Almost everyone on the earth today is discussing Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. People want to know, "Who was he exactly?" "What did he teach?" "Why was he loved so much by some and hated so much by others?" "Did he live up to his claims?" "Was he a holy man?" "Was he a prophet of God?" "What is the truth about this man - Muhammad?"
How can we discover the truth and be totally honest in our judgment?
We will begin with the very simple historical evidences, facts as narrated by thousands of people, many of whom knew him personally. The following is based on books, manuscripts, texts and actual eyewitness accounts, too numerous list herein, yet all have been preserved in original form throughout the centuries by both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Muhammad ibn (son of) Abdullah ibn (son of) Abdul Mutalib, was born in the year 570 C.E. (Christian Era) in Makkah, Felix Arabia (today: Saudi Arabia) and he died in 633 C.E. in Yathrib (today: Madinah, Saudi Arabia).
A. His names: When he was born, his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib, gave him the name Muhammad. And it means "praised one" or "praising one." He was later called "As-Saddiq" (the Truthful) by all of those who knew of his truthful and honest nature. He always said only the truth. He was also called "Al-Amin" (the Trustworthy) due to his integrity and always upholding any trust given to him. When the tribes were battling against each other, both sides would entrust him with their possessions during the fighting, even if it might be against some of his own tribesmen, because they knew he would always uphold any trust given to him. All of his names indicated the very nature of a man who was praised for his honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. He was also well known for advocating the reconciliation of kinship and relationships. He ordered his followers to always honor the "ties of the wombs" (siblings and other close relatives).
This fits right in with the prophecy mentioned in the Bible in the Book of John in chapters 14 and 16, as the coming of a prophet known as the "Spirit of Truth" or "Comforter" or "Advocate."
B. Born as a descendent of Abraham, peace and blessings be upon him, through his first born son, Ishmael (Ismail in Arabic), peace and blessings be upon him, to the noble tribe of the Quraish who were the leaders of Makkah in those days. Muhammad's blood line traces directly back to Abraham, peace and blessings be upon him.
This could certainly point to fulfillment of Old Testament (Torah) prophecies in Deuteronomy (chapter 18:15) of a prophet, like unto Moses from "their brethren."
C. He kept the Commandments of Almighty God, just as his great grandfathers and prophets of old had done in the past (peace be upon them). Here is a statement from Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, while the Quran was being revealed to him by the angel Gabriel;
"Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your PARENTS; do not kill your children because of poverty - (Allah) provide sustenance for you and for them; do not come near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause. This He has commanded you that you may understand."
[Holy Quran 6:151]
D. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, lived in total commitment to his Belief in One God, and as such, he worshipped God alone, without any other "gods" beside Him. This is the very first commandment in the Old Testament (Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5) and in the New Testament as well (Mark, chapter 12, verse 29).
E. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered his followers to obey Allah Almighty. He ordered following the Commandments as were revealed to him by the angel Gabriel from Almighty Allah. Read below, one of many similar statements from the Quran:
Surely, Allah Commands absolute justice and steadfast commitment to performing your duties to Almighty Allah, in total sincerity and giving help to relatives: and He forbids evil, and disobedience and all that is prohibited by Allah (such as; illegal sexual acts, disobedience of PARENTS, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right, etc.), and (He Forbids) any evil (i.e. all that is prohibited by God's Law, such as: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds, etc.), and all kinds of oppression, He admonishes you, that you may take heed.
[Holy Quran 16:90]
F. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never fell into the common practice of his tribesmen to worship statues, idols or man-made "gods." He forbid his followers to ever engage in worship outside of the One True God (Allah) of Adam, Abraham, Moses and all the prophets, peace be upon them all.
And the people of the Scripture Jews and Christians did not differed amongst themselves until after there came to them clear evidence.
And they were commanded only to worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (no gods beside God), and perform prayers and give charity: and that is the right religion.
[Holy Quran 98:4-5]
He despised false worship to any man-made gods or images or anything in creation as a god. He hated all of the complexities and degradation to which it leads.
This is in direct obedience to the second commandment in the above mentioned verses, "Thou shalt not make any graven images."
G. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, always held the Name of God (Allah) in the highest of reverence and never took God's Name in vain or for any vainglorious purpose.
