- The Messenger's Birth: The Messenger of Allah (s) was born at a time in history when idol worship was the order of the day and ignorance was rife (Jaahiliyyah). The Arabs had deviated from the true teachings of their forefather Ibraaheem who summoned people to believe in the Oneness of Allah. The year in which Muhammad was born is known as the Year of the Elephant ('Aam Al-Feel). It is the year in which Allah punished the people of the elephants for wanting to destroy the Holy Ka'bah. "Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant?"' (Surah Al-Feel: 1)
- Muhammad - The Special, Little Orphan: The initial years were not very easy for Muhammad (s) an orphan boy: having to stay with Haleemah, his wet-nurse, and losing his mother and grandfather at a very young age. However, their love and care were substituted with the love and care of his uncle, Aboo Talib. Aboo Taalib loved him and took care of him as his own. The poor orphan would not leave Aboo Talib's side, even accompanying him on one of his trade expeditions to Syria. It is on this journey that we notice the signs of prophethood unfolding. Muhammad (s) meets Baheerah the monk, who immediately detects the signs of Prophethood in him.
- Muhammad (s) - The Truthful and The Honest: There were many events which took place in the life of Muhammad (s) before he was chosen by Allah to deliver the message. The Prophet (s) was known for his truthfulness and trustworthiness. The people of Makkah only thought good of him, even entrusting him with their valuables. During this time, the Prophet (s) was a part of the Al-Fudool Confederacy, married Khadeejah (raa) and helped settle a major dispute among the tribes of Quraysh. He never took part in idol worship, and used to seek refuge in the caves high above Makkah in order to meditate.
- The Messenger of Allah: As a young man, Muhammad (s) often wondered about the origin and purpose of all things around him. He wondered about the very reason for his existence. He sought answers to the many questions that remained unanswered by the society in which he lived. The desire to know the Creator of all that exists, raged within him and drove him to seclude himself in the cave of Hiraa' for long periods to meditate. During one such occasion, an angel appeared to him with the first revelation that conferred prophethood on him.
- Announcing the Message to All: The most important phase in the spread of Islam is the Prophet's (s) declaration of his mission. The Prophet (s) summoned the people of Quraysh, publicly announcing the message of Islam. This led to the persecution of the Muslims at the hands of Quraysh and the first migration in the history of Islam - the Migration to Abyssinia.
- Spreading the Message: The group that was exiled to Abyssinia received reports that the people of Quraysh finally accepted Islam. On their return they found this to be far from the truth. Merciless and relentless, the disbelievers continued to unleash every type of punishment their twisted minds could think of on the growing group of Muslims. No amount of punishment could deter the believers from pursuing the faith that liberated them in mind and spirit. However, the Prophet (s) could not bear to see his flock tortured and humiliated at the hands of the disbelieving men of Quraysh. He encouraged his followers to migrate once again to the shores of Africa where they would be safe. This annoyed the disbelievers so much that they sent a group of men to persuade the Abyssinian king to expel the Muslims from his kingdom. Their pursuits failed miserably as the king renewed his commitment to protect the Muslims. The Messenger and those who remained behind spared no effort in propagating Islam. Their efforts soon yielded the sweetest fruits when Hamzah bin 'Abdul Muttalib and Umar bin Al-Khattaab joined their ranks.
- Suffering & Grief: After much effort on the part of Quraysh to stop the spread of Islam and after numerous futile negotiations with the Messenger (s), they decided to change their approach. Persecuting and torturing the Muslims did not help much. Instead it increased their faith in the new religion. Thus the Quraysh decided to boycott the Muslims and their allies, the Banoo Haashim and the Banoo Al-Muttalib. The boycott lasted for about three years in which the Muslims suffered tremendously. Immediately after the boycott, the Messenger (s) suffered a great loss, with the death of his protector and beloved uncle Aboo Talib, and a few months later one of his greatest supporters, his wife, Khadeejah. The Messenger (s) was greatly saddened by what took place in his life at the time, thus the year in which this happened was called the year of grief (‘aam al-huzn). Despite what transpired, the Messenger (s) still continued to spread the message. This time he headed for Taa'if, where the people refused to listen to him.
- The Night Journey & The Ascension: The journey to Taa'if seemed futile to the cause of the Messenger (s). This caused him to be unspeakably disappointed, but he remained steadfast to his calling. Meanwhile, the hostility of the disbelievers incited more shocking violations against the fragile band of believing men and women. The road ahead now seemed less promising than ever before. Then it happened: one night Allah took His servant and Messenger (s) on a miraculous journey that made all the hardships he had endured seem insignificant. It was a night of honor and a promise of great things to come for the Prophet and his followers.
