Thursday, September 1, 2011

Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Seal of the Prophets

Muhammad   (peace be upon him)  was born in Makkah in the year 570, during the period of history Europeans call the Middle Ages. As he grew up, Muhammad became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, earning the title of al-Amin, the trustworthy one.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was of a contemplative nature and had long detested the decadence of his society. At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) received his first revelation from God through the Archangel Gabriel. This revelation continued for twenty-three years and is known as the Qur'an.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel, and to preach the truth that God had revealed to him. The people of Makkah were steeped in their ways of ignorance and opposed Muhammad and his small group of followers in every way. These early Muslims suffered bitter persecution.

In 622, God gave the Muslim Community the command to emigrate. This event, the hijrah, 'migration', in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

Madinah provided Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Muslims the safe and nurturing haven from where Islam grew.

After several years, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers returned to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) died at the age of 63 and was buried in Madinah. At the time of his death, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century Islam had spread to Spain in the West and as far east as China.

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