In a well-known and oft-repeated statement, the French scholar Ernest Renan wrote in 1851 that, unlike the other founders of major religions, the Prophet Muhammad “was born in the full light of history.”
Indeed, look up Muhammad in any reference book and the outlines of his life are confidently on display: birth in CE 570 in Mecca, career as a successful merchant, first revelation in 610, flight to Medina in 622, triumphant return to Mecca in 630, death in 632.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a humble beginning. The leader of all the Prophets was born as an orphan. His mother also died when he was at the age of 6. Grew under the love and protection of his uncle Abu Talib. Loved and respected by all he grew up to the nick name “The Trustworthy” in the city of Mecca. Disputes were brought to him to mediate and his opinion was honored. Handsome young man with a Charisma. Any one who looked at him admired him and he left lasting impression on them.
About the age of 25 the wealthy lad of Mecca Khadijah asked him if he could lead a caravan business trip to Damascus. He accepted the offer and performed well in the trade and earned her attention for his honesty and sharpness. The wise lady Khadijah realized that he is the kind of person whom every wife would expect her husband to be. So she requested our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to accept her as his wife. After consultations with his uncle Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) accepted the offer.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had a happy life with Khadijah. She aided and assisted Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in things that were dearer to him. He loved the poor and was very much sad in the state of affairs of the poor and destitute. Khadijah gave her all of her wealth to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to be distributed among the poor in Mecca.
Even though most of Meccans were submerged in pagan rituals and idol worship Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never worshiped Idols. He was among a few who always searched for the true reason behind our creation and the in the quest to get to creator. He started seeing dreams in the night which would come true in the day time. Sooner He started to seclude himself from the busy life of the city and spent time in meditation. All this time his wife Khadijah supported him and packed him food and some time delivered him food at his favorite meditation spot which was the cave of Hira. One night when He was in the cave the angel Jibreel (Gabriel) came to him and asked him to read. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied “I am not learned. I cannot read”. Angel repeated three times and each time Prophet Muhammad replied the same. After the third time Jibreel recited the Verses 1 to 5 of Holy Quran Chapter 96.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) rushes back home trembling and his wife Khadijah is by his side assuring him that Allah will not bring any harm to you. Because you are helper for the poor and the orphans. Khadijah takes Him to her cousin Waraqa who after hearing the account from Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told them that this Angel is no one other than Jibreel and that soon your people will go against you. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) couldn’t believe that His own people would turn against him. Indeed that happened in a short span.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) started to secretly speaking with him close friends and relatives about his mission from Allah. Slowly but steadily his message got momentum and came to be noted in Mecca by the rich and the powerful as a threat to the old customs which provided them the infrastructure for keeping law and order that was based upon oppressing the lower class citizens. The message of Islam soon became a problem. The leaders of Mecca resorted to torturing the poor and weak companions and their family. Many were killed. When the torture became intense Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) ordered a group of followers to migrate to Abysinia (currently Ethiopia) where the Christian King Nagus received them and honored them.
During all this time enemies of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) could not put their hands on him because his uncle Abu Talib gave him protection. In the Meccan customs of that time if any leader of a clan offers protection to a person he cannot be harmed and if harmed it is equivalent to inviting a war. But with the death of Abu Talib all that protection ended. His wife Khadijah also died in the same year. This gave them a open hand for attacking and ridiculing Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wished for a safe place where He could continue his mission in peace. So ventured in to hillside city of Taif. His adopted son Zaid bin Haritha accompanied him. The leaders in Taif did not even care to give their guests a common customary courtesy. Instead they let loose the street kids of Taif to stone them on their way back to Mecca. This was a difficult day for Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Outside of Taif when they came to a resting place Allah sends down the Angel Jibril who comes to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and asks his permission that the accompanying angel of the mountains can squeeze the people of Taif due to what they did to him. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said I am send to people as a mercy. So no harm be done on them. If they do not accept the religion of Allah may be their progeny will.
The opposition and attacks on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) continued. During this time people in the agricultural city of Medina which is about 250 Miles away from Mecca were seeking a leader for the war torn city to be their mediator and helper. They knew about Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his noble character. They also know form their Jewish neighbors that a Prophet is about to be appointed. The warring Arab clans of Medina The Auz and Khazraj came to meet Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) at Aqaba and invited him to Medina. Prophet Muhammad accepted their invitation and in return asked them that they should accept his Religion. Deal was made and Prophet Muhammad’s followers started migrating to Medina in smaller groups.
While this was happening the enemies started planning to assassinate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). They devised a plan where 7 individuals ,1 from each clan will take part in attacking Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) while he is in his bed and since there are 7 clans involved it would be impossible to fight them all if any one thought about it. The plan was finalized and the night came for that plan to be put on action. The to be assassins sneaked in to Prophet Muhammad’s bedroom only to see that He has already escaped and His cousin Ali is on his bed.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) migrated to Medina with his best friend Aboobakr. En route to Medina Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Aboobkr Siddique took shelter in a cave which was tracked down by the pagans. The thing that stood between the two parties was a flimsy spider web. They took that no one could have gone inside the cave without breaking the spider web. Prophet Muhammad and Aboobkr reached Medina to be received by the natives of Medina with cheer. Soon Medina became the capital of the new Islamic State.
Meccans fought with the Islamic State many times after this. But the message of Islam could not be stopped. in 8 years from the migration to Medina Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) returned to Mecca with Ten Thousand companions and Mecca surrenders to him in a blood less takeover.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) pardons all those in Mecca. Only a handful of criminals were punished. No revenge was taken on the people who drove the Muslims away from Mecca. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gave a sermon on the Hajj that followed. In his first and the last Hajj called Hajjathul Wada he gave a farewell sermon which brought people to tears because they realized that this great Prophet of Allah who was with them and who became their best friend and the most important person is about to leave them.
May Allah give us the blessed opportunity to meet with our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and be with him in the Paradise.