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Islam - The Life of Muhammad

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Introduction

Nikesh Karunanithy 11KN Islam The Life of Muhammad A prophet is someone through whom Allah speaks. The Qur'an names 25 prophets, but tradition says there have been 124,000 in all. For Muslims, Muhammad in Allah's last prophet, known as the 'seal of the Prophets.' The exact date of Muhammad's birth in Mecca is unknown, but it is thought to have been no later than 570 AD. His father was called Abdullah, which means 'servant of God' and his mother Aminah- 'peaceful'. Both were members of the Hashim clan, a sub-division of the Quraysh tribe which had lately abandoned its nomadic life as desert Bedouins and risen to dominate the trading city of Mecca. Muhammad had a sorrowful early childhood. The name Muhammad is said to have been given to him as a result of a dream his grandfather had. He is also said to have had other names, such as Abul-Qasim, Ahmad, and Mustafa. There were many legends about Muhammad. One said that before his birth his mother Aminah heard a voice telling her the child would be a great leader. Another told of a heavy shower of rain, a blessing that ended a long drought. Yet another legend was that two angels removed Muhammad's heart, washed it clean, then weighed it against first one man, then ten, then a hundred , then a thousand. Finally they said 'Let it be. Even if you set the whole community in the scale, he would still outweigh it.' These stories show that Allah was preparing Muhammad for his prohetetic mission in future. His father was dead by the time of his birth and his mother died before he was six, meaning he was raised as an orphan. According to Quraysh law he was to be given to a Bedouin foster mother and sent of into the desert, and would be unable to inherit from his father's estate. ...read more.

Middle

Muhammad's ministry was not based on any mircles other than the receiving of the Qur'an. Muhammad is so important to muslims because be was the last prophet, the seal of all that was revealed to the prophets before him. Muslims family life The Qur'an speaks about the family more than any other topic and deals with the rights and responsibilities of husbands and wives, divorce, orphans, inheritance and so on. The Sunnah also deals with relationships within the family: in one tradition, the Prophet says that a man is the guardian of his family and a women is guardian of her husband's home and children. Two particular Qur'anic verses underline the Islamic view of the family: . . . he created for you mates that you may dwell in tranquillity with them and he has put love and mercy between your hearts . . . 30:21 We created you from a simple pair of a male and a female. . . that you may know each other (not that you may dispise each other) 49:13 This declares the essential equality between men and women but Islam does not see this as contradicting different roles played by men and women. For example, muslim men carry the heavy burden of family maintenance and are supposed to be the only, or the main, breadwinners supporting not only their wives and children but other married or widowed women in the family. If a man's wife does not wish to live with his family or anyone else, he must respect her wishes. The major responsibility which falls to the woman is creating a harmonious family atmosphere and bringing up the children. Women may kake up paid work outside the home but it is not expected of them as part of the equal partnership and many muslims feel women should only do so if there is a real need for the money. ...read more.

Conclusion

Muslims and non-believers alike agree the full power and beauty of its writing can only be appreciated in the original. But for muslims it goes further than that. Translations can only be interpretations which cannot truly say what is said in Arabic. The combination of the words and rhythms in the original language- the way the Qur'an sounds when recited- is also an important part of its power. Muslims think of the Qur'an as a complete philosophy, a comprehensive description of the universe and the entirety of the law by which people must live. The longer and later Medina surahs stress Allah's merciful nature more fully, with extensive friendly practical advice on personal and family matters. The Qur'an is also the focus of Islamic art. Many individuals copies of the Book are major works of art in their own right - with sublime Arabic calligraphy on superb hand-made paper, and high quality decorative leather and metal work. Figurative art is forbidden by classical Islam, especially the creation of images of Allah and the Prophets, and the astonishingly fine decorative art found in many mosques is largely based on Arabic calligraphy, woven into patterns repeating passages from the Book. Even the most sceptical non-believer, Muslims insist, is forced to admit that the Qur'an is a book of immense beauty and importance - not least because it has now almost certain become the most widely read and memorised book in the world. The preface to one of the most widely available Qur'an in English, the Tahrike Tarsile translation, puts it like this: 'The Qur'an's miracle lies in its ability to offer at least something to non-believers and everything to believers'. Learning large parts of the the Qur'an by heart is an important part of Muslim religious devotion and children start memorising it at an early age. In many Muslim countries learning the Qur'an by heart forms the basic curriculum of primary school education. Muslims who memorise its contents in their entirety are given the honourable title of al-hafiz. ...read more.

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