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Muhammad (pbuh)

Muhammad: A Bright Shining Light

(Taken from a presentation given at the ISGOC's open house: Fall, 2004)

MUHAMMAD IBIN ABDULLAH

Muhammad (son of) Abdullah was born 570 years after Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). Muhammad (pbuh) is viewed as God's final Prophet sent to humanity in a long line of Prophets who taught the same message and way of life; that is "Obedience to God and Peace in surrendering to His will". Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the decedent of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) through Ishmael, his firstborn son. We are taught that Almighty God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham that all the Prophet that would follow him would be from his "seed" (i.e. of the offspring of his sons). As it says in His Glorious Resitation: "And I (God) sent Noah and Abrahom, and established in their line (offspring) Prophethood and Revelation..." (Holy Qur'an 57:26). This covenant was fulfilled with the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Below is a chart of the family tree of God's Prophets.

Apart from all previous Prophets & Messengers of God, one unique characteristic and honor that was given to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is that he was sent to ALL OF HUMANITY. There are at least 20 verses in the Holy Qur'an where it was revealed to him that this was a universal message for all people. All of the Prophets that came before were sent specifically to a particular Nation or Tribe. For example, the Prophet Noah (pbuh) was sent to a certain group of People. The Prophet Lot (pbuh) was sent to his assigned people. The Prophet Jonah (pbuh) was sent to a specific nation in Babylon. God's Messenger Moses (pbuh) was sent as a deliverer and Law giver to the Children of Israel, and up to the time of the Messiah Jesus (pbuh) whom God chose as the last Prophet who would be sent exclusively to the house, or nation of Bani Israel (i.e. the Children of Israel) - as it is still recorded in the Gospel Documents: "He (Jesus) answered, " I was sent ONLY to the lost sheep of Israel" [The Bible NIV] (Matthew 15:24) " However, the Prophets Muhammads mission was not limited to just to Jews, but to Gentiles; Not just to Arabs, but to non-Arabs; not just to Blacks, but to Whites. To all the nations of the world was he called.

The Holy Qur'an (21:105-108)

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful:
105. "And before this I (God) have written in the Psalms (of David), after the Message (that was given) before (to Moses):That indeed it will be My Servants, the Righteous, who shall inherit the earth.

106. And truly in this, (which I have revealed to You) is a clear Message to those who would worship (Me alone).

107. And I have not sent you, (Oh Muhammad), except as a Mercy for the Whole World".

108. And Say this to them: "It has been revealed to me that your god is ONE God. Will you then submit yourself to Him?"

 

The second unique characteristic that was given to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) other than him being sent to all to ALL MANKIND is that he is the FINAL PROPHET, or "Capstone" Prophet (Matthew 21:42-44) - the final stone in the house of Prophethood and the Seal of all of God's previous Prophets & Messengers (Holy Qur'an 33:40). The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) referred to all of the Prophets that preceeded him as his Brothers. He said, "We (the Prophets) are all Brothers with the same Father (i.e. the same religion/faith) and different Mothers (of different Nations)". A third unique charateristic that was given to the Prophet (pbuh) that no previous Prophet had is that he was "Unlearned", meaning that he was illiterate - could not read or write, as God's final revelation and "Book" remained sealed as it was destined to be given to the Unlettered or Unlearned Prophet: (see the Bible - Isaiah 29:11-12).

Yet with such a disadvantage, the Prophet Muhammad's success and influence is unparrelled when compared with that of all other leaders, social reformers, politician, and spiritual revolutionarys in all time. He is viewed as the most extraordinary single human figure in human history. He has been deemed by both Muslims and Non-Muslims alike to be of the most influential people and greatest leaders in human history. And he is certainly to Muslims, the last and greatest of all the Prophets who is the best example to follow in every aspect of life. Fortunately for us, throughout history, he is the only Prophet and person whose entire life has been recorded in minute detail. His actions, words and feelings have been carefully written down in their entirety, giving us almost an actual portrait of a living person. So, what is his legacy? What kind of effect did he have on the people with whom he interacted with, and what lasting impacts has he had on the world today that we can see? His impact upon humanity today is represented the hearts and minds of 1 billion 500 million Muslims currently living on the planet earth.


