About The Life Of The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)
The Prophet Muhammad's name was Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. He was born in Arabia 570 C.E into the tribe of Quraysh. Both of his parents passed away when he was younger and he was raised by his uncle, Abu Talib. Before his Prophethood began, he became a well respected member of the community and was known as Al amin -the trustworthy. He had a wife, Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) whom he was married to for 25 years until she died.
The first revelation came to him when he was 40 years old. He used to frequent a cave that became known as "Hira'" for contemplation. It was there that the first verse of Qur'an was revealed to him by the Angel Gabriel. The Qur'an continued to be revealed in fragments to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) over the following twenty two years. In the first few years after the revelation, the Prophet taught Islam to individuals whom he trusted. When he started calling people to Islam publicly, the new religion gradually attracted more people and also increasing hostility from the idol worshipping population of Mecca. The Prophet (pbuh) and early Muslims were subjected to harassment, abuse and persecution. However, the Prophet was able to carry on preaching the new faith to people under the protection of his uncle Abu Talib and the clan of Hashim.
In 622 CE, about twelve years after the revelation of the first verses of the Qur'an, Sensing that the danger to Muslims has increased, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, instructed the Muslims to emigrate individually or in small groups to Yathrib (Medina). This famous event, known as the "Hijra "(emigration), occurred . This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, which is also known as the Hijri Calendar. During the time in Medina, the Muslims had grown to ten thousand, they then conquered Mecca.
In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from his Farewell pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) died at the age of 63. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam; and he united the tribes of Arabia. He had transformed Arabia, turning idol worshippers into monotheists and establishing (what is still considered today to be) the fastest growing religion. He is considered to be, by many, the most influential man in history.
The Final Prophet of God
The Prophet Muhammad was the last of the line of Prophets beginning with Adam, Noah (Nuh), Moses (Musa), through to Jesus (Eesa) peace be upon them all.
Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ''My similitude in comparison with the other Prophets before me is similar to a palace built nicely and beautifully, except for a placement of one brick. The onlookers go about and wonder at the beauty of its construction except for the place of that brick; So I am that brick; and I am the seal of the Prophets.'' (Bukhari)
Here is some evidence from the Qur'an and hadith (sayings of the Prophet) that he is the final Messenger.
"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of God, and the Seal of the Prophets: and God has full knowledge of all things.'' (Qur'an 33:40)
"In My Ummah (Islamic Nation), there shall be born Thirty Grand Liars (Dajjals), each of whom will claim to be a prophet, But I am the Last Prophet; there is No Prophet after Me.'' (saying of the Prophet recorded in the books of Abu Dawood and Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (pbuh) also said: "The children of Israel used to be guided by prophets. When a prophet passed away, another prophet succeeded him. But no prophet will come after me; there will only be khulafa' (caliphs) who will increase in number (that is, more and more will claim to be khulafa')." The people asked, "O Apostle of God, What do you order us (in view of such multiplicity of claims)? " He said, "Obey the one who is given the pledge of allegiance first. Fulfil their rights, for God will ask them about (any shortcomings) in ruling those God has put under their guardianship" (Bukhari).
What does Allah (s.w.t.) say about him in the Qur'an?
Allah says in the Qur'an that it is his duty to give the message - that there is none worthy of worship except God. Allah also says that the Prophet (pbuh) has set the best of example for people to follow: ''Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.'' (33: 21).
''By the grace of Allah, you are gentle towards the people; if you had been stern and ill-tempered, they would have dispersed from round about you" (Qur'an 3:159)
"He (Muhammad) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he is) full of pity, kind, and merciful. But if they turn away, say (O Muhammad): "Allah is sufficient for me. La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He), in Him I put my trust and He is the Lord of the Mighty Throne." (Qur'an 9:128-129)
"Say (O Muhammad): "I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your Ilah (God) is One Ilah (God i.e. Allah). So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord." (Qur'an 18:110)
''Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if ye do turn back, know ye that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the Message) in the clearest manner. ''(Qur'an 5: 92).
