islamic prophet Muhammad participated in, in 632 CE .-Preparations:...

, Muhammad fell ill and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 had converted to Islam, and he had united the tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia refers to Arab clans hailing from the Arabian Peninsula.Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy and therefore questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Arab genealogy...

 into a single Muslim religious polity
Ummah
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation." It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or the whole Arab world...

.

The revelations (or Ayah
Ayah
Ayah or Aayah is the Arabic word for sign or proof:"These are the Ayat of Allah, which We recite to you with truth...

, lit. "Signs of God")—which Muhammad reported receiving until his death—form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of God” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Qur'an, Muhammad’s life (sira) and traditions (sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

) are also upheld by Muslims. They discuss Muhammad and other prophets of Islam with reverence, adding the phrase peace be upon him
Peace be upon him (Islam)
Peace be upon him is a phrase that practising Muslims often say after saying the name of a prophet of Islam. There are three variants of this phrase in Arabic:...

whenever their names are mentioned. While conceptions of Muhammad in medieval Christendom
Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 and premodern times were largely negative, appraisals in modern history
Modern history
Modern history, or the modern era, describes the historical timeline after the Middle Ages. Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution...

 have been far less so. His life and deeds have been debated and criticized
Criticism of Muhammad
Criticism of Muhammad has existed since the 7th century, when Muhammad was decried by his non-Muslim Arab contemporaries for preaching monotheism. During the Middle Ages he was frequently demonized in European and other non-Muslim polemics...

 by followers and opponents over the centuries.

Names and appellations in the Quran


The name Muhammad
Muhammad (name)
Muhammad was a prophet and an Arabic religious and political leader who preached and established Islam.Muhammad may also refer to:*Muhammad , listing people with the given name or surname Muhammad...

 means "Praiseworthy" and occurs four times in the Quran. The Quran addresses Muhammad in the second person not by his name but by the appellations
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

 prophet
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

, messenger, servant of God ('abd
Abd (Arabic)
Abd is an Arabic word meaning one who is totally subordinated; a slave or a servant.Abid is a given name meaning "worshipper". It is based on the Arabic word "Ibadah", i.e. worship...

), announcer (bashir), witness (shahid
Shahid (name)
Shahid or Shaheed is a Muslim theophoric name, from Ash-Shaheed , one of the 99 names of God in the Qur'an.As a male given name it is common among Muslims, being also one of the names given to Muhammad. It is the Arabic word شَهيد meaning both witness and martyr.In India and Pakistan, the two...

), bearer of good tidings (mubashshir), warner (nathir), reminder (mudhakkir), one who calls [unto God] (dā‘ī
Dawah
Da‘wah or Dawah usually denotes the preaching of Islam. Da‘wah literally means "issuing a summons" or "making an invitation", being the active participle of a verb meaning variously "to summon" or "to invite"...

), light personified (noor), and the light-giving lamp (siraj munir). Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped (al-muzzammil
Al-Muzzammil
Sūrat al-Muzzammil is the 73rd sura of the Qur'an with 20 ayat.-Arabic Verses: بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ # یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡمُزَّمِّلُ # قُمِ الَّیۡلَ اِلَّا قَلِیۡلًا...

) in Qur'an and the shrouded (al-muddaththir
Al-Muddathir
Sūrat al-Muddaththir is the 74th sura of the Qur'an with 56 ayat.-Arabic Verses: بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ # یٰۤاَیُّہَا الۡمُدَّثِّرُ # قُمۡ فَاَنۡذِرۡ # وَ رَبَّکَ فَکَبِّر...

) in Qur'an . In the Qur'an, believers are not to distinguish between the messengers of God and are to believe in all of them (Sura Al-Baqara
Al-Baqara
Sura al-Baqarah is the second and longest chapter of the Qur'an. It is a Medinan sura and comprises 286 verses, including the single longest verse in the Qur'an...

 ). God has caused some messengers to excel above others and in Sura Al-Ahzab He singles out Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets
Seal of the Prophets
Seal of the Prophets is a title given to the Islamic prophet Muhammad by a verse in the Qur'an. Muslims traditionally agree upon that Muhammad received the final revelation in the form of the Qur'an for all mankind, for all time....

". The Qur'an also refers to Muhammad as Aḥmad
Ahmad
Ahmad or Ahmed are the principal transliterations of the Arabic given name, . The name comes from the Arabic triconsonantal root of Ḥ-M-D, meaning "highly praised", implying "one who constantly thanks God".-Etymology:...

"more praiseworthy" ' onMouseout='HidePop("16830")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/As-Saff">As-Saff
As-Saff
Surat As-Saff is the 61st sura of the Qur'an with 14 ayat.-See also:...

 ).

Sources for Muhammad's life




Being a highly influential historical figure, Muhammad's life, deeds, and thoughts have been debated by followers and opponents over the centuries, which makes a biography of him difficult to write.

Quran


The Quran is the primary source of information for Islam. It is the central religious text
Religious text
Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and Muslims believe it represents the words of God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

 revealed to Muhammad through Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

. Although it mentions Muhammad directly only four times, there are verses which can be interpreted as allusions to Muhammad's life.S. A. Nigosian(2004), p. 6 The Encyclopaedia of Islam
Encyclopaedia of Islam
The Encyclopaedia of Islam is an encyclopaedia of the academic discipline of Islamic studies. It embraces articles on distinguished Muslims of every age and land, on tribes and dynasties, on the crafts and sciences, on political and religious institutions, on the geography, ethnography, flora and...

says that the Qur'an responds "constantly and often candidly to Muhammad's changing historical circumstances and contains a wealth of hidden data."

Early biographies



Next in importance are historical works by writers of the 3rd and 4th centuries of the Muslim era. These include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad (the sira literature), which provide further information on Muhammad's life.

The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq
Ibn Ishaq
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer...

's Life of God's Messenger written ca. 767 (150 AH). The work is lost, but was used verbatim at great length by Ibn Hisham
Ibn Hisham
Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Malik bin Hisham , or Ibn Hisham edited the biography of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq. Ibn Ishaq's work is lost and is now only known in the recensions of Ibn Hisham and al-Tabari. Ibn Hisham grew up in Basra, Iraq, but moved afterwards to Egypt, where he gained a name...

 and Al-Tabari
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was a prominent and influential Sunni scholar and exegete of the Qur'an from Persia...

. Another early source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi
Al-Waqidi
Abu `Abdullah Muhammad Ibn ‘Omar Ibn Waqid al-Aslami , commonly referred to as al-Waqidi , was an early Muslim historian.He was born and educated in Medina...

 (death 207 of Muslim era), and the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (death 230 of Muslim era).

Many scholars accept the accuracy of the earliest biographies, though their accuracy is unascertainable. Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between the traditions touching legal matters and the purely historical ones. In the former sphere, traditions could have been subject to invention while in the latter sphere, aside from exceptional cases, the material may have been only subject to "tendential shaping".

Hadith


In addition, the hadith collections are accounts of the verbal and physical traditions of Muhammad that date from several generations after his death. Hadith compilations are records of the traditions or sayings of Muhammad. They might be defined as the biography of Muhammad perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience.

Western academics view the hadith collections with caution as accurate historical sources. Scholars such as Madelung
Wilferd Madelung
Wilferd Ferdinand Madelung is a scholar of Islam. He was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where he completed his early education at Eberhard-Ludwigs-Gymnasium....

 do not reject the narrations which have been compiled in later periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures. Although usually discounted by historians, oral tradition plays a major role in the Islamic understanding of Muhammad
Islamic views of Muhammad
Muhammad , is considered the last prophet by the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an as interpreted by most Muslims. He was born in 571 in Mecca.-Prophethood:...

.

Non-Arabic sources



The earliest documented Christian knowledge of Muhammad stems from Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 sources. They indicate that both Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 and Christians saw Muhammad as a deceiving prophet, or at least certain circles did. In the Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati of 634
634
Year 634 was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 634 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.- British Isles :* Oswald of Northumbria defeats...

, Muhammad is portrayed as being "deceiving[,] for do prophets come with sword and chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

?, [...] you will discover nothing true from the said prophet except human bloodshed." Another Greek source for Muhammad is the 9th-century writer Theophanes
Theophanes the Confessor
Saint Theophanes Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy, who became a monk and chronicler. He is venerated on March 12 in the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church .-Biography:Theophanes was born in Constantinople of wealthy and noble iconodule parents: Isaac,...

. The earliest Syriac source is the 7th-century writer John bar Penkaye
John bar Penkaye
John bar Penkaye; Yūḥannan bar penqayê, was a 7th century East Syriac Nestorian Christian writer of the late 7th century. He lived at the time of fifth caliph of the Umayyad dynasty Abd al-Malik....

.

Pre-Islamic Arabia


The Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 was largely arid and volcanic, making agriculture difficult except near oases or springs. The landscape was thus dotted with towns and cities, two prominent ones being Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 and Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

. Medina was a large flourishing agricultural settlement, while Mecca was an important financial center for many surrounding tribes. Communal life was essential for survival in the desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 conditions, as people needed support against the harsh environment and lifestyle. Tribal grouping was encouraged by the need to act as a unit, this unity being based on the bond of kinship by blood. Indigenous Arabs were either nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic or sedentary, the former constantly travelling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture. Nomadic survival was also dependent on raiding caravans or oases, the nomads not viewing this as a crime.

In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones
Baetylus
Baetylus is a Semitic word denoting a sacred stone, which was supposedly endowed with life. According to ancient sources, these objects of worship were meteorites, which were dedicated to the gods or revered as symbols of the gods themselves...

, springs and wells. As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 shrine in Mecca housed 360 idol statues of tribal patron deities. Aside from these gods, the Arabs shared a common belief in a supreme deity called Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 (literally "the god"), who was remote from their everyday concerns and thus not the object of cult or ritual. Three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters: Allāt
Allāt
' or ' was a Pre-Islamic Arabian goddess who was one of the three chief goddesses of Mecca. She is mentioned in the Qur'an , which indicates that pre-Islamic Arabs considered her as one of the daughters of Allah along with Manāt and al-‘Uzzá....

, Manāt
Manat
Manat may refer to* Azerbaijani manat, unit of currency in Azerbaijan* Turkmenistani manat, unit of currency in Turkmenistan* The designation of the Soviet ruble in both Azerbaijani and Turkmen* Manāt, the goddess of fate and destiny in pre-Islamic Arabia...

 and al-‘Uzzá. Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

. Hanif
Hanif
Hanif is a term that refers to those who maintain the pure monothestic Muslim beliefs of the patriarch Ibrahim. More specifically, in Islamic thought it refers to the people during the period known as the Age of Ignorance, who were seen to have rejected idolatry and retained some or all of the...

s – native pre-Islamic Arab monotheists – are also sometimes listed alongside Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic Arabia, although their historicity
Historicity (philosophy)
Historicity in philosophy is the underlying concept of history, or the intersection of teleology , temporality , and historiography...

 is disputed amongst scholars. According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad himself was a Hanif and one of the descendants of Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

, son of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

.

Life in Mecca


Muhammad was born and lived in Mecca for the first 52 years of his life (570–622) which was divided into two phases, that is before and after declaring the prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

.

