The Global Messenger book pdf english islamic book

The Global Messenger book pdf english islamic book

1 The Global Messenger
The Global Messenger
“And We have not sent you except as a mercy for
the worlds.”
(Qur’an: Al-Anbiyaa’:107)
Compiled by Umm Muhammad
Revised by: Osama Emara
2 The Global Messenger
In the Name of Allah, the Most
Gracious, the Most Merciful
3 The Global Messenger
Foreword 5
Part One
General Introduction 9
Allah 9
Islam 10
Prophethood 11
Qur’an 15
Muhammad and the Qur’an 17
Hadith 21
Biography 23
Transparent Personality 24
Summary of Events 32
Before Prophethood 32
The Makkan Period 37
The Madinan Period 56
Part Two
Aspects of the Prophet’s Sunnah 78
In the Realm of Belief 80
Regarding Manners and Character 94
Regarding Deeds and Worship 105
The Prophet’s Supplication 117
Conclusion 127
References 133
4 The Global Messenger
5 The Global Messenger
Advocates of secularism frequently blame religion for
the unfortunate condition of our contemporary world1
with the claim that it breeds fanaticism. Undoubtedly,
violent acts committed by aggressive and irresponsible
members of all major religions have increased
substantially in recent years. Some of them are
sanctioned internationally regardless of the issues at
stake because misplaced sympathies and worldly
interests so demand.
Our statement that Islam is a religion of peace and
civilization might well be met with skepticism because
this religion in particular has been the victim of its
adherents as well as its enemies. Muslims long deprived
of justice under the present world order are committing
large scale criminal acts, erroneously assuming that the
prolonged suffering of their peoples has earned them the
right to take matters into their own hands. But in so
doing they not only alienate public opinion but violate
the most basic principles of their religion.2

1 Disregarding how many have been killed by communists,
nationalists and western nations who ignited two world wars within
half a century, affecting half the population of the earth – not to speak
of their current barbarism in various parts of the world.
2 No matter how sorely oppressed, Muslims are prohibited from
allowing emotion to govern their behavior, excusing it with naïve
interpretations of their religious texts. As part of their commitment to
6 The Global Messenger
Another cause for bleak impressions of Islam is an
increasingly biased media portrayal that targets the
religion rather than its errant followers.3
In addition to
the promotion of sensational misinformation, Islam’s
opponents have now perfected the art of provocation,
aware that there is no shortage of Muslims whose
frustration and anger will lead them to forget religious
ethics and react impulsively. All that remains after that is
for the media to capitalize on the regrettable errors
committed. More recently, provocation has taken the
form of deliberate slander and hostile attacks on the
Prophet of Islam, enraging Muslims throughout the world
to a degree that is difficult for an outsider to
The positive side, however, is that Muslims have been
belatedly prompted to correct the negative impressions
and to share their noble Prophet with the world,
something they should have been doing all along in view
of the fact that he was sent with a global message for all
mankind. The solution to ignorance and
misunderstanding is education. Now, more than ever,

God they are under strict obligation to take their guidance from
qualified scholars of Islamic jurisprudence regarding the
interpretation of those texts and their application to critical
contemporary situations.
3 In addition, the legitimate defense of land, homes and citizens is
inevitably labeled as terrorism when carried out by Muslims, while
the state terrorism practiced by powerful nations against defenseless
opponents is readily excused or even commended.
7 The Global Messenger
Muslims need to answer to such questions as: “Who was
Muhammad?” “Why is he loved so much by some and
hated so much by others?” “Was he really a prophet of
God?” “What did he teach?” “Did he live up to his
claims?” “Did he encourage war and terrorism?” “What is
the truth about this man?”
Non-Muslims, on the other hand, need to ask
themselves honestly, “Does the religion itself encourage
violence?” “Was this the teaching of Muhammad?” “Is
everything we have been hearing lately the truth?” Then,
they must seek answers with an open mind – from
knowledgeable Muslims rather than biased western
Religious conflicts are indeed a part of human history,
but can strife be attributed to religion or to Islam in
particular? Every prophet of God taught peaceful
solutions through dialogue, appeal to reason and
opposition even to the worst tyranny with the least
bloodshed possible. Enemies of those prophets, fearing
loss of power and influence, perpetrated violence against
them and their followers because they had no logical
argument with which to save face and silence the
opposition. And they, too, accused the advocates of
religion of sedition and treason.
The purpose of this small book is not to answer
ignorant or hostile critics, nor is it to recount praises of
our Prophet as countless Muslim authors have done so
8 The Global Messenger
eloquently over the centuries. Rather, it is to present
facts that are based on historically verified sources and
then leave the reader to make his own decision, or if he
desires, to investigate the matter further.
The book is divided mainly into two sections, although
the topics covered in both are interrelated and
complimentary. The first acquaints the reader with
information about the life of Prophet Muhammad and his
global mission, while the second is concerned more with
his teachings and way of life. All statements have been
taken from the authentic Arabic sources which are widely
available for reference and study. But serious scholarship
cannot rely on translations or compilations, such as this
one, in languages other than the original. A work of this
sort can be no more than an outline, and is meant merely
as an introduction to the Messenger of God and the
message he was ordered to convey.
9 The Global Messenger
At the outset, a brief explanation of some basic terms
can facilitate understanding of this book as well as other
material related to Islam. This preface is limited to
essential background information relevant to the book,
while many other concepts, such as those of worship and
jihad should become clear within the content of the
Allah – One of the greatest misconceptions about
Islam has to do with “Allah”, which some non-Muslims
assume is a deity other than the God of the Jews and
Christians. In the Arabic language, “Allah” literally means
“The God”, and is applicable only to the one true God
who created and sustains the heavens and earth. It is the
same word that all Arabic speaking people, regardless of
their religion, use for the supreme being, and is
equivalent to the Hebrew “El” or “Elah”. In English, the
difference between “God”, meaning the one true God,
and “god”, meaning any false god, is a capital G. But in
Arabic, “Allah” is a proper name as well as a
grammatically unique word which cannot be made plural
or given a masculine or feminine gender. Therefore, it can
never refer to a false god, and Muslims use the name
“Allah” for God even when speaking other languages.
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While Muslims, Christians, Jews and some others
believe in the same God, their concepts of Him differ
significantly. Muslims believe in one eternal, unique,
absolute and perfect God who is the Creator and
Sustainer of all that exists. Muslims acknowledge that He
is the origin of all occurrences and that He alone is
divine. His perfect attributes are unlike those of man or
any other being and nothing resembles Him, so He cannot
be compared to anything of His creation. He is in no way
a part of His creation, nor is any of it a part of Him. The
significance of this exclusive divinity is that no one and
nothing in existence is worthy to be worshipped other
than Allah, the one true God.
Islam – Monotheism is the essence of Islam, and it
emphasizes the unity of divinity in contrast to the
concept of trinity in Christianity and plurality of gods in
other faiths. The meaning of “Islam” is peaceful
submission; thus, it is a voluntary relationship between
an individual and his Creator. And it is the only religion on
earth which refuses the worship of any form of creation.
The Islamic creed did not begin with the prophethood
of Muhammad, nor was it invented by him. It is basically
the same message contained in previous divine scriptures
and taught by all prophets of God. But because the
earlier scriptures which taught the pure and correct
belief in God were partially lost and altered through
translations and human interference, Islam invites people
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to return to the true concept of God and to worship and
obey Him alone.
Islamic beliefs are eternal truths that neither change
nor develop, truths about God and His relationship with
the visible and invisible aspects of the universe, about
the reality of this life, about man’s role therein and what
will become of him after it. The “pillars” or main
requirements of faith are: belief in one God, in the angels
created by Him, in the scriptures revealed by Him to His
prophets, in the prophets through whom His revelation
was conveyed to mankind, in the eternal life after death
and in God’s perfect judgement and complete authority
over human destiny.
Prophethood – Muslims believe in all the prophets
and messengers sent by God. The Qur’an4
states that
prior to its revelation, at least one prophet or messenger
had been sent at some time to every nation. Twenty-five
of them are cited by name in the Qur’an, including some
of those mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the
Bible. Most prominent among them are Noah, Abraham,
Moses and Jesus. Every prophet was an outstanding man
in his community, both morally and intellectually. Each
one stated clearly that what he conveyed was not from
himself, but an inspiration from God for the benefit of
mankind. And each was supported by miracles granted by
God as proof of his prophethood.