''By the star when it descends, your companion is not misguided or misled; nor does he speak from whim. It is nothing but Revelation revealed, taught him by one immensely strong, possessing power and splendour [i.e., Gabriel]... (Qur'an 53:1-6)
Examples of the Prophet Muhammad's Sayings
''He who is deprived of gentleness is deprived of good.'' (Muslim)
''He who shows no mercy to the people, Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, does not show mercy to him." (Muslim)
''May Allah have mercy on a man who is kind when he buys, when he sells and when he makes a demand.'' (Bukhari)
Rafi b. Khadis (r.a.) said that someone asked: ''Oh Allah's Messenger, which gain is best?'' He said ''A man's work by his hand, and every honest business.'' (Ahmad)
Abdullah bin 'Umar (r.a.) said: "Allah's Apostle took hold of my shoulder and said, 'Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler." The sub-narrator added: Ibn 'Umar used to say, "If you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening, and take from your health for your sickness, and (take) from your life for your death." (Bukhari)
"If the son of Adam (the human being) had two valley of money, he would wish for a third, for nothing can fill the belly of Adam's son except dust, and Allah forgives him who repents to Him." (Bukhari)
"Riches does not mean, having a great amount of property, but riches is self-contentment." (Bukhari)
''There are four traits; he who has all of them is a certain hypocrite and he who has one of them has some hypocrisy until he gets rid of it: When being given a trust, he betrays; When he speaks, he lies; When he promises (something) he breaks it; When he quarrels, he commits excesses.'' (Bukhari)
The Love His Companions Had For Him
On the day that he died, it was said by Anas (r.a.):
"I have never witnessed a day better or brighter than that day on which the Messenger of Allâh (pbuh) came to us; and I have never witnessed a more awful or darker day than that one on which the Messenger of Allâh died on." (Mishkat-ul-Masabih)
One of the Prophets companions Umar ibn Kattab (r.a.) was such a strong person that Prophet (pbuh) said that the devil runs away from him (recorded in Tirmidhi) However, he couldn't accept that the Prophet (pbuh) had died. Following this, another of the Companions Abu Bakr (r.a.) gave a famous statement:
''Whoever worshipped Muhammad, let them know that Muhammad is dead, and whoever worshipped God, let them know that God is alive and never dies."
Abū Bakr (r.a.) then recited this verse from the Qur'an: ''Muhammad is but a Messenger. Messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. If, then, he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heel?'' (3:144) Ibn ‘Abbas said: "By Allâh it sounded as if people had never heard such a Qur’anic verse till Abû Bakr recited it as a reminder. So people started reciting it till there was no man who did not recite it."
Ibn Al-Musaiyab (r.a.) said that ‘Umar (r.a.) had said: "By Allâh as soon as I heard Abû Bakr say it, I fell down to the ground. I felt as if my legs had been unable to carry me so I collapsed when I heard him say it. Only then did I realize that Muhammad (pbuh) had really died." (Bukhârî)
Anas bin Malik (r.a.) said: ''I served the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) for ten years, and, by Allah, he never said to me any harsh word, and he never said to me about a thing as to why I had done that and as to why I had not done that.'' (Muslim) He also said ''Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was the best amongst people in disposition and behaviour.'' (Muslim)
Jabir b. 'Abdullah (r.a.) reported: It never happened that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was asked for anything and he said: No. (Muslim)
'A'isha (r.a.) reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only, in the case when he had been fighting in the cause of Allah and he never took revenge for anything unless the things made inviolable by Allah were made violable; he then took revenge for Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. (Muslim)
A Considerate Husband
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to help with household chores. It was narrated by Al-Aswad bin Yazid (r.a.): I asked 'Aisha "What did the Prophet use to do at home?" She said, "He used to work for his family, and when he heard the Adhan (call for the prayer), he would go out." (Bukhari)
It was also known that the Prophet (pbuh) used to joke with his wives..." (Imam Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din) and he ran races with his wife Aisha (r.a.) who said that "I have never seen a man who was more compassionate to his family members than Muhammad (pbuh)." (Muslim)
Another of his wives, Safiyyah (r.a.) was Jewish. Once, she was dismayed when this fact was mentioned to her sarcastically. She informed the Messenger, expressing her sadness. He comforted her saying, "If they repeat it, tell them, 'My father is Prophet Aaron, my uncle is Prophet Moses, and my husband is, as you see, Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One. What do you have more than me to be proud of?'" (Timidhi)
He spoke kindly about his wives as his wife 'Aisha (r.a.) narrated: ''I never felt so jealous of any wife of Allah's Apostle as I did of Khadija (Prophets first wife) because Allah's Apostle used to remember and praise her too often and because it was revealed to Allah's Apostle that he should give her (Khadija) the glad tidings of her having a palace of Qasab in Paradise.'' (Bukhari)
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, 'was considerate and tried to treat his wives equally. One of his sayings, recorded by Tirmidhi was: "I may have unintentionally shown more love to one of them than the others, and this would be injustice. So, O Lord, I take refuge in Your grace for those things beyond my power."
