Many centuries had passed after the time of Prophet Isa and no Prophet was sent to guide the people. Some of the people were still following Prophet Musa and yet some were following Prophet Isa but most of them had gone back to the dark ages of ignorance, barbarism and idol worshipping. It was during that time that Allah sent his last Prophet who was born in Makkah in the Hijaz (now known as Saudi Arabia) amongst the family of Banu Hashim of the Tribe of Quraysh, on 17 Rabiul Awwal 570 A.D., year of Elephant to guide them and the entire mankind for all times to come to the right by bringing them to Islam.
On the seventh day after his birth his grandfather Abdul Muttalib had a feast to express his gratitude to Allah and gave his grandchild the name 'Muhammed' (p.b.u.h.).
His father Abdallah had died in Yathrib a few months before the Holy Prophet's birth. He lost mother at a place called 'Abwa' at the age of six when he was returning to Makkah with his mother after visiting the resting place of his beloved father and was placed under the care of his paternal grandfather, Abd al-Mutalib, who also passed away when the Prophet was just about eight years old.
At this time the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, took charge of him and became his guardian. The Prophet grew up in his uncle's house and used to accompany him on journeys by caravan at a very young age. During his infancy his mother suckled the Prophet for three day only.
Thereafter two other women, Suwaybah (a female slave of Abu Lahab) who nursed the Prophet for four months and Halimah (daughter of Abi Zuwayb) from the tribe of Bani Sa'd who took him to the desert and stayed with him for about five years.
Both the ladies had the honor of being the Prophet's foster-mothers. It was customary amongst the noble families of the Arabs to entrust their children to wet nurses. When the Holy Prophet was fifteen years old, he took part in a battle along with his uncle. This battle was fought in the months during which fighting was prohibited and is thus called the Battle of Fujjar.
At that young age, The Prophet became famous for his wisdom, courtesy, trust- worthiness, honesty and integrity of character, and was called "Al-Amin" by his fellow citizens, meaning "the trustworthy". As a result of this Khadija binte Khuwaylad (whom he later married) from the tribe of Quraysh, well-known for her wealth, appointed him as the custodian of her possessions and left in his hands the task of conducting her commercial affairs. The Prophet married Khadija at the age of 25.
At the age of forty, in the cave of Hira during famous night of Al-Qadr in the month of Ramadhan, when the Holy Prophet was asleep, the Archangel Jibreel brought him the command from Allah and was given the mission of propagating the new religion. At that moment the first chapter of the Qur'an ("The Blood-Clot" [Surah-i 'alaq]) was revealed to him.
That very day he returned to his house and on the way met his cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who after hearing the account of what had occurred declared his acceptance of the faith. After the Prophet entered the house and told Khadija of the revelation, she likewise accepted Islam.
The first time the Prophet invited people to accept his message he was faced with a lot of difficulties. He was forced to spread his message in secret for some time until he was ordered again by Allah to invite his very close relatives to accept his message. But this call was also less successful and no one heeded it except Ali ibn Abi Talib, who in any case had already accepted the faith.
After this period, according to Divine instruction, the Prophet began to propagate his mission openly. With the beginning of open propagation the people of Makkah reacted most severely and inflicted the most painful afflictions and tortures upon the Prophet and the newly converts. The severe treatment dealt out by the Quraysh reached such a degree that a group of Muslims left their homes. and belongings and migrated to Abyssinia.
Led by J'afar bin Abu Talib, the cousin of the Prophet, a group of Muslims arrived in Abyssinia.
They were received with kindness by Najashi (Negus), the Christian king, who himself after sometime accepted Islam. The Quraysh found themselves baffled by the Muslim converts escaping to Abyssinia, and sent an embassy headed by Amr bin Aas and Abd Allah b. Umayya with costly gifts to the king.
After presenting their gifts, the Quraysh's requested the king that the Muslims be handed over to them. The king was a just man. He called upon the Muslims to defend themselves. J'afar stood forth and expounded the doctrines of Islam with zeal and enthusiasm. The king, who was a Nestorian Christian, found the doctrines similar to those of his own religion and opposed the polytheism of the Quraysh.
He wished J'afar to recite some passage from the revelations to the Prophet. J'afar recited passages from the Surah Maryam, which touched the heart of the king. He was pleased to hear J'afar's arguments; and instead of delivering up the Muslims to the Quraysh, he dismissed them from his court and returned to them all their presents.
About the tenth year of his prophecy, the Prophet's uncle Abu Talib, who was also his sole protector, died. Finally the idol-worshipers of Makkah devised a secret plan to kill him in the night while he was in bed. But Allah informed him of the plan and commanded him to leave for Yathrib.
The Prophet placed Ali in place of himself in his bed and at night left the house under Divine protection, passing amidst his enemies, and taking refuge in a cave near Makkah called Thaur.
The Makkans sent out many people to search for the Prophet. These men searched everywhere. They even came near the cave where the Prophet was hiding, but Allah did not let them find the Prophet. Two doves had built a nest at the entrance of the cave. A spider had made its web across it too. Thus the Makkans thought the Prophet could not be there and went on looking for him.
After three days when his enemies, having looked everywhere, gave up hope of capturing him and returned to Makkah, he left the cave and set out for Yathrib. The people of Yathrib, whose leaders had already accepted the message of the Prophet and sworn allegiance to him, accepted him with open arms and placed their lives and property at his disposal.