4 The last revelation from God and His final message to mankind.
12 The Global Messenger
Prophets were human beings who, during particular
periods of world development, conveyed a divine
message to their peoples, supported by signs and
miracles. All prophets were inspired with guidance which
they taught exactly as they were commanded. All were
safeguarded by God from communicating any
inaccuracies in the message, and they were protected
from committing sins, with the exception of unintentional
errors in worldly matters. All of them were truthful,
intelligent, balanced and rational men. The slight
differences in their teachings had to do with secondary
aspects of legislation and procedures of worship, but all
taught the worship of God alone and obedience to Him.
The last prophet and messenger sent to the world was
named Muhammad bin Abdullah. He was a descendant of
Prophet Ishmael, the son of Abraham,5
and was from the
Arab tribe of Quraysh. All good qualities and virtues were
perfected in him even though he had not received any
formal education or training. The revelation was brought
to him by the angel Gabriel, also known to the Jews and
Christians. The message he communicated, however, was
not meant for any particular people, place, or period, but
was a global message. The Messenger of Allah, as he
was called, was appointed to instruct all of mankind and
invite humanity to the same objective as did the prophets

5 Isaac, another son of Abraham, was the ancestor of the Children of
Israel, among whom a number of prophets were raised.
13 The Global Messenger
before him: the worship of God alone without associates
or intermediaries.
His vision could not be attributed to the primitive,
chaotic environment from which he came. It surpassed
not only the limitations of that environment but those of
many centuries to come. He taught that everyone has a
vital duty to perform in the world at large. The final
message conveyed to humanity by Prophet Muhammad
and unchanged from the time of revelation sets right
man’s view of existence: the Creator and His creation, life
and death, the present world and the Hereafter. It
purifies religious belief from delusions of the mind and
the excesses of imagination as well as from alteration
based on human inclinations and opinions. This final
message is distinguished by comprehensiveness, balance,
universality, practicality and ease. It contains guidance for
all of life and is for all peoples and all generations. Its
rulings are precisely determined to benefit mankind and
bring about material and spiritual elevation in both this
life and the next.
Reverence for Prophet Muhammad in no way lessens
that for the previous messengers, for all were sent to
fulfill a purpose, and all are held in high esteem by true
believers. Muslims respect each of the prophets and
messengers sent by God, but are under obligation to
follow the directives of Prophet Muhammad, since the
revelation he conveyed contains the complete and final
religion and legal code for humanity. Just as a new
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revised law invalidates previous ones, the message
revealed to the final prophet supersedes what came
before it. It clarifies what had been obscured in
previous scriptures and corrects the deviations that
had gradually been introduced into pure monotheistic
religion. Thus, there can be no legitimate claim to
prophethood after Muhammad because his message is
final and complete. He is quoted as having said, “The
Children of Israel were guided by prophets. When a
prophet died another succeeded him. However, there will
be no prophet after me; only caliphs.”6
And the Qur’an
confirms the finality of his prophethood, stating that he is
the “seal of the prophets”.
There is explicit evidence for the prophethood of
Muhammad. His coming was foretold and he was
described in previous scriptures. The honest and open
minded among the Jews and Christians recognized him
from those descriptions and believed in his message. As
the revelation descended upon him his companions
noticed certain effects on his body; however, he never
lost consciousness or showed any signs of illness. His life
was protected by God during times of severe danger
throughout the entire period of his prophethood until the
divine message was complete. Like the prophets before
him, Muhammad was supported with miracles, but by far
the greatest of them was the Qur’an, an eternal miracle

