Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque :
Hazrat Muhammad (SM) occupies the most important position in history as the epitome enlightenment. Islam as a religion and more as a complete code of life received articulation from the Prophet (SM). "Prophet Muhammad (S) was born in 570 CE in Makkah (Bakka, Baca, Mecca). His father, Abdullah, died several weeks before his birth in Yathrib (Medinah) where he went to visit his father's maternal relatives. His mother died while on the return journey from Medinah at a place called 'Abwa' when he was six years old. He was raised by his paternal grandfather 'Abd al Muttalib (Shaybah) until the age of eight, and after his grandfather's death by Abu Talib, his paternal uncle. 'Abd al Muttalib's mother, Salma, was a native of Medinah and he was born and raised as a young boy in Medinah before his uncle Muttalib brought him to Makkah to succeed him. Many years before Muhammad's birth, 'Abd al Muttalib had established himself as an influential leader of the Arab tribe 'Quraish' in Makkah and took care of the Holy sanctuary 'Ka'bah'. Makkah was a city state well connected to the caravan routes to Syria and Egypt in the north and northwest and Yemen in the south.
Muhammad was a descendant of Prophet Ismail through the lineage of his second son Kedar". Ka'bah is the first house of worship built on earth for the worship of Allah the One True God. It was re-built (raised from the existing foundation) by Prophets Ibrahim (Abraham) and Ismail (Ishmael). Allah is the proper name of the One True God, creator and sustainer of the universe, who does not have a partner or associate, and He did not beget nor was He begotten. Unlike the word god, the word Allah does not have a plural or gender. Under the guardianship of Abu Talib, Muhammad (S) began to earn a living as a businessman and a trader. At the age of twelve, he accompanied Abu Talib with a merchant caravan as far as Bostra in Syria. Muhammad was popularly known as 'al-Ameen' for his unimpeachable character by the Makkans and visitors alike.
The title Al-Ameen means the Honest, the Reliable and the Trustworthy, and it signified the highest standard of moral and public life. Upon hearing of Muhammad's impressive credentials, Khadijah, a rich merchant widow, asked Muhammad(S) to take some merchandise for trade to Syria. Soon after this trip when he was twenty-five, Khadijah proposed marriage to Muhammad through a relative. Muhammad accepted the proposal. At that time, Khadijah was twice widowed and forty years old. Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad(S) were the parents of six children - four daughters and two sons. His first son Qasim died at the age of two.
He was nicknamed Abul Qasim, meaning the father of Qasim. His second son Abdullah died in infancy. Abdullah was also called affectionately as 'Tayyab' and 'Tahir' because he was born after Muhammad's prophethood. The four daughters were: Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah (Ra).
The Holy sanctuary Ka'bah was now filled with three hundred sixty idols. The original, pristine message of Prophet Ibrahim was lost, and it was mixed with superstitions and traditions of pilgrims and visitors from distant places, who were used to idol worship and myths. In every generation, a small group of men and women detested the pollution of Ka'bah and kept pure their practice of the religion taught by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail. They used to spend some of their time away from this polluted environment in retreats to nearby hills.
