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The name "Muhammad" in traditional Thuluth calligraphy by the hand of Hattat Aziz Efendi.[1]

A series of articles on

Muhammad callig.gif
Prophet of Islam

Companions · Family tree · In Mecca · In Medina · Conquest of Mecca · The Farewell Sermon · Succession

Diplomatic career · Family · Wives · Military career

Farewell Pilgrimage · Pen and paper · Saqifah · General bay'ah

Interactions with
Slaves · Jews · Christians

Muslim (Poetic and Mawlid) · Medieval Christian · Historicity · Criticism · Depictions

ƒMuhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh (Arabic: Transliteration: Muḥammad;[2] pronounced [mʊħɑmmæd]  ( listen); also spelled Muhammed or Mohammed)[3][4][5] (ca. 570/571 Mecca[مَكَةَ ]/[ مَكَهْ ] – June 8, 632),[6] is the founder of the religion of Islam [ إِسْلامْ ] and is regarded by Muslims as a messenger and prophet of God (Arabic: الله Allāh), the greatest law-bearer in a series of Islamic prophets and by most Muslims the last prophet as taught by the Qur'an 33:40–40. Muslims thus consider him the restorer of an uncorrupted original monotheistic faith (islām) of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets.[7][8][9] He was also active as a diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, reformer, military general, and, according to Muslim belief, an agent of divine action.[10]

Born in 570 in the Arabian city of Mecca,[11] he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married by age 25. Discontented with life in Mecca, he retreated to a cave in the surrounding mountains for meditation and reflection. According to Islamic beliefs it was here, at age 40, in the month of Ramadan, where he received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him (lit. islām) is the only way (dīn)[12] acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.[9][13][14]

Muhammad gained few followers early on, and was met with hostility from some Meccan tribes; he and his followers were treated harshly. To escape persecution first Muhammad sent some of his followers to Abyssinia before he and his remaining followers in Mecca migrated to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, which is also known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the conflicting tribes, and after eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, his followers, who by then had grown to ten thousand, conquered Mecca. In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from his Farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam; and he united the tribes of Arabia into a single Muslim religious polity.[15][16]

The revelations (or Ayat, lit. "Signs of God")—which Muhammad reported receiving until his death—form the verses of the Qur'an, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of God” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Qur'an, Muhammad’s life (sira) and traditions (sunnah) are also upheld by Muslims. They discuss Muhammad and other prophets of Islam with reverence, adding the phrase peace be upon him whenever their names are mentioned.[17] While conceptions of Muhammad in medieval Christendom and premodern times were largely negative, appraisals in modern history have been far less so.[14][18] Besides this, his life and deeds have been debated by followers and opponents over the centuries.[19]


Names and appellations in the Qur'an

The name Muhammad means "Praiseworthy" and occurs four times in the Qur'an.[20] The Qur'an addresses Muhammad in the second person not by his name but by the appellations prophet, messenger, servant of God ('abd), announcer (bashir), warner (nathir), reminder (mudhakkir), witness (shahid), bearer of good tidings (mubashshir), one who calls [unto God] (dā‘ī) and the light-giving lamp (siraj munir). Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped (al-muzzammil) in Qur'an 73:1 and the shrouded (al-muddaththir) in Qur'an 74:1.[21] In the Qur'an, believers are not to distinguish between the messengers of God and are to believe in all of them (Surah 2:285). God has caused some messengers to excel above others 2:253 and in Surah 33:40 He singles out Muhammad as the "Seal of the Prophets".[22] The Qur'an also refers to Muhammad as Aḥmad "more praiseworthy" (Arabic: أحمد‎, Surah 61:6).

Sources for Muhammad's life

Prophet Muhammad at the Ka'ba, The Life of the Prophet Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul (Inv. 1222/123b), illustration by Nakkaş Osman [c. 1595].

Being a highly influential historical figure, Muhammad's life, deeds, and thoughts have been debated by followers and opponents over the centuries, which makes a biography of him difficult to write.[14]


The Qur'an

Muslims regard the Qur'an as the primary source of knowledge about the historical Muhammad.[14] The Qur'an has a few allusions to Muhammad's life.[23] The Qur'an responds "constantly and often candidly to Muhammad's changing historical circumstances and contains a wealth of hidden data."[14]

Early biographies

Next in importance are the historical works by writers of the third and fourth century of the Muslim era.[24] These include the traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him (the sira and hadith literature), which provide further information on Muhammad's life.[25]

The earliest surviving written sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written ca. 767 (150 AH). The work is lost, but was used verbatim at great length by Ibn Hisham and Al-Tabari.[23][26]

Another early source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi (death 207 of Muslim era), and the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi (death 230 of Muslim era).[24]

Many scholars accept the accuracy of the earliest biographies, though their accuracy is unascertainable.[23] Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between the traditions touching legal matters and the purely historical ones. In the former sphere, traditions could have been subject to invention while in the latter sphere, aside from exceptional cases, the material may have been only subject to "tendential shaping".[27]

In addition, the hadith collections are accounts of the verbal and physical traditions of Muhammad that date from several generations after his death.[28] Hadith compilations are records of the traditions or sayings of Muhammad. They might be defined as the biography of Muhammad perpetuated by the long memory of his community for their exemplification and obedience.[29]

Western academics view the hadith collections with caution as accurate historical sources.[28] Scholars such as Madelung do not reject the narrations which have been complied in later periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures.[30]

Finally, there are oral traditions. Although usually discounted by historians, oral tradition plays a major role in the Islamic understanding of Muhammad.[19]

Non-Arabic sources

The earliest Greek source for Muhammed is the 9th century writer Theophanes. The earliest Syriac source is the 7th century John bar Penkaye.[31]


Approximate locations of some of the important tribes and Empire of the Arabian Peninsula at the dawn of Islam (approximately 600 CE / 50 BH).

The Arabian Peninsula was largely arid and volcanic, making agriculture difficult except near oases or springs. The landscape was thus dotted with towns and cities, two prominent ones being Mecca and Medina. Medina was a large flourishing agricultural settlement, while Mecca was an important financial center for many surrounding tribes.[32] Communal life was essential for survival in the desert conditions, as people needed support against the harsh environment and lifestyle. Tribal grouping was encouraged by the need to act as a unit, this unity being based on the bond of kinship by blood.[33] Indigenous Arabs were either nomadic or sedentary (or bedouins), the former constantly travelling from one place to another seeking water and pasture for their flocks, while the latter settled and focused on trade and agriculture. Nomadic survival was also dependent on raiding caravans or oases, the nomads not viewing this as a crime.[34][35]

In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones, springs and wells. As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idol statues of tribal patron deities. Aside from these gods, the Arabs shared a common belief in a supreme deity called Allah (literally "the god"), who was remote from their everyday concerns and thus not the object of cult or ritual. Three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters: Allāt, Manāt and al-‘Uzzá. Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christians and Jews.[36] Hanifs – native pre-Islamic Arab monotheists – are also sometimes listed alongside Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic Arabia, although their historicity is disputed amongst scholars.[37][38] According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad himself was a Hanif and one of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham.[39]


Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) in Medina, Saudi Arabia, is the site of Muhammad's tomb.

Life in Mecca

Muhammad was born and lived in Mecca for the first 52 years of his life (570–622) which was divided into two phases, that is before and after declaring the prophecy.

Childhood and early life

Muhammad was born in the month of Rabi' al-awwal in 570. He belonged to the Banu Hashim, one of the prominent families of Mecca, although it seems not to have been prosperous during Muhammad's early lifetime.[14][40] Tradition places the year of Muhammad's birth as corresponding with the Year of the Elephant, which is named after the failed destruction of Mecca that year by the Aksumite king Abraha who had in his army a number of elephants. Recent scholarship has suggested alternative dates for this event, such as 568 or 569.[41]

Muhammad's father, Abdullah, died almost six months before he was born.[42] According to the tradition, soon after Muhammad's birth he was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as the desert-life was considered healthier for infants. Muhammad stayed with his foster-mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old. Some western scholars of Islam have rejected the historicity of this tradition.[43] At the age of six Muhammad lost his mother Amina to illness and he became fully orphaned.[44] He was subsequently brought up for two years under the guardianship of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, of the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe. When Muhammad was eight, his grandfather also died. He now came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, the new leader of Banu Hashim.[41] According to Watt, because of the general disregard of the guardians in taking care of weak members of the tribes in Mecca in sixth century, "Muhammad's guardians saw that he did not starve to death, but it was hard for them to do more for him, especially as the fortunes of the clan of Hashim seem to have been declining at that time."[45]

While still in his teens, Muhammad accompanied his uncle on trading journeys to Syria gaining experience in the commercial trade, the only career open to Muhammad as an orphan.[45] According to tradition, when Muhammad was either nine or twelve while accompanying the Meccans' caravan to Syria, he met a Christian monk or hermit named Bahira who is said to have foreseen Muhammed's career as a prophet of God.[46]

Little is known of Muhammad during his later youth, and from the fragmentary information that is available, it is hard to separate history from legend.[45] It is known that he became a merchant and "was involved in trade between the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean Sea."[47] Due to his upright character he acquired the nickname "Al-Amin" (Arabic: الامين), meaning "faithful, trustworthy" and was sought out as an impartial arbitrator.[11][14][48] His reputation attracted a proposal from Khadijah, a forty-year-old widow in 595. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one.[47]

Beginnings of the Qur'an

The cave Hira in the mountain Jabal al-Nour where, according to Muslim beliefs, Muhammad received his first revelation.

At some point Muhammad adopted the practice of meditating alone for several weeks every year in a cave on Mount Hira near Mecca.[49][50] Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira, the angel Gabriel appeared to him in the year 610 and commanded Muhammad to recite the following verses:[51]

Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created- Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,- He Who taught (the use of) the pen,- Taught man that which he knew not.(Qur'an 96:1-5)

According to some traditions, upon receiving his first revelations Muhammad was deeply distressed and contemplated throwing himself off the top of a mountain but the spirit moved closer and told him that he has been chosen as a messenger of God. Muhammad returned home and was consoled and reassured by his wife, Khadijah and her Christian cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal. Shia tradition maintains that Muhammad was neither surprised nor frightened at the appearance of Gabriel but rather welcomed him as if he had been expecting him.[52] The initial revelation was followed by a pause of three years during which Muhammad gave himself up further to prayers and spiritual practices. When the revelations resumed he was reassured and commanded to begin preaching: Your lord has not forsaken you nor does he hate [you] (Qur'an 93:1-11).[53][54]

According to Welch these revelations were accompanied by mysterious seizures, and the reports are unlikely to have been forged by later Muslims.[14] Muhammad was confident that he could distinguish his own thoughts from these messages.[55] According to the Qur'an, one of the main roles of Muhammad is to warn the unbelievers of their eschatological punishment (Qur'an 38:70, Qur'an 6:19). Sometimes the Qur'an does not explicitly refer to the Judgment day but provides examples from the history of some extinct communities and warns Muhammad's contemporaries of similar calamities (Qur'an 41:13–16).[21] Muhammad is not only a warner to those who reject God's revelation, but also a bearer of good news for those who abandon evil, listen to the divine word and serve God.[56] Muhammad's mission also involves preaching monotheism: The Qur'an demands Muhammad to proclaim and praise the name of his Lord and instructs him not to worship idols apart from God or associate other deities with God.[21]

The key themes of the early Qur'anic verses included the responsibility of man towards his creator; the resurrection of dead, God's final judgment followed by vivid descriptions of the tortures in hell and pleasures in Paradise; and the signs of God in all aspects of life. Religious duties required of the believers at this time were few: belief in God, asking for forgiveness of sins, offering frequent prayers, assisting others particularly those in need, rejecting cheating and the love of wealth (considered to be significant in the commercial life of Mecca), being chaste and not to kill newborn girls.[14]


According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad's wife Khadija was the first to believe he was a prophet.[57] She was soon followed by Muhammad's ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr, and adopted son Zaid.[57] Around 613, Muhammad began his public preaching (Qur'an 26:214).[58] Most Meccans ignored him and mocked him, while a few others became his followers. There were three main groups of early converts to Islam: younger brothers and sons of great merchants; people who had fallen out of the first rank in their tribe or failed to attain it; and the weak, mostly unprotected foreigners.[59]

According to Ibn Sad, the opposition in Mecca started when Muhammad delivered verses that condemned idol worship and the Meccan forefathers who engaged in polytheism.[60] However, the Qur'anic exegesis maintains that it began as soon as Muhammad started public preaching.[61] As the number of followers increased, he became a threat to the local tribes and the rulers of the city, whose wealth rested upon the Kaaba, the focal point of Meccan religious life, which Muhammad threatened to overthrow. Muhammad’s denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Ka'aba.[59] The powerful merchants tried to convince Muhammad to abandon his preaching by offering him admission into the inner circle of merchants, and establishing his position therein by an advantageous marriage. However, he refused.[59]

Tradition records at great length the persecution and ill-treatment of Muhammad and his followers.[14] Sumayyah bint Khabbab, a slave of Abu Jahl and a prominent Meccan leader, is famous as the first martyr of Islam, having been killed with a spear by her master when she refused to give up her faith. Bilal, another Muslim slave, was tortured by Umayyah ibn Khalaf who placed a heavy rock on his chest to force his conversion.[62][63] Apart from insults, Muhammad was protected from physical harm as he belonged to the Banu Hashim clan.[64][65]

Location of Abyssinia (Aksumite Empire).