6 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
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containing evidences for people of reason and
understanding for all time to come.
Qur’an – The only divine scripture that has remained
in the world completely intact up to the present day is
the Qur’an.7
It is God’s ultimate and final message to
mankind and the primary source of Islamic doctrine. It
contains information and legislation which encompasses
all spheres of human life.
There is only one version of the Qur’an, and unlike
previous scriptures, it remains unaltered in its original
Arabic text.8
Initially, the revealed words were memorized
by a large number of those who heard them directly from
the Prophet. In addition, the entire revelation was
recorded by several scribes during his lifetime, and its
verses placed in the order he designated. Within a year
after the Prophet’s death, the written portions were
collected and carefully checked against what had been
memorized by his companions. Only that which was
corroborated and witnessed was approved. The verified
documents were then bound together, and from that
volume a standard copy was later inscribed, rechecked,
endorsed, reproduced and distributed – all within less
than 25 years of the Prophet’s demise. The Qur’an has
been copied, printed, read, recited and memorized by

7 Meaning literally: a “recitation” or “reading”.
8 Thus, it is easily accessible for study, as Arabic is a language used
and understood by millions of people in the world today.
16 The Global Messenger
millions of Muslims throughout the world up to the
present day, and scholars have confirmed without a
doubt that not the slightest change in content has
occurred during its transmission from one generation to
The Qur’an states that this universe was not formed
by chance, nor is it left to chance. God created it for a
purpose and subjected it to physical laws for a specific
period of time. Man was created for a purpose as well –
to serve God upon the earth and live according to His law,
which means the establishment of justice and attainment
of practical solutions for human problems. The Qur’an
does not condemn any religion directly; rather, it
acknowledges the good works of previous religious
communities but faults them for departing from the
teachings of their prophets. It urges every religious
person to search for the truth, to purify his belief, obey
his Creator and adhere to righteous conduct. It states
that there is an ultimate consequence for every action,
good and evil, and that there is a greater life following
the present one in which complete justice will be realized
for every human being, in fact, for every creature that
ever existed.
The Qur’an is basically a book of guidance but it does
contain some amazing scientific facts. They are amazing
because although they were revealed to Prophet
Muhammad over 14 centuries ago, they were not really
understood by man until scientists “discovered” them in
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recent times. In addition to religious and moral guidance
it contains numerous verses that speak of the universe,
its components and phenomena – the earth, sun, moon,
stars, mountains, wind, rivers and seas, plants, animals,
and successive stages of development of the human
being. It appeals to logic, following clear reasoning and
citing evidences from the created universe, from history
and from the human soul to establish not only the
existence of God, but also His uniqueness and absolute
Muhammad and the Qur’an – Opponents of Islam
sometimes allege that Muhammad himself wrote the
Qur’an or that he copied or adapted it from previous
But it is known that the Prophet’s contacts
with Jews and Christians was negligible before his
emigration from Makkah, and after it, his role was that of
a teacher, openly inviting the Jews and Christians to
accept Islam while pointing out how they had deviated
from the true monotheism taught by their prophets.

9 It is true that there are some similarities between the Qur’an and
the Bible, but this does not indicate that later prophets plagiarized
from former ones. It merely points to the common source, which is
the Creator of mankind, and to the continuance of His basic message
of monotheism. Moreover, there was no Arabic version of the Bible in
existence at the time of Prophet Muhammad. The earliest Arabic
version of the Old Testament is that of R. Saadias Gaon of 900 CE –
more than 250 years after the death of Prophet Muhammad. And the
oldest Arabic version of the New Testament was published by
Erpenius in 1616 CE – about 1000 years after his death.
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Historically and logically, it cannot be established that
there was any human source for the Qur’an or that the
Messenger of Allah learned it from the Jews or Christians.
His enemies kept a close watch on him hoping to find
confirmation of their claim that he was a liar. But they
could not point to a single instance when the Prophet
might have had secret meetings with people of other
At the time the Qur’an was revealed, his
contemporaries among the Arabs who were known for
linguistic eloquence acknowledged that its language was
unique and distinctly different from the speech of
Muhammad, a man well known to them. The Qur’an
states that the Prophet was an unlettered man, so if that
had not been true his opponents would surely have
exposed him. There is, however, not a single report to
this effect, and no one denied his illiteracy. At the same
time, no one denied that the Qur’an was unequaled in
eloquence, impact and clarity, including those who
rejected its message.
It was a sign of Muhammad’s prophethood that he
was an illiterate man. He had to be, so that he could
never be accused of composing or editing the divine
revelations. This fact also eliminates suspicion that he
had learned what he preached from earlier scriptures.
The information he passed to his people was not
obtained through reading and research; it was a kind of
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knowledge that could only have come from the Creator of
the universe.10

It is not difficult to verify that Muhammad did not
possess knowledge of many things mentioned in the
Qur’an, such as historical events, natural phenomena and
future occurrences. The Qur’an even states in several
places that Muhammad and his people did not know
these facts, so again, had it been otherwise, his
adversaries would have capitalized on that claim to
discredit him. Only recently, within the last two centuries,
have advancements in research technology led to the
discovery of facts that had been mentioned in the Qur’an
by the unlettered prophet over fourteen centuries ago.
Among them are these few examples:

  • The creation of the universe from a single entity
    and of life from water: Have those who disbelieved not
    considered that the heavens and the earth were a
    joined entity, and We separated them and made from
    water every living thing?11

10 In addition, the Qur’an, on occasion, reproaches the Prophet and
brings his attention to some unintentional errors. It is quite unlikely
that he would have included such criticisms of himself had he been its
11 Qur’an – 21:30.
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  • All creation is based on duality, made up of pairs,
    counterparts or opposites: And of all things We created
    two mates.
  • The different natures of the sun and moon: It is He
    [the Creator] who made the sun a shining light and the
    moon a derived light and determined for it phases –
    that you may know the number of years and account
    [of time].13
  • The rotation of the earth: He created the heavens
    and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day
    and wraps the day over the night.14
  • The expansion of the universe: And the heaven We
    constructed with strength, and indeed, We are [its]
  • The sun is not stationary but moves in a specific
    direction for a limited term: And the sun runs [on
    course] toward its stopping point.