In Yathrib for the first time the Prophet formed a small Islamic community and signed treaties with the Jewish tribes in and around the city as well as with the powerful Arab tribes of the region. He undertook the task of propagating the Islamic message and Yathrib became famous as "Madinat al-Rasul" (the city of the Prophet).
Islam began to grow and expand from day to day. The Muslims, who in Makkah were caught in the midst of injustice and inequity of the Quraysh, gradually left their homes and property and migrated to Madinah. This group became known as the "immigrants" (muhajirun) in the same way that those who aided the Prophet in Yathrib gained the name of "helpers" -ansar).
Many battles took place between the Muslims and the Arab polytheists and Jews, in most of which the Muslims were victorious. There were altogether over eighty major and minor battles. In all the major conflicts such as the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Khaybar, Hunayn, etc., the Prophet was personally present on the battle scene.
On the twenty-fifth of Dhu-al-qa'adah the tenth year of Hijrah, the Prophet announced his intention to perform Hajj that year. This news inspired great interest in the Muslim ummah and thousands of Muslims announced their readiness to accompany the Prophet.
"O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you don't do it, you have not delivered His message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people ..."
Upon reaching Zulhaleefa, the Prophet put on the 'Ihram' and called out 'Labbayk' and moved towards Makkah. After performing his Hajj rituals he made a speech at Mina. After all the ceremonies the Prophet proceeded back to Madinah. When the caravan reached the region of Rabigh (situated between Makkah and Madinah) the Archangel Jibreel descended at a place called 'Ghadir Khum' and communicated the following verse to the Prophet.
The Holy Prophet immediately ordered Hazrat Bilal to recite the Adhan so as to recall the Muslims who had gone ahead, who were behind, and who were proceeding to their homes, to assemble. It was noon time under very hot weather.
The Prophet offered his prayers in congregation. Thereafter the Prophet got on the platform prepared from the saddles of the camels and believer the following sermon.
"Praise belongs to Allah. We ask Him for help, and we believe in Him, and to Him we trust. We seek refuge to Him from the evil of our souls and the sins of our deeds. Verily there is no guide for the one whom Allah leaves in stray, and there is non who leads astray the one whom Allah has guided."
"O People! Don't you witness that there is no deity but Allah, Muhammad is His servant and His Apostle, Paradise is truth, Hell is truth, death is truth, resurrection is truth, and that the Hour shall certainly arrive, and Allah shall raise people from the graves?" People replied: "Yes, we believe in them."
He continued: "O People! Do you hear my voice (clearly)?" They said: "Yes". The Prophet said: "Very soon I am departing from you and I am leaving among you two precious and weighty and valuable things among you, the Holy Quran and my Ahlul-Bayt and the two shall never separate from each other until they reach me in at the Pool Kawthar and that if you adhere to both of them, you shall never go astray after me'.
"O People! Don't you know that I have more authority upon you than yourself?" People cried and said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allah." Then prophet repeated: "O Folk! Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?" People said again "Yes, O Messenger of Allah." Then Prophet said: "O People! Surely God is my Master, and I am the master of all believers." Then he took the hand of Ali and raised it and said:
"WHOEVER I AM HIS MASTER, ALI IS HIS MASTER (repeating three times). O God! Love those who love him. Be hostile to those who are hostile to him. Help those who help him. Forsake those who forsake him. And keep the truth with him wherever he turns (i.e., make him the axis of the truth)."
"Ali, the son of Abu Talib, is my brother, my executor (Wasi), and my successor (Caliph), and the leader (Imam) after me. His position to me is the same as the position of Haroon (Aaron) to Moses, except that there shall be no prophet after me. He is your master after Allah and His Messenger."
"O Folk! Verily Allah has appointed him to be your Imam and ruler. Obedience of him is obligatory for all Immigrants (Muhajirin) and Helpers (Ansar) and those who follow them in virtue, and on the dwellers of the cities and the nomads, the Arabs and the non-Arabs, the freeman and the slave, the young and the old, the great and the small, the white and the black."
"His commands should be obeyed, and his word is binding and his order is obligatory on everyone who believes in one God. Cursed is the man who disobeys him, and blessed is the one who follows him, and he who believes in him is a true believer. His WILAYAH (belief in his mastery) has been made obligatory by Allah, the Powerful, the Exalted."
"O Folk! Study the Quran. Reflect on its clear verses and do not presume the meaning of the ambiguous verses. For, by Allah, nobody can properly explain them to you its warnings and its meanings except me and this man (i.e., Ali) whose hand I am lifting up in front of myself."
"O People! This is the last time that I shall stand in this assembly. Therefore listen to me and obey and submit to the command of Lord. Verily Allah, He is your Lord and God. After Him, His prophet, Muhammad who is addressing you, is your master. Then after me, this Ali is your master and your leader (Imam) according to Allah's command. Then after him leadership will continue through some selected individuals in my descendants till the day you meet Allah and His Prophet."
"Behold! Certainly you shall meet your Lord and He will ask you about your deeds. Beware! Do not become infidels after me by striking the necks of one another. Lo! It is incumbent upon those who are present to inform what I said to those who are absent for perhaps the informed one might comprehend it (understand it) better than some of the present audience. Behold! Haven't I conveyed the Message of Allah to you? Behold! Haven't I conveyed the Message of Allah to you?" People replied: "Yes." The Prophet said: "O God! Bear witness."
After returning back from the pilgrimage the Prophet fell ill. Day by day he got worst in his illness until he breathed his last on Monday 28 Safar 11 Hijrah at the age of 62.