Childhood and early life



Muhammad was born in the month of Rabi' al-awwal
Rabi' al-awwal
Rabi' al-awwal is the third month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims around the world celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Sunni Muslims believe the exact date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shi'a Muslims believe...

 in 570. He belonged to the Banu Hashim
Banu Hashim
Banū Hāshim was a clan in the Quraysh tribe. Muhammad, was a member of this clan; his great-grandfather was Hashim, for whom the clan is named. Members of this clan are referred to by the Anglicised version of their name as Hashemites, or Huseini or Hasani...

, one of the prominent families of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, although it seems not to have been prosperous during Muhammad's early lifetime. Tradition places the year of Muhammad's birth as corresponding with the Year of the Elephant
Year of the Elephant
The Year of the Elephant is the name in Islamic history for the year approximately equating to 570 AD. According to Islamic tradition, it was in this year that Muhammad was born...

, which is named after the failed destruction of Mecca that year by the Aksumite king
Aksumite Empire
The Kingdom of Aksum or Axum, also known as the Aksumite Empire, was an important trading nation in northeastern Africa, growing from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period ca. 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD...

 Abraha
Abraha
Abraha also known as Abraha al-Ashram or Abraha b...

 who had in his army a number of elephants. Recent scholarship has suggested alternative dates for this event, such as 568 or 569.


Muhammad's father, Abdullah, 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 with his foster-mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old. Some western scholars of Islam have rejected the historicity of this tradition. At the age of six Muhammad lost his mother Amina
Aminah bint Wahb
Aminah bint Wahb was the mother of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.-Biography According to Islamic History:The daughter of Wahb ibn 'Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah ibn Kilab ibn Murrah, Aminah was born in Mecca. She was a member of the Banu Zuhrah clan in the tribe of Quraysh who were descendants of Ibrahim ...

 to illness and he became fully orphaned. He was subsequently brought up for two years under the guardianship of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib
Shaiba ibn Hashim
Shaiba ibn Hashim , better known as or Abd al-Muttalib, since he was raised by his uncle Muttalib, was the grandfather of Islamic prophet Muhammad.-Early life:...

, of the Banu Hashim clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 of the Quraysh tribe. When Muhammad was eight, his grandfather also died. He now came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib
Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abi Tlib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib also known as Abu Talib ibn al-Muttalib.Talib was in reality the elder son of Abd Munāf and elder brother to Ali Ibn Abd Munāf. He was an head of Bani Hashim clan of Quraysh tribe of Mecca in Arabia. He was married to Fatima bint Asad and was an uncle of the...

, the new leader of Banu Hashim. According to Watt
William Montgomery Watt
William Montgomery Watt was a Scottish historian, an Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh...

, because of the general disregard of the guardians in taking care of weak members of the tribes in Mecca in the 6th century, "Muhammad's guardians saw that he did not starve to death, but it was hard for them to do more for him, especially as the fortunes of the clan of Hashim seem to have been declining at that time."

While still in his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on trading journeys to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 gaining experience in the commercial trade, the only career open to Muhammad as an orphan. According to tradition, when Muhammad was either nine or twelve while accompanying the Meccans' caravan to Syria, he met a Christian monk or hermit named Bahira
Bahira
Bahira , or "Sergius the Monk" to the Latin West, was a Syriac or Bahrani Nestorian monk who, according to tradition, foretold to the adolescent Muhammad his future prophetic career.-Islamic tradition:...

 who is said to have foreseen Muhammed's career as a prophet of God.

Little is known of Muhammad during his later 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
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 and the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

." Due to his upright character he acquired the nickname "al-Amin
Amin (name)
Amin is a male Arabic, Persian and Indian given name that means "faithful, trustworthy". Alternatives include Ameen and Amien.The female equivalent of Amin is Amina...

" (Arabic: الامين), meaning "faithful, trustworthy" and "al-Sadiq" meaning "truthful" and was sought out as an impartial arbitrator. His reputation attracted a proposal from Khadijah
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
Khadījah bint Khuwaylid or Khadījah al-Kubra was the first wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. She was the daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad and Fatimah bint Za'idah and belonged to the clan of Banu Asad. She is important in Islam as Muhammad's first wife, and one of the "mothers of the believers"...

, a forty-year-old widow in 595. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one.

According to a narration collected by Ibn Ishaq
Ibn Ishaq
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer...

, Muhammad set the Black Stone
Black Stone
The Black Stone is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building towards which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic, which according to Muslim tradition dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.The...

 in place in the wall of the Kaaba in 605 C.E. The Black Stone had been removed to facilitate renovations to the Kaaba. The leaders of Mecca could not agree on which clan should have the honour of setting the Black Stone back in its place. They agreed to wait for the next man to come through the gate and ask him to choose. That man was the 35-year-old Muhammad, five years before his first revelation. He asked for a cloth and put the Black Stone in its centre. The clan leaders held the corners of the cloth and carried the Black Stone to the right spot, then Muhammad set the stone in place, satisfying the honour of all.

Beginnings of the Quran



At some point Muhammad adopted the practice of meditating alone for several weeks every year in a cave on Mount Hira
Hira
Hira or the Cave of Hira is a cave about from Mecca, on the mountain named Jabal Al-Nūr in the Hejaz region of present day Saudi Arabia...

 near Mecca. Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira, the angel Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 appeared to him in the year 610 and commanded Muhammad to recite the following verses:
After returning home, Muhammad was consoled and reassured by Khadijah and her Christian cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal
Waraqah ibn Nawfal
Waraka Ibn Nawfal was the parental cousin of Khadija, the first wife of the prophet Muhammad, and was also the son of Muhammad's great-grandfather Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf's half brother Nawfal ibn Abd Manaf...

. Upon receiving his first revelations, he was deeply distressed and resolved to commit suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

. He also feared that others would dismiss his claims as being possessed. Shi'a tradition maintains that Muhammad was neither surprised nor frightened at the appearance of Gabriel but rather welcomed him as if he had been expecting him. The initial revelation was followed by a pause of three years during which Muhammad further gave himself to prayers and spiritual practice
Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the worlds great religions is that of walking a path...

s. When the revelations resumed he was reassured and commanded to begin preaching: "Thy Guardian-Lord hath not forsaken thee, nor is He displeased.".

Sahih Bukhari
Sahih Bukhari
Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī , as it is commonly referred to, is one of the six canonical hadith collections of Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Muslims view this as one of...

 narrates Muhammad describing the revelations as, "Sometimes it is (revealed) like the ringing of a bell" and Aisha
Aisha
Aisha bint Abu Bakr also transcribed as was Muhammad's favorite wife...

 reported, "I saw the Prophet being inspired Divinely on a very cold day and noticed the sweat dropping from his forehead (as the Inspiration was over)".http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/001-sbt.php According to Welch
Alford T. Welch
Alford T. Welch is a Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. Welch got his Ph.D. degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 1970. He also holds a M.Div. degree on Biblical language, literature and Near Eastern history from Southern Baptist...

 these revelations were accompanied by mysterious seizures, and the reports are unlikely to have been forged by later Muslims. Muhammad was confident that he could distinguish his own thoughts from these messages. According to the Quran, one of the main roles of Muhammad is to warn the unbelievers of their eschatological punishment (Quran , Quran ). Sometimes the Quran does not explicitly refer to the Judgment day but provides examples from the history of some extinct communities and warns Muhammad's contemporaries of similar calamities (Quran ). Muhammad is not only a warner to those who reject God's revelation, but also a bearer of good news for those who abandon evil, listen to the divine word and serve God. Muhammad's mission also involves preaching monotheism: The Quran demands Muhammad to proclaim and praise the name of his Lord and instructs him not to worship idols or associate other deities with God.
The key themes of the early Quranic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of dead, God's final judgment followed by vivid descriptions of the tortures in hell and pleasures in Paradise; and the signs of God in all aspects of life. Religious duties required of the believers at this time were few: belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth (considered to be significant in the commercial life of Mecca), being chaste and not to kill newborn girls.

Opposition



According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad's wife Khadija was the first to believe he was a prophet. She was soon followed by Muhammad's ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, close friend Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

, and adopted son Zaid
Zayd ibn Harithah
Zayd ibn Harithah or Zayd mawla Muhammad was a prominent figure in the early Islamic community and the only one of sahaba whose name is spelled directly in the Qur'an. As he was the adopted son of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, before Islam abolished adoption in exchange of Kafala. He was an...

. Around 613, Muhammad began his public preaching (Qur'an ). Most Meccans ignored him and 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.

According to Ibn Sad, the opposition in Mecca started when Muhammad delivered verses that condemned idol worship and the Meccan forefathers who engaged in polytheism. However, the Qur'anic exegesis maintains that it began as soon as Muhammad started public preaching. As the number of followers increased, he became a threat to the local tribes and the rulers of the city, whose wealth rested upon the Kaaba, the focal point of Meccan religious life, which Muhammad threatened to overthrow. Muhammad’s denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Ka'aba. The powerful merchants tried to convince Muhammad to abandon his preaching by offering him admission into the inner circle of merchants, and establishing his position therein by an advantageous marriage. However, he refused.

Tradition records at great length the persecution and ill-treatment of Muhammad and his followers. Sumayyah bint Khabbab, a slave of a prominent Meccan leader Abu Jahl, is famous as the first martyr of Islam, having been killed with a spear by her master when she refused to give up her faith. Bilal
Bilal ibn Ribah
Bilal ibn Rabah or Bilal al-Habashi was an Ethiopian born in Mecca in the late 6th century, sometime between 578 and 582.The Islamic prophet Muhammad chose a former African slave Bilal as his muezzin, effectively making him the first muezzin of the Islamic faith...

, another Muslim slave, was tortured by Umayyah ibn Khalaf who placed a heavy rock on his chest to force his conversion. Apart from insults, Muhammad was protected from physical harm as he belonged to the Banu Hashim clan.

In 615, some of Muhammad's followers emigrated
Migration to Abyssinia
The migration known as the first Hijarat was made in two groups totalling more than a hundred persons. According to Islamic tradition, eleven male and five female Sahabah, the Muslims who originally converged in Mecca, sought refuge from Quraysh persecution in the Kingdom of Aksum in of in the...

 to the Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

n Aksumite Empire
Aksumite Empire
The Kingdom of Aksum or Axum, also known as the Aksumite Empire, was an important trading nation in northeastern Africa, growing from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period ca. 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD...

 and founded a small colony there under the protection of the Christian Ethiopian emperor Aṣḥama ibn Abjar
Ashama ibn Abjar
According to Arabic sources, Aṣḥama ibn Abjar was Emperor or al-Najashi of Aksum at the time of Muhammad, and gave refuge to several Muslims in the Kingdom of Aksum. The term "al-Najashi" has the variant al-Negashi; it corresponds to the ancient Aksumite title Negus, with the variant Negash...

.

An early hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 known as "The Story of the Cranes" (translation: قصة الغرانيق, transliteration: Qissat al Gharaneeq) was propagated by two Islamic scholars, Ibn Kathir al Dimashqi and Ibn Hijir al Masri, where the former has strengthened it and the latter called it fabricated (see Science of hadith
Science of hadith
Hadith studies are a number of religious disciplines used in the study and evaluation of the Islamic hadith by Muslim scholars. It has been described by one hadith specialist, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, as the science of the principles by which the conditions of both the sanad, the chain of...

