Posted by: GreatMuslim10 Aug 17 2006, 10:41 PM
QUOTE (Sanders @ Aug 17 2006 @ 05:59 PM)
QUOTE (Sinewy @ Aug 18 2006 @ 06:35 AM)
First I was not even finished with Christianity and its permeation. I don't know if we can go back on it.
Faatimah quoted selections from the Sirah (biographical narrative) of Muhammad.
What aspects specifically do you wish to know in "layman's terms"?
Of course anyone can go back - I just thought it would be best to go chronologically - the real permutations of the Christian religion come a little later - don't worry, I for one am not done with Christianity by a long shot.
It's just that Muslims are talking to each other about the fine points of Islam, which is fine - it's all good - but I don't understand a lot of what you are talking about, and I imagine other non-Muslims don't either.
For example, "but innovation is not only restricted to the Shi`a. Innovations are seen in the Sunnis as well. The Wahabi and Salafi as well as some of the Tariqat amongst the Tassawwuf exemplify it. Thus the masses are left confused."
Left confused is an understatement, hehe. I know about Shi'as and Sunnis, but I don't know what the differences are between them, religiously speaking. I know the Wahabi sect is prominent in Saudi Arabia, but I don't know how it got started or how it differs from other sects. I have no idea what or who Salafi, Tariqat, or Tassawwuf are. But you probably couldn't explain it to me if I didn't already have a basic understanding of what Islam is - . I don't want to change the subject, you guys seem to be having a good discussion, but some of us don't know what you are talking about, and someone should take the opportunity to explain it to us non-Muslims (starting with Mohammed) So we can follow along. That's all I'm saying ... (imagine I know almost nothing about Islam).
Alright, here goes:
First of all, Muslims believe him to have been God's final prophet, to whom the Qur'an was divinely revealed.
The name Muhammad etymologically means "the praised one" in Arabic. Within Islam, Muhammad is known as "The Prophet" and "The Messenger". The Qur'an (33:40) also refers to him as the "Seal of the Prophets". In verse 61:6 he is referred to as Ahmad, which in Arabic means 'more praiseworthy'.
Anyways, here is the important information:
Muhammad traced his genealogy as follows:
Muhammad was born into the Quresh tribe. He is the son of Abd Allah, who is son of Abd al-Muttalib (Shaiba) son of Hashim (Amr) ibn Abd Manaf (al-Mughira) son of Qusai (Zaid) ibn Kilab ibn Murra son of Ka`b ibn Lu'ay son of Ghalib ibn Fahr (Quraish) son of Malik ibn an-Nadr (Qais) the son of Kinana son of Khuzaimah son of Mudrikah (Amir) son of Ilyas son of Mudar son of Nizar son of Ma`ad ibn Adnan, whom the northern Arabs believed to be their common ancestor. Adnan in turn is said to have been a descendant of Ishmael, son of Abraham, though the exact genealogy is disputed. (ibn means "son of" in Arabic; alternate names of people with two names are given in parentheses.)
He was also called Abu-Qaasim (meaning "father of Qaasim") by some, after his short-lived first son.Childhood
Muhammad was born into a well-to-do family settled in the northern Arabian town of Mecca. Some calculate his birthdate as having been 20 April 570, while Shi'a Muslims believe it to have been 26 April 570. Other sources calculate the year of his birth to have been 571; tradition places it in the Year of the Elephant. Muhammad's father, Abdullah, had died almost six months before he was born and the young boy was brought up by his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, of the Banu Hashim clan of the Quresh (Quraish) tribe. At the age of six, Muhammad lost his mother Amina. When he was eight years of age, his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, who had become his guardian, also died. Muhammad now came under the care of his uncle Abu Talib, the new leader of the Hashim clan of the Quraish tribe, the most powerful in Mecca.
Mecca was a thriving commercial centre, due in great part to a stone temple (now called the Kaaba) that housed many different cult figures (idols). Merchants from various tribes would visit Mecca during the pilgrimage season, when all inter-tribal warfare was forbidden and they could trade in safety. While still in his teens, Muhammad began accompanying his uncle on trading journeys to Syria. He thus became well-travelled and knowledgeable as to foreign ways.Middle years
Muhammad became a merchant. One of his employers was Khadijah, a forty-year-old widow. She was impressed with Muhammad's character and intelligence, and proposed to him in the year 595. Muhammad consented to the marriage, which by all accounts was a happy one.
