UNDERSTANDING THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD ﷺ SERIES
“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Surah Al-Maidah 5:3)
Finally, the mission was accomplished. A movement, which started a little over twenty years ago by one man, was now a full-fledged nation with thousands of followers. Within a few decades, it was to spread further and engulf three continents.
In just a hundred years, it would become the largest empire ever seen, stretching from the Indus to the streets of Gibraltar. Within another hundred years, it would reach the doorsteps of China. The transforming power of his message was to produce a civilisation which contributed to all areas of human endeavour, in algebra, engineering, astronomy and medicine.
Even today, almost a quarter of the people of the earth have responded to the message of this man. People of all colours and ethnic backgrounds, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, all have been touched by the light, which was torched by this individual approximately fourteen hundred years ago.
How can a man of such modest beginnings, a man with such feeble means, a man with so few early followers, and a man in such a short space of time; start a revolution which changed the face of human history forever?
Who is this man? He is Muhammad bin Abdullah, the last Messenger of God. The greatest man in history and here is his story.
Adapted from: Muhammad ﷺ the Prophet of Mercy. The Global Program of Introducing the Prophet of Mercy as revised by Osama Emara http://www.islamhouse.com
Birth of Muhammad ﷺ
Muhammad ﷺ was born on the 12th of Rabi' al-Awwal*, in the year, 571 C.E, almost 600 years after Prophet Jesus, the son of Mary (peace be upon them both).
His full name is Muhammad ibn (son of) ‘Abdullah, ibn (son of) ‘Abdul-Muttaleb, ibn (son of) Hāshem. He was from the Banu (House of) Hāshem clan of the Quraysh tribe. His ancestry can be traced to Prophet Ishmael and Prophet Abraham (peace be upon them both).
He was born in Makkah, in Arabia. Makkah was an important and prosperous city. Within it stood the Ka`bah, which was built by Prophet Abraham and his son Prophet Ishmael, near the spring of Zamzam. Over time, its inhabitants had abandoned the teachings of Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ishmael and had introduced a variety of stone carved idols and wooden statues in the Ka`bah. At the time of the birth of the Prophet, the Ka`bah had 360 idols in it.
The Lone Orphan
The Prophet’s father, Abdullah, passed away two months before he was born. When the Prophet was born, his mother, Amenah bint Wahb, sent him to his grandfather, Abdul-Muttaleb who was elated at the good news and gave the baby the name “Muhammad”, meaning “the praised one.” His grandfather was the chief of the Quraysh tribe and was esteemed by all.
It was the custom in Makkah for mothers to send their babies into the desert to be put in the care of a desert tribe, where they grew up in the traditional healthy outdoor environment. This honor fell on Halimah As-Sa’deyyah. Having looked after many children before, she noticed something extraordinary about baby Muhammad and during his stay with her; her family received all kinds of blessings and favours from God.
The Prophet returned to his mother after five years of desert life. When he was six years old his mother passed away. The Prophet was then raised by his grandfather, Abdul-Muttaleb, who was extremely kind to him and looked after him with great love and affection.
When he was eight years old, his grandfather also died. Thereafter, Abu Tāleb, an uncle of the Prophet took him under his care.
Al-Amin (The Trustworthy)
As he grew up, he surpassed everyone in intelligence, modesty and truthfulness. He was known for moderation, honesty and a serious sense of responsibility. In his early youth, he was known to be a thoughtful boy. He worked as a shepherd and played with other children.
Even before he received his first revelation, he believed in the existence of One God, the God of Abraham and never fell into the common practices of his people of worshipping idols. He never gambled nor did he drink alcohol. He did not engage in gossip and backbiting. He gave charity to the poor and looked after the needy. He never lied, never broke a promise and never bore false witness. Everyone respected him, and the people addressed him as “Al-Amin”, which means “the trustworthy one”. He was also known as “As-Sadeq” or “The Truthful” for he never told a lie.
Even before his Prophethood, he was concerned about his fellow men and stood up against injustice and inequality. He, with some other fair-minded men, once met at the house of ‘Abdullah ibn Jud’ān and made a promise that they would unite and protect the rights of the weak and the needy. The Arabs called this agreement “Hilf al-Fudoul".