His life started very simple, as a young orphaned boy growing up in the desert town of Mecca. His first trade was that of a shepherd, all too familiar work as it seemed for those destined to fulfill the role of prophet hood. He had no ambitions of becoming world leader, he did not aspired to be a statesman or a politician, had no dreams of conquest nor plans of becoming the greatest spiritual revolutionary of all time. He lived a very humble existence, as he was uneducated and illiterate, yet one day a book would come to him that would flow from his lips forever changing the world we life in. As a youth, he was quite poor, but from a noble family that descended directly from Ishmael, the firstborn son of the Prophet Abraham (pbuh). The people of Mecca saw him as the most generous of people as well as the most truthful in speech. His honesty and integrity were known by everyone, earning him the title, Al-Amin, which means The Trustworthy. People in Mecca both rich and poor alike called him by this name. And it was the result of his honest character that got the attention of the noble woman of Mecca named Khadija, who asked his hand in marriage and stood by his side tell she died. Abdullah ibn Salam a Jewish Rabbi and Scholar attested to the truthfulness of Muhammad's demeanor. Upon meeting the Prophet (pbuh) he became overwhelmed by the light and the deep meaning he felt in his face. Impressed, he said: "A person who has such a face cannot be a liar". This was likewise, the people of Mecca's view of Muhammad (pbuh) prior to him even being commissioned to preach the Message of Islam, that of honesty and truthfulness. Yet it was years later, as a mature man at the age of 40 when Muhammad (pbuh) would receive his first revelation. It was one nigh, during the month of Ramadan while he was praying in a cave in "Jabal An-Nur" or the Mountain of Light, also known as Mount Paran, the Arch Angel Gabriel descended upon Muhammad (pbuh) revealing to him the very first verses of the Qur'an.

The Holy Qur'an (96:1-5)

1. "Read! (or recite), in thy Lord who Created"

2. "Who Created Mankind from Al-Alaq (i.e. embryo)"

3. "Read! (or recite), for thy Lord is most Bountiful"

4. "Who teaches Man by the Pen"

5. "Who teaches Man that which he knew not"

And it was not to long after that, when Muhammad (pbuh) was commanded to convey the message to his people and make it public. The message of the worshiping God alone, the message of Peace through submitting to His will.

Muhammad's first Public Call to Islam:
They offered him riches; kingdom over Mecca, anything that he desired if would cease preaching his message, the message of the prophets, the message of "Hear O People, the Lord Our God is ONE Lord". It is this phrase, La ilaha ill Allah, There is no deity, nothing worthy of worship, serving of obeying, except Allah/God, and that He is alone without any partner or associate that caused so much enmity and persecution for the early Muslims in Mecca. And this message was the very same message that all the previous prophet taught, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus (peace be upon them all) - [more on Jesus]
So you have Muhammad (pbuh) leading a normal life for the first forty years and then all of a sudden he become a political leader, military leader, religions leader, head of a large household, lawmaker, teacher, Imam, and go on, and on, and on, in the list of things that Muhammad (pbuh) used to do. All of that was done in 23 years. How could this be? Which leads me to my next point. Muhammad (pbuh) is considered to be to Muslims the Greatest human being who ever lived. And whatever benchmark you want to use for greatness he will still come out the greatest.


How do Muslims feel about Muhammad?
To the faithful in Islam he is simply the most loved and honored person in the world. From our view, over all of humanity, no man is more beloved or dearer to his followers than the Prophet Muhammad is (pbuh). There is no one in history that had a nation of followers love him like Muslim love Muhammad (pbuh).
His name is the most common name in the world. There is no other person in history that had so many people name themselves after him like Muhammad (pbuh). His name is the most frequently mentioned name. Around the clock there is someone calling to prayer and mentioning the name of Muhammad (pbuh) - around the clock. Cause Muslim now are worldwide, so in every time zone you have Muslims. So in every minute of the day there will be a Caller to prayer that is saying: "I declare that there is nothing to be worshiped but God, and I declare that Muhammad is His Messenger". And by the way, the name Muhammad means the praised one, and there is no human that is praised like Muhammad (pbuh) - I mean his name really fulfilled its meaning. He is the praised one, he is always praised; whenever Muslims hear his name, what do we say: "SalAllahu 'alayi wa sallam", which means, "Oh God, cover him with your grace and honor; and bring your Peace upon him. Over five times every day there are over a billions Muslims that end each prayer by saying, "Oh God, send blessing upon Muhammad, and his family and followers, just as you sent blessings upon Abraham and his family and followers. So, you can clearly see the level of respect and honor he holds in the lives of Muslims.

Muhammad in the Bible

Special Powerpoint Presentation available for download coming Soon!

What do notable non-Muslims say about Muhammad?