Ibn Ishaq records that Khadijah bore Muhammad six children: two sons named Al Qasem and Abdullah (who is also called Al Tayeb and Al Taher) and four daughters. All of Khadija's children were born before Muhammad received his first revelation. His son Qasim died at the age of two. The four daughters are said to be Zainab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatima.
The Shi'a say that Muhammad had only the one daughter, Fatima, and that the other daughters were either children of Khadijah by her previous marriage, or children of her sister.The first revelations
Muhammad had a reflective turn of mind and routinely spent nights in a cave (Hira) near Mecca in meditation and thought. Muslims believe that around the year 610, while meditating, Muhammad was visited by the Angel Gabriel.
His wife Khadijah and her Christian cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal were the first to believe that Muhammad was a prophet. They were soon followed by Muhammad's ten-year-old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib, close friend Abu Bakr and adopted son Zaid bin Haarith.
Until his death, Muhammad reportedly received frequent revelations, although there was a relatively long gap after the first revelation. This silence worried him, until he received surat ad-Dhuha, whose words provided comfort and reassurance.
Around 613, Muhammad began to spread his message amongst the people. Most of those who heard his message ignored it. A few mocked him. Others believed and joined him.Rejection
As the ranks of Muhammad's followers swelled, he became a threat to the local tribes and the rulers of the city. Their wealth, after all, rested on the Kaaba, the focal point of Meccan religious life. If they threw out their idols due to the preachings of Muhammad, the tribal and city leaders feared, there would be no more pilgrims, no more trade, and no more wealth. Muhammad’s denunciation of the Meccan traditional religion was especially offensive to his own tribe, the Quraysh, as they were the guardians of the Ka'aba. Muhammad and his followers were persecuted. Some of them fled to the Ethiopian Kingdom of Aksum and founded a small colony there under the protection of the Christian Ethiopian king (called Al-Negashi, or "The King").
Several suras and parts of suras are said to date from this time, and reflect its circumstances: see for example al-Masadd, al-Humaza, parts of Maryam and al-Anbiya, al-Kafirun, and Abasa.
In 619, both Muhammad's wife Khadijah and his uncle Abu Talib died; it was known as aamul hazn ("the year of sorrows.") Muhammad's own clan withdrew their protection of him. Muslims patiently endured persecution: ostracism, an economic embargo and consequent poverty and hunger, even beatings and death threats.Isra and Miraj
Some time in 620, Muhammad told his followers that he had experienced the Isra and Miraj, a miraculous journey said to have been accomplished in one night along with Angel Gabriel. In the first part of the journey, the Isra, he is said to have travelled from Mecca to the furthest mosque, in Jerusalem, presently known as Masjid al Aqsa. In the second part, the Miraj, Muhammad is said to have toured Heaven and Hell, and spoken with earlier prophets, such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
Muslims believe that the Dome of the Rock is the site from which Muhammad ascended to Heaven.Hijra
By 622, life in the small Muslim community of Mecca was becoming not only difficult, but dangerous. Muslim traditions say that there were several attempts to assassinate Muhammad. Muhammad then resolved to emigrate to Medina, then known as Yathrib, a large agricultural oasis where there were a number of Muslim converts. By breaking the link with his own tribe, Muhammad demonstrated that tribal and family loyalties were insignificant compared to the bonds of Islam, a revolutionary idea in the tribal society of Arabia. This Hijra or emigration (traditionally translated into English as "flight") marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. The Muslim calendar counts dates from the Hijra, which is why Muslim dates have the suffix AH (After Hijra).
Muhammad came to Medina as a mediator, invited to resolve the feud between the Arab factions of Aws and Khazraj. He ultimately did so by absorbing both factions into his Muslim community, forbidding bloodshed among Muslims. However, Medina was also home to a number of Jewish tribes (whether they were ethnically as well as religiously Jewish is an open question, as is the depth of their "Jewishness"). Islamic tradition refers to the conversion to Islam of one of the leaders of the Jews named Ibn Salam. Muhammad had hoped that his conversion would be emulated by the other Jews, and that those others would also recognize him as a prophet, but they did not do so.