In 615, some of Muhammad's followers emigrated to the Ethiopian Aksumite Empire and founded a small colony there under the protection of the Christian Ethiopian emperor Aṣḥama ibn Abjar.[14]

An early hadith known as "The Story of the Cranes" (translation: قصة الغرانيق, transliteration: Qissat al Gharaneeq) was propagated by two Islamic scholars, Ibn Kathir al Dimashqi and Ibn Hijir al Masri, where the former has strengthened it and the latter called it fabricated[66] (see Science of hadith). The hadith describes Muhammad's involvement at the time of migration in an episode which historian William Muir called the "Satanic Verses." The account holds that Muhammad pronounced a verse acknowledging the existence of three Meccan goddesses considered to be the daughters of Allah, praising them, and appealing for their intercession. According to this account, Muhammad later retracted the verses at the behest of Gabriel.[67] Islamic scholars have weakened the hadith[68] and have denied the historicity of the incident as early as the tenth century.[69] In any event, relations between the Muslims and their pagan fellow-tribesmen were already deteriorated and worsening.

In 617 the leaders of Makhzum and Banu Abd-Shams, two important Quraysh clans, declared a public boycott against Banu Hashim, their commercial rival, to pressurize it into withdrawing its protection of Muhammad. The boycott lasted three years but eventually collapsed as it failed in its objective.[70][71]

Last years in Mecca

Road to Ta'if in the foreground, mountains of Ta'if in the background (Saudi Arabia).

Muhammad's wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib both died in 619, the year thus being known as the "year of sorrow." With the death of Abu Talib, the leadership of the Banu Hashim clan was passed to Abu Lahab, an inveterate enemy of Muhammad. Soon afterwards, Abu Lahab withdrew the clan's protection from Muhammad. This placed Muhammad in danger of death since the withdrawal of clan protection implied that the blood revenge for his killing would not be exacted. Muhammad then visited Ta'if, another important city in Arabia, and tried to find a protector for himself there, but his effort failed and further brought him into physical danger.[14][71] Muhammad was forced to return to Mecca. A Meccan man named Mut'im b. Adi (and the protection of the tribe of Banu Nawfal) made it possible for him safely to re-enter his native city.[14][71]

Many people were visiting Mecca on business or as pilgrims to the Kaaba. Muhammad took this opportunity to look for a new home for himself and his followers. After several unsuccessful negotiations, he found hope with some men from Yathrib (later called Medina).[14] The Arab population of Yathrib were familiar with monotheism because a Jewish community existed there.[14] Converts to Islam came from nearly all Arab tribes in Medina, such that by June of the subsequent year there were seventy-five Muslims coming to Mecca for pilgrimage and to meet Muhammad. Meeting him secretly by night, the group made what was known as the "Second Pledge of al-`Aqaba", or the "Pledge of War"[72] Following the pledges at Aqabah, Muhammad encouraged his followers to emigrate to Yathrib. As with the migration to Abyssinia, the Quraysh attempted to stop the emigration. However, almost all Muslims managed to leave.[73]

Isra and Mi'raj

The Al-Aqsa Mosque, adjacent to the Dome of the Rock (along the southern wall of Temple Mount), is the site from which Muhammad is believed to have travelled to heaven and returned.

Islamic tradition relates that in 620, Muhammad experienced the Isra and Mi'raj, a miraculous journey said to have occurred with the angel Gabriel in one night. In the first part of the journey, the Isra, he is said to have travelled from Mecca to "the farthest mosque" (in Arabic: masjid al-aqsa), which Muslims usually identify with the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In the second part, the Mi'raj, Muhammad is said to have toured heaven and hell, and spoken with earlier prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.[74] Ibn Ishaq, author of the first biography of Muhammad, presents this event as a spiritual experience whereas later historians like Al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir present it as a physical journey.[74]

When he was transported to Heaven, he reported seeing an angel with "70,000 heads, each head having 70,000 mouths, each mouth having 70,000 tongues, each tongue speaking 70,000 languages; and every on involved in singing God's (Allah's) praises." After calculation this would mean the angel spoke 31,000 trillion languages for the praise of Allah.

Some western scholars of Islam hold that the oldest Muslim tradition identified the journey as one traveled through the heavens from the sacred enclosure at Mecca to the celestial al-Baytu l-Maʿmur (heavenly prototype of the Kaaba); but later tradition identified Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Jerusalem.[75]

Timeline of Muhammad in Medina
Important dates and locations in the life of Muhammad in Medina
c. 618 Medinan Civil War
622 Emigrates to Medina (Hijra)
622 Ascension to heaven
624 Battle of Badr: Muslims defeat Makkahs
624 Expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa
625 Battle of Uhud: Makkahs defeat Muslims
625 Expulsion of Banu Nadir
627 Battle of the Trench
627 Demise of Banu Qurayza
628 Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
c. 628 Gains access to Makkah shrine Kaaba
628 Conquest of the Khaybar oasis
629 First hajj pilgrimage
629 Attack on Byzantine Empire fails: Battle of Mu'tah
630 Bloodless conquest of Makkah
c. 630 Battle of Hunayn
c. 630 Siege of Ta'if
c. 631 Rules most of the Arabian peninsula
c. 632 Attacks the Ghassanids: Tabuk
632 Farewell hajj pilgrimage
632 Death (June 8): Medina

Muhammad in Medina


A delegation consisting of the representatives of the twelve important clans of Medina, invited Muhammad as a neutral outsider to Medina to serve as chief arbitrator for the entire community.[76][77] There was fighting in Yathrib mainly involving its Arab and Jewish inhabitants for around a hundred years before 620.[76] The recurring slaughters and disagreements over the resulting claims, especially after the Battle of Bu'ath in which all clans were involved, made it obvious to them that the tribal conceptions of blood-feud and an eye for an eye were no longer workable unless there was one man with authority to adjudicate in disputed cases.[76] The delegation from Medina pledged themselves and their fellow-citizens to accept Muhammad into their community and physically protect him as one of themselves.[14]

Muhammad instructed his followers to emigrate to Medina until virtually all his followers left Mecca. Being alarmed at the departure of Muslims, according to the tradition, the Meccans plotted to assassinate Muhammad. With the help of Ali, Muhammad fooled the Meccans who were watching him, and secretly slipped away from the town with Abu Bakr.[78] By 622, Muhammad emigrated to Medina, a large agricultural oasis. Those who migrated from Mecca along with Muhammad became known as muhajirun (emigrants).[14]

Establishment of a new polity

Among the first things Muhammad did in order to settle down the longstanding grievances among the tribes of Medina was drafting a document known as the Constitution of Medina, "establishing a kind of alliance or federation" among the eight Medinan tribes and Muslim emigrants from Mecca, which specified the rights and duties of all citizens and the relationship of the different communities in Medina (including that of the Muslim community to other communities, specifically the Jews and other "Peoples of the Book").[76][77] The community defined in the Constitution of Medina, Ummah, had a religious outlook but was also shaped by practical considerations and substantially preserved the legal forms of the old Arab tribes.[14] It effectively established the first Islamic state.

The first group of pagan converts to Islam in Medina were the clans who had not produced great leaders for themselves but had suffered from warlike leaders from other clans. This was followed by the general acceptance of Islam by the pagan population of Medina, apart from some exceptions. According to Ibn Ishaq, this was influenced by the conversion of Sa'd ibn Mu'adh (a prominent Medinan leader) to Islam.[79] Those Medinans who converted to Islam and helped the Muslim emigrants find shelter became known as the ansar (supporters).[14] Then Muhammad instituted brotherhood between the emigrants and the supporters and he chose Ali as his own brother.[80]

With the early general conversion of the pagans, the pagan opposition was never of prime importance in the affairs of Medina. Those remaining pagans were very bitter about the advance of Islam. In particular, Asma bint Marwan and Abu 'Afak had composed verses taunting and insulting the Muslims. These two were assassinated and Muhammad did not disapprove of it. No one dared take vengeance on them, and some members of Asma bint Marwan's clan who previously converted to Islam in secret, now professed Islam openly. This ended overt opposition to Muhammad among the pagans.[81]

Beginning of armed conflict

A map of the Badr campaign.

Following the emigration, the Meccans seized the properties of the Muslim emigrants in Mecca.[82] Economically uprooted and with no available profession, the Muslim migrants turned to raiding Meccan caravans as an act of war, deliberately initiating armed conflict between the Muslims and Mecca.[83][84] Muhammad delivered Qur'anic verses permitting the Muslims to fight the Meccans (see Qur'an 22:39–40).[85] These attacks pressured Mecca by interfering with trade, and allowed the Muslims to acquire wealth, power and prestige while working towards their ultimate goal of inducing Mecca's submission to the new faith.[86][87] In March of 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Muslims set an ambush for them at Badr.[88] Aware of the plan, the Meccan caravan eluded the Muslims. Meanwhile, a force from Mecca was sent to protect the caravan, continuing forward to confront the Muslims upon hearing that the caravan was safe. The Battle of Badr began in March of 624.[89] Though outnumbered more than three to one, the Muslims won the battle, killing at least forty-five Meccans with only fourteen Muslims dead. They also succeeded in killing many Meccan leaders, including Abu Jahl.[90] Seventy prisoners had been acquired, many of whom were soon ransomed in return for wealth or freed.[83][91][92] Muhammad and his followers saw in the victory a confirmation of their faith.[14] The Qur'anic verses of this period, unlike the Meccan ones, dealt with practical problems of government and issues like the distribution of spoils.[93]

Muhammad expelled from Medina the Banu Qaynuqa, one of three main Jewish tribes.[14] Following the Battle of Badr, Muhammad also made mutual-aid alliances with a number of Bedouin tribes to protect his community from attacks from the northern part of Hijaz.[14]

Conflict with Mecca

Map of the Battle of Uhud, showing the Muslim and Meccan lines respectively.