His Kindness To Children
There are many recorded sayings and instances that show the Prophet Muhammad's kindness to children. 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that there came a few desert Arabs to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: 'Do you kiss your children?' He said: 'Yes.' Thereupon they said: 'By Allah but we do not kiss our children.' Thereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: 'Then what can I do if Allah has deprived you of mercy?' (Muslim) He also said: "He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honour the elderly" (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (pbuh) also said: ''If anyone raises three daughters or three sisters, teaches them manners and has mercy and compassion on them till Allah makes them independent, then he is assured of Paradise.'' Someone asked ''What is the reward for raising two daughters or two sisters? '' He said, ''The same reward accrues for raising two of them.'' The narrator commented that if the sahahba (companion) had asked about one daughter or sister, the Prophet would have said the same thing about one. (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
Walid ibn Uqbah (r.a) narrated that when the Prophet (pbuh) conquered Mecca, the Meccans brought their children to him. He prayed for them and patted them on their heads. (Abu Dawud)
The Prophet (pbuh) loved his grandsons Hassan (r.a.) and Husayn (r.a.) so much. Abu Hurayra (r.a) narrated that one day the Prophet (pbuh) came out of his house. Neither did he speak to him nor did Abu Hurayra say a word to him. He went to the market of Banu Qaynqa and went in and sat down in the courtyard of (Sayyidah) Fatima's home, calling, 'Is there a little child here? Is any little child here? He was asking for Hasan. (Sayyida) Fatima was long in bringing him. Abu Hurayra thought that she was making him wear something or giving him a bath. He came running and the Prophet (pbuh) clung him to himself (in an embrace) and kissed him saying, ''oh Allah, do love him and whoso loves him.'' (Muslim)
Bara (r.a.) narrated that he saw Hasan (r.a.) perched on the shoulder of the Prophet (pbuh) who prayed, ''Oh Allah, I love him so You love him too.'' (Bukhari, Muslim)
Buraydah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) was delivering a khutba (sermon) to them. Suddenly Hasan and Husayn came in clad in a red shirt. They stumbled as they walked. The Prophet (pbuh) got down from the pulpit, picked them in his arms. Then he made them sit in front of him, saying ''Allah has spoken the truth, your property and your children are a trial for you. I saw the two children walking and stumbling, so I lost patience and interrupted my sermon to pick both of them.'' (Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nisa'i)
What Have Non-Muslims Said About Him?
Here are some examples of what some influential people and writers have said about him:
Ghandhi' (1869-1948) ''I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These, and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble.” [Young India (periodical), 1928, Volume X]
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) “The greatest success of Mohammad’s life was effected by sheer moral force without the stroke of a sword.”[History Of The Saracen Empire, London, 1870] “His (i.e., Muhammad’s) memory was capacious and retentive, his wit easy and social, his imagination sublime, his judgment clear, rapid and decisive. He possessed the courage of both thought and action.”[History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, London, 1838, vol.5, p.335]
Alphonse de Lamartine "Never has a man set for himself, voluntarily or involuntarily, a more sublime aim, since this aim was superhuman; to subvert superstitions which had been imposed between man and his Creator, to render God unto man and man unto God; to restore the rational and sacred idea of divinity amidst the chaos of the material and disfigured gods of idolatry, then existing. Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he (Muhammad) had in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, in faith and in arms, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in God's name, Persia Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and part of Gaul.