Twenty years after the beginning of his Prophethood, he said: “I was present at the house of Abdullah bin Jud’ān at the time of the pledge. I am not prepared to break my promise, even if I were to be given a hundred red camels. If somebody should appeal to me today, by virtue of that pledge, I would hasten to his help."
Marriage to Khadijah
When he was twenty-five years old, he married Khadijah bint (daughter of) Khuwayled, an honourable Qurayshi woman of exceptional character. She was a successful businesswoman with fine intellect and great wealth. As he worked for her, Khadijah was well aware of his behaviour, truthfulness and outstanding ability and therefore expressed a wish to marry him.
He married Khadijah, 15 years his senior, even before his prophethood. They were married for 25 years and had four daughters: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah and two sons: Al-Qasem and ‘Abdullah who was also known as At-Tayyeb and At-Tāher. His two sons passed away in infancy.
Rebuilding the Ka`bah
When he was thirty-five years old, the Quraysh decided to rebuild the Ka`bah, after a sudden flood had shaken its foundations and cracked its walls. When the rebuilding had reached the stage where the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad) had to be put in its place, a dispute arose and they began to argue fiercely, each clan wanting the honour of carrying out the noble task of placing the stone.
The people were about to fight one another, when one of the elders suggested a solution: “Make the first person to enter the gate your judge”, he said. To their immense delight, Muhammad ﷺ entered. “It is Al-Amin, the trustworthy one. We are content to follow his verdict." He asked for a piece of cloth and placed the Black Stone on the cloth and instructed each clan leader to take a corner of the cloth and lift it together, bringing it to its position he then put the Black Stone in its place with his own hands. Thus, a bloody conflict was prevented and the dispute was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
In the Cave of Heraa’
Even before prophethood, he spent most of his time in contemplation and worship. He would often go to the Cave of Heraa', situated near the top of mount an-Nūr, on the outside Makkah. He would stay there for lengthy periods, meditating and praying, until his provision of food and water would finish.
On the 21st of Ramadan, when the Prophet was 40 years old, the first verses of the Qur’ān were revealed to him. The Angel Gabriel suddenly appeared and said to him and proclaimed:
“I cannot read”, Muhammad replied, shaken.
The Angel repeated the command, pressing him on, “Read!”
He once again protested, “I cannot read”.
“Read” the mighty voice commanded once more.
“I cannot read”, was his reply.
Then the Angel squeezed him and said:
“Read in the name of your Lord, who created.
Created man from a clinging substance.
Read, and your Lord is the most Generous.
Who taught by the pen.
Taught man what he did not know.”
(Surah Al-Alq 96: verses 1 to 5)
“Cover Me, Cover Me”
The occurrence in the cave left him shocked and confused. He trembled in fear, traumatised by what he had seen and heard. He set off for his house immediately. On reaching home he asked Khadijah to wrap him in blankets. When he calmed down, he related the whole story to her.
Khadijah knew of his character and integrity better than anyone else. She was well aware of his honesty and balanced personality. At once she reassured him: “No! God would never disgrace you! You keep good ties with your relatives, you look after the weak, you help the poor and the needy, you entertain the guests and suffer hardships, in the path of truthfulness.”
Khadijah then suggested that they go and consult her wise elderly cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who was a Christian. Waraqah said: “I am sure the angel that descended on Moses, has descended on you. Your people will abuse and mistreat you. I wish I could be alive to give you my support when your people will turn you out.”
“Will they turn me out?” The Prophet found this difficult to believe. Waraqah replied that the people have always turned against those who received a message from God.
Waraqah lived only a short period after this incident and passed away.
The Early Converts
The first to believe in the Prophet and his divine message was Khadijah – his wife, followed shortly afterwards by ‘Ali bin Abi Tāleb, his cousin who was only ten years old at the time and Zayd bin Harethah, his servant.
Among the men, Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah, a close companion of the Prophet and a man known for his intellect and uprightness, also embraced Islam.
