Islam Prophet Muhammad Biography


    Islam Prophet Muhammad Biography

    Muhammad was an Arab religious, social, and political leader and the founder of Islam. He is believed to be the Seal of the Prophets within Islam.

    Muhammad was born in 570 CE in Mecca, the son of Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib and Amina bint Wahb. When he was 40, Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in a mountain cave named Hira and receiving his first revelation from God.

    Muhammad's followers initially experienced hostility from Meccan polytheists for 13 years, before he and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina in 622. In December 629, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Mecca.

    The revelations that Muhammad reported receiving until his death form the verses of the Quran, on which the religion is based.


    The Quran is the central religious text of Islam, and is mainly addressed to a single "Messenger of God". It provides minimal assistance for Muhammad's chronological biography, and the Birmingham manuscript has been radiocarbon dated to Muhammad's lifetime.

    Early biographies

    The earliest written sira of Muhammad is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger, written c. 767 CE (150 AH), though Ibn Hisham omitted matters from Ibn Ishaq's biography that "would distress certain people". Many scholars accept these early biographies as authentic, though their accuracy is unascertainable.


    Some Western academics view the hadith collections as accurate historical sources, while Muslim scholars place a greater emphasis on the hadith literature instead of the biographical literature.

    Pre-Islamic Arabia

    The Arabian Peninsula was largely arid with volcanic soil, making agriculture difficult except near oases or springs. Tribal affiliation played a significant role in fostering social unity among indigenous tribes.

    In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, and the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idols of tribal patron deities. Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christians and Jews.

    The second half of the sixth century was a period of political disorder in Arabia. Religious divisions were an important cause of the crisis, and many people were reluctant to convert to a foreign faith.

    Muhammad's tribe formed the cult association of hums, which tied members of many tribes in western Arabia to the Kaaba and reinforced the prestige of the Meccan sanctuary.

    Childhood and early life

    Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim was born in Mecca about the year 570, and his birth year coincided with Yemeni King Abraha's unsuccessful attempt to conquer Mecca. He was also known as al-Amin when he was young, but historians differ as to whether it was given by people as a reflection of his nature.

    Muhammad was born without a father, stayed with his foster-mother until he was two, lost his mother to illness at six, and then came under the care of his uncle, Abu Talib, until his uncle's death.

    Muhammad's early life is limited and fragmentary, and many accounts of his childhood and early marriage are fictitious. He was rejected for marriage by his cousin Fakhita bint Abi Talib, but later married Khadija, a wealthy businesswoman, and they remained monogamous until her death.

    In 605, the Quraysh decided to roof the Kaaba, but had concerns about upsetting the deities. Muhammad took on the role of arbitrator, placing the Black Stone on a cloak and guiding clan representatives to jointly elevate it to its position.

    Beginnings of the Quran

    Muhammad was 40 years old when the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the cave of Hira and instructed him to read the Quran. Muhammad confessed his illiteracy and the angel choked him forcefully until Muhammad memorized the verses.

    Muhammad was terrified by the experience, but was soon reassured by his wife Khadija and her Christian cousin Waraqa ibn Nawfal. Khadija conducted tests on Muhammad, and concluded it was not a Satan but an angel visiting him.

    Muhammad's demeanor during moments of inspiration frequently led to allegations that he was under the influence of a jinn, a soothsayer, or a magician. Nevertheless, these enigmatic seizure events might have served as persuasive evidence for his followers.

    Muhammad's wife Khadija was the first to believe in him, followed by his ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr, and adopted son Zaid. The early Quranic revelations cautioned non-believers with divine punishment, while promising rewards to believers.

    Opposition in Mecca

    Muhammad began preaching to the public around 613, but was met with opposition from the inhabitants of Mecca. He declined to perform miracles and asserted that the Quran was already an extraordinary proof of God's majesty.

    The Quraysh discussed Muhammad's behavior with their companions, and Muhammad responded by saying that God will bring them slaughter if they do not listen to him. The Quraysh left him alone after Abu Bakr intervened.

    The Quraysh tried to entice Muhammad to quit preaching by offering him admission to their inner circle and an advantageous marriage, but he refused both offers.

    When Quraysh ran into a group of Muslims praying in a ravine, one of the Muslims took a camel's jawbone and struck a Quraysh, splitting his head open, in what is reported to be the first bloodshed in Islam.

