Who was Muhammad (peace be upon him)?

In the name of Allaah, the most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. May peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, his wives, family and Companions.

As a result of the repetitive mockery from enemies of Islaam against our noble Prophet (peace be upon him), there have been many efforts made by various Muslim individuals and groups – may Allaah reward them – in raising awareness about the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Many beneficial articles have been written regarding different aspects of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Some discuss his message, others discuss his manners whilst others discuss his physical characteristics. In this brief article, I intend to mention basic details regarding the life of the noble Prophet of Islaam, which every muslim should be aware of, as well as it being a reference for ourselves and also when teaching our families and children.

What was his name?

He is Muhammad, the son of Abdullah.

What was his lineage?

Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, the son AbdulMutallib, the son of Haashim. Haashim was from the tribe of Quraysh. The Quraysh are from the Arabs, who are the descendants of the Prophet Ismaeel, the son of Prophet Ibraheem (may peace be upon all the Prophets).

Who were his parents?

His father was: Abdullah Ibn AbdilMutallib, he died before the birth of the Prophet (peace be upon him). His mother was: Aaminah bint Wahb, she died when the Prophet was only 6 years old. So the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) was born and grew up as an orphan.

When was he born?

The exact date of the birth of the Prophet is not known, however we know he was born in the Year of the Elephant. This was approximately 570 of the Christian era i.e. 570 years after the supposed birth of Isa (Jesus). The Year of the Elephant relates to a year in history wherein a great army, with elephants, came to conquer Makkah.

Where was he born?

He was born in the sacred city of Makkah, in Saudi Arabia.

Where did he migrate to and where did he die?

Due to persecution, he and his followers left Makkah and moved to the city of Madeenah in which he lived and died. When he moved to Madeenah, the first project he assumed was the building of a Masjid, this was even before building his own home.

Did he have any brothers and sisters?

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not have any blood brothers and sisters. However he had step-brothers and step-sisters who were related to him through having the same suckling mother(s).

They include:

Step brothers:

  1. Abdullah Ibn AbdilAsad – Abu Salamah
  2. Hamzah ibn AbdilMatullab
  3. Abdullah Ibn al-Haarith

Step Sisters:

  1. Ash-Shaimaa bint al-Haarith
  2. Unaisah bint al-Haarith

Who were his wives, and why did he marry them?

The wives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are all considered Ummuhaat Al-Mumineen (Mothers of the Believers). They are:

  • Khadeejah Bint Khuwalid: He married her when he was 25 years old and she was 40 years old. She bore all his children except one son. He did not marry any other woman whilst being married to her.
  • Sawda Bint Zam’a: She was a widow and a mother of six children. Her friend called Khawlah Bint Hakeem approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraging him to marry Sawda. He married her when he was 50 years old
  • ‘Aaisha Bint Abi Bakr as-Siddeeq: She was the only virgin he married, and was the daughter of his best friend. She grew up to be a great scholar, teacher and authority of knowledge in Islaam.
  • Hafsah Bint Umar: She was a widow whose husband was martyred in the battle of Uhud. After the death of her husband, her father Umar ibn al-Khattaab searched for an appropriate man to marry her. They were overjoyed when the Prophet (peace be upon him) accepted the proposal.
  • Zaynab al-Hilaaliyyah: She was a widow whose husband died in the battle of Badr. The Prophet (peace be upon him) married her when he 56 years old. He married her out of concern for her welfare and to take care of her after the death of her husband.
  • Umm Salamah: She was one of the earliest people to accept Islaam along with her husband. They both migrated to Abyssinia then Madeenah. In Madeenah her husband died, leaving her behind with children. The Prophet (peace be upon him) married her in her old age and he was even older.
  • Zaynab Bint Jahsh: She was the cousin of the Prophet (peace be upon him). She had two previous husbands, one who had died before Islaam and the other was the adopted son of the Prophet, a freed slave. It was the custom of the Arabs that an adopted son would be considered to be ones real blood son. However Islam abolished this concept and maintained the rights of the real blood parents of a child, even after adoption to somebody else.
  • Juwairiyyah Bint al-Haarith: She was a noble woman who was captured and enslaved in war. She came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) complaining of her situation and asking the Prophet to help her to free herself by paying her ransom. The Prophet (peace be upon him) paid her ransom and then married her.
  • Safiyyah Bint Huyayy: A woman of Jewish descent, she was a taken as a war captive. The Prophet (peace be upon him) freed her and called her to Islaam. Upon accepting Islaam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) married her.
  • Umm Habeeba Ramlah: She migrated to Abyssinia along with her husband who had accepted Islaam. However her husband then went back to disbelief and died whilst drinking alcohol. He left her behind alone, with a young child, in a foreign country. The Prophet (peace be upon him) heard of her plight and requested from the Abyssinian king to send her to Madeenah in order for her to be married to the Prophet.
  • Maariah al-Qubtiyah: She was a Coptic Christian who was sent as a gift from the King of Egypt at that time. Upon her accepting Islaam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) married her and freed her from being a captive
  • Zaynab Bint Khuzaymah: She was known as Umm al-Masaakeen (the Mother of the Poor) due to her care and concern for the poor and needy. She was a widow, who had been married to two men. They either died or divorced her before the Prophet (peace be upon her) chose to marry her.
  • Maymoonah Bint al-Haarith: She was the last wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him). She had been widowed previous to her marriage to the Prophet.

