Every Muslim believes that Islam is a religion that has always been there from the beginning of time and was revealed to us over time by many different prophets, but the final and complete revelation of the faith was made through the Prophet Muhammad. I chose this topic because of a number of impacts and transformation the leadership of Prophet Muhammad had made to humanity and the world in general. An Arab man who does not know how to read or write but was able to transform the whole of Arabian Peninsula in less than three decades.
I also chose this topic because he was able to free women form the oppression of becoming extinct. As a Muslim woman myself, I believe there is no religion that has given women the freedom, respect and recognition than the religion of Islam with its leader Prophet Muhammad. This paper intends to discuss and highlight the different aspects of Prophet Muhammad life and deeds. Prophet Muhammad is considered to be one of the most significant person in history. As Prophet’s teachings and practices are misunderstood and misinterpreted in some context, this research paper counters those misrepresentations about Islam and the Prophet, and explains the source of this religion, Prophet Muhammad who is the face and voice of Islam, and shows the idea of leadership in Islam.
Prophet Muhammad’s Birth
Prophet Muhammad was born in Makkah in 570, his father died before he was born. His mother was named Amina and she died when he was six years old. After his mother’s death Muhammad was raised by his grandfather. Unfortunately when Muhammad was eight years old, his grandfather died and he was taken into the care of his uncle. His uncle protected and defended him throughout the testing times of his prophet hood.
Life at Young Age
Prophet Muhammad was known for his excellent manners and honesty. At young age he used to go with his uncle on his business trips. When he reached the age of twelve he traveled with his uncle as far as Basra. As an adult, the Prophet worked as a trader between cities, and people admired him. When Khadijah, one of the wealthiest of the Quraysh, heard of his reputation, she asked him to take charge of some of her trading business. When he returned, Khadijah put him in charge of her business because of his honesty. When Muhammad was twenty five years old, he got married to his first wife Khadijah, who is also his fifteen years senior. They had two sons and four daughters.
Revelations and Prophethood
When Prophet Muhammad was forty years old, he would go to the cave of Hira and stay for a day or two then come back. He was at the age where he saw the corruption in the society around him and was unhappy with it, but he did not know what to do about it. So he would go to Hira and think about it in the privacy there. At this age was also when he received his first revelation, which marks the beginning of his prophethood. Although the first revelation marked the beginning of the prophetic career of Muhammad, it did not contain any special instructions for him until the following revelations. At first, the Prophet reported his visions and revelations only to a few close relatives and friends.
Some of these believed in him and accepted the new religion. The very first person to accept Islam was, his wife Khadijah and she stood by him throughout her life. Then he took his preaching to the people of Mecca, inviting people to dedicate themselves to Allah and to abstain from incorrect actions. He worked hard to reform them by teaching them to speak the truth, and show mercy to the poor. The idol worshippers tried their best to harm and tease him. While the wealthy people of Mecca turned their back on him, the poor and the oppressed were strongly attracted to his teaching. These people saw that Islam recognized the rights of the poor.
The slaves and the women saw a new hope for themselves in this religion. His companions did not consider performing any practice without his permission or confirmation. “Islamic scholars state that the terms sabil (road), sirat al-mustaqim (straight path) and uswa al-hasana (best of examples), which are mentioned in the Holy Quran, in the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and in the words of his Companions, are words and terms that represent the concept of the Sunnah. All these terms indicate the path to be followed and the model to be taken as an example” (Kucuk, 2013)1.
Migration to Medina
When the mistreatment of the people of Makkah against the Muslims grew extremely, Allah commanded them to migrate so that they could form the religion of Allah in a land where they could worship him. The Prophet fled to Medina, by Allah’s permission, to escape oppression. It was narrated from Abu Moosa that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “I saw in a dream that I was migrated from Makkah to a land of in which there are date palms, and I thought that it was Al Yama amah or Hajar, but it turned out to be al Madinah, Yathrib…” (Islamiqa, 2002). The Prophet fled to Medina in the company of Hazrat Abu Bakar, which marks the day of Hijrah. Medina became the center of the Islamic activity of the Prophet. He gained many followers there. He organized them into a small army. He challenged several hundreds of thousands of his enemies with the help of that small group with a success of defeat after defeat upon them.
Returning to Mecca
At last the Holy Prophet entered Makkah as a victor. He showed grace and mercy to all the people of Makkah, and declared general forgiveness. Through that he set an admirable example of humanity and high mindedness before the world. The Prophet taught his followers a simple code of life. He wanted them to live peacefully, serve others, speak the truth and help the needy. His return to Mecca allowed him to fulfill a promise he made to Gabriel in A.D. 620 to cleanse the Kaaba idols. He cleansed the Kaaba by smashing the idols and then dedicated the empty box to the worship of one God. His life is a living source of inspirations to the world. No life history of any man has such an inspiring record of the day to day events as the simple but stirring story of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The Final Years
After his return to Mecca, Prophet Muhammad was generally accepted by the faithful as the true final prophet. He continued to lead his community both spiritually and in practical matters until his death. Prophet Muhammad died in 632, at the age of 63. The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah is where he is buried.
The life of Prophet Muhammad is full of countless examples that show his status as a role model for Muslim societies and individuals. His life is one that was dominated by a superior morality, good habits, noble and gentle feelings and superior skills, all of which are characteristics that help prevent people from getting entangles in a wen of sin. The importance of the status of the Prophet as a role model is defined in the Holy Quran and in the Sunnah. There is no disagreement among Muslims as to the fact that Prophet Muhammad constitutes the best morality with his actions, words and other features.
Prophet Muhammad’s status as a role model is important not only from the perspective of the individual, but also form the social perspective. Its binding features and determination of methods must be considered from these two perspectives. The validity of the Sunnah are not limited to his life or certain time period. The Holy Quran and the notions of the Sunnah state this issues clearly, and the fact that Muslim community practices his Sunnah is proof of this issue. A person cannot be considered to be a role model sent to guide people and at the same time be a person who commits deeds that are against the will of Allah.