). The hadith describes Muhammad's involvement at the time of migration in an episode which historian William Muir
William Muir
Sir William Muir, KCSI was a Scottish Orientalist and colonial administrator.-Life:He was born at Glasgow and educated at Kilmarnock Academy, at Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities, and at Haileybury College. In 1837 he entered the Bengal Civil Service...

 called the "Satanic Verses
Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses was a purported incident where a small number of apparently pagan verses were temporarily included in the Qur'an by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, only to be later removed...

". The account holds that Muhammad pronounced a verse acknowledging the existence of three Meccan goddesses considered to be the daughters of Allah, praising them, and appealing for their intercession. According to this account, Muhammad later retracted the verses at the behest of Gabriel, claiming that the verses
were whispered by the devil himself.The aforementioned Islamic histories recount that as Muhammad was reciting Sūra Al-Najm (Q.53), as revealed to him by the Archangel Gabriel, Satan tempted him to utter the following lines after verses 19 and 20: "Have you thought of Allāt and al-'Uzzā and Manāt the third, the other; These are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is hoped for." (Allāt, al-'Uzzā and Manāt were three goddesses worshiped by the Meccans). cf Ibn Ishaq, A. Guillaume p. 166. Islamic scholars have weakened the hadith and have denied the historicity of the incident as early as the tenth century. In any event, relations between the Muslims and their pagan fellow-tribesmen were already deteriorated and worsening.

In 617, the leaders of Makhzum and Banu Abd-Shams, two important Quraysh clans, declared a public boycott against Banu Hashim, their commercial rival, to pressurize it into withdrawing its protection of Muhammad. The boycott lasted three years but eventually collapsed as it failed in its objective. During this, Muhammad was only able to preach during the holy pilgrimage months in which all hostilities between Arabs were suspended.

Isra and Mi'raj




Islamic tradition relates that in 620, Muhammad experienced the Isra and Mi'raj
Isra and Mi'raj
The Isra and Mi'raj , are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey...

, a miraculous journey said to have occurred with the angel Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 in one night. In the first part of the journey, the Isra, he is said to have travelled from Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 on a winged horse
Buraq
Al-Burāq is a mythological steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The most commonly told story is how in the 7th century, Al-Buraq carried the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj or "Night Journey", which is...

 to "the farthest mosque" (in Arabic: masjid al-aqsa), which Muslims usually identify with the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

 in Jerusalem. In the second part, the Mi'raj, Muhammad is said to have toured heaven
Jannah
Jannah , is the Islamic conception of paradise. The Arabic word Jannah is a shortened version meaning simply "Garden". According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on . Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life...

 and hell
Jahannam
Jahannam is the Arabic language equivalent to Hell. The term comes from the Greek Gehenna, itself derived from the Hebrew geographical name for the Valley of Hinnom.-Jahannam in the Qur'an:...

, and spoken with earlier prophets, such as Abraham, Moses
Islamic view of Moses
Musa , known as Moses in the Old Testament, is considered an Islamic prophet, messenger, lawgiver and leader in Islam. Moses is mentioned more in the Quran than any other individual, and his life is narrated and recounted more than that any other prophet...

, and Jesus. Ibn Ishaq
Ibn Ishaq
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer...

, author of the first biography of Muhammad, presents this event as a spiritual experience whereas later historians like Al-Tabari
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was a prominent and influential Sunni scholar and exegete of the Qur'an from Persia...

 and Ibn Kathir
Ibn Kathir
Ismail ibn Kathir was a Muslim muhaddith, Faqih, historian, and commentator.-Biography:His full name was Abu Al-Fida, 'Imad Ad-Din, Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir, Al-Qurashi, Al-Busrawi...

 present it as a physical journey.

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 this 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".

Some western scholars of Islam hold that the oldest Muslim tradition identified the journey as one traveled through the heavens from the sacred enclosure at Mecca to the celestial al-Baytu l-Maʿmur (heavenly prototype of the Kaaba); but later tradition identified Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.

Last years in Mecca before Hijra



Muhammad's wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib both died in 619, the year thus being known as the "year of sorrow
Year of Sorrow
The Year of Sorrow is an Islamic term for a Hijri year that coincided with 619 or 623 CE. It is called so since both Abu Talib and Khadijah—the Islamic prophet Muhammad's uncle and first wife, respectively—died that year....

". With the death of Abu Talib, the leadership of the Banu Hashim clan was passed to Abu Lahab, an inveterate enemy of Muhammad. Soon afterwards, Abu Lahab withdrew the clan's protection from Muhammad. This placed Muhammad in danger of death since the withdrawal of clan protection implied that the blood revenge for his killing would not be exacted. Muhammad then visited Ta'if
Muhammad's visit to Ta'if
-Previous events:Initially the preaching of Islam by Muhammad had been confined to Mecca, and his success was rather modest, limited to 170 men and women in the city during a ten year period...

, another important city in Arabia, and tried to find a protector for himself there, but his effort failed and further brought him into physical danger. Muhammad was forced to return to Mecca. A Meccan man named Mut'im b. Adi (and the protection of the tribe of Banu Nawfal
Banu Nawfal
Banu Nawfal is a notable Arabic sub-clan of the Quraish tribe. Its progenitor is Nawfal ibn Abd Manaf .Chief: Mut`im ibn ‘Adi...

) made it possible for him safely to re-enter his native city.
Many people were visiting Mecca on business or as pilgrims to the Kaaba
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

. Muhammad took this opportunity to look for a new home for himself and his followers. After several unsuccessful negotiations, he found hope with some men from Yathrib (later called Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

). The Arab population of Yathrib were familiar with monotheism and prepared for the appearance of a prophet because a Jewish community existed there. They also hoped by the means of Muhammad and the new faith to gain supremacy over Mecca, as they were jealous of its importance as the place of pilgrimage. Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 tribes in Medina, such that by June of the subsequent year there were seventy-five Muslims coming to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad. Meeting him secretly by night, the group made what was known as the "Second Pledge of al-`Aqaba
Second pledge at al-Aqabah
The Second pledge at al-Aqabah was an important event that preceded the Migration to Medina.-Event:Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab tribes present in Medina, such that by June of the subsequent year there were seventy-five Muslims coming to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad...

", or the "Pledge of War" Following the pledges at Aqabah, Muhammad encouraged his followers to emigrate
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

 to Yathrib. As with the migration to Abyssinia
Migration to Abyssinia
The migration known as the first Hijarat was made in two groups totalling more than a hundred persons. According to Islamic tradition, eleven male and five female Sahabah, the Muslims who originally converged in Mecca, sought refuge from Quraysh persecution in the Kingdom of Aksum in of in the...

, the Quraysh attempted to stop the emigration. However, almost all Muslims managed to leave.

Hijra


The Hijra is the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. In September 622, warned of a plot to assassinate him, Muhammad secretly slipped out of Mecca, moving with his followers to Medina, 320 kilometres (200 mi) north of Mecca. The Hijra is celebrated annually on the first day of the Muslim year.

Migration to Medina



A delegation consisting of the representatives of the twelve important clans of Medina, invited Muhammad as a neutral outsider to Medina to serve as chief arbitrator for the entire community. There was fighting in Yathrib mainly involving its Arab and Jewish inhabitants for around a hundred years before 620. The recurring slaughters and disagreements over the resulting claims, especially after the Battle of Bu'ath
Battle of Bu'ath
The Battle of Bu'ath was fought in 617 between Banu Aus and Banu Khazraj, the Arab tribes of Yathrib , in Saudi Arabia, in the south-eastern quarter of the Medinan oasis, belonging to the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza...

 in which all clans were involved, made it obvious to them that the tribal conceptions of blood-feud and an eye for an eye
Eye For An Eye
Eye for an Eye is a Polish hardcore punk rock band founded in 1997 in Bielsko-Biała. EFAE, as it is also known, plays an old school style of punk, more along the veins of The Exploited or even, some say, Agnostic Front. The punk stylings of EFAE has been compared to fellow countrymen Post Regiment,...

 were no longer workable unless there was one man with authority to adjudicate in disputed cases. The delegation from Medina pledged themselves and their fellow-citizens to accept Muhammad into their community and physically protect him as one of themselves.

Muhammad instructed his followers to emigrate to Medina until virtually all his followers left Mecca. Being alarmed at the departure of Muslims, according to the tradition, the Meccans plotted to assassinate Muhammad. With the help of Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

, Muhammad fooled the Meccans who were watching him, and secretly slipped away from the town with Abu Bakr. By 622, Muhammad emigrated to Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

, a large agricultural oasis
Oasis
In geography, an oasis or cienega is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source...

. Those who migrated from Mecca along with Muhammad became known as muhajirun
Muhajirun
Muhajirun are the early, initial Muslims who followed Muhammad on his Hijra . The early Muslims from Medina are called the Ansar .-List:*Muhammad*Ali*Umar *Abu Bakr .*Salman the Persian*Bilal ibn Ribah...

(emigrants).

Establishment of a new polity


Among the first things Muhammad did in order to settle down the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Medina was drafting a document known as the Constitution of Medina
Constitution of Medina
The Constitution of Medina , also known as the Charter of Medina, was drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It constituted a formal agreement between Muhammad and all of the significant tribes and families of Yathrib , including Muslims, Jews, Christians and pagans. This constitution formed the...

, "establishing a kind of alliance or federation" among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca, 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, specifically the Jews and other "Peoples of the Book
People of the Book
People of the Book is a term used to designate non-Muslim adherents to faiths which have a revealed scripture called, in Arabic, Al-Kitab . The three types of adherents to faiths that the Qur'an mentions as people of the book are the Jews, Sabians and Christians.In Islam, the Muslim scripture, the...

"). The community defined in the Constitution of Medina, Ummah
Ummah
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation." It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or the whole Arab world...

, had a religious outlook but was also shaped by practical considerations and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes. It effectively established the first Islamic state.

Several ordinances were proclaimed in order to win over the numerous and wealthy Jewish population. But these were soon rescinded as the Jews insisted on preserving the entire Mosaic law, and did not recognize him as a prophet because he was not of the race of David.

The first group of pagan converts to Islam in Medina were the clans who had not produced great leaders for themselves but had suffered from warlike leaders from other clans. This was followed by the general acceptance of Islam by the pagan population of Medina, apart from some exceptions. According to Ibn Ishaq, this was influenced by the conversion of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh (a prominent Medinan leader) to Islam. Those Medinans who converted to Islam and helped the Muslim emigrants find shelter became known as the ansar
Ansar (Islam)
Ansar is an Islamic term that literally means "helpers" and denotes the Medinan citizens that helped Muhammad and the Muhajirun on the arrival to the city after the migration to Medina...

(supporters). Then Muhammad instituted brotherhood between the emigrants and the supporters
Brotherhood among the Sahaba
Brotherhood among the Sahaba refers to the time after the Hijra when the Islamic prophet Muhammad instituted brotherhood between the emigrants, Muhajirun, and the helpers, Ansar, and he chose Ali as his own brother.A list includes:-Medina:...

 and he chose Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 as his own brother.

