Some Important facts about the history of Islam from the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) are mentioned below to increase the reader’s knowledge.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) were born 571 C.E. in Makkah, Arabia. His father’s name was Abdullah, and his mother was Amina.
His father passed away before his birth, and his mother passed away when he was six years old. His grandfather then became his caretaker. Upon his Grandfather’s death, when he was about eight years old, his uncle Abu Talib lovingly cared for him for a long time. His genealogy is traced back to Prophet Ismail (A.S), the first son of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (A.S) There are no other prophets amongst the descendants of Ismail (A.S) except Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), while many great and distinguished prophets descended from Prophet Is-haq (Isaac) (A.S) the second son of Ibrahim (A.S).
Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, Abu Talib, witnessing special qualities and characteristics in him, took extra care in his upbringing. He never left him home alone, even when going away on business trips. His uncle never forced him to worship idols, even though the majority of Arabs were idolaters. Just within the confines of the Ka’ba in Makkah, three hundred and sixty different idols were stored and worshiped. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) never went near idols to worship them, even in his childhood. He truly hated idol-worship.
Having acquired experience in trade in the company of his uncle and after a few business trips abroad, Muhammad (Peace be upon them) earned respect for his unparalleled honesty and integrity, as well as for his extra ordinary demeanor, Makkans, witnessing his high moral character, awarded him the title of ‘Sadiq’ (Truthful) and ‘Ameen’ (Trustworthy).
On one occasion, he took abroad a merchant caravan of a wealthy Makkan lady, Khadija (R.A) and earned extraordinary profits for her goods. Upon hearing of his honesty, ethics, and the entire account of his trip from her slave who accompanied Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon them) she sent him a marriage proposal.
Through arrangements made by his uncle, Abu Talib he was married at the age of twenty- five to the Honorable Khadija (R.A) who was forty years old and a widow. Contrary to the belief of many, he did not marry her for any selfish reasons or utilize her wealth to achieve his goals. Moreover, her wealth was not a factor in declaring his prophet-hood, which came fifteen years later, when he was forty years old. Nevertheless, it did allow him much free time to meditate and remain secluded in a cave on a nearby mountaintop. His wife was always supportive of him and stood by him all the time. When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) declared his prophet hood, she, with full confidence,became the first person and woman to recognize him as the prophet of Allah, and she wholeheartedly embraced Islam.
While he was meditating in the cave known as Hira, Allah revealed the first few verses of the holy Qur’an through the Archangel Jibra’il (A.S). In those verses, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them) was commanded to:
Recite! In the name of your Lord, Who created all. * Created man from the clot of congealed blood. * Recite! And your Lord is the Most Bountiful. * Who taught writing by the pen. *Taught man what he knew not…*[Qur’an 96:1-5]
Later Allah Commanded Muhammad (Peace be upon them) to begin calling people to Islam, and Allah promised to protect him and to make him succeed in his mission. Although he faced resistance from the same people who called him Sadiq and Ameen, he continued to convey the message as revealed to him by Allah with confidence, dedication,and commitment. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) called upon his people to recognise the Oneness of Allah and to give up the centuries old worship of Idols.
To the tribe of Quraysh, idol worship was not only ritual, but it was also a profitable business opportunity, as they earned much income from pilgrims coming to Makkah to worship idols and to buy and sell goods. Thus, the need to resist the Prophet and his teachings was obvious.
Initially, only a handful of people joined him, but with steadfastness and determination he continued to preach even under the harshest conditions. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon them), his extended family (Some of whom had not yet embraced Islam), and the new Muslims were subject to economic and social boycott and were forced to leave their homes for nearby valley, Shaib abi-Talib. They lived there for three years under severe circumstances; however, this did not weaken their resolve. The economic and trade sanctions against them were lifted when termites chewed up the document of sanctions drawn up by the Quraysh. This event brought shame to the Quraysh, for misbehaving with their own community members.
Meanwhile, the Muslim community slowly increased and strengthened even as the resistance and savagery of the non-believers became widespread. Those believers who could not persist were ordered by the Prophet , to migrate to Abyssinia (Contemporary Ethiopia). Muslims met with favourable conditions there and earned the favour and compassion of the Christian King Al Najashi, who on learning abut Islam and its Prophet, recognized the divinity of Islam, as Allah had revealed it previously to Prophet Isa (Jeasus) (A.S).
The Muslims who remained in Makkah Continued to suffer pain and hardship at the hands of the disbelievers. Soon after, a year of grief came upon the Prophet (Peace be upon them), as two of his great supporters and family members, his wife Khadija (R.A) and his uncle Abu Talib passed away, making his task harder. Now, his life was in greater danger from the Makkan chiefs, because they had feared and respected Abu Talib. Upon his death, all the Makkan chiefs united to prevent the Prophet (Peace be upon him) from continuing with his mission, even if they had to take his life.
It was within this period of grief and hardship that the Prophet was summoned to meet Allah in the heavens. This Journey, known as Isra wal Mi’raj took place within a very short period of the night. In the company of the Angel Jira’il (A.S), he first visited Masjid-e-Aqsa in Baitul Muqaddas (Jerusalem) and then ascended to the Heavens. Among other things, the purpose of this miraculous journey were to bring him relief, uplift his morale, strengthen his resolve,show him the heavens, and make him an eyewitness to Allah’s signs and majesty, and give him the honor of meeting Allah in person, which was not given to any other prophet. There, he was assured of his prophetic success and was given the gift of Salah ( The five daily prayers of worship), which every adult Muslim is obliged to practice.
