Lesson 2 - Life of Muhammad I-2

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Early Life of Muhammad


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Islam MI 396 Dr. Robert Patton


Islam Life of Muhammad - Part I The Sira We will also study the Hadith and Qur’an

Evaluation of Muhammad:

Evaluation of Muhammad Prophet, politician, powerful warrior Not divine, but the model for all Muslims Deeply loved and respected

The ka’aba:

The ka’aba Building with many idols; tradition said that Abraham built it There was a well called Zam Zam ; drink from it Throw stones at pillars – at the devil Ritual prayers, circling the Ka’aba while praying all preceded Islam Black stone was key – probably a meteorite

Ka’aba rebuilt:

Ka’aba rebuilt They decided to place a roof to prevent theft They were afraid to demolish the walls, but one man did without problem. A Greek ship had run aground nearby and they used the timber for the roof. The black stone was installed by the clan members lifting up a cloth with the stone inside


Beginnings No nation in Arabia – everyone was in a clan, and blood ties were important Your value came from your tribe Quraysh were leaders in Mecca for 5 generations, and also the priestly group Mecca small – ¼ mile x 1/8 mile

Early life:

Early life Abdullah died while his wife was pregnant His mother died when he was 5 years old His grandfather raised him, but died. He had called him Muhammed (Praised One) at birth Finally, his uncle Abu Talib raised him, who was chief of the Quraysh All from the Quraysh clan


Tradition His mother claimed that light from her womb lighted Syrian palaces Abbysinian Christians wanted to have the infant, and claimed he would be great


Tradition Traveled to Syria as a young boy on caravan. Young Muhammad was bonded with a Christian monk Bahira , who invoked the goddesses al- Lat and al- Uzza , but Muhammad would have none of it. He was warned to look out for the Jews


Tradition Bahira told Abu Talib to guard him; the Jews will be jealous of him Another saw a mole and fainted. He said that the prophethood had left the Jews and he will kill their scholars There is no historical record to support these contentions about a tradition of an Arabian prophet

Early life:

Early life Supposedly conception, birth, pregnancy and early life were miraculous Supposedly Jews and Christians as well as others knew Muhammad was coming Raised by Abu Talib age 8. Taken to Syria, very sophisticated with writing (Arabic only for business), many Christians there


Marriage Hired by distant cousin, a wealthy widow called Khadija, as her trading agent. He was known for good character and business sense Tradition: a slave boy going with him saw 2 angels shielding Muhammad and told Khadija, who saw that he had doubled her fortune.


Marriage She proposed to him; apparently beautiful still as well as wealthy. She was 40; he was 25. They had 6 children; two sons died in childhood, and of 4 daughters, only Fatima outlived her father.


Marriage Khadija had a Christian cousin, Waraqa , a convert from Judaism, who believed that a prophet would arise from this people. The Qur’an said that the Jews rejected the prophecied messiah.


Monotheism The Jews were strong monotheists – and of course killed Jesus for shirk – claiming to be one with God Christians were unorthodox – believed in a trinity of God, Jesus, and Mary People of the book – the Scriptures, Arabians were polytheists with oral traditions

Monotheism in Mecca:

Monotheism in Mecca Hanifs were intelligent and dissatisfied with polytheism Muhammed may have met with them He began to walk 3 miles to Mt. Hira for meditation

Monotheism in Mecca:

Monotheism in Mecca Very few Christians in Mecca Zayd was a precursor, a monotheist fusing their religion with tribal gods, praying to the Ka’aba , and taught on heaven and hell

Muhammad’s visions:

Muhammad’s visions Muhammad would have month long retreats, and circle the Kaaba in prayer He would go into the wilderness to pray – starting about age 40 Not uncommon to do so He had visions, trances, and convulsions – called demon-possessed, a poet, a soothsayer, madman

Muhammad’s visions:

Muhammad’s visions About 40, he was confronted with a vision and commanded to read, and then to recite while in the cave Hira . He complained that he could not read. The angel pressed on him 3 times and finally Gabriel recited the first verse of the Qur’an 96:1-5 He was going to kill himself, but Gabriel revealed himself and called him a prophet of God

Muhammad called a prophet:

Muhammad called a prophet He told Khadija, as he was afraid of being crazy or a poet, S he told her Christian cousin, who met him, and pronounced that he was a prophet for his people. Waraqa warned Muhammad that his people would reject him, probably after Waraqa’s death Khadija became the first convert

One mark described:

