The Life of Prophet Muhammad
Taken, with some editorial changes, from Pickthall’s introduction to his translation of the Qur’an.
The Prophet’s Birth
The Ka`bah today
Muhammad, son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, of the tribe of Quraysh, was born in Makkah fifty-three years before the Hijrah. His father died before he was born, and he was protected first by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, and after his grandfather’s death, by his uncle Abu Talib.
As a young boy he traveled with his uncle in the merchants’ caravan to Syria, and some years afterwards made the same journey in the service of a wealthy widow named Khadijah. So faithfully did he transact the widow’s business, and so excellent was the report of his behavior, which she received from her old servant who had accompanied him, that she soon afterwards married her young agent; and the marriage proved a very happy one, though she was fifteen years older than he was. Throughout the twenty-six years of their life together he remained devoted to her; and after her death, when he took other wives he always mentioned her with the greatest love and reverence. This marriage gave him rank among the notables of Makkah, while his conduct earned for him the surname Al-Amin, the “trustworthy.”Read more...
by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Biographies of the Prophet usually treat their subject as if he were a person endowed with great magical powers, one who by mysterious means brought the whole of Arabia under his wing. These books read like fairy tales; even events, which have no miraculous content, have been given a fanciful, miraculous interpretation. Take the case of Suhaib Ibn Senan’s migration from Mecca to Medina. When some Quraysh youths blocked his path, Suhaib pleaded with them: “If I let you have all my property, will you let me go?” They said that they would. Suhaib had a few ounces of silver with him. He gave it all to them and carried on to Medina. According to a tradition in Baihaqi, Suhaib said that when the Prophet saw him in Medina he told Suhaib that his trading, that is, his handing over of his property to the Quraysh, had been very profitable. Suhaib, according to the tradition, was astounded, for no one had arrived in Medina before him who could have brought the news. “It must have been Gabriel who told you,” he said to the Prophet.Read more...
Inducement towards the Recitation of some Special verses and Surah of the Noble Qur'an
1009. Abu Sa`id Ar-Rafi` bin Al-Mu`alla (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Shall I teach you the greatest Surah in the Qur'an before you leave the mosque?'' Then he (PBUH), took me by the hand, and when we were about to step out, I reminded him of his promise to teach me the greatest Surah in the Qur'an. He (PBUH) said, "It is `Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil `Alamin (i.e., Surat Al-Fatihah) which is As-Sab` Al-Mathani (i.e., the seven oft-repeated Ayat) and the Great Qur'an which is given to me.''
Commentary: Allah the Almighty says:
"And indeed, We have bestowed upon you seven of Al-Mathani (the seven repeatedly recited Ayat), (i.e., Surat Al-Fatihah) and the Grand Qur'an.'' (15:87).
This Hadith is an elaboration of the Quranic Ayah quoted above. The Prophet (PBUH) held that As-Sab` Al-Mathani is Surat Al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter) because these seven Ayat are recited not only in every Salat but in every Rak`ah of every Salat for the reason that no Salat is valid without the recitation of this Surah, as is evident from the saying of the Prophet (PBUH): "The Salat of that person who has not recited Surat Al-Fatihah is void.'' It has also been regarded as the greatest Surah of the Qur'an as it covers all the objects of the Qur'an and is a condensation of all the subjects which have been discussed in detail in its other Surah. It includes the belief in the Tauhid (the belief in the Oneness of Allah)), the worship of Allah, the Day of Resurrection, promise (of Jannah) and warning (against Hell-fire), instances of the pious and impious people of the past communities, and the lessons their conduct has for others. Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi have reported a Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Al-hamdu lillahi Rabbil `Alamin (i.e., Surat Al-Fatihah) is Umm-ul-Qur'an that is its origin, basis and essence".
1010. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported about Surat Al-Ikhlas (Chapter 112): The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, it is equivalent to one-third of the Qur'an.''
According to another version, he (PBUH) said to his Companions, "Is anyone of you incapable of reciting one-third of the Qur'an in one night?'' They considered it burdensome and said: "O Messenger of Allah, which of us can afford to do that?'' He (PBUH) said, "Surat Al-Ikhlas [Say: He is Allah (the) One] is equivalent to one-third of the Qur'an.''
Commentary: One reading of Surat Al-Ikhlas has return and reward equal to the recitation of one-third of the Qur'an. This Surah mentions the Oneness of Allah. This is enough to make one realize how much Allah (SWT) likes the recitation and remembrance of His Oneness. This is the reason, He has declared Shirk (polytheism) an absolutely unpardonable sin.