12 Qur’an – 51:49. In contrast, the Creator is one, with no counterpart
and nothing resembling Him in any way.
13 Qur’an – 10:5. Other verses (25:61 and 71:16) refer to the sun as a
burning lamp.
14 Qur’an – 39:5. The alternate “wrapping” of sunlight and darkness is
caused by the earth’s turning in one direction.
15 Qur’an – 51:47. The Creator refers to Himself in the plural form
which denotes power, grandeur and majesty.
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These are words that were recited by Muhammad, the
unlettered prophet. Nothing mentioned in the Qur’an
contradicts any established scientific fact, and it
addresses these facts with the precision of a scientist.
Could the most highly literate, well read or scholarly man
of that period, or even of the centuries that followed,
possibly have come up with anything remotely similar?
The answer is obvious.
Although not meant to be a book of scientific facts as
such, the Qur’an mentions certain realities that would
only be recognized and appreciated by men in later
centuries – as undeniable evidence that it was not the
work of Muhammad or of any man, but divine revelation
from the Creator of these phenomena. Being the final
revelation to mankind, God made the Qur’an a continuing
miracle containing evidences to be uncovered gradually
as men increase in knowledge of their universe.
Hadith – The teachings of Prophet Muhammad, apart
from the text of the Qur’an, are also available today and
contained in verified records. His sayings, actions and
reactions in every situation throughout his life were
related and recorded by those who actually witnessed
or heard them. A narration of this kind is called a
hadith. Every hadith has two parts: the text and the list

16 Qur’an – 36:38. The sun, as a tiny member of this vast universe is
progressing within it toward a final destination, which indicates an
end to the present creation.
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of transmitters. Even when the text seems correct and
logical, it must be supported by an unbroken chain of
reliable reporters going back directly to the Prophet
himself in order to be accepted by jurists. Scholars
carefully scrutinize the reliability of the transmitters,
accepting only those hadiths whose chain of narrators
is known to be completely reliable and sound. When
verified as authentic, these narrations become a
supplement to the Qur’an as the basic foundation of
Islamic legislation.
The science of hadith criticism began at an early date.
The Prophet’s companions learned and passed on his
teachings by three methods: memorization, written
records and practice. They not only memorized and
recorded the revelations which made up the Qur’an, but
also committed to memory the exact words used by the
Prophet in his own statements as well as descriptions of
his behavior and character. After his death, as Islam was
spread by the companions into Asia and North Africa, this
knowledge accompanied them, and their students
faithfully preserved it for following generations.
As the narrations were subsequently conveyed from
teacher to student, it is a credit to their scholarship that
the narrations were always preceded by a list of narrators
going back to the Prophet himself. This enabled later
scholars to check out each narration and reject it if the
chain of narrators contained anyone who was unknown
or was known to be weak in memory or prone to error.
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Only those narrations whose chains were complete and
whose transmitters were unblemished could actually be
attributed to the Prophet and accepted as authoritative.
This kind of scholarship became all the more essential
in later years when some Muslims began to forge hadiths
to support their own views and spread them among the
common people. Although they succeeded in their
deception for a time, the false narrations were eventually
exposed by hadith specialists. Their strict and precise
methodology enables us today to know which hadiths are
authentic and which ones are weak and unacceptable as
evidence. The great body of information so
conscientiously collected and thoroughly analyzed for
accuracy by Muslim scholars now fills hundreds of
volumes, not to mention the studies which have
developed around it.
Biography – Along with the large collection of hadiths,
the biography (seerah) of Prophet Muhammad is well
known as a part of recorded history. However, there is a
subtle difference between hadith literature and the
Prophet’s biography. His biographers were historians
who, within the first century after his death, began to
gather all the facts they could from the various sources
available. These included descriptions of battles and
other events, descriptions of the Prophet’s character,
descriptions of people with whom he came in contact and
various other biographical information. The early
biographers had all they could manage to collect and
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record the abundant amount of material, and they
expected that others would assume the task of
confirming its authenticity. Thus, many of their
statements began with the words, “It was said” or “They
claimed”, showing that the information had not yet been
systematically verified. This is an expression of integrity
seldom found among conventional historians.
Unfortunately, due to pressing matters of the time,
research into the narrations was delayed, meaning that
the biographies remained more or less on a par with
other history books; yet they were in accord with one
another on all major events and occurrences. Within the
last century there has been renewed effort by a number
of Muslim scholars to sift through this material, discard
what is unconfirmed and retain that which can be
verified. For this purpose they often refer the information
to scholars of hadith, whose methodology is based on
strict rules and defined principles. In this way, every
statement given by a biographer can be evaluated.
Throughout its history the world has produced
countless illustrious individuals. But as a rule they were
figures who distinguished themselves in limited areas,
such as political or military leadership. The stories of
earlier prophets have become so polluted with fiction
that an accurate and authentic account of their lives is no
longer available. But this is not the case with Prophet
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Muhammad, who accomplished so much in so many
diverse fields. Every detail of his private life and public
speech has been documented and carefully preserved up
to the present day. In fact, no biography of any human
being has been preserved as well as his.
The Prophet’s personality was noble and balanced and
his lifestyle was all-encompassing. Within his sayings and
his biography can be found that which concerns and
relates to all people at all times: in ease or hardship,
peace or war, victory or defeat. And within them can be
found every feature of his character; for example:
The devout worshipper – His greatest pleasure was in
prayer, for that is when a believer is closest to his Lord.
He would stand in prayer at night so long that his feet
would swell, and would weep until his beard was wet. He
used to fast often, usually on specific days of the week
and month. He was constantly aware of his Lord,
remembering Him in every situation and fearing His
displeasure. He constantly sought forgiveness for his
human errors and confided, “Indeed, I repent to Allah a
hundred times daily.”
17 His praises and supplications
reflected the highest degree of sincerity and servitude
and the highest aspirations one can have for himself and
He was indifferent to worldly things and content with
little, even though he was eventually granted victories,

17 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
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war booty and sovereignty over the Arabian Peninsula.
He did not refuse the good things of life when they were
available and would be grateful for them. But when they
were not available he would not seek them out or regret
the shortage. He would live mostly on dates and water
and often months passed when no fire was lit for cooking
in his house. He slept on a simple straw mat and said,
“What do I need of this world? It is like the shade of a
tree in which a rider naps at noon; then he moves on and
leaves it.”