The attack at Badr committed Muhammad to total war with Meccans, who were now anxious to avenge their defeat. To maintain their economic prosperity, the Meccans needed to restore their prestige, which had been lost at Badr.[94] In the ensuing months, Muhammad led expeditions on tribes allied with Mecca and sent out a raid on a Meccan caravan.[95] Abu Sufyan subsequently gathered an army of three thousand men and set out for an attack on Medina.[96]

A scout alerted Muhammad of the Meccan army's presence and numbers a day later. The next morning, at the Muslim conference of war, there was dispute over how best to repel the Meccans. Muhammad and many senior figures suggested that it would be safer to fight within Medina and take advantage of its heavily fortified strongholds. Younger Muslims argued that the Meccans were destroying their crops, and that huddling in the strongholds would destroy Muslim prestige. Muhammad eventually conceded to the wishes of the latter, and readied the Muslim force for battle. Thus, Muhammad led his force outside to the mountain of Uhud (where the Meccans had camped) and fought the Battle of Uhud on March 23.[97][98] Although the Muslim army had the best of the early encounters, indiscipline on the part of strategically placed archers led to a Muslim defeat, with 75 Muslims killed including Hamza, Muhammad's uncle and one of the best known martyrs in the Muslim tradition. The Meccans did not pursue the Muslims further, but marched back to Mecca declaring victory. They were not entirely successful, however, as they had failed to achieve their aim of completely destroying the Muslims.[99][100] The Muslims buried the dead, and returned to Medina that evening. Questions accumulated as to the reasons for the loss, and Muhammad subsequently delivered Qur'anic verses [Qur'an 3:152] which indicated that their defeat was partly a punishment for disobedience and partly a test for steadfastness.[101]

Abu Sufyan now directed his efforts towards another attack on Medina. He attracted the support of nomadic tribes to the north and east of Medina, using propaganda about Muhammad's weakness, promises of booty, memories of the prestige of the Quraysh and use of bribes.[102] Muhammad's policy was now to prevent alliances against him as much as he could. Whenever alliances of tribesmen against Medina were formed, he sent out an expedition to break them up.[102] When Muhammad heard of men massing with hostile intentions against Medina, he reacted with severity.[103] One example is the assassination of Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, a chieftain of the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir who had gone to Mecca and written poems that helped rouse the Meccans' grief, anger and desire for revenge after the Battle of Badr.[104] Around a year later, Muhammad expelled the Banu Nadir from Medina.[105] Muhammad's attempts to prevent formation of a confederation against him were unsuccessful, though he was able to increase his own forces and stop many potential tribes from joining his enemies.[106]

Siege of Medina

Battle of Khandaq (Battle of the Trench).

With the help of the exiled Banu Nadir, the Quraysh military leader Abu Sufyan had mustered a force of 10,000 men. Muhammad prepared a force of about 3000 men and adopted a new form of defense unknown in Arabia at that time: the Muslims dug a trench wherever Medina lay open to cavalry attack. The idea is credited to a Persian convert to Islam, Salman the Persian. The siege of Medina began on March 31 627 and lasted for two weeks.[107] Abu Sufyan's troops were unprepared for the fortifications they were confronted with, and after an ineffectual siege lasting several weeks, the coalition decided to go home.[108] The Qur'an discusses this battle in verses Qur'an 33:9-33:27.[61] During the battle, the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza, located at the south of Medina, had entered into negotiations with Meccan forces to revolt against Muhammad. Although they were swayed by suggestions that Muhammad was sure to be overwhelmed, they desired reassurance in case the confederacy was unable to destroy him. No agreement was reached after the prolonged negotiations, in part due to sabotage attempts by Muhammad's scouts.[109] After the coalition's retreat, the Muslims accused the Banu Qurayza of treachery and besieged them in their forts for 25 days. The Banu Qurayza eventually surrendered and all the men, apart from a few who converted to Islam, were beheaded, while the women and children were enslaved.[110][111] In the siege of Medina, the Meccans exerted their utmost strength towards the destruction of the Muslim community. Their failure resulted in a significant loss of prestige; their trade with Syria was gone.[112] Following the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad made two expeditions to the north which ended without any fighting.[14] While returning from one of these (or some years earlier according to other early accounts), an accusation of adultery was made against Aisha, Muhammad's wife. Aisha was exonerated from the accusations when Muhammad announced that he had received a revelation confirming Aisha's innocence and directing that charges of adultery be supported by four eyewitnesses.[113]

Truce of Hudaybiyyah

Although Muhammad had already delivered Qur'anic verses commanding the Hajj,[114] the Muslims had not performed it due to the enmity of the Quraysh. In the month of Shawwal 628, Muhammad ordered his followers to obtain sacrificial animals and to make preparations for a pilgrimage (umrah) to Mecca, saying that God had promised him the fulfillment of this goal in a vision where he was shaving his head after the completion of the Hajj.[115] Upon hearing of the approaching 1,400 Muslims, the Quraysh sent out a force of 200 cavalry to halt them. Muhammad evaded them by taking a more difficult route, thereby reaching al-Hudaybiyya, just outside of Mecca.[116] According to Watt, although Muhammad's decision to make the pilgrimage was based on his dream, he was at the same time demonstrating to the pagan Meccans that Islam does not threaten the prestige of their sanctuary, and that Islam was an Arabian religion.[116]

A rendering of the seal attributed to Muhammad used in the letters sent to other heads of state.

Negotiations commenced with emissaries going to and from Mecca. While these continued, rumors spread that one of the Muslim negotiators, Uthman bin al-Affan, had been killed by the Quraysh. Muhammad responded by calling upon the pilgrims to make a pledge not to flee (or to stick with Muhammad, whatever decision he made) if the situation descended into war with Mecca. This pledge became known as the "Pledge of Acceptance" (Arabic: بيعة الرضوان , bay'at al-ridhwān‎) or the "Pledge under the Tree." News of Uthman's safety, however, allowed for negotiations to continue, and a treaty scheduled to last ten years was eventually signed between the Muslims and Quraysh.[116][117] The main points of the treaty included the cessation of hostilities; the deferral of Muhammad's pilgrimage to the following year; and an agreement to send back any Meccan who had gone to Medina without the permission of their protector.[116]

Many Muslims were not satisfied with the terms of the treaty. However, the Qur'anic sura "Al-Fath" (The Victory) (Qur'an 48:1-29) assured the Muslims that the expedition from which they were now returning must be considered a victorious one.[118] It was only later that Muhammad's followers would realise the benefit behind this treaty. According to Welch, these benefits included the inducing of the Meccans to recognise Muhammad as an equal; a cessation of military activity posing well for the future; and gaining the admiration of Meccans who were impressed by the incorporation of the pilgrimage rituals.[14]

After signing the truce, Muhammad made an expedition against the Jewish oasis of Khaybar, known as the Battle of Khaybar. This was possibly due to it housing the Banu Nadir, who were inciting hostilities against Muhammad, or to regain some prestige to deflect from what appeared to some Muslims as the inconclusive result of the truce of Hudaybiyya.[96][119] According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad also sent letters to many rulers of the world, asking them to convert to Islam (the exact date is given variously in the sources).[14][120][121] Hence he sent messengers (with letters) to Heraclius of the Byzantine Empire (the eastern Roman Empire), Khosrau of Persia, the chief of Yemen and to some others.[120][121] In the years following the truce of Hudaybiyya, Muhammad sent his forces against the Arabs on Transjordanian Byzantine soil in the Battle of Mu'tah, in which the Muslims were defeated.[122]

Final years

Conquest of Mecca

The Kaaba in Mecca held a major economic and religious role for the area. It became the Muslim Qibla (prayer direction).
An anonymous artist's 16th-century illustration of Muhammad and his companions advancing on Mecca. The angels Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Azrail, are also shown.
Muhammad prohibits intercalary months during the Farewell Pilgrimage. 17th century Ottoman copy of a 14th century (Ilkhanate) manuscript (Edinburgh codex). Illustration of Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī's The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries.
The Mosque of the Prophet (Al-Masjid al-Nabawi) is Islam's second most sacred site. The green dome in the background stands above Muhammad's tomb.

The truce of Hudaybiyyah had been enforced for two years.[123][124] The tribe of Banu Khuza'a had good relations with Muhammad, whereas their enemies, the Banu Bakr, had an alliance with the Meccans.[123][124] A clan of the Bakr made a night raid against the Khuza'a, killing a few of them.[123][124] The Meccans helped the Banu Bakr with weapons and, according to some sources, a few Meccans also took part in the fighting.[123] After this event, Muhammad sent a message to Mecca with three conditions, asking them to accept one of them. These were that either the Meccans paid blood money for those slain among the Khuza'ah tribe; or, that they should disavow themselves of the Banu Bakr; or, that they should declare the truce of Hudaybiyyah null.[125]

The Meccans replied that they would accept only the last condition.[125] However, soon they realized their mistake and sent Abu Sufyan to renew the Hudaybiyyah treaty, but now his request was declined by Muhammad.

Muhammad began to prepare for a campaign.[126] In 630, Muhammad marched on Mecca with an enormous force, said to number more than ten thousand men. With minimal casualties, Muhammad took control of Mecca.[127] He declared an amnesty for past offences, except for ten men and women who had mocked and ridiculed him in songs and verses. Some of these were later pardoned.[128] Most Meccans converted to Islam and Muhammad subsequently destroyed all the statues of Arabian gods in and around the Kaaba.[129][130] The Qur'an discusses the conquest of Mecca.[61][131]

Conquest of Arabia

Soon after the conquest of Mecca, Muhammad was alarmed by a military threat from the confederate tribes of Hawazin who were collecting an army twice the size of Muhammad's. The Banu Hawazin were old enemies of the Meccans. They were joined by the Banu Thaqif (inhabiting the city of Ta'if) who adopted an anti-Meccan policy due to the decline of the prestige of Meccans.[132] Muhammad defeated the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes in the Battle of Hunayn.[14]

In the same year, Muhammad made the expedition of Tabuk against northern Arabia because of their previous defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah as well as reports of the hostile attitude adopted against Muslims. Although Muhammad did not make contact with hostile forces at Tabuk, he received the submission of some local chiefs of the region.[14][133]

A year after the Battle of Tabuk, the Banu Thaqif sent emissaries to Medina to surrender to Muhammad and adopt Islam. Many bedouins submitted to Muhammad in order to be safe against his attacks and to benefit from the booties of the wars.[14] However, the bedouins were alien to the system of Islam and wanted to maintain their independence, their established code of virtue and their ancestral traditions. Muhammad thus required of them a military and political agreement according to which they "acknowledge the suzerainty of Medina, to refrain from attack on the Muslims and their allies, and to pay the Zakat, the Muslim religious levy."[134]

Farewell pilgrimage and death

At the end of the tenth year after the migration to Medina, Muhammad carried through his first truly Islamic pilgrimage, thereby teaching his followers the rites of the annual Great Pilgrimage (Hajj).[14]

After completing the pilgrimage, Muhammad delivered a famous speech known as The Farewell Sermon. In this sermon, Muhammad advised his followers not to follow certain pre-Islamic customs such as adding intercalary months to align the lunar calendar with the solar calendar. Muhammad abolished all old blood feuds and disputes based on the former tribal system and asked for all old pledges to be returned as implications of the creation of the new Islamic community. Commenting on the vulnerability of women in his society, Muhammed asked his male followers to “Be good to women; for they are powerless captives (awan) in your households. You took them in God’s trust, and legitimated your sexual relations with the Word of God, so come to your senses people, and hear my words ...”. He also told them that they were entitled to discipline their wives but should do so with kindness. Muhammad also addressed the issue of inheritance by forbidding false claims of paternity or of a client relationship to the deceased and also forbidding his followers to leave their wealth to a testamentary heir. He also upheld the sacredness of four lunar months in each year.[135][136] According to Sunni tafsir, the following Qur'anic verse was delivered in this incident: “Today I have perfected your religion, and completed my favours for you and chosen Islam as a religion for you.”(Qur'an 5:3)[14] According to Shia tafsir, it refers to appointment of Ali ibn Abi Talib at the pond of Khumm as Muhammad's successor, this occurring a few days later when Muslims were returning from Mecca to Medina.[137]

A few months after the farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill and suffered for several days with head pain and weakness. He died on Monday, June 8, 632, in Medina, at the age of 63.[138] With his head resting on Aisha's lap he murmured his final words soon after asking her to dispose of his last worldly goods, which were seven coins:

Rather, God on High and paradise.[138]

He is buried where he died, which was in Aisha's house and is now housed within the Mosque of the Prophet in the city of Medina.[14][139][140] Next to Muhammad's tomb, there is another empty tomb that Muslims believe awaits Jesus.[140][141]


Conquests of Muhammad and the Rashidun.

Muhammad united the tribes of Arabia into a singular Arab Muslim religious polity in the last years of his life. With Muhammad's death, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community.[16] Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr, Muhammad's friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated the successor by Muhammad at Ghadir Khumm. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to make an expedition against the Byzantine (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces because of the previous defeat, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode referred to by later Muslim historians as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy".[142]

The pre-Islamic Middle East was dominated by the Byzantine and Sassanian empires. The Roman-Persian Wars between the two had devastated the inhabitants, making the empires unpopular amongst local tribes. Furthermore, most Christian Churches in the lands to be conquered by Muslims such as Nestorians, Monophysites, Jacobites and Copts were under pressure from the Christian Orthodoxy who deemed them heretics. Within only a decade, Muslims conquered Mesopotamia and Persia, Roman Syria and Roman Egypt.[143] and established the Rashidun empire.

