Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Who was the Prophet Muhammad?

Published:Saturday | July 14, 2018 | 12:07 AMPaul H. Williams/Gleaner Writer

Islam is an eastern religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century in Arabia. 'Islam' is an Arabic word meaning 'surrender'. It espouses the fundamental religious idea that the believer, called a Muslim, accepts surrender to the will of Allah (God), who is viewed as the sole God, creator, sustainer and restorer of the world.

This, The Testimony of Faith, is regarded as the first of the Five Pillars of Islam, and it says that "none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and Muhammad is His slave and Messenger". Everyone, thus, must submit to the will of Allah, the creator of all that exists. Also, believers must obey the Messenger in what he ordered, believe in everything he said, refrain from what he has prohibited and warned against, and worship Allah through what the Messenger has legislated.

 

THE WILL OF ALLAH

 

The will of Allah, to which everybody must submit, is made known through the sacred scriptures called the Quran, which Allah has revealed to Muhammad, who is regarded the last in a series of prophets, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon and Jesus. His message, it is said, encompasses and completes the revelations attributed to earlier prophets. But who was Muhammad before he founded Islam?

He was born in the year 571 as Abul-Qasim Muhammad, the son of Addullah, in Makkah (Mecca), Saudi Arabia, in the Arab tribe of Quraish. His father died before his birth, and his mother died shortly after he was born. He was raised by an uncle and did not learn to read and write.

As a youngster, he was known to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, generous, and sincere. The religious youth was called 'The Trustworthy' and 'The Truthful' by his people. At the age of 40, Muhammad received his first revelation from Allah through the angel Gabriel. He attracted a small group of followers in Makkah as he revealed the messages of Allah.

Muhammad and his followers were persecuted by those who did not believe what he was revealing. The persecution intensified to the point where he and his followers fled in 622 to the city of Madinah (Medina), located about 260 miles to the north of Makkah. For eight years, he remained in Madinah, where he called people to Islam. They accepted, and other revelations were made.

When he returned to Makkah, the persecution ended, and the people embraced Islam. The 23 years of revelations from Allah became collectively known as the Quran, Islam's holy book.

Before Muhammad died at the age of 63, the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula had become Muslim. In only a few decades, Islam rapidly spread to the east and to parts of Europe and Africa and is today the second-most-practised religion in the world.

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