But while the Prophet encouraged people to perform
acts of worship, he warned them against going to
extremes in the practice of religion. He disapproved of
taking on acts of voluntary worship beyond what could be
done with ease, in order to prevent enthusiastic believers
from neglecting other responsibilities or from exhausting
themselves physically or spiritually. Rather, he taught
moderation in this respect, and that small works done
regularly earn more reward in the long run than a great
amount done for awhile and later abandoned.
Member of a family and community – Despite his
extraordinary spirituality and indifference to the world,
he was not heedless of central aspects of life nor did he
neglect its duties and responsibilities. He did not forget
that he was a husband, father, grandfather, relative,
neighbor, friend and leader, and that each of these has

18 Narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi.
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obligations toward others. He was a human being, one
that could be pleased, angry, happy or sad. He would joke
with his companions at times, yet not speak except the
truth. When he was angry it did not prevent him from
justice and morality, and when he was saddened he bore
it with patience and acceptance.
He was a husband who, despite of his great concerns
and responsibilities, was fair and just with his wives,19
pleasing them as much as possible, settling problems
among them, considering their feelings and appreciating
the individuality and circumstances of each one. Among
his wives were those who were young and old, a
daughter of his sworn enemy and a daughter of his
closest friend. They represented the spectrum of society.
One was occupied with raising orphans, another was
characterized by fasting and praying a great deal at night,
and several were known for scholarship. He sought good
marriages for his daughters and was an affectionate
father to his children and grandchildren. He was
concerned with the rights of relatives, including the nonMuslims among them. He was loyal to his friends and

19 It is noteworthy that in a world which had previously allowed men
an unlimited number of wives, it was Islam that came to regulate the
practice by limiting the number of wives to four and establishing the
condition of fair treatment for each. But, for reasons known to God,
the prophets were not restricted to four wives as are Muslims in
28 The Global Messenger
companions and observed the rights of neighbors, even
those who were insensitive and abusive.
Head of state, teacher and advisor – He became the
head of an emerging state surrounded on all sides by
enemies. He established political ties with the various
factions among the local inhabitants and drew up a
constitution. He received delegations and sent messages.
He knew that man has a responsibility to develop the
earth and civilize it, and was a perfect example of balance
and moderation. He developed a well-disciplined nation
out of chaotic tribalism and provided peace in place of
war. He advised people to spend within their means,
neither to be so excessive as to make themselves
insolvent, nor to withhold from those in need. It is said
that morals are known during power and predominance.
When the Prophet enjoyed power and influence, he
demonstrated the highest level of morality, even toward
those who opposed him in combat.
Commander of the army – Muhammad was a prophet
of mercy and a prophet of battle. His message was
primarily one of mercy, but he was obliged to turn to
battle when certain powers refused mercy and morality
and sought to deprive others of them and of their natural
rights and individual freedoms. He was a commander
who gathered statistics about military capabilities, sent
scouts to gather information and drew up battle plans.
Aware that the Creator had ordained for every
occurrence a cause, he applied this natural law in order
29 The Global Messenger
to achieve success. He made full use of all means
available, applied strategies and called upon his Lord for
assistance. After that he could expect divine support,
knowing that he had fulfilled his obligation.
The total number of days the Prophet was required to
spend in defensive warfare comes to less than a year. His
most famous battles did not last for more than one day,
and the total number of the enemy slain during battle has
been recorded at 759. With very few exceptions, enemy
captives and the wounded were treated with
benevolence and justice.20 After the conquest of Makkah,
there were no reprisals. Only four of the enemy were
executed, and that was due to their previous crimes
rather than to the fact that they were captives.
Muhammad was no more than a human being, but he
was a man with a noble mission. During the 23-year
period of his prophethood, he changed the entire Arabian
Peninsula from paganism to worship of the one true God,
from tribal wars to national unity, from anarchy to
disciplined living, from barbarism to the highest
standards of moral excellence. No other man in history
excelled in so many different aspects of life. He not only
taught and established the religion, but founded a state,
initiated numerous political and social reforms, built a
powerful and dynamic society and completely

20 When a few zealous Muslims transgressed on occasion, they were
severely rebuked.
30 The Global Messenger
revolutionized the realm of human thought and behavior

  • all within just over two decades.
    Some have asserted that the message he brought was
    a product of his own mind. But if that was so, why did he
    not take credit for it? He could have claimed supernatural
    qualities, enjoyed recognition, accepted a high position of
    leadership, or at least avoided adversity and opposition.
    But Muhammad maintained the opposite: that he was a
    human being like everyone else, that he spoke nothing of
    his own accord, and that the Qur’an, the like of which
    humanity could not produce, was a message from God,
    revealed to him by God, to whom alone belongs all glory
    and praise. All of the legislation he pronounced, the
    principles he taught and the great achievements for
    which he could have attained personal renown and
    advantage were attributed to the guidance and support
    of God alone. At the time of his death in spite of his
    nation’s increasing material wealth, he possessed nothing
    of worldly value. His character, generosity, righteousness
    and integrity all stand as irrefutable evidence of his
    While it was still in its early stages, the Qur’an
    disclosed that Islam was indeed a global religion. Allah
    addressed His Prophet therein, saying: “And We have not
    sent you but as a mercy to [all] the worlds.”21 “And We
    have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind,

21 Qur’an – 21:107
31 The Global Messenger
as a bringer of good tidings and a warner, but most of
the people do not know.”22 Islam is meant for all people
regardless of race, nationality, cultural or religious
background. The Prophet and his followers made every
effort to spread the message of truth to all nations and
peoples. From the commencement of his mission, his
companions came from a wide range of lands and races.
Among them was Bilal, an African, Suhaib, a Byzantine,
Salman, a Persian and Ibn Salam, a Jewish scholar. All
were united in the brotherhood of faith.23