Wives and children

Muhammad's life is traditionally defined into two periods: pre-hijra (emigration) in Mecca (from 570 to 622), and post-hijra in Medina (from 622 until 632). Muhammad is said to have had thirteen wives or concubines (there are differing accounts on the status of some of them as wife or concubine[144])[145] All but two of his marriages were contracted after the migration to Medina.

Part of a series on Islam
Wives of Muhammad

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid

Sawda bint Zama

Aisha bint Abi Bakr

Hafsa bint Umar

Zaynab bint Khuzayma

Hind bint Abi Umayya

Zaynab bint Jahsh

Juwayriya bint al-Harith

Ramlah bint Abi Sufyan

Rayhana bint Zayd

Safiyya bint Huyayy

Maymuna bint al-Harith

Maria al-Qibtiyya

At the age of 25, Muhammad married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. The marriage lasted for 25 years and was a happy one.[146] Muhammad relied upon Khadija in many ways and did not enter into marriage with another woman during this marriage.[147][148] After the death of Khadija, it was suggested to Muhammad by Khawla bint Hakim, that he should marry Sawda bint Zama, a Muslim widow, or Aisha, who was at the time either six- or seven-year-old [149][150] or nine or ten-year-old[151] daughter of Abu Bakr. Muhammad is said to have asked her to arrange for him to marry both,[113]; he married Aisha five[citation needed] years later. Later, Muhammad married additional wives nine of whom survived him.[145] Aisha, who became known as Muhammad's favourite wife in Sunni tradition, survived him by many decades and was instrumental in helping to bring together the scattered sayings of Muhammad that would form the Hadith literature for the Sunni branch of Islam.[113]

After migration to Medina, Muhammad (who was now in his fifties) married several women. These marriages were contracted mostly for political or humanitarian reasons, these wives being either widows of Muslims who had been killed in the battles and had been left without a protector, or belonging to important families or clans whom it was necessary to honor and strengthen alliances.[152]

Muhammad did his own household chores and helped with housework, such as preparing food, sewing clothes and repairing shoes. Muhammad is also said to have had accustomed his wives to dialogue; he listened to their advice, and the wives debated and even argued with him.[153][154][155]

Khadijah is said to have borne Muhammad four daughters (Ruqayyah bint Muhammad, Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad, Zainab bint Muhammad, Fatimah Zahra) and two sons (Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad and Qasim ibn Muhammad) who both died in childhood. All except two of his daughters, Fatimah and Zainab, died before him.[156] Shi'a scholars contend that Fatimah was Muhammad's only daughter.[157] Maria al-Qibtiyya bore him a son named Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, but the child died when he was two years old.[156]

Zaynab bint Jahsh wife of Zayd ibn Harithah's wife, in Pre Islamic Arabia adoption was common and Zayd was given to him as a slave by his wife Khadija. Muhammad freed him and took him to Kaaba in Mecca and declared Zayd his son. With coming of Islam all relations of adoption were nulled. And Muhammad himself started calling Zayd Zayd bin Harriss instead of Zayd bin Muhammad (Zayd was known as Zayd bin Muhammad i.e. son of Muhammad). Since Zayd's background was a slave, and Muhammad wanted to lift the social status of freed slaves (like Zayd) he asked for Zaynab's hand in marriage for Zayd. Zaynab was Muhammad's first cousin, daughter of his aunt Umaima bint Abdul Muttalib. Zaynab had initially refused to marry Zaid and the same displeasure had come from her brother, 'Abdullah bin Jahsh. However on insistence of Muhammad Zaynab and everyone else agreed. The marriage was a failure as Zaynab could not accept a freed slave to be her husband. Zayd got tired of this and the bitterness had left him with no desire for her and this eventually led to their divorce.Zaynab being Muhammad's first cousin was no stranger for him, he had seen her hundreds of time in his aunt Umaima bint Abdul Muttalib's house for over thirty years before she became Zayd's wife.

"When thou saidst to him (Zayd) whom God has blessed and thou hadst favoured, 'Keep thy wife to thyself; and fear God', and thou wast concealing within thyself what God should reveal, fearing other men; and God has better right for thee to fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished what he would of her, then We gave her in marriage to thee, so that there should not be any fault in the believers, touching the wives of their adopted son, when they had accomplished what they would of them; and God's commandment must be performed." (Sura al-Ahzab 33:37)

The verse above tells of the time when Zayd came to seek council of Muhammad to divorced Zaynab, however Muhammad to him to 'Keep thy wife to thyself; and fear God'. Muhammad had already been informed by Gabriel that Zayd will divorce his wife and Muhammad will have to marry her, in spite of this knowledge Muhammad asked Zayd to keep his wife. It was because of this Muhammad was rebuked and told to fear God and not to fear men. Muhammad had two things to fear of, one was that Quran had restricted men to keep more than four wives, and if he was to marry Zaynab she would be his fifth wife, hence people would say double standards, 'four for us and five for you'. The second thing he feared was loss of reputation, Arabs had not been able to digest the fact that on blood relations (like adoption) have no place in Islam, so an example had to be set for people to realise that era of non blood relations is over. The best way to do this was by marrying Zaynab, however the matter was of a lady and Muhammad feared that hypocrates of Medina will not leave this golden chance to start a new propaganda against Islam. It was against this background Muhammad was rebuked and told to fear God and not to fear men. The full verse was revealed to tell the complete tale to Muslims and hypocrites of Medina as to what actually happened, and put an end to the conitnuous grapevine that was going around.

Muhammad's descendants through Fatimah are known as sharifs, syeds or sayyids. These are honorific titles in Arabic, sharif meaning 'noble' and sayed or sayyid meaning 'lord' or 'sir'. As Muhammad's only descendants, they are respected by both Sunni and Shi'a, though the Shi'as place much more emphasis and value on their distinction.[158]


The Qur'an considers emancipation of a slave to be a highly meritorious deed, or as a condition of repentance for many sins. Therefore Muhammad was the owner of slaves, whom he bought usually to free[159], including concubines (although this claim is disputed) [160], a wetnurse, and one slave he bought, freed and adopted as his son (Zayd).[161]



9th century Qur'an.

According to William Montgomery Watt, for Muhammad, religion was not a private and individual matter but rather “the total response of his personality to the total situation in which he found himself. He was responding [not only]… to the religious and intellectual aspects of the situation but also to the economic, social, and political pressures to which contemporary Mecca was subject."[162] Bernard Lewis says that there are two important political traditions in Islam – one that views Muhammad as a statesman in Medina, and another that views him as a rebel in Mecca. He sees Islam itself as a type of revolution that greatly changed the societies into which the new religion was brought.[163]

Historians generally agree that Islamic social reforms in areas such as social security, family structure, slavery and the rights of women and children improved on the status quo of Arab society.[163][164] For example, according to Lewis, Islam "from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents".[163] Muhammad's message transformed the society and moral order of life in the Arabian Peninsula through reorientation of society as regards to identity, world view, and the hierarchy of values.[165] Economic reforms addressed the plight of the poor, which was becoming an issue in pre-Islamic Mecca.[166] The Qur'an requires payment of an alms tax (zakat) for the benefit of the poor, and as Muhammad's position grew in power he demanded that those tribes who wanted to ally with him implement the zakat in particular.[167][168]


The Sunnah represents the actions and sayings of Muhammad (preserved in reports known as Hadith), and covers a broad array of activities and beliefs ranging from religious rituals, personal hygiene, burial of the dead to the mystical questions involving the love between humans and God. The Sunnah is considered a model of emulation for pious Muslims and has to a great degree influenced the Muslim culture. The greeting that Muhammad taught Muslims to offer each other, “may peace be upon you” (Arabic: as-salamu `alaykum) is used by Muslims throughout the world. Many details of major Islamic rituals such as daily prayers, the fasting and the annual pilgrimage are only found in the Sunnah and not the Qur'an.[169]

The Sunnah also played a major role in the development of the Islamic sciences. It contributed much to the development of Islamic law, particularly from the end of the first Islamic century.[170] Muslim mystics, known as sufis, who were seeking for the inner meaning of the Qur'an and the inner nature of Muhammad, viewed the prophet of Islam not only as a prophet but also as a perfect saint. Sufi orders trace their chain of spiritual descent back to Muhammad.[171]

Traditional views

Muslim veneration

Topkapı Palace gate with Shahadah and his seal. The Muslim Profession of faith, the Shahadah, illustrates the Muslim conception of the role of Muhammad – "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is His Messenger."
Persian manuscript miniature depicting Muhammad, from Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Jami al-Tawarikh, approximately 1315, illustrating the episode of the Black Stone.[172]

Following the attestation to the oneness of God, the belief in Muhammad's prophethood is the main aspect of the Islamic faith. Every Muslim proclaims in the Shahadah that "I testify that Muhammad is a messenger of Allah". The Shahadah is the basic creed or tenet of Islam. Ideally, it is the first words a newborn will hear, and children are taught as soon as they are able to understand it and it will be recited when they die. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in the call to prayer (adhan) and the prayer itself. Non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.[173]

Muslims have traditionally expressed love and veneration for Muhammad. Stories of Muhammad's life, his intercession and of his miracles (particularly "Splitting of the moon") have permeated popular Muslim thought and poetry. The Qur'an refers to Muhammad as "a mercy (rahmat) to the worlds" (Qur'an 21:107).[14] The association of rain with mercy in Oriental countries has led to imagining Muhammad as a rain cloud dispensing blessings and stretching over lands, reviving the dead hearts, just as rain revives the seemingly dead earth (see, for example, the Sindhi poem of Shah ʿAbd al-Latif).[14] Muhammad's birthday is celebrated as a major feast throughout the Islamic world, excluding Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia where these public celebrations are discouraged.[174] Muslims experience Muhammad as a living reality, believing in his ongoing significance to human beings as well as animals and plants.[174] When Muslims say or write the name of Muhammad or any other prophet in Islam, they usually follow it with Peace be upon him (Arabic: sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam) like "Muhammad(Peace be upon him)".[17]

According to the Qur'an, Muhammad is only the last of a series of Prophets sent by Allah for the benefit of mankind, and thus commands Muslims to make no distinction between them and to surrender to one God Allah. Qur'an 10:37–37 states that " (the Qur'an) is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from The Lord of the Worlds.". Similarly Qur'an 46:12–12 states "...And before this was the book of Moses, as a guide and a mercy. And this Book confirms (it)...", while Qur'an 2:136–136 commands the believers of Islam to "Say: we believe in God and that which is revealed unto us, and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered."

Historian Denis Gril believes that the Qur'an does not overtly describe Muhammad performing miracles, and the supreme miracle of Muhammad is finally identified with the Qur’an itself.[175] However, Muslim tradition credits Muhammad with several supernatural events.[176] For example, many Muslim commentators and some Western scholars have interpreted the Surah 54:1-2 as referring to Muhammad splitting the Moon in view of the Quraysh when they began persecuting his followers.[175][177]

European and Western views

A 19th century depiction titled "Muhammad preaching" (1840–1850) by Russian artist Grigory Gagarin.