He forbid his followers for ever doing anything like this and encouraged them to use names such as "Servant of Almighty God" (Abdullah).
H. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, upheld the proper worship and ceremonies of his grandfathers, Abraham and Ishmael, peace be upon them. Here is something from the second chapter of the Quran. Read closely;
"Recall when Abraham's Lord (Allah) tested him with Commands, that he fulfilled. Allah said, "Surely, I am going to make you a leader (prophet) of mankind. (Abraham said) "And my offspring, too." (Allah) said, "My Covenant (prophethood, etc.) does not include wrong-doers (thalimun).
"And recall when (Allah) made the House (ka'bah in Bakkah, which later was called "Makkah") a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And it is your place of prayer, and (Allah) commanded Abraham and Ishmael to purify (God's House at Makkah) for those who are circling it, or staying there or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in worship).
"And when Abraham said, 'My Lord, make this city (Makkah) a place of security and provide its people with fruits, for them that believe in Allah Almighty and the Last Day.' (Allah) answered, "As for him who doesn't believe, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the torment of the Fire, and worst indeed is that destination!"
"And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Sacred House (Ka'bah in Makkah), saying, 'Our Lord! Accept from us. Certainly! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.'"
"Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage - Hajj and 'Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.
"Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own (and indeed Allah answered by sending Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him ), who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Quran) and full knowledge of (Allah's) Laws and jurisprudence, and sanctify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."
And who turns away from the religion of Abraham (Monotheism) except him who fools himself? Truly, (Allah) chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous.
When his Lord said to him, "Submit ("Islam" means "submission")!" He said, "I have submitted myself ("Muslim" means "one who submits") to the Lord of all that exists."
And this (submission to Allah) was ordered by Abraham upon his sons and by Jacob; saying, "O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion; then die not except in the Faith of Submission (like those in true submission to God's Will)."
[Holy Quran 2:124-132]
I. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, performed these same ceremonies in worship to what we find the prophets doing before him, bowing to toward the ground and prostrating (falling on the face) while praying and worshipping. He would face Jerusalem for his devotionals and commanded his followers to do the same (until Allah sent down the angel Gabriel with revelation to change the direction (Qiblah) mentioned in Quran).
J. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, advocated rights for all members of the family and especially ties to the parents, both mother and father, also rights for infant girls, orphaned girls and certainly for wives, as well.
It is known from the Quran, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered his followers to be kind and respectful to their parents. They were told not to even say, "Ooh" to them while caring for them in their old age. Read from the Quran:
And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor.
[Holy Quran 17:23]
K. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was the defender of the orphans and even the newborn children. He ordered the care of orphans and feeding of the poor as the means to enter Paradise and if anyone held back the rights of those who were destitute, they could forget about ever seeing Paradise. He also forbade the killing of new born girls, as was a custom of ignorance according to primitive Arab traditions. This is referred to in the Quran; when, on the Day of Judgment those who practiced the evil deed of terminating the life of their own infant daughters, will have it exposed, the Quran says:
"And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) is going to be asked; about what sin could she (as an infant) have possibly committed."
[Holy Quran 81:8]
Those who spend their wealth (in Allah's Cause) by night and day, in secret and in public, they shall have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
[Holy Quran 2:274]
L. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered men not to "inherit women against their will," and not to marry them accept by mutual consent and never to touch their wealth or inheritance in order to improve their own financial conditions.
O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will, and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr you have given them, unless they commit open illegal sexual intercourse. And live with them honorably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.
[Holy Quran 4:19]
We also notice from this verse, He forbid the common practice of wife-beating and abuse, (his own wife said he never once hit her).
He never once engaged in sex outside of marriage, nor did he ever approve of it, even though it was very common at the time. His only relationships with women were in legitimate, contractual marriages with proper witnesses according to law. His relationship to Ayesha was only that of marriage. He did not marry her the first time her father offered her hand to him in marriage. He married her only after she reached the age of puberty and could decide for herself. Their relationship is described in every detail by Ayesha herself in the most loving and respectful manner as a match truly made in heaven. Ayesha is considered as one of the highest scholars of Islam and lived out her entire life only having been married to Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. She never desired any other man, nor did she ever utter a single negative statement against Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
M. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, ordered men to "provide and protect" women, whether it was their own mother, sister, wife or daughter or even those of others, whether they were Muslims or not.
"Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support the women) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband's absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity, their husband's property, etc.).
As to those women on whose part you see illconduct, admonish them, refuse to share their beds, startle them (set forth a clear example or parable for them, to make clear the point of what is going on before divorcing them) so if they return to proper obedience (to Allah and their husbands), do not annoy them any further. Surely, Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great."
[Holy Quran 4:34]
N. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, prohibited killing of children for fear of poverty and also forbade killing any innocent people.
Say (O Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him): "Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Law). This He has commanded you that you may understand.
[Holy Quran 6:151]
O. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never committed adultery, and he required his followers to engage only in lawful marriage relationships with women, and forbid sex outside of Almighty God's Ordinance.
Satan (the devil) threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha (evil deeds, illegal sexual intercourse, sins etc.); whereas Allah promises you Forgiveness from Himself and Bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.
[Holy Quran 2:268]
Say (O Muhammad SAW): "(But) the things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are AlFawahish (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppression, joining partners (in worship) with Allah for which He has given no authority, and saying things about Allah of which you have no knowledge."
[Holy Quran 7:33]
And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a Fahishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).
[Holy Quran 17:32]
The adulterer marries not but an adulteress or a Mushrikah and the adulteress none marries her except an adulterer or a Muskrik [and that means that the man who agrees to marry (have a sexual relation with) a Mushrikah (female polytheist, pagan or idolatress) or a prostitute, then surely he is either an adulterer, or a Mushrik (polytheist, pagan or idolater, etc.) And the woman who agrees to marry (have a sexual relation with) a Mushrik (polytheist, pagan or idolater) or an adulterer, then she is either a prostitute or a Mushrikah (female polytheist, pagan, or idolatress, etc.)]. Such a thing is forbidden to the believers (of Islamic Monotheism).
[Holy Quran 24:3]
Verily, those who like that (the crime of) illegal sexual intercourse should be propagated among those who believe, they will have a painful torment in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you know not.
[Holy Quran 24:19]
O Prophet! When believing women come to you to give you the pledge, that they will not associate anything in worship with Allah, that they will not steal, that they will not commit illegal sexual intercourse, that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood (i.e. by making illegal children belonging to their husbands), and that they will not disobey you in any Ma'ruf (Islamic Monotheism and all that which Islam ordains) then accept their Bai'a (pledge), and ask Allah to forgive them, Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
[Holy Quran 60:12]
People committed fornication and adultery in most places around the word in Muhammad's time, yet he never once did so, and he forbade all of his followers from this evil practice.
P. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, forbade usury and interest on money lending, as Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, had done centuries before him. It can be easily shown how usury eats away at wealth and destroys the economic systems throughout history. Yet, just as in the teachings of the prophets of old, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, held that such practices were most evil and must be avoided in order to be at peace with the Creator (Allah).
Those who eat usury (deal in interest) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Satan leading him to insanity. That is because they say: "Trading is only like usury," whereas Allah has permitted trading and forbidden usury. So whosoever receives an admonition from his Lord and stops eating usury shall not be punished for the past; his case is for Allah (to judge); but whoever returns to dealing in usury, such are the dwellers of the Fire - they will abide therein.
Allah will destroy Riba (usury) and will give increase for charity, alms, etc. And Allah likes not the disbelievers, sinners.
Truly those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and perform Salat, and give Zakat, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
You who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains (due to you) from usury, if you are believers.
And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger but if you repent, you shall have your capital sums. Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.
[Holy Quran 2:275-279]
Q. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never gambled and did not allow it. Like usury, gambling takes away wealth but at an even faster pace.
"People ask you (Muhammad) about alcohol and gambling. Say, 'There is great sin in both of them and (some benefit) for humans, but the sin is greater than any benefit from them.' And they ask you what they should spend (for charity, etc.). Say, 'Whatever is above your basic needs.' So, Allah makes it clear to you His Laws in order for you to give thought."
[Holy Quran 2:219]
Gambling had not been viewed as so evil until the time of Muhammad, peace be upon. Today, it is well established the damage gambling causes to families and even mental health. The idea of getting something for nothing is not the proper way of life prescribed by the teachings of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him.
R. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, never drank alcohol or strong drink, even though it was a very normal thing for people of his time and place.