One mark described One tradition states that Khadijah asked Muhammad to look and he saw the angel when sitting on her left thigh, right thigh, and lap – but no more when she removed her veil Some Muslims contend that even angels cannot look on an unveiled woman – too sinful

Repeated distress:

Repeated distress He would sweat, fall to the ground, hear a bell, foam at the mouth – dreams, visions and thoughts in his mind; even spoke to the dead Muhammad became suicidal on several occasions when the angel did not reappear for some time. Many were skeptical of the source of his revelations

Sources of inspiration:

Sources of inspiration There are many references to the prophets. At first, Muhammad respected the Jews and sought their approval. He felt that he was the seal of the prophets, and sent to the Arabs as Moses was to the Jews. Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus had incomplete revelation – his was complete

Extra-biblical sources of inspiration:

Extra-biblical sources of inspiration Some Biblical materials came from the Talmud the killing of Abel is that of a whole people God saved Abraham from being burned when they threw him into a fire for burning their gods

Muhammad & others:

Muhammad & others Muhammad becomes furious at those who reject him.. Tradition states that a man questioning his authority could not be buried – the ground rejected his dead body repeatedly

Muhammad & others:

Muhammad & others The Qur’an is in Arabic, and not in Hebrew or Persian from another source. Muhammad can ask the people of the Book if his prophecies are true.

Other sources for the Qur’an:

Other sources for the Qur’an There was a Arabic Infancy Gospel that taught that Jesus spoke from the cradle, and made clay animals and gave them life. The parents told the children not to play with Jesus, because he was a wizard. The Qur’an refers to this: 5:110

Gnostic views:

Gnostic views Gnostics believe that the physical matter is evil, and that Jesus did not have a physical body and could not have been crucified. Muslims are not worried about this, as the Qur’an was supposed to correct earlier errors, so influence would be expected.

Zoroastrian contribution:

Zoroastrian contribution Much of the descriptions of heaven, including the houris (virgins), and the delights of the food, drink, and weather are similar

First prayers:

First prayers He learned that he should prostrate himself four times when at home, twice travelling Gabriel showed him about ritual cleansing Abu Talib fell on hard times, and Muhammad took Ali to raise; he became the second convert after Khadijah

First prayers:

First prayers His third convert was a slave given by Khadija, Zaid, who he later adopted as a son. He later married Zaid’s beautiful wife He was followed by Abu Bakr , a powerful friend, who gave his daughter Aisha to Muhammad at age 7, and became his favorite wife

Private preaching:

Private preaching Worship only Allah and not al- Lat and al-’ Uzza Opposed by his uncle Abu Lahab – who either Muhammad or Allah said was doomed The tribe asked for a miracle, or for Gabriel to speak to them Once some interrupted their prayers, and one hit a polytheist with a camel jawbone, drawing blood

Public preaching:

Public preaching After 3 years, he preached to about 40 publically, and a small group, including Uthman , joined but they were mocked by the Quraysh tribe. This became much more severe when he preached against idols.

Public preaching:

Public preaching . The tribe was built on idols, and made money from visits to the Ka’ba . A fight came during prayers, and one of the clan injured an Islam man. The tribe offered Abu Talib to give him a man in exchange for killing Muhammad.

Preaching at the fair:

Preaching at the fair The Quraysh tried to warn others that he was a sorcerer, especially at a yearly fair; This only made others curious, and a number of men from Medina were attracted to his preaching Medina had many Jews, and were used to hearing about monotheism

Fight with Quraysh:

Fight with Quraysh More opposition – about 12 converts, and some from another tribe Muhammad suggested going to Ethiopia or Medina. Fifteen families fled there Allah gives permission for defensive war. They will then establish a poor tax and Islamic law

New support:

New support Muhammad was fine to have a religion, but they wanted tolerance and threatened him. Hamza , the strongest man in Mecca, supported Muhammad One offered him money or power, but he refused, and recited the Qur’an

Many arguments:

Many arguments There were many arguments then The Meccans demanded a sign or miracle from Muhammad, who said that Allah sent him as a messenger, not a miracle-worker.

Many arguments:

Many arguments Men from Medina were giving 3 questions for Muhammad to answer. His answers, given in places in the Qur’an, were also followed by many others

Abu Bakr saves Bilal:

Abu Bakr saves Bilal Some of the Quraysh tried to make a slave renounce Islam, but he refused and they tortured him. Eventually Abu Bakr freed him by offering a strong black slave in his place; he did the same with 6 other Muslim slaves

Muslims go to Ethiopia:

Muslims go to Ethiopia A number of Muslims left for Ethiopia One man actually shifted to Islam


Umar A very strong man, originally hassled Muhammad and everyone feared him His brother-in-law and sister had converted He read some of the Qur’an and was impressed and converted to Islam


Boycott For 2-3 years, the Quraysh boycotted the Muslims – no selling food or intermarriage Several strong verses in the Qur’an came against the opponents. They ridiculed and offered to switch worship to see which worship was the best.

