by Dr. Rasheed S. Azam, The Review of Religions February 1993
The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), is reported to have said that the best among men is the one who is best in his treatment to his wife. Hazrat Ayesha, his honoured wife (may Allah be pleased with her), is reported to have replied to those who desired to know more about the Holy Prophet’s(saw) character after his death: His character was the Quran. He practised what he preached and he preached what he practised. `Muhammad’ literally means the Praised One and the Holy Quran says:
Allah sends down His blessings on the Prophet and His angels pray for him. O ye who believe, you too should invoke God’s blessings on him and salute him with the salutation of peace. (33:57)
He was not an innovation as a Prophet (46:10) and there are prophecies about his advent both in the Torah and the Gospels (7:58). The Holy Prophet(saw) had a promise of divine protection (5:68) and was guarded and helped by the angels (13:12 & 66:5).
There is no myth or mystery about his life. His life was an open book. He was known as the Truthful and the Honest one and lived a pure life before his claim to prophethood (10:17). Every detail about his life is well preserved in history. It is a well known fact that he was not able to read or write as he never had the opportunity to go to any school to learn from any teacher. God was his teacher. He received his call from God at the age of forty to proclaim the message of Islam to mankind:
There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.
The Holy Prophet(saw)‘s life was dedicated to the dual purpose of re-establishing on earth the Unity of God, our Creator, Who alone is worthy of our worship and through establishing that relationship with God people should become civilized and behave justly towards one another.
His mission was to recite the Signs of God, teach people the book and wisdom and purify them (2:130 & 62:2-3).
It is a historical fact that when the Meccans offered to give him anything he wanted, his reply was totally uncompromising on the question of the Unity of God. He said:
I will not renounce my message from God even if they put the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left.
The Holy Prophet(saw) and his followers suffered all kinds of injuries and persecution at Mecca for thirteen long years and when life for them became unbearable, they migrated to Medina. The Meccans having failed in their plot to kill the Prophet, now pursued the Muslims to Medina. God then permitted the believers to fight the aggressors in order to end persecution and to defend their rights.
The Holy Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet(saw) over a period of twenty-three years which was just completed before he died (and all Prophets had died before him, 4:154) at the age of sixty-three. The religion of Islam was firmly established in Arabia.
He was a perfect man (22:2), a perfect leader (36:2) and an excellent exemplar for mankind (33:22). God says:
O Prophet, We have sent thee as a witness, and a bearer of glad tidings and a warner, and as a summoner unto Allah by His command and a light-giving sun. (33:46-47)
Hazrat Muhammad(saw) was Allah’s Messenger for all mankind (4:80, 7:159, 34:29). He was sent as a mercy for all mankind (21:108). He received revelation from God as did previous Prophets (4:164, 42:4) and he was enjoined to convey the revelation to the people (5:68). He was commanded to be alert and ever ready to spread the truth (74:2) and saw his success in the propagation of Islam during his life time (110:3).
His message was universal (34:29) and he always yearned that mankind should believe (18:7, 26:4, 93:8). He was the Seal of the Prophets (33:41) and achieved the highest status in nearness to Allah (53:9). The Holy Quran says:
Whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger shall be among those upon whom Allah has bestowed His favours – the Prophets, the Faithful ones, the Martyrs and the Righteous; and they are excellent companions. (4:70)