Beginning of armed conflict



Following the emigration, the Meccans seized the properties of the Muslim emigrants in Mecca. Economically uprooted and with no available profession, the Muslim migrants turned to raiding Meccan caravans as an act of war, deliberately initiating armed conflict between the Muslims and Mecca. Muhammad delivered Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

ic verses permitting the Muslims to fight the Meccans (see sura Al-Hajj
Al-Hajj
Surat Al-Hajj is the 22nd sura of the Qur'an with 78 ayat.Verses , and addresses the Jews, Christians and Sabians...

, Qur'an ). These attacks pressured Mecca by interfering with trade, and allowed the Muslims to acquire wealth, power and prestige while working towards their ultimate goal of inducing Mecca's submission to the new faith.
In March of 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Muslims set an ambush for them at Badr. Aware of the plan, the Meccan caravan eluded the Muslims. Meanwhile, a force from Mecca was sent to protect the caravan, continuing forward to confront the Muslims upon hearing that the caravan was safe. The Battle of Badr began in March of 624. Though outnumbered more than three to one, the Muslims won the battle, killing at least forty-five Meccans with only fourteen Muslims dead. They also succeeded in killing many Meccan leaders, including Abu Jahl
Amr ibn Hisham
‘Amr ibn Hishām , better known as Abu al-Hakam, was one of the Meccan pagan Quraysh leaders, known for his hostility against and persecution of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the early Muslims in Mecca....

. Seventy prisoners had been acquired, many of whom were soon ransomed in return for wealth or freed. Muhammad and his followers saw in the victory a confirmation of their faith as Muhammad ascribed the victory to the assistance of an invisible host of angels. The Qur'anic verses of this period, unlike the Meccan ones, dealt with practical problems of government and issues like the distribution of spoils.

The victory strengthened Muhammad's position in Medina and dispelled earlier doubts among his followers. As a result the opposition to him became less vocal. Pagans who had not yet converted were very bitter about the advance of Islam. Two pagans, Asma bint Marwan
Asma bint Marwan
ʻAṣmāʼ bint Marwān was a female member of the Ummayad clan who lived in Medina in 7th century Arabia.The story of her death by command of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, after she bitterly opposed him with poetry and provoked other pagans to commit violence against him, can be found in the sīra...

 and Abu 'Afak
Abu 'Afak
Abu 'Afak was a Jewish poet who lived in the Hijaz region . Abu 'Afak did not convert to Islam and was vocal about his opposition to Muhammad...

, had composed verses taunting and insulting the Muslims. They were killed by people belonging to their own or related clans, and no blood-feud followed.

Muhammad expelled from Medina the Banu Qaynuqa
Banu Qaynuqa
The Banu Qaynuqa was one of the three main Jewish tribes living in the 7th century of Medina, now in Saudi Arabia...

, one of three main Jewish tribes. Although Muhammad wanted them executed, Abd-Allah ibn Ubaiy
Abd-Allah ibn Ubaiy
Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy , also called ibn Salul in reference to his mother, was a chief of the Arab tribe Banu Khazraj and one of the leading men of Medina . Upon the arrival of Muhammad, Ibn Ubayy became a Muslim, though the sincerity of that conversion is disputed...

 chief of the Khazraj tribe did not agree and they were expelled to Syria but without their property. Following the Battle of Badr, Muhammad also made mutual-aid alliances with a number of Bedouin tribes to protect his community from attacks from the northern part of Hijaz.

Conflict with Mecca



The attack at Badr committed Muhammad to total war
Total war
Total war is a war in which a belligerent engages in the complete mobilization of fully available resources and population.In the mid-19th century, "total war" was identified by scholars as a separate class of warfare...

 with Meccans, who were now anxious to avenge their defeat. To maintain their economic prosperity, the Meccans needed to restore their prestige, which had been lost at Badr. In the ensuing months, Muhammad led expeditions on tribes allied with Mecca and sent out a raid on a Meccan caravan. Abu Sufyan subsequently gathered an army of three thousand men and set out for an attack on Medina.
A scout alerted Muhammad of the Meccan army's presence and numbers a day later. The next morning, at the Muslim conference of war, there was dispute over how best to repel the Meccans. Muhammad and many senior figures suggested that it would be safer to fight within Medina and take advantage of its heavily fortified strongholds. Younger Muslims argued that the Meccans were destroying their crops, and that huddling in the strongholds would destroy Muslim prestige. Muhammad eventually conceded to the wishes of the latter, and readied the Muslim force for battle. Thus, Muhammad led his force outside to the mountain of Uhud (where the Meccans had camped) and fought the Battle of Uhud
Battle of Uhud
The Battle of Uhud was fought on March 19, 625 at the valley located in front of Mount Uhud, in what is now northwestern Arabia. It occurred between a force from the Muslim community of Medina led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and a force led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb from Mecca, the town from...

 on March 23. Although the Muslim army had the best of the early encounters, indiscipline on the part of strategically placed archers led to a Muslim defeat, with 75 Muslims killed including Hamza
Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Hamza ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib [b.568-d.625] was the paternal uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and his foster-brother. He and Muhammad were raised together as they were almost the same age. With excellence in the arts of wrestling and swordsmanship...

, Muhammad's uncle and one of the best known martyrs in the Muslim tradition. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory. This is probably because Muhammad was wounded and thought to be dead. When they knew this on their way back, they did not return back because of false information about new forces coming to his aid. They were not entirely successful, however, as they had failed to achieve their aim of completely destroying the Muslims. The Muslims buried the dead, and returned to Medina that evening. Questions accumulated as to the reasons for the loss, and Muhammad subsequently delivered Qur'anic verses which indicated that their defeat was partly a punishment for disobedience and partly a test for steadfastness.

Abu Sufyan now directed his efforts towards another attack on Medina. He attracted the support of nomadic tribes to the north and east of Medina, using propaganda about Muhammad's weakness, promises of booty, memories of the prestige of the Quraysh and use of bribes. Muhammad's policy was now to prevent alliances against him as much as he could. Whenever alliances of tribesmen against Medina were formed, he sent out an expedition to break them up. When Muhammad heard of men massing with hostile intentions against Medina, he reacted with severity. One example is the assassination of Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf
Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf
Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf was a chief of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir and a poet, who plotted with Quraysh and a group of Jews to fight against Muslims and assassinate the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was assassinated by Muslims on the order of Muhammad before he could carry out his plans...

, a chieftain of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir
Banu Nadir
The Banu Nadir were a Jewish tribe who lived in northern Arabia until the 7th century at the oasis of Yathrib . The tribe challenged Muhammad as the leader of Medina. and planned along with allied nomads to attack Muhammad and were expelled from Medina as a result. The Banu Nadir then planned the...

 who had gone to Mecca and written poems that helped rouse the Meccans' grief, anger and desire for revenge after the Battle of Badr. Around a year later, Muhammad expelled the Banu Nadir from Medina to Syria allowing them to take some of their possessions because he was unable to subdue them in their strongholds. The rest of their property was claimed by Muhammad in the name of God because it was not gained with bloodshed. Muhammad surprised various Arab tribes, one by one, with overwhelming force which caused his enemies to unite in order to annihilate him. Muhammad's attempts to prevent formation of a confederation against him were unsuccessful, though he was able to increase his own forces and stop many potential tribes from joining his enemies.

Siege of Medina



With the help of the exiled Banu Nadir
Banu Nadir
The Banu Nadir were a Jewish tribe who lived in northern Arabia until the 7th century at the oasis of Yathrib . The tribe challenged Muhammad as the leader of Medina. and planned along with allied nomads to attack Muhammad and were expelled from Medina as a result. The Banu Nadir then planned the...

, the Quraysh military leader Abu Sufyan had mustered a force of 10,000 men. Muhammad prepared a force of about 3000 men and adopted a new form of defense unknown in Arabia at that time: the Muslims dug a trench wherever Medina lay open to cavalry attack. The idea is credited to a Persian convert to Islam, Salman the Persian
Salman the Persian
Salman the Persian or Salman al Farisi was one of Muhammad's companions.During some of his later meetings with the other Sahaba, he was referred to as Abu Abdullah .-Birth place:...

. The siege of Medina began on March 31 627 and lasted for two weeks. Abu Sufyan's troops were unprepared for the fortifications they were confronted with, and after an ineffectual siege lasting several weeks, the coalition decided to go home. The Qur'an discusses this battle in sura Al-Ahzab, ayat (verses) 9-27, .
During the battle, the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza
Banu Qurayza
The Banu Qurayza were a Jewish tribe which lived in northern Arabia, at the oasis of Yathrib , until the 7th century, when their conflict with Muhammad led to their demise, after the Invasion of Banu Qurayza, took place in the Dhul Qa‘dah, 5 A.H i.e. in February/March, 627 AD...

, located at the south of Medina, had entered into negotiations with Meccan forces to revolt against Muhammad. Although they were swayed by suggestions that Muhammad was sure to be overwhelmed, they desired reassurance in case the confederacy was unable to destroy him. No agreement was reached after the prolonged negotiations, in part due to sabotage attempts by Muhammad's scouts. After the coalition's retreat, the Muslims accused the Banu Qurayza of treachery and besieged them in their forts for 25 days. The Banu Qurayza eventually surrendered and all the men, apart from a few who converted to Islam, were beheaded, while the women and children were enslaved. Walid N. Arafat and Barakat Ahmad
Barakat Ahmad
Syed Barakat Ahmad was a scholar and Indian diplomat. He had a doctorate in Arab history from the American University of Beirut and a doctorate in literature from the University of Tehran. Ahmad was also the First Secretary of the Indian High Commission in Australia, High Commissioner to the West...

 have disputed that the Banu Qurayza were killed on quite such a large scale. Arafat disputes large-scale killings and argued that Ibn Ishaq
Ibn Ishaq
Muḥammad ibn Isḥaq ibn Yasār ibn Khiyār was an Arab Muslim historian and hagiographer...

 gathered information from descendants of the Qurayza Jews, who embellished or manufactured the details of the incident. Arafat relates the testimony of Ibn Hajar
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani
Al-Haafidh Shihabuddin Abu'l-Fadl Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad, better known as Ibn Hajar due to the fame of his forefathers, al-Asqalani due to his family origin , was a medieval Shafiite Sunni scholar of Islam who represents the entire realm of the Sunni world in the field of Hadith...

, who denounced this and other accounts as "odd tales" and quoted Malik ibn Anas
Malik ibn Anas
Mālik ibn Anas ibn Mālik ibn Abī 'Āmir al-Asbahī is known as "Imam Malik," the "Sheikh of Islam", the "Proof of the Community," and "Imam of the Abode of Emigration." He was one of the most highly respected scholars of fiqh in Sunni Islam...

, a contemporary of Ibn Ishaq, whom he rejected as a "liar", an "impostor" and for seeking out the Jewish descendants for gathering information about Muhammad's campaign with their forefathers.
Ahmad argues that only some of the tribe were killed, while some of the fighters were merely enslaved. Watt finds Arafat's arguments "not entirely convincing", while Meir J. Kister has contradicted the arguments of Arafat and Ahmad.

