The Emergence of a Heavenly Personality
Until the advent of Islam, people all over the world were in great poverty as to thought, opinions, individual and social attitudes. The world was troubled and submerged with polytheism and idolatry. The fire of corruption was flaming. Superstitions and false views ruled the world in the name of religion. Many worshipped idols, fire, cows and stars. Tribal fights and disputes were very common.
The Arabian peninsula was suffering from social, economic, political and other crisis, up to a point where Arabs were facing extinction because of their ignorance and the power of their oppressive neighbors. Allah (SWT) describes them in the Holy Quran as "…They had been in the abyss of ignorance and misguidance." (62:2) while in Nahjul-Balagah, Imam Ali (A.S.) describes the social condition of the Arabs in pre-Islam days in the following way, "…society was in such a corrupt state that no true form of religion was followed. Convictions and beliefs about truth and justice were disrespected; basic principles of life had become very divergent; commands of Allah were set at naught; a way out of this vicious chaos seemed impossible and the road to the realm of Allah appeared closed". It seems that people were in desperate need of the emergence of a heavenly personality who would bear on his capable shoulders the heavy burden of guiding humankind and leading them away from decay.
It was under these circumstances that the promised deliverer Muhammad (S.A.W.) came into this world. He (S.A.W.) was born at dawn on Friday, the seventeenth day of Rabi'al-Awwal, 53 years before the migration (Hijra), in the city of Makkah. He was born an orphan, his father having died a few months before his birth. His mother died when he was about six years old, and his grandfather, who was his loving and devoted guardian, died when he was eight years old. He then passed into the care of his uncle (brother of his father) Abu Talib. But Allah was the true guardian as he says "Did he not find thee an orphan and take thee under his protection?…" (93:6). The birth of this most noble messenger was to generate a new energy and inexhaustible vitality in mankind. He appeared at a time much needed by society.
At one period of his youth, Muhammad (S.A.W.) tended sheep and goats upon the neighboring hills and valleys of Makkah. On one occasion, he undertook a journey to Syria for the purpose of trade with his Uncle Abu Talib. He was twelve years old at the time. As Muhammad (S.A.W.) acquired good experience of business, and was well spoken of by persons who happened to come in touch with him, some traders engaged him as their representative to conduct important business affairs on their behalf. Muhammad (S.A.W.) so successfully executed these trusts that people respected him and awarded him the title "Amin" (trustworthy).
Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) went through his youth in an environment polluted with sin, in a dirty society, but this could not affect him the least bit, he was far removed from men and their corruption, he engaged in supplication and armed himself with the weapon of faith. In the course of time, Allah (SWT) was preparing Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) by developing his spiritual personality in order to be able to accept the divine message. Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) would resort to a cave where he would cultivate his thoughts and meditate, evaluating the creation of universe and man.
At the age of forty, Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was prepared to undertake the task of prophethood. One night, while in the cave worshipping, the heavenly message descended upon him (S.A.W.) ordering him to recite. This was nothing other than revelation.
The Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.) had the vision and belief of a world leader, and he surely was the one most qualified for the position at the time and for times to come. Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) called upon people to believe in Allah (SWT), the one and only God. Ali Ibn Abi Taleb (A.S.) was the first man to accept the new religion while Khadijah (A.S.), the Holy Prophet's wife was the first woman.
Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) showed extraordinary powers of leadership and political sense and began to refashion the state of humanity.
The course of Holy Prophet Muhammad's life underwent many obstacles with varying degrees of hardships. The nature of a human lacking completeness, or the strive for completeness, tends to drive the individual towards rejection of truth. This was evident in Holy Prophet Muhammad's (S.A.W.) time as individuals and tribes had attempted to lure him to give up his spirituality and his God (SWT). But, our Holy Prophet( S.A.W.) was not going to give up the realm of Allah (SWT), and no one was going to stop him from achieving his goal. They tried to bribe him with extensive amounts of wealth, but he had replied on one occasion "…Even if you put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, I would never leave the matter I am pursuing". And this tradition reflects in a contrasting way and to a certain extent the degree of faith in him, and also the value of the path he was preaching for. We all know the significance of the sun and the moon and their relations to life on earth, without them life would be meaningless.
Chiefs of the lands resorted to threaten, torment and torture the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.). Noting that physical torture had resulted in martyrdom of a number of the early faithful Muslims.
The severe conditions imposed on the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) had led him to seek exile to achieve the divine goal. This necessitated his migration to a calm environment after the first thirteen years of hardship and torment. Many events and episodes were to follow with plots to kill him (S.A.W.). The fact was most of the unfaithful were to remain that way, and persist on the material world. But for those that welcomed the message, even though they were few and weak, they had persisted and helped in the shaping of the new society and the spread of the divine message.
Opposition to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) continued and he lead the increasingly growing Muslims into battles against the evil ones. Holy Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) showed that he is a master strategist in war affairs. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) had so much of an effect as a leader and this was due to his strong faith and closeness to Allah (SWT) ) that a new era of eradication of evil was born. Jihad in the name of Allah and martyrdom became, to the faithful a door to paradise and eternal bliss. This was the energy in their hearts and the enthusiasm to meet their creator - the pleasure that would reach infinity that was the driving force behind the success of Islam.
Indeed humanity owes very much of its civilization nowadays to the leadership of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), as his super character had left an enduring impact upon a large mass of mankind.
"Allah sends down his blessings on the prophet (S.A.W.), and his angels constantly invoke blessings on him, do, you O believers, also invoke Allah's blessings on him and offer him the salutation of peace" (33:57).