These people were the closest to the Prophet and daily witnessed his truthfulness, sincerity and good behaviour. It was only natural for them to be the first converts to Islam.
The Great Warner
The Prophet kept his mission secret for three years. Then God commanded him to proclaim the message openly.
According to the custom of the time, people used to climb a hill when they had to announce some important news. The Prophet climbed up on a small hill called As-Safa, located near the Ka`bah and called out to the people, who quickly gathered around him. He said: “If I told you that a big army is hiding behind that mountain and is ready to attack you, would you believe me?” They all answered, “Of course, for we trust you. We know you always speak the truth.”
Then he said: “God has commanded me to warn you, my people, that you should worship none but the one and only God. If you fail to do so, you will invite God’s anger. And I will not be able to do anything to help you, even though you are my own people.”
Sadly, his message fell on deaf ears, with many of the people leaving without caring to give any thought to the words of God's Messenger.
There was one primary reason for the leaders of Quraysh to oppose the Prophet and prevent him from spreading his message. Makkah was a centre of pilgrimage because of the Ka`bah ever since it was established by Prophet Abraham and Ishmael and housed many idols of the neighbouring tribes. The leaders feared that if the concept of worshiping One God alone became accepted, the tribes would stop visiting the idols and therefore have an adverse effect on the economy of the city and their monopoly of it.
After years of acknowledging Muhammad as the most kind and honest among them, the Quraysh started insulting him, ridiculing him and even calling him insane. Yet with all this abuse hurled upon him, he would never speak a bad word in return.
The Prophet was subjected to every kind of brutality and insult. Thorns were spread in his path and he was pelted with dirt and stones. Once, when he went to pray near the Ka`bah, some men from the Quraysh surrounded and attacked him all together. One of them took of his cloak and tried to strangle him. Abu Bakr quickly came to the rescue, shouting, “Would you kill a man just for saying, “My Lord is Allah?”
When persecution failed, the Quraysh tried other methods to stop the Prophet from preaching his message. Once, ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah came to him with an offer which he thought was too enticing to be rejected. He said: “If you want money, we will collect some of our property and make you the richest among us. If you want honour, we will make you our chief so that every decision is yours. If you want kingdom, we will make you our king.”
When ‘Utbah had finished, the Prophet without any hesitation recited some verses from Surah Fussilat chapter 41 and refused the offer.
‘Utbah, dumfounded, went back to his companions and described what he heard of the amazing Qur’an. He said: “By God! I have heard words the like of which I have never heard before. By God! It is neither poetry nor magic. O men of Quraysh! Listen to me! Leave this man alone. Be kind towards him and don’t get in his way.”
Sadly, even the words of ‘Utbah had no influence on the Quraysh who bluntly refused to give heed to his advice.
The Muslims were subjected to persecution. They were treated with contempt and mocked, but when that failed, the Quraysh turned to physical attacks and punishment. Every clan targeted those who had become Muslims among them. They began to imprison them and torture them with beatings, hunger and thirst.
Bilal ibn Rabah, an Abyssinian slave who had accepted Islam, was laid flat on his back in the midday heat. A huge stone was then placed on his chest. He was told by his persecutors to renounce Islam, but each time he would respond by saying, “God is One, God is One.” He was eventually ransomed and freed by Abu Bakr.
The Banu Makhzum clan took ‘Ammar bin Yaser, his mother and father, who were all Muslims, into the midday heat. They tortured them and then left them exposed to the burning sun of Makkah. The Prophet would pass by them and tell them to be patient. Finally, after much persecution, Ammar’s mother, Sumayyah was killed, her only crime being, her refusal to renounce Islam. Sumayyah hold the high honor of being the first martyr of Islam.
The Escape to Abyssinia
The Quraysh made life so difficult and unbearable for the Muslims in Makkah that the Prophet finally told some of the believers to migrate to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). He suggested, “If you were to go to Abyssinia, you would find there a king who does not wrong anyone.”
At first, 15 men and women travelled to Abyssinia. Then the number increased to 83. This safe haven for the Muslims made the Makkans all the more furious. They sent two of their best envoys to the Negus, King of Abyssinia. The men presented expensive gifts to the King and told him to hand over the rebel Muslims. Th King sent for the Muslims and asked them to explain themselves.
