The Path of the Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad ibn Abdullah (literally 'Muhammad son of Abdullah') is the founder of the monotheistic religion of Islam as it is known today. He is considered the prophet of God, who otherwise had no special attributes in the sense of the supernatural. In life Muhammad was also a philosopher, diplomat and merchant, reformer and military general. He was born in Mecca in 570.
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the moon. In is a month of fasting for Muslims in which they neither eat, drink or smoke, nor do anything that is considered unpure. They behave so from dawn until sunset. It is also a time of increased prayer and good deeds. The Ramadan is meant to teach patience and spirituality and purify the people.
Unsatisfied with his life in Mecca we constantly withdrew to a Hira cave in the nearby mountain Jabal Al-Nūr. It was there and then, in the month of the Ramadan (see additional info to the right), when he was 40 years old (according to islamic calendar, which corresponds to 39 Gregorian years), that he is said to have heard the voice of truth, through it receiving a revelation from God. His public preachings began about three years later.
He professed that God is One and gained a few followers very soon. He also met with opposition and hostility which led him and his followers to leave to Medina (then 'Yathrib'). This event was called Hijrah and it also marks the beginning of the islamic calendar.
'Peace be upon him' is a phrase traditionally always said when Muhammad's (or another prophet's) name is mentioned.
Medina (Madinah), in the time of Muhammad called Yathrib, is an ancient city located in an oasis. Today Medina is the second holiest city in Islam. It was his home after the Hijrah and also the burial place of Muhammad, peace be upon him (see additional info to the left).
Muhammad & the Importance of Women
"Women are the twin halves of men."
The above is a well known quote by Muhammad, who also said "It is the woman who chooses the man who will choose her". Muhammad was a true revolutionary when it came to the importance of women and how to treat them. It is imperative to consider the time in which all this occurred and how then women were treated. According to most scholars and their findings before Muhammad and the Islam women had no legal status whatsoever, were sold into marriage or enslaved, treated as possession that could be inherited and otherwise largely used for solely sexual pleasure. The killing or female infants was also very common in those days. Some Arabian tribes were more advanced, however that was the exception. Now, with this in mind, consider the importance and the effect of Muhammad's words and teachings in such a time.
The Qur'an (also 'Quran' or 'Koran') literally means "the recitation". It is the central religious text, originally in Arabic, of the Islam.
In the Qur'an, which is considered to basically be the collection of the revelations Muhammad received from God over a period of roughly 23 years, it says:
For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)
The repeated addressing of men and women, equally, stresses that their duties, virtues and rewards were equal as well. The Qur'an further states:
O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good. (4:19)
A true believer is expected to see and treat his wife as the queen of the house.
"The best among you are those who are best to their wives."
Muhammad's Wives & Women
Muhammad married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid when he was 25 and was faithful to her for the whole 25 years of their marriage. It is said to have been a happy marriage and he relied on her for many things. It was only then, after her death, and upon suggestion by Khawla bint Hakim, that he married again. He later married additional wives. However, all of this followed after 25 years of a happy marriage to Khadijah, who seems to have been Muhammad's twin half (see above quote).
The text of Ibn Kathir, a famous Islamic scholar, seems to confirm that:
Khadijah had been the first to publicly accept Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the Messenger of Allah, and she had never stopped doing all she could to help him. Love and mercy had grown between them, increasing in quality and depth as the years passed by, and not even death could take this love away. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never stopped loving Khadijah, and although he married several more wives in later years and loved them all, it is clear that Khadijah always had a special place in his heart. Indeed whenever 'Aisha, his third wife, heard the Prophet speak of Khadijah, or saw him sending food to Khadijah's old friends and relatives, she could not help feeling jealous of her, because of the love that the Prophet still had for her.
Once Aisha asked him if Khadijah had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied: "She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand." It had been related by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that on one occasion, when Khadijah was still alive, Jibril came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is just coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you. When she comes to you, give her greetings of peace from her Lord and from me, and give her the good news of a palace of jewels in the Garden, where there will be neither any noise nor any tiredness." After the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, and his first wife, Khadijah, had both died in the same year, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his small community of believers endured a time of great hardship and persecution at the hands of the Quraish. Indeed the Prophet, who was now fifty years old, name this year 'the Year of Sorrow.'