Satanic verses:

Satanic verses A Muhammad decided just to hold three of the gods of the Quraysh tribe along with Allah. These were idols, the “daughters of Allah. The tribe was happy and everyone worshipped together with Muhammad leading.

Satanic verses:

Satanic verses Gabriel showed Muhammad that he was wrong, and Muhammad realized that the suggestion was from Satan. No more worshiip of al- Lat , al-’ Uzza and Manat , the “daughters of Allah.” Allah showed that there was no way that the Muslims would have sons and he only have daughters. He nullified Satan’s attempt

Satanic verses:

Satanic verses A H is conscience bothered him, and Muhammad realized that this was an attack from Satan. This is spoken in the Qur’an as a deceit from Satan, and Muhammad retracted; his relationship with his tribe deteriorated further

Satanic verses:

Satanic verses Many Muslims deny this ever happened However, the Qur’an does mention one occasion when both believers and unbelievers prayed together

Muhammad and a slave:

Muhammad and a slave Muhammad showed interest in a Christian slave. His tribe ridiculed him and said that this was the source of his inspiration

Two difficult deaths:

Two difficult deaths Abu Talib , who had raised him and protected him, died; H e did not accept Islam though Muhammad asked him to do so Khadija, who was a great support, died age 65

The Night Journey:

The Night Journey Muhammed was awakened 3 times at night by Gabriel; T he third time he was placed on a beast – Burraq , between a donkey, and a mule with wings, and brought to Jerusalem.

The Night Journey:

The Night Journey He was taken to the first heaven, and greeted by Adam. Later he went to other levels, and met others, including Moses and Abraham He was to choose between drinking a bowl of milk and wine, and chose milk, the correct choice.

The Night Journey:

The Night Journey He was told to have Muslims pray 50 times a day but Moses said it was too much. It was gradually reduced to 5, the Muhammad refused to ask for more reduction He was ridiculed by his tribe

The night journey:

The night journey This is outlined considerable detail in the Sira from Ishaq . He describes many who were tortured to go to hell, the fire of hell, and how the angels greeted Muhammad with a smile. He also saw a beautiful woman there, who was the wife of his adopted son Zaid

A time of trouble:

A time of trouble Muhammad sought help from 3 brothers in the town of Taif , but they rejected him A visiting tribe came to the fair, but wanted to be boss of Muhammad if he protected him

Medina comes to the fair:

Medina comes to the fair Tension between rich Jews, who were getting weaker, and Arabs in Medina The Jews predicted that a prophet would come and lead them to victory One Arab tribe the Khazraj , decided to join Muhammad before the Jews – he was probably the predicted prophet, and made the oath (first) at Aqaba

Medina blood oath:

Medina blood oath The first visit and oath was not a blood oath A year later, they did make a blood oath to protect Muhammad to the death – second oath at Aqaba. – about 70 men 12 men asked Muhammad to come to Medina as ruler (10 were Jews)

Medina blood oath:

Medina blood oath When they went back to Medina, the city was split. The Muslims continued Islam; the rest continued with their animism. The Muslims desecrated some of their animism totem items.

Tensions increased:

Tensions increased Thus far there had been insults between Muhammad and his tribe. They had thrown dust on him. One threw shoes at the other, and the Muslim kept the shoes as a token of war The Medinans returned; the Quraysh were not looking for a war

An attempt to kill Muhammad:

An attempt to kill Muhammad The Muslims left Mecca except Muhammad, Abu Bakr , and Ali The tribe decided that every clan would work together to kill Muhammad together. Tradition: Muhammad had Ali sleep in his bed, confronted a group, they were blinded and he threw dust on their heads and departed

Leaving for Medina:

Leaving for Medina Muhammad and Abu Bakr left for Medina; Ali stayed behind to finish up business. They hid for three days and then made a 10 day trip This is the beginning of the Muslim calendar

An attempt to kill Muhammad:

An attempt to kill Muhammad Abu Bakr & Muhammad went 280 miles to Yathrib (Medina) on camel 622 – called the Hijra There was religious freedom, but with Muhammad settling all disputes