"If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls.
"On the basis of a Book, every letter which has become law, he created a spiritual nationality which blends together peoples of every tongue and race. He has left the indelible characteristic of this Muslim nationality the hatred of false gods and the passion for the One and Immaterial God. This avenging patriotism against the profanation of Heaven formed the virtue of the followers of Muhammad; the conquest of one-third the earth to the dogma was his miracle; or rather it was not the miracle of man but that of reason.
"The idea of the unity of God, proclaimed amidst the exhaustion of the fabulous theogonies, was in itself such a miracle that upon it's utterance from his lips it destroyed all the ancient temples of idols and set on fire one-third of the world. His life, his meditations, his heroic revelings against the superstitions of his country, and his boldness in defying the furies of idolatry, his firmness in enduring them for fifteen years in Mecca, his acceptance of the role of public scorn and almost of being a victim of his fellow countrymen... This dogma was twofold the unity of God and the immateriality of God: the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words.
''Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?” (Translated from Histoire De La Turquie, Paris, 1854, vol. II, pp. 276-277)
Annie Besant “It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher.”(The Life And Teachings Of Muhammad, Madras, 1932, p. 4)
Historian Michael H Hart published a book 'The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History, New York, 1978', In order to be ranked as number one, the person had to fulfil over thirty categories. ''Prophet of Islam; conqueror of Arabia; Hart recognized that ranking Muhammad first might be controversial, but felt that, from a secular historian's perspective, this was the correct choice because Muhammad is the only man to have been both a founder of a major world religion and a major military/political leader.
The central human figure of Islam, regarded by Muslims as the messenger and last prophet of God. Also active as a diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, reformer, and military leader''.
William Montgomery Watt “His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement – all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.” (Mohammad At Mecca, Oxford, 1953, p. 52)
Reverend Bosworth Smith “… he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope’s pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar. Without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue, if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by a right Divine, it was Mohammed; for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports.”(Mohammed and Mohammedanism, London, 1874, p. 235)
Thomas Carlyle "The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only."
"A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world’s Maker had ordered so."
(Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History,' 1840)
James Michener "No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam. The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts this idea, and the Qur’an is explicit in the support of the freedom of conscience."
“Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God’s word sensing his own inadequacy. But the Angel commanded ‘Read’. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: "There is one God"."
“In all things Muhammad was profoundly practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred and rumours of God's personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to have announced, ‘An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute such things to the death or birth of a human being'."
“At Muhammad's own death an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in religious history: ‘If there are any among you who worshiped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you Worshiped, He lives for ever'.” (Islam: The Misunderstood Religion,’ Reader’s Digest, May 1955, pp. 68-70)
Lane-Poole ''He was the most faithful protector of those he protected, the sweetest and most agreeable in conversation. Those who saw him were suddenly filled with reverence; those who came near him loved him; they who described him would say, "I have never seen his like either before or after." He was of great taciturnity, but when he spoke it was with emphasis and deliberation, and no one could forget what he said...''(Speeches and Table Talk of the Prophet Muhammad)
Edward Gibbon and Simon Oakley "The greatest success of Mohammad’s life was effected by sheer moral force."