    The initial persecution by the Meccans was mostly mild, and was constrained by the clan system. The most notable instances of bodily violence against professed Muslims were against slaves, who lacked clan protection.

    Quraysh delegation to Yathrib

    The leaders of the Quraysh sent two men to Yathrib to seek the opinions of the Jewish rabbis regarding Muhammad. The rabbis advised them to ask Muhammad three questions, and Muhammad told them he would provide the answers the next day.

    The Qur'an answers three questions from Jews and Quraysh: a group of men sleeping in a cave, Dhu al-Qarnayn, and the nature of the spirit. Neither the Jews nor the Quraysh converted to Islam upon receiving the answers.

    Migration to Abyssinia and the incident of Satanic Verses

    Muhammad sent some of his followers to the Abyssinian Kingdom of Aksum, but the king rejected their request and instead sent two men to retrieve Umm Habiba and her husband.

    Tabari and Ibn Hisham mention only one migration to Abyssinia, while Ibn Sa'd mentions two, and both groups return to Mecca after the event of Hijra. According to historian W. M. Watt, the episodes were more complex than the traditional accounts suggest.

    Muhammad was desperate to reconcile with his tribe, so Satan put two verses on his tongue that mentioned three of their favorite deities. The next day, Muhammad retracted these verses and God revealed verses that reviled those goddesses.

    The incident of Muhammad's turning away from strict monotheism was reported en masse and documented by nearly all of the major biographers of Muhammad in Islam's first two centuries, but has since been reevaluated by Muslim scholars.

    Muhammad continued to move around the town freely, despite increasing verbal abuse, after a faction within Quraysh initiated efforts to end the sanctions.

    Attempt to establish himself in Ta'if

    Muhammad faced a period of sorrow in 619 when his wife, Khadija, and uncle, Abu Talib, died. His other uncle, Abu Lahab, withdrew his support after hearing that Abu Talib and Abd al-Muttalib were destined for hell.

    Muhammad tried to establish himself in Ta'if, but was met with hostility. He asked the people to keep the matter a secret, but they pelted him with stones, injuring his limbs.

    Muhammad asked Akhnas ibn Shariq, Suhayl ibn Amir and Mut'im ibn 'Adiy for protection, but they declined. Abu Jahl said he would protect whomever Mut'im protected, so Mut'im rode out with his sons and nephews to accompany Muhammad to Mecca.

    Isra' and Mi'raj

    Muhammad's night journey from Mecca to the farthest place of worship, described in Quranic verse 17:1, is believed by Muslims to have begun at the Kaaba, and ended at Bayt al-Maqdis, which is generally associated with Jerusalem.

    The dating of Muhammad's ascension differs from account to account. Ibn Sa'd recorded Muhammad's ascension from near the Kaaba to the heavens first, while Ibn Hisham recorded Muhammad's ascension from Mecca to Bayt al-Maqdis first.

    Migration to Medina (Hijrah)

    Medina, located over 200 miles (320 km) to the north of Mecca, was established by Jews who had survived the revolt against the Romans. Arab tribes from southern Arabia migrated to the city and settled down alongside the Jewish community.

    Muhammad lost all hope of winning converts among his fellow townspeople, but had an encounter with six individuals from the Banu Khazraj who embraced Islam and shared their encounter with their people, hoping that unity could be achieved between them.

    Muhammad entrusted Mus'ab ibn Umayr to join five of the earlier converts on their return to Medina to promote Islam. Seventy-five individuals from Medina attended a clandestine meeting at Aqaba and pledged their loyalty to him.

    Muhammad called upon the Meccan Muslims to relocate to Medina, and stayed back to watch over them and persuade those who were reluctant to leave. After three days, Muhammad departed with Abu Bakr for Medina, which at the time was still named Yathrib.

    Medinan years

    According to Julius Wellhausen, the Jewish tribes were allied with the two Arab tribes as subordinates, but according to Russ Rodgers, the Arab tribes held a subservient or at most an equal position to the Jews.

    Constitution of Medina

    Muhammad penned a text now referred to as the Constitution of Medina, but scholars disagree on whether it was a treaty or a unilateral proclamation, the number of documents it comprised, and the proper approach to translating it.

    Beginning of armed conflict

    Muhammad was optimistic that the Jewish people would acknowledge him as a Prophet, but his efforts were unsuccessful. The Jewish criticism of the Quran worsened Muhammad's views towards them, which led to the reorientation of the Muslim prayer direction.

