The name Muhammad has become widely known, but who was Muhammad? A man that is still so loved that every time Muslims hear his name, they utter a prayer for him.
Muhammad was born in 570 in Arabia, in the city of Mecca. Orphaned from a very early age, he was raised by his uncle. As an adult he traded as a merchant and over the years gained a reputation as a peace-maker, a man of great kindness and good judgment. He became known as the ‘trusted one’ amongst the people of his city.
At the age of 40, Muslims believe that Muhammad was visited by the Angel Gabriel whose first words to him began: “Read in the name of your Lord who created” (Quran, 96:1). This is considered by Muslims to be revelation from God and the beginning of Muhammad’s Prophethood. Muhammad taught that he came with the same message as the prophets before him, great figures such as Abraham and Moses, and he is considered to be the last in their line – the ‘Seal of Prophets’.
His preaching began in Mecca, mainly focusing on monotheism, justice and social reform. When eventually forced to leave Mecca, due to persecution, he was warmly welcomed by the people of Madina where he became the head of the city-state and introduced a groundbreaking charter establishing the rights and duties of citizens.
While he could have lived in palaces, he slept on the floor in his humble apartments next to the mosque and lived a simple life. Through his personal example, wisdom and humility Muhammad captured the hearts of the people around him. He died at the age of 63, no longer the preacher to the downtrodden, but the head of a growing community of many thousands, the leader of a new nation.