Muhammad (peace be upon him) is regarded by muslims as the last and final messenger sent by Allah to mankind. He came as a seal of the prophets who were sent before him, and was the concluding messenger to mankind. Throughout the ages, Allah has sent Prophets and messengers to mankind, instructing them to worship the only one God, worthy of worship.
Allah says, “We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain (their affairs) in justice…” (Al-Hadid 57:25)
Also, “O company of jinn and mankind, did there not come to you messengers from among you, relating to you My verses and warning you of the meeting of this Day of Yours?” (Al-Anam 06:130)
Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent not only to muslims, or Arabs but rather to humanity, this made him different from the prophets before him. They came to their respective nations only; for example Moses was sent to the Children of Israel. Muhammad on the other hand was sent to all of mankind.
“Say (O Muhammad): O Mankind, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you all, (from Him), to who belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death…” (Al-Araf 07:158)
Muhammad peace be upon him was sent so that God alone would be worshipped on earth, without any partners. He was sent to uphold the truth and banish falsehood, with regards to the worship of Allah.
Muhammad (peace be upon him), is not God, or the son of God for the muslims. He is only a Messenger of Allah, He never claimed divinity or anything similar. He was merely sent to warn people that they will be brought to account and will endure recompense for their deeds, and that hellfire is a reality. Similarly, he brought the good news that paradise too was a reality, and that Allah is All-forgiving, Acceptor of Repentance.
“And We have not sent you (O Muhammad), except as a bringer of glad tidings and a warner.” (Furqan 25:56)
Muhammad peace be upon him was not a tyrannical ruler, nor a king who used power and soldiers to establish their kingdom, and rule. Rather, he merely called people to worship of one true god. He was a mercy to us in that he taught us a message that released us from servitude to those who are themselves slaves, to and guide them to the worship of the Lord of all slaves.
Allah says about him, “And We have not sent you except as a mercy to mankind,” (Al-Anbiyaa 21:107)
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was also endowed with miracles like the Prophets before him, namely the splitting of the moon, and his travel to Jerusalem in one night, in a civilisation where planes, cars and motor vehicles did not exist. He also prophesised events which have come to pass. But the greatest miracle of Muhammad is that of the Qur’an, which remains today in its original form, unchanged and unaltered for 1400 plus years.
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was illiterate, he could neither read nor write, and he was not a poet. He could not, therefore, bring forward a book, whose eloquence was and is beyond that of top orators, whose style is unique and inimitable, whose rhythm was captivating and consistent, and whose content was true to the finest detail.
“And he saw him (Gabriel) on the clear horizon.” (At-Takwir, 81:23)
Gabriel delivered the message of Allah to Muhammad (peace be upon him), and informed him that he was the Messenger of Allah, and thus began his prophet hood. He conveyed and taught the people what Gabriel had taught him.
When he first received the revelation, and gained his prophet hood, he sought comfort in his wife, Khadijah, thinking that he had gone mad, or was affected by an evil spirit. His wife consoled him saying, “Allah will never disgrace you, you unite relations, you bear the burden of the weak, you help the poor and the needy, you entertain the guests and endure hardships in the path of truthfulness.”
Allah said about his exemplary charisma, “verily, you (O Muhammad) are on exalted standard of character.” (Al-Qalam, 68:04)
Muhammad (peace be upon him), before the advent of his prophet hood was well-known for his immaculate mannerisms. He was nicknamed ‘Al-Ameen,’ meaning the Trustworthy or Honest one. He was one to always lend a helping hand, and showed kindness to the elderly and the youth.
In a conversation between Abu-Sufyan, who was at the time an enemy of Muhammad, and Hiraql (Heraculus), king of Rome, Hiraql said,
“I asked about his ancestry and you had replied that he had the best ancestry. This is the case with Prophets; they are the descendants of the noblest among their people (Addressing Abu Sufyan), he continued: I asked you if there had been a king among his ancestors. You said that there had been none. If there had been a king among his ancestors, I would have said that he was a man demanding his ancestral kingdom. I asked you about his followers whether they were people of high or low status, and you said that they were of rather low status. Such are the followers of the Prophets. I asked you whether you used to accuse him of falsehood before he proclaimed his prophet hood, and you said that you did not. So I have understood that when he did not allow himself to tell a lie about the people, he would never go to the length of forging a falsehood about Allah. I asked you whether anyone renounced his religion being dissatisfied with it after he had embraced it, and you replied in the negative. Faith is like this when it enters the depth of the heart (it perpetuates them). I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You said they were increasing. Faith is like this until it reaches its consummation. I asked you whether you had been at war with him, and you replied that you had been and that the victory between you and him had been shared by turns, sometimes he suffering loss at your hand and sometimes you suffering lost at his. This is how the Prophets are tried before the final victory is theirs. I asked you whether he (ever) violated his covenant, and you said that he did not. This is how the Prophets behave. They never violate (their covenants). I asked you whether anyone before him had proclaimed the same thing, and you replied in the negative. If anyone had made the same proclamation before, I would have thought that he was a man following what had been proclaimed before. (Then) Hiraql (King of Rome) asked: What does he enjoin upon you? I said: He exhorts us to offer Salat, to pay Zakat, to show due regard to kinship and to practise chastity. He said: If what you have told about him is true, he is certainly a Prophet. I knew that he was to appear but I did not think that he would be from among you. If I knew that I would be able to reach him. I would love to meet him; and it I had been with him. I would have washed his feet (out of reverence). His dominion would certainly extend to this place which is under my feet.” (Sahih Muslim)
This was Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him. He was a role model to those around him, and those afar, those who lived with him and those after him. He was sent with justice, kindness, morality, peace, love, security, safety and purity. Anything that was beneficial and good to people, he guided them to it, and anything that was evil, false, and abhorrent he warned them against it.
All these points, illustrate that he truly was the Messenger of Allah. The characters of the messengers and prophets of God, are always immaculate, and so was Muhammad, that even his enemies bore testament to his truthfulness. His ‘living’ miracle of the Qur’an, holds firm despite the attempts of many to criticise, and defame it. As Allah says, “They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, even though the disbelievers hate it.” (As-Saff 61:08) He was an illiterate man, who never studied the scriptures of any people for him to copy or imitate it, yet he brought forth Islam, and the Qur’an. It is no wander Michael H. Hart ranked him as the most influential person is history in his book. Muhammad (peace be upon him) changed the course of history forever, he transformed nations and civilisations. He gave rise to morals and ethics, he created a way of life and system of government that had never been witnessed before, or since. Within the course of a few years, he changed the face of the Arabian peninsula, an area that was given in to tribal warfare, which in turn affected the rest of the world. Today, his followers stand at approximately 1.57 million, and number which is increasing.
“His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as a leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement-all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an imposter raises more problems than it solves. Moreover none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West…Thus, not merely must we credit Muhammad with essential honesty and integrity of purpose, if we are to understand him at all; if we are to correct the errors we have inherited from the past, we must not forget the conclusive proof which is a much stricter requirement than a show of plausibility, and in a matter such as this only to be attained with difficulty.” (W Montgomery Watt)
Bibi Zainab Dowlut