“It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran....The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. ‘I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God’ is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.” (History of the Saracen Empire,’ London, 1870)
George Bernard Shaw "If a man like Muhammad were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness." (The Genuine Islam vol.1 no.8 1936)
Thomas Cleary ''a pragmatic man-down to earth yet brilliantly spiritual, stern in matters of justice yet compassionate, rich in dignity yet extremely modest- a poignant storyteller gifted with a keen sense of humour, a valorous warrior, a diligent worker, a conscientious family man, a good neighbour, and a just king.'' (The Wisdom of the Prophet, Shambala Classics 2001)
The Story of Heraclius and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
By Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi
Muslim scholars have discussed different ways to consider the claim of prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him). Some mentioned Muhammad's miracles, especially the miracle of the Qur'an, as proof of his prophethood. Others pointed to the prophecies of previous prophets about his coming as mentioned in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. Some also referred to prophecies in other ancient religious literatures of Hindus, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians. Others based the proofs on Muhammad's own character, teachings, and achievements.
This is quite a vast subject and can be discussed in many different ways. But figuring out the responses of the great kings of the world at the time might give us a clearer picture of what the world thought of Muhammad. There is a very interesting historical report mentioned by the Muslim scholar Imam Al-Bukhari, among many other scholars of Hadith, from which we learn how a reasonable leader approached this subject. It is mentioned that after the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, 628 CE, Muhammad sent many letters to neighbouring chiefs and rulers inviting them to Islam.
He sent Dihyah Al-Kalbi with a letter addressed to the Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius. Heraclius ruled a vast territory of the Middle East at that time. This letter was probably sent to him in 628 CE. Heraclius was in Jerusalem at that time celebrating his victory over the Persians. The letter was given to the governor of Busra, located South of Damascus, who delivered it to the emperor. The emperor was intrigued by the letter and wanted to know more about the one who sent him this letter and whether he was truly, as the letter claimed, God's Messenger.
There was a caravan of Arab traders in the city. Heraclius ordered its people to be brought to his court. Abu Sufian ibn Harb, the chief of this caravan, was not a Muslim at that time. Actually, he was then one of the enemies of Islam. Later when he became Muslim, he related the incident to one of his friends, Abdullah ibn Abbas. Abu Sufian said that Heraclius sent a messenger to him while he was accompanying a caravan from Quraish. They were merchants doing business in the Levant (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan) at the time when God's Messenger had a truce with Abu Sufian and the unbelievers of Quraish [the Treaty of Hudaibiyah].
So Abu Sufian and his companions went to Heraclius at Jerusalem. Heraclius called them to his court, and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating Heraclius's question, said to them, "Who among you is closely related to the man who claims to be a prophet?" Abu Sufian replied, "I am the nearest relative to him (among the group)."
Heraclius said, "Bring him close to me, and make his companions stand behind him."
Heraclius told his translator to tell Abu Sufian's companions that he wanted to ask him some questions regarding Muhammad and that if he told a lie they should contradict him. Relating the story to his friend, Abu Sufian commented saying, "By God, had I not been afraid of my companions labelling me a liar, I would have lied against him Muhammad."
The dialogue then continued like this:
Heraclius: What is his family status among you?
Abu Sufian: He belongs to a noble family among us.
Heraclius: Has anyone else among you before him ever claimed to be a prophet?
Abu Sufian: No.
Heraclius: Was anyone among his ancestors a king?
Abu Sufian: No.
Heraclius: Are the strong and powerful following him or the weak and poor?
Abu Sufian: It is the weak and poor that are following him.
Heraclius: Are his followers increasing or decreasing day by day?
Abu Sufian: They are increasing.
Heraclius: Does anyone among those who embrace his religion become displeased and leave the religion afterwards?
Abu Sufian: No.
Heraclius: Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim to be a prophet?
Abu Sufian: No.
Heraclius: Does he ever betray or is he treacherous in his agreements?
Abu Sufian: No, we are at truce with him, but we do not know what he will do in it.
Heraclius: Have you ever had a fight with him?
Abu Sufian: Yes.
Heraclius: What was the outcome of your battles with him?
Abu Sufian: The fighting between him and us was undecided, and victory was shared between him and us by turns.
Heraclius: What does he order you to do?
Abu Sufian: He tells us to worship God alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste, and to keep good relations with our kith and kin.