It was on this occasion that Ja‘far ibn Abu Tāleb, gave his memorable and magnificent speech. He said, “O King, we were a people of ignorance who worshipped idols, committed sins, treated neighbours badly, and the strong among us abused the weak. We were like that until God sent a Messenger to us. We knew his noble birth, his honesty, trustworthiness and decency. He called us to proclaim the oneness of God and to worship Him alone. He commanded us to speak the truth, to be faithful, to keep good ties with our relatives, to be good to our neighbours and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He forbade us sinning, telling lies, taking property of orphans unjustly and insulting righteous women.”
“For this reason alone our people have attacked us, tortured us and forced us from our religion … When they tortured us and came between us and our religion, we left for your country, choosing you, because we hoped we would be treated fairly, while we were with you.”
The King asked Ja‘far to recite some verses of the Qur’an and he recited the beginning of Surah Maryam (The Chapter of Mary). The King was so touched by it that he wept until his beard was wet. He said: “It seems as if these words and those which were revealed to Jesus are rays of light which radiated from the same source.”
The King then turned to the two men from Quraysh and told them that he would never hand over the Muslims to them. He allowed the Muslims to live in his country in peace and treated them with honour. He eventually embraced Islam and when he passed away, the Prophet read the funeral prayer in absentia as a mark of honor.
Umar and Hamza Embrace Islam
In the sixth year of prophethood, the Prophet’s uncle, Hamza, and Umar bin al-Khattab embraced Islam. The Quraysh were greatly disturbed at the conversion of Hamza and Umar since both of them were known for their strength and courage.
The Prophet had expressly prayed to God, asking Him to guide Umar to Islam. Once Umar embraced Islam, the Muslims gained confidence. Previously, they used to pray in secret, fearful of the disbelievers. However, when Umar became a Muslim; they began to pray openly in front of the Ka`bah.
Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, a famous companion of the Prophet used to say: “The Muslims were never able to pray near the Ka`bah until Umar embraced Islam”. It was for this reason that the Prophet gave Umar, the honorable title, “Al-Farooq”, i.e. the distinguisher between truth and false.
As the number of Muslims was steadily increasing, the Quraysh became more desperate and decided to exile the Prophet and his followers and force them to live in a confined section of the town. No provisions were allowed to be given to them, and the Muslims had to suffer long torturous periods without food and water.
The Quraysh wrote a document stating a boycott of the Prophet's clans, Banu Hashem and Banu al-Muttaleb. They declared that they would not marry the women of these clans or sell them any goods. They hung the parchment announcing the boycott on the Ka`bah.
The boycott was so strictly applied that the Muslims were forced to eat the leaves. The hungry cries of small children could be heard all over the valley. The Muslims remained in this desperate state for three years, until the ban was finally lifted.
Even with such severe trials and conditions, the Prophet remained firm and continued calling the people to God night and day.
Soon after the end of the boycott, in the tenth year of prophethood, Abu Tāleb, the Prophet’s supportive uncle and the Prophet’s wife, Khadijah, both passed away. They had both been valuable companions noted for their loyalty, support and dedication. Throughout the years, Abu Tāleb, though not accepting Islam, was always there as an external supporter, protecting his nephew from attacks of the Quraysh. At the same time, Khadijah was always there as personal support, comforting and encouraging the Prophet during all his hardships.
Now that they had both died, the Prophet experienced great grief and sadness. Yet, despite these losses, he never gave up. He persevered on course, patiently inviting people to Islam, not minding the hardships he had to face for the cause of God.
The Journey to Ta’if
After Abu Taleb’s death, the Prophet suffered more than before. He was now without protection and open to attack and maltreatment.
When abuse at the hands of Quraysh became unbearable, the Prophet decided to go to Ta’if, a city near Makkah, to call the people to Islam. He first went to the leaders of Ta’if, but contrary to his expectation, they were very discourteous to him and refused to accept his message. They even incited a street mob to shout abuse at the Prophet and pelt him with stones until the Prophet’s body flowed with blood.
Even after such adversity, when the angels came to ask permission of the Prophet to crush the people of the city, he refused out of mercy, hoping that one day their children would embrace Islam.
The Miraculous Night Journey
On one very special night, the Prophet was taken by the Angel Gabriel from al-Masjed al-Haram in Makkah to al-Masjed al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. From there he ascended into the heavens. During this journey he saw many great signs of God and met many of His prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah.
During this night, God first made fifty prayers obligatory on Muslims each day. The Prophet kept asking God to reduce the number of prayers until He reduced it to five prayers daily. Out of His mercy, God declared that whoever performs their five prayers daily with sincerity, would have the reward of fifty prayers.
The next morning, the Prophet told the Quraysh what had happened. Of course, they did not believe him and rather took the opportunity to ridicule him. To further convince and persuade them, he gave them a detailed description of Jerusalem, a city he had never visited before. He even gave information of a caravan that he had seen on the way back to Makkah. Yet none of these descriptions were sufficient proof for the disbelieving Quraysh.
In the eleventh year of prophethood, while he was at Aqabah, he met a group of men from the city of Madinah (at that time known as Yathreb) and invited them to Islam. They were neighbours of the Jews and had heard mention of a Prophet who was about to come. After some deliberation they accepted his teachings and became Muslims.
The following year, twelve people from Madinah met the Prophet and gave him their pledge that they would believe in one God and worship Him alone. They also pledged that they would not steal or kill their children. This undertaking is known as the First Pledge of Aqabah.
The Prophet sent Mus’āb bin Umayr with them, a proficient reciter of the Qur’ān. He accompanied them to Madinah, preached Islam to the people, and led them in prayer.
The next year, Mus’āb returned to Makkah with seventy-three men and two women from Madinah. They all met with the Prophet, pledged their allegiance to him and promised to protect him and the other Muslims. This is known as the Second Pledge of Aqabah.
The Prophet's Migration
After the second pledge of Aqabah, the Prophet ordered the Muslims of Makkah to leave for Madinah. He could no longer tolerate their suffering at the hands of the Quraysh.
The emigration from Makkah to Madinah was not easy. The Quraysh put many obstacles to prevent the Muslims from leaving. Some were forced to leave their wives and children behind, and to travel alone. Others had to leave all of their wealth and belongings and travel empty handed.
On the 27th of Safar in the fourteenth year of prophethood, God granted permission to the Prophet to travel to Madinah. Abu Bakr, the Prophet’s close friend, accompanied him on this blessed and historical journey.
On the eve of that day, the Quraysh had gathered to make one final attempt to assassinate the Prophet. They agreed that each tribe would provide a young man and together they would attack the Prophet, each man striking a blow. God informed the prophet of this plot, and so he secretly left the house without the men of Quraysh noticing him.
Over the years, the Prophet had acquired such a reputation for honesty that even the disbelieving Quraysh would leave their valuables with him to look after. Before leaving, the Prophet charged Ali with the responsibility of returning all the properties to their rightful owners.
A New Beginning
The Prophet arrived in Madinah on Friday, the 12th of Rabi' al-Awwal and took the downstairs of Abu Ayyub’s dwelling as a temporary residence.
The Muslims were overjoyed at the arrival of the Prophet. It was the best thing that had ever happened to them. Young children were singing beautiful songs, welcoming the Prophet to their city.
From that day on, the town of Yathreb was known as Madinat an-Nabi, or the City of the Prophet.
The Prophet's journey from Makkah to Madinah – the Hijrah – was seen as a new beginning and a fresh opportunity to spread the message of Islam. The importance of this date was further amplified when the early Muslims decided to begin their calendar from the first year of the Hijrah.
Soon after his arrival, the Prophet helped in the building of a mosque, now known as al-Masjed an-Nabawi. The mosque was a meeting place for the faithful and a centre for all of their activities. After the mosque was built, the Prophet chose Bilal bin Rabah, known for his beautiful voice, to call the people to prayer.