Did he have any children?

All the sons of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) died in their infancy. They are:

  1. Qaasim
  2. Abdullah
  3. Ibraheem

His daughters lived during his lifetime:

  1. Zaynab: She was the eldest daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and was born ten years before Prophethood i.e. when the Prophet was 30 years old. She was delayed in her migration to Madeenah, in the 8th year of Hijrah. She was 31 years old.
  2. Ruqayyah: She was three years younger than her older sister Zaynab and was also married to Uthman ibn Affaan after being divorced by her husband due to her Islaam. She migrated to Madeenah however died very early on, during the battle of Badr. She was only 21 years old.
  3. Umm Kulthoom: She was born 6 years before the Prophethood i.e. when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was 34 years old. She was married to the distinguished Companion Uthman Ibn ‘Affaan after his first wife Ruqayyah passed away.  Umm Kalthoom died a year before the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the 9th year of Hijrah – when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was 62 years old.
  4. Faatimah: She was the youngest daughter of the Prophet (peace be upon him; she was born 5 years before his Prophethood i.e. when he was 35 years old. She married the cousin of the Prophet (peace be upon him) Ali Ibn Abi Taalib and together they had two children, Hassan and Hussayn (may Allah be pleased with them all). She died six months after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), she was only 29 years old – may Allaah be pleased with her.

All his children were from his first wife Khadeejah (may Allaah be pleased with her), except Ibraheem who was from Maria al-Qubtiah.

What type of house did he live in? What was his lifestyle?

  • In his ten years as the leader of Madeenah, the leader of an Ummah, the commander of an army and the treasurer of war booty, the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) never lived in a house. Rather he lived in Hujaraat – rooms which were approximately 2mx2m in size. During his ten years, he never ‘upgraded’ his accommodation. He died in the Hujarah of Aaishah (radhiAllaahu anhaa).
  • During his life in Madeenah, he never live like a king, He never used to allow people to stand up for him if he entered a room, nor remain standing if he was sitting. Often he could not be distinguished from the rest of his companions. If a stranger walked in upon the Prophet and his companions, the stranger would need to ask: ‘who amongst you is Muhammad, the messenger of Allaah?’
  • All people were equal in front of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam), he never gave preferential treatment to the rich and he never overlooked the rights of the weak and poor. In fact he preferred to companionship of the poor, weak and freed slaves.
  • His clothing, shoes, lifestyle, accommodation and food was no better than most of his companions, and often worse off – may peace and blessings be upon him.

When did he die and how many years did he live for?

