It was said that on the day he was born, the palaces of the Chosroes trembled and fourteen of Persian towers fell; the worshiped fire of Fars, which kept burning day and night for 1000 years, was quenched; the skill of soothsayers was no more and the sorcerer’s magic ended; a light, filling the whole world as it moved eastward, appeared in the Hijaz region; and his head was held up high as he was seen staring at the sky at the moment of his birth. Who is he? He is our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)! Many know the “basics” of his birth, such as the fact that he was born in Makkah to his father Abdullah and mother Amina. On the other hand, many are unaware of the true significance of his birth and the true implications behind it regarding the time it had occurred and this time of ours. In this article, I seek to discuss, or simply collect and display, information that show the importance of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s birth and answer, what I consider to be essential questions such as why was he even born? and why ,specifically, at the time was he born?
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born in Makkah in 570 CE, during a time when, basically, the majority of people used to worship anything other than worshiping Allah alone. Things such as fire, animals, dead ancestors, humans themselves, planets and stars, water bodies, most prominently idols, and even trees were worshiped by people who would ask these objects to feed them and stop hunger, help them, guide them through life, enrich them from poverty, give them children, make rain fall from the sky. These types of people used to literally sacrifice things such as food, clothes, and objects they hold dear, such as their children, to pacify the inanimate “stuff” they considered to be gods and would even be ready to start a war to protect their assumed gods. Many people would go out to search for the truth on their own. Others would follow a system/systems of beliefs and ideals made by others and adopt it/them through life. Simply said, people sought guidance. Many ideas and beliefs were present, and the followers of different practices would claim that what they follow is the truth and the correct way of life. The situation during that time was chaotic. The Arabs would fight each other over the silliest things. Have you ever heard about the 40-year-long war that lasted between major tribes, called “gabilas”, because of one or two camels??? The Arabs themselves seemed to have needed guidance. Some of the “people of the book” in the Arabian Peninsula knew that a prophet was going to be born and were anticipating his arrival to this world. With this brief introduction, some of the significance of the prophet’s birth can be shown.
The significance of the Prophet’s Birth:
Why was the prophet even born? In other words, why was there another prophet sent to us by Allah? Is the prophet sent only to the Arabs?
We sent thee not save as a mercy for the peoples.
The prophet (PBUH) was sent as a mercy, and not only to the Arabs, but rather to the “worlds”.
Do you think he was sent only to humans? He was also sent to the jinn! The prophet was sent to all, regardless of what country or religion they are of. To get an idea, look at the people who come to Hajj. You will see people from China, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, North Sudan, Brazil, and France.
What kind of mercy did the prophet represent?
And lo! thou summonest them indeed unto a straight path.
He said: Go down hence, both of you, one of you a foe unto the other. But when there come unto you from Me a guidance, then whoso followeth My guidance, he will not go astray nor come to grief.
The prophet (pbuh) was a mercy to all in that he guides people to the straight path. This straight path results in the happiness and prosperity of an individual in this life and in the next. This is something that can be easily noticed. Aren’t many of the celebrities and rich individuals committing suicide or die because of drug overdose. Is there any other reason to have an intake of intoxications other than “escaping” the troubles of this world and the grief it results in? Would someone who is joyful kill themselves? The guidance prevents people from falling into such desperation.
But he who turneth away from remembrance of Me, his will be a narrow life, and I shall bring him blind to the assembly on the Day of Resurrection.
Those who follow the guidance presented by the prophet will not grieve and would find relief while those who don’t seem to never find true, lasting satisfaction and be lost as if they are blind.
Praise be to Allah Who hath revealed the Scripture unto His slave, and hath not placed therein any crookedness,
Remember when I said how there was a state of confusion that resulted from the many beliefs that emerged, with followers of each belief claiming that what they follow is correct? This single, straight path was, is, and will always be the answer.
The path that Allah has provided the people with is a path that is clear and not crooked.
But how, exactly, did the prophet’s birth play the role in the guidance of people to the truth?
Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.
The prophet (pbuh) was sent to all to invite them to worship Allah alone. The verse is quite clear. Those who disbelieve, such as those who worship things that don’t benefit them whatsoever, are lead astray. Those who disbelieve are brought by the “false deities” from light to darkness.
