Prophet Muhammad is believed to be an
important messenger of Allah by the Muslims
around the world. He is supposed to be the last
of the prophets sent by Allah to guide his
people towards the right path.
Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula, part of modern day Saudi Arabia, in 570 CE. He had a difficult childhood. His father passed away soon after marriage and he was bought up by his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib. Abd al-Muttalib was a revered head of the clan of Hashim and the Quraysh tribe, who were in-charge of the sacred Ka'ba. Muhammad's mother passed away when he was six years old. He also lost his grandfather when he was eight years old. Abu Talib, one of Muhammad's uncles, became his guardian. At the age of twenty five, Muhammad was hired by Khadija, a merchant woman, to take her merchandize to Syria. Later he married Khadija, who was a widow and was about fifteen years older to him. Khadija died about 8 to 9 years after the revelation of the Qur'an.
Revelation of Qur'an
Prophet Muhammad had a keen interest in matters beyond the worldly life. He frequently used to visit a cave on the Mountain of "Nur" (light) for contemplation. It is believed that it was in this cave that the Prophet received the first verse of the Qur'an from Allah in 610 CE. He was forty years old at that time. This was the start of the new religion, Islam. Later this cave came to be known as "Hira" in Islam. The Qur'an continued to be revealed to the Prophet in several parts over the next twenty two years.
Preaching of Islam
The first two to three years after the revelation of Qur'an, Prophet Muhammad secretly preached Islam to people whom he trusted. Later he started preaching Islam publicly and gained many followers. However, the Prophet and his followers had to face a lot of persecutions and sufferings at the hands of the disbelievers and the idol worshippers in Mecca.
Once during the Prophet's pilgrimage to Mecca in 622 CE, all the Quraysh tribes conspired to assassinate him. However Allah warned the Prophet about the assassination plan and instructed him to leave Mecca secretly and take shelter in the city of Yathrib. This important event is referred as the "Hijra" (immigration) by the Muslims. After the arrival of the Muhammad, the city of Yathrib came to be known as "al-Madina al-Munawwara" (the illuminated city), or "al-Madina". The Prophet dwelt in al-Madina for about ten years.
Prophet Muhammad performed his last pilgrimage in 632 CE and was accompanied by thousands of men and women. It was in this pilgrimage that the Prophet received the last revelation of the Qur'an. Two months later the Prophet passed away on June 8, 632 CE.