1011. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man heard another reciting Surat Al-Ikhlas repeatedly. The next morning he came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and informed him about it as if he considered it to be of little reward. On that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, this Surah is equal to one-third of the Qur'an.''
Commentary: "Yataqalluha'' means he thought that its recitation had no special merits. The Prophet (PBUH) clarified his misunderstanding by elucidating its eminence.
1012. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Surat Ikhlas is equivalent to one-third of the Qur'an.''
1013. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man said: "O Messenger of Allah! I love Surat-Al-Ikhlas [Say: He is Allah, (the) One].'' He (PBUH) said, "Your love for it will admit you to Jannah.''
Commentary: Some scholars have highlighted the eminence of Surat Al-Ikhlas by saying that it comprises the whole discipline of Tauhid. This Surat deals with Tauhid. Many other reasons have also been given for its great eminence by Muslim scholars.
1014. `Uqbah bin `Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Do you not know that last night certain Ayat were revealed the like of which there is no precedence. They are: `Say: I seek refuge with (Allah) the Rubb of the daybreak' (Surah 113), and `Say: I seek refuge with (Allah) the Rubb of mankind' (Surah 114).''
Commentary: "Alam tara'' means "Have not you seen?'' or "Are you not aware?''
"There is no precedence'' means that there is no other complete Surat in the Qur'an on this subject, except these two. For this reason these two Surat are called (Al-Mu`awwidhatain) which means two Surat which we use to seek Allah's protection.
1015. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) used to seek protection against the evil of jinn and the evil eyes till Surat Al-Falaq and Surat An-Nas were revealed. After they were revealed, he took to them for seeking Allah's protection and left everything besides them.
Commentary: Like men, jinns have also good and bad elements among them. Almighty Allah has endowed them with such power that if they want they can, with the Will of Allah, harm human beings. This is the reason mischievous jinns harm people. Similarly, influence of the evil eye is also true. What it means is that if a person looks at someone with greed and envy, the evil effects of his look will reach the person viewed, and because of that he has to suffer some loss or trouble or accident. For this reason, the Prophet (PBUH) would seek the protection of Allah against the jinns and the evil eye and pray in his own words for it, saying: "I seek Your protection against jinns and evil eyes of the people.'' After the revelation of the Surah Al-Falaq and An-Nas (last two Surah of the Quran) he started reciting them because these were revealed for this purpose. These Surah are also called "Al-Mu`awwidhatain'' which mean two Surah which provide protection. It is, therefore, very useful to seek the protection of Allah by reciting them.
1016. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, "There is a Surah in the Qur'an which contains thirty Ayat which kept interceding for a man until his sins are forgiven. This Surah is `Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion.' (Surat Al-Mulk 67).''
[At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].
Commentary: This Hadith means that on the Day of Resurrection this Surah will intercede with Allah for the forgiveness of its reciter. This Hadith has been narrated (in Arabic) in the past tense because, like the past indefinite, its occurrence is definite and not open to inquiry. At some places, however, it has also been narrated in the present tense.
1017. Abu Mas`ud Al-Badri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying, "He who recites the two Ayat at the end of Surat Al-Baqarah at night, they will suffice him.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: "Suffice him'' here means that he will be protected from the evils. Its another meaning is that these two Ayat will take the place of Tahajjud (optional prayer in the late hours of the night). Imam An-Nawawi has cited the latter meaning.
1018. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: "Do not turn your houses into graveyards. Satan runs away from the house in which Surat Al-Baqarah is recited.''
Commentary: This Hadith instructs us not to turn our homes into the like of a graveyard through the negligence of reciting the Qur'an in them. It also points out the excellence of Surat Al-Baqarah, which when recited, will certainly keep the devil away.
1019. Ubayy bin Ka`b (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Abu Mundhir! Do you know which Ayah in Allah's Book is the greatest?'' I replied: "It is `Allah la ilaha illa Huwal-Haiyul-Qayum (Allah! none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living...)'.'' (2:256) Thereupon he (PBUH) patted me in the chest and said, "Rejoice by this knowledge, O Abu Mundhir!''
Commentary: The words cited in the Hadith occur at the beginning of Ayat-ul-Kursi (No. 256 of Surat Al-Baqarah of the Qur'an). The merits mentioned in the Hadith are for the whole Ayah. Ayat-ul-Kursi mentions the Majestic Attributes and Mighty Powers of Allah and is, therefore, very meritorious.