Heraclius said to his translator to convey Abu Sufian the following:
I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belongs to a noble family among you. In fact, all the messengers come from noble families among their respective peoples.
I asked you whether anyone else among you claimed such a thing, and your reply was no. If you had said yes, I would have thought that this person is copying the previous person's saying.
I asked you whether anyone of his ancestors was a king. Your reply was no. If you had said yes, I would have thought that the man wants to take back his ancestral kingdom.
I further asked you whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was no. So I wonder how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about God.
I then asked you whether the rich or the poor follow him. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. In fact, the poor are always the followers of the messengers.
I asked you whether his followers are increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing. In fact, this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects.
I asked you whether there was anyone who, after accepting his religion, became displeased with and abandoned his religion. Your reply was no. In fact, this is the sign of true faith, when its delight penetrates the depths of the hearts.
I asked you whether he had ever betrayed and your reply was no. Likewise, the messengers never betray.
I asked you what he ordered you to do, and your reply was he ordered you to worship God, and not to worship anything along with Him and forbade you to worship idols and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth, and to be chaste. If what you say is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet. I knew from the scriptures that he was going to come, but I did not know that he would be from you. If I could reach him, I would go immediately to meet him; if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.
Heraclius then asked for the letter addressed by the Prophet Muhammad to him. The letter was delivered by Dihyah Al-Kalbi to the governor of Busra, who forwarded it to Heraclius. The letter read:
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This letter is from Muhammad, the Servant of God and His Messenger to Heraclius, the ruler of Byzantines. Peace be upon who follows the right path. I invite you with the call of Islam. Accept Islam and you will find peace. God will double your reward. But if you turn away, then you will have upon you the sin of Arisiyyin (your subjects).
[O People of the Book, come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, lords and patrons other than God." If then they turn back, say: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (submitting to God's will.)"] (Qur'an 3:64)
Abu Sufian said to Ibn Abbas as he related the story, "When Heraclius finished his speech and read the letter, there arose commotion and many voices in the court, so we were asked to leave."
It is possible that Heraclius accepted Islam secretly, but was unable to declare it because he feared rebellion of his people. Considering all these aspects of the Prophet's life, he became convinced that Muhammad was indeed a great man, if not the Messenger of God. (Article from www.readingislam.com)
The Beautiful Appearance Of The Prophet (peace be upon him)
Al-Bara' (r.a.) reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was of medium height, having broad shoulders, with his hair hanging down on the lobes of his ears. He put on a red mantle over him, and never have I seen anyone more handsome than Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him). (Muslim)
Anas (r.a.) reported: I never smelt ambergris or musk as fragrant as the fragrance of the body of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and I never touched brocade or silk and found it as soft as the body of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). (Muslim)
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was of a height a little above the average. He was of sturdy build with long muscular limbs and tapering fingers. The hair of his head was long and thick with some waves in them. His forehead was large and prominent, his eyelashes were long and thick, his nose was sloping, his mouth was somewhat large and his teeth were well set. His cheeks were spare and he had a pleasant smile. His eyes were large and black with a touch of brown. His beard was thick and at the time of his death, he had seventeen grey hairs in it. He had a thin line of fine hair over his neck and chest. He was fair of complexion and altogether was so handsome that Abu Bakr (r.a.) composed this couplet about him:
"As there is no darkness in the moonlit night so is Mustafa, the well-wisher, bright."
