Muhammad is considered one of the most significant figures in the history of mankind by Muslims as well as non Muslims. The Muslim community believes him to be the true messenger and Prophet, who delivered God's word to the mankind and the last of his kind. However, for those who do not follow Islam, he is known as the founder of the religion. As presented by various historical sources, the Prophet was indeed a great leader, in all senses be it religious, political or military and under his guidance all of Arabia became united under the epitome of Islam.
The name of the Prophet “Muhammad” in Arabic means “highly praised”. This magnetic as well as miraculous personality was born in the city of Mecca, in around 570 CE. He lost his parents, when he was quite young and grew up under the wings of Abu Talib, his uncle. Early on in his life, Muhammad dabbled in business and worked as a merchant as well as shepherd. At the age of 25, he was got married to a wealthy Meccan widow named Khadija and managed her business.
Muhammad had a spiritual bent of mind, which by the time he reached his late 30's, took a stronger color and he began to spend a considerable time in quite contemplation and solitude in a cave at Mout Hira. However, the reports of his receiving first revelations by God, first surfaced in around 610, when he was 40 years old. During the next three years Muhammad gave himself entirely to prayer and worship. He also received in this period more revelations and instructions from God. He proclaimed himself as a Prophet, at the end of this three year period and began to preach the divine revelations that he had received, to the public at large. The main teachings that he imparted were very different from the religion followed of the time, as he proclaimed that “God is one” and advocated complete surrender to the almighty. Muhammad's preaching touched a few hearts and he gained some pupils, however this did not go down well with many tribes of the region, who saw it as a threat to their belief system. Thus, they began to persecute the members of this growing movement, at first the threats were verbal but later it escalated to physical violence.
Migration to Medina
As things began to get too tense in Mecca, Muhammad decided to migrate to the city of Yathrib (Medina) in 622, after her received an invitation form a delegation from there. This historic move came to be known as Hijra, in the Islamic history and also marks the beginning of the traditional Islamic lunar calendar, known as the Hijri Calendar. This move allowed Muhammad to unite all the tribes in the region of Medina under the banner of Islam, while proving himself, to be a proficient statesman, politician and a military leader.
Conquest of Mecca
The Prophet soon established himself as the unquestioned leader of the ever growing Muslim community in Medina and then returned his focus towards the warring tribes his former home in Mecca. Muhammad and his followers waged several wars against the Meccan tribes for about eight years, before finally subduing the city into a submission. By this time the Muslim community had already gained almost 10,000 members, therefore the final conquest of the city was quite peaceful. Muhammad's first action after his forces marched into Mecca was to destroy all the pagan idols present in the city. Then he rededicated the temple of Ka'ba to Allah and almost the entire population of the city converted to Islam.
Muhammad after conquering almost entire Arabia, in name of God and Islam, passed away in Medina, in 632. His work of spreading the word of Islam was taken serious by his successor, Caliphs and by 634, the entire Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam and in next 100 years the religion became a force to recon with, as its influence extended from Atlantic on one side to bordering regions of China, on the other.
Prophet Muhammad played a pivotal role in inception and spread of Islam. Browse the article to know more about him.