Out of love for Prophet Muhammad all Muslims when saying and listening his name say “SalAllahu Alaihe wa Sallam” (may Allah honor him and grant him peace).
Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was born in Arabia in the year 570 AD in the noblest clan of Makkah, the Quraish. During one of his meditative retreats to the Cave of Hira in Makkah, he received his first revelation from God through Angel Gabriel. He started his mission of preaching the religion of truth, Islam, at the age of forty until his death, at the age of sixty-three. During this not so long period of twenty-three years, his prophet hood transformed the entire Arabian Peninsula from paganism and idolatry to the worship of One God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living, from utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and imagine all these unbelievable achievements in just over two decades.
Every detail of his private life and public utterances has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved to our day. The authenticity of record so preserved is vouched for not only by Muslims but even by his prejudiced critics. Muhamad the seal of all of God’s Messengers and Prophets, was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the world of human thought and behavior for all times to come.
When he appeared, Arabic was nothing but a desert. Out of nothing a new world was modeled by the dynamic spirit of Muhammad – a new life and a new dimension, and the dawn of a new civilization unfurled which spread from Morocco to the Indies and influenced the thought and life of three continents – Asia, Africa and Europe. Michael H. Hart, the great American scientist, philosopher, mathematician, physicist and historian of this century, in his book, ‘The 100 most influential men in human history’, lists Muhammad PBUH at No. 1.
Today after a lapse of over fourteen centuries, records of the life and teachings of Muhammad, have survived without the slightest loss, human interference or interpolation. They offer the same everlasting hope for treating mankind’s many maladies that they did when he was alive. This is not just a claim made by his followers but rather the inescapable conclusion reached by a critical and unbiased history. The Quran itself confirms that Muhammad is God’s last messenger to mankind and the seal of prophet hood.
Prophet Muhammad’s Last Sermon
Date delivered: 632 AC, 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, 10 AH in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat. After praising, and thanking God, he said:
“O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.”
“O People, just as you regard this month, this day, and this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived…Beware of Satan, for your safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regards to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery.
O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers (Salat), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat, Perform Hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over another except by piety and good action. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, No Prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, The Sunnah (my practices) and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.”
The Hadith and Sunnah of the Prophet
The Sunnah refers to the divine physical and moral laws set out in the universe and in the Quran. However, the term is used most commonly in reference to the example and customary practice of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. The Prophet’s Sunnah has more than one usage in Muslim tradition. As a technical term used in the Sharia (Islamic law), it refers to the binding rules derived from the Prophet’s sayings or hadith. As such, it is the second most important source of law after the Quran. In a more general meaning, often used by jurists and theologians, the Sunnah refers also to all the customs and habits of the Prophet, including his everyday life practice. Examples of this are the supererogatory prayers and fasting which the Prophet performed over and above the prescribed rituals. These are referred to as Sunnah prayers or Sunnah fasting.
“There certainly is an excellent example in Allah’s messenger for he who fears Allah and the last day and remembers Allah abundantly.” (Quran 33:21)
Some of the Hadiths:
“The first to be summoned to Paradise on the Day of Resurrection will be those who praise God in prosperity and adversity.” (Al-Tirmidhi 730)
“[The man asked] ‘Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’ The man said ‘Who is next?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’ The man further said, ‘Who is next?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your mother.’ The man asked for the fourth time, ‘Who is next?’ The Prophet said, ‘Your father.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari 8:2)
“He who has been a ruler over ten people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection, until the justice (by which he ruled) loosens his chains or tyranny brings him to destruction.” (Al-Tirmidhi 1037)
“Avoid cruelty and injustice… and guard yourselves against miserliness, for this has ruined nations who lived before.” (Riyadhus-Salateen 203)
Muhammad’s Treaties and Covenants with Jews and Christians
One of the first acts of Prophet Muhammad after his immigration from Makkah and arriving in Madinah was to weld together the different tribes and conflicting groups of people comprising the city and its suburbs into an orderly confederation. It was his greatest desire that there should be peace and harmony in Madinah and the Muslims should be able to pursue the worship of Allah without hindrance from any quarter. At the same time, he desired that others of different faiths should be able to live their own lives freely and peaceful. To this end, he signed treaties not only with the Jews and Christians of Madinah but also with many other tribes. Giving elaborate details will not be appropriate here but following is a summary of the most important clauses of these treaties that are a testimony to the respect that Islam attaches to the basic human rights and dignity of others:
With the Jews
- This is a document from Muhammad, the Prophet, governing the relations between the believers and Muslims of Quraish and Madinah and those who joined, and followed and labored (fought) with them.
- All the inhabitants of Madinah will be considered as one nation.
- To the Jews who follow us belong help and equality. They shall not be wronged nor shall their enemies be aided.
- The Jews shall have their freedom of their religion without any interference from anyone.
- It shall be the duty of the members of this ‘treaty’ to defend their allies from any attacks from the enemies of Madinah.
- No non-Muslim member shall give any assistance or protection to the Quriash of Makkah who were virtually at war with the Muslims.
- The people of Madinah shall not interfere with the life or religion of each other.
- They must seek mutual advice and consultation, and loyalty is a protection against treachery.
- IT shall be the duty of everyone to assist the poor and oppressed
- Massacres and killing shall be strictly forbidden.
- The parties and the ‘Treaty’ shall be responsible for the maintenance and peace and the valley of Madinah shall be sanctuary for the people of this document.
- If any dispute or controversy likely to cause trouble should arise, it must be referred to Allah and to Muhammad, the messenger of Allah.
With the Christians
(Also called ‘Charter of Privileges’: to the months of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai.)
“This is a message from Muhammad ibn(son) of Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their months from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslim’s houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to be disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”