His gait was firm and he walked so fast that others found it difficult to keep pace with him. His face was genial but at times, when he was deep in thought, there were long periods of silence, yet he always kept himself busy with something. He did not speak unnecessarily and what he said was always to the point and without any padding. At times he would make his meaning clear by slowly repeating what he had said. His laugh was mostly a smile. He kept his feelings under firm control - when annoyed, he would turn aside or keep silent, when pleased he would lower his eyes. (Tirmidhi)
His companions described the beauty of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in these terms:
"The Prophet (pbuh) had a most handsome constitution. Some gave the smile of his beauty to that of the full moon...His nose was thin... His face was smooth...His beard was thick...His neck was the most beautiful...If the rays of the sun fell on his neck, it appeared like a cup of silver mixed with gold... The place between his shoulders was wide." (Imam Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din)
Anas bin Malik (r.a.) says: "The Messenger of Allah, was not excessively tall or short. He was not very pallid nor dark. He did not have curly hair or lank hair. Allah commissioned him at the age of forty. He stayed in Mecca ten years and at Medina for ten years and Allah the Mighty, the Majestic made him die when he was sixty. There were not twenty white hairs in his hair or beard, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." (Malik)
"His body was clean and his scent beautiful. Whether or not he had used scent, his skin always had a lovely scent to it. If someone shook hands or conversed with him, or showed his friendship or affection, he would smell that clean scent all day, and if he laid that sacred hand on a child's head, that child could be distinguished from other children by that clean scent."(Qisas al-Anbiya)
Jabir b. Samura (r.a.) reported: I prayed along with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) the first prayer. He then went to his family and I also went along with him when he met some children (on the way). He began to pat the cheeks of each one of them. He also patted my cheek and I experienced a coolness or a fragrance of his hand as if it had been brought out from the scent bag of a perfumer. (Muslim)
"The Messenger of Allah was in the mosque, when a man with unkempt hair and an untidy beard came in. The Prophet (pbuh) pointed to him, as if indicating to him that he should tidy up his hair and beard. The man went and did so, then returned. The Prophet (pbuh) said, 'Is this not better than that any one of you should come with unkempt hair?'" (Malik)
His Manner Of Walking, Sitting And Speaking
Abu Huraira (r.a.) reports:
"I did not see anyone more handsome than Rasulullah (s.a.w.) It was as if the brightness of the sun had shone from his blessed face. I did not see anyone walk faster than him, as is the earth folded for him. A few moments ago he would be here, and then there. We found it difficult to keep pace when we walked with him and he walked at his normal pace." (Shamaa-il Tirmidhi)
Qaylah bint Makhramah (r.a.) reports: "I saw Rasulullah (s.a.w.) in the masjid (in a very humble posture) sitting. Due to his awe-inspiring personality, I began shivering." (Tirmidhi)
Narrated by Aisha (r.a.)"The speech of Rasulullah (s.a.w.) was not quick and continuous as that of yours. He spoke clearly, word by word." (Shamaa-il Tirmidhi)
''The Messenger of Allah used to talk little and every thing was expressed in this brief talk. In his speech, there was no defect of excess or brevity. The words came one after another like pearls. Whoever heard them remembered them. He was the sweetest in talk among his companions. He used to keep silent for long and not talk without necessity. He used not to talk evil words and what he talked was just." (Imam Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din)
Masruq (r.a.) reported: We went to Abdullah b. 'Amr when Mu'dwiya came to Kufa, and he made a mention of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: ''He was never immoderate in his talk and he never reviled others.'' Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) also said: ''The best amongst you are those who are best in morals.'' (Muslim)
How The Prophet Muhammad Lived
Although he could have lived like a king if he had chosen to, the Prophet Muhammad lived very simply and gave most of what he had to others.
His house was but a hut with walls of unbaked clay and a thatched roof of palm leaves covered by camel skin. He had separate apartments for his wives, a small room for each made of similar materials. His own apartment contained a rope cot, a pillow stuffed with palm leaves, the skin of some animal spread on the floor and a water bag of leather and some weapons. These were all his earthly belongings, besides a camel, a horse, and an ass and some land which he had acquired in the later part of his life. [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood] Once a few of his disciples, noticing the imprint of his mattress on his body, wished to give him a softer bed but he politely declined the offer saying,
"What have I to do with worldly things. My connection with the world is like that of a traveller resting for a while underneath the shade of a tree and then moving on."
Amr Ibn Al-Harith (r.a.), a brother-in-law of the Prophet (pbuh), says that when the Prophet died, he did not leave a cent, a slave man or woman, or any property except his white mule, his weapons and a piece of land which he had dedicated for the good of the community. (Bukhari)