The First Constitution
In Madinah, the Prophet became the Head of State. He established brotherhood between the emigrants (Muhājerīn) from Makkah and the Helpers (Ansār) of Madinah. The Ansār were so pleased to form a brotherhood that they were willing to divide all their possessions and give half to their Muhājer brothers.
The Prophet also made an agreement with the Jews, confirming their freedom to practice their faith and to live in peace. This accord is considered the first Constitution and Charter of Human Rights and Liberties. It guaranteed freedom, security and justice to every citizen.
During this period the Prophet put great emphasis on education. Men, women and children were taught all different aspects of faith and worship. He also stressed the importance of ethics and good manners, since he realised that a great city is not built by strong walls but rather by outstanding people. Thus, within a few years Madinah became the most honourable society ever known in human history.
The Battle of Badr
Even after the Muslims left Makkah, the Quraysh continued their hostility and waited for any opportunity to crush the young and fragile Muslim community. The Muslims realised that they could no longer allow aggression without any resistance. If they did not defend themselves, they would ultimately all be annihilated. The Prophet, who had practiced strict pacifism in Makkah for thirteen years and disliked the use of coercive force, was now given permission by God to defend against any attacks by his enemies.
The Qur'an declared: "Fighting has been prescribed for you and you detest it, but perhaps you detest something and in it is much good. And perhaps you love something and in it is much harm, and God knows and you do not know." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:216)
In the month of Ramadān, in the 2nd year after migrating, the Muslims fought the Quraysh of Makkah in a historical battle at Badr. The Muslims were only 313 in number, whilst the Quraysh army numbered more than a thousand and were fully equipped.
With the help of God, the Muslims were victorious in the battle. During the battle, some of the Quraysh men were taken as prisoners and later released. For the first time in history, prisoners of war were fed, looked after and treated humanely.
Among the captives were those who had nothing with which to ransom themselves. The Prophet allowed them to earn their freedom by teaching children to read and write.
During the following years, the Quraysh made several other attempts, including inciting wars, to destroy the new Muslims state, but the Muslims held strong and defended themselves with great courage and valour.
Marriage and Wives of the Prophet*
The Prophet was married to Khadija – 15 years his senior - before his prophethood. Indeed, she was his only wife for 25 years, and she passed away before the migration to Madinah. He remained unmarried for two years before he married his second wife, Sawdah bint Zam’ah ibn Qays, a widow from amongst the group who emigrated to Abyssinia. She was one of 12 wives that he married over a period of 7 years, when he was between 52 and 60 years.
Historians have given a details account of each marriage, including the reasons for them. Notably: (1) To cement the relations of the budding nation, (2) To teach Muslims compassion with women, (3) To offer a practical role model to Muslims.
*added by Tawakul
The Treaty of Hudaybeyah
In the sixth year after Hijrah, the Muslims left for Makkah with the intention of making the lesser pilgrimage (Umrah). The Muslims had come clad in white as pilgrims signifying that they had come in peace. Yet, the Quraysh refused the Muslims entry into Makkah and forced them to encamp at al-Hudaybeyah, on the outskirts of Makkah.
It was on this occasion that the Prophet made a truce with the Quraysh. The Treaty of Hudaybeyah stated that the Muslims would not be allowed to perform Umrah in that year but permission would be given for the following year. The two parties also agreed to abandon war and to live in peace for ten years. The prophet even conceded to return to Makah anyone who embraced Islam and agreed that anyone who left Madinah for Makkah would not be returned. Even though the terms of the treaty seemed to favour the Quraysh, eventually this was to be another triumph for Islam.
The Prophet took advantage of this period of peace with the Quraysh and sent letters to various rulers of neighbouring states, including the emperors of the two super-powers of the time, Persia and Byzantium, inviting them to Islam.
When Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, received the letter, he sent his men to find out all they could about the Prophet. Abu Sufyan, the Qurayshi leader who was still at that time an enemy of Islam, happened to be in Palestine on a business trip and was presented to the Emperor.
Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan several questions and after listening to his answers, remarked:
“I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family. In fact, all prophets come from noble families. I questioned you whether anybody else amongst you claimed such a thing, your reply was in the negative. If the answer had been yes, I would have thought that this man was imitating someone before him. Then I asked you, whether anyone of his family was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been yes, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his family’s kingdom.