    Muhammad's designation of Mecca as the center of Islam, coupled with his need to settle scores with the Meccans, led to a divine directive to fight the polytheists. He dispatched his followers to perform raids on the Quraysh's trading caravans.

    Two months after Muhammad had tried to ambush the caravan, Abu Sufyan sent a messenger to Mecca for aid, but Muhammad ordered his troops to cover all the wells with sand and stones, reserving one for himself, and thus forcing the Meccans to fight for water.

    The battle commenced with individual duels between warriors from both sides, which then escalated into a chaotic melee. Muhammad inspired his followers with the promise of paradise if they died fighting, and ordered the search for Abu Jahl, who was beheaded and thrown to Muhammad's feet.

    Muhammad immediately worked to solidify his authority. He instructed his followers to kill Asma bint Marwan and Abu Afak, and employed poets like Hassan ibn Thabit to circulate his propaganda among the tribes.

    Conflicts with Jewish tribes

    Muhammad initiated a siege on the Banu Qaynuqa, regarded as the weakest and wealthiest of Medina's three main Jewish tribes, following the Battle of Badr. The Banu Qaynuqa capitulated after two weeks without engaging in combat.

    Muhammad planned to annihilate the surrendered tribe, but Abdullah ibn Ubayy stepped in and persuaded Muhammad to show leniency. Muhammad spared their lives, stipulating that they must depart Medina within three days and relinquish their property to the Muslims.

    Muhammad moved on to another personal matter, and asked his followers who would kill Ka'b ibn Ashraf, who had hurt God and His apostle. Ibn Maslama offered his services, and Muhammad gathered accomplices, including Ka'b's foster brother, Abu Naila.

    Meccan retaliation

    In 625, the Quraysh, wearied by Muhammad's continuous attacks on their caravans, assembled an army to oppose Muhammad. Muhammad convened a war council, and decided to meet the enemy in open battle at Uhud Hill, but lost advantage when some archers disobeyed orders.

    Muhammad found himself needing to pay blood money to Banu Amir, so he sought monetary help from the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir, but while waiting, he disappeared and revealed a divine revelation of an assassination attempt on him by the Banu Nadir.

    Raid on the Banu Mustaliq

    Muhammad's troops executed a surprise attack on the Banu Mustaliq at their watering place, causing them to flee rapidly. They captured 2,000 camels, 500 sheep and goats, and 200 women from the tribe, but sought ransom money.

    Assassination of Khaybar leaders and the Banu Uraynah affair

    Muhammad's northward raids of Medina had caused significant opposition. One of Khaybar's key chieftains was killed in his room by the Muslims at night, and another was killed while coming to Medina for a settlement.

    Muhammad ordered eight men from the Banu Uraynah tribe to drink the urine and milk of his camels, but they opted to steal the camels and killed the caretakers.

    Battle of the Trench

    The Quraysh, realizing their victory at Uhud had failed to weaken Muhammad's position, decided to capture Medina, and after extensive negotiations with various Bedouin tribes, amassed a force believed to number around 10,000 men. Muhammad ordered his followers to fortify Medina with trenches, and used covert negotiations to create discord among his enemies.

    Massacre of the Banu Qurayza

    Muhammad received a visit from the angel Gabriel, who instructed him to attack the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. The Qurayza demanded 70 hostages from the Quraysh, but Abu Sufyan refused their request.

    Muhammad besieged the tribe and refused to let them leave with movable goods. The tribe then requested to confer with one of their Aws allies who had embraced Islam, but Muhammad gestured towards his throat and indicated an imminent massacre.

    The Banu Qurayza surrendered after a 25-day siege, and Muhammad assigned Sa'd ibn Muadh to judge the case. Sa'd pronounced that all the men should be put to death, and their women and children should be taken as captives.

    Incidents with the Banu Fazara

    Muhammad prepared to conduct numerous operations after the annihilation of the Qurayza, and several tribes joined the Muslims to avoid the raids.

    Muhammad organized a caravan to conduct trade in Syria, but was attacked by Banu Fazara. Zayd led a punitive expedition that captured Umm Qirfa, the esteemed Fazara matriarch, and ordered Qays to execute her.

    Treaty of Hudaybiyya

    Muhammad embarked on an unopposed pilgrimage to Mecca, but encountered Quraysh emissaries who questioned his intentions. He sent Uthman, Abu Sufyan's second cousin, to negotiate with the Quraysh, but the negotiations ended in a treaty.