"O you believers! Intoxicating drinks, gambling, fortune telling, etc. is the hated work of the devil. So stay away from all of that horrible stuff, that you will be successful."
"The devil only wants to create hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks, etc.) and gambling and to keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from your proper worship (prayers). So, why won't you away from them?"
[Holy Quran 5:90-91]
The Arabs, like most other cultures at his time, drank alcohol without concern for their health or for their altered behavior while intoxicated. Many of them were alcoholics.
In today's world there is little need to present long discussions on the evil and dangers of drinking alcohol. Besides causing diseases and ruining a person's health, alcohol is often attributed to be the cause of many traffic accidents resulting in property damage, injuries and deaths. The first order was for the followers of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, to leave off drinking while engaged in worship, then came stronger orders to leave drinking all together. Thus, offering a time for the early Muslims to break off from their addiction to strong drink.
S. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, did not engage in gossip or backbiting and he always turned away from hearing anything related to it.
O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done.
[Holy Quran 49:6]
O you who believe! Do not allow one group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former; nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it, to insult one's brother after having Faith? And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed wrong-doers.
O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting) . And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
[Holy Quran 49:11-12]
Certainly, these teachings would be well appreciated in today's world where we find almost everyone engaging in the worst of gossiping and insulting of others, even the closest of relatives and loved ones.
T. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was most generous and encouraged others to be the same way in their dealings with others. He even asked them to forgive the debts of others with hope of receiving a better reward with their Lord (Allah).
And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.
And be afraid of the Day when you shall be brought back to Allah. Then every person shall be paid what he earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.
[Holy Quran 2:280-281]
S. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, commanded the payment of charity to the poor and he was the defender and protector of widows, orphans and the wayfarers.
"Therefore, do not oppress the orphan, nor repulse the beggar."
[Holy Quran 93:9-10]
Charity is for the poor, who in Allah's Cause are restricted (from travel), and cannot move about in the land (for trade or work). The one who knows them not, thinks that they are rich because of their modesty. You may know them by their mark, they do not beg of people at all. And whatever you spend in good, surely Allah knows it well.
[Holy Quran 2:273]
U. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught people how to deal with the most extreme difficulties and tests that occur to us throughout our lives. He held that only through patience and a humble attitude would we find true resolution and understanding of life's complications and disappointments. He the most patient of all and was exemplary in his own humbleness. All who knew him had to admit to these virtues.
O you who believe! Seek help in patience and the prayer. Truly! Allah is with the patient ones.
[Holy Quran 2:153]
He explained this life was a test from Allah:
And certainly, Allah shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient ones.
[Holy Quran 2:155]
Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return."
[Holy Quran 2:156]
V. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, fasted for days at a time to be closer to Almighty God and away from the narrowness of worldly attractions.
O you who believe! Observing the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.
[Holy Quran 2:183]
W. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, called for an end to racism and tribalism from the beginning to the end of his mission. He was truly the peacemaker for all times and all people.
O mankind! (Allah) has created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who is one of the pious. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware
[Holy Quran 49:13]
And in another verse of the Quran:
O mankind! Have piety and be most dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an AllWatcher over you.
[Holy Quran 4:1]
X. Regarding keeping up good relationships and bringing people back together after a falling out, the Quran says:
And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both, but if one of them rebels against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which rebels till it complies with the Command of Allah; then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable.
The believers are nothing else than brothers to each other. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.
[Holy Quran 49:9-10]
Y. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, was the immaculate conception and miracle birth of Mary, and that she was the best creation of Almighty God. He insisted even to the Jews of Madinah, that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, was the Messiah, the Christ, the one predicted to come in their Torah (Old Testament). He also taught that Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, did many miracles by the permission of Almighty God, curing the lepers, restoring sight to the blind and even bringing a dead man back to life, and he was not dead, rather Almighty God had raised him up. He also predicted Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, is going to return again in the Last Days to lead the true believers in a victory over the evil and unrighteous people, and he will destroy the Anti-Christ.
Z. Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, forbade any killing, even when his followers were being killed, until the orders for retaliation came from Allah. Even then the limits were clearly spelled out and only those engaged in active combat against the Muslims or Islam were to be fought in combat. And even then, only according to very strict rules from Allah.
[Please continue to chapter 3 - "What Did His Followers Say?"]