As the Prophet undertook to follow and teach the
directives that came to him through the divine revelation,
great changes came about in peoples who would
otherwise have been unnoticed by history. But the
resulting historical events are, in themselves, given less
importance by Muslim scholars than the human factor
that caused them – the direct relationship between the
positive attitudes and efforts of men and the result
bestowed upon them by God in the form of success and
blessing in this worldly life, even before that of the

22 Qur’an – 34:28
23 The modern Muslim world, from Asia to Africa and into Europe is
further proof that Islam is a universal message for all mankind – not to
mention the fact that significant numbers of western Europeans and
Americans of all races and ethnic backgrounds are discovering and
entering Islam.
32 The Global Messenger
Before Prophethood – Prophet Muhammad was born
to the tribe of Quraysh in the Arabian city of Makkah.
This city had been built up around the Kabah, the structure built by Prophets Abraham and Ishmael in response to a divine command. The two prophets, to whom Muhammad's ancestry is traced, had dedicated the House for the worship of Allah, the one true God. But with the passing of centuries, the tribes of Arabia, while still acknowledging Allah as the Creator, had turned to polytheism and idol worship. Some claimed that these idols were intermediaries between the people and Allah, while others worshipped Allah as merely one of their many deities. They had filled and surrounded the Kabah
with statues, stones and other objects of worship.
The House of Allah was what made Makkah a center
of commerce as well as one of worship and gave its
people honor among the neighboring tribes. During the
pilgrimage season in particular, the Quraysh hosted
guests and delegations from near and far. As custodians
of the Kabah, they were guardians of the idols as well. Their prestige and authority throughout the Arabian Peninsula and beyond was derived from this role, and their business interests necessitated the maintenance of this tradition. A year before the birth of the Prophet, a Christian army commanded by Abrahah al-Ashram, a ruler of 33 The Global Messenger Yemen, marched to the outskirts of Makkah with the intention of destroying the Kabah. He had hoped to
replace the Kabah, the center of worship and pilgrimage for the Arabs, with a large cathedral he had built in Sanaa. His army of 60,000 men included a number of elephants. The army advanced unopposed until it reached the outskirts of Makkah, and the Quraysh, powerless to resist, could only hide in the nearby mountains and wait. Defenseless and in desperation, they began to supplicate Allah fervently to protect His House. The way was clear for the army, led by one huge elephant, to enter the city and attack the Kabah, but
Allah willed otherwise. Every time they urged the
elephant toward Makkah, it refused to advance. They
beat and slashed it with irons, but to no avail. When
turned in the opposite direction it would take off, but
when faced toward Makkah it would kneel and refuse to
move. This went on until there appeared in the sky great
flocks of birds carrying stones in their beaks and claws.
These stones they released on the army, tearing their
skins and infecting them with disease. Many of the
aggressors perished on the spot, and others, including
Abrahah, fled in panic and died on the way back.
During a period of difficulty at the outset of his
prophethood, Allah consoled His Messenger with the
following verses from the Qur’an: Have you not
considered how your Lord dealt with the companions of
the elephant? Did He not make their plan into
34 The Global Messenger
misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks,
striking them with stones of hard clay. And He made
them like chewed up straw.24 It was a reminder of how
Allah had protected His House from harm while the
polytheists and their idols were helpless to do so.
Prophet Muhammad would also be protected by Allah
until his mission was complete. He was born later in that
same year, which was known to the tribes as “the Year of
the Elephant”.
Although Allah was still acknowledged in name, the
people of Arabia had all but forgotten the religion of their
forefathers, Abraham and Ishmael. They were steeped in
immoralities and injustices of every kind and often
occupied by bloody tribal feuds. Except for idol worship
and some traditional sentiments of Arab chivalry, they
had no common objective or code of ethics to guide their
conduct. They were a people plunged in ignorance, in
gambling and intoxication, devotion to idols and
committing abominations. They mistreated their
neighbors, buried their female children alive and as a
rule, the strong devoured the weak. It was into this
corrupt and tradition centered society that the
Messenger of Allah was born.
Muhammad grew up as an orphan, as his father,
Abdullah, had died before his birth, and his mother,
Aminah, passed away when he was yet six years old. His

24 Qur’an – 105:1-5.
35 The Global Messenger
grandfather, ‘Abdul Muttalib, who had taken the boy
following the death of his mother, himself died two years
later, and the guardianship then went to his son, Abu
Talib, who was an honorable but very poor man.
Muhammad was raised by his uncle with love and care
within his meager circumstances. As a boy, Prophet
Muhammad tended sheep and later made a living
through trade and commerce.
When Muhammad was nine years old, he insisted on
accompanying Abu Talib on a journey to Syria in a
merchant caravan. As the caravan reached the town of
Busra, it halted for a short rest, and there they met a
Christian monk by the name of Baheera. He came out of
his cell to welcome the merchants and prepared a meal
for them. The caravan had attracted Baheera because of
something he had observed from a distance. When the
monk saw the boy, he noticed the signs of prophethood
that he had learned from the scriptures. He advised Abu
Talib to return the youth to his home and guard him from
the Jews, adding that great honor awaited his nephew.
Abu Talib immediately sent Muhammad back to Makkah.
Muhammad had no formal education, but his
intelligence, honesty and sincerity made him widely
respected as a young man. Allah had developed his mind
and kept him away from the negative aspects of pagan
society. Since early youth, he was known for moderation,
integrity and a serious sense of responsibility. His upright
nature won him the title of “al-Ameen”, which means
36 The Global Messenger
“the Trustworthy”. He was skilled in public relations and
during reparation of the Ka`bah managed to avert a major
crisis among the quarrelling tribes. His sense of justice
also prompted him to encourage and participate in the
drawing up of a pact25 among the Makkans for the
protection of weaker members of society from
exploitation and oppression by the powerful. The high
moral character of such a man within a corrupt society
attests to the divine will in preparing him for the
At the age of twenty-five, he married Khadijah, a
noble widow of forty. She was a businesswoman, and like
other merchants of Makkah, she would hire men to
transport her goods and engage in trade on her behalf.
Having heard of Muhammad’s integrity, she employed
him to accompany her merchandise to Syria. She was
pleased with the profits he brought her and greatly
impressed with his character. She sent someone to
propose marriage to him in spite of having previously
refused many wealthy and influential suitors. Muhammad
remained contentedly married to Khadijah until her
death, twenty-five years later. She bore him two sons,
who died in early childhood, and four daughters, all of
whom embraced Islam as adults.
Although the marriage freed him from financial need,
Muhammad had little interest in worldly affairs. He had

