A Glimpse at the Life of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.)

A Glimpse at the Life of the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.)

By Maulana Ali Naqi Naqvi

Name and Genealogy
Amongst the progeny of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) (Abraham) was Prophet Ishaq (AS) (Issac) whose descendants were Bani Israil (the tribe of Jews). In this tribe were born the Prophets Musa (AS) (Moses), Isa (AS) (Jesus) and many others. One of the twelve sons of lsmail (AS), the other son of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS), was Qaidar whose descendants came to reside in Hijaz. Amongst them Adnan was the most famous. The Prophet of Islam belonged to this pedigree. His genealogy upto Adnan is as follows:
Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib bin Hashim bin Abd-e-Munaf bin Qusayy bin Kilab bin Murrah bin Kaab bin Luayy bin Ghalib bin Fihr bin Malik bin Nazar bin Kinana bin Khuzaima bin Mudrika bin Ilyas bin Muzir bin Nazar bin Maad bin Adnan
Of them the descendants of Nazar bin Kinana were called Quraish. The Prophet’s (SAW) mother was Amina bint-e-Wahab bin Abd-e-Munaf, This means that the Prophet (AS) belonged to the distinguished tribe of Quraish both from the side of mother and of father.

The year 570 A.D., in which Abraha, the Abyssinian, attacked Kaaba with an army of elephants, was named by the Arabs as Aamul Fee! (The year of elephants). It was in this year that the Prophet (SAW) was born in Makkah on Friday, the 17 th Rabi-ul Awwal.

As recorded in history, it is unanimously reported that the Prophet (SAW) was deprived of the protection of his father very early. His father Abdullah died when, according to some. He was still in the womb of his mother or as other reports say. He was of two months, or of seven months, or of two years or of two years and four months, which is the longest period mentioned in the traditions. As historians differ in the determination of his age at the time of his father’s death, a satisfactory decision in this regard is difficult to make. The intensity of sorrow increases alt the more when we find that he lost his loving mother also at the age of six. It seems that it was the Will of Providence that the man who was to shower his love and compassion on the entire world should himself be deprived of the affection of his parents in his childhood.

Haleema was that fortunate lady from the tribe of Bani Saad who was engaged as his wet-nurse. During this period she kept him in her village. Thereafter, he lived with his mother till the age of six. After the demise of his mother his grand father. Abdul Muttalib took him into his care and brought him up with greater care and love than his own off springs. After two years he also expired. In his last moments his only anxiety was the protection and safely of this child who, he was sure. would in future attain a high and prominent position in the world. When he lost all hopes of his life he called his son Abu Talib (AS) and entrusted Muhammad (SAW) ‘ to his charge. He had other sons older than Abu Talib (AS) but he had an inner perception that none of them would look after Muhammad (SAW) with as much care as Abu Talib (AS). Abu Talib justified the trust reposed in him and to the last breath of his life helped and supported the Prophet (SAW), thus fulfilling the commitment he had made to his esteemed father at the last stage of his life. From then onwards, that is. when the Prophet (SAW) was eight years old. his uncle Abu Talib (AS) continued to bestow greater love on him till the end of his life than on his own children. His aunt Fatima bint-e-Asad, the wife of Abu Talib (AS), also gave him as much affection as he would have got from his own mother. That is why on the demise of Fatima binl-e-Asad the Prophet (SAW) uttered the following words. “She was like my mother after my own mother.”

First Journey to Syria
When the Prophet (SAW) was twelve years old Hazrat Abu Talib (AS) undertook a journey to Syria for business purpose and the Prophet (SAW) also accompanied him. It was during this journey that a Christian monk named Buhaira saw him and finding in him all the signs as mentioned in the old divine scriptures declared him a future Prophet and also that he was destined to attain great power in coming years. This chance meeting with Buhaira in the course of the journey was a very brief one and there is not a single tradition, even of dubious origin, saying that he had stayed there for some lime.

Participation in Hilful Fazal
When the Prophet (SAW) was twelve years old Hazrat Abu Talib (AS) undertook a journey to Syria for business purpose and the Prophet (SAW) also accompanied him. It was during this journey that a Christian monk named Buhaira saw him and finding in him all the signs as mentioned in the old divine scriptures declared him a future Prophet and also that he was destined to attain great power in coming years. This chance meeting with Buhaira in the course of the journey was a very brief one and there is not a single tradition, even of dubious origin, saying that he had stayed there for some lime.