The learned circles of Middle Ages Europe - primarily Latin-literate scholars - had fairly extensive, concrete biographical knowledge about the life of Mohammed, though they interpreted that information through a Christian religious lens that viewed Muhammad as a charlatan driven by ambition and eagerness for power, and who seduced the Saracens into his submission under a religious guise.[14] Popular European literature of the time lacked even this knowledge, and portrayed Muhammad as though he were worshipped by Muslims in the manner of an idol or a heathen god.[14] Some medieval Christians believed he died in 666, alluding to the number of the beast, instead of his actual death date in 632;[178] others changed his name from Muhammad to Mahound, the "devil incarnate".[179] Bernard Lewis writes "The development of the concept of Mahound started with considering Muhammad as a kind of demon or false god worshipped with Apollyon and Termagant in an unholy trinity."[180] A later medieval work, Livre dou Tresor represents Muhammad as a former monk and cardinal.[14] Dante's Divine Comedy (Canto XXVIII), puts Muhammad, together with Ali, in Hell "among the sowers of discord and the schismatics, being lacerated by devils again and again."[14]

After the reformation, Muhammad was no longer viewed by Christians as a god or idol, but as a cunning, ambitious, and self-seeking impostor.[14][180] Guillaume Postel was among the first to present a more positive view of Muhammad.[14] Boulainvilliers described Muhammad as a gifted political leader and a just lawmaker.[14] Gottfried Leibniz praised Muhammad because "he did not deviate from the natural religion".[14] Thomas Carlyle defines Muhammed as "A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest" [181]. Edward Gibbon in his book The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire observes that "the good sense of Mohammad despised the pomp of royalty." Friedrich Martin von Bodenstedt (1851) described Muhammad as "an ominous destroyer and a prophet of murder."[14] Later Western works, many of which, from the 18th century onward, distanced themselves from the polemical histories of earlier Christian authors. These more historically-oriented treatments, which generally reject the prophethood of Muhammad, are coloured by the Western philosophical and theological framework of their authors. Many of these studies reflect much historical research, and most pay more attention to human, social, economic, and political factors than to religious, theological, and spiritual matters.[19].

It was not until the latter part of the 20th century that Western authors combined rigorous scholarship as understood in the modern West with empathy toward the subject at hand and, especially, awareness of the religious and spiritual realities involved in the study of the life of the founder of a major world religion.[19] According to Watt and Richard Bell, recent writers have generally dismissed the idea that Muhammad deliberately deceived his followers, arguing that Muhammad “was absolutely sincere and acted in complete good faith”.[182] Watt says that sincerity does not directly imply correctness: In contemporary terms, Muhammad might have mistaken his own subconscious for divine revelation.[183] Watt and Lewis argue that viewing Muhammad as a self-seeking impostor makes it impossible to understand the development of Islam.[184][185] Welch holds that Muhammad was able to be so influential and successful because of his firm belief in his vocation.[14] Muhammad’s readiness to endure hardship for his cause when there seemed to be no rational basis for hope shows his sincerity.[186]

Other religious traditions

See also


  1. ^ See Muhittin Serin (1988)
  2. ^ Unicode has a special "Muhammad" ligature at U+FDF4
  3. ^ About this sound click here for the Arabic pronunciation.
  4. ^ Variant transcriptions of Muhammad's name, besides those used above, include — (English and multiple European languages:) "Mahomet"; (French:) "Mahomet, Mohamed, Mouhammed, Mahon, Mahomés, Mahun, Mahum, Mahumet, Mahound (medieval French), Mohand (for Berber speakers), Mouhammadou and Mamadou (in Sub-Saharan Africa)"; (Latin:) "Machometus, Mahumetus, Mahometus, Macometus, Mahometes"; (Spanish:) "Mahoma"; (Italian:) "Maometto"; (Portuguese:) "Maomé"; (Greek:) "Μωάμεθ, Μουχάμμαντντ, Μοχάμαντ, Μοχάμεντ, Μουχάμεντ, Μουχάμμαιντ"; (Turkish:) "Mehmet"; (Kurdish:) "Mihemed". See also Encyclopedia of Islam: (German:) "Machmet" (pre-20th century).
  5. ^ The sources frequently say that, in his youth, he was called by the nickname "Al-Amin" meaning "Honest, Truthful" cf. Ernst (2004), p. 85.
  6. ^ Elizabeth Goldman (1995), p. 63
  7. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 12.
  8. ^ Esposito (2002b), pp. 4–5.
  9. ^ a b F. E. Peters (2003), p. 9.
  10. ^ Alphonse de Lamartine (1854), Historie de la Turquie, Paris, p. 280:
    "Philosophe, orateur, apôtre, législateur, guerrier, conquérant d'idées, restaurateur de dogmes, d'un culte sans images, fondateur de vingt empires terrestres et d'un empire spirituel, voilà Mahomet!"
  11. ^ a b Encyclopedia of World History (1998), p. 452
  12. ^ 'Islam' is always referred to in the Qur'an as a dīn, a word that means "way" or "path" in Arabic, but is usually translated in English as "religion" for the sake of convenience
  13. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 12; (1999) p. 25; (2002) pp. 4–5
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq Alford Welch, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of Islam
  15. ^ "Muhmmad," Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world
  16. ^ a b See:
    • Holt (1977a), p.57
    • Lapidus (2002), pp 0.31 and 32
  17. ^ a b Ann Goldman, Richard Hain, Stephen Liben (2006), p.212
  18. ^ Watt (1974) p. 231
  19. ^ a b c d "Muhammad; Encyclopædia Britannica". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2010. 
  20. ^ Jean-Louis Déclais, Names of the Prophet, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  21. ^ a b c Uri Rubin, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  22. ^ Ernst (2004), p. 80
  23. ^ a b c S. A. Nigosian(2004), p. 6
  24. ^ a b Watt (1953), p.xi
  25. ^ Reeves (2003), pp. 6–7
  26. ^ Donner (1998), p. 132
  27. ^ Watt (1953), p.xv
  28. ^ a b Lewis (1993), pp. 33–34
  29. ^ Cragg, Albert Kenneth. "Hadith". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  30. ^ Madelung (1997), pp.xi, 19 and 20
  31. ^ Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, 10th edition (1970), p.112.
  32. ^ Watt (1953), pp.1–2
  33. ^ Watt (1953), pp. 16–18
  34. ^ Loyal Rue, Religion Is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture Our Biological,2005, p.224
  35. ^ John Esposito, Islam, Expanded edition, Oxford University Press, p.4–5
  36. ^ See:
    • Esposito, Islam, Extended Edition, Oxford University Press, pp.5–7
    • Qur'an 3:95
  37. ^ Kochler (1982), p.29
  38. ^ cf. Uri Rubin, Hanif, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  39. ^ See:
    • Louis Jacobs(1995), p.272
    • Turner (2005), p.16
  40. ^ See also [Qur'an 43:31] cited in EoI; Muhammad
  41. ^ a b Watt (1974), p. 7.
  42. ^ Josef W. Meri (2005), p. 525
  43. ^ Watt, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  44. ^ Watt, Amina, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  45. ^ a b c Watt (1974), p. 8.
  46. ^ Armand Abel, Bahira, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  47. ^ a b Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History (2005), v.3, p. 1025
  48. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 6
  49. ^ Emory C. Bogle (1998), p.6
  50. ^ John Henry Haaren, Addison B. Poland (1904), p.83
  51. ^ Brown (2003), pp. 72–73
  52. ^
    • Emory C. Bogle (1998), p.7
    • Razwy (1996), ch. 9
    • Rodinson (2002), p. 71.
  53. ^ Brown (2003), pp. 73–74
  54. ^ Uri Rubin, Muhammad, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  55. ^ Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam (1977), p. 31.
  56. ^ Daniel C. Peterson, Good News, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  57. ^ a b Watt (1953), p. 86
  58. ^ Ramadan (2007), p. 37–9
  59. ^ a b c Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam (1977), p. 36.
  60. ^ F. E. Peters (1994), p.169
  61. ^ a b c Uri Rubin, Quraysh, Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an
  62. ^ Jonathan E. Brockopp, Slaves and Slavery, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  63. ^ W. Arafat, Bilal b. Rabah, Encyclopedia of Islam
  64. ^ Watt (1964) p. 76.
  65. ^ Peters (1999) p. 172.
  66. ^ Muhammad Nasiruddin Al-Albani, Nasb al Majaneeq fil Radd 'Ala Qissat al Gharaneeq, 1996, pg.1
  67. ^ The aforementioned Islamic histories recount that as Muhammad was reciting Sūra Al-Najm (Q.53), as revealed to him by the angel Gabriel, Satan tempted him to utter the following lines after verses 19 and 20: "Have you thought of Allāt and al-'Uzzā and Manāt the third, the other; These are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is hoped for." (Allāt, al-'Uzzā and Manāt were three goddesses worshiped by the Meccans). cf Ibn Ishaq, A. Guillaume p. 166.
  68. ^ Al-Albani, pg.1
  69. ^ Shahab Ahmed, Satanic Verses, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  70. ^ F. E. Peters (2003b), p. 96
  71. ^ a b c Moojan Momen (1985), p. 4
  72. ^ Watt (1974) p. 83
  73. ^ Peterson (2006), pg. 86-9
  74. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (2003), p. 482
  75. ^ Sells, Michael. Ascension, Encyclopedia of the Quran.
  76. ^ a b c d Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam, p. 39
  77. ^ a b Esposito (1998), p. 17.
  78. ^ Moojan Momen (1985), p. 5
  79. ^ Watt (1956), p. 175, p. 177.
  80. ^ "Ali ibn Abitalib". Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  81. ^ Watt (1956), p. 179.
  82. ^ Fazlur Rahman (1979), p. 21
  83. ^ a b Lewis (2002), p. 41.
  84. ^ Watt (1961), p. 105.
  85. ^ John Kelsay (1993), p. 21
  86. ^ Watt(1961) p. 105, p. 107
  87. ^ Lewis (1993), p. 41.
  88. ^ Rodinson (2002), p. 164.
  89. ^ Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam, p. 45
  90. ^ Glubb (2002), pp. 179–186.
  91. ^ Watt (1961), p. 123.
  92. ^ Rodinson (2002), pp. 168–9.
  93. ^ Lewis(2002), p. 44
  94. ^ Watt (1961), p. 132.
  95. ^ Watt (1961), p. 134
  96. ^ a b Lewis (1960), p. 45.
  97. ^ C.F. Robinson, Uhud, Encyclopedia of Islam
  98. ^ Watt (1964) p. 137
  99. ^ Watt (1974) p. 137
  100. ^ David Cook(2007), p.24
  101. ^ See:
    • Watt (1981) p. 432;
    • Watt (1964) p. 144.
  102. ^ a b Watt (1956), p. 30.
  103. ^ Watt (1956), p. 34
  104. ^ Watt (1956), p. 18
  105. ^ Watt (1956), pp. 220–221
  106. ^ Watt (1956), p. 35
  107. ^ Watt (1956), p. 36, 37
  108. ^ See:
    • Rodinson (2002), pp. 209–211;
    • Watt (1964) p. 169
  109. ^ Watt (1964) pp. 170–172
  110. ^ Peterson(2007), p. 126
  111. ^ Ramadan (2007), p. 141
  112. ^ Watt (1956), p. 39
  113. ^ a b c Watt, Aisha, Encyclopedia of Islam
  114. ^ [Qur'an 2:196-210]
  115. ^ Lings (1987), p. 249
  116. ^ a b c d Watt, al- Hudaybiya or al-Hudaybiyya Encyclopedia of Islam
  117. ^ Lewis (2002), p. 42.
  118. ^ Lings (1987), p. 255
  119. ^ Vaglieri, Khaybar, Encyclopedia of Islam
  120. ^ a b Lings (1987), p. 260
  121. ^ a b Khan (1998), pp. 250–251
  122. ^ F. Buhl, Muta, Encyclopedia of Islam
  123. ^ a b c d Khan (1998), p. 274
  124. ^ a b c Lings (1987), p. 291
  125. ^ a b Khan (1998), pp. 274–5.
  126. ^ Lings (1987), p. 292
  127. ^ Watt (1956), p. 66.
  128. ^ Rodinson (2002), p. 261.
  129. ^ Harold Wayne Ballard, Donald N. Penny, W. Glenn Jonas (2002), p.163
  130. ^ F. E. Peters (2003), p.240
  131. ^ [Qur'an 110:1]
  132. ^ Watt (1974), p.207
  133. ^ M.A. al-Bakhit, Tabuk, Encyclopedia of Islam
  134. ^ Lewis (1993), pp.43–44
  135. ^ Devin J. Stewart, Farewell Pilgrimage, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  136. ^ Al-Hibri (2003), p.17
  137. ^ See:
  138. ^ a b The Last Prophet, page 3. By Lewis Lord of U.S. News & World Report. April 7, 2008.
  139. ^ Leila Ahmed (1986), 665–91 (686)
  140. ^ a b F. E. Peters(2003), p.90
  141. ^ "Isa", Encyclopedia of Islam
  142. ^ See:
    • Holt (1977a), p.57
    • Hourani (2003), p.22
    • Lapidus (2002), p.32
    • Esposito(1998), p.36
    • Madelung (1996), p.43
  143. ^ Esposito (1998), p.35–36
  144. ^ See for example Marco Schöller, Banu Qurayza, Encyclopedia of the Quran mentioning the differing accounts of the status of Rayhana
  145. ^ a b Barbara Freyer Stowasser, Wives of the Prophet, Encyclopedia of the Quran
  146. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 18
  147. ^ Bullough (1998), p. 119
  148. ^ Reeves (2003), p. 46
  149. ^ D. A. Spellberg, Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: the Legacy of A'isha bint Abi Bakr, Columbia University Press, (1996) ISBN 0231079990, p. 40: "in Ibn Sa'd, the age of Aisha at marriage varies between nine and fifteen"
  150. ^ Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, p. 157.
  151. ^ Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad, 1992 U.S.A. edition, p. 30, note 40.
  152. ^ Momen (1985), p.9
  153. ^ Tariq Ramadan (2007), p. 168–9
  154. ^ Asma Barlas (2002), p. 125
  155. ^ Armstrong (1992), p. 157
  156. ^ a b Nicholas Awde (2000), p.10
  157. ^ Ordoni (1990) pp. 32, 42–44.
  158. ^ "Ali". Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 
  159. ^ 'Human Rights in Islam'. Published by The Islamic Foundation (1976) - Leicester, U.K
  160. ^ see e.g. Al Azhar scholar Sheikh Abdul Majid Subh's writings
  161. ^ Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya recorded the list of some names of Muhammad's female-slaves in Zad al-Ma'ad, Part I, p. 116
  162. ^ Cambridge History of Islam (1970), p. 30.
  163. ^ a b c Lewis (1998)
  164. ^
  165. ^ Islamic ethics, Encyclopedia of Ethics
  166. ^ Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam, p. 34
  167. ^ Esposito (1998), p. 30
  168. ^ Watt, The Cambridge History of Islam, p. 52
  169. ^ Muhammad, Encyclopædia Britannica, p.9
  170. ^ J. Schacht, Fiḳh, Encyclopedia of Islam
  171. ^ Muhammad, Encyclopædia Britannica, p.11–12
  172. ^ Ali, Wijdan (1999),p. 3
  173. ^ Farah (1994), p.135
  174. ^ a b Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Encyclopedia Britannica, Muhammad, p.13
  175. ^ a b Denis Gril, Miracles, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  176. ^ A.J. Wensinck, Muʿd̲j̲iza, Encyclopedia of Islam
  177. ^ Daniel Martin Varisco, Moon, Encyclopedia of the Qur'an
  178. ^ Göran Larsson (2003), p. 87
  179. ^ Reeves (2003), p. 3
  180. ^ a b Lewis (2002) p. 45.
  181. ^ On heroes and hero worship by Thomas Carlyle
  182. ^ Watt, Bell (1995) p. 18
  183. ^ Watt (1974), p. 17
  184. ^ Watt, The Cambridge history of Islam, p. 37
  185. ^ Lewis (1993), p. 45.
  186. ^ Watt (1974), p. 232
  187. ^ Smith, P. (1999). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. pp. 251. ISBN 1851681841. 
  188. ^ James A. Toronto (August 2000). "A Latter-day Saint Perspective on Muhammad". Ensign. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  189. ^ Peter Teed (1992), p.424


