In history of world, very few personalities have transformed a rugged nation to a mighty power of the world. In 7th century Arabia, a man of Quraysh tribe led the Bedouin Arabs to rule the world in near future. He brought the continuation of monotheism of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. He was not an extra ordinary religious leader but last messenger of god to seal the prophet hood. His transformation revolutionized the Arab Saracens to a mighty world power. His message changed the barren steppes of Hijaz to the cultural centre of medieval times. His message was peace and tranquility to all humanity. He was Muhammad (PBUH) the last prophet of god. In preceding paragraphs, we will take a deep look to his message and will try to establish the authenticity of his prophet hood.
Life of Muhammad (PBUH) before 610 A.D
Although as per (Armstrong, 2004, pp. 74-90), very little account of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) life was available. As per these Accounts, Muhammad (PBUH) was son of Abdullah and grandson of Abdulmutlib. He belonged to Banu Hashmi Clan of Quraysh tribe. His family was one of the noblest of times. His grandfather was the main organizer of Kaaba shrine and a charismatic figure. He was born in 571 A.D. His father died before his birth. Before the revelation of prophet hood, he led a simple life. He took merchandising as a family occupation under assistance from his uncle Abu Talib. His character and honesty has no contemporary match. He was famous as Sadiq and Amin (Truthful and reliable). At the age of 25, he married to Khadija. In his 30’s the status of Muhammad (PBUH) in Meccan society was on the rise. He was famous for his sympathetic behavior to poor’s and slaves. One of the most remarkable events of Muhammad’s life was rebuilding of Kaaba shrine. A dispute erupted among Quraysh clans for mounting of sacred stone. The matter was left to the discretion of Muhammad (PBUH) for settlement. He solved the dispute intelligently by involvement of each clan in mounting of stone. At the age of 40 year, he was revealed with prophet hood at mount Hira.
The Prophet Hood Revelation
As per (Armstrong, 2004, p. 82) at the age of 40, he started to concentrate more on the spiritual side and used to go to Mount Hira (a cave near Mecca) for solitude. On the night of 17th Ramadan, 610 A.D., A divine figure appears in the cave and orders him to recite. He replied that he was illiterate. The divine figure embraced him and miraculously he started to utter the holy words, later known as Quran. It was only a beginning of a new religion known as Islam. As per (Armstrong, 2004, p. 91), the message of Quran was a continuation of all other Prophet’s monotheism. Due to culture of paganism in Mecca, Muhammad (PBUH) faced a stiff resistance from his clan, which later forced him to migrate to Yathrib (Now Madina). From there he established a base for his religion and in later years spread his message to the whole Arabian Peninsula and contemporary world. He died at the age of 63 after 23 years of prophet hood. However, until this time his message spread all over the Arabia and rest of the world. He transformed the blood thirsty Bedouin’s to the leading civilization of globe for times to come.
The Message of Muhammad (PBUH)
According to (Armstrong, 2004, p. 92) the message of Muhammad (PBUH) based on the Quran. The sole requirement of his message was to create a just society who believes in one god. The accumulation of wealth by individual was not encouraged. An emphasis laid on giving alms and distributing the wealth among the society. Almsgiving (Zakat) became one of the foundation pillars (rukn) of Islam. In Islam, caliph was not the sole political power and he was mainly a symbolic figure of unity. As per (Armstrong, 2004, p. 97) Islam itself means surrender to god and a Muslim is a surrendered one. The message of Muhammad (PBUH) mainly based on Tazzaqa. As per (Armstrong, 2004, p. 97) it means to cloak themselves into virtue of compassion and generosity, which would result in creation of a just society. Muhammad (PBUH) himself led a very simple life. As per (Armstrong, 2004, p. 93) he never possessed more than a single piece of cloth at time and had no excess of food available at his house.
In short, the message of Muhammad (PBUH) was creation of a just society on the principle laid down by god. He himself demonstrated the simplified life to his disciples.
Muhammad (PBUH): A Prophet or a religious leader
Before proceeding to analyze the stature of Muhammad (PBUH), we will first look at the era and religious situation of that time to form a broader view on the prospect.
According to (Armstrong, 2004, pp. 55-71) the paganism was the biggest following at Meccan society of that time. The holy shrine of Kaaba contained around 360 idols of different gods and deities. Quraysh were the most powerful tribe of that time and guardian of holy shrine. The Arabian paganism was somewhat a mixture of Sumerian gods and deities. The Arab clans were the rigid followers of their version of Paganism.
If Muhammad (PBUH) was a religious leader then he must had expected a stiff resistance from within his own clan. His message of religion had completely denounced the in vogue religious customs. If he had a political agenda then he probably had tried to reform the paganism religious customs. However, his message was totally opposite to what was happening on ground. So on political ground he was on a precarious footing. He also shares these commonalities with Jesus and Moses both. The prophets of Judaism and Christianity also preached monotheism and had an in house confrontation of their ideology. The second question comes in what would have been his objective as religious leader. All religious struggles of world are mainly to acquire/control political power. The Catholics, Protestants, all efforts were to gain a hold on political power of region. Since the birth of Islam, their adversaries on all aspects outnumbered them. No human being would have ever thought for a final victory over powerful Meccan tribes. In this situation thinking of possible opportunist exploiting the situation might had precarious out comes with risk of his own life. Moreover, after the conquest of Mecca, he never took over the reigns as caliph nor did laid foundation of theological monarchy.
The story of Muhammad (PBUH) has many clues, which confirms his prophet hood. As mentioned by (Armstrong, 2004, pp. 73-74) the prophecy of a Christian monk about an Arab prophet and confirmation of mark of prophecy by another Christian monk Bahira are much solid proofs regarding his divinity.
Quran itself is a miracle and in its own way a proof of divine origin. The same fact was acknowledged by (Armstrong, 2004, p. 72). Being an Ummi (illiterate) and the language class of high order Quran itself is a proof of his prophecy.
The accounts of Muhammad (PBUH) revelation and his overwhelming experience resemble many theological accounts of Christian and Jewish encounters with the The Spirit or Gabriel.
Muhammad (PBUH) was a prophet of god. His simple life and message were for all humanity and based on peace and justice. His stature is far above then a mere religious leader. The proofs of his prophet hood are heavier then the vice versa. Over 1 billion Muslim population of world demonstrates the effectiveness of his message. In his life after a struggle, he finally managed to convey his message to Arabs and rest of world.
Armstrong, K. (2004). Muhammad: A biogarphy of the Prophet. Quetta: Book Readers International.