Or as darkness on a vast, abysmal sea. There covereth him a wave, above which is a wave, above which is a cloud. Layer upon layer of darkness. When he holdeth out his hand he scarce can see it. And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light.
Those who disbelieve are in layers upon layers of darkness. The situation of a disbeliever, specifically how misguided they are as they drowning in darkness, can be seen above.
Now, back to the basic matter. Now that it is known that disbelief or basically worshipping other than Allah alone, makes a person a stray, how does the prophet’s birth play a role in saving the people from such darkness? Why, even, does “disbelief” causes such a state of loss? The prophet (pbuh) was sent as a mercy and to invite the people to believe in Allah so that they will be moved from darkness to light as they get true guidance. Most importantly, the idol worship was to be abandoned. Before addressing how disbelief causes one to go astray, first of all it must be made clear that disbelief is something horrendous. How does this relate to the birth of the prophet (pbuh)? Well, this is the message that the prophet was sent to deliver to the world. In other words, the prophet was born for this task….
Verses of the quran show how illogical and senseless disbelief is.
How disbelieve ye in Allah when ye were dead and He gave life to you! Then He will give you death, then life again, and then unto Him ye will return.
Hath there come upon man (ever) any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered?
Or were they created out of naught? Or are they the creators?
The verses are for those people through out history, including those in the time of our dear prophet, who claimed that there is no actual creator and, thus, there is no true purpose behind it!
Now, it comes to the other part of the argument! There have been those as I mentioned previously who would worship idols and other “things” from nature. These people would usually ask what they worship with Allah, or without Allah, for guidance, enlightenment, and other things they need in life. Basically, these people acknowledged a higher force. In the quran, there are verses too that speak to these people and prove how nonsensical it is to worship with Allah another god that doesn’t even exist.
From surah An-Naml
Say (O Muhammad): Praise be to Allah, and peace be on His slaves whom He hath chosen! Is Allah best, or (all) that ye ascribe as partners (unto Him)?
Is not He (best) Who created the heavens and the earth, and sendeth down for you water from the sky wherewith We cause to spring forth joyous orchards, whose trees it never hath been yours to cause to grow. Is there any Allah beside Allah? Nay, but they are folk who ascribe equals (unto Him)!
Is not He (best) Who made the earth a fixed abode, and placed rivers in the folds thereof, and placed firm hills therein, and hath set a barrier between the two seas? Is there any Allah beside Allah? Nay, but most of them know not!
Is not He (best) Who answereth the wronged one when he crieth unto Him and removeth the evil, and hath made you viceroys of the earth? Is there any Allah beside Allah? Little do they reflect!
Is not He (best) Who guideth you in the darkness of the land and the sea, He Who sendeth the winds as heralds of His mercy? Is there any Allah beside Allah? High Exalted be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!
Is not He (best) Who produceth creation, then reproduceth it, and Who provideth for you from the heaven and the earth? Is there any Allah beside Allah? Say: Bring your proof, if ye are truthful!
The verses say it all. Did the idols the arabs cried to place the rivers on the earth? Did the idols the arabs cried to guide the people in any way, whether it be spiritual or physical as in guiding those people in the seas? No! Notice that I am specifically mentioning the word arabs; that is, there are many verses in the quran that speak about the true nature of the idols the arabs used to worship….
From surah An-Najm
Have ye thought upon Al-Lat and Al-´Uzza
And Manat, the third, the other?
Are yours the males and His the females?
That indeed were an unfair division!
They are but names which ye have named, ye and your fathers, for which Allah hath revealed no warrant. They follow but a guess and that which (they) themselves desire. And now the guidance from their Lord hath come unto them.
These are what they are! They are simply stones given names!
See they not, then, that it returneth no saying unto them and possesseth for them neither hurt nor use?
They have no absolutely no kind of power. By the way, Al Lat, Al Uzza, and Manat are names of stones that were worshiped by the Arabs in that time. It is said that there were 365 statues around the Kaba that were worshiped.
Also, not only the idols were mentioned in the Quran, a star worshiped by the Arabs is mentioned.
And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius;
Sirius is the star.
Through the examples given above, it becomes clear the kind of message prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent with.
The verses mentioned served/serve/will serve as a prove that there is indeed one, and only one, God. The verses mentioned give an idea of the type of message the prophet (pbuh) was sent with to the world. With all the proofs that the prophet (pbuh) had and presented to the people, those who believed did realize and became sure of the true purpose of this life.