Just who was Muhammad? According to all accounts, which are authentic and accepted by all Muslim scholars, up until the age of forty he was known to his people as a decent man. He was not a statesman, a preacher, or an orator. He was never seen discussing principles or theories associated with metaphysics, ethics, law, politics, economics, or sociology. He possessed an excellent character, charming manners, and was highly cultured. But his characteristics are not so deeply striking and so radically extraordinary that people would expect something great and revolutionary from him in the future. Before forty, he led a life void of ambition for greatness, or aspirations for conquest with leadership, honor and praise of humanity. As a youth he spent his days, hour after hour, shepherding sheep in the dessert wilderness of Arabia. So what led him to forever change the world as we know it? What made the person of Muhammad so incomparably successful and triumphant? Was it the message he taught? What made his Light shine so brightly, effecting all who came in contact with him. Was it his Message? The message that humanity's purpose is to live a life of gratitude, to show thanks to God for his endless favors A path of obedience and worship of the creator alone; that Salvation is in submitting our wills to the will of the Almighty (i.e. Islam). His message was not new. To the oneness of God he called. He taught the belief in Moses, Jesus Christ, and all of the other Prophets of God as a basic requirement of the Islamic Faith. Is it not an incontrovertible proof of his prophethood that, despite being unlettered (illiterate) and having led a very normal and quiet life for forty years, that all of Arabia stood in awe and wonder of his wonderful eloquence and oratory (i.e. his speech, which was the Qur'an) when he began to preach Islam? It was so matchless that legions of Arab poets, preachers, and orators of the highest caliber failed to produce a composition that could compare with or equal it. And, above all, how could he state scientific truths that would not be known to the rest of humanity for centuries and that he could not learn about in any other way except through divine revelation. Now to avoid any possible bias, let's hear what those of other faiths have said about Muhammad (pbuh). Below is a list of the sayings of several of the worlds greatest thinkers, scholars and in various fields of academics in the West. Let's see what they have said about this extraordinary man.

 

Lamartine, the world famous French Author and Statesmen has the following to say about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):

"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modem history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers, which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislation, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then-inhabited world; and more than that he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls.... His forbearance in victory, his ambition which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire, his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death-all these attest not to an imposture, but to a firm conviction, which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was two fold: the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with the words. Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he."

Lamartine: (History of the Turks, Paris 1854,Vol II p.276). Lamartine also said:

(Painting of Lamartine, Alphonse Louis)

 

George Bernard Shaw, of the greatest playwrights that ever lived had the following to say about Muhammad (pbuh):

"I believe that if a man like him were to assume the leadership of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring to this world much needed peace and happiness." Bernard Shaw: (The genuine Islam, Vol. I P. 8)

(Photograph of George Bernard Shaw)


"He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as a divine law and not as a human being, made for education or entertainment." (Divan, WA I, 7, 32)

(Portrait of the famous Historian Divan)

 

American author Michael H. Hart, out of his ranking Top 100 Worlds most successful, most influential, and greatest people who have ever lived has ranked the Prophet Muhammad to be the NUMBER ONE. He says:
"My Choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history." Michael H. Hart: (The Greatest 100 Influential Persons in History, NY. 1978, p.33)

(The Book of the 100 Greatest by Michael H. Hart)

Other notable author are quoted below:

"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 Madina 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 is 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 honors 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."

- Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay History of the Saracen Empire, London 1870, p 54.

"He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue. If ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports."

- Bosworth Smith Mohammad and Mohammadanism, London 1874, p 92.

"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. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher."

- Annie Besant The Life and Teachings of Muhammad, Madras 1932, p 4

"His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement all argue his fundamental integrity To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad."

- W Montgomery Watt Mohammad At Mecca, Oxford, 1953, p 52.

"Muhammad, the inspired man who founded Islam, was born about AD. 570 into an Arabian tube that worshipped idols. Orphaned at birth, he was always particularly solicitous of the poor and needy the widow and the orphan, the slave and the downtrodden. At twenty he was already a successful businessman, and soon became director of camel caravans for a wealthy widow. When he reached twenty-five his employer, recognizing his meet, proposed marriage. Even though she was fifteen years older, he married her, and as long as she lived remained a devoted husband. Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God's word, sensing his own inadequacy But the angel commanded Read'. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There is one God." In all things Muhammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred, and rumors of God's personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to have announced,' An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human-being." At Muhammad's own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: 'If there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you worshipped, He lives for ever'."

James A. Michene~ "Islam: The Misunderstood Religion," Reader's Digest (American ea.) May 1955, pp. 68-70.

Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad?

The "Sunnah" of the Prophet means his WAY or EXAMPLE


"Sunnah" of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are:

  • The teachings, sayings-(Hadiths) & practices of Prophet Muhammad
  • "Accurately reported & collected by his devoted companions.
  • It explains & elaborates the verses of the Qur'an.

Some examples of his saying are:

  • "God has no mercy on one who has no mercy for others."
  • "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
  • "He who eats his fill while his neighbor goes without food is not a believer."
  • "Powerful is not he who knocks the other down, indeed powerful is he who controls himself in a fit of anger."
  • "God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances but He scans your hearts & looks into your deeds."

Short Summary if his Life

Before the first Revelation:

  • Descendant of Ishmael, the first son of Abraham
  • Born in Mecca, Arabia, 570 years after Christ
  • He was (not learned)- illiterate could not read or write
  • As a youth he worked as a Shepherd of Sheep
  • He was know for his good character and honesty
  • The people in Mecca called him Al-Amin, which meant: "The Trustworthy".

Years in Mecca:

  • " Received first revelation at the age 40 through the Arch Angel Gabriel.

Years in Medina:

  • (Provide picture)
  • Under intense persecution, he and his followers migrated to the city of Medina.
  • He died in the year 632 CE, after preaching Islam for 23 years.
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