Some academic historians attribute the change of qibla, the Muslim direction of prayer, from the site of the former Temple in Jerusalem to the Kaaba in Mecca, which occurred during this period, to Muhammad's abandonment of hope of recruiting Jews as allies or followers. According to Muslims, the change of qibla was seen as a command from God both reflecting the independence of the Muslims as well as a test to discern those who truly followed the revelation and those who were simply opportunistic.
Muhammad and his followers are said to have negotiated an agreement with the other Medinans, a document now known as the Constitution of Medina (date debated), which laid out the terms on which the different factions, specifically the Jews and other "Peoples of the Book" could exist within the new Islamic State.War
Relations between Mecca and Medina rapidly worsened (see surat al-Baqara). Meccans confiscated all the property that the Muslims had left in Mecca. In Medina, Muhammad signed treaties of alliance and mutual help with neighboring tribes.
Muhammad turned to raiding caravans bound for Mecca. Caravan-raiding was an old Arabian tradition and according to Watt was "a kind of sport rather than war" and that the object of the raids was to take animals and other goods but killing was carefully avoided. ; Muslims justified the raids by the Meccans' confiscation of the property they had left at Mecca and the state of war deemed to exist between the Meccans and the Muslims.
In March of 624, Muhammad led some three hundred warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Meccans successfully defended the caravan and then decided to teach the Medinans a lesson. They sent a small army against Medina. On March 15, 624 near a place called Badr, the Meccans and the Muslims clashed. Though outnumbered more than three times (one thousand to three hundred) in the battle, the Muslims met with success, killing at least forty-five Meccans and taking seventy prisoners for ransom; only fourteen Muslims died. This marked the real beginning of Muslim military achievement.Rule consolidated
To his followers, the victory in Badr apparently seemed a divine authentication of Muhammad's prophethood. Following this victory, the victors expelled a local Jewish clan, the Banu Qainuqa, whom they accused of having broken a treaty by conspiring with the attacking Meccan forces. Muhammad and his followers were now a dominant force in the oasis of Yathrib (Medina).
After Khadija's death, Muhammad had married Aisha, the daughter of his friend Abu Bakr (who would later emerge as the first leader of the Muslims after Muhammad's death). In Medina, he married Hafsah, daughter of Umar (who would eventually become Abu Bakr's successor).
Muhammad's daughter Fatima married Ali, Muhammad's cousin. According to the Sunni, another daughter, Umm Kulthum, married Uthman. Each of these men, in later years, would emerge as successors to Muhammad and political leaders of the Muslims. Thus, all four caliphs were linked to Muhammad by marriage. Sunni Muslims regard these caliphs as the Rashidun, or Rightly Guided. (See Succession to Muhammad for more information on the controversy on the succession to the caliphate).Continued warfare
In 625 the Meccan general Abu Sufyan marched on Medina with three thousand men. The ensuing Battle of Uhud took place on March 23 and ended in a stalemate. The Meccans claimed victory, but they had lost too many men to pursue the Muslims into Medina.
In April 627, Abu Sufyan led another strong force against Medina. But Muhammad had dug a trench around Medina and successfully defended the city in the Battle of the Trench.
Many of the Muslims believed that Abu Sufyan had been aided by sympathizers among the Medinans, being the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza, with whom the Muslims had a treaty. They attacked and defeated the Banu Qurayza, and subsequently executed hundreds of the adult men of the tribe, after trying them for treason. This execution has been the subject of some controversy.
