Muhammad Ibn Abdullah is the founding prophet of Islam. He is believed to be the final prophet by the Muslims. He was born in Mecca on 17th Rabi ul Awwal, 1st year of Amul-Fil (Year of the Elephant), corresponding to 570 C.E. According to some Sunni traditions he was born on 12th Rabi ul Awwal. His father, Abdullah Ibn Abdul Muttalib, was a respected noble and his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, was the chief of Banu Hashim, one of the two major clans of the tribe of Quresh who dominated Mecca at that time. His mother’s name was Aminah and she belonged to the same tribe.
According to most Islamic traditions, Prophet Muhammad’s father died a few months before his birth and his mother died when he was six years old. Abdul Muttalib acted as the Prophet’s guardian till he died after two years and then the guardianship was shifted to Abu Talib, Abdul Muttalib’s brother and Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s father.
From a very young age, Prophet Muhammad was known for his piety, truthfulness, trustworthiness and wisdom. In fact the people of Mecca dubbed him as Al-Sadiq (the Truthful) and Al-Amin (the Trustworthy). When he grew up, the Prophet engaged himself in trade and became known for his exemplary honesty in business dealings. Eventually he acted as a trade agent for Kadija Bint Khuwaylid, a wealthy noble lady of the Quresh, who soon became impressed with the Prophet’s honesty and wisdom and proposed to marry him, which he accepted.
The Prophet used to meditate in a cave near Mecca, known as Ghar-e-Hira, and it was there that he received his first revelation from Allah. He was forty years of age at that time. His wife, Khadija, and his cousin, Ali, were among the first people who believed in his Prophethood. He started inviting people to the new religion, which revolved around the basic belief of Tawheed (Oneness of God), to which only a few people responded positively, while most of the polytheists ridiculed him and some of them eventually became bitter enemies.
The Meccans put the family and followers of the Prophet under a strict boycott and forced them to live in a mountain trail near Mecca, known as Sha’ib Abi Talib, where they were confined for three years. Even food was not allowed in and if anyone was found supplying them any food, he was persecuted by the polytheists. Despite all these hardships, neither did the Prophet abandon Islam nor did his companions abandon him.
Gradually the Prophet found more followers within Mecca, but soon he was forced to leave the city altogether. He migrated to Medina where the people were more open minded and many of them had already accepted Islam. From that year the Muslims mark their Hijri calendar. There the Prophet established the first Islamic state. A number of battles were fought between the Meccans and the Medinites and allies of the both. In the end, the Muslims successfully captured Mecca under the command of the Prophet without any battle, and an amnesty was granted to everyone.
The Prophet preached Islam throughout the Arabian peninsula by sending delegations towards different tribes. Gradually Islam spread through most of Arabia. In 10 A.H. (After Hijra) the Prophet performed his last pilgrimage to Ka’aba, known in the history as the Farewell Pilgrimage. On the way back, the Prophet gathered all of his companions near a place called Ghadir Khum and said the historic words,”Ali is the master of anyone whose master am I” while holding Ali Ibn Abi Talib’s hand.
On 28th Safar, 11 A.H. the Prophet departed from this world. He was buried in Medina inside the historic Prophet’s Mosque.