The Prophet (peace be upon him) lived for 63 years, 40 years before Prophethood and then 23 years as a Prophet and Messenger. Of these 23 years, he lived 13 in Makkah and 10 in Madeenah, wherein he died.

He died 632 of the Christian era i.e. 632 years after the supposed birth of Isa (Jesus).

What was his message and mission?

The core of his mission was the same as every other Prophet and Messenger. He was sent with a glad tiding, a warning and as a witness.

Allaah (the most High) said about him:

{O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness, a bringer of good tidings and a warner} [33:45]

He called to the Worship of Allaah alone, that mankind should be sincere and truthful to their Creator. He urged the people to appreciate the many blessings of their Lord and to show gratitude to Him through their sincere Worship of Him. He warned against turning away from Allaah, and associating partners to Allaah in Worship.

After teaching the people who their Lord is through Imaan in His names and attributes, he then taught the people how to worship Him and the manners and morals we should assume in relation to other creation.

He was a witness over all of mankind, that the message of Allaah has been conveyed to all.

He said about his own message, “Indeed I have only been sent to perfect the noble manners.”

Allaah (the Most Merciful) said about him:

{We did not send you except as a Mercy to Mankind} [21:107]

What were the struggles he went through?

  • The Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) was born without a father, and his mother died young; so he grew up as an orphan. He was then placed in the care of his grandfather AbdulMutallib who also died whilst the Prophet was young. Finally he was placed under the care of his uncle Abu Taalib.
  • Both his uncle Abu Taalib, as well as his beloved wife Khadeejah (radhiAllaahu anhaa) died in the same year – the 10th year of his Prophethood. All the children of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) passed away during hus lifetime, apart from hs daughter who dies 6 months after his death.
  • The Quraysh also harmed him through mockery, nicknames and lies as well as physical harm. They would plot to kill him in Makkah, and as he was migrating from Makkah they chased him in order to kill him.
  • In order to harm the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam), the Quraysh would torture his companions and kill some of them. The Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) could not do anything to prevent this in Makkah.
  • When he finally reached Madeenah, his struggles did not cease. The munaafiqeen (hypocrites), Jews and Christians would constantly plot and persecute him, they poisoned his food, they tried to assassinate him by dropping a boulder on him, they broke all the treaties of peace, and the Quraysh continued their wars.
  • Whilst living in Madeenah, he never filled his stomach for more than two nights consecutively, most of his diet consisted of dates, water and bread. Many weeks would pass by and a fire was not lit in his house to cook. Meat, vegetables and fruits were a rarity.

How did he deal with these struggles, difficulties and persecution?

  • Despite all these struggles, the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) remained patient upon the harms of the people and the distress of life and poverty, he had no attachment to the luxuries of this wordly life, and he never forget his past. For this reason he would give special consideration and care to the orphans – because he himself grew up as an orphan.
  • He was always relaxed and open minded, happy and pleased with the decree of Allaah, optimistic and not fearing the blame of the people. He never sought revenge for himself, he only became angry for the sake of Allaah. In fact his pleasure and anger was only for the sake of Allaah, he did not allow his personal interests to interfere with this.
  • He would assume a cheerful attitude, always smiling in front of the people, being playful with children, caring towards the sick and respectful towards elders. He would advise the woman, and advocate the rights of the poor and the slaves. He would follow the funeral procession, and often ask about a companion if he was absent.
  • He remained focused and steadfast upon his mission and the reward of the Hereafter, and he was not deterred by his worldly struggles.
  • He did not care much for the luxuries of the world, he never allowed them to distract him from his responsbilty of guiding the people.

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet of Islaam and all his followers.

May He reward the Prophet on our behalf and on behalf of Islaam.

May Allaah enlighten those who are ignorant regarding the Prophet, and guide those who are misguided.

Written by the one in need of Allaah:

Abul Abbaas Naveed Ayaaz

Nelson, Lancashire, UK

27th Rabee’ al-Awwal, 1436h

18th January, 2015

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire.

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