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  • William H. McNeill, Jerry H. Bentley, David Christian, ed (2005). Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History. Berkshire Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0974309101. 
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Further reading

  • Andrae, Tor (2000). Mohammed: The Man and His Faith. Dover. ISBN 0-486-41136-2. 
  • Berg, Herbert, ed. (2003). Method and Theory in the Study of Islamic Origins. E. J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-12602-3. 
  • Cook, Michael (1983). Muhammad. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-287605-8 (reissue 1996). 
  • Hamidullah, Muhammad (1998). The Life and Work of the Prophet of Islam. (s.n.)(Islamabad: Islamic Research Institute). ISBN 969-8413-00-6. 
  • Motzki, Harald, ed. (2000). The Biography of Muhammad: The Issue of the Sources (Islamic History and Civilization: Studies and Texts, Vol. 32). Brill. ISBN 90-04-11513-7. 
  • Musa, A. Y. Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on The Authority Of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York: Palgrave, 2008
  • Rubin, Uri (1995). The Eye of the Beholder: The Life of Muhammad as Viewed by the Early Muslims (A Textual Analysis). Darwin Press. ISBN 0-87850-110-X. 
  • Schimmel, Annemarie (1985). And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4128-5. 
  • Stillman, Norman (1975). The Jews of Arab Lands: a History and Source Book. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0198-0. 
  • Spencer, Robert (2006). The Truth About Muhammad. Regnery Publishing, USA. ISBN 978-1596980280. 

External links

Non-Muslim biographies

Muslim biographies


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Muhammad article)

From Wikiquote

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.

Muhammad (Arabic: محمد) (c. 5708 June 632) full name: Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abd al-Muttalib was a political, military, and religious leader. Muslim religious belief holds that he is the Seal of the prophets, and that the Qur'an is the message of Allah revealed to him by the angel Jibreel (Gabriel). Archaic spellings of his name in English include: Mohammed, Muhammed, and Mahomet.

See also quotes from the Qur'an (القرآن) and Non-Islamic views of Muhammad.



Sunni Hadith

Note: Hadith ("Traditions") of the Prophet are those sayings attributed directly to him, and to Muslims they are second in importance only to the Qur'an. They are seen as explanations of the Quranic verses and the second source of legislation in Islamic jurisprudence.
(Arranged alphabetically)
  • Faith (Belief) consists of more than sixty branches (i.e. parts). And Haya (This term "Haya" covers a large number of concepts which are to be taken together; amongst them are self respect, modesty, bashfulness, and scruple, etc.) is a part of faith.
  • Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:
    • 1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else.
    • 2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah's sake.
    • 3. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.
    • Bukhari 1:15
  • Allah's Apostle [Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)] said, "The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire)." They said, "Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise).
  • The ink of scholars (used in writing) is weighed on the Day of Judgement with the blood of martyrs and the ink of scholars out-weighs the blood of martyrs.
    • As quoted in Al-Jaami' al-Saghîr by Imam al-Suyuti, where it is declared a "weak Hadith".
    • Variant translations:
    • The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.
    • The ink of scholars will be weighed in the scale with the blood of martyrs.
      • As quoted in Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism : Foundations of Islamic Mystical Theology (2004) by John Renard
  • A Muslim asked: "Oh Apostle of God, who are your kin whom you have ordered us to obey?" He replied, "Ali (Blessings Peace Be Upon Him), Fatimah (Blessings Be Upon Her), and her two sons."
    • al-Suyuti, Dur al-Manthur, vol.7, p.7 ; ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tafsir al-Tabari, vol.5, p.16 ; al-Fakhr al-Razi, al-Tafsir, vol.7, p.406 ; ibn Hajar al-Haythami, al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, p.102 ; Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, Dhakha‘ir al-Uqba, p.25 ; al-Shablanji, Nur al-Absar, p.100.
  • A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.
    • Bukhari 4:538 This is an extraordinary hadith, because following the Sunnah of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) , prostitutes can be extremely despised figures among most Muslims, yet it expresses the idea that even someone working in one of the most despised of professions, in showing mercy to an animal, can merit the forgiveness of Allah, and the wise.
  • The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you should adopt humility. So that no one may wrong another and no one may be disdainful and haughty towards another."
    • Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Compiled By Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi, Chapter 279, Hadith 1589 [1]
  • Allah’s Messenger kissed Al-Hasan ibn `Ali while Al-Aqra` ibn Habis At-Tamim was sitting with him . Al-Aqra` said, “I have ten children and have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.”
    • Al-Bukhari
  • Allah will not be merciful to those who are not merciful to people.
    • Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, #473
  • Allah's Apostle said, "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet.
  • Avoid cruelty and injustice for, on the Day of Judgment, the same will turn into several darknesses; and guard yourselves against miserliness; for this has ruined nations who lived before you.
    • Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 203
  • By his good character, a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.
    • Abu Dawood, Hadith 2233
  • ...Do not betray, do not be excessive, do not kill a newborn child.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1731, and Al-Tirmizi, #1408.
  • Do not turn away a poor man...even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you...God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1376
  • (Each one) of you should save himself from the fire by giving even half of a date (in charity). And if you do not find a half date, then (by saying) a pleasant word (to your brethren).
    • Sahih Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 394
  • Fear Allah and treat your children [small or grown] fairly (with equal justice).
    • Al-Bukhari and Muslim
  • Five kinds of animals are mischief-doers and can be killed even in the Sanctuary: They are the rat, the scorpion, the kite, the crow and the rabid dog.
    • Hadith - Bukhari 4:531, Narrated 'Aisha
  • "God does not judge you according to your bodies and appearances, but He looks into your hearts and observes your deeds."
    [The man asked] "Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man said. "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further said, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man asked for the fourth time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father."
    • Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:2
  • "Happy is the man who avoids dissension, but how fine is the man who is afflicted and shows endurance."
    • Sunah of Abu Dawood, Hadith 1996
  • "He who builds a masjid in the way of Allah, God will build a house for him in the paradise."
  • He who has been a ruler over ten people will be brought shackled on the Day of Resurrection, until the justice (by which he ruled) loosens his chains or tyranny brings him to destruction.
  • "I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this," — putting his index and middle fingers together.
    • Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8 Book 73 Number 34
  • I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."
    • Narrated by 'Umar bin Al-Khattab: Sahih Al-Bukhari: Volume 1, Book 1, Number 1
  • In the name of God, I put my trust in God. O God, I seek refuge in Thee lest I stray or be led astray or cause injustice or suffer injustice or do wrong or have wrong done to me!
    • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 67b.
  • It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1011
  • It is a fine thing when a believer praises and thanks God if good comes to him, and praises God and shows endurance if smitten by affliction. The believer is rewarded for (every good action), even for the morsel he raises to his wife's mouth.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 537
  • It is better for any of you to carry a load of firewood on his own back than to beg from someone else.
  • Narrated Abu Qatadah: “The Messenger of Allah came towards us while carrying Umamah the daughter of Abi Al-`As (Prophet’s granddaughter) over his shoulder. He prayed, and when he wanted to bow, he put her down, and when he stood up he lifted her up.”
    • Al-Bukhari
  • Narrated Umm Khalid: I (the daughter of Khalid ibn Said) went to Allah’s Messenger with my father and I was wearing a yellow shirt. Allah’s Messenger said, “Sanah, Sanah!” (`Abdullah, the narrator, said that sanah meant “good” in the Ethiopian language). I then started playing with the seal of prophethood (between the Prophet’s shoulders) and my father rebuked me harshly for that. Allah’s Messenger said, “Leave her.” The Prophet, then, invoked Allah to grant her a long life thrice.
    • Al-Bukhari
  • O people! Your God is one and your forefather (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab, and a red (i.e. white tinged with red) person is not better than a black person and a black person is not better than a red person, except in piety.
    • Narrated in Mosnad Ahmad, #22978.
  • People, beware of injustice, for injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.
    • Narrated in Mosnad Ahmad, #5798, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2447.
  • Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded.
  • Righteousness is good morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about.
    • An-Nawawi's "Forty Hadith," Hadith 27
  • Seven kinds of people will be sheltered under the shade of God on the Day of Judgment...They are: a just ruler, a young man who passed his youth in the worship and service of whose heart is attached to the mosque...two people who love each other for the sake of God...a man who is invited to sin...but declines, saying 'I fear God' who spends his charity in secret, without making a show...and one who remembers God in solitude so that his eyes overflow.
    • Riyadh-us-Salaheen, Hadith 376
  • Sometimes I enter prayer and I intend to prolong it, but then I hear a child crying, and I shorten my prayer thinking of the distress of the child's mother.
    • Fiqh us-Sunnah, Volume 2, Number 51b
  • The best among you are those who are best to their wives.
    • Narrated in Ibn Majah, #1978, and Al-Tirmizi, #3895.
  • The example of a believer is like a fresh tender plant; from whichever direction the wind blows, it bends the plant. But when the wind dies down, (it) straightens up again.
    • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 4, Number 1
  • The first cases to be adjudicated between people on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed [killing and injuring]
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #1678, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #6533.
  • The first to be summoned to Paradise on the Day of Resurrection will be those who praise God in prosperity and adversity.
    • Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 730
  • The Prophet said, “(It happens that) I start the prayer intending to prolong it, but on hearing the cries of a child, I shorten the prayer because I know that the cries of the child will incite its mother’s passions.”
    • Al-Bukhari
  • There is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, #2244, and Saheeh Al-Bukhari, #2466.
  • "What is the best type of Jihad [struggle]?" He answered: "Speaking truth before a tyrannical ruler."
    • Riyadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:195
  • While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and found a well. He lowered himself into the well, drank, and came out. Then [he saw] a dog protruding its tongue out with thirst. The man said: "This dog has become exhausted from thirst in the same way as I." He lowered himself into the well again and filled his shoe with water. He gave the dog some water to drink. He thanked God, and [his sins were] forgiven. The Prophet was then asked: "Is there a reward for us in our animals?" He said: "There is a reward in every living thing."
    • Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 104
  • Whoever killed a person having a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the smell of Paradise though its smell is perceived from a distance of forty years.
  • Abu Huraira reported that a person came to Allah, 's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: Who among the people is most deserving of a fine treatment from my hand? He said: Your mother. He again said: Then who (is the next one)? He said: Again it is your mother (who deserves the best treatment from you). He said: Then who (is the next one)? He (the Holy Prophet) said: Again, it is your mother. He (again) said: Then who? Thereupon he said: Then it is your father.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, Book 032, Number 6180 [2]
  • Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: A woman was punished because she had kept a cat tied until it died, and (as a punishment of this offence) she was thrown into the Hell. She had not provided it with food, or drink, and had not freed her so that she could eat the insects of the earth.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, Book 026, Number 5570 [3]
  • Verily Allah has enjoined goodness to everything; so when you kill, kill in a good way and when you slaughter, slaughter in a good way. So every one of you should sharpen his knife, and let the slaughtered animal die comfortably.
    • Narrated in Saheeh Muslim, Book 021, Number 4810 [4]