In the siege of Medina, the Meccans exerted their utmost strength towards the destruction of the Muslim community. Their failure resulted in a significant loss of prestige; their trade with Syria was gone. Following the Battle of the Trench, due to the disgrace Muhammad brought upon himself by seeking protection behind a ditch instead of the his sword and the help of God, he made two expeditions to the north which ended without any fighting. While returning from one of these (or some years earlier according to other early accounts), an accusation of adultery was made against Aisha
Aisha
Aisha bint Abu Bakr also transcribed as was Muhammad's favorite wife...

, Muhammad's wife. Aisha was exonerated from the accusations when Muhammad announced that he had received a revelation confirming Aisha's innocence and directing that charges of adultery be supported by four eyewitnesses.

Truce of Hudaybiyyah



Although Muhammad had already delivered Qur'anic verses commanding the Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

, the Muslims had not performed it due to the enmity of the Quraysh. In the month of Shawwal
Shawwal
Shawwāl is the tenth month of the lunar Islamic calendar. Shawwāl means to ‘lift or carry’; so named because she-camels normally would be carrying a fetus at this time of year.-Fasting during Shawwāl:...

 628, Muhammad ordered his followers to obtain sacrificial animals and to make preparations for a pilgrimage (umrah
Umrah
The Umrah or is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year. In Arabic, Umrah means "to visit a populated place"...

) to Mecca, saying that God had promised him the fulfillment of this goal in a vision where he was shaving his head after the completion of the Hajj. Upon hearing of the approaching 1,400 Muslims, the Quraysh sent out a force of 200 cavalry to halt them. Muhammad evaded them by taking a more difficult route, thereby reaching al-Hudaybiyya, just outside of Mecca. According to Watt, although Muhammad's decision to make the pilgrimage was based on his dream, he was at the same time demonstrating to the pagan Meccans that Islam does not threaten the prestige of their sanctuary, and that Islam was an Arabian religion.
Negotiations commenced with emissaries going to and from Mecca. While these continued, rumors spread that one of the Muslim negotiators, Uthman bin al-Affan
Uthman
Uthman ibn Affan was one of the companions of Islamic prophet, Muhammad. He played a major role in early Islamic history as the third Sunni Rashidun or Rightly Guided Caliph....

, had been killed by the Quraysh. Muhammad responded by calling upon the pilgrims to make a pledge not to flee (or to stick with Muhammad, whatever decision he made) if the situation descended into war with Mecca. This pledge became known as the "Pledge of Acceptance" or the "Pledge under the Tree
Pledge of the Tree
The Pledge of the Tree or Pledge of Pleasure or Pledge of Ridwan was a pledge that was sworn to the Islamic prophet Muhammad by his Sahaba prior to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah...

". News of Uthman's safety, however, allowed for negotiations to continue, and a treaty scheduled to last ten years was eventually signed between the Muslims and Quraysh. The main points of the treaty included the cessation of hostilities; the deferral of Muhammad's pilgrimage to the following year; and an agreement to send back any Meccan who had gone to Medina without the permission of their protector.

Many Muslims were not satisfied with the terms of the treaty. However, the Qur'anic sura "Al-Fath
Al-Fath
Surat Al-Fatḥ is the 48th sura of the Qur'an with 29 ayat.-See also:...

" (The Victory) (Qur'an ) assured the Muslims that the expedition from which they were now returning must be considered a victorious one. It was only later that Muhammad's followers would realise the benefit behind this treaty. These benefits included the inducing of the Meccans to recognise Muhammad as an equal; a cessation of military activity posing well for the future; and gaining the admiration of Meccans who were impressed by the incorporation of the pilgrimage rituals.

After signing the truce, Muhammad made an expedition against the Jewish oasis of Khaybar
Khaybar
Khaybar is the name of an oasis some 153 km to the north of Medina , Saudi Arabia. It was inhabited by Jews before the rise of Islam, and was conquered by Muhammad in 629 AD.-Pre-Islamic Khaybar:...

, known as the Battle of Khaybar
Battle of Khaybar
The Battle of Khaybar was fought in the year 629 between Muhammad and his followers against the Jews living in the oasis of Khaybar, located from Medina in the north-western part of the Arabian peninsula, in modern-day Saudi Arabia....

. This was possibly due to it housing the Banu Nadir, who were inciting hostilities against Muhammad, or to regain some prestige to deflect from what appeared to some Muslims as the inconclusive result of the truce of Hudaybiyya. According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad also sent letters
Muhammad's letters to the Heads-of-State
After the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Muhammad decided to send letters to many rulers of the world, inviting them to Islam -Overview:Muhammad, according to the usually told Islamic historiography, sent ambassadors with such letters to Heraclius the emperor of Byzantium, Chosroes II the emperor of...

 to many rulers of the world, asking them to convert to Islam (the exact date is given variously in the sources). Hence he sent messengers (with letters) to Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 (the eastern Roman Empire), Khosrau
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

 of Persia
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, the chief of Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

 and to some others. In the years following the truce of Hudaybiyya, Muhammad sent his forces against the Arabs on Transjordanian Byzantine soil in the Battle of Mu'tah
Battle of Mu'tah
The Battle of Mu'tah was fought in 629 , near the village of Mu'tah, east of the Jordan River and Karak in Karak Governorate, between an army sent by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and an army of the Byzantine Empire- The Eastern Romans.In Muslim histories, the battle is usually described as the...

, in which the Muslims were defeated.

Conquest of Mecca



The truce of Hudaybiyyah
Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah is the treaty that took place between the state of Medina and the Quraishi tribe of Mecca in March 628CE .-Background:...

 had been enforced for two years. The tribe of Banu Khuza'a
Banu Khuza'a
the Khuza'a or Banu Khuza'a form a branch of the South Arabian tribe of Azd-Origin:Most traditionalists trace the origins of the tribe to Amr ibn Lahi al-Khuza'i, and agree that with the other branches of the Azd they at some point left the Yemen and moved north. 'Amr ibn Luhay and his clan...

 had good relations with Muhammad, whereas their enemies, the Banu Bakr
Banu Bakr ibn Abd Manat
The Banu Bakr ibn Abd Manat were an Arabian tribe of the Hejaz region, in western Arabia.During Muhammad's lifetime, they were allies of the Quraish of Mecca....

, had an alliance with the Meccans. A clan of the Bakr made a night raid against the Khuza'a, killing a few of them. The Meccans helped the Banu Bakr with weapons and, according to some sources, a few Meccans also took part in the fighting. After this event, Muhammad sent a message to Mecca with three conditions, asking them to accept one of them. These were that either the Meccans paid blood money
Blood money (term)
Blood money is money or some sort of compensation paid by an offender or his family group to the family or kin group of the victim.-Particular examples and uses:...

 for those slain among the Khuza'ah tribe; or, that they should disavow themselves of the Banu Bakr; or, that they should declare the truce of Hudaybiyyah null.

The Meccans replied that they would accept only the last condition. However, soon they realized their mistake and sent Abu Sufyan to renew the Hudaybiyyah treaty, but now his request was declined by Muhammad.

Muhammad began to prepare for a campaign. In 630, Muhammad marched on Mecca with an enormous force, said to number more than ten thousand men. With minimal casualties, Muhammad took control of Mecca. He declared an amnesty for past offences, except for ten men and women who had mocked and ridiculed him in songs and verses. Some of these were later pardoned. Most Meccans converted to Islam and Muhammad subsequently destroyed all the statues of Arabian gods in and around the Kaaba. The Qur'an discusses the conquest of Mecca.

Conquest of Arabia



Soon after the conquest of Mecca, Muhammad was alarmed by a military threat from the confederate tribes of Hawazin who were collecting an army twice the size of Muhammad's. The Banu Hawazin
Hawazin
Ha'wa zin was a sub-division from the Qais Ailan tribe, Hawazin is the mighty Pre-Islamic Arabian tribe concentrated in the area around Ta’if in the Arabian Peninsula. Its descendants are scattered across the Middle-East and North Africa as many of its members were dispatched after the Muslim...

 were old enemies of the Meccans. They were joined by the Banu Thaqif
Banu Thaqif
The Thaqif was one of the tribes of Arabia during Muhammad's era. Thaqif was the main tribe of the town of Taif, in present-day Saudi Arabia, and descendants of the tribe still live in that city today and so many names in Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Hatay...

 (inhabiting the city of Ta'if) who adopted an anti-Meccan policy due to the decline of the prestige of Meccans. Muhammad defeated the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes in the Battle of Hunayn.

In the same year, Muhammad made the expedition of Tabuk against northern Arabia because of their previous defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah
Battle of Mu'tah
The Battle of Mu'tah was fought in 629 , near the village of Mu'tah, east of the Jordan River and Karak in Karak Governorate, between an army sent by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and an army of the Byzantine Empire- The Eastern Romans.In Muslim histories, the battle is usually described as the...

 as well as reports of the hostile attitude adopted against Muslims. With the greatest difficulty he collected thirty thousand men, half of whom, however, on the second day after their departure from Mecca, returned with Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy, untroubled by the damning verses which Muhammad hurled at them. Although Muhammad did not make contact with hostile forces at Tabuk, he received the submission of some local chiefs of the region.

A year after the Battle of Tabuk, the Banu Thaqif sent emissaries to Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

 to surrender to Muhammad and adopt Islam. Many bedouins submitted to Muhammad in order to be safe against his attacks and to benefit from the booties of the wars. However, the bedouins were alien to the system of Islam and wanted to maintain their independence, their established code of virtue and their ancestral traditions. Muhammad thus required of them a military and political agreement according to which they "acknowledge the suzerainty of Medina, to refrain from attack on the Muslims and their allies, and to pay the Zakat
Zakat
Zakāt , one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is the giving of a fixed portion of one's wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy.-History:Zakat, a practice initiated by Muhammed himself, has played an important role throughout Islamic history...

, the Muslim religious levy."

Farewell pilgrimage and death




At the end of the tenth year after the migration to Medina, Muhammad carried through his first truly Islamic pilgrimage, thereby teaching his followers the rites of the annual Great Pilgrimage (Hajj).
After completing the pilgrimage, Muhammad delivered a famous speech known as The Farewell Sermon
The Farewell Sermon
The Farewell Sermon , also known as Muhammad's Final Sermon or The Last Sermon, was delivered by Muhammad on the 9th Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat The Farewell Sermon , also known as Muhammad's Final Sermon or The Last Sermon, was delivered by Muhammad on the 9th...

. In this sermon, Muhammad advised his followers not to follow certain pre-Islamic customs such as adding intercalary months
Lunisolar calendar
A lunisolar calendar is a calendar in many cultures whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. If the solar year is defined as a tropical year then a lunisolar calendar will give an indication of the season; if it is taken as a sidereal year then the calendar will...

 to align the lunar calendar
Islamic calendar
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...

 with the solar calendar
Solar calendar
A solar calendar is a calendar whose dates indicate the position of the earth on its revolution around the sun .-Tropical solar calendars:...

