Why Should We Know Muhammad?
We must, because he was by far the most remarkable and the most influential man that ever set foot on this earth. If we do not know him, we will remain oblivious to what phenomenal potential we as humans are endowed with and how this potential can be actualized.
He preached a most glorious System of Life, founded a state, built a nation, set up a moral code, initiated countless social and political reforms, set forth a dynamic and powerful society, and revolutionized human thought and behavior for all times to come. And he accomplished all these wonders in an astonishingly short span of under 23 years!
When Muhammad died in 632 CE, the whole Arabia had changed from paganism and idol worship to the devotion of One True God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from violence to tranquility, from lawlessness and anarchy to orderly living, from moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. History has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since.
He was a most versatile personality, a social reformer, a moral guide, a political thinker, a military genius, a superb administrator, a faithful friend, an honest and successful merchant, an ideal neighbor, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father, and a farsighted, inspiring leader. And he was a model of perfection in each of these areas.
Yes, there have been other great leaders in the world. But none combines so many qualities to such an amazing level of perfection as did Muhammad. The lives and teachings of other great figures in history are shrouded in the mist of time and legend. There is so much speculation about the time and place of their birth, the mode and style of their lives, the nature and detail of their teachings that it is impossible for humanity today to reconstruct accurately and precisely the personalities and teachings of those great figures. Not so with this man, Muhammad. Not only was he born in the fullest blaze of recorded history, but every detail of his private and public life, of his actions and utterances, has been accurately documented and preserved to our day in one simple Book, the Quran.
Muhammad not only preached the most wonderful ideas, but also successfully translated each one of them into action. At the time of his death his teachings were not mere precepts and ideas straining for fulfillment. They had become the very core of life of tens of thousands of perfectly trained individuals. In a few decades, his followers had established the greatest empire in history. Such was the prosperity and peace in this empire that it was almost impossible to find a single person worthy of receiving alms and charity. A young woman could travel alone hundreds of miles without any fear but the fear of God. At what other time or place and in relation to what other political, social, religious system, philosophy or ideology - did the world ever witness such a perfectly astounding phenomenon? The answer is, NEVER AND NOWHERE!
In spite of the phenomenal success that crowned his success, he did not for a moment claim to be anything but only a human being who was chosen and ordained by the Creator to be a teacher of truth to mankind and be a complete model and pattern for their actions. He was a man with a noble and exalted Mission - and his unique Mission was to unite humanity under One God and to teach them the way to honest and upright living in accordance with the Command of God.
Today, after the lapse of some 1,400 years, the life and teachings of Muhammad have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. Today they offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills as they did when Prophet Muhammad was alive. This is our honest claim and this is the inescapable conclusion forced upon us by the critical and unbiased study of the dynamics of human history.
As thinking, sensitive, concerned human beings, we owe it to ourselves to stop for one brief moment and ask, “Could it be that these statements, extraordinary as they sound, are really true? Supposing they are really true and we did not know this man, Muhammad or hear about his teachings - Or did not know him well enough to be able to benefit from his guidance and example. Is it not time we responded to this tremendous challenge and made some effort to know this man?” It will cost us nothing but it may well prove to be the beginning of a brand new vibrant era in our lives.
Come! Let us make a new discovery, know this wonderful man Muhammad, the like of whom never walked this earth, whose example can change our lives and our world for the better.
This is the appropriate time to study a brief time-line of the incredible man called Muhammad of Arabia.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS:
570 CE : Muhammad, the exalted, born in Makkah. His father, Abdullah dies before the Prophet is born.
576 : Mother Amena dies. Grandfather Abdul Muttalib becomes the guardian.
578 : Grandfather dies. Abu Talib, a paternal uncle, assumes guardianship.
582 : First trading journey to Syria with Abu Talib.
595 : Marriage to Khadijah r.a.
605 : Muhammad (S) helps rebuild Ka'bah after a flood.
610 : Angel Gabriel visits Muhammad (S) - The First Revelation
613 : The Message of Islam begins reaching the community. Persecution of Muslims begins.
615 : The Prophet orders some Muslims to migrate to Ethiopia-Abyssinia.
617 : Persecution increases. The Prophet (S) and his followers are boycotted by Makkans. Many people of the far away town (300 miles North) Madinah embrace Islam and invite the Prophet and his followers to live among them.
619 : Khadijah and Abu Talib die.
622 : The Prophet migrates to Madinah. Islamic State established. New Constitution declared.
623 : The Prophet (S) marries Ayesha r.a.
624 : The Battle of Badr - The Turning Point
626 : The Battle of Uhud
627 : The Battle of the Trench or Clans (Khandaq or Ahzab)
628 : The Treaty of Hudaibiyah
628 : Invitation to Emperors
630 : Conquest of Makkah
632 : Last pilgrimage to Makkah and the Farewell Address
632 : The greatest man departs