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The life of the Messenger  

The people of his time, knowing him to be the Messenger of God, painstakingly preserved the teachings and sayings of Muhammad (peace be upon him) so that even the smallest details of how he lived his life are known to this day.

 

A Christian Historian’s view on Muhammad:

“Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the 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 Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.”

(Reverend Bosworth Smith 1794-1884 – Late fellow of Trinity College, Oxford – in ‘Mohammad and Mohammedanism’)

 

Studying the life of the prophet Muhammad in an impartial way will show a man who lived as the Messenger of God. Like all other true prophets and messengers, he did not seek the riches of this world but the pleasure of God and the hereafter. He was known for his humility, selflessness, devotion to God and the people. During his life, even after being in possession of vast amounts of wealth, he would live off the most meagre means.

He left behind nothing of possessions after his death except a handful of items. During his lifetime whilst other rulers lived the grand and luxurious lives of kings, the prophet Muhammad would live frugally. He devoting his nights standing in prayer, he patched his own clothes, helped his wives. He ate and slept on the ground and would never dress or behave arrogantly. He would dislike that men would stand up for him as a sign of respect. Even though he was known to have performed miracles, Muhammad warned his followers to not do as earlier people had done to the prophet Jesus (peace be upon them), and make him more than a man

His character was such that his enemies would be in admiration and awe of him. His message was motivated only by the Divine, promoting  justness, virtue, selflessness and devotion to God above all. It ran counter to the interests of those in power and for this reason they continued to oppose him.

When it became clear to the ruling elite that his message was threatening to overturn their unjust suppression of the people, they attempted to seduce Muhammad (pbuh) with wealth, women and power – even going as far as suggesting alternating days on which their gods and God, the almighty, would be worshipped. All this could not derail his mission as  Mohammad (pbuh) had no choice, nor any desire except to fulfil the duty that God had entrusted him with.

His truthfulness was well known to the people before he received revelation as well as during his life as the prophet. The people of his city, including those to later become his enemies, would entrust their valuables to Muhammad (peace be upon him) for safe-keeping. Even after they became his adversaries,  they still trusted him to return their wealth when they themselves were forcefully taking the wealth of his followers.

When he continued to preach his message, his followers, still small in number but continuously growing, were tortured and killed, until they were eventually driven out of his homeland of Mecca.

He  returned ten years later as a victorious ruler, with Mecca still filled with those who opposed him. The entry into his home-town is well documented, describing how when his opponents knew of him approaching with his armies of Muslims, they feared that they would surely be killed for the many years of ill-treatment, torture and oppression they had carried out. What followed was a peaceful conquest. The prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), reflecting the mercy of God,  granted them all pardon in a momentous gesture of forgiveness. He further went on to honour the chief of his enemies, who affected by the gentleness of the Prophet, after 23 years of hostility finally entered into Islam himself.

 

 

 

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “O Allah, grant me life as a poor man, cause me to die as a poor man, and resurrect me in the company of the poor.” Aisha asked him why he had said this, and he replied, “Because they will enter Paradise forty years before the rich. Do not turn away a poor man, Aisha, even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you, Aisha, Allah will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.” – Recorded by Tirmidhi (no.1376) –

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