The Unsurpassed Legacy of Prophet Mohamed Remembered


By Dr M. Haris Z Deen

Yet another year has passed since the birth of the Prophet of Islam Mohamed, on whom be peace and blessings of Allah (PBUH) over 1440 years ago. In this year, I shall reminisce upon the legacy left behind by the prophet (PBUH) not only for his followers but for all God’s creation as a perfect example as stated in the Qur’an by God in Surah Al- Ahzab, verse 21 – "Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad SAW) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much".

In this context, writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy said "It suffices Muhammad for pride that he was able to rescue a humiliated and bloody people from the devil of blameworthy habits and opened to them the way of development and progress. I am one of those who admire the Prophet Muhammad, whom God chose to carry His last message and be the last Prophet". This in nutshell is the crux of the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH).

Historian Muhammad Hussein Haykal has chronicled the traditional Arabian belief (from the Prophet’s foster mother Haleema) that there were signs of festivity from shining stars in the sky on the day Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born (Haykal, M.H. – The Life of Muhammad – 1993 – Shorouk International). Muhammad was born posthumously, his father Abdullah had been deceased before Muhammad was born and when he was six years old he lost his mother Amina due to sickness. He was literally an orphan from the day he was born and became a complete foster child, under the care of his aged grandfather Abdul Muthalib. It is also relevant that due to the illness she suffered, Muhammad’s mother Amina was unable to breast feed the infant. Hence, he was committed to be breast fed by and looked after by Haleema who also had other children under her care for the same reason. Against this background, Muhammad did not have the advantage of any education as he lost his grandfather when he was only eight years old and spent the rest of his life, until adulthood, under the protection of his maternal uncle Abu Talib. Thus he was an illiterate prophet – Ummi Nabi a characteristic most significant in our study of the Islamic Prophet’s legacy.

Living a simple life as an orphan, Muhammad ran errands for his uncle and as a youth in his teens, as the practice as it was in Arabia he accompanied his tribe (Bani Hashim tribe) caravan on their trading ventures to Syria. It is reported that during one of these trips a Christian Syrian hermit named Bahira on seeing the child Muhammad exclaimed that the child was destined to become a prophet of God.

All Islamic historians, including William Montgomery, are of the consensus that from infancy to maturity Muhammad was an honest, truthful upright person, an attribute that earned him the title "Al-Amin" the trustworthy. The trait that stood in good stead when he declared his viceregency of God. His business acumen and trustworthiness attracted a rich widow Khadijah to entrust him with her own caravan on a trading trip, which on return was encouraging Khadijah, a 40-year-old widow, to propose marriage to the 25-year-old youngster who accepted the proposal and married her. It was 15 years later, when Muhammad was meditating in the cave of Hira, that Angel Gabriel appeared with the message from God and instructed Muhammad to read. When he replied that he could not read or write, the angel embraced him and instructed him to "Read in the name of thy Lord who created you, created the Insan from a clot. Read by the Lord who taught by the pen". Muhammad was terrified and shivering ran to his wife who in turn took him to her uncle Waraqa bin Naufal who was a Christian priest who confirmed that the angel was the same one who visited Jesus Christ, thus confirming the Syrian hermit’s prediction that Muhammad had been chosen as God’s Messenger.

Thereafter, for 13 years, the Prophet Muhammed concentrated on establishing "Touheed" – that there is none worthy of being worshipped but God and Muhammad is His Messenger. This was the legacy amongst other things that is central to the Prophet Muhammad’s teaching. Through this "mantra" Prophet Muhammad intended to unite the tribal Arabs under one banner as instructed by Allah in the Quran "and hold fast to the rope of unity and do not let it go". Along with this, the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) insisted upon truthfulness, honesty, kindness to orphans, treatment of women as equals, treatment of neighbours with respect and a whole host of acceptable human behaviour, including treatment of animals and protection of the environment. The Prophet (PBUH) demonstrated by practice what he preached in every respect, This is the Sunnah that is very devotional followed by Muhammad (PBUH)’s followers along with the compulsory acts of worship. He preached by example and his Sunnah will remain unsurpassed to doomsday.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad – Sallallahu Ala Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam.



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