The Prophet of Islam, Mohammad son of Abdullah was born in Mecca in the year 570 AD and the same year known as Amolfil, meaning the year of the elephant. It is named as such because in this year the king of Ethiopia attacked Mecca with the intention of ruining the House of Kaaba, but could not fulfill his aim because his army was stoned to death by stone-throwing birds before even entering Mecca. The year that the Prophet of Islam was born in also witnessed other miraculous events. The Prophet of Islam’s birth was accompanied by a series of events that made wise people all over the world aware that something special had happened.
When he was born:
- 14 pillars of the Kasra castle, which was built by the Persian king Khosro and was the Persian kings’ castle for a long time, collapsed;
- The fire in the Fars fire temple, the major Zoroastrian temple in Iran in the city of Fars, was set off after thousand years of burning and the great Zoroastrian priest had a vision in which strong camels and Arabian horses passed over the river of Dajlah (which was part of Persian territory back then) and spread within Iran;
- Saveh Lake, a lake in northern Iran dried out instantly;
- All the idols fall off to the ground on their faces and smashed into pieces;
- A light sparkled in Mecca during the night that lightened the whole Mecca;
- Satan and devils who could trespass the heavens earlier were forbidden to enter the heavens anymore;
- Kings’ crowns fall off their heads onto the ground.
Many Christian and Jewish priests or devote believers who had read in their holy books about the coming of the last Prophet, knew instantly that the promises of God had finally come true.
Mohammad’s father, was called Abdullah who died two months before his birth, and Mohammad was raised by his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib son of Hashim, who was the treasurer of Kaaba and a monotheist. Therefore, being a descendant of Hashim, son of AbdeManaf, the Prophet and his progeny are known as the Sons of Hashim (or Bani Hashim).
Mohammad lost his mother when he was 6 and his grandfather when he had been 8, and was raised afterwards by his uncle, AbuTalib, who later on also had a son named Ali. Ali was born on the year 600 AD when Prophet had been 30 years old. He later became the most devoted friend, brother, and relative of Mohammad after his assignation by God as a Prophet.
Mohammad’s marriage to Khadijeh, who was a wealthy businesswoman in Mecca, happened in the year 595 AD when he was 25 years old. 5 years later Ali, his cousin (AbuTalib’s son) was born, and since AbuTalib had gone bankrupt, Mohammad willingly accepted to raise Ali. Therefore, Ali was raised in the Prophet’s house.
Mohammad was assigned by God as a Prophet when he was 40 years old. At the time. After Mohammad described God’s message to his wife, Khadijeh instantly converted to Islam. Ali who was raised in Mohammad’s house, and was 10 years old entered upon them and saw them praying to God, and converted to Islam instantly when Prophet explained to him what had happened. Therefore, Khadijeh and Ali were the first woman and man who converted to Islam.
After Prophet publicized his prophecy, almost all the Arabs disapproved him and teased him. Especially the older and wealthier relatives who could not accept becoming subordinate to their younger, orphan relative opposed him openly.
Mohammad’s new religion advocated justice and equality for all humans and the tribal and hierarchical society of the Arab world could not accept becoming equal to their own servants and giving the excess of their wealth to the poor; therefore, they denied Mohammad and even plotted to kill him and his family. Following Khadijeh and AbuTalib’s deaths in the year 620 AD, Prophet migrated to Medina in 623 AD, or the 1st year of hijri.
Prophet Muhammad’s hijrah from Mecca to Medina happened secretly, for the fear of being murdered by his ummah and family (Quraysh tribe). However, eight years later, his army of ten thousand soldiers, conquered Mecca peacefully. Upon his entrance into Mecca, he ordered his soldiers to avoid force and bloodshed, and set the motto of his league as “today is the day of compassion and forgiveness”. Prophet Mohammad’s emphasis on the freedom of thought and speech and his famous line “there is no reluctance in religion” – no force in choosing one’s religion – in an age when freethinking was not welcomed among Arabs, whose prejudice allowed them to bury their female newborns alive, was the harbinger of great social changes in the years to come.
Mohammed lived 10 more years in Medina, during which he was attacked by several Arab and Jewish tribes. His defensive wars against the infidels or other enemies were about 80 in number, in all of which Ali AS was his aid and main supporter.
On the last year of Prophet’s life, by God’s order, Prophet gathered all the Muslims in their return pilgrimage trip to Mecca and declared God’s order to them that Ali AS would be his successor and Muslims’ spiritual leader and Imam from then on. This important day known as the Day of Ghadir, or the event known as the event of Ghadir (because Ghadir is the place where Prophet declared God’s order) is crucial in Islamic history, because many Muslims who back then approved God’s message, after Prophet’s death denied the event and disapproved Ali AS being their leader. This denial resulted into the division of Muslims into two major groups of Sunnis and Shiites. Shiites were those who remembering God’s message and Prophet’s emphasis on the event, remained steadfast in their belief in the leadership of Ali, while Sunnis pretending not to have heard of the incident and jealous of Ali and his family, approved the leadership of Omar and AbuBakr after Prophet’s death.
The Prophet of Islam was poisoned and died on June 8, 632 AD in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Some historians have said he was poisoned by a Jewish woman, others have written he was poisoned by the hypocrites (Monafeqin) and others have said he was poisoned in his final battle and gradually died out of it. He was washed and buried by Imam Ail AS in Medina.
Despite all the upheavals, Prophet Mohammad established Islam among Arabs, and spread the word to nearby communities by sending ambassadors to Iran, Ottoman Empire, India, etc. His emphasis on seeking knowledge and science was so strong, that he announced it compulsory for Muslims in a hadith: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim, and God loves he who seeks knowledge” (Mesbah-o-Shari’a). His later spiritual successors (imams) also paid an exceptional attention to knowledge and science. Imam Bagher and Imam Sadegh, the fifth and sixth imams, started an unprecedented concentration on science. Imam Sadegh is said to have more than four thousand students in his science schools, one of which had been the famous Jaber-ibn-Hayyan. Imam Sadegh’s famous teachings to Mofazzal, which are compiled into a book called, The Monotheism of Mofazzel, embody scientific facts on biology and nature, many of which have been discovered only recently. This emphasis on science continued to the eighth imam, Imam Reza, who resided his final years in Iran, and was murdered and buried in the same place. His famous discussion sessions with the scholars of different proficiency and religion, and his ability to communicate with each one, by his own language, and divine book of religion are famous in historical records.