    A ten-year truce was established between Muhammad and the Quraysh. Muslims were allowed to form alliances with the Quraysh, but were required to depart back to Medina.

    Invasion of Khaybar

    Muhammad planned to invade Khaybar, a flourishing oasis 75 miles (121 km) north of Medina, but the Jews were taken aback by the sight of the advancing Muslim forces. The Muslims captured the city after a strenuous battle lasting more than a month.

    Muhammad had sex with Safiyya bint Huyayy, a beautiful 17-year-old girl, the very night after the battle, contradicting his own mandate that his followers should wait for the captives' next menstrual cycle to begin before having intercourse.

    Following their defeat by the Muslims, some Jews proposed to Muhammad that they stay and serve as tenant farmers. Muhammad consented to this arrangement with the caveat that he could displace them at any time.

    Muhammad's companion Bishr died after consuming poison, and Muhammad himself suffered illness for a period due to the poison he ingested. Zaynab bint al-Harith, the woman who poisoned Muhammad, was killed after she confessed her crime.

    Fulfilled umrah and the Battle of Mu'tah

    Muhammad took some of his followers to perform the umrah in Mecca, where he married Maymunah bint al-Harith, a 27-year-old sister of his uncle al-Abbas. The Quraysh refused to join his wedding feast.

    Muhammad launched four raids on tribes in the vicinity, two of which ended in defeat, and directed his army to move northwards, towards the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, where they were defeated at Mu'tah.

    Conquest of Mecca

    Muhammad, with the help of his covert agent, fannied the flames of discord between Banu Bakr and Banu Khuza'ah, and led his forces towards Mecca, where the Quraysh chief Abu Sufyan converted to Islam and told the citizens that their lives and property would be safe.

    Muhammad sent out his forces with a short list of six men and four women to be killed on sight. One of those targeted was Abdullah ibn Sa'd ibn Abi Sarh, who professed to have intermittently modified the substance of the Quran's dictation, which Muhammad failed to detect.

    The Muslim forces conquered Mecca, and the residents were made to pledge their allegiance to Muhammad and convert to Islam. Three out of ten targets were found and executed, and the remainder were granted a form of pardon for their past deeds.

    Subduing the Hawazin and Thaqif and the expedition to Tabuk

    Muhammad led 12,000 soldiers to raid the Banu Hawazin, but they surprised him at Wadi Hunayn and were overpowered. Muhammad then turned his attention to Taif, a city that was famous for its vineyards and gardens.

    Muhammad distributed the loot acquired at Hunayn among his soldiers, and some of them opposed giving away their portions. He compensated them with six camels each from subsequent raids, and distributed a big portion of the booty to the new converts from the Quraysh.

    Muhammad took his army to attack the wealthy border provinces of Byzantine Syria, and forced some of the local chiefs to accept his rule and pay jizya. This resulted in Taif losing its last major ally, and the people of Taif embracing Islam.

    Farewell pilgrimage

    Muhammad received a revelation granting idolaters four months of grace, after which Muslims would attack, kill, and plunder them wherever they met. He also reaffirmed the right of husbands to discipline and strike their wives without excessive force.

    Death and tomb

    Muhammad suffered a dreadful headache in June 632, fainted in Maymunah's hut, and died on 8 June. He said that God would not afflict him with such a vile disease, and ordered all the women to also take an Abyssinian remedy.

    Muhammad was buried in Aisha's house, and his tomb was expanded during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I. The Green Dome above the tomb was built by the Mamluk sultan Al Mansur Qalawun in the 13th century.

    When Saud bin Abdul-Aziz took Medina in 1805, Muhammad's tomb was stripped of its gold and jewel ornamentation. In 1925, the Saudi militias retook Medina and this time managed to keep it, but many pilgrims continued to practice ziyarat.

    After Muhammad

    With Muhammad's death, disagreement broke out over who Muhammad's successor would be. Abu Bakr was confirmed as the first caliph, but had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes.

    The pre-Islamic Middle East was dominated by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires, but Muslims conquered Mesopotamia, Byzantine Syria, Byzantine Egypt, and large parts of Persia within a decade.


    Muhammad's life is traditionally defined into two periods: pre-hijra (emigration) in Mecca (from 570 to 622), and post-hijra (emigration) in Medina (from 622 until 632). Muhammad is said to have had thirteen wives in total, and performed household chores such as preparing food, sewing clothes, and repairing shoes.

