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Muhammad, the Prophet
Victor M. Eskew
A. In the Muslim religion, Muhammad is known as “The Prophet of God” and “the last Prophet of Allah.”
B. Muslims view Muhammad as insan-i-kamil, the perfect person (Inside Islam, Ahmed, 29).
C. On the website, www.prophetofislam.com, Muhammad is described with the following characteristics:
A – Articulate N – Noble
B – Brave O – Oneness
C – Courteous P – Patient
D – Dedicated Q – Quiet
E – Eloquent R – Resourceful
F – Friendly S – Straightforward
G – Generous T – Tactful
H – Hospitable U – Unmatched
I – Intelligent V – Valiant
J – Just W – Wali (ally)
K – Kind X – x (for his signature)
L – Loving Y – Yielding
M – Messenger of Mercy Z – Zealous
D. In a span of 22 years, he sparked a religious movement that would eventually have a phenomenal influence upon the world (wikipedia). See Pew Study, Jan, 27, 2011
E. In order to understand Islam, one needs to have some understanding of the founder of the religion. In this study, we will look at some of the key aspects of his life.
I. MUHAMMAD’S NAME
A. His name comes from the Arabic root “hamd” and literally means “praised one.” People at his time and until this very moment praise him many times per day, may Allah exalt his mention (www.knowtheprophet.com, “Prophet Muhammad A-Z).
B. The name Muhammad occurs four (4) times in the Qur’an.
II. MUHAMMAD’S EARLY LIFE
A. Date of birth: 570 A.D.
B. Birthplace: Mecca
C. Original name: Ubu’l Kassim
D. Parents and Guardians:
1. Father: Abdullah (died before his birth)
2. Mother: Amenah bent Wahb (died when Muhammad was 6)
3. Foster-mother: Halimah
4. Grandfather: Abdul Muttalib (died when Muhammad was 8)
5. Uncle: Abu Talib
E. Tribe: Quraish, the dominate tribe of Mecca out of four
III. MUHAMMAD’S FIRST MARRIAGE
A. Muhammad married his first wife at the age of 25.
B. His wife was a wealthy, 40 year old widow named Kadijah.
C. She diligently supported all of the revelations that Muhammad said that he had received from Allah.
D. She was the first Muslim and the first woman Muslim.
E. Six children were born into this relationship:
1. Two sons: Quasim and Abdullah
2. Four daughters: Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kalthum, and Fatimah
F. Kadijah died in 619 A.D. Muhammad was married only to her during their entire marriage. (NOTE: His grandfather also died this year. It is known as “the year of sorrow”).
IV. MUHAMMAD’S EARLY REVELATIONS
A. Muhammad received his revelations in a cave on the top of the mountain, Hira, mountain of light.
B. His first revelation came in 610 A.D. in the month of Ramadan. Muhammad was 40 years old at the time.
C. His next revelation was received three years later.
1. He was convinced at that time that Allah had chosen him for a special purpose, as the Messenger.
2. At that time, he was told to begin to preach Islam. His message at the time was very simple:
a. Warnings to unbelievers of eschatological punishment
b. Good news to believers who abandoned evil, listened to the divine Word and served Allah
D. Very few individuals took him seriously at first.
1. His message of the oneness of God opposed the polytheistic beliefs of the Quraish.
2. Muhammad was called a liar and a madman.
a. Some referred to Muhammad as “a poet possessed.”
b. This is due to the manner in which he received his revelations: falling down, convulsions, eyes rolled back in his head, foaming at the mouth, sweating, ringing in his ears, or simply appearing to be intoxicated.
c. “There are at least 11 places where the Koran tried to defend Muhammad from charges of being demon possessed” (Class notes on a study of Islam, anonymous author).
3. Early Muslims were beaten and tortured.
V. MUHAMMAD’S JOURNEY TO HEAVEN
A. Muhammad’s journey to heaven was a mystic experience that happened about one year before his exodus to Medina, 621 A.D.
B. There were two stages to the journey.
1. The Isra.
a. “The Isra begins with Muhammad praying in the Kaaba in Mecca, when the archangel Jibral (Gabriel) comes to him, and brings him the mythological steed Buraq, the traditional heavenly steed of the prophets. Buraq carried Muhammad to the Masjid al Aqsa the “Fatherest Mosque”, which Muslims believe is the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Muhammad alights, tethers Buraq to the Western wall and leads other prophets including Adem (Adam), Musa (Moses), and Isa (Jesus) in prayer” (wikipedia).
b. “In conclusion, it should be noted that the Prophet’s Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, immediately preceding his Ascension, was apparently meant to show that Islam is not a new doctrine but a continuation of the same divine message which was preached by the prophets of old, who had Jerusalem as their spiritual home. This view is supported by Traditions (quoted in Fath at-Bari VII, 158), according to which the Prophet(P), during his Night Journey, also offered prayers at Yathrib (now called Medina), Sinai, Bethlehem, etc. His encounters with other prophets, mentioned in this connection, symbolize the same idea. The well-known Traditions to the effect that on the occasion of his Night Journey the Prophet(P) led a prayer in the Temple of Jerusalem, in which all other prophets ranged themselves behind him, expresses in a figurative manner the doctrine that Islam, as preached by the Prophet Muhammad(P), is the fulfillment and perfection of mankind’s religious development, and that Muhammad(P) was the last and the greatest of God’s message-bearers” www.bismikaallahuma.org, “Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey and Ascension to Heaven.”
