Life of Prophet Muhammad SAW: From Birth in Makkah to Prophethood and the Quranic Revelations

Exploring the Early Years, the Rise to Prophethood at Age 40, and the Impact of the Quranic Messages.

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Birth and Early Childhood

Birth: Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was born in the Year of the Elephant (570 CE) in Mecca. His (PBUH) father, Abdullah, died before He(PBUH) was born, and His(PBUH) mother, Amina, passed away when He(PBUH) was six years old.

Caretakers: After his mother’s death, Muhammad (SAW) was taken care of by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib. When Abdul Muttalib died two years later, Muhammad (SAW) was taken into the care of his uncle, Abu Talib.

Adolescence and Early Adulthood

Shepherding and Trade: As a young boy, Muhammad (SAW) worked as a shepherd. He SAW later gained a reputation for his honesty and reliability, earning the nickname “Al-Amin” (the Trustworthy). He SAW began working in the trading caravans, gaining experience and building a reputation in the mercantile community.

Marriage to Khadijah (R.A): At the age of 25, Muhammad (SAW) married Khadijah, a wealthy widow who was 15 years his senior. Khadijah had been impressed by Muhammad’s (SAW) integrity and business acumen and proposed marriage. They had a loving and supportive marriage and were blessed with six children: two sons, who died in infancy, and four daughters: Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah.

Spiritual Contemplation

Retreat to Cave Hira: Muhammad (SAW) was deeply troubled by the idolatry and moral decay of Meccan society. He SAW began spending time in solitude, meditating in the Cave of Hira on Mount Noor. He SAW sought spiritual solace and answers to his existential questions.

Life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) After Prophethood at the Age of 40

Early Years of Prophethood in Mecca (610-622 CE)

Initial Revelation and Private Preaching (610-613 CE)

At the age of 40, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) received the first revelation from Allah through the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) in the Cave of Hira. This event marked the beginning of his prophethood.

Initially, Muhammad (SAW) preached the message of monotheism and righteousness privately to close family and friends.

His SAW first followers included his wife Khadijah, cousin Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Hazrat Abu Bakr, and his adopted son Zaid ibn Haritha.

Public Preaching and Growing Opposition (613-615 CE):

After three years of private preaching, Muhammad (SAW) was commanded to preach publicly. He called for the worship of one God (Allah), social justice, and moral rectitude.

His SAW public preaching faced strong opposition from the Quraysh leaders, who saw his message as a threat to their social and economic status. They ridiculed and persecuted him and his followers.

Persecution of Muslims and the First Migration to Abyssinia (615-619 CE):

As the number of Muslims grew, so did the persecution. The Quraysh subjected the early Muslims to severe torture, economic sanctions, and social ostracism.

To escape the persecution, a group of Muslims, with Muhammad’s (SAW) consent, migrated to Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) in 615 CE, where they were granted asylum by the Christian King Negus.

The Year of Sorrow (619 CE):

In 619 CE, Muhammad (SAW) faced two personal tragedies: the death of his beloved wife Khadijah and the death of his supportive uncle Abu Talib. This year is known as the “Year of Sorrow” (Aam al-Huzn).

The Night Journey and Ascension (Isra and Mi’raj) (620 CE):

During this period of hardship, Muhammad (SAW) experienced the miraculous Night Journey (Isra) and Ascension (Mi’raj). He was transported from Mecca to Jerusalem and then ascended to the heavens, where He SAW met previous prophets and received the command for Muslims to pray five times a day.

Migration to Medina and Establishment of the Muslim Community (622-630 CE)

Migration to Medina (Hijra) (622 CE):

Due to increasing hostility in Mecca, Muhammad (SAW) and his followers were invited to Yathrib (later known as Medina), where they could practice their faith freely.

In 622 CE, Muhammad (SAW) and the Muslims migrated to Medina in an event known as the Hijra. This event marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar (Hijri calendar).

Formation of the Medina Community:

In Medina, Muhammad (SAW) established a cohesive Muslim community. He drafted the Constitution of Medina, which outlined the rights and duties of all citizens, regardless of their religion, and established a framework for cooperation and justice.

Battles and Treaties:

Over the next several years, the Muslims in Medina faced numerous battles against the Quraysh, including the Battle of Badr (624 CE), the Battle of Uhud (625 CE), and the Battle of the Trench (627 CE).

Despite the challenges, Muhammad (SAW) displayed exceptional leadership and strategic acumen. The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (628 CE) was a pivotal moment, as it established a temporary peace between the Muslims and the Quraysh and allowed for the peaceful spread of Islam.

Conquest of Mecca (630 CE):

In 630 CE, Muhammad (SAW) led a peaceful conquest of Mecca. The Quraysh surrendered without a fight, and Muhammad (SAW) showed remarkable mercy by granting amnesty to his former enemies.

