Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), the Last Prophet
In the wake of the seventh century of the Christian era, a youthful man in the prime of his life could be seen walking in the streets of Holy Mecca, deep in his own thoughts, yet with a gentle smile, never forgetting to return the salutations of the lowliest, or to pause and speak a few kindly words to children who flocked around him wherever he went.
The young man with deep wistful eyes and a sweet gentle disposition, painfully sensitive about human sufferings, carried with him an air of nobility and grace that inspired love and respect amongst his kinsmen. Even in those days he was known as Sadiq and Amin (the truthful and the trusted). As a lover of nature, and quietude he worried about human sufferings, and very often retired to Mount Hira for meditation. One night a voice communicated him the following divine message:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficient, the Merciful.
Recite in the Name of your Sustainer who created. Created man from a clot.
Taught man what he knew not.
After an interval the Voice from Heaven spoke again, “O you, enwrapped in the mantle, arise and warn, and glorify your Lord."
This was a signal for him to start preaching. In the beginning, Prophet Muhammad (S) invited only those near him to accept the new faith. The first to embrace Islam amongst women was his wife Khadijah, and the first amongst man was his cousin Ali (A).
Muhammad (S), the last Prophet, is regarded as the institute of the highest and final divine training. By the time he was raised to apostolate, as the result of persistent and long-drawn efforts of the past prophets, the religious consciousness of the people had reached such a level that they could receive the best and the most perfect laws, could understand the highest items of knowledge and could preserve for ever the heritage of the prophets.
With the raising of the Prophet of Islam a complete program and a code of comprehensive laws have been placed at the disposal of humanity. The implementation of the laws and teachings of Islam, would ensure the prosperity and happiness of human beings in this as well as the next world. They were adequate for the guidance of people during the period of the Holy Prophet and they are equally adequate for the prosperity of the present age as well as the progressive generations of the future.
Seeing that the new religion posed a threat to their vested interests, the tribe of Quraish tortured Prophet Muhammad (S) and all converts to the new faith. But the Muslims held fast to their faith in spite of unbearable hostility and suffering.
In the 13th year of his prophet hood occurred the most momentous Night of Migration (known as the Night of Hijra) from which date the Muslim era begins.
Before he left, however, his enemies had made a plan to assassinate him whilst he was sleeping in his bed. God through Angel Gabriel made the Holy Prophet aware of the dastardly intention of his enemies. To make good his escape and to make his enemies believe that he was in bed, he asked Imam Ali (A) to lie in his place.
On the day the Holy Prophet set his sacred feet on the soil of Yasrib, the natives named their city Medinat-un-Nabi (City of the Prophet), to commemorate that historical day.
The Holy Prophet created a brotherhood between the immigrants and an equal number of well-to-do Medinans. They worked together to earn their livelihood, and aided one another in the business of life. Thus the problem of rehabilitation of the displaced persons was solved satisfactorily.
The Holy Prophet then invited the representatives of the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims of Medina and with their assent, endowed the city with a written constitution. Therein he defined the duties and rights both of the citizens and the head of the state-the Prophet Muhammad (S), who was unanimously hailed as such.
This document laid down principles of defense and foreign policy. It recognized that the Prophet Muhammad (S) would have the final word in all differences. It also recognized the liberty of religion for all.
The news of the success and glory of Islam kindled the fires of jealousy amongst the idolators of the Quraish in general and the Ummayyads in particular. They conspired with the Jews to uproot the Muslims. There was widespread treachery all round and the Prophet, who had never wielded a weapon, was now compelled to defend Islam by the force of arms. Commencing from the battle of Badr, a series of battles were fought in which the newly formed community defended themselves successfully. None of these battles were of aggression. Each and every one was for the defense of Islam.
Seven years later, the Holy Prophet entered the holy Mecca as a conqueror. He who was once a fugitive in this town, persecuted by his kinsmen, entered to prove grandeur of Islam with acts of mercy and generosity.
During the ten years in Medina, Prophet Muhammad (S) presided over the commonwealth of Islam, and a great change had come over the character of the Arab people. By the appointment of delegates to the different tribes and cities, with powers to decide internal as well as tribal disputes, the ancient system of private vendetta was put to an end and impetus given to trade and commerce. The style of living and mode of dressing underwent a great change especially among the women. The reckless freedom f of heathenism was abandoned, and manners became decorous, almost austers ; gambling and drinking were forbidden. Before this there had been no privacy in houses; from this time it became customary to have special apartment for women.
Within a few years Prophet Muhammad (S) established order and inspired in his people the belief in One God, prohibited idolatory and made the people ponder not only of this world but the world beyond. He asked them to practice charity, goodness, justice and universal love. The whole mission was achieved in his life-time.
The Holy Prophet was occupied all the while in looking after the new Islamic State and had no thoughts for his personal welfare. A number of believers therefore requested him to permit them to buy land and build house for him. The reply revealed by God was :
“Say, I do not ask of you any reward, but love for the nearest of my kin”
Thereupon the believers asked the Holy Prophet whose love was made incumbent on them ? The Holy Prophet answered, “Love for Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain " (Peace be upon them).
Anybody who studies the laws and teachings of Islam carefully and minutely and compares them with others can easily realize the superiority of the laws of Islam. That is why Prophet Muhammad (S) is the last prophet, and no other prophet is to come after him. The Holy Quran has described him as the seal of the Prophets. To believe that Muhammad (S) is the last prophet is one of the fundamentals of Islam and anybody who does not believe so, cannot be considered to be a Muslim. Thus Islam is the last revealed religion. The Holy Quran expressly says: “Muhammad is not the father of any of you men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the seal of the Prophets ". (It may be noted that the Arabic word, ‘Khatam’ which is translated as seal, originally meant concluding or ending. It came to mean seal, because seal is customarily affixed at the end of every covenant and treaty).