Shi'ite Hadith

On the mourning of his grandson Husayn

The Shrine of Imām Husayn ibn ‘Alī in Karbalā, Iraq
  • The Holy Prophet (AS) said: Surely, there exists in the hearts of the Mu'mineen, with respect to the martyrdom of Husain (A.S.), a heat that never subsides.
    • Mustadrak al‑Wasail vol 10 pg. 318
  • O' Fatimah! Every eye shall be weeping on the Day of Judgment except the eye which has shed tears over the tragedy of Husain (A.S.) for surely, that eye shall be laughing and shall be given the glad tidings of the bounties and comforts of Paradise.
    • Bihar al‑Anwar, vol. 44 pg. 193.
  • On the Day of Judgment, you shall intercede for the ladies and I shall intercede for the men; every person who has wept over the tragedy of Husain (A.S.), we shall take him by the hand and lead him into Paradise.
    • Bihar al‑Anwar vol. 94 pg. 192,
  • (On the Day of Judgment, a group would be seen in the most excellent and honourable of states. They would be asked if they were of the Angels or of the Prophets. In reply they would state): "We are‑neither Angels nor Prophets but of the indigent ones from the ummah of Muhammad (S.A.W.)". They would then be asked: "How then did you achieve this lofty and honourable status?" They would reply: "We did not perform very many good deeds nor did we pass all the days in a state of fasting or all the nights in a state of worship but yes, we used to offer our (daily) prayers (regularly) and whenever we used to hear the mention of Muhammad (S.A.W.), tears would roll down our cheeks".
    • Mustadrak al‑Wasail, vol 10, pg. 318.
  • (A hopeful sinner is closer to the mercy of Allah then a hopeless worshipper.
    • Mizan al-hikma, Volume 10, Page 504, Tradition 7109

On the Qur'an

Quran cover.jpg
  • “The one who recites the Qur’an and the one who listens to it have an equal share in the reward.”
    • Mustadrakul Wasa’il, Volume 1, Page 293
  • “The best of those amongst you is the one who learns the Qur’an and then teaches it to others.”
    • Al-Amali of Shaykh at-Tusi, Volume 1, Page 5
  • “Everything in existence prays for the forgiveness of the person who teaches the Qur’an - even the fish in the sea.”
    • Usulul Kafi, Volume 3, Page 301
  • “These hearts rust just as iron rusts; and indeed they are polished through the recitation of the Qur’an.”
    • Irshadul Qulub; Page 78
  • In his last testament to ‘Ali (peace be upon him), the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) told him: “O’ ‘Ali! I advice you to recite the Qur’an in every state (which you may find yourself in).”
    • Man La Yahdhuruhul Faqih, Volume 4, Page 188
  • “Nothing is harder for Satan to bear than a person who recites the Qur’an by looking at the pages (of the Qur’an).”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 231
  • “Brighten up your houses through the recitation of the Qur’an, and do not make them (your homes) like graves, similar to what the Jews and Christians have done (by not performing the prayers and worship of God in their house and limiting this to the Synagogues and Churches).”
    • Usulul Kafi, Volume 2, Page 610
  • “One who recites ten verses (ayat) of the Qur’an every night will not be counted amongst the negligent ones (Ghafilin); and one who recites fifty verses (ayat) will be written as those who remember Allah (Dhakirin); and one who recites one hundred verses (ayat) will be written down as the obedient and worshipper of Allah (Qanitin).”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 232
  • “I advise you to recite the Qur’an and remember Allah much, for surely the Qur’an will remember you (do your dhikr) in the Heavens and it will be a Divine Light (nur) for you on the Earth.”
    • Al-Khisal, Page 525
  • “The superiority of the Qur’an over the rest of words, is like the superiority of Allah over His creations.”
    • Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, Volume 4, Page 237
  • “Whoever recites the first four verses of Suratul Baqarah, Ayatul Kursi (verse 255 of Suratul Baqarah) along with the two verses which follow it (verses 256 and 257 up to ‘Wa Hum Fiha Khalidun’), and the last three verses (of this same Surah) will not see any bad or sorrow in his life or his wealth; Satan will not come near him; and he will not forget the Qur’an.”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 234
  • “For every thing there is an embellishment (or a decoration), and the embellishment of the Qur’an is a good voice.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 190
  • “Surely this Qur’an is the rope of Allah, and a manifest Light (nur), and a beneficial cure. Therefore, busy yourselves with the recitation of it, for Allah - The Mighty and Glorious – grants the reward of ten good deeds to you for every letter which is recited.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 19
  • “Whenever the waves of calamities encompass you like the dark night, seek refuge with the Qur’an - for it is an intercessor whose intercession will be accepted. One who takes it as a guide, Allah will lead that person into Heaven; and whoever disregards it or goes against it, will be lead into the Hell fire.”
    • Fadhlul Qur’an, Page 599
  • “Recite the Qur’an in such a way that your hearts develop a love for it and your skin becomes softened by it. However as soon as your hearts become indifferent to it (meaning that the Qur’an has no effect on you), then stop reciting it.”
    • Mustadrakul Wasa’il, Volume 4, Page 239
  • “One who listens to the Qur’an (while it is being recited) will be kept away from the evils of this world; and one who recites the Qur’an will be kept away from the trials of the hereafter. And the person who listens to even one verse of the book of Allah - this is better (for him) than possessing a mansion of gold.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 19
  • “The number of levels (stages) in Heaven is (equivalent to) the number of verses in the Qur’an (6236). Thus, when a reciter of the Qur’an enters into Heaven, it will be said to him: ‘Go up one level for every verse that you can recite.’ Thus, no one will be in a higher level than the one who has memorized the entire Qur’an.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 92, Page 22
  • “If you want ease and success in this world, the death of a martyr, to be saved on the Day of Loss, a shade on the Day of the burning Qiyamat, and guidance on the Day of going astray, then take lessons from the Qur’an. Surely it is the word of the Merciful, a protection from the Satan, and one of the most weightiest of things for the scale of (good) deeds (on the Day of Judgement).”
    • Jami’ul Akhbar, Page 78
  • “Surely the recitation of the Qur’an is an atonement for the sins, a covering (protection) from the Hell Fire, and a safety from the punishment. Mercy will descend upon the reciter, the Angels will seek forgiveness for him, Heaven will long for that person, and his Master (Allah) will be pleased with him.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 93, Page 17
  • “The people of the Qur’an (those who recite and those who memorize the Qur’an) will be in the highest level (in Heaven) from amongst all of the people with the exception of the Prophets and Messengers. Thus, do not seek to degrade the people of the Qur’an, nor take away their rights, for surely they have been given a high rank by Allah.”
    • Thawabul A’mal, Page 224
  • “Place a portion (of goodness) from the Qur’an in your homes, for surely ease will come to the people of that house in which the Qur’an is read, goodness will increase, and the inhabitants (of that house) will be given excess bounties.”
    • Wasa’ilush Shi’a, Volume 4, Page 85

On Prayer

  • “The first thing that Allah made obligatory upon my Ummah was the five prayers; and the first thing from their acts of worship that shall be taken up will be the five prayers; and the first thing that they will be questioned about will be the five prayers.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18859
  • “One who adheres to the five (daily) prayers diligently, they shall be a means of illumination and salvation for him on the Day of Judgment.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18862
  • “The prayer of a person is (in reality) a light in his heart, so whoever desires, can illuminate his heart (by means of prayers).”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume7, Tradition 18973
  • “The prayer is one of the (primary) dictates of religion, in it lies the pleasure of the Lord, the Mighty and the Glorious, and it is the conduct of the Prophets.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 231
  • “The prayer is the standard of Islam. Whosoever loves prayers, and observes their limits, timings and methods, is a true believer.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18870
  • “For every thing there is a face and the face of your religion is prayers. So see to it that none from amongst you damages and disfigures the face of his religion.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 209
  • “Whenever the time of each prayer arrives, an Angel announces to the people: (O’ People!) Stand up and extinguish, with prayers, the fire which you have set alight for yourselves.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 209
  • “The position of prayers with respect to religion is similar to that of the head with respect to the body.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18972
  • “The example of the five (daily) prayers is like that of a clear-water river flowing in front of your houses in which a person washes himself five times a day – cleansing him from all dirt.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18931
  • “The most beloved of deeds in the eyes of Allah are: offering prayers at the stipulated times; (then) goodness and kindness towards parents; (and then) Jihad in the way of Allah.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 18897
  • “One who considers the prayers to be insignificant and trivial is not from me. By Allah! He shall never come close to me at the pool of Kauthar.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 224
  • “Do not destroy your prayers for verily one who destroys his prayers shall be resurrected in the company of Qarun, Haman and Fir`awn.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 202
  • “Prayer is the pillar of your religion and one who intentionally forsakes his prayer has destroyed his religion. And one who does not guard the times of the prayers, shall be made to enter ‘Wayl’, which is a valley in Hell, as Allah, the Exalted, has said: “So woe to the praying ones, who are unmindful of their prayers.”
    • Biharul Anwar,Volume 82, Page 202
  • Do not abandon your prayers intentionally for surely the obligations of Allah and His Messenger cease to cover one who forsakes his prayers intentionally.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 19096
  • “If a person abandons his prayer such that he neither desires its rewards nor fears its chastisement, for such a person I do not care if he dies a Jew, a Christian or a Magian.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 202
  • The good deeds of one who, without any appropriate excuse does not offer his prayer until its time passes away, are annulled.” He then said: “The divide between a believer and disbelief is the abandonment of prayers.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 82, Page 202
  • “The name of one who forsakes his prayer intentionally is written upon The door of Hell from which he shall (eventually) enter.”
    • Kanzul `Ummal, Volume 7, Tradition 19090

On Hajj

Pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba during the Hajj
  • “A person who circumambulates this House (the Ka’bah) seven times and performs the two Rak’at Salat (of Tawaaf) in the best form possible will have his sins forgiven.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 49
  • “Surely Allah has chosen four cities from amongst all others, just as He, the Noble and Grand has said (in the Noble Qur’an): “I swear by ‘the fig’ and ‘the olive’ and the ‘Mountain of Sinai’ and by this protected city.” ‘The fig’ is the city of Madinah; ‘The olive’ is the city of Baitul Maqdas (in Jerusalem); ‘The Mountain of Sinai’ is Kufah; and the protected city is Makkah.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 77
  • “Perform the tawaaf of the House and rub your hand over the Corner which has the Hajr al-Aswad because this is the right hand of Allah on His Earth which He shakes with His creations.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 202
  • “The water of Zamzam is a cure for whatever (ailment) it is taken for.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 245
  • “The greatest sin of a person who goes to ‘Arafat and then leaves is to think that he has not been forgiven of his sins.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 248
  • “A person seeing (visiting) my grave deserves my intercession. And a person who visits me after my death is like a person who visited me during my lifetime.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 334
  • “Walimah is only in five occasions: in the ‘Urs, Khurs, ‘Idhar, Wikar and the Rikaz – ‘Urs is when a person gets married; and Khurs is when a child is born; and ‘Idhar is on the circumcision of a baby boy; and Wikar is when a person purchases a house; and Rikaz is when a person returns from Hajj.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 384


  • “The person who seeks knowledge while in his youth is similar to the act of inscribing something upon a rock; while the person who seeks knowledge while he is old is similar to the act of writing something upon the water.”
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 1, Page 222
  • “A person shall arrive on the Day of Judgement and shall be in possession of good deeds in the measure of vastly accumulated clouds or towering mountains. (Witnessing them) he shall ask: ‘Oh My Lord! How can these be for me when I have not performed them?’ God shall reply: ‘This is your knowledge that you had taught and conveyed to the people, and which was acted upon after you had died.’
    • Biharul Anwar, Volume 2, Page 18

Final sermon

The Last Sermon of Muhammad delivered on the Ninth Day of Dhul Hijjah 10 A.H (c. 630 AD)

  • O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I don't know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.
  • O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have right over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.
  • All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
  • All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.
  • Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.
It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing.

