Muhammad

Page author: Luke Burns

This page published on: 01/01/2020

Last modified: 01/01/2020

Muhammad is the revered prophet of Islam, who was active during the 6th Century in Arabia.

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Muhammad was a member of the Quyarsh tribe in the Arabian city of Mecca during the sixth century of the common era. His father died before he was born, and his mother passed away while he was still a child.

The orphan Muhammad was raised by his uncle, and learned how to be a merchent in the desert caravans, trading goods between cities and villages. He earned a reputation as an honest trader, and was called al-Amin (the trustworthy).

He married a businesswoman named Khadijah, who helped to support him, and they lived a normal life.

Every year, Muhammad would take his family to the mountains above Mecca and meditate alone in a cave. When he was 40 years old, Muhammad was sitting quietly in this cave when he was gripped by a powerful presence.

The presence commanded him to read, but Muhammad did not know how. The presence suddenly came close and gripped Muhammad’s body forcefully before commanding again - read.

Again, Muhammad answered that he did not know how.

The presence came again and pressed Muhammad’s body so tightly he could barely breathe; again it commanded to read.

Muhammad was terrified, and called out ‘What should I read?’

The presence pressed him once more, then let go and said ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.’

This was Muhammad’s first encounter with the angel Jibril (who in Christian sources is referred to as Gabriel). There were many more encounters, and each time new revealations came to Muhammad that answered events in his life, or provided more general guidance on how to serve God.

Muhammad was convinced that the God of the Jewish and Christian scriptures was real, but that many people had misinterpreted the truth of these earlier revelations.

Motivated by his experiences, Muhammad began to preach, and gained a small following - this upset the ruling tribe in Mecca, and he eventually left for the nearby settlement of Medina.

After many political and military conflicts between these two cities, peace was finally achieved, and Muhammad returned to Mecca and established it as the spiritual centre of the Muslim world.

He died at the age of 63 after suffering from a fever, but left behind a unified region, and the record of his contact with God - the Qur’an.

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