Journey on Business
When the Prophet (SAW) was twenty-five years old he went to Syria on a business trip with the merchandise belonging to Khadija bint-e-Khwaylid. This venture proved so successful that the profit earned this year was the double of what she used to get in the previous years

In connection with the business transactions the admirable behaviour, the honesty and integrity, the lofty personality and noble qualities of the Prophet (SAW) deeply impressed Khadija. At the same lime Khadija’s fairness in business dealings and her upright character had much weight in the eyes of the Prophet. Consequently, when a suggestion was made to him to propose to Khadija for marriage the only excuse he put forward was that she was very rich in comparison to him and therefore she may not agree. But when he was assured of her consent, he readily agreed to propose to her. As expected, Khadija gave her consent immediately- A suitable date was accordingly fixed for the marriage. On behalf of Khadija her uncle Amr bin Asad and, from the side of the Prophet (SAW), his uncle Abu Talib (AS) – performed the marital rites. Although Khadija was much older than the Prophet (SAW), he had so much respect for her excellent nature and manners that he never even thought of having a second wife in her lifetime.

Sublime Character
The Arabs, on the basis of their actual experience, were so much impressed by the Prophet’s (SAW) general bearing right from childhood to adolescence that they unanimously admitted to his being honest and trustworthy and promptly conferred on him the titles of Ameen (The Trustworthy) and Sadiq (The Truthful One) and began to place their belongings in trust with him. Besides, they also highly valued his advice in respect of important matters. Hence, when during the repair work of the Kaaba a contention arose between the various tribes in respect of having the honour of fixing the Hajar-e-Aswud (Black Stone) in its place it was resolved amicably through the sagacious suggestion of the Prophet (SAW).

Call to Mission
The Prophet (SAW) was forty years old when, on the 27′ h of Rajab, he was called upon to propagate his divine mission. He was practically appointed as the carrier of the Divine Message as the Prophet of God he first of all conveyed his Message to his life partner. Khadija bint-e-Khwaylid. who accepted it with all sincerity. His cousin Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) , who was always in his company and had already witnessed the lofty manifestations of his prophethood, became the foremost believer in his divine mission. Thereafter this call spread to others day by day and people began joining his fold one by one. But so far the message of Islam was conveyed only to selected people secretly as the opportune lime for the propagation of Islam openly had not yet arrived. Those converted to Islam were also directed to perform their religious rites secretly and avoid publicity.

The Asheera Feast
After preaching the message of Islam secretly for three years, the next stage arrived with the divine direction to convey the message to his relatives. The Prophet (SAW) directed Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) to make arrangement for a banquet. In this banquet all the distinguished personalities of Quraish were invited. After the banquet the Prophet” stood up and said: “I have brought for you something, which is sure to guarantee your welfare in this world as well as in the next. I am enjoined (by God) to call upon mankind to believe in the Oneness of God and reform their conduct. Who amongst you is prepared to cooperate with me in this mission so that he may be my companion, my legatee and my successor?” Complete silence prevailed over the gathering. No body uttered a word. Only a courageous child stood up and said: “I shall ever be your helper in this mission.” This child was Ali ibne Abi Talib who had been. in practice- already helping him. Now he was again- in this way. repealing his vow of loyalty before the gathering. The Prophet (SAW) put his hand on the shoulder of Ali and declared, “Now he is my companion, my legatee and my successor.”

Sufferings and Hardships
Henceforward the Prophet (SAW) openly began to preach to the Quraish the worship of One God and to denounce idolatry publicly. The Quraish got ready to harm him but they felt helpless owing to the personality of Abu Talib (AS) who was his protector. At last some distinguished persons from the Quraish collectively met Abu Talib (AS) and bitterly complained against the Prophet SA . They asked him either to stop his nephew or leave him alone so that they could deal with him suitably. Abu Talib (AS) mentioned this to the Prophet (SAW) who said: “Even if these people put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand, I will not refrain from speaking the truth.” Accordingly, Abu Talib (AS) replied to them in clear terms refusing to acquiesce to their demands. This infuriated them all the more and they began particularly to torture the poor Muslims who had accepted the new faith.

First Migration
In the fifth year of Besat (year of call to the new faith) there was a tremendous increase in the atrocities on Muslims. The Prophet (SAW) told his companions lo migrate to Abyssinia . Accordingly, a large number of Muslims left Makkah for that country. The leader of these migrants was Hazrat Jafar bin Abi Talib who also ably performed the duty of interpreting the teachings of Islam and propagating the faith in the court of the Christian ruler. The king and all his nobles and courtiers, deeply impressed by his presentation, were convinced of the greatness of Islam and thereafter the Muslim migrants lived there in peace and tranquility.

