Muhammad was a religious, political and social leader of Arabic origin and he was also the prophet and originator of Islam. As per Islamic doctrine, Prophet Muhammad was sent to confirm and present monotheistic teachings that had previously been taught by other prophets before him such as Adam, Moses, and Abraham and Jesus. He is seen as the last Prophet of God according to the main branches in Islam. Muhammad was in 570, AD in Saudi Arabia (then Mecca) (Matar 151-175), when he was 40, Muhammad started to have revelations coming from Allah and these became the foundation and basis of Islam and the Koran. There are different appellations used to refer to him such as Allah’s apostle, The Prophet Muhammad, The Last Prophet of Islam, Allah’s Messenger, and many others. In 622, CE Prophet Muhammad migrated from his birthplace Mecca to Medina(Matar 151-175), which is in the north of Mecca, 450 kilometers together with his followers and this migration came to be known as the Hijra. In this discussion, we are going to focus on the early childhood of Prophet Muhammad, how he became the Prophet, his migration to Medina and what led to it, and what this migration means to the Islamic community.
Prophet Muhammad was Abdullah and Amina’s son, his father, however, died few days before Muhammad was born and soon after he was born, he was sent to the desert to live with a Bedouin family because the beliefs were that life in the desert was healthier for newborn and infants. Until he became 2 years old, he stayed with his foster parents, Halimah Dhuayb with her husband. When Muhammad was six years old, his biological mother, Amina died of an illness and he thus became an orphan and he stayed under his grandfather’s guardianship until he was eight years old. When his grandfather died, Muhammad was then cared for by Abu Talib, his uncle.AS a teenager; he would tag along with his uncle on trading journeys to Syria to get experience in the trade. While Muhammad was twelve, he was accompanying a caravan of Meccans to trade in Syria; during this journey, Muhammad met Bahira, a Christian monk who foresaw Prophet Muhammad’s future as a prophet of Allah. Not much information is available on Muhammad during his later youth, but it is believed that he later became a trader involved in trading between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. He was of such an upright character that he was nicknamed “al-Amin” which is Arabic for “faithful or trustworthy” and “al-Sadiq” which translates to “truthful”, he became a well sought out arbitrator for his impartiality. Due to his reputation, in 595 he got a proposal from Khadija, who was a widow, 40 years old, and Muhammad agreed to the marriage.
According to a narration by Ibn Ishaq, a historian, several years down the line, Muhammad was a part of a popular story of the wall of Kaaba, where he set the black stone in place, in 605 CE. The black stone was a holy object and it had been removed during renovations at the wall, however since the leaders would not come into agreement which clan was to return the stone to where it should be, they came into a decision to befit the decision to the next person who was to come through the gate, and coincidentally, Muhammad was that man. This all happened 5 years before his first revelation, through angel Gabriel.
According to Islam, this was an event that took place in 610 AD, when Prophet Muhammad was visited by Angel Gabriel. The angel showed him the beginnings of the Quran. During this period, Prophet Muhammad had begun visiting Mount Jabal, a cave called Hira, to pray alone and it was during one of the visits that the angel appeared to him. The angel directed Muhammad to recite verses and they were later included in the Quran. The revelations were highly distressing to Muhammad but when he returned home he was reassured and consoled by his wife-Khadijah and Waraka Ibn Nawfal Khadijah’s Christian cousin, Muhammad was worried that people would dismiss this claims and think he was possessed. After the first revelation, there was a pause for three years and during this time Muhammad felt glum and involved himself in spiritual practices and prayer. He was re-assured that God had not forsaken him when the revelations resumed.
The first person to believe that Muhammad was a prophet was his wife-Khadija, followed by his cousin Ali Abi Talib who was ten years old.in 613 Prophet Muhammad started preaching to the public. Few people became his followers while most of them mocked and ignored him. The earliest people to convert were comprised of three main groups; weak, unprotected foreigners, people who couldn’t attain their rank in their tribe or who had fallen out of it, and sons and young brothers of the great merchants. Opposition against Muhammad was stirred when he preached verse that was condemning polytheism and idol worship as these were practiced widely and especially by Meccan forefathers(Sadr 37-66).AS Muhammad’s followers were increasing, he was becoming a threat to the people who ruled the city and the local tribes, since their wealth was resting on Ka’aba, the center point of the religious life of Mecca, that, Muhammad was posing as a threat to overthrow.
Khadijah and Muhammad’s uncle, Abu Talib died in 619, and this year is referred to as the “year of sorrow”. When Abu Talib died, the clans’ leadership was inherited by Abu Lahab, who was a strong enemy to Muhammad; hence he withdrew all protection that was over Muhammad. In efforts to protect himself, Muhammad visited another city in Arabia, Ta’if to seek another protector, to no avail, and he had to return to Mecca, and Mut’im Ibn Adi, a man from Mecca, of the Banu Nawfal tribe, made it safe for him to re-enter his city. Muhammad would eventually find hope of gaining followers from men from Yathrib, which was later called Medina since they weren’t strangers to monotheism. These men were hoping that through Muhammad and the new faith, they would gain supremacy on Mecca: the Yathrib had always been jealous of Mecca’s role of importance as it was considered the place of pilgrimage. By the following year June, 75 Muslims traveled to Mecca to meet Muhammad and for pilgrimage. The group would meet the prophet in secrecy at night and they made what is referred to as “Second Pledge of al-Aqaba” In light of these pledges, Muhammad motivated his following to migrate to Medina, and although the Quraysh tried to stop it, most Muslims were able to leave.
A delegation of representatives from the twelve important clans of Yathrib welcomed Muhammad to serve as the Main arbitrator for the community because he was a neutral outsider. The arbitration was to solve the dispute between Arabs and Jewish people of Yathrib and the fighting had been going on for over a hundred years. This delegation pledged to accept and welcome Muhammad into their community and offer him protection as one of their own. And this is when the prophet advised his following to move to Medina and despite assassinations attempts on his life, Muhammad moved to Medina by 622(Sadr 37-66). To relieve the grievances between the tribe’s medina drafted a document that established an alliance between the tribes and emigrants, specifying all duties and rights among all the citizens.
War broke out between Meccans and the Muslims emigrants because after emigration the Meccans grabbed all properties that belonged to the emigrants. Muhammad permitted the emigrants to fight the Meccans, by delivering Quranic verses. Later in 624, the prophet led hundreds of warriors to raid a merchant caravan of Meccans, and this began the Battle of Badr, and the Muslims won this war. This victory over Meccans gave more strength to Muhammad’s position in Medina. Muhammad continued to lead the medina Muslims in wars and conquests against their enemies, but he had attained his place in Medina.
Significance of Muhammad’s Migration to Islam
Prophet Muhammad is known as the founder of Islam, and his migration from Mecca to Medina signifies a time when the foundations of the Islamic religion and beliefs were founded (Uberman 16-20). Islamic civilization was born in this time, and it was also then that it gained prominence. Muhammad as God’s final messenger helped the Islamic nation in building its strength, which wasn’t based on soldiers, wealth or weapons but the foundation of this religion. In the course of this migration, Prophet Muhammad’s skill of leadership was key in uniting Muslim communities, based on faith. It was also the revelations that Muhammad got from Allah at the Hijrah that formed the verses of the Quran, and thus this is the period when the basis of the Islamic faith and religion were formed.
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