25 Called “Hilful-Fudul”.
37 The Global Messenger
always had an instinctive aversion to the traditional idol
worship of his society, and in the period following his
marriage, he turned increasingly to contemplation,
longing to know more about the religion of his ancestor,
the prophet Abraham, and the truth about Allah. He
himself neither sought prophethood nor had it ever
occurred to him. But the spiritual unrest and
dissatisfaction he felt with the way of life observed
around him led him to seek seclusion in order to
contemplate and worship Allah in his own way. He began
to retire to the cave of Hiraa in a mountain far outside
the city for meditation and prayer. Unaware of what this
internal disquiet meant, the thought that he was about to
be honored with prophethood never crossed his mind.
The Makkan Period – The first signs of prophethood
came in the form of dreams, which inevitably came true
shortly after their occurrence. Then, at the age of forty,
while he was alone as usual in the cave, the angel
Gabriel26 appeared before him, commanding him to
recite. Muhammad replied truthfully, “I am not one who
can recite.” He had never indulged in the recitation of
poetry, a favorite pastime of his contemporaries among
the Arabs. The Prophet related that the angel pressed
him forcefully, after which he released him and said

26 Arabic: Jibreel.
38 The Global Messenger
again, “Recite”.27 He replied a second time, “I am not one
who can recite.” The angel again pressed him as before
and on releasing him said, “Recite.” When Muhammad
replied once again that he could not recite, the angel
pressed him even more forcefully in the same manner. He
then released him and delivered the first of the
revelations from Allah which he was to receive in
portions over a period of twenty-three years:
“Recite in the name of your Lord who created –
Created man from a clinging clot.
Recite, and your Lord is most generous,
Who taught by the pen –
Taught man that which he knew not.”28
The Prophet recited these verses and the angel
departed. This event took place in the middle of the lunar
month of Ramadhan in the year 610 CE. Terrified at what
he had experienced, Muhammad fled to the comfort of
his wife, Khadijah, who reassured him that because of his
kindness, generosity and righteousness, Allah would
never harm him. She was the first to believe in his
prophethood. She then took him to her aged cousin,
Waraqah bin Nawfal, who had become a Christian and
had knowledge of the earlier scriptures. When he heard

27 The word “iqra” can be translated as either “recite” or “read”.
Some commentators prefer the latter as it is known that the Prophet
was illiterate.
28 Qur’an – 96:1-5.
39 The Global Messenger
about the extraordinary occurrence, he realized that
Muhammad was the long awaited Prophet of God. He
said, “That is the angel Allah sent to Moses. If only I were
younger and could be alive when your people drives you
out.” “Will they drive me out?” asked Muhammad. “Yes”,
replied Waraqah, “For no man has ever come with
anything like what You have brought but that he was
harmed. If I should live to see that day, I will support you
vigorously.” But he died shortly afterward.
After the initial revelation there was a period of
pause. Commentators suggest that the interruption was
in order to allow the fear in the Prophet’s heart to
subside. There are reports to the effect that after that
first experience he doubted his sanity and considered
throwing himself from the peak of a mountain. But the
angel Gabriel would appear to him, saying, “Muhammad,
you are truly the Messenger of Allah.”29

Once his anxiety had diminished, Muhammad began
to await return of the revelation and then even to long
for it. He related to his companions how it resumed:
“While I was walking I heard a voice from the heaven. I
lifted my head and there was the angel that had come to
me in Hiraa, seated on a chair between the heaven and
earth. I was terrified of him and returned home. I told
them, ‘Wrap me up! Wrap me up!’ so they wrapped me
[in garments]. But then Allah, the Exalted, sent down the

29 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
40 The Global Messenger
words: O you who cover himself! Arise and warn! And
glorify your Lord, and purify your clothing, and avoid
contamination. After that the revelation began to come
more frequently and in succession.”30

These preliminary instructions were given to the
Prophet at the commencement of his mission. He was
told what to do and what kind of life to adopt. He was to
forsake the comforts of ordinary life, dedicate himself to
Allah and arise to the awesome task ahead of him. From
that moment on, Prophet Muhammad’s life was never to
be the same; it would be a continuous struggle to fulfill
the trust placed upon him by his Lord.
The message he was to impart was that of every
prophet before him: that there is nothing worthy of
worship and obedience except the Mighty and Majestic
God who created this universe and maintains everything
in existence. The Prophet was ordered to issue a warning,
which meant ignorance could no longer be justification
for wrongdoing, and that those warned would be held
fully accountable for their actions. He invited people to
belief in Allah as their true God, their Creator and
Sustainer, and to believe in resurrection after death, the
final account and just recompense in an eternal life. This
religion, called “Islam”, meant submission to the will of

