Prophet Muhammad Research Paper

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Muhammad is the founder of the religion of Islam. Born into the Quraysh clan in the city of Mecca, he belonged to a family of merchants. At the age of forty he had a vision that turned him to preaching the word of one true God, Allah. He fled from Mecca to Medina where he attracted many Muslim converts. His teachings are recorded in the Qur’an.

Muhammad (570–632 CE) was the Prophet of Islam, now the second largest religion in the world with a following of 1.5 billion people across different regions and races. He belonged to the Arab- celebrated tribe of Quraysh in the oasis town of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His father died prior to his birth, so he was raised first by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, and then following his death by an uncle, Abu Talib. In his early youth, Muhammad adopted his family profession of business in which he prospered more by his personal morals than by the maneuvers of a merchant. He is known to have accompanied his uncle on trading trips to Syria, where he came into contact with Christians and Jews, His community bestowed upon him the honorific titles of al-Ameen (the trustworthy) and al-Sadiq (the truthful).

Muhammad later made the same journey in the service of a wealthy widow named Khadijah. Despite a fifteen-year disparity in their age, they were married not along after the trip and eventually had two sons and four daughters. It proved to be a long and successful marriage of twenty-six years, broken only by Khadijah’s death. One of Muhammad’s daughters, Fatimah, married his cousin, Ali, giving rise to the direct line of descendants from the Prophet. At the age of forty, Muhammad claimed that God (Allah in Arabic) had selected him as a prophet to call his people and the rest of humanity to the worship of this one true God who had also sent the prophets Abraham, Moses, and Christ with the same duty. Muhammad took upon himself the mission of reforming the Meccan society and religion. Messages that God revealed to Muhammad are contained in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam.

Muhammad gained a few converts to his new religion, Islam (“submission [to God]”). But the powerful, rich Meccan elites, whose socioeconomic interests and political power he challenged, persecuted his followers. These elites were just about to kill him, too, when he moved to another oasis town, Medina (al-Medina in Arabic, “the City [of the Prophet]”). This important event, which came to be known as the Hijra (emigration) in the history of Islam, took place in 622 CE and marks the year 1 in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Muhammad worked to reconcile the warring tribes of Medina into peace and brotherhood. After gaining many more new converts (Muslims), he established the Ummah, a small community of people based solely on faith rather than on tribal, racial, or any socioeconomic relations. Along with preaching God’s revelations in the Qur’an, Muhammad instructed his people through his own precepts and practices, called the hadith. The Qur’an and the hadith are two primary sources of Islamic sacred law (sharia). The law calls upon people to establish peace, socioeconomic justice, political enfranchisement, and respect for the human rights of women and minorities. The main thrust of the Qur’an and the hadith is to build an Islamic society on the basis of good conduct, brotherhood, kindness, sharing and caring, respect for others, helping the poor, protecting the helpless, justice and equity for all, promoting virtue, and preventing evil. Muslims take Muhammad as a model of moral perfection.

Under Muhammad’s guidance, the small Muslim community (Ummah) that he founded in 622 turned Medina into a city-state. Muhammad framed a signed contract between the Muslims and the Jews of Medina, the Charter of Medina, which is the first of its kind in world history. The Charter guaranteed protection of life and property and freedom of religion to the people of Medina and their allies in the region. The signatories of the charter promised to defend the citystate, to maintain peace and law and order, to submit to equity and justice in judicial and debt matters, to fulfill their obligations in protecting the defenseless, to stop mischief, murder and tyranny, to treat each other as equal partners in peace, and to guarantee religious freedom to all.

The peace and safety of the city-state of Medina under its charter and guidance of Muhammad attracted non-Muslims inside and outside its borders, and the number of Muslim converts increased. But Muhammad’s old enemies in Mecca soon started intrigues with internal and external enemies of the new citystate that threatened Mecca’s economic and political domination in Arabia. Skirmishes between the Muslims of Medina and the pagans of Mecca turned into the Battle of Badr in 624. Muhammad with a small band of 313 Muslim followers was outnumbered and outmatched by the 1,000-strong, well-equipped army of Mecca. But the superb war strategy of Muhammad and the courage of his followers defeated the Meccan army. Despite the guarantees in the charter, claims were made following each battle that Jews had sided with the enemies of Medina, resulting in expulsions from the city.

Muhammad said that he initiated his first war of defense (jihad, “making efforts [in the cause of Allah]”) with the divine permission that God revealed to him (Qur’an XXII: 39–40). The permission God gave him was to fight against wrongfulness and oppression— not to grab the natural or national resources of an enemy. In his first jihad, Muhammad established rules of engagement. He prohibited the killing of women and children and of weak, peaceful, and innocent men. He prohibited the mutilation of dead enemy soldiers and the scorched-earth destruction of an enemy’s water and food supplies. He forbade the mistreatment of prisoners of war. Poor prisoners could pay for their ransom by teaching Muslim children reading and writing, and by promising not to fight again. The Meccan pagans imposed two more ferocious battles upon the Muslims, but they failed to obliterate the city-state of Medina.

In 628, Muhammad offered the Treaty of al-Hudaybiya, which guaranteed mutual peace, security, and freedom, to his allies and to his bitter but defeated Meccan enemies. But Meccans soon started violating the treaty, and in 630 Muhammad marched on Mecca with a force of ten thousand Muslims to protect his allies. Before his march, he guaranteed peace and respect to all noncombatants. Mecca fell to his troops without a fight, but rather than slaughtering his enemies, he forgave and embraced them and let them keep their properties. The phenomenal peace of Muhammad turned enemies into friends and Muslims.

In his last Sermon of the Mount, shortly before his death in 632, Muhammad reemphasized the importance of kindness, of protecting the rights of women and slaves, of the strict prohibition of bloodshed, injustice, and usury, and of the significance of peace and brotherhood. Muhammad reminded his audience, “There is no superiority of Arabs over non- Arabs, and vice versa, nor is there any superiority of whites over blacks, and vice versa.”


  1. Armstrong, K. (1992.). Muhammad: A biography of the prophet. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco.
  2. Cook, M. (1983). Muhammad. New York: Oxford University Press.
  3. Esposito, J. L. (1999). The Oxford history of Islam. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Watt, W. M. (1953). Muhammad at Mecca. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press.
  5. Watt, W. M. (1956). Muhammad at Medina. Oxford, U,K.: Clarendon Press.
  6. Watt, W. M. (1964). Muhammad: Prophet and statesman. London: Oxford University Press.

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