. Muhammad abolished all old blood feud
Blood Feud
"Blood Feud" is the twenty-second and final episode of The Simpsons second season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on July 11, 1991. In the episode, Mr. Burns falls ill and desperately needs a blood transfusion. Homer discovers Bart has Burns' rare blood type and urges...

s and disputes based on the former tribal system and asked for all old pledges to be returned as implications of the creation of the new Islamic community. Commenting on the vulnerability of women in his society, Muhammed asked his male followers to “Be good to women; for they are powerless captives (awan) in your households. You took them in God’s trust, and legitimated your sexual relations
Islamic Marriage Contract
An Islamic marriage contract is an Islamic prenuptial agreement. It is a formal, binding contract considered an integral part of an Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride or other parties involved in marriage proceedings.-Witnessing:In Sunni Islam, a...

 with the Word of God, so come to your senses people, and hear my words ...”. He also told them that they were entitled to discipline their wives but should do so with kindness. Muhammad also addressed the issue of inheritance by forbidding false claims of paternity or of a client relationship to the deceased and also forbidding his followers to leave their wealth to a testamentary heir. He also upheld the sacredness of four lunar months in each year. According to Sunni tafsir
Tafsir
Tafseer is the Arabic word for exegesis or commentary, usually of the Qur'an. Ta'wīl is a subset of tafsir and refers to esoteric or mystical interpretation. An author of tafsir is a mufassir .- Etymology :...

, the following Qur'anic verse was delivered in this incident: “Today I have perfected your religion, and completed my favours for you and chosen Islam as a religion for you.”(Qur'an 5:3) According to Shia tafsir, it refers to appointment of Ali ibn Abi Talib
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 at the pond of Khumm as Muhammad's successor
Succession to Muhammad
The Succession to Muhammad concerns the various aspects of successorship of Muhammad after his death, comprising who might be considered as his successor to lead the Muslims, how that person should be elected, the conditions of legitimacy, and the role of successor...

, this occurring a few days later when Muslims were returning from Mecca to Medina.

A few months after the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and suffered for several days with a fever
Fever
Fever is a common medical sign characterized by an elevation of temperature above the normal range of due to an increase in the body temperature regulatory set-point. This increase in set-point triggers increased muscle tone and shivering.As a person's temperature increases, there is, in...

, head pain
Headache
A headache or cephalalgia is pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It can be a symptom of a number of different conditions of the head and neck. The brain tissue itself is not sensitive to pain because it lacks pain receptors. Rather, the pain is caused by disturbance of the...

 and weakness. He died on Monday, June 8, 632, in Medina, 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:
He is buried where he died, which was in Aisha's house and is now housed within the Mosque of the Prophet
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi
Al-Masjid al-Nabawi , often called the Prophet's Mosque, is a mosque situated in the city of Medina. As the final resting place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, it is considered the second holiest site in Islam by Muslims and is one of the largest mosques in the world...

 in the city of Medina. Next to Muhammad's tomb, there is another empty tomb that Muslims believe awaits Jesus.

Aftermath




Muhammad united the tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia
Tribes of Arabia refers to Arab clans hailing from the Arabian Peninsula.Much of the lineage provided before Ma'ad relies on biblical genealogy and therefore questions persist concerning the accuracy of this segment of Arab genealogy...

 into a single Arab Muslim religious polity in the last years of his life. With Muhammad's death, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

, Muhammad's friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated the successor by Muhammad at Ghadir Khumm
Ghadir Khumm
Wadi Rabigh is a wadi situated inland of the town of Rabigh, extending along the border of the Al Madinah and Makkah provinces of Saudi Arabia....

. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to make an expedition against the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces because of the previous defeat, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode referred to by later Muslim historians as the Ridda wars
Ridda wars
The Ridda wars , also known as the Wars of Apostasy, were a series of military campaigns against the rebellion of several Arabian tribes launched by the Caliph Abu Bakr during 632 and 633 AD, after prophet Muhammad died....

, or "Wars of Apostasy".

The pre-Islamic Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 was dominated by the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 and Sassanian
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 empires. The Roman-Persian Wars
Roman-Persian Wars
The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranic empires: the Parthian and the Sassanid. Contact between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 92 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued...

 between the two had devastated the region, making the empires unpopular amongst local tribes. Furthermore, in the lands that would be conquered by Muslims many Christians (Nestorians, Monophysites, Jacobites
Syriac Orthodox Church
The Syriac Orthodox Church; is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church based in the Eastern Mediterranean, with members spread throughout the world. The Syriac Orthodox Church claims to derive its origin from one of the first Christian communities, established in Antioch by the Apostle St....

 and Copt
Copt
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt....

s) were disaffected from the Christian Orthodoxy
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 which deemed them heretics. Within only a decade, Muslims conquered Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and Persia
Greater Iran
Greater Iran refers to the regions that have significant Iranian cultural influence. It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains, stretching from Iraq, the Caucasus, and Turkey in the west to the Indus River in the east...

, Roman Syria
Muslim conquest of Syria
The Muslim conquest of Syria occurred in the first half of the 7th century, and refers to the region known as the Bilad al-Sham, the Levant, or Greater Syria...

 and Roman Egypt
Muslim conquest of Egypt
At the commencement of the Muslims conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine Empire with its capital in Constantinople. However, it had been occupied just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II...

. and established the Rashidun empire
Rashidun Empire
The Rashidun Caliphate , comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death in 632, Year 10 A.H.. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia...

.

Early reforms under Islam



According to William Montgomery Watt
William Montgomery Watt
William Montgomery Watt was a Scottish historian, an Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh...

, for Muhammad, religion was not a private and individual matter but rather “the total response of his personality to the total situation in which he found himself. He was responding [not only]… to the religious and intellectual aspects of the situation but also to the economic, social, and political pressures to which contemporary Mecca was subject." Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis, FBA is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University...

 says that there are two important political traditions in Islam – one that views Muhammad as a statesman in Medina, and another that views him as a rebel in Mecca. He sees Islam itself as a type of revolution that greatly changed the societies into which the new religion was brought.

Historians generally agree that Islamic social reforms in areas such as social security
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

, family structure, slavery and the rights of women and children improved on the status quo
Status quo
Statu quo, a commonly used form of the original Latin "statu quo" – literally "the state in which" – is a Latin term meaning the current or existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are...

 of Arab society. For example, according to Lewis, Islam "from the first denounced aristocrat
Aristocracy (class)
The aristocracy are people considered to be in the highest social class in a society which has or once had a political system of Aristocracy. Aristocrats possess hereditary titles granted by a monarch, which once granted them feudal or legal privileges, or deriving, as in Ancient Greece and India,...

ic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents". Muhammad's message transformed the society and moral order
Islamic ethics
Islamic ethics , defined as "good character," historically took shape gradually from the 7th century and was finally established by the 11th century...

 of life in the Arabian Peninsula through reorientation of society as regards to identity, world view
World view
A comprehensive world view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point-of-view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and...

, and the hierarchy of values.
Economic reforms addressed the plight of the poor, which was becoming an issue in pre-Islamic
Jahiliyyah
Jahiliyyah is an Islamic concept of "ignorance of divine guidance" or "the state of ignorance of the guidance from God" or "Days of Ignorance" referring to the condition in which Arabs found themselves in pre-Islamic Arabia, i.e. prior to the revelation of the Qur'an to Muhammad...

 Mecca. The Qur'an requires payment of an alms tax (zakat
Zakat
Zakāt , one of the Five Pillars of Islam, is the giving of a fixed portion of one's wealth to charity, generally to the poor and needy.-History:Zakat, a practice initiated by Muhammed himself, has played an important role throughout Islamic history...

) for the benefit of the poor, and as Muhammad's position grew in power he demanded that those tribes who wanted to ally with him implement the zakat in particular.

Appearance



Ali gave the following description of Muhammad's physical appearance:
The "seal of prophecy" between the Prophet's shoulders is generally described as having been a type of raised mole the size of a pigeon's egg. Another description of Muhammad was provided by Umm Ma'bad, a woman he met on his journey to Medina:
Descriptions like these were often reproduced in calligraphic panels (hilya
Hilya
A hilya , hilye is a text describing the physical appearance of the Prophet Muhammad, often carried in a breast pocket...

or, in Turkish, hilye), which in the 17th century developed into an art form of their own in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

Wives and children


Muhammad's life is traditionally defined into two periods: pre-hijra (emigration) in Mecca (from 570 to 622), and post-hijra in Medina
Muhammad in Medina
The period of Muhammad in Medina started with the Hijra in 622 and ended with the conquest of Mecca in 630.-Hijra to Medina:...

 (from 622 until 632). Muhammad is said to have had thirteen wives or concubines. (There are differing accounts on the status of some of them as wife or concubine.) All but two of his marriages were contracted after the migration to Medina
Hijra (Islam)
The Hijra is the migration or journey of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. Alternate spellings of this Arabic word are Hijrah, Hijrat or Hegira, the latter following the spelling rules of Latin.- Hijra of Muhammad :In September 622, warned of a plot to...

.

At the age of 25, Muhammad married the wealthy Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid
Khadījah bint Khuwaylid or Khadījah al-Kubra was the first wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. She was the daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad and Fatimah bint Za'idah and belonged to the clan of Banu Asad. She is important in Islam as Muhammad's first wife, and one of the "mothers of the believers"...

 who was 40 years old at that time. The marriage lasted for 25 years and was a happy one. Muhammad relied upon Khadija in many ways and did not enter into marriage with another woman during this marriage. After the death of Khadija, it was suggested to Muhammad by Khawla bint Hakim that he should marry Sawda bint Zama
Sawda bint Zama
Sawda bint Zamʿa ibn Qayyis ibn ʿAbd Shams was a wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and considered by Muslims to be a Mother of the Believers.-Migration to Abyssinia:...

, a Muslim widow, or Aisha
Aisha
Aisha bint Abu Bakr also transcribed as was Muhammad's favorite wife...

, daughter of Um Ruman
Um Ruman
Zaynab bint ‘Āmir "Umm Rooman" was a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad .Zaynab was raised in Sarat in the Arabian Peninsula. She married a young man from her tribe named ‘Abdullah ibn Harith ibn Sakhbarah Azdi; their son was Tufail ibn Abdullah...

 and Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr was a senior companion and the father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He ruled over the Rashidun Caliphate from 632-634 CE when he became the first Muslim Caliph following Muhammad's death...

 of Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

. Muhammad is said to have asked her to arrange for him to marry both.

Traditional sources dictate that Aisha was six or seven years old when betrothed to Muhammad, but the marriage was not consummate
Consummate
Consummation or consummation of a marriage, in many traditions and statutes of civil or religious law, is the first act of sexual intercourse between two individuals, following their marriage to each other...

d until she was nine or ten years old. While the majority of traditional sources indicate Aisha was 9 (and therefore a virgin) at the time of marriage, a small number of more recent writers have variously estimated her age at 15 to 24.

After migration to Medina, Muhammad (who was now in his fifties) married several women. These marriages were contracted mostly for political or humanitarian reasons. The women were either widows of Muslims who had been killed in battle and had been left without a protector, or belonging to important families or clans whom it was necessary to honor and strengthen alliances with.

Muhammad did his own household chores and helped with housework, such as preparing food, sewing clothes and repairing shoes. He is also said to have had accustomed his wives to dialogue; he listened to their advice, and the wives debated and even argued with him.