- The Helpers - The Pledges at 'Aqabah: As time passed, the disbelievers intensified their efforts to eradicate Islam from the face of the earth. They spared no effort to make life unbearable for the Messenger (s) and his followers. A shimmer of hope arose from the direction of Yathrib. Men from this fair city promised to provide the Messenger of Allah (s) a safe haven amongst them. The two pledges of `Aqabah filled Muslims with hope of finding a new home with the people of Yathrib, where they could be free from the torture of their tormentors. The delegations from Yathrib were known as "the helpers".
- To Madeenah! The Messenger's Migration: The people of Quraysh thought that they would finally get rid of Muhammad (s) by killing him. But Allah's promise to protect His messenger proved to be true. The migration of the Prophet (s) was not easy, as it was filled with many trials, but it was Allah that made it very easy, protecting the Messenger (s) and his companion throughout their journey to Madeenah. This journey marked the beginning of a new era in the history of Islam. It was the beginning of a better life for the Messenger (s) and his companions.
- A Glorious Welcome - The Messenger's Arrival in Madeenah: The people of Quraysh were unable to prevent the believers from migrating. Now they had failed to murder the Prophet (s) as well. This added fuel to the already raging fire of their despair. They had to stop the Prophet (s) from reaching Madeenah to wipe out Islam once and for all. They announced a bounty for the capture of the Prophet (s). The road was long and tiring with dangers lurking behind every rock and dune. The prospect of a new life in Yathrib (Madeenah) was soon to be a reality. Most of the believers had already left Makkah and anxiously awaited the arrival of Allah's Messenger (s). People gathered on the outskirts of Madeenah to welcome the Messenger of Allah (s). The occasion was joyous beyond every expectation. The Prophet immediately took to organizing the Muslim community and seeing to their welfare.
- Life in Madeenah: A masjid that served as the center of all community activities was established soon after the arrival of Allah's Messenger in Madeenah. The poor emigrants from Makkah had to the daunting task of rebuilding their lives in their new home. The Helpers from Madeenah unconditionally assisted their brethren from Makkah in every imaginable way. The way forward finally seemed to be brighter for Muslims and the Prophet in Madeenah. However, in Madeenah the Prophet and his followers encountered their most ardent enemies. Hidden behind the cloak of faith the animosity of the hypocrites posed a greater threat to Islam than the open hostility of the men of Quraysh. In the meantime, the Quraysh directed all their bitterness towards those Muslims of Makkah who did not migrate; persecuting them with all their might. The hostility of the Quraysh raged on unabated, threatening to disturb the peace and stability in Madeenah. Allah permitted the Muslims to strike back, resulting in battles that changed the course of history.
- The Battle of Badr: News reached Madeenah of a rich caravan from Syria destined for Makkah. This was an opportunity for the Muslims to regain the wealth that Quraysh took from them. The Messenger of Allah (s) along with a small army of ill-equipped men set out to lay siege of the caravan at Badr. Aboo Sufyaan alerted Quraysh of the Muslims' plan to take the caravan. Quraysh left Makkah with more than 1,000 men armed to their teeth. Aboo Sufyaan managed to avert the attack by taking an alternate route to Makkah and he informed the men from Makkah that the caravan was out of harm's way. Aboo Jahl insisted that the army march on to Badr. The Messenger was deeply concerned about Aboo Jahl's army encamped at Badr. The Messenger (s) feared that they would attack Madeenah. Thus, he decided to face the enemy at Badr. After a number of duals between the believers and the warriors of Quraysh, a fierce battle broke out that left the Quraysh defeated and their ego crushed.
- The Battle Of ‘Uhud: The Muslims came to know of a caravan of the Quraysh heading for Makkah. They immediately seized it and brought its riches to Madeenah. The Quraysh, who still harbored hatred for the Muslims because of their defeat at Badr, saw this as an opportunity to avenge their slain warriors. The Messenger of Allah (s) was informed of the Quraysh's plan to attack and he immediately started preparations to defend Madeenah. The Muslims decided to confront the enemy on the battlefield rather than defend Madeenah from within. The Muslims faced the disbelievers at `Uhud. The small army of believers fought bravely and gained advantage over the disbelievers. The battle seemed to be won and the Muslims started to collect the booty. Archers placed at a strategic point left their position to join in the move for the spoils of war. Quraysh noticed this and renewed their attack. The battle turned around, and the disbelievers gained advantage over the believers for a short while. The blood-thirsty pagan warriors viciously attacked the Messenger of Allah (s) causing serious injuries to his noble head and face. Having suffered severe losses, Quraysh decided to withdraw from the battle and to return the next year at Badr to continue the fight.
- Battles and Victories: The disbelievers as well as the Jews in Madeenah did not save any effort to abuse the Muslims. They wanted to destroy the Muslims and wipe out the new religion. The Jews took to inciting the disbelievers against the Muslims. The early Muslims participated in many battles with the Prophet to spread the Word of Allah. Although the Muslims did not achieve victory in them all, they learned from their faults that caused their loss in 'Uhud. In the Battle of the Trench, the Prophet (s) started along with his followers to dig a deep trench at the most vulnerable section of Madeenah, according to a proposal made by Salmaan Al-Faarisi. This was to protect Madeenah from the Quraysh and their allies who were intent on getting rid of Islam once and for all. However, by the grace of Allah, the disbelievers left defeated once again after a few days, being unsuccessful in their endeavors.