He cleansed the Kaaba of idols and rededicated it to the worship of Allah. The conquest of Mecca marked a significant turning point, as many tribes in Arabia embraced Islam.

The life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) after prophethood is a testament to his unwavering faith, resilience, and visionary leadership. His SAW journey from a persecuted prophet in Mecca to the leader of a unified Muslim community in Medina exemplifies his extraordinary impact on the world.

The 23 Years of Qur’anic Revelations

The revelation of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, spanned approximately 23 years, beginning in 610 CE when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) received the first revelation, and ending in 632 CE, the year of his death. These revelations were conveyed by the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) and are divided into two distinct periods: the Meccan period and the Medinan period. Each period has its unique themes, characteristics, and significance.

Meccan Period (610-622 CE)

  1. Early Revelations (610-613 CE):

First Revelation: The very first verses revealed were from Surah Al-Alaq (96:1-5) in the Cave of Hira. These verses emphasized the importance of knowledge and the act of reading in the name of Allah.

Themes: The early revelations focused on monotheism (Tawhid), the Day of Judgment, the afterlife, and the moral and ethical conduct expected of believers. They aimed to awaken the conscience of the people and call them to the worship of one God, Allah.

  1. Middle Meccan Revelations (613-619 CE):

Intensifying Message: As the message of Islam began to spread, the Quraysh leaders’ opposition increased. The revelations during this time included warnings about the consequences of rejecting the message.

Stories of Previous Prophets: Many verses recounted the stories of earlier prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, emphasizing the continuity of the prophetic mission and the fate of those who denied their messages.

Spiritual and Moral Guidance: The verses provided guidance on patience, steadfastness, and the importance of community solidarity among the early Muslims facing persecution.

  1. Late Meccan Revelations (619-622 CE):

Increased Hostility: The opposition from the Quraysh intensified, leading to severe persecution of Muslims. Revelations during this period provided solace and encouragement to the Prophet and his followers.

Miraculous Events: Significant events like the Night Journey and Ascension (Isra and Mi’raj) occurred, which were later referenced in the Qur’an (Surah Al-Isra, 17:1).

Ethical and Social Principles: The late Meccan surahs (chapters) continued to emphasize ethical behavior, social justice, and the importance of family and community.

Medinan Period (622-632 CE)

  1. Early Medinan Revelations (622-625 CE):

Formation of the Muslim Community: With the Hijra (migration) to Medina, the revelations shifted focus to the establishment and governance of the new Muslim community. The Constitution of Medina, inspired by the Qur’an, outlined the rights and duties of all citizens.

Legislative Verses: Many verses revealed during this time provided laws and guidelines on social conduct, family life, marriage, divorce, inheritance, and trade.

Conflict and Warfare: Revelations addressed the realities of warfare, providing rules of engagement, the importance of justice, and the treatment of prisoners (e.g., Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:190-193).

  1. Middle Medinan Revelations (625-628 CE):

Consolidation of the Muslim Community: As the Muslim community grew, the Qur’an continued to provide guidance on community relations, alliances, and the importance of solidarity among Muslims.

Treatment of Hypocrites and Non-Muslims: Revelations during this period addressed the presence of hypocrites within the community and laid down principles for interacting with non-Muslims, particularly in the context of treaties and coexistence.

  1. Late Medinan Revelations (628-632 CE):

Treaties and Conquests: The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (628 CE) and the subsequent peaceful conquest of Mecca (630 CE) were significant events. Revelations during this time emphasized reconciliation, mercy, and the spread of Islam through peaceful means.

Completion of the Qur’an: The final verses revealed encapsulated the essence of the Islamic message, emphasizing the completion of the religion (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:3).

Characteristics of Qur’anic Revelations

  1. Language and Style:

The Qur’an is known for its unparalleled eloquence and literary beauty. The style varies, with Meccan verses being more poetic and rhythmic, while Medinan verses are more prosaic and legislative.

  1. Themes:

Monotheism: The core message throughout the Qur’an is the oneness of God (Allah) and the rejection of idolatry.

Prophethood: The continuity of the prophetic mission, with Muhammad (SAW) being the final prophet.

Afterlife: Detailed descriptions of the Day of Judgment, heaven (Jannah), and hell (Jahannam).

Ethics and Morality: Guidance on personal conduct, social justice, and community relations.

  1. Contextual Guidance:

The Qur’an often addressed specific situations faced by the Prophet and the early Muslim community, providing immediate guidance while also conveying timeless principles.

The 23 years of Qur’anic revelations were a period of profound transformation for the early Muslim community and the Arabian Peninsula. The revelations provided comprehensive guidance on faith, worship, morality, and social conduct, shaping the foundation of Islamic civilization. The Qur’an remains a central religious text for Muslims, revered for its divine origin, spiritual depth, and practical wisdom.

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