Quotes about Muhammad

Alphabetized by author
  • Say (O Muhammad): O mankind! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah to you all - (the messenger of) Him unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god save Him. He quickeneth and He giveth death. So believe in Allah and His messenger, the unschooled prophet, who believeth in Allah and in His Words, and follow him that haply ye may be led aright.
  • O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large);
  • In little more than a year he was actually the spiritual, nominal and temporal ruler of Medina, with his hands on the lever that was to shake the world.
    • John Austin, in "Muhammad the Prophet of Allah" in T.P.'s and Cassel's Weekly (24 September 1927)
  • O ye men, whoever amongst you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever amongst you worshipped Allah, let him know that Allah is Living, there is no death for Him.
  • But do you mean to tell me that the man who in the full flush of youthful vigour, a young man of four and twenty [24], married a woman much his senior, and remained faithful to her for six and twenty years, at fifty years of age when the passions are dying married for lust and sexual passion? Not thus are men's lives to be judged. And you look at the women whom he married, you will find that by every one of them an alliance was made for his people, or something was gained for his followers, or the woman was in sore need of protection.
    • Annie Besant, The Life and Teachings of Muhammad (1932), p. 4
  • It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knew how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel, whenever I reread them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.
    • Annie Besant, in "The Life and Teachings of Mohammad (1932), p. 4
  • Four years after the death of Justinian, A.D. 569, was born in Mecca, in Arabia, the man Muhammad, who of all men, has exercised the greatest influence upon the human race. To be the religious head of many empires, to guide the daily life of one-third of the human race, may perhaps justify the title of a Messenger of God.
    • Dr. William Draper, M.D. L.L.D. in "History of Intellectual Development of Europe"
  • By the false prophet, is sometimes meant the Pope and his clergy; but here an eye seems to be had to Mahomet, whom his followers call the great prophet of God.
    • Jonathan Edwards, referring to the false prophet of Revelation 16:13, in The Fall of Antichrist (1829), Part VII, page 395, New York, Published by S. Converse
I wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind... ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  • I wanted to know the best of one who holds today undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind ... I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the 2nd volume (of the prophet's biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of the great life.
  • He is a prophet and not a poet and therefore his Koran is to be seen as Divine Law, and not as a book of a human being made for education or entertainment.
  • My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential person may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. It is probable that the relative influence of Muhammad on Islam has been larger than the combined influence of Jesus Christ and St. Paul on Christianity. Furthermore, Muhammad (unlike Jesus) was a secular as well as religious leader. In fact, as the driving force behind the Arab conquests, he may well rank as the most influential political leader of all time. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence, which I feel, entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history.
  • The league of nations founded by the prophet of Islam put the principle of international unity and human brotherhood on such universal foundations as to show candle to other nations. ... the fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations.
  • Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was super human; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he Muhammad had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in God's name, Persia, Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain and part of Gaul.
    If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls. . . his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words.
    Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?
He had brought a new religion which, with its monotheism and its ethical doctrines, stood on an incomparably higher level than the paganism it replaced. ~ Bernard Lewis
  • He had achieved a great deal. To the pagan peoples of western Arabia he had brought a new religion which, with its monotheism and its ethical doctrines, stood on an incomparably higher level than the paganism it replaced. He had provided that religion with a revelation which was to become in the centuries to follow the guide to thought and count of countless millions of Believers. But he had done more than that; he had established a community and a well organized and armed state, the power and prestige of which made it a dominant factor in Arabia.... The modern historian will not readily believe that so great and significant a movement was started by a self-seeking imposter. Nor will he be satisfied with a purely supernatural explanation, whether it postulates aid of divine of diabolical origin; rather, like Gibbon, will he seek 'with becoming submission, to ask not indeed what were the first, but what were the secondary causes of the rapid growth' of the new faith...
  • I regard Mohammed as a great man, who solved a political problem of appalling difficulty, — the construction of a state and an empire out of the Arab tribes. I have endeavored, in recounting the mode in which he accomplished this, to do justice to his intellectual ability and to observe towards him the respectful attitude which his greatness deserves.
  • Leaders must fulfill three functions — provide for the well-being of the led, provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure, and provide them with one set of beliefs. People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like [[Mohandas K. Gandhi}Gandhi]] and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category alone. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Mohammed, who combined all three functions. To a lesser degree, Moses did the same.
    • Jules Masserman, as quoted in "Who Were Histories Great Leaders?" in TIME magazine (15 July 1974)
  • It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: 'God Alone is Great'... I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.
    • Sarojini Naidu, Ideals of Islam, vide Speeches & Writings (1918), p. 169
  • "I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, AND MOHAMED, AN APOSTLE OF GOD" is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honor of the Prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtues; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.
  • The great imposter Mohammed pretended that he was taught his Koran.
    • John Owen, Communion with God, 1657; in The Works of John Owen Volume 2, 1997, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, ISBN 0-85151-124-4, p. 391
  • The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes. There is Muhammad the Prophet. There is Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the Businessman; Muhammad the Statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the Reformer; Muhammad the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is alike a hero.
  • The medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Muhammadanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained both to hate the man Muhammad and his religion. To them Muhammad was Anti-Christ. I have studied him — the wonderful man, and in my opinion far from being an Anti-Christ he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much-needed peace and happiness.
  • Head of the State as well as of the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope's pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar. Without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue, if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by a right Divine, it was Mohammed; for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He rose superior to the titles and ceremonies, the solemn trifling, and the proud humility of court etiquette. To hereditary kings, to princes born in the purple, these things are, naturally enough, as the breath of life; but those who ought to have known better, even self-made rulers, and those the foremost in the files of time — a Caesar, a Cromwell, a Napoleon — have been unable to resist their tinsel attractions. Mohammed was content with the reality, he cared not for the dressings, of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life.
    • Reginald Bosworth Smith, in "Mohammedanism and Christianity" (7 March 1874), published in Mohammed and Mohammedanism (1889), p. 289
  • Islam was founded by Mohammed, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives, and his last one was a nine-year-old girl.
  • His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement - all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.
  • The more one reflects on the history of Muhammad and of early Islam, the more one is amazed at the vastness of his achievement. Circumstances presented him with an opportunity such as few men have had, but the man was fully matched with the hour. Had it not been for his gifts as seer, statesman, and administrator and, behind these, his trust in God and firm belief that God had sent him, a notable chapter in the history of mankind would have remained unwritten.
    ...Only a profound belief in himself and his mission explains Muhammad's readiness to endure hardship and persecution during the Meccan period when from a secular point of view there was no prospect of success. Without sincerity how could he have won the allegiance and even devotion of men of strong and upright character like Abu-Bakr and 'Umar ? For the theist there is the further question how God could have allowed a great religion like Islam to develop on a basis of lies and deceit. There is thus a strong case for holding that Muhammad was sincere. If in some respects he was mistaken, his mistakes were not due to deliberate lying or imposture.
  • In Muhammad, I should hold, there was a welling up of the creative imagination, and the ideas thus produced are to a great extent true and sound. It does not follow, however, that all the Qur'anic ideas are true and sound. In particular there is at least one point at which they seem to be unsound; the idea that ' revelation ' or the product of the creative imagination is superior to normal human traditions as a source of bare historical fact. There are several verses in the Qur'an (II. 5I; 3. 39; I2. I03) to the effect that ' this is one of the reports of the unseen which We reveal to thee; thou didst not know it, thou nor thy people, before this '. One could admit a claim that the creative imagination was able to give a new and truer interpretation of a historical event, but to make it a source of bare fact is an exaggeration and false.
    This point is of special concern to Christians, since the Qur'an denies the bare fact of the death of Jesus on the cross, and Muslims still consider that this denial outweighs the contrary testimony of historical tradition. The primary intention of the Qur'an was to deny the Jews' interpretation of the crucifixion as a victory for themselves, but as normally explained it goes much farther. The same exaggeration of the role of ' revelation ' has also had other consequences. The Arab contribution to Islamic culture has been unduly magnified, and that of the civilized peoples of Egypt, Syria, 'Iraq and Persia, later converted to Islam, has been sadly belittled.
    Too much must not be made of this slight flaw. Which of us, conscious of being called by God to perform a special task, would not have been more than a little proud ? On the whole Muhammad was remarkably free from pride. Yet this slight exaggeration of his own function has had grave consequences and cannot be ignored.
  • I always took the view — contrary to most previous scholars of Islam — that the Quran was not something that Muhammad had consciously produced. For long, however, I hesitated to speak of him as a prophet, because Muslims would have taken this to mean that everything in the Quran was finally and absolutely true, which was something I did not believe. More recently, however, I have said that Muhammad is a prophet comparable to the Old Testament prophets, though with a different task, namely, to bring the knowledge of God to people without such knowledge, whereas their task was mainly to criticize the conduct of those who already believed in God.
    • William Montgomery Watt, as quoted in Muhammad : A Short Biography (1998) by Martin Forward, p. 106 ISBN 1-85168-131-0
  • I therefore do not believe that either the Bible or the Qur’an is infallibly true in the sense that all their commands are valid for all time. ... when the form of society changes in important respects some commands cease to be appropriate, though many others continue to be valid. I do, however, believe that Muhammad, like the earlier prophets, had genuine religious experiences. I believe that he really did receive something directly from God. As such, I believe that the Qur’an came from God, that it is Divinely inspired. Muhammad could not have caused the great upsurge in religion that he did without God’s blessing.
  • A raw and raging debate pervades the Qur'an. Muhammad's tribe disputed his claims and mocked him unmercifully, saying his religion was a forgery, a counterfeit. Qur'an 11:13 Or, do they say: 'He (Muhammad) has forged it (the Qur'an)'. His contemporaries knew he was a fraud. And they weren't the least bit shy about saying so.

Authors unknown:

  • Christians claimed the Antichrist was Muhammad, founder of Islam, because they consider him a false prophet who placed himself above Jesus, and whose religion conquered Jerusalem and forcibly converted Christians, Jews, and others.


  • [It is simply amazing] how one man single handedly could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.
    • Attributed to Thomas Carlyle, this was cited as being from Heroes and Hero Worship but has not been located in that document, and this expression appears to have originally occurred as a description of Carlyle's ideas rather than a quotation of his statements in The Muslim World League Journal (1994) :"Thomas Carlyle was amazed as to how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades."

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  • [[5]] Evidences for the truth of Islam.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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Alternative spellings


From Arabic محمد (muħámmad, praised, commendable, laudable), the past participle of حمد (ħámida, to praise, commend, laud, extol).

Proper noun




  1. The prophet who founded Islam.
  2. A male given name very popular among Muslims.



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