Following the Muslims' victory at the Battle of the Trench, the Muslims were able, through conversion and conquest, to extend their rule to many of the neighboring cities and tribes.The truce of Hudaybiyya
Although revelation (2:196-2:210) about the performing of Hajj had already come, Muhammad and Muslims did not do it due to the enmity of the Quraish. It was the month of Shawwal 6 A.H. when Muhammad saw in a vision that he was shaving his head after the Haj. Muhammad therefore decided to perform the Haj in the following month. Hence around the 13th of March, 628 with 1400 Companions he went towards Medina without the least intention of giving a battle. But the Quraish were determined to offer resistance to Muslims and they posted themselves outside Mecca, closing all access to the city. In order to settle the dispute peacefully Muhammad halted at a placed called Hudaybiyya. Hence after series of talks a treaty was signed. The main points of treaty were the following.
They have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years
Muhammad, should not perform Hajj this year
They may come next year to perform Haj (unarmed) but shall not stay in Mecca for more than three days
Any Muslim living in Mecca cannot settle in Medina but Medina Muslim may come and join Meccans (and will not be returned).
Many of Muslims were not satisfied with the terms the treaty is made. However, on the way to Madina, God revealed the Prophet a new chapter of Quran named "Al-Fath" (The victory) 48:1-48:29. The new Revelation left no doubt in Muslims' minds that the expedition from which they were now returning must be considered as vitorious one. With the passage of time it become more and more apparent why the Koran had declared the truce a victory. The men of Mecca and Medina could now meet in peace and discuss Islam hence during the following two years the community of Islam was more than doubled.Muhammad letters to the Heads-of-State
"Muhammad Original Letter to Heraclius".After the agreement-of-Hudaybiyya Muhammad decided to send letters to many rulers of the world, inviting them to Islam Hence he sent messengers (with letters) to Heraclius of the Byzantine Empire (The eastern Roman Empire), Chosroes of Persia, the chief of Yeman and to some others.The Battle of Khaybar
The followers of Muhammad were disgruntled at the inconclusive result of the Hudaybiyya truce, and to deflect the growing opposition, Muhammad needed a new military victory. In these circumstances, Muhammad launched an expedition against Khaybar, an oasis of near Medina. Khaybar was inhabited by several Jewish tribes including the members of the Banu Nadir, a tribe that Muhammad had previously expelled from Medina. In June 628, the Muslims captured Khaybar after a siege and, as some scholars hold, killed all Banu Nadir men present. Most sources do not mention any such execution, so this particular issue remains contentious. After the Khaybar victory, Muhammad married Safiyya bint Huyayy, daughter of the Banu Nadir chief Huyayy ibn Akhtab and widow of the Banu Nadir treasurer Kinana ibn al-Rabi. Other Jews of Khaybar were allowed to remain in the oasis on condition of paying tribute, equal to one half of the annual produce.The conquest of Mecca
The truce of Hudaybiyya had been in force since two years. The tribe of Khuz'aah was in friendly relationship with Muhammad, while on the other hand their enemies, Banu Bakr had aliance with Meccans. A clan of Bakr made a night raid against Khuz'aah, killing few of them. Meccans helped their allies (i.e. Banu Bakr) with weapons and according to some sources few Meccans also took part in the fighting. After the fighting Muhammad offered Meccans following three conditions.
The Meccans were to pay blood-money for those slain among Khuza'ah tribe. Or
They should have nothing to do with Banu Bakr. Or
They should declare the truce of Hudaybiyya null.
The Meccan replied that they would accept only the third condition. However, soon they realized their mistake and sent Abu Safyan to renew the Hudaybiyya treaty, but now his request was declined by Muhammad. Muhammad began to prepare for a campaign.
In 630, Muhammad marched on Mecca with an enormous force, said to number more than ten thousand men. After some scattered skirmishes, in which only twenty-four Meccans were killed, the Muslims seized Mecca. Muhammad promised a general amnesty to all but a few of the Meccans. Most Meccans converted to Islam, and Muhammad destroyed the idols in the Kaaba. Henceforth the pilgrimage would be a Muslim pilgrimage and the shrine a Muslim shrine.Unification of Arabia
The capitulation of Mecca and the defeat of an alliance of enemy tribes at Hunayn effectively brought the greater part of the Arabian peninsula under Muhammad's authority. However, this authority was not enforced by a regular government, as Muhammad chose instead to rule through personal relationships and tribal treaties. The Muslims were clearly the dominant force in Arabia, and most of the remaining tribes and states hastened to convert to Islam.Muhammad the reformer
According to scholars such as William Montgomery Watt, Muhammad was both a social and moral reformer in his day and generation. He claims Muhammad created a "new system of social security and a new family structure, both of which were a vast improvement on what went before. By taking what was best in the morality of the nomad and adapting it for settled communities, he established a religious and social framework for the life of many races of men."