Thinketh man that he is to be left aimless?
Does man think that he has been made for no purpose? No! He is not aimless. He is not here on the earth to simply play around!
Who hath created life and death that He may try you which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving,
Hath there come upon man (ever) any period of time in which he was a thing unremembered?
After the proof that there is only one true god is made, in the quran it is mentioned what the true purpose of this life is: it is a test. Just like any test, this test we call life needs guidance! That is a part where the guidance of the prophet (pbuh) proves its importance; the guidance to the straight path is present to guide us successfully through this test. And, I emphasize, this guidance is for all.
Through this guidance, the situation in the Arab lands improved dramatically. Before the birth of the prophet (pbuh).
The following is taken from http://muslim-academy.com/conditions-of-arabia-before-prophet-muhammad/:
The widows and orphans were helpless; people used to treat orphans harshly. The widowed women were seen as a burden to society and they were not given any rights and were treated as slaves. There was no government in the land, and a man used to marry as many women as he wanted. When baby girls were born they were buried alive and the women didn’t have any inheritance rights on their parents’ or husband’s property. The condition of Arabs was very poor before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Fighting and quarreling were very common among the people. They killed each other for no solid reasons. Therefore, they were living like animals in Arabia before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The trading of women and girls was very common. The condition changed after the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) completely.
And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate. And remember Allah´s favour unto you: How ye were enemies and He made friendship between your hearts so that ye became as brothers by His grace; and (how) ye were upon the brink of an abyss of fire, and He did save you from it. Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations unto you, that haply ye may be guided,
The became as brothers after they received guidance.
Another significance, People of the Book:
There existed people, “ahlul-kitab”, in the Arabian Peninsula who were anticipating the birth of the prophet (pbuh), and they were waiting for him to show up so that they can be his followers. See, the prophet’s birth was actually prophesied before it took place. There were signs to be on about the prophet that allow the “people of the book” to recognize him.
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel – like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers – that He may enrage the disbelievers with (the sight of) them. Allah hath promised, unto such of them as believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward.
And when Jesus son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the messenger of Allah unto you, confirming that which was (revealed) before me in the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a messenger who cometh after me, whose name is the Praised One. Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.
However, many refused to follow him even when they recognized him.
And when there cometh unto them a scripture from Allah, confirming that in their possession – though before that they were asking for a signal triumph over those who disbelieved – and when there cometh unto them that which they know (to be the truth) they disbelieve therein. The curse of Allah is on disbelievers.
Here is a quotation from http://www.islam101.com/religions/christianity/mBible.htm.
prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned by name in the old testament:
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon chapter 5 verse 16:
“Hikko Mamittakim we kullo Muhammadim Zehdoodeh wa Zehraee Bayna Jerusalem.”
“His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters
In the Hebrew language im is added for respect. Similarly im is added after the name of Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh) to make it Muhammadim. In English translation they have even translated the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as “altogether lovely”, but in the Old Testament in Hebrew, the name of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is yet present
In reality, Muhammad (pbuh) birth “fixed” things up. Many of the old scriptures, which undoubtly were a guidance to people, were unfortunately “played” with.
He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel.
Aforetime, for a guidance to mankind; and hath revealed the Criterion (of right and wrong). Lo! those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a heavy doom. Allah is Mighty, Able to Requite (the wrong).
Min Qablu Hudáan Lilnnāsi Wa ‘Anzala Al-Furqāna ‘Inna Al-Ladhīna Kafarū Bi’āyāti Allāhi Lahum `Adhābun Shadīdun Wa Allāhu `AzīzunDhū Antiqāmin
And lo! there is a party of them who distort the Scripture with their tongues, that ye may think that what they say is from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture. And they say: It is from Allah, when it is not from Allah; and they speak a lie concerning Allah knowingly.
Now, all in all, I hope the following verse has a greater impact on you, as you realize some of the meaning behind it.
Show us the straight path,
How many times do we ask Allah to show us the straight path every day?
Significance for our future:
Most of us, if not all, know that by the birth and death of the prophet (pbuh) “the hour” is getting nearer and nearer, and its signs are showing up!
Their reckoning draweth nigh for mankind, while they turn away in heedlessness.
Never cometh there unto them a new reminder from their Lord but they listen to it while they play,