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Top Questions: Muhammad



Transcript

Muhammed

Who was Muhammad?

Muhammad was the founder of Islam and the proclaimer of the Quran, the sacred scripture understood in Islamic tradition as a literal transcription of the speech of God (Allah) that was revealed to Muhammad in stages by the archangel Gabriel, beginning in 610.

What family did Muhammad have?

It is believed that his father died before Muhammad was born, and his mother died when he was a young child. After his first wife, Khadijah, a wealthy widow who died after about 25 years of marriage, he is said to have had 13 other wives or concubines during his lifetime.

Muhammad had four daughters and at least two sons. His youngest daughter, Fatimah, married his cousin Ali, the fourth of Muhammad’s successors as leader of the Muslim community.

What are the traditional events of Muhammad’s life?

Muhammad spent his entire life (570–632) in what is now the country of Saudi Arabia. After experiencing a vision of the archangel Gabriel, he undertook his miraculous Night Journey (Isra) from his birthplace, Mecca, to Jerusalem, where he prayed with Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.

Other clans of his tribe opposed his public preaching, so Muhammad fled to Medina in 622 after his own clan withdrew its protection. He repulsed two attacks by Meccan forces and eventually made a truce in 628 but was later forced to submit. He led the Farewell Pilgrimage to Mecca, the precedent for the hajj, in the year of his death.

What are the scholarly sources of Muhammad’s biography?

Most concrete details regarding Muhammad’s life come not from the Quran but from the sirah (“biography”) literature, which consists of accounts of his life by various writers dating mainly from the 8th and 9th centuries. Those reports are not consistent, however.

By carefully comparing accounts and discounting some that include miraculous elements or stories obviously adapted from the Bible, scholars have identified some common elements in reports dating to the late 7th century and have confirmed a few rudimentary details with non-Islamic sources from about the time of his traditional death date.

Why are images of Muhammad generally prohibited in Islam?

Though not true for all Muslims, many reject images, sculptures, and other visual representations of religious figures because they see them as forms of idolatry (worship of physical objects), which is inconsistent with their monotheism.

The principle of aniconism, or opposition to the use of icons or religious idols, was an early feature of Islam. However, the prohibition was only partially or selectively enforced under some historical dynasties and in some regions.
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