The Prophet’s (SAW) attitude towards his daughter
It was on account of the excellent qualities of Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) that the Prophet (SAW) had extreme affection for her and showed such respect to her as no father ever does to his daughter. One demonstration of his love for her was that whenever he went out for a battle, Fatima Zahra (SA) was the last person to whom he would bid farewell. Likewise, when he came back he made it a point to see her first. Another example of the respect and esteem which the Prophet (SAW) had for Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) was that whenever she came to see the Prophet (SAW) he used to stand up in veneration for her and make her sit in his place. Except Hazrat Fatima Zahra (SA) , there was no one to whom the Prophet (SAW) paid such respect.

The Siege
When the pagans of Makkah came to know of the success of the Muslim migrants in Abyssinia their animosity and envy knew no bounds. They unanimously decided to completely boycott Bani Hashim, having no marital relations with them nor any commercial transactions. Even the supply of necessities of life, such as food and water, was not allowed. Finding no other way out Abu Talib (AS) shifted the Prophet (SAW) to a safe and strong fortress like dwelling of his own situated in a valley. This happened in the seventh year of Besat. The siege lasted for three years. During this period the Prophet (SAW) and, along with him the entire clan of Bani Hashim- had to face intense suffering and hardship; so much so that very often they had to go without food and water for long stretches of times . The boycott ended after three years and then these people could come out of the fortress.

Two Great Shocks
It was very unfortunate that Abu Talib (AS) died only two months after the end of the siege i.e.. in the tenth year of Besat. Thirty-five days later, Khadija bint-e-Khwaylid also expired. The Prophet (SAW) was much grieved by the demise of these two loving persons and hence he used to refer to that year as Aamul Huzn (The year of grief).

Journey to Taif
After the demise of Abu Talib (AS) the atrocities perpetrate by the Quraish increased manifold. His native land turned into thorny place for him. Moreover, he was also in search of suitable place for the propagation of Islam. He, therefore undertook the Journey to Taif, without any viaticum an accompanied only by Haresa not only to seek refuge but also t invite the people to the righteous cause. He stayed at this flourishing locality for ten days and delivered the message of Islam to every individual. But, alas. this fertile land also proved to be barren for enlightenment. Not only there was no favourable response to the Prophet’s (SAW) call, the people did not even allow him to stay there. They even pelted stones at him- Ultimately he returned back to Makkah. But all these obstacles could not deter him from striving continuously for the divine cause.

Meeting with Ansar
Traditionally fairs were held every year in Makkah at Mujinna and Ukaz. On these occasions tribes from different places used to gather there- The Poets of Arabia recited their panegyric verses and traders sold their merchandise, in these fairs the Prophet (SAW) would deliver the message of Oneness of God to the Arab tribes and exhort them to support him in his mission- But the call of truth touches only such hearts that are endowed with the quality of receptivity. While most of the tribal people, instead of promising help, ridiculed him and even tried to harm him. a small group of people from Yathrib was impressed by the call- They accepted the faith and promised to help him. ‘this was the first group of Ansar who had the honour of accepting Islam. Thereafter, they returned to their city and conveyed the message of Islam to the people there. A number of people reposed trust in the Prophet (SAW) even though they had not seen him. The following year twelve persons from among them came and met the Prophet (SAW) and learnt from him the tenets of Islamic faith. In the third year seventy persons had this honour. By now Islam had spread in Madinah to a sufficient extent and people began embracing Islam in large numbers. Most of them entered the fold of Islam simply by being impressed by its teachings, without having had the privilege of having seen the blessed face of the Prophet (SAW).

Migration to Madinah
Hearing about the success of Islam in Yathrib (Madinah) the people of Makkah got all the more incensed. They began torturing Muslims beyond endurance. Ultimately the Prophet (SAW) allowed them to migrate to Yathrib. Gradually most of the Muslims left Makkah. Only the Prophet (SAW) Hazrat Ah Murtaza and a few other Muslims were left in Makkah- Now the polytheists of Makkah were convinced that the Prophet (SAW) had got a safe haven in Yathrib and that he himself would try to be there very soon. They feared that in that event he would gain considerable strength to resist them. Therefore, they gathered in Dar-un-nadwa (meeting place) for consultation- ‘there it was resolved to besiege his house and put an end to his life. The news reached the Prophet (SAW) and he decided to let Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) lie down on his bed while he himself would secretly leave Makkah for Madinah. Accordingly, Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib, risking his own life, rested on the Prophet’s (SAW) bed and the Prophet s] left for Madinah hiding himself from his enemies. This important event is called Hijrat and henceforth commenced the Hijri calendar of Muslims. Since then on thousands three hundred and eighty years’ have elapsed .

