The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in one or two fields, such as religious thought or military leadership. Moreover, the lives and teachings of these great personalities of the world are usually not described in details and at times are shrouded in mysteries. Not so to this man, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Every detail of his private life and public utterances have been accurately documented and faithfully preserved until today.
Muhammad was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, an administrator, a statesman, an army general, a judge, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband and a loving father – all in one. No other man in history had ever excelled or equalled him in all these fields at once.
He was born in Arabia in the year 570 C.E. (Common Era), married at the age of 25, started his mission of preaching the religion of Islam as a messenger of God at the age of forty, and departed from this world at the age of sixty-three. During his thirteen years’ stay in Mecca , Muhammad suffered in the hands of the Non-Muslims. On one occasion, the Non-Muslims dropped a large boulder on his head to kill him. On another occasion, they poisoned his food.
The span of his prophethood was 23 years, and during this short period he changed the Arabian peninsula from paganism and idolatry to the worship of One God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living and from utter bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. All these unbelievable transformation took place in just over two decades.
Muhammad’s Simple Life: A Proof of His Prophethood
If we were to compare the life of Muhammad before and after his mission as a Prophet, we will conclude that it is unreasonable to think that Muhammad was a false prophet. Before his mission as a Prophet, Muhammad had no financial worries. As a successful and reputed merchant, he drew a satisfactory and comfortable income. After his mission as a Prophet, he became worse off materially. Let us look at the following sayings on his life.
Muhammad’s wife, Aishah, once said to her nephew, Urwah, “O my nephew, we would sight three new moons in two months without lighting a fire (to cook a meal) in the Prophet’s houses.” Her nephew asked, “O Aunt, what sustained you?” She said, “The two black things, dates and water, but the Prophet had some neighbours of the Ansar who had camels and they used to send the Prophet some of the milk.”
In another tradition, she said, “The Prophet’s mattress on which he slept was made of leather stuffed with the fibre of the date-palm tree.”
Still in another tradition, Anas, a Companion of the Prophet, said, “The Prophet did not eat at a table till he died, and he did not eat a thin nicely baked wheat bread till he died.”
When the Prophet died, he left neither money nor anything else except his white riding mule, his armours, and a piece of land that he left to charity. This was reported by Amr ibn Al-Harith, another one of Prophet Muhammad’s Companions.
Despite his many responsibilities, Muhammad used to milk his goat, mend his clothes, repair his shoes, help with the household work, and visit poor people. He lived this hard life till he died although the Muslim treasury was at his disposal. His life was an amazing model of simplicity and humbleness. He chose to live in this manner because of his believe and love towards Allah and Islam. Definitely, this is not the way of life of a false prophet!
George Bernard Shaw, a Nobel Laureate in Literature in 1925, believed that Prophet Muhammad was indeed a great man and a deliverer and benefactor of mankind. In Letter to Najmi Sahib, he said, “The Christians and their missionaries have presented a horrible picture of Islam. Not only that, they also carried out an organized and planned propaganda against the personality of Prophet Mohammad and the religion he preached. I have very carefully studied Islam and the life of its Prophet. I have done so both as a student of history and as a critic. And I have come to the conclusion that Mohammad was indeed a great man and a deliverer and a benefactor of mankind which was till then writhing under a most agonising pain.”