Who are Prophets?
God created us and did not leave us without guidance. If you want to give demo for a car, you will use a car and not a bike. Similarly, God chose righteous people to give a demo to other human beings to educate how to live a good life. These demonstrators were the Prophets sent by God. The Prophets were only humans and they did not have divine qualities. Some of the Prophets are: Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus. God sent Prophets to every country including India.
Who was Prophet Muhammad?
Prophet Muhammad was the last and final Prophet in the long chain of Prophets. He was sent for the whole mankind, including you and me, till the end of time.
His early life
Prophet Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca in a tribe called Quraish which controlled the city’s economy, politics and enjoyed a superior social status. He was orphaned at the age of six. The Prophet was admired for his excellent character, honesty and was known to be well mannered. People in Mecca called him “Al-Ameen” (The Trustworthy).
Up to the age of forty, Prophet Muhammad, an illiterate, was not known as a statesman or a preacher or an orator. He did not discuss the principles of religion, ethics, law, politics, economics or sociology. At the age of 40, Prophet Muhammad spent hours every day at the cave of Hira near Mecca, meditating about God who in Arabic language is called as Allah (like Ishwar in Hindi and Devaru in Kannada). One day, Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation from God through angel Gabriel. He received revelations for next 23 years on various topics ranging from Oneness of God, purpose of creation, lives of the earlier Prophets, morality, ethics and life after death. These revelations are known as the Quran which is the literal word of God. The Prophet’s own words were collected separately which are called Hadith.
Prophet Muhammad did not found a new religion called Islam. Islam is an Arabic word which means submission and obedience to God. This was the teaching of all the earlier Prophets. Prophet Muhammad revived the same message of submission and obedience of God taught by all the earlier Prophets. Prophet Muhammad taught the following important things. They are:
- Purpose of our existence is to worship and obey our creator and not anything else. (Worship the Creator and not the creations like idols, images, sun, star, planets etc. Do not elevate anyone or anything to the status of God. Do not deny the existence of God).
- God is only one. God does not have parents, children, and spouses and has none equal to Him.
- We are answerable to God in the life after death for whatever we do in this world.
- God does not differentiate people on the basis of caste, skin colour, race or descent and all humans are equal in the presence of God.
Prophet’s preaching was not for wealth, power, kingship or women
The people of Mecca offered to accept him as their King, give a lady of his choice in marriage and to lay all the riches of the land at his feet. Prophet turned down their attractive offers and continued to preach despite insults, social boycott and even physical assault. This clearly proves that the Prophet did not preach the message of God for worldly reasons.
Prophet as a ruler of the state
After patiently enduring the persecution by the people of Mecca for 13 years, Prophet Muhammad emigrated to a city called Medina whose people not only accepted him as a Prophet but also made him the ruler of the state. By the time he died, an area which was as big as India was under his authority. Despite being the spiritual leader and the ruler of a state, the Prophet demonstrated exemplary humility and remarkable simplicity.
Prophet’s simple, humble Life
The Prophet lived his life in poverty in a very small house often going without food for several days. He borrowed thirty measures of barley grains from a Jew, who was a citizen in his state, by pledging his armour as security for the loan and he died without redeeming that armour. He prohibited people from standing up for him out of respect. He had no body guards and soldiers did not guard his house. He ordered people not to praise him excessively. Prophet Muhmmad said:
He was so humble that he used to mingle with his companions like one among them so much that a person who had not seen the Prophet before had to ask “Which one of you is Muhammad?”
Prophet preached and practiced Equality
Prophet Muhammad proclaimed:
Prophet appointed Bilal, a former black slave, to make the call for the daily five time prayers, which is one of the most revered duties in Islam.
Prophet and social reform
By following God’s command, he carried out social reforms by instilling God-consciousness and by making people realize that they were accountable for their deeds in the life after death. He encouraged free trade and ethical investments but secured workers’ rights and forbade interest. He promoted healthy living by prohibiting alcohol, drugs, prostitution and crime. He strongly condemned domestic violence and encouraged women to speak their mind. He established laws to protect animals, trees and the environment. He encouraged people to seek beneficial knowledge wherever it could be found, with the result that Muslims never experienced a conflict between science and religion. This led the Muslims to lead the world in many fields of learning for several centuries.
Treatment of Non-Muslims
Prophet taught that all people, no matter what religion they belong to, should be treated justly and with dignity. Once a funeral procession passed in front of the Prophet and he stood up. When he was told that it was the coffin of a Jew, he said, “Is he not a human being?”
The incident of the Prophet pledging his armour with a Jewish citizen of his state, for a few measures of barley shows that non-Muslims not only enjoyed full freedom but were also powerful enough to even lend to the ruler of the state. We see that the Prophet gave the land of Khaibar to the Jews to work on and take its yield. Being a ruler, the Prophet could have distributed the land to the Muslims or he could have settled the Muslims there. Instead, he planned and executed in a manner that the Jews would benefit. These incidents also prove that forced conversions of Non-Muslims to Islam never took place.
Treatment of Women
Prophet established the rights of women and encouraged women’s empowerment. He changed a society which took pride in ill-treating women and murdering female children. He proclaimed that women have the right to: earn, study, inherit, choose their life partner, remarry, divorce, own property etc. which were unheard of for several centuries in other parts of the world. He elevated the status of women by teachings like:
(Why do Muslim women wear Hijab? – Read here)
Wars — Why?
When a war is waged against a nation it becomes the duty of the ruler to protect the citizens. Example: Kargil war. The wars fought by the Prophet were of the same nature. The wars were to fight oppression and to protect the citizens of his state. The objective was to maintain peace. God in the Quran tells the Prophet
20 Famous Quotes of Prophet Muhammad
Prophet Muhammad – foretold in Christian scriptures
Reverend David Benjamin Keldani, a former Catholic Bishop wrote a book called “Muhammad in the Bible” in 1928, in which he proves that Prophet Muhammad is also foretold in the Bible in Deuteronomy 18:18 & 19, Deuteronomy 33:2, John 1:21, John 14:16, John 15:26 and John 16:7.
Role Model for the whole of Humanity
Several Prophets were appointed by God for their tribes or nations. Scriptures were given to some of them. However, the people for their selfish interests altered and corrupted the true message in them. So God revealed the final revelation – the Glorious Quran to Prophet Muhammad and protected it from corruption and change.
Prophet Muhammad was not an Arab nationalist leader. God sent him as mercy for the whole world with love and concern for all mankind regardless of their national origin or ethnicity. He preached universal brotherhood and saw everyone as members of one human family, created by one God. His message addressed the root cause of all human problems and provided a solution which is to live a life in accordance to the commandments of God.
God only chose the best of people to be His prophets. Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet sent to mankind and hence is the best role model for all of us. Therefore, it becomes necessary for each of us to understand the divine message brought by Prophet Muhammad (may peace be on him) and emulate his teachings in our lives in order to attain success not only in this world but also in the life after death.
Famous personalities on Prophet Muhammad
Mahatma Gandhiji on Prophet Muhammad
Mahatma Gandhiji in “Young India” in 1924 said the following about the final Prophet of God – Prophet Muhammad: