About the Prophet Muhammad and Evidences Of His Prophethood
All Prophets come with signs and evidences furnished by God that they truly are what they claim to be. Among these signs are miracles witnessed by the people that defy the laws of nature.
Generally, miracles are experienced only by the people who were there when the miracle actually occurred. God, however, furnished the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with a miracle that would endure for all time. That miracle is the Qur’ân. It is appropriate that the final Messenger should have an enduring miracle, since his Message is binding on Creation until the Last Day.
The Qur’ân is the revealed word of God that God has preserved from corruption. The Qur’ân reads: “Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” “No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it. It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of Praise.”
In the Qur’ân, God challenges the Arabs to produce something like it. “Say: ‘If the whole of humanity and the Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’ân, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”
This challenge was reduced even further to the point where only one chapter of the Qur’ân was needed: “And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides God if you are truthful. But if you do not do it, and never shall you do it, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the unbelievers.”
This is Islam’s eternal miracle. The challenge remains open and unmet to this very day. There are many aspects of the Qur’ân’s miraculous inimitability. Among these are its eloquence and its style.
The Arabs were given this challenge and they were the masters of their language and were well known for their eloquence. Not one of them, however, could produce a single chapter comparable to the Qur’ân.
Today, we are conveying this challenge once again to all humanity. This challenge has stood for over 1400 years and continues to be a testimony to the truth of the Qur’ân and the Messenger who brought it. The enemies of Islam have always had in this challenge a perfect opportunity to prove Islam false. They definitely had enough reason to try. It would have surely been much less strenuous for them to pick up the pen and write then to pick up the sword and die trying to suppress Islam. It would have been far less costly than the time and money they spent on fighting against Islam.
We feel that by conveying this challenge we have done our duty. It becomes the duty of the one who hears it to hear the Qur’ân in its entirety and not to rely on unbelievers for their information but go directly to the source.
Another proof that Muhammad (peace be upon his) is God’s Messenger is the strength of the religion that he was sent with and the fact that it has been preserved from corruption. We can see all the scholarly disciplines that developed around it over the ages and how Islam was able to respond to all the changes that took place throughout history. Islam has retained its strength while the Muslim world has passed through periods of strength and weakness and of freedom and occupation.
Among the evidence that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a Prophet of God is the fact that his coming was foretold by the Prophets who came before. In their books and their statements they described him and his followers. They even mentioned him by name. The Qur’ân states this fact in the following verses:
“And when Jesus the son of Mary said: ‘O Children of Israel! Lo! I am the Messenger of God unto you, confirming that which was revealed before me in the Torah and bringing glad tidings of a Messenger who cometh after me, whose name shall be the Praised One.’ Yet when he hath come unto them with clear proofs, they say: This is mere magic.”
“Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel which are with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honor him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they will be the ones to prosper.”
In spite of the distortions and deletions made by some Jewish rabbis and Christian priests to their sacred texts, and in spite of the incorrect interpretations they imposed on them, there still remains within those texts enough to establish the proof of Muhammad (peace be upon him) being a prophet of God. To highlight a few of the places in their texts wherein his coming is foretold, we request from you to look at the following: Deuteronomy [33:1] and [18:15-19], Isaiah [42:1-5], Habakkuk [3:3], Song of Solomon [72:1-19], John [14:16] and [14:26], and 1John [2:1].
Another proof that Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a prophet of God is the history of his mission, the events of his life, the success of his followers, and how swiftly Islam spread throughout the nations of the world.
The attributes of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his mode of conduct show us that he was truly a prophet of God. He was, in every aspect of his character, an exemplary human being and history has never witnessed anyone else like him.
He was of good appearance and was always neatly dressed, preferring to wear white. He was clean and commanded others to observe cleanliness. When a person approached him and told him that he liked to wear nice clothes and nice shoes, the prophet (peace be upon him) replied by saying: “God is beautiful and He loves beauty.” He was of impeccable taste and had a discriminating palate, but was never ostentatious or frivolous. He said: “A son of Adam can fill no vessel worse than his stomach It is enough for him to eat enough to keep him standing straight. If he must consume more, then he may fill a third of his stomach with food, a third with drink, and a third should be left for air.” His manners were refined and he was well spoken. He was cheerful and would greet people with a smile. Those who met him liked him instantly and would never tire of his company or conversation. In fact, those who sat in his company would often forget everything else in the world while they were with him. They felt in awe of his presence, not because he was powerful like a king or despot, but because of the strength of his character and his devotion to God.
One of his most pronounced character traits was his capacity for mercy. He had great love and compassion for the poor and preferred to sit and partake of meals in their company. He showed great empathy for the sick and would go out of his way to help them. He would not leave a sick person or a child in need without fulfilling that need. He showed mercy to the orphans and encouraged people to care for them. He had great affection for children and would often carry babies and make them laugh. He taught his followers that children had the right to play and to be humored.
His mercy extended even to animals. He commanded his followers to be kind to the animals in their care and prohibited abusing them He instructed that animals used for food should be slaughtered carefully and with compassion. He reprimanded a man for overburdening his camel and failing to give it sufficient nourishment. He also informed us that a woman once was consigned to Hell for her mistreatment of a cat. She had locked it up and denied it food until it starved to death. Conversely, a prostitute received God’s forgiveness and entered heaven because she showed pity on a thirsty dog and gave it water. Once he was asked if people were rewarded for the good treatment they gave to animals. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “For every creature possessing a liver there is a reward.”
Added to his mercy was his courage. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was among the most courageous of people. His was not the courage of tyrants but a courage that stemmed from faith in the promise of God. It was the courage of someone who lived according to the religion of God and considered the pleasure of God more important than life itself. He was always present in the battlefield during war, and when things became severe, he would be seen fighting in the front lines. He would remain firm even when other brave men would turn to flee.
He never hesitated in the face of falsehood and never ceased to call to the truth, even when most of the people of the Earth were opposed to him. He never wavered on any of his principles but continued to enjoin what was right and forbid what was wrong.
He was also very forgiving to those who wronged him. He never became angry or hateful on a personal level. No matter how greatly someone wronged him when he was weak, he would show that person clemency when he was in a position of power. He would accept excuses even when he knew that the one making the excuse was lying. He would even make excuses for those who wronged him and did not offer excuses of their own.
He was the most generous of people. He gave in charity like a person who had no fear of poverty. He never once refused to give to someone who asked. He gave everything that came into his possession to the poor and the needy. He would prefer his guests to himself and the members of his household. He usually sufficed himself and his family with dates and water and months would sometimes go by without a cooking fire being lit in his house.
He was at the same time a most exemplary husband. He was very affectionate and caring. He was quick to overlooked mistakes. He never once hit one of his wives, nor did he ever raise his voice to them or ridicule them. He always showed kindness. He would indulge them in anything that was not sinful. He shared in the housework and took care of himself. He mended his own clothes and shoes. He always exhorted his male followers to be good to their wives and warned them against mistreating them. He made sure to do so during his greatest sermon which he gave during his farewell pilgrimage.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was kind to his servants. He commanded his followers not to overwork their servants and commanded that they must eat the same food that the members of the household eat and wear clothing of the same quality. Anas b. Mâlik said: “I worked as a servant for the Prophet (peace be upon him) in his residence and on his journeys. No matter what I did, he never once said to me: “Now why did you do that?” Likewise, no matter what I might have failed to do, he never once said to me: “Now why didn’t you do that?”
Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a man beating his slave. The Prophet said to him: “God is more capable of punishing you than you are of punishing him.”
Upon hearing this, the man stopped and said: “I set him free for the sake of God.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “If you did not free him, you would have been touched by the fire.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was extremely shy and modest. He hated foul speech He never once uttered a foul word. He said: “A strong sense of shame is a good quality in every way.” He also said: “Nothing but good comes from having a strong sense of shame.”
He was also very humble. He taught his followers: “None will enter Paradise who has within his heart an atom’s weight of pride.” He used to sit on the floor and eat. He forbade his companions from standing in honour when he entered the room. When he walked, he never expected anyone to move out of the way. He never allowed himself to stand out in his dress or his steed. He never seated himself in a place of honour when he was in the company of others.
Above all of these qualities was his devotion to God. He immersed himself in worship and eschewed the pleasures of the world. The remembrance and praise of God was always on his lips. He always sought the forgiveness of his Lord. His reverence of God often brought him to tears. He fasted so much that it sometimes seemed that he never went a day without fasting. He spent long stretches of the night standing in prayer until his ankles would swell. When he was asked why he worshipped so much when God had forgiven him all of his past and future sins, he replied: “Should I not then be a grateful servant?”
These are just a few of his noble qualities. There is no way we can do justice to him in such a short time. The combination of worldly and spiritual perfection that he exhibited was a miracle in and of itself and a testimony to his truly being a prophet of God.