MAULID DAY: Short history of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islamic religion

Today, members of Tanzania’s Muslims community join with their fellows across the world to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth.

According to the sources, the celebration is sometimes referred to as Mawlid, Milad and Eid Milad un-Nabi.
Mawlid is commemorated on the 12th day of Rabi al-Awwal, the third month of the Islamic calendar.
Some Muslims commemorate the event  because of pivot role played by Prophet Muhammad in Islam.
The faithful believe that the Quran, God’s final testament to mankind, was revealed to the prophet, and that he was the most important messenger sent to humanity.
In Tanzania the celebrations start on Wednesday evening, until Thursday, October 28, 2023, which will be a public holiday
Who was Muhammad?
Muhammad was the prophet and founder of Islamic religion. Most of his early life was spent as a merchant.
At the age 40, he began to have revelations from Allah that became the basis for the Koran and the foundation of Islam.
By 630, he had unified most of Arabia under a single religion. As of 2015, there are over 1.8 billion Muslims in the world who profess, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
   The life of Muhammad
The Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca, (now in Saudi Arabia), in the year 570 of the Gregorian calendar, on the 12th of Rabia’ Ul-Awal, the third month of the Islamic Calendar.
His father died before he was born and he was raised first by his grandfather and then his uncle. He belonged to a poor but respectable family of the Quraysh tribe. The family was active in Meccan politics and trade.
Many of the tribes living in the Arabian Peninsula at the time were nomadic, trading goods as they crisscrossed the desert.
Most tribes were polytheistic, worshipping their own set of gods. The town of Mecca was an important trading and religious center, home to many temples and worship sites where the devoted prayed to the idols of these gods.
The most famous site was the Kaaba (meaning cube in Arabic). It is believed to have been built by Abraham (Ibrahim to Muslims) and his son Ismail.
 Gradually the people of Mecca turned to polytheism and idolatry. Of all the gods worshipped, it is believed that Allah was considered the greatest and the only one without an idol.
In his early teens, Muhammad worked in a camel caravan, following in the footsteps of many people his age, born of meager wealth. Working for his uncle, he gained experience in commercial trade traveling to Syria and eventually from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. In time, Muhammad earned a reputation as honest and sincere, acquiring the nickname “al-Amin” meaning faithful or trustworthy.
In his early 20s, Muhammad began working for a wealthy merchant woman named Khadijah, 15 years his senior. She soon became attracted to this young, accomplished man and proposed marriage.
He accepted and over the years the happy union brought several children. Not all lived to adulthood, but one, Fatima, would marry Muhammad’s cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, whom Shi’ite Muslims regard as Muhammad’s successor.
Divine Revelations

Muhammad was also very religious, occasionally taking journeys of devotion to sacred sites near Mecca. On one of his pilgrimages in 610, he was meditating in a cave on Mount Jabal aI-Nour.

The Angel Gabriel appeared and relayed the word of God: “Recite in the name of your Lord who creates man from a clot! Reciting for your lord is most generous….” These words became the opening verses of sūrah (chapter) 96 of the Qur’an.

Most Islamic historians believe Muhammad was initially disturbed by the revelations and that he didn’t reveal them publicly for several years.

Islamic tradition holds that the first persons to believe were his wife, Khadija and his close friend Abu Bakr (regarded as the successor to Muhammad by Sunni Muslims). Soon, Muhammad began to gather a small following, initially encountering no opposition.

Muhammad settled in Medina, building his Muslim community and gradually gathering acceptance and more followers.

The death of Muhammad

After the conflict with Mecca was finally settled, Muhammad took his first true Islamic pilgrimage to that city and in March, 632, he delivered his last sermon at Mount Arafat.

Upon his return to Medina to his wife’s home, he fell ill for several days. He died on June 8, 632, at the age of 62, and was buried at al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Mosque of the Prophet) one of the first mosques built by Muhammad in Medina.

This article has been compiled from various sources by a Daily News Digital reporter

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