By: Mahmoud El-Yousseph
What is the first name that comes to mind when thinking of the most popular name worldwide? I used to think it was John, but I was wrong. One-fifth of humanity believes in him and follows his message. Give up?
Meet the Prophet Muhammad .
|It should be emphasized that Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the Prophet, even a respectable one, for fear it could lead to idolatry. There’s nothing more inflaming to the souls of Muslims worldwide than insulting the Prophet Muhammad or desecrating the Holy Quran. The cartoons printed in the European press ridiculed the prophet and insulted Islam.|
Prophet Muhammad was born in the year 570 AD in Mecca, what is now Saudi Arabia. His father, Abdullah, died before his birth; his mother, Amina, died when he was six years old. He was then raised by his uncle Abu Talib, who was from the well-respected Quraysh tribe. He became a shepherd and was known for his honesty, generosity and sincerity. He was illiterate all his life, and died at age 63.
The Prophet Muhammad’s integrity landed him a job with a wealthy business women named Khadija, who was a widow. He worked for her as a trader traveling by caravan twice a year and doubling her profits. She asked him to marry her and he accepted; he was 25, she was 40.
When Prophet Muhammad was 40 years old, God sent the Angel Gabriel to let him know that God wanted him to be his messenger, and the Angel gave him the first revelation in Arabic. These revelations lasted for 23 years and are collectively known as the Holy Quran. The message was intended to renew and confirm the basic doctrine of monotheism brought by earlier prophets such as Moses, David, and Jesus (peace be upon them). His wife was the first to support him and to believe in Islam, followed by his closest friend, Abu Bakir. When the Prophet’s wife died, he married Abu Bakir’s daughter, Aisha. God has blessed the Prophet through his marriages with 7 children: 3 boys who were named Kassim, Ibrahim, and Abdullah (All of whom sadly died during infancy) and 4 girls, Fatima, Zeinab, Um kulthoom, and Rokkia.
The Prophet Muhammad lived long enough to see his grandchildren. He died in Medina, Saudi Arabia, where his resting place is located. His tomb is one of the three holiest shrines in Islam.
During his prophet-hood, he commanded his followers to do good, avoiding evil acts in fear and obedience to God. He was a good teacher and a effective leader who set example for others to follow, illustrated by the following:
- Initiating a greeting to whomever he met, young or old, rich or poor
- Acting with kindness to the poor, helping the weak and aiding orphanages
- Visiting family members, neighbors, friends and inquiring about their welfare
- Visiting the sick, attending funerals, to free the captive, and removing harmful objects from the road
- Not gossiping, never backbiting or backstabbing
- Never permitting what God had forbidden nor disallowing what God had allowed
- Encourage seeking knowledge, even if it was in China
Above all, he taught us to be kinder and gentler in dealing with others, when he said: “Reach out for those who ignored you, give to the one who deprived, and forgive those who oppressed you.”
Mahmoud El-Yousseph is a Retired USAF veteran from Westerville, Ohio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org