- The Treaty of Hudaybiyah: The Messenger of Allah (s) had a dream in which he saw himself and the believers preparing for 'Umrah. The Messenger (s) and his followers immediately prepared to visit the Ka'bah and started the long journey. They stopped on the outskirts of Makkah to put on their Ihraam clothes. They then received news of an army waiting to prevent them from entering the sanctuary. After sending messages to Quraysh, and reaching no agreement, the Messenger (s) sent 'Uthmaan bin 'Affaan to negotiate with the disbelievers. The Quraysh sent 'Uthmaan back with a negotiator to represent them. The Messenger (s) accepted the terms of the agreement and prepared to leave only to return the next year for 'Umrah. The agreement stipulated that there would be no war between the Muslims and the pagans for the next ten years. This agreement is known as the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
- Invitations to Islam: Quraysh adhered to the treaty of Hudaybiyah and left the Muslims in peace. This gave the Messenger of Allah (s) the opportunity to spread the message of Islam. He dispatched messengers to all the rulers in and around the Arab peninsula inviting them to Islam. In the 7th year A.H. the Muslim army marched out again. This time it was to Khaybar. This was where the Jewish tribes of Madeenah lived, who summoned the pagan coalition to fight against the Muslims in the Battle of the Trench. The Prophet (s) and the believers besieged their forts and in a matter of days they were overpowered. The Messenger of Allah (s) returned to Madeenah victorious with an abundance of booty. Three of Islam's most feared enemies also accepted Islam during this time. They were Khaalid bin Al-Waleed, ‘Amr bin Al ‘Aas and 'Uthmaan bin Talhah.
- The Lesser Pilgrimage: In the 7th year A.H., following the conquest of Khaybar, the Messenger (s) commanded the believers to prepare for Umrah. Quraysh kept their promise and allowed the believers to enter the Holy City unharmed. After three days elapsed the Quraysh told the believers to vacate the sanctuary compliant to what they had agreed to in the treaty of Hudaybiyah. Keeping his part of the bargain, the Messenger ordered the believers to move their camp to a small village on the outskirts of Makkah. There, Allah's Messenger married Maymoonah, the sister-in-law of his uncle, Abbaas. In the wake of the battles that followed, Umrah was a sweet memory to the believers. During this time the Prophet (s) sent a messenger to the ruler of Basrah, however the messenger was intercepted by Al-Ghassaani who beheaded him. The Prophet (s) immediately prepared an army of 3,000 men to set the matter right. The Muslims were met by an army of nearly 200,000 men. The Muslims fought bravely and lost only 12 men in that battle. Shortly after this battle the Quraysh broke the treaty of Hudaybiyah.
- The Conquest of Makkah: Quraysh was in a really difficult situation now that they had broken the treaty. They did not know what their fate was going to be. It was in the 8th year A.H. that the Messenger (s) secretly planned to enter Makkah. The Muslims left for Makkah on the 10th of Ramadan with an army of 10,000 men. The Muslims camped outside of Makkah, and at night the Prophet (s) commanded each of the soldiers to make a fire. Quraysh saw the thousands upon thousands of fires and feared for the worst. Aboo Sufyaan set out to see what he could find out about the intentions of the Muslims with the Quraysh. The Prophet (s) met with Aboo Sufyaan and invited him to accept Islam, which he did. The next day, the believers entered Makkah and conquered the Holy City with very little resistance. The Messenger of Allah (s) forgave his enemies in Makkah and did not take revenge against them. The Prophet destroyed all the idols that were in and around the Ka'bah, upon which he recited, "And say, 'Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart'" (Surah al- lsraa':81).
- The Last Days: A Nation Bids Farewell: Shortly after the conquest of Makkah, the Hawaazin and Ghatfaan tribes prepared to attack the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah (s) set out to confront these tribes with an army of 12,000 men. The Hawaazin were defeated after a fierce battle, and the Ghatafaan fled to At-Taa'if where they took shelter. In the 9th year A.H., the Prophet made Abu Bakr in charge of Hajj for the year. In the 10th year, the Prophet (s) led the Hajj himself. During Hajj, the Prophet (s) gave speeches in which he reminded the Muslims of their duty to Allah and their responsibility towards one another. Not long after his return from Hajj, the Prophet (s) developed a fever that worsened by the day. He appointed Abu Bakr to lead the prayer in the masjid during his illness. The Messenger's (s) condition deteriorated until he eventually passed away. Many Muslims did not want to believe that the Messenger had died. His death concluded the most glorious era of Islam, nay, the most glorious era in the history of humanity.
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