The Construction of Prophet’s Mosque
The first thing that the Prophet (SAW) did on arriving at Madinah was the construction of Masjide Nubvi. (Prophet’s (SAW) Mosque). He himself participated in the construction work bringing stones along with others. In the beginning only a boundary wall of a man’s height was built. But when he people offering Namaz felt the inconvenience of heat. a sunshade made of the branches of trees was put up. But he did not agree to build a proper roof in spite of the repeated requests by his companions. Small houses were built around the Mosque for his relatives and other needy companions whose doors opened within the mosque. Later, with the exception of that of the house of Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) . the doors of ail others opening in the mosque were closed. All entry and exit was now from the outside.

When the Quraish came to know that the Prophet (SAW) had reached Madinah safely and that his faith was spreading rapidly, the world was all dark in their eyes. In league with the Jews of Madinah. they began to try to crush this rising power. Consequently, the Prophet (SAW) had to fight several battles against the pagans from amongst the Quraish and the Jews. On important occasions, the Prophet (SAW) himself accompanied the Islamic army. Such battles are called Ghuzwas. The battles, in which the Islamic forces were headed by one of the Prophet’s companions, are known as Saraya. The total number of Ghazwas is twenty-six. Out of these Badr. Uhud, Khandaq, Khaibar and Hunain are very well known. The number of Saraya is thirty-six of which the battle of Mutah in which Jafar bin Abi Talib attained martyrdom, is most famous.

Treaty of Hudabiya
After the battles of Badr and Uhud the infidels of Makkah did not indulge in any warlike activity for sometime. Then in the sixth year of Hijrah the Prophet (SAW) decided to proceed on pilgrimage to Makkah. Accordingly, he started for Makkah wit a group of Muslims. When the Quraish came to know of the arrival of the Prophet (SAW) they came out of Makkah to stop him from proceeding further- saying that they would not tolerate the entry of the Prophet (SAW) into the city of Makkah . Against the aggressive attitude of the Makkans the Prophet (SAW) adopted a conciliatory posture and had a written peace treaty with them. The writer of this treaty was Hazrat Ali ibne Abi Talib (AS) and its terms were as follows:-
1.     This year the Prophet (SAW) shall go back along with hi followers without performing Haj;
2.     There shall be no fighting between the two sides for the next ten years;
3.     If a resident of Makkah goes to the side of Muslims it will be obligatory on the latter to send him back;
4.     If a Muslim runs away and goes to the infidels he shall not be sent back;
5.     A11 the tribes of Arabia shall have the liberty either to enter into an agreement with the Prophet (SAW) or with the Makkans;
6.     The next year Muslims shall have the right to enter Makkah for pilgrimage but they shall not slay mere for more than three days;
The Muslims, on that occasion, could come with their traveling weapons, i.e. swords but these shall be in the scabbards. A few Muslims exhibited their anger on the unjust terms of the treaty. But the Prophet (SAW) agreed to these conditions so that no body could blame him for any aggressive action. After signing the peace treaty on the above terms the Prophet (SAW) left Makkah for Madinah. In accordance with the terms of the agreement the Prophet (SAW) went to Makkah in the following year for the performance of Ha rites and stayed there only for three days as agreed upon and thereafter returned to Madinah.

The Conquest of Makkah
After a short period of time the Makkans went back on the terms of the agreement entered into with the Prophet (SAW). The people of the tribe of Baker who were the allies of the infidels massacred the tribe of Khuzaah. the allies of the Muslims. When the news readied the Prophet (SAW) he immediately started for Makkah with ten thousand men and on arriving near the city, camped outside it. The infidels had no strength left for combat and they thought it proper to surrender. The Prophet (SAW) entered Makkah as a victor in the month of Ramzan. 8 A.H. After this the mercy and compassion shown by the Prophet (SAW) was worth seeing. The people at whose hands the Prophet (SAW) had suffered so much and owing to whom he had to leave his hearth and home were all pardoned for their misdeeds. When people were swearing allegiance to him he asked them what treatment they expected from him? Their reply was: “We expect nothing but good from you. You are our generous cousin and the son of a generous father.” ‘the Prophet ” said: “Go. You are free” The world was astonished to find that after their outwardly acceptance of Islam the Prophet 5 ‘ unconditionally pardoned Abu Sufyan along with his wife Hinda (who had chewed the liver of his uncle Hazrat Hamzah (AS) after his martyrdom). Wahshi (who had killed Hazrat Hamzah). Akramah. the son of Abu Jahl and many others who had inflicted great pains to and committed heinous crimes against the Muslims. After the conquest the Prophet (SAW) stayed in Makkah for one and a half-month and laid down such doctrines for the governance of the Stale which even today can serve as guidelines for the civilized nations.

