Although Muhammad (peace be upon him) followed the pursuits of a successful trader in a busy commercial centre, he exhibited from an early age a contemplative frame of mind which, from time to time, required solitude. At such times Muhammad (peace be upon him) would retreat from the city to a cave (Hira cave) on al Noor Mountain at the outskirts of Makkah.
In 610 CE, Muhammad (peace be upon him) received his first revelation. He was alone, within his cave on the mountain side, when an Angel visited him, and called on him to recite in the name of God. Twice Muhammad (peace be upon him) declined, declaring that he was not a reciter. But a third time, the Angel spoke and said: 'Recite in the name of thy Lord who created! He createth man from a clot of blood. Recite!; and thy Lord is the Most Bountiful, He who hath taught by the pen, Taught man what he knew not.'
Muhammad (peace be upon him) recited these words, whereupon the Angel departed. As Muhammad (peace be upon him) descended from the mountain, he was halted by a voice which said: 'O Muhammad, thou art the Messenger of God, and I am Gabriel.' When he looked, in whichever direction, for the source of the voice, he beheld his visitor, standing astride the horizon.
On his return home, Muhammad (peace be upon him) was clearly shaken by the overwhelming experience of the Archangel's appearance and the announcement of his calling as Messenger of God. Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) immediately reassured him of the reality of the vision and the authenticity of his calling as Prophet. Thus Khadijah became the Prophet's (peace be upon him) first follower.
Further revelations followed, passing to mankind the word of God in the wondrous language of the Holy Qur'an. And yet, in the first two years, Muhammad (peace be upon him) kept his own council, telling only those closest to him of the message the Archangel Gabriel (peace be upon him) had delivered to him.
In 612 CE, the time had come for Muhammad (peace be upon him) to announce his mission. He began to preach the uncompromising message of the one true God, of the urgent need to abandon paganism and idolatry and to replace the materialism and greed of much of Qurayshi society with the God-given values of justice, charity and compassion.
Gradually, the number of converts to Islam increased. His cousin Ali bin Abu Talib, his close friend Abu Bakr, and Uthman bin Affan, a wealthy merchant of the Umayyad family, were amongst the first. Others began to accept Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a prophet and the verses of the Holy Qur'an as divine revelation. The message he brought resonated with those who were disillusioned with the gross inequalities in Makkan life. Those who accepted Islam joined the Prophet (peace be upon him) in common worship, prostrating themselves on the ground which they touched with their foreheads in acknowledgement of God's absolute supremacy and their submission to His will.
List of Sections:
- Conflict with Makkans
- Battle of Badr
- Battle of the Ditch
- The Taking of Makkah
- The Death of the Prophet
- The Spread of Islam
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