Khadijah is said to have had four daughters with Muhammad—(Ruqayyah bint Muhammad
Ruqayyah bint Muhammad
Ruqayyah bint Muhammad was the second daughter of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his first wife Khadija. She was amongst the earliest converts to Islam. She had married Utbah ibn Abu Lahab, but he divorced her after her conversion to Islam, after which she married Uthman bin Affan...

, Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad
Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad
Umm Kulthum was the third daughter of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad from his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.- Marriage and children :She was first married to Utaybah bin Abu Lahab...

, Zainab bint Muhammad
Zainab bint Muhammad
Zainab bint Muhammad was the eldest daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his first wife Khadijah. She was born in the fifth year of his marriage to Khadijah, when he was thirty. She died in 8 AH.-Marriage & children:...

, Fatimah Zahra
Fatimah
Fatimah was a daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. She remained at her father's side through the difficulties suffered by him at the hands of the Quraysh of Mecca...

)—and two sons—(Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad
Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad
Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad AKA Taher ibn Muhammad or Tayib ibn Muhammad was one of the sons Muhammad and Khadija...

 and Qasim ibn Muhammad
Qasim ibn Muhammad
Qasim ibn Muhammad was the son of Muhammad and Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. He died in 605 CE, before his second birthday and is buried in Jannatul Mualla cemetery, Makkah, Saudi Arabia.-Siblings:*Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad*Ibrahim ibn Muhammad...

)—who both died in childhood. All except two of his daughters, Fatimah and Zainab, died before him. Some Shi'a scholars contend that Fatimah was Muhammad's only daughter. Maria al-Qibtiyya
Maria al-Qibtiyya
Maria al-Qibtiyya , or Maria the Copt, was an Egyptian Coptic Christian slave who was sent as a gift from Muqawqis, a Byzantine official, to the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 628. Some sources say she became his wife, taking the title "Mother of the Believers"...

 bore him a son named Ibrahim ibn Muhammad
Ibrahim ibn Muhammad
Ibrahim ibn Muhammad was the male child of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his wife Maria al-Qibtiyya. He was born in the last month of the year 8 AH. The child was named after Abraham, the common ancestor of both Arabs and Jews...

, but the child died when he was two years old.

Nine of Muhammad's wives survived him. Aisha, who became known as Muhammad's favourite wife in Sunni tradition, survived him by many decades and was instrumental in helping bring together the scattered sayings of Muhammad that would form the Hadith literature for the Sunni branch of Islam.

Muhammad's descendants through Fatimah are known as sharif
Sharif
Sharīf or Chérif is a traditional Arab tribal title given to those who serve as the protector of the tribe and all tribal assets, such as property, wells, and land. In origin, the word is an adjective meaning "noble", "highborn". The feminine singular is sharifa...

s
, syeds or sayyid
Sayyid
Sayyid is an honorific title, it denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.Daughters of sayyids are given the titles Sayyida,...

s
. These are honorific titles in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, sharif meaning 'noble' and sayed or sayyid meaning 'lord' or 'sir'. As Muhammad's only descendants, they are respected by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'a place much more emphasis and value on their distinction.

Islamic depictions of Muhammad


No depictions of the Prophet dating from his lifetime survive, and the earliest extant images come from Ilkhanid Persian miniature
Persian miniature
A Persian miniature is a small painting on paper, whether a book illustration or a separate work of art intended to be kept in an album of such works called a muraqqa. The techniques are broadly comparable to the Western and Byzantine traditions of miniatures in illuminated manuscripts...

s of around 1300, early in the history of that tradition. Later images were produced in Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Turkey and elsewhere, but mosques and copies of the Quran were never decorated with images of Muhammad. Muslims generally avoid depictions of Muhammad, a feeling that today is much stronger in Sunni Islam (85%–90% of Muslims) than among Shias (10%–15%). Islamic depictions of Muhammad have until recently mostly been limited to the private and elite medium of the miniature, and since about 1500 most show Muhammad with his face veiled, or symbolically represent him as a flame. Today images are also found in popular Shia iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

.

Slaves



The Qur'an considers emancipation of a slave to be a highly meritorious deed, or as a condition of repentance for many sins. Therefore Muhammad was the owner of slaves, whom he bought usually to free, including concubines (although this claim is disputed), a wetnurse
Wet nurse
A wet nurse is a woman who is used to breast feed and care for another's child. Wet nurses are used when the mother is unable or chooses not to nurse the child herself. Wet-nursed children may be known as "milk-siblings", and in some cultures the families are linked by a special relationship of...

, and one slave he bought, freed and adopted as his son (Zayd).

Muslim views


Following the attestation to the oneness of God, the belief in Muhammad's prophethood is the main aspect of the Islamic faith. Every Muslim proclaims in the Shahadah that "I testify that there is none worthy of worship except God, and I testify that Muhammad is a Messenger of God". The Shahadah is the basic creed or tenet of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Ideally, it is the first words a newborn will hear, and children are taught as soon as they are able to understand it and it will be recited when they die. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in the call to prayer (adhan
Adhan
The adhān is the Islamic call to prayer, recited by the muezzin at prescribed times of the day. The root of the word is meaning "to permit"; another derivative of this word is , meaning "ear"....

) and the prayer itself. Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.

According to the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, Muhammad is only the last of a series of Prophets
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

 sent by God for the benefit of mankind, and commands Muslims to make no distinction between them. states that "...it (the Qur'an) is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it
Prophets of Islam
Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from The Lord of the Worlds
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

.". Similarly states "...And before this was the book of Moses, as a guide and a mercy. And this Book confirms (it)...", while commands the believers of Islam to "Say: we believe in God and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed unto Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

 and Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 and Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

 and the tribes, and that which Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

 and Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 received, and which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered."

Historian Denis Gril believes that the Qur'an does not overtly describe Muhammad performing miracles
Islamic view of miracles
Miracle in the Qur'an can be defined as a supernatural intervention in the life of human beings. According to this definition, miracles are present "in a threefold sense: in sacred history, in connection with the Islamic prophet Muhammad himself and in relation to revelation." The Qur'an does not...

, and the supreme miracle of Muhammad is finally identified with the Qur'an itself
Qur'an and miracles
Muslims consider the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, as the word of God and a miracle. The Qur'an claims that it has been created miraculously as a revelation from Allah , as a perfect copy of what was written in heaven and existed there from all eternity. Therefore the verses of the book are...

. However, Muslim tradition credits Muhammad with several miracles or supernatural events
Miracles of Muhammad
According to historian Denis Gril, the Qur'an does not overtly describe Muhammad performing miracles, and the supreme miracle of Muhammad is finally identified with the Qur’an itself. However, Muslim tradition credits Muhammad with several supernatural events...

. For example, many Muslim commentators and some Western scholars have interpreted the Surah as referring to Muhammad splitting the Moon
Splitting of the moon
The splitting of the moon was a miracle performed by Muhammad in Islamic tradition. The incident is mentioned in Muslim traditions as the context of revelation for the Qur'anic verse where some Muslim commentators accept the historicity of the miracle and some reject it..Early traditions...

 in view of the Quraysh when they began persecuting his followers.

The Sunnah
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

 represents the actions and sayings of Muhammad (preserved in reports known as Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

), and covers a broad array of activities and beliefs ranging from religious rituals, personal hygiene, burial of the dead to the mystical questions involving the love between humans and God. The Sunnah is considered a model of emulation for pious Muslims and has to a great degree influenced the Muslim culture. The greeting that Muhammad taught Muslims to offer each other, “may peace be upon you” (Arabic: as-salamu `alaykum
As-Salamu Alaykum
As-Salāmu `Alaykum is a traditional Muslim greeting, often translated as Peace be upon you.-Usage:*In Arabia, the greeting is associated with shaking right hands and then possibly two or three light cheek to cheek kisses....

) is used by Muslims throughout the world. Many details of major Islamic rituals such as daily prayers, the fasting and the annual pilgrimage are only found in the Sunnah and not the Qur'an.

The Sunnah also played a major role in the development of the Islamic sciences. It contributed much to the development of Islamic law, particularly from the end of the first Islamic century. Muslim mystics, known as sufis, who were seeking for the inner meaning of the Qur'an and the inner nature of Muhammad, viewed the prophet of Islam not only as a prophet but also as a perfect saint. Sufi orders trace their chain of spiritual descent back to Muhammad.


Muslims have traditionally expressed love and veneration for Muhammad. Stories of Muhammad's life, his intercession and of his miracles (particularly "Splitting of the moon
Splitting of the moon
The splitting of the moon was a miracle performed by Muhammad in Islamic tradition. The incident is mentioned in Muslim traditions as the context of revelation for the Qur'anic verse where some Muslim commentators accept the historicity of the miracle and some reject it..Early traditions...

") have permeated popular Muslim thought and poetry
Naat
A Na`at is a poetry that specifically praises the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Many of the famous scholars in the earlier days of Islam wrote Naat. People who recite Naat are known as Naat-Khua'an or Sana'a-Khua'an.-History:...

. The Qur'an refers to Muhammad as "a mercy (rahmat) to the worlds" (Qur'an ). The association of rain with mercy in Oriental countries has led to imagining Muhammad as a rain cloud dispensing blessings and stretching over lands, reviving the dead hearts, just as rain revives the seemingly dead earth (see, for example, the Sindhi poem of Shah ʿAbd al-Latif). Muhammad's birthday
Mawlid
Mawlid or sometimes ميلاد , mīlād is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal,...

 is celebrated as a major feast throughout the Islamic world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, excluding Wahhabi
Wahhabism
Wahhabism is a religious movement or a branch of Islam. It was developed by an 18th century Muslim theologian from Najd, Saudi Arabia. Ibn Abdul Al-Wahhab advocated purging Islam of what he considered to be impurities and innovations...

-dominated Saudi Arabia where these public celebrations are discouraged. When Muslims say or write the name of Muhammad or any other prophet in Islam, they usually follow it with Peace be upon him
Peace be upon him (Islam)
Peace be upon him is a phrase that practising Muslims often say after saying the name of a prophet of Islam. There are three variants of this phrase in Arabic:...

(Arabic: sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam) like "Muhammad (Peace be upon him)". In printed matter, a calligraphic symbol is frequently used instead of printing the phrase.

Other views


Non-Muslim views regarding Muhammad have ranged across a large spectrum of responses and beliefs, many of which have changed over time.

Non-western views


Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

 stated:
"I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind.... I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life".

European and Western views


A few learned circles of Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Europe—primarily Latin-literate scholars—had access to fairly extensive biographical material about Muhammad. They interpreted that information through a Christian religious filter that viewed Muhammad as a charlatan driven by ambition and eagerness for power, and who seduced the Saracens into his submission under a religious guise. Popular European literature of the time portrayed Muhammad as though he were worshipped by Muslims in the manner of an idol or a heathen god. Some medieval Christians believed he died in 666, alluding to the number of the beast
Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the first Beast of Revelation chapter 13, the Beast of the sea. In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the Beast is...

, instead of his actual death date in 632; others changed his name from Muhammad to Mahound
Mahound
Mahound or Mahoun is a variant form of the name Muhammad, often found in Medieval and later European literature. This version of the name, or variants of it, came to be strongly associated with anti-Muslim attitudes in Western Christendom...