30 Narrated by al-Bukhari. The Qur’anic verses quoted are 74:1-5.
“Contamination” here refers to spiritual as well as physical impurity
and alludes to polytheism and idol worship.
41 The Global Messenger
God by all people, without any distinction between them.
It was a universal call – all believers were to be brothers
and equals.
The Messenger of Allah began with discretion by
imparting the message privately to those close to him
who knew him best and trusted him most. The first
Muslim believer was Khadijah, followed by Zayd, a slave
boy he had freed and adopted as a son, and his young
cousin Ali, who had also been raised in his home. Next
was his closest friend Abu Bakr, through whose efforts a
number of others were convinced of the truth of Islam.
These enthusiastic forerunners of the religion soon
became over forty in number. The word began to spread
within the city that Muhammad was teaching some sort
of new faith. The number of Muslims continued to
increase to the point that curiosity was aroused among
the people of Makkah. But most of them were yet
unconcerned and continued to view the Prophet and his
followers with indifference.
He would meet with them and teach them regularly
as more and more verses of the Qur’an were revealed in a
fascinating and powerful language. The lives of these men
and women were completely transformed and they
became examples of the highest degree of virtue and
courage. The group of early believers also shared a strong
bond of brotherhood based on the new consciousness of
Allah and their common effort to spread and teach His
religion and way of life. Within three years the faith was
42 The Global Messenger
firmly established in the hearts of the Prophet’s
companions, and the period of individual propagation
was drawing to a close.
Through the Qur’an, Allah then ordered His
Messenger to take the message to the public, saying:
“And warn your closest kindred.”31 This was a reference
to his tribe, the Quraysh, who inhabited Makkah and the
surrounding areas, but it was also an order to make
himself known to all peoples of the world. Given the
tribal mentality of the Makkans, it was not only natural
but prudent to begin public propagation with his closest
kindred, for they were the ones who would be most likely
to support him or at least defend him as their sense of
honor prescribed. It did not mean, however, that the
message was restricted to the Quraysh, but only that
informing them was a logical first step toward the
realization of a long term goal. It was clear from many
verses revealed, even early ones, that the Prophet’s
mission was to be a global one. Several of them which
mention the revelation conclude with: “And it is not but
a reminder for the worlds.”
After issuing a number of invitations in which he
explained the religion and expressed concern for the
people’s destiny, the Prophet issued an alarm call,
mounted the hill of Safa near the Ka`bah and addressed
the crowd that had gathered: “If I was to inform you that

31 Qur’an – 26:214.
43 The Global Messenger
horsemen were in the valley behind this hill ready to
attack you, would you believe me?” The question was
meant to obtain their confirmation of his honesty,
credibility and reliability. They replied, “Yes, for we have
never known you to lie”. Having gained their vote of
confidence, he continued, “Indeed, I am a warner to you
of a severe punishment.” But his uncle, Abu Lahab,
replied, “May you be ruined for the rest of the day. Is this
what you gathered us for?” And he got up and left.32

The Prophet of Allah continued to address the
Quraysh in obedience to the command of his Lord: “And
say, “Indeed, I am the clear warner.”33
He would invite
them to the mercy of Allah and warn them to save
themselves from the Hellfire, adding that his kinship
would not benefit them before Allah at all, due to the
fact that every individual is accountable for his deeds. His
concern for them was evident in the sadness he felt upon
their rejection of his message, and he increased his
efforts to speak whenever the opportunity arose.
The Qur’anic revelation came frequently with vivid
descriptions of Paradise and Hellfire, with
encouragement and warning to all those it was to reach.
Allah’s Messenger instructed his followers to learn the

32 Thereupon a short chapter of the Qur’an was revealed which
begins: “May the hands of Abu Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he.”
33 Qur’an – 15:89.
44 The Global Messenger
verses by heart and those who were skilled in writing to
record them as soon as he recited them. Like his
predecessors among the prophets, he lived and taught
total commitment to the conviction that Allah, the
Creator, was to be worshipped alone, without equals of
associates. He firmly rejected the worship of any created
being and was saddened by the degradation of humanity
resulting from such practices.
The revelations that came to the Prophet during the
Makkan period dealt mainly with matters belief – the
unity and exclusiveness of Allah, His absolute power and
ability, and His mercy. It informed of the Judgement, the
rewards and punishments of the Hereafter, and the
personal responsibility of every soul. It taught morality,
piety, patience, the spirit of sacrifice, and dependence
upon Allah. It comforted the believers in hardship, giving
examples of the difficulties faced by the earlier prophets
in their struggle to re-establish the worship of Allah on
earth. And finally, it reassured them that Allah in His
wisdom always does what is best. The early chapters
came in powerful language aimed at awakening the
hearts of men who had long been unaware.
As a rule, any new concept on the rise in society will
be met with a certain apprehensiveness, skepticism and
often, disapproval and opposition. The wider the
disparity between the traditional beliefs and customs and
the newly proposed ideals, the greater the discord
between the two. The message Muhammad brought,
45 The Global Messenger
calling on people to reject false deities – stones, idols or
anything else – and to worship Allah exclusively, was in
clear contrast to the ways of those who were satisfied
with their erroneous beliefs, irrational customs and moral
corruption. The worship of Allah alone was clearly
understood by all the Arabs to mean full obedience to the
legislation he was sending down, not only in regard to
religious rites, but in the establishment of comprehensive
moral principles based on justice and benefit for all. For
those in power it would mean some concession of
authority and limitation of worldly advantages; hence the
majority of them refused it outright.
Despite increasing problems, the Prophet never
ceased to seek out and speak to any who would listen.
The polytheistic traditionalists perceived a threat to their
established way of life and to the authority which was
derived from that social order. The reaction among the
Quraysh in Makkah was first ridicule and then
persecution of the growing group of Muslims. The
Prophet was then directed: “So declare what you are
commanded and turn away from the polytheists.”34
so doing, believers would now be irrefutably
distinguished from non-believers both in their creed and
in their conduct. The declaration ordered by Allah was no
less than an exposure of the ineffectiveness of idolatry

34 Qur’an – 5:94.
46 The Global Messenger
and superstition supported by clear proofs and
Unable to deal with such pronouncements coming
from the man they had always referred to as “the
Trustworthy”, the Quraysh convened and called upon the
Prophet’s uncle and guardian, Abu Talib, to convince his
nephew to cease these menacing activities. But Abu Talib,
while advising him, continued to treat Muhammad
benevolently and to protect him. Nothing could persuade
him to abandon the nephew he loved like his own sons.
Impatient to end