"Rejoice by this knowledge'' means "May this knowledge be a source of respect, honour and benefit to you.'' And knowledge here stands for the knowledge of the Qur'an and Hadith which is certainly a means of success in this world and the Hereafter.
1020. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) put me in charge of charity of Ramadan (Sadaqat-ul-Fitr). Somebody came to me and began to take away some food-stuff. I caught him and said, "I must take you to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).'' He said, "I am a needy man with a large family, and so I have a pressing need.'' I let him go. When I saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) next morning, he asked me, "O Abu Hurairah! What did your captive do last night?'' I said, "O Messenger of Allah! He complained of a pressing need and a big family. I felt pity for him so I let him go.'' He (PBUH) said, "He told you a lie and he will return.'' I was sure, according to the saying of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) that he would return. I waited for him. He sneaked up again and began to steal food-stuff from the Sadaqah. I caught him and said; "I must take you to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).'' He said, "Let go of me, I am a needy man. I have to bear the expenses of a big family. I will not come back.'' So I took pity on him and let him go. I went at dawn to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) who asked me, "O Abu Hurairah! What did your captive do last night?'' I replied, "O Messenger of Allah! He complained of a pressing want and the burden of a big family. I took pity on him and so I let him go.'' He (PBUH) said, "He told you a lie and he will return.'' (That man) came again to steal the food-stuff. I arrested him and said, "I must take you to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and this is the last of three times. You promised that you would not come again but you did.'' He said, "Let go of me, I shall teach you some words with which Allah may benefit you.'' I asked, "What are those words?'' He replied, "When you go to bed, recite Ayat-ul-Kursi (2:255) for there will be a guardian appointed over you from Allah, and Satan will not be able to approach you till morning.'' So I let him go. Next morning the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) asked me, "What did your prisoner do last night.'' I answered, "He promised to teach me some words which he claimed will benefit me before Allah. So I let him go.'' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) asked, "What are those words that he taught you?'' I said, "He told me: `When you go to bed, recite Ayat-ul-Kursi from the beginning to the end i.e.,[ Allah! none has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His Permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursi encompasses the heavens and the earth, and preserving them does not fatigue Him. And He is the Most High, the Most Great].' (2:255). He added: `By reciting it, there will be a guardian appointed over you from Allah who will protect you during the night, and Satan will not be able to come near you until morning'.'' The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Verily, he has told you the truth though he is a liar. O Abu Hurairah! Do you know with whom you were speaking for the last three nights?'' I said, "No.'' He (PBUH) said, "He was Shaitan (Satan).''
Commentary: This Hadith tells us the excellence of Ayat-ul-Kursi and the importance of reciting it before going to bed.
1021. Abud-Darda' (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Whoever commits to memory the first ten Ayat of the Surat Al-Kahf, will be protected from (the trial of) Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist).''
In another narration, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "(Whoever commits to memory) the last ten Ayat of Surat Al-Kahf, he will be protected from (the trial of) Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist).''
Commentary: Ad-Dajjal will appear sometime before Yaum-ul-Qiyamah. Allah, the Almighty will give him some supernatural powers the manifestation of which will shake the faith of many people. For this reason, this will be a serious trial. All Prophets warned their people against him. Our Prophet (PBUH) also warned us against him and ordered us to guard ourselves from it and strictly advised us to seek Refuge of Allah against it. This Hadith tells us the way to save ourselves from Ad-Dajjal. The recitation of the first or the last ten Ayat of Surat Al-Kahf, in the morning and evening, is very useful for this purpose. Sheikh Al-Albani has, however, regarded the last ten Ayat probably and the first ten Ayat surely effective against this mischief.
1022. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: While Jibril (Gabriel) was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), he heard a sound above him. He lifted his head, and said: "This is a gate which has been opened in heaven today. It was never opened before.'' Then an angel descended through it, he said: "This is an angel who has come down to earth. He never came down before.'' He sent greetings and said: "Rejoice with two lights given to you. Such lights were not given to any Prophet before you. These (lights) are: Fatihah-til-Kitab (Surat Al-Fatihah), and the concluding Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah. You will never recite a word from them without being given the blessings it contains.''
Commentary: This Hadith tells the excellence of the last Ayat of Surat Al-Baqarah. (That is from Amanar-Rasul to the end of the Surah). Any one who recites these Ayat with a sincere heart will receive guidance, forgiveness and bliss in this life and in the Hereafter.