The Last Pilgrimage
In the 10 th year of Hijrah the Prophet (SAW) performed the last pilgrimage of his life. He went through the Haj rites with great elegance in the company of thousands of Muslims. On his return journey he delivered a memorable and historical sermon at a place called Ghadeer-e-Khum in the presence of thousands of Muslims of different parts of the land. In this Sermon he broke the painful news of the approaching time of his departure from this world and asked them whether or not he had greater authority over them as compared to their own selves. When all of them admitted that he had greater authority over them. then holding the hand of Hazrat Ali (AS) he raised him before the congregation and declared: “Ali” shall have the same authority over you as I have In this way he proclaimed the name of his successor after him. The entire congregation of Muslims expressed its happiness and satisfaction at this declaration and Ali (AS) was generally acknowledged as the Prophet’s (SAW) successor.

The Fundamentals of his teachings , His Nature and Manners
The essence of the teachings of the Prophet (SAW) of Islam was to divert the attention of all human beings from the confines o materialism towards an invisible Power before whom all men have equal status. Oneness of the Creator and the equality o status of His creations were the two chief corner stones o which was raised the edifice of the rights of Allah and the rights of the people. In human history it was for the first time that civil an human rights were uniformly conferred on the people in general of which they were previously deprived on the basis of race, colour, gender and indigency. it abolished all the previous distinctions of superiority and status and laid down a new measure for real honour. According to this, greatness I achieved only through noble deeds and righteous conduct. One who discharges human obligations best is superior to all others. He laid great emphasis on virtues of manners and good conduct. He used to say that he had been sent to improve and make perfect the manners and morals of the people. He himself was the embodiment of excellent morals and noble disposition. In spite of the fact that he was the head of such a vast multitude of the followers of Islam he used to sit side by side with the destitute of Madinah and partake food with them. He used to pass night after night in the worship of God so much so that hi legs would get swollen. The day was passed meeting with the Arab tribes and delegations from various cities. Problems were sorted out and disputes were settled. An English historian(Bosworth Smith) has written: “We cannot find in the annals of history one person like Muhammad discharging three duties at lime. He laid the foundation of a nation, introduced a new system of governance and established a new faith. You cannot find any such example elsewhere.” At the same time he never liked to be called or regarded as a king. He was always very emphatic in denying it. Once a man came to the Prophet (SAW) As he stood before him he started trembling with awe. The Prophet (SAW) said: “be at eased I am not a king hut only the son of a woman of Quraish who used to mix pulverized bread in soup (a poor man’s diet) and then eat it.” His habits, accordingly, were very simple- At the time of construction of a building he used to work as a labourer. He himself would go to the market to make purchases not only for himself but for his neighbours also. Forgiveness and benevolence were his special attributes- Enduring hardships with courage and perseverance and pursuing objectives with determination and serenity were the prominent features of his character. His actions were the expounder of his teachings and his teachings were the gist of his actions. The quality of his speech was its comprehensiveness. In short sentences he laid down precepts that serve as guide in every field of human activity.

The Holy Quran
The Quran, a treasure house of eternal truths and divine knowledge and a perfect charter for mankind was revealed through the Prophet (SAW) for the guidance of humanity and billions and billions of human beings have since profited by its teachings. There are thousands of such people who have admitted its greatness although they do not believe in it from the religious point of view.

Left this World for His Heavenly Abode
It was the terrible day of Monday, the 28 Safar, in the eleventh year after Hijrah when the reformer of the world, the Prophet (SAW) of Islam. Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (SAW) left this world for his heavenly abode after a brief illness of a few days. As willed by him his cousin and successor, Hazrat Ali (AS) performed his funeral rites and buried his mortal remains in the closet adjacent to his mosque where he had breathed his last. The green dome of his tomb at Madinah is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from all over the world which they visit before or after Haj. They, thus earn the honour of having the blessed view both of his mosque and of his shrine.



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