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Muhammad, in full Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, (born c. 570, Mecca, Arabia [now in Saudi Arabia]—died June 8, 632, Medina), the founder of Islam and the proclaimer of the Qurʾān. His youngest daughter, Fāṭimah, married Muhammad’s cousin ʿAlī, the fourth of Muhammad’s successors as leader of the Muslim community. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The following section will nonetheless provide a concise digest mainly of Ibn Isḥāq’s version of the life of the Prophet. In 610 he experienced a vision of the archangel Gabriel. He had four daughters and at least two sons (both of whom died as infants) with Khadījah and probably another son (who also died young) by a later wife or concubine, Māriyah. As mentioned in this Quranic verse, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent by Allah (SWT) to guide humanity on The Straight Path. The fact that such biographical narratives about Muhammad are encountered only in texts dating from the 8th or 9th century or even later is bound to raise the problem of how confident one can be in the sīrah literature’s claim to relay accurate historical information. After his clan withdrew its protection, he fled to Medina in 622 and repulsed two attacks by Meccan forces in 625 and 627. The divine call now entered a decisive stage and many important events took place in Madina, which eventually laid a firm foundation for the spread of Islam to the furthest reaches of the globe. At age 40 he is said to have begun receiving revelations from the angel Gabriel. This digest does not aim to separate historical fact from later legend. Especially the customary chronological framework for Muhammad’s life appears to have been worked out by later transmitters and collectors such as Ibn Isḥāq, rather than being traceable to the earliest layer of Islamic traditions about Muhammad. Moreover, a number of rudimentary details about Muhammad are confirmed by non-Islamic sources dating from the first decades after Muhammad’s traditional date of death. He led the Farewell Pilgrimage to Mecca, the precedent for the hajj, in 632, the year of his death. According to Islamic tradition, his father died before Muhammad was born, and his mother died when he was a young child. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. In this perspective, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) established a strong state in Medina on the basis of peace, solidarity, and harmony between the Muslims, Jews, Christians, disbelievers, as well as a group of hypocrites. Hence, even if one accepts that the Qurʾānic corpus authentically documents the preaching of Muhammad, taken by itself it simply does not provide sufficient information for even a concise biographical sketch. The Qurʾān yields little concrete biographical information about the Islamic Prophet: it addresses an individual “messenger of God,” whom a number of verses call Muhammad (e.g., 3:144), and speaks of a pilgrimage sanctuary that is associated with the “valley of Mecca” and the Kaʿbah (e.g., 2:124–129, 5:97, 48:24–25). 1. Muhammad is traditionally said to have been born in 570 in Mecca and to have died in 632 in Medina, where he had been forced to emigrate to with his adherents in 622. Those reports are not consistent, however, and some include miraculous elements or stories obviously adapted from the Bible. Most of the biographical information that the Islamic tradition preserves about Muhammad thus occurs outside the Qurʾān, in the so-called sīrah (Arabic: “biography”) literature. This is not to suggest that there was necessarily an element of deliberate fabrication at work, at least at the level of a compiler like Ibn Isḥāq, who was clearly not inventing stories from scratch. An important collector of such early traditions was ʿUrwah ibn al-Zubayr, a relative of ʿĀʾishah who was probably born in 643–644 and who is plausibly viewed as having had firsthand access to former companions of the Prophet. For instance, unlike many earlier Western accounts, no attempt will be made to remove supernatural elements from the narrative in the interest of transforming it into an account that appears plausible by modern historiographical standards. For example, some of the non-Islamic sources present Muhammad as having still been alive when the Arab conquerors invaded Palestine (634–640), in contrast to the Islamic view that the Prophet had already passed away at this point.

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