Muhammad (S) was forty when, during his one of many retreats to Mount Hira for meditation during the month of Ramadan, he received the first revelation from the Archangel Jibril (Gabriel). On this first appearance, Gabriel (as) said to Muhammad: "Iqraa," meaning Read or Recite. Muhammad replied, "I cannot read," as he had not received any formal education and did not know how to read or write. The Angel Gabriel then embraced him until he reached the limit of his endurance and after releasing said: "Iqraa." Muhammad's answer was the same as before. Gabriel repeated the embrace for the third time, asked him to repeat after him and said: "Recite in the name of your Lord Who created! He created man from that which clings. Recite; and thy Lord is most Bountiful, He Who has taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not." These revelations are the first five verses of Surah (chapter) 96 of the Qur'an. (Dr. Zahoor and Dr. Huq)
"Muhammad's (Sm) father Abdullah died when he was still in his mother's womb. After he was born, his mother named him Ahmed. However, his grandfather Abdul Muttalib named him Muhammad (Sm) since he desired his grand-son to be admired by everyone in all ages. His Akika or naming ceremony was organised a few days after his birth by his grandfather. Muhammad (Sm) was at first suckled by his mother Amina. After two or three days he was breast-fed by Suwaibah, a slave-girl of his uncle Abu Lahab. As was the practice in the then aristocratic Arab families, he was given over to a wet nurse named Halima Sadia belonging to the Taif's Sad tribe, who was also entrusted with the responsibility of bringing him up. He spent the first five years of his life with her."( Mujtaba Hossain and Syed Ashraf Ali)
"Muhammad (Sm) used to graze goats and sheep in the fields with his foster-brother Abdullah. But he would not then indulge in childish pranks or pick up quarrels, as boys are wont to do. While shepherding a flock of goats and sheep two angels once made an incision into his heart and purified it by extracting a black clot of blood from it. The black clot of blood was the source of all sin and evil designs. When Muhammad (Sm) was six years old his mother Amina died. His grandfather Abdul Muttalib then took the responsibility of bringing up the child. However, he was not able to enjoy the benefit of his grandfather's affection for a long time since he too died when the Prophet was only eight years old. His uncle Abu Taleb was then entrusted with the duty of raising him. The young boy used to busy himself with the shepherding of the flock in the fields and with household works. His school was the open sky and the desert landscape and mountains where he worked. When the Prophet (Sm) was twelve years old Abu Taleb took him along on a business trip to Syria. According to the custom of his family, the Prophet entered business at the age of twenty. In his dealings and transactions, Muhammad (Sm) earned a great reputation for his honesty, magnanimity, virtuous conduct, and trustworthiness. In fact, he won the confidence and trust of everyone and was thus given the title of 'Al-Ameen' for his probity and reliability. It was due to this fact that the Prophet Muhammad (Sm) was entrusted with the responsibility of re-establishing the sacred Hazre Aswad when the Holy Ka'ba was re-built. On hearing about Muhammad's (Sm) diligence, sense of responsibility, honesty, and other remarkable qualities, Khadija (R), an intelligent and sagacious lady having exceptional moral standards together with profound experience in worldly affairs, invited him to become her business partner. Muhammad (Sm) agreed to her proposal and set out on a business trip to Syria in this capacity. During this trip he handled the business dealings skillfully and managed to make a handsome profit by selling the goods he had brought along. He purchased different commodities from Syria and handed them over to Khadiza (R). When he returned to Makkah Khadija (R) earned a big profit by selling these commodities. A servant of Khadija (R) named Maysara accompanied Muhammad (Sm) on two of his Syrian business trips. He reported to Khadija (R) about Muhammad's (Sm) good manners, business skill and honesty. He also told her about Muhammad's (Sm) gentle behaviour, humility, and overall excellence. Highly impressed by these qualities of head and heart Khadija (R) wanted to marry Muhammad (Sm). He responded to her proposal positively and with Abu Taleb's blessings they soon got married. Although at the time of their marriage he was twenty-five years old and she was forty, their married life was one of complete bliss. The marriage resulted in two (or three) sons, Qasim and Tahir (Tahir was also called Abdullah) and four daughters [Zaynab (R), Ruqayya (R), Umme Kulthum (R), and Fatima (R)]. Khadija (R) was the mother of all of the Prophet's children except his third son Ibrahim (R), who was born to Maria Kibtia. However, all the male children died in their childhood. The Prophet did not remarry till Khadija's (R) death at the age of sixty-five."( Mujtaba Hossain and Syed Ashraf Ali)
The Prophet (Sm) worked relentlessly for the promotion of new and ultimate truth as the message of Allah in the name of Islam. His dissemination of the new truth was conducted among' his near and dear ones in the Quraish tribe.'"