, the "devil incarnate". Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis, FBA is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University...

 writes "The development of the concept of Mahound started with considering Muhammad as a kind of demon or false god worshipped with Apollyon and Termagant
Termagant
In Medieval Europe, Termagant was the name given to a god that the Europeans believed Muslims worshipped.-Origin of the concept:European literature from the Middle Ages often referred to Muslims as pagans, with sobriquets such as the paynim foe...

 in an unholy trinity." A later medieval work, Livre dou Tresor represents Muhammad as a former monk and cardinal. Dante's
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 Divine Comedy (Canto XXVIII
28 (number)
28 is the natural number following 27 and preceding 29.-In mathematics:It is a composite number, its proper divisors being 1, 2, 4, 7, and 14....

), puts Muhammad, together with Ali, in Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

 "among the sowers of discord and the schismatics, being lacerated by devils again and again." Cultural critic
Cultural critic
A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole and typically on a radical basis. There is significant overlap with social and cultural theory.-Terminology:...

 and author Edward Said
Edward Said
Edward Wadie Saïd was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in postcolonialism...

 wrote in Orientalism
Orientalism (book)
Orientalism is a book published in 1978 by Edward Said that has been highly influential and controversial in postcolonial studies and other fields. In the book, Said effectively redefined the term "Orientalism" to mean a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the...

regarding Dante's depiction of Muhammad:
Empirical data about the Orient...count for very little; ... What ... Dante tried to do in the Inferno
Inferno (Dante)
Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

, is ... to characterize the Orient as alien and to incorporate it schematically on a theatrical stage whose audience, manager, and actors are ... only for Europe. Hence the vacillation between the familiar and the alien; Mohammed is always the imposter (familiar, because he pretends to be like the Jesus we know) and always the Oriental (alien, because although he is in some ways "like" Jesus, he is after all not like him).


After the reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, Muhammad was no longer viewed by Christians as a god or idol, but as a cunning, ambitious, and self-seeking impostor. Guillaume Postel
Guillaume Postel
Guillaume Postel was a French linguist, astronomer, Cabbalist, diplomat, professor, and religious universalist.Born in the village of Barenton in Basse-Normandie, Postel made his way to Paris to further his education...

 was among the first to present a more positive view of Muhammad. Boulainvilliers described Muhammad as a gifted political leader and a just lawmaker. Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

 praised Muhammad because "he did not deviate from the natural religion". Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era.He called economics "the dismal science", wrote articles for the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, and became a controversial social commentator.Coming from a strict Calvinist family, Carlyle was...

 in his book Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History
On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History
-Lecture 1. The Hero as Divinity. Odin. Paganism: Scandinavian Mythology:-Lecture 4: The Hero as Priest. Luther; Reformation: Knox; Puritanism:-Lecture 5. The Hero as Man of Letters. Johnson, Rousseau, Burns:...

(1840) defines Muhammed as "A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest". Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

 in his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89...

observes that "the good sense of Mohammad despised the pomp of royalty." Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt
Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt
Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt was a German author.Bodenstedt was born at Peine, in the Kingdom of Hanover. He studied in Göttingen, Munich and Berlin....

 (1851) described Muhammad as "an ominous destroyer and a prophet of murder." Many of the later Western works, from the 18th century onward, distanced themselves from the polemical histories of earlier Christian authors. These more historically oriented treatments, which generally reject the prophethood of Muhammad, are coloured by the Western philosophical
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

 and theological framework of their authors. Many of these studies reflect much historical research, and most pay more attention to human, social, economic, and political factors than to religious, theological, and spiritual matters.

Simon Ockley
Simon Ockley
Simon Ockley was a British Orientalist.-Biography:Ockley was born at Exeter. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1697, MA. in 1701, and B.D. in 1710. He became fellow of Jesus College and vicar of Swavesey, and in 1711 was chosen Adams Professor of Arabic in the...

 wrote in his book The History of the Saracen Empires (1718);
The greatest success of Mohammad’s life was effected by sheer moral force...It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran. . . The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.



Reverend Benjamin Bosworth Smith
Benjamin Bosworth Smith
Benjamin Bosworth Smith was an American Protestant Episcopal bishop. He was born at Bristol, R. I., and graduated at Brown University in 1816. The following year he was ordained, beginning his ministry at Marblehead, Mass. He held several pastoral charges and was for a time editor of the...

 in his book Muhammad and Muhammadanism (1874) commented that;
...if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life...In Mohammadanism every thing is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history….We know of the external history of Muhammad….while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation….on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt.


Alphonse de Lamartine
Alphonse de Lamartine
Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine was a French writer, poet and politician who was instrumental in the foundation of the Second Republic.-Career:...

 quoted in Histoire de la Turquie (1854) on Muhammad;
If greatness of purpose, smallness of means and outstanding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad.


Never has a man proposed for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a goal more sublime, since this goal was beyond measure: undermine the superstitions placed between the creature and the Creator, give back God to man and man to God, reinstate the rational and saintly idea of divinity
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

 in the midst of this prevailing chaos of material and disfigured gods of idolatry.... The most famous have only moved weapons, laws, empires; they founded, when they founded anything, only material powers, often crumbling before them. This one not only moved armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, millions of men over a third of the inhabited globe; but he also moved ideas, beliefs, souls. He founded upon a book, of which each letter has become a law, a spiritual nationality embracing people of all languages and races; and made an indelible imprint upon this Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, for the hatred of false gods and the passion for the God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, One and Immaterial....Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of a rational dogma for a cult without imagery, founder of twenty earthly empires and of a spiritual empire, this is Muhammad.


It was not until the latter part of the 20th century that Western authors combined rigorous scholarship as understood in the modern West with empathy toward the subject at hand and, especially, awareness of the religious and spiritual realities involved in the study of the life of the founder of a major world religion.

Annie Besant
Annie Besant
Annie Besant was a prominent British Theosophist, women's rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule.She was married at 19 to Frank Besant but separated from him over religious differences. She then became a prominent speaker for the National Secular Society ...

 in The Life and Teachings of Muhammad (1932) wrote
It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme...


According to William Montgomery Watt
William Montgomery Watt
William Montgomery Watt was a Scottish historian, an Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh...

 and Richard Bell, recent writers have generally dismissed the idea that Muhammad deliberately deceived his followers, arguing that Muhammad "was absolutely sincere and acted in complete good faith" and that Muhammad’s readiness to endure hardship for his cause when there seemed to be no rational basis for hope shows his sincerity. Watt says that sincerity does not directly imply correctness: In contemporary terms, Muhammad might have mistaken his own subconscious for divine revelation. Watt and Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis, FBA is a British-American historian, scholar in Oriental studies, and political commentator. He is the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University...

 argue that viewing Muhammad as a self-seeking impostor makes it impossible to understand the development of Islam. Alford T. Welch
Alford T. Welch
Alford T. Welch is a Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. Welch got his Ph.D. degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 1970. He also holds a M.Div. degree on Biblical language, literature and Near Eastern history from Southern Baptist...

 holds that Muhammad was able to be so influential and successful because of his firm belief in his vocation. Michael H. Hart
Michael H. Hart
Michael H. Hart is an astrophysicist who has also written three books on history and controversial articles on a variety of subjects. Hart describes himself as a Jeffersonian liberal, while his critics call him a conservative and a racial separatist.-Science:Hart, a graduate of the Bronx High...

 in his first book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History
The 100
The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History is a 1978 book by Michael H. Hart, reprinted in 1992 with revisions. It is a ranking of the 100 people who, according to Hart, most influenced human history....

(1978), a ranking of the 100 people who most influenced human history, chose Muhammad as the first person on his list, attributing this to the fact that Muhammad was "supremely successful" in both the religious and secular realms. He also credits the authorship of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 to Muhammad, making his role in the development of Islam an unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.

Other religious traditions



  • Bahá'ís
    Bahá'í Faith
    The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

     venerate Muhammad as one of a number of prophets or "Manifestations of God
    Manifestation of God
    The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

    ", but consider his teachings to have been superseded by those of Bahá'u'lláh
    Bahá'u'lláh
    Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

    , the founder of the Bahai faith.
  • Muhammad is regarded as one of the Saints of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
    Saints of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
    The Gnostic Saints of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica are a series of historical and mythological figures commemorated within the current of Thelema. They were first listed in Liber XV, the Gnostic Mass, which is the central rite of Ordo Templi Orientis and its ecclesiastical arm, Ecclesia Gnostica...

    .
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints neither regards Muhammad as a prophet nor accepts the Qur'an as a book of scripture. However, it does respect Muhammad as one who taught moral truths which can enlighten nations and bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.
  • Guru Nanak, a founder of Sikhism
    Sikhism
    Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

    , viewed Muhammad as an agent of the Hindu Brahman
    Brahman
    In Hinduism, Brahman is the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe. Brahman is sometimes referred to as the Absolute or Godhead which is the Divine Ground of all being...

    .

Criticism


Muslims consider Muhammad to be the final prophet, the messenger of the final revelation that was called the Qur'an. Non-Muslims have viewed him with less favor. Criticism of Muhammad has existed since the 7th century, for his marriages, military expeditions and the laws he established, such as those concerning slavery.

Internal links

  • Achtiname of Muhammad
  • Arabian tribes that interacted with Muhammad
    Arabian tribes that interacted with Muhammad
    -Introduction:The most prominent of such Arabian tribes were the Banu Quraish which were in turn divided into several sub-clans. The Qur'aish sub-clan of Banu Hashim was the clan of Muhammad, while their sister sub-clan, the Banu Abd-Shams became known as his most staunch enemies...

  • Depictions of Muhammad
    Depictions of Muhammad
    The permissibility of depictions of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, has long been a concern in the history of Islam. Oral and written descriptions are readily accepted by all traditions of Islam, but there is disagreement about visual depictions....

  • List of films about Muhammad
  • Military career of Muhammad
  • Mohammad, Messenger of God (aka The Message)
  • Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
    Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
    Muhammad: Legacy of the Prophet is a PBS documentary film about the life of Islamic prophet Muhammad based on historical records and on the stories of living American Muslims who call Muhammad the Messenger of God...

    (documentary)
  • Diplomatic career of Muhammad

See also



  • Glossary of Islamic terms in Arabic
  • List of founders of religious traditions
  • Muhammad in Islam
  • Paraclete in Islam
  • Relics of Muhammad
    Relics of Muhammad
    Some streams of Islam have a tradition of venerating the relics attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The most genuine relics are believed to be those housed in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace, in a section known as Hirkai Serif Odasi at the start of the Twentieth century...

  • Early social changes under Islam
  • Prophets of Islam
    Prophets of Islam
    Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

  • Islamic philosophy
    Islamic philosophy
    Islamic philosophy is a branch of Islamic studies. It is the continuous search for Hekma in the light of Islamic view of life, universe, ethics, society, and so on...

  • Sharia
    Sharia
    Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

  • Islamic economics in the world
    Islamic economics in the world
    Islamic economics in practice, or economic policies supported by self-identified Islamic groups, has varied throughout its long history. Traditional Islamic concepts having to do with economics included...



Further reading


  • Musa, A. Y. Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York: Palgrave, 2008


External links



Non-Muslim biographies


Muslim biographies