“I wanted to know the best one who hold today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind. I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of Prophet Muhammad, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to this friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. When I closed the second volume (of the book about his life) I was sorry that there was not more for me to read about his great life”
Today, marks the birthday of the world’s final prophet (in accordance to the Islamic faith), Prophet Muhammad S.A.W following the Islamic calendar. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was born on 12 Rabbiulawal, in the year of the elephant to Abdullah (son to Abdul Muttalib whose ancestry dates back to Prophet Ishmael, son to Prophet Abraham) and Amina.
Born into the Bani Hasyim tribe of Quraysh people, in the city of Mecca, he was born an orphan, having lost his father before he was born. He then lost his mother before he was even 7 years old and subsequently lived with his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib before he was raised by his uncle, Abu Talib when his grandfather died.
He was a shepherd boy before he became a merchant. Known as a successful and honest man, he was nicknamed “As-Sadiqul Ameen”, which means, “the truthful and the trustworthy”. In his time as a merchant was when he met his boss, who subsequently proposed to him and married him, Khadijah. She was much older than him (more than 10 years older) and they were married for 25 years and had 6 children, of which 2 of them, both sons died (one at 3 and another at 4 years old).
It was during his marriage to Khadijah that he received the first divine revelation at the age of 40 years old in a cave he used to go to, to seek solace, called ‘Hira’ (pronounced “He-Rah”. Being illiterate, he was never able to read and it was in this cave that Archangel Gabriel told him to read. Since he was illiterate, the archangel persisted and continued asking him to read again and again to the frightened Muhammad, and the first revelation came:
“Read in the Name of your Lord Who created (every thing), He created man from a clot (clinging to the wall of the womb)…Read! and your Lord is the All-Munificent..Who has taught man by the pen..He taught man what he didn’t know!” Quran V1-5 Ch96.
Frightened, he ran back home and asked Khadijah to cover him with a blanket as he hid underneath it.
And that was the beginning of his Prophecy for the next 23 years as he spread monotheism. The message was about Aqidah (faith and belief in one God, the creator of all beings) and Shariah (system and regulations that govern people’s day to day transactions, activities and practices) and Prophet Muhammad was the Akhlaq (personality of Quran).
Muhammad added value to people’s lives encouraging people to love one another, emphasised that greeting people is a message of peace, had a high sense of humour, cared for and loved children, emphasised importance of loving and being kind of neighbours, abolished bad social manners, was against defamation, ill opinion, evil suspicion, spying and backbiting, promotes honesty, discouraged breaking a promise and lying.
He encouraged people to live a life of balance and to avoid hardship, added value to sport and knowledge and many more including establishing etiquette and hygiene.
Some of his etiquette includes:
- Do not talk loudly and walk arrogantly
- Do not stay long when visiting a sick person so as to allow that person to rest
- Call others with names and nick names that they like
- Put your hand over your mouth when yawning and bless others when they sneeze
- Talk kindly to your parents and don’t shout at their faces, never say a bad word, even “uff” or “fie” (smallest negative Arabic word)
And his hygiene included:
- Dress in clean and tidy clothes but do not be prodigal
- Use perfumes to smell good
- Trim your nails, remove pubic and armpit hair
- Wash hands before and after eating. Do not touch food after waking up until hands are washed.
He established Human Rights and Women’s Rights and championed Environmental causes.
When he passed away at the age of 63, he didn’t leave behind any money or wealth, except his white mule and a piece of land dedicated to the community.
The story of his life, repeated to me over and over again since I was 5 years old never fails to captivate me. Truly, he was the most perfect of human being in more ways than one.
“Head of the state as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but, he was Pope without the Pope’s claims, and 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 a right Divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the power without instruments and without its support. He cared not for dressing of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life”
Reverend Reginald Bosworth Smith