I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies, and your reply was in the negative. I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about God. I then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. In fact, all the prophets have been followed by this very class of people.
Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing in number. You replied that they were increasing, and in fact, this is the way of true faith. I further asked you whether there was anyone who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and left this religion. Your reply was in the negative, and in fact, this is the sign of true faith. Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship God alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and that he ordered you to speak the truth.
If what you have said is true, he will very soon occupy this land under my feet. I knew from the scriptures that he was going to come, but I did not know that he would be from amongst you. If I could reach him, I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.”
The Conquest of Makkah
The Quraysh violated the terms of the Treaty of Hudaybeyah and supported enemies of the Prophet, therefore, on the morning of Friday, the 20th of Ramadān, in the eight year after Hijrah, the Prophet accompanied by an army of ten thousand entered Makkah and captured the city with hardly a single drop of blood being shed. The Prophet forgave all those who had up to then been bitter enemies of Islam and declared a general amnesty. He said: “Be at ease, and do not be afraid. I am not a king. I am only the son of a Qurayshi woman who used to eat meat dried in the sun.”
The Prophet then went into the Ka`bah and destroyed all the idols inside it. The Ka`bah was once again restored to the purpose for which it was built by Prophet Abraham, as a place to worship the one true God.
The victory of Makkah had a tremendous impact on the Arabs. It showed that Islam was indeed the religion of God and it paved the way for the whole of Arabia to accept the faith.
The Farewell Pilgrimage
In the tenth year after Hijrah, the Prophet entered Makkah for the last time to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) accompanied by 144,000 Muslims, men and women. The Prophet realized that his mission was coming to an end and that it was necessary to bid farewell to his loving companions.
On this occasion he gave a historic sermon in which he explained the principles of Islam. He said:
“O people, listen to my words carefully, for I know not after this year whether I shall ever meet you again at this place. O people! Your lives and your property are sacred until you meet your Lord, as are this place, this day and this month. Remember, you will indeed meet your Lord and answer for your deeds … You have your rights over your wives and they have rights over you … Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers … Listen carefully, O people, and understand well. I leave behind me two things which if you follow them, you will not go astray: the Qur’an and my Sunnah (example). O people! Listen to my words. Know that every Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim and that Muslims comprise one brotherhood.
O people, your Lord is One, and your father (Adam) is one. You must know that no Arab has superiority over a non-Arab, and no non-Arab has superiority over an Arab, nor a red man over a black man, nor a black man over a red, except in terms of what each person has of piety.”
The Prophet then faced the heavens and said: “Witness, O God, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people.”
On this occasion God revealed the following verse of the Qur’ān: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you as your religion al-Islam.” (Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:3)
The Death of the Prophet
The Prophet had now completed his work on earth and fulfilled his responsibility. The time had come for him to return to his Lord. On Monday the 12th of Rabi al-Awwal, at the age of 63, God the Almighty, reclaimed the soul of His beloved Messenger. The Prophet passed away in his home, with his family close by him. He was buried under the room in which he died in the city of Madinah.
He died on the same day he was born, in the same house he had lived in for ten years in Madinah, on a small bed made of leather stuffed with palm fibers, in the arms of his wife Aishah bint (daughter of) Abu Baker. His dying words were, "Treat your servants well. The prayer, the prayer, don’t be neglectful of the prayer. O God, [I have chosen] the exalted companionship."
The companions were greatly saddened, not only by the loss of their beloved Prophet but also because they knew there would be no further revelation from God. Some were so shocked that they denied that the Prophet had died. It was on this occasion that Abu Bakr, the close companion of the Prophet announced, “If anyone worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead. But whoever worships God, then know that God is the Ever-Living, who will never die.” He then recited the following verse of the Qur'an: “Muhammad is not but a messenger. Many messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed would you turn back on your heels [to disbelief]?” (Surah Aali-Imran 3:144)
When the Prophet passed away, Islam had spread to the entire Arabian Peninsula He left behind a message that remains as clear and alive today as when it was first delivered.