2. The Mi’raj
a. An Arabic term that literally means “ladder”
b. “Buraq takes him to the heavens, where he tours the circles of heaven, and speaks with earlier prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He is then taken by the angel Jibril to meet Allah. According to Islamic tradition, Allah instructs Muhammad that Muslims must pray fifty times per day/ however, Moses tells Muhammad that it is very difficult for the people and urges Muhammad to ask for a reduction, until it is finally reduced to five times per day” (wikipedia).
C. Chapter 17 of the Qu’ran is known as “Sur al Isra.” Two verses speak of this journey of Muhammad. “Glory to (Allah) Who did take his servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts we did bless – in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things).”
D. The Lailate al Miraj is the Muslim festival celebrating Isra and Mi’raj.
VI. MUHAMMAD’S DEPARTURE TO MEDINA: The Hijra
A. Hijra: the departure
B. Tensions were so bad in Mecca that it was necessary for Muhammad and his followers to leave.
1. In 620, some of the inhabitants of Medina invited Muhammad to be the chief arbitrator for the entire community.
2. In 622, he and his followers migrated to the city of Medina 200 miles north of Mecca.
C. Several important things about Medina:
1. The first Muslim community was started.
2. A mosque was built in the city.
3. It is the second most holy place of Islam.
4. Muhammad was buried there.
VII. MUHAMMAD’S LATER MARRIAGES
A. After Kadijah’s death, Muhammad married eleven other women.
1. Sawada Bint Sam’a
2. Aiisha Bint Abukr
3. Hafsa Bint ‘Umar
4. Zaynab Bin Khuzayma
5. Ummay Salma Hind Bint Abi Umayya
6. Zaynab Bint Jahsh
7. Juwayria Bin Al-Hiritha
8. Umm Habiba Ramla Bint Bint Abi Sufyan
9. Safya Bint Huyayya
10. Maymuna Bint Al-Haritha
11. Maria al-Qibtiyya
12. NOTE: Some say he had as many as 16 wives, 2 slave wives or concubines, and four devout Muslim women who gave themselves to satisfy his sexual desires.
B. These women are known in Islam as “Mothers of the Believers.”
C. How do the Muslims view these marriages?
1. “Prophet, We have made lawful for you the wives whom you have granted dowries and the slave-girls whom God has given you as booty; the daughters of your paternal and maternal uncles and of your paternal and maternal aunts who fled with you; and any believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet and whom the Prophet wishes to take in marriage. This privilege is your alone, being granted to no other believer. We well know all the duties we have imposed on the faithful concerning their wives and slave-girls. (We grant to you this privilege) so that none may blame you” (Sura 33:50).
2. The true limit of the number of wives a Muslim can have is four. Muhammad did not receive this revelation from Allah until after he had married 11 wives. After the revelation, he never married again.
3. Two quotes from the book, Inside Islam, p. 38:
a. “The marriages provided the women with pious and sheltered lives in the simple household of the Prophet.”
b. “Most of his wives were between forty and fifty, divorced, often more than once, and had offspring by previous spouses when the Prophet married them. In the harsh terrain of Arabia, and in the difficult circumstances of those days, people aged rapidly, and these women would have been elderly. If the prophet had wished for sensual pleasure there would have been no dearth of any kind of woman available to him.”
D. Interesting facts about these marriages.
1. Muhammad married his second wife when she was 6 years of age and consummated the marriage when she was 9.
2. One of his wives, Zaynab, was originally his adopted son’s wife. He asked his son to divorce her and let him have her. When his son refused, Muhammad had a revelation that commanded Zaid to give her up and decreed that there was no evil in a man taking his daughter-in-law from his adopted son (Sura 33:37-38).
3. All of this makes Muhammad an adulterer, fornicator, polygamist, pedophile, and a coveter. Furthermore, he is guilty of incest.
VIII. MUHAMMAD RETAKES MECCA
A. Following the migration of Muhammad and his followers to Medina, the Meccans seized their property in Mecca.
B. In turn, the Muslims began to raid the Meccan caravans. Their desire was to induce the Meccans to submit to the new faith of Islam.
C. A battle at Badr in March of 624 ended with a Muslim victory. Muhammad and his followers saw the victory as a confirmation of their faith.
D. Battles continued between the Meccans and the Muslims for several years.
E. In 628, a truce was made between the Muslims and the Meccans. It is known as the “Truce of Hudaybiyyah.”
1. This truce lasted two years. It was violated by the Meccans who assisted the enemies of Muhammad in a raid that killed several Muslims.
2. In 630, Muhammad marched against Mecca with an enormous force. He took the city with minimal casualties.
3. The city was rid of all its idol worship. The Kaaba became the house of Allah.
A. Even though Mecca had been conquered, Muhammad continued to keep his home in Medina.
B. Ten years after leaving Mecca, he made his first truly Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.
C. Following the pilgrimage, he delivered what is now known as “The Farewell Sermon.”
D. A few months after his pilgrimage and sermon, he fell ill and suffered with head pain and weakness. He died on Monday, June 8, 632 in Medina at the age of 62.
1. Just prior to his passing he disposed of his early wealth consisting of 7 coins.
2. His final words are said to be: “Rather, God on High and paradise.”