Among the first to respond to his call and convert to Islam were Khadiza (R), Abu Bakr (R), Ali (R), his foster-son Zaid (R), and his nurse Umme Aiman (R). At Hazrat Abu Bakr's (R) call Zubair (R), Talha (R) and a few others." (Mujtaba Hossain and Syed Ashraf Ali). After receiving the revelation from Jibrail Muhammad (Sm) was in a daze for a while. When he recovered, he was able to see Jibrail on a throne. The amazing sight perplexed him so much that he came back home and lied down folded in garments. It was then that the seven verses of Sura Muddathir were revealed to him. The first two revelations were very significant: 'He is the Creator Who leads His creations to perfection step by step. He is the most exalted, and read in His name. He has taught the use of the Pen,- taught man that which he knew not. He is the source of all knowledge; hence the use of the Pen to acquire knowledge and seek Him in all things - from a termite to man. When one recalls that the Prophet (Sm) was illiterate, this revelation acquires a special significance. By manifesting such a view, the Prophet beckoned towards a world of unbridled knowledge. The second revelation was as follows (Mujtaba Hossain and Syed Ashraf Ali) 'O thou wrapped up (in a mantle)! Arise and deliver thy warning! And thy Lord do thou magnify. And thy garments keep free from stain! And all abomination shun! Nor expect, in giving, any increase (for thyself)! But, for thy Lord's Cause, be patient and constant. (74:1-7).
The Prophet was an embodiment of good governance. This was reflected in his administration. "With a view to ensuring the safety and security of Medina and engaging all its inhabitants in the development of the country, the Prophet (Sm) decided to turn Medina into a state comprising Muslims, Jews and Mushriks living there. To this end, he called for a convention of Muslims, Jews and Mushriks in Medina. A Charter was unanimously adopted in this convention. The details about security arrangements of the city, duties and the reciprocal obligations to be followed by Muslims, Jews and Mushriks, as well as the judicial system were spelled out in writing in the Charter. The Charter also mentioned the names of a few idolatrous sects and acknowledged their independent rights. The Prophet (Sm) was elected the Chief of this social system. The Prophet (Sm) personally went to the habitats of the Oddam and Julashira tribes and urged their leaders to agree to the Charter and also persuaded them to sign it. In this manner he laid the foundation of a nation by granting full religious freedom to the non-Moslems through this historic Charter. The city of Medina was also made secure against all possible attacks and dangers through the combined efforts of various tribes and sects. Medina was thus turned into an Islamic state. "
No account of the life of our messiah is complete without description of his ascending to space to receive orders of Allah."On 27th Rajab, all the Muslim believers celebrate this as a grand day of Meraj as "Grand Eid" and all the Muslims should be proud to have such a prophet like Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny (Ahlul Bayt), to whom Almighty Allah (swt) was also proud and had invited him to visit and talked with very nearer distance as mentioned in the Glorious Qur'an (Qhaba Qhausain 53:9). Also note that, the Meraj of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny has taken place more than once. However, it should be mentioned that Meraj in which the daily Salat was made incumbent, without doubt, occurred before the death of Hazrat Abu Talib, who passed away in the 10th year of Besat. Unmistakably, from the Ahadith and books of history, it is mentioned that on the night of Meraj, Allah (swt) gave the order of the five daily Salat as being mandatory upon the Islamic Nation. The darkness of the night had spread across the horizon and silence reigned over the face of nature. The time had arrived when the living creatures take rest and sleep so that they might recuperate from their activities of the previous day.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), was also not an exception to this law of nature and he wished to take rest after offering his prayers (Salat) in the house of "Umm-e-Hani", the daughter of his uncle and sister of Amir al-Mominin Ali (pbuh) in the blessed city of Makkah. However, suddenly he heard a voice; it was the voice of the Archangel Jibreel (pbuh) who said to him: "This night you have to perform a very unique journey and I have been ordered to remain with you. You will have to traverse different parts of the world mounted on an animal named al-Buraq." Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his progeny, began his historical night journey, along with the trusted protector of the revelation, the Angel Jibreel (pbuh) from the house of "Umm-e-Hani", with the aide of his steed al-Buraq."
After some time, Angel Jibreel (pbuh) stopped Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and said to perform the Salat. Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) dismounted from al-Buraq and performed Salat. Jibreel (pbuh) said, 'Do you know where you just prayed?' Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) replied to him in negative. Jibreel (pbuh) said, 'In Taibah (Madinah), that place where your travelers will go.' After this, Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) got back onto al-Buraq and continued the journey." Our messiah arrived and departed the earth in the same Arabic month Rabiul Awal.
(Dr. Mashreque teaches Public Administration in Chittagong University)