    Khadijah had four daughters and two sons with Muhammad; all but one of his daughters, Fatimah, died before him. Maria al-Qibtiyya bore him a son named Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, who died at two years old.

    Muhammad adopted Zayd ibn Haritha as his son, but disowned him when he was about to marry Zayd's ex-wife, Zaynab bint Jahsh. Muhammad insisted that slave owners treat their slaves well and stressed the virtue of freeing slaves.

    Islamic tradition

    The Shahadah is the basic creed of Islam, and is recited by every Muslim upon death. Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.

    Muhammad is regarded as the last prophet sent by God, and the Quran affirms that the only miracle given to Muhammad was the Quran itself. However, later writings attribute several miracles or supernatural events to Muhammad after his death.

    The Sunnah represents the actions and sayings of Muhammad, and covers a broad array of activities and beliefs. It is considered a model of emulation for pious Muslims, and has influenced the Muslim culture.

    Muslims have traditionally expressed love and veneration for Muhammad. The Quran refers to Muhammad as "a mercy (rahmat) to the worlds" and Muhammad's birthday is celebrated as a major feast throughout the Islamic world, excluding Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia where these public celebrations are discouraged.

     Appearance and depictions

    Muhammad was slightly above average in height, had a sturdy frame and wide chest, a dark and intense gaze, a long, dense beard, a neatly trimmed mustache, well-spaced teeth, and clear skin. His stride was brisk and purposeful.

    Islamic religious art focuses on the word, and avoids depictions of Muhammad. Most depictions show Muhammad with his face veiled, or symbolically represent him as a flame.

    The earliest extant depictions of Muhammad come from 13th century Anatolian Seljuk and Ilkhanid Persian miniatures, which were used by competing Sunni and Shi'a groups to promote their particular interpretation of Islam's key events. The Persian lands saw a tradition of realistic depictions of Muhammad through the Timurid dynasty and the Safavid era, but mosques were never decorated with images of Muhammad. Today, millions of historical reproductions and modern images are available in some Muslim-majority countries.

    According to William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad's religion was a total response to the total situation in which he found himself. He was responding to the religious, intellectual, economic, social, and political pressures of contemporary Mecca.

    Islamic social changes improved on the status quo of Arab society. Muhammad's message transformed society and moral orders of life in the Arabian Peninsula, and his message required payment of an alms tax (zakat) for the benefit of the poor.

    European appreciation

    Guillaume Postel argued that Muhammad should be esteemed by Christians as a valid prophet, Gottfried Leibniz praised Muhammad for not deviating from the natural religion, and Henri de Boulainvilliers described Muhammad as a gifted political leader and a just lawmaker. Voltaire had mixed opinions about Muhammad, presenting him as a symbol of fanaticism and a legislator who wisely fused religious and political powers. Emmanuel Pastoret compared Zoroaster, Confucius and Muhammad, and argued that the Quran proffers the most sublime truths of cult and morals. Napoleon Bonaparte admired Muhammad and Islam, and Thomas Carlyle described Muhammad as a silent great soul.

    Ian Almond says that German Romantic writers generally held positive views of Muhammad, but Jews in Europe held more nuanced views, and specifically lauded Al-Andalus, and thus, writing about Islam was for Jews a way of indulging in a fantasy world, far from the persecution and pogroms of nineteenth-century Europe.

    Recent writers have dismissed the idea that Muhammad deliberately deceived his followers, arguing that Muhammad was sincere and acted in complete good faith. However, sincerity does not directly imply correctness, and Muhammad might have mistaken his subconscious for divine revelation.


    Criticism of Muhammad has existed since the 7th century, when non-Muslim Arab contemporaries decried his preaching monotheism, and in the Middle Ages, Western and Byzantine labeled him a false prophet, the Antichrist, or portrayed him as a heretic.


    Sufis, who sought to understand the inner meaning of the Quran and the inner nature of Muhammad, viewed the prophet as a perfect human being.

    Other religions

    Muhammad is considered an important prophet of God in the Druze faith, but his teachings have been superseded by those of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá faith.

    পরবর্তী পোস্ট পূর্ববর্তী পোস্ট
    কোন মন্তব্য নেই
    এই পোস্ট সম্পর্কে আপনার মন্তব্য জানান

    দয়া করে নীতিমালা মেনে মন্তব্য করুন - অন্যথায় আপনার মন্তব্য গ্রহণ করা হবে না।

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