Resisting the abuse and persecution of the Quraysh had now become unbearable, and thus the Prophet permitted more of his followers to migrate to Madinah, a city some four hundred Kilometers northeast of Makkah, where he would join them in the near future when commanded my Allah (S.W.T). Muslims making their way safely out of Makkah angered the disbelievers who then increased their persecution. The Makkan chiefs unanimously decided to attack the Prophet (Peace be upon them) in his sleep, but Allah (S.W.T) informed the Prophet (Peace be upon them) and granted him permission to migrate. The Prophet (Peace be upon them) left for Madinah, leaving his cousin, Ali (Karam Allah Wajhu), who would later become his Son-in-Law, in charge of his affairs and directed him to sleep in his place that night and then to join him in Madinah at a later time.
He travelled with the Honorable Abu-Bakr Siddiq (R.A), his closest companion and the first adult male to embrace Islam. The Makkans followed after them but could not reach them. After travelling for about five hundred Kilometres in the excruciating desert heat for fifteen days, they safely arrived in Madinah,where many anxiously awaited him. Out of their respect and honor for him,he was greeted with a grand celebration. This Hijra (Migration of the Prophet) marked the beginning of the Islamic Lunar calendar and the second phase of Islam.
In Madinah, the Prophet Established a common brotherhood among the believers: Between the Ansar, the Muslim residents of Madinah, and the Muhajireen, the migrant Muslims. He drew up treaties with local tribes and with the followers of the Jewish faith to coexist in peace and harmony, with toleration and understanding. With a sigh of relief, he established the Muslim community on the solid foundations of Islam, according to the continuous revelations from Allah (S.W.T). The Muslim community grew and prospred due to the hard labour of the migrants and with the unprecedented cooperation and show of selflessness of their Ansar brethren. The holy Prophet Established a masjid in Madinah to be the centre for this newly formed nation of believers.
On the other hand, the Makkans were in despair at having failed to destroy a handful of poor and disadvantaged people, but, unbeknownst to them, Muslims were truly blessed by the Almighty, Who allowed them to succeed, become strong, sustain themselves, and disseminate Islam throughout Arabia. The Makkans ran amok and looted the belongings and properties the emigrants left behind. They conspired with the local tribes of Madinah to weaken the Muslims. They Sought alliances to wage war against Islam and Muslims. Although the Muslims had left the city of Makkah, the Makkans never let the Muslims live in peace in Madinah, and they never left the Muslims alone to practice their religion.
After almost fifteen years of suffering persecution at the hands of the Quraysh, Allah (S.W.T) finally granted Muslims permission to defend themselves and fight back against the enemies. Many small and full scale battles were fought where Muslims, though outnumbered,were overall victorious. At this point, both parties were ready to sign a peace treaty and agreed to ten years of peace. This period of peace gave Muslims a chance to focus on other matters, such as strengthening themselves to deal with other tribes and powers in Arabia and to take Islam beyond the Arabian borders.
The relative peace allowed Muhammed (Pece be upon them) to send letters via emissaries inviting the Roman, Persian, and other emperors to adopt Islam . He was also able to deal extensively with the hidden mischief of the hypocrites living among the Muslims. As Islam continued to grow and gain strength,every existing empire became aware of it. Moreover, the revelations of the holy Qur’an accelerated. Uniform codes of conduct, family life, personal and public affairs, economy and social welfare, civil and criminal justice, and conducting war and establishing peace were revealed to Muslims. Simultaneously, the Prophet (Peace be upon them) appropriately implemented divine laws among the Muslim community of Madinah and throughout the nearby lands.
When the Makkans and their allies breached the Treaty of Hudaibiya ,the Muslims prepared to march towards Makkah. They then conquered Makkah without spilling a drop of blood. Muhammad (Peace be upon them) become a conqueror, but being a prophet of mercy, he forgave all Makkans, even his staunchest enemies. He issued a general amnesty and pardoned everyone whether they embraced Islam or not. Allah (S.W.T) promise to His Prophet (Peace be upon them) and the Muslims came true. They entered Makkah as victors, when just ten years before they had been forced to leave their homes, belongings, and everything they had in order to find refuge so they could uphold their beliefs and for the love of their Prophet (Peace be upon them).
Muhammad (Peace be upon them) showed unequivocal generosity that has yet to be duplicated. As a result, tens of thousands embraced Islam without any swords raised, without fear of death, without any killings, and without any compulsion. Those who were willing to give up anything to destroy Islam now became its defenders and joined other Muslims in spreading the message of Islam form Makkah and Madinah to every corner of the world.
The prophet returned to Madina to remain there for the rest of his life among those who once did him great favours, the Ansar. Soon thereafter, the holy Qur’an was completed when at the Last Sermon, on the occasion of Hajj, Allah (S.W.T) revealed to Muhammad (Peace be upon them) that,
…. this day, I have perfected for you, your religion and have completed My favor to you and I have approved Islam as the religion for you…[Qur’an 5:3]
The prophet passed away at the age of 63, leaving the responsibility of taking Islam to every corner of the world to his Companions and to subsequent generations of Muslims. Abu-Bakr Siddiq (R.A) became the first Khalifa (Caliph) of the Muslim ummah (Community). The Holy Qur’an and the holy Sunnah (the way of the Prophet peace be upon them) became the beacon of light for the Muslim ummah.
Centuries later, Islam still shines brightly, spreading its rays of guidance to enlighten those who come in its way.
This post is in series of many to come on the topic of Islam from a Sufi Perspective. More articles are to follow. Please follow in the Category : Islam as a Sufi Perspective.