Bernard Lewis believes the advent of Islam in a sense was a revolution which only partially succeeded after long struggles due to tensions between the new religion and very old societies in the countries that the Muslims conquered. He thinks that one such area of tension was a consequence of what he sees as the egalitarian nature of Islamic doctrine. Lewis believes that "the equality of Islam is limited to free adult male Muslims," but according to him "even this represented a very considerable advance on the practice of both the Greco-Roman and the ancient Iranian world. Islam from the first denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy, and adopted a formula of the career open to the talents."
John Esposito sees Muhammad as a reformer who did away with many of the terrible practices of the pagan Arabs. He states that Muhammad's "insistence that each person was personally accountable not to tribal customary law but to an overriding divine law shook the very foundations of Arabian society... Muhammad proclaimed a sweeping program of religious and social reform that affected religious belief and practices, business contracts and practices, male-female and family relations."
Watt believes that Islam is still, in many ways, a man’s religion however states that Muhammad, in the historical context of his time, can be seen as a figure who testified on behalf of women’s rights and improved things quite a lot. Watt explains the historical context of the situation women at the time of Muhammad: "it appears that in some parts of Arabia, notably in Mecca, a matrilineal system was in the process of being replaced by a patrilineal one at the time of Muhammad. Growing prosperity caused by a shifting of trade routes was accompanied by a growth in individualism. Men were amassing considerable personal wealth and wanted to be sure that this would be inherited by their own actual sons, and not simply by an extended family of their sisters’ sons. This led to a deterioration in the rights of women. At the time Islam began, the conditions of women were terrible - they had no right to own property, were supposed to be the property of the man, and if the man died everything went to his sons." Muhammad however by "instituting rights of property ownership, inheritance, education and divorce, gave women certain basic safeguards." Muhammad as a military leader
For most of the sixty-three years of his life, Muhammad was a merchant, then a religious leader. He took up the sword late in his life. He was an active military leader for ten years.
Critics claim that Muhammad expanded his realm and imposed his religion by force. Muslim commentators, however, argue that he fought only to defend his community against the Meccans, and that he insisted on humane rules of warfare. The rules stated that women are not to be harmed or molested, children are not to be harmed. No non combatent is to be fought and if the enemy does not wish to fight you then escort him to a place of security. In reference to the Quran "fight those who fight you and do not commit aggression for God does not like those who commit aggression" (2:190-191)Family life
From 595 to 619, Muhammad had only one wife, Khadijah. After her death, it was suggested to Muhammad by Khawla bint Hakim, that he should marry Sawda bint Zama, a Muslim widow, or Aisha. 'Muhammad said to have asked her to arrange for him to marry both. It had already been agreed that Aisha should marry another man, whose father, though still pagan, was friendly to the Muslims. By common consent, however, this agreement was set aside and Aisha was betrothed to Muhammad.' Later Muhammad married more wives, to make for a total of eleven, of whom nine or ten were living at the time of his death. The status of Maria al-Qibtiyya is disputed; she may have been a slave, a freed slave, or a wife. Watt in Encyclopedia of Islam states that 'Muhammad had a political aim in nearly all his marriages' and for example Muhammad in his marriage to Aisha 'must have seen ... a means of strengthening the ties between himself and Abu Bakr, his chief follower.' Watt believes Aisha 'cannot have been more than ten years old when marriage was consummated'
Muhammad had children by only two of these unions. Khadijah is said to have borne him four daughters and a son; only one daughter, Fatima, survived her father. Shi'a Muslims dispute the number of Muhammad's children, claiming that he had only one daughter, and that the other "daughters" were step-daughters. Maria al-Qibtiyya bore him a son, but the child died when he was ten months old.
Muhammad's marriages have been the subject of some criticism. Some consider it wrong that he had more wives than the four generally allowed by the Qur'an (although one Qur'anic verse makes an exception for Muhammad). They question the circumstances of some of his marriages, such as those to Zaynab bint Jahsh, his adopted son's ex-wife, and to Aisha, who according to hadith was nine years old when the marriage was consummated. (though there is reason to believe that she was in fact older and that the hadiths that state she was nine are weak).
Home life was characterized by compassion and mercy, as he once cut off his sleeve rather than wake a cat which was sleeping on it.Companions
The term Sahaba (companion) refers to anyone who met three criteria. First, he must have been a contemporary of Muhammad. Second, he must have seen or heard Muhammad speak on at least one occasion. Third, he must have converted to Islam. Companions are considered the ultimate sources for the oral traditions, or hadith, on which much of Muslim law and practice are based. There were many other companions in addition to the ones listed here.
List in alphabetic order:
Abdullah ibn Abbas
Ali ibn Abi Talib
Salman the Persian
One day, upon returning from a visit to a cemetery, Muhammad became very ill. He suffered for several days with head pain and weakness. Muhammad finally succumbed to his malady around noon on Monday, June 8, 632, in the city of Madina, at the age of sixty-three. He is buried in the Mosque of the Prophet in Madina.
According to Shi'a Islam, Muhammad had appointed his son-in-law Ali as his successor in a public sermon at Ghadir Khumm. Shi'a believe that Muhammad's companions Abu Bakr and Umar conspired to oust Ali and make Abu Bakr the leader or caliph. Sunni Muslims dispute this, and say that the leaders of the community conferred and freely chose Abu Bakr, who was pre-eminent among the followers of Muhammad. The matter is further discussed in the article Succession to Muhammad.
Abu Bakr spent much of his short reign suppressing rebellious tribes in the Ridda Wars. With unity restored in Arabia, the Muslims looked outward and commenced the conquests that would eventually unite the Middle East under the caliphs.
I'll post some more later like him and his followers in Medina, but here are the basics:
Born to ‘Abdu’llah ibn ‘Abdu’l-Muttalib, Muhammad initially adopted the occupation of a merchant, He was renowned amongst all tribes as being "sadaq" and "ameen", meaning honest and truthful. He often retreated to a cave on a mountain outside Mecca called Hira, for contemplation. Muslims believe that in the year 610, when Muhammad was about forty, he was visited in the cave by the Angel Gabriel who commanded him to recite verses sent by God. These first verses started:"READ, in the name of thy Sustainer, who has created man out of a germ-cell" and continued through the end of Prophet's life. The Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad over a period of about twenty-three years, until his death.
He expanded his mission as a prophet, publicly preaching strict monotheism and warning of a Day of Judgment when all humans shall be held responsible for their deeds. He did not reject Judaism and Christianity, two other monotheistic faiths known to the Arabs, but said that he had been sent by God in order to complete and perfect those teachings.
Many in Mecca resented his preaching and persecuted him and his followers. Eventually, in 622, he was forced to move out of Mecca in a journey known to Muslims as the Hijra (the Migration). He settled in the area of Yathrib (now known as Medina) with his followers, where he was the leader of the first avowedly Muslim community.
The Meccans started attacking Medina to destroy the Islamic state. Even though the attacking armies were several times stronger in numbers and in weaponry, Muslims defeated these invaders every time they attacked. Muslims finally attacked Mecca under the leadership of Muhammad after eight years of Hijra and took control of the city. The Muslims subsequently removed all idols from the Kaaba. Most of the townspeople accepted Islam. Deputations began to come in from other Arabian tribes. The conditions for their adherence were: the acceptance of Islam, the destruction of idols, and the payment of the 'zakat' (tax) for the support of the poor community. In March 632, Muhammad led the pilgrimage, the Hajj. On returning to Medina he fell ill and died after a few days, on June 8.
Under the caliphs who assumed authority after his death, the Islamic empire expanded into Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, North Africa, much of the Iberian Peninsula, and Anatolia. Later conquests, commercial contact between Muslims and non-Muslims, and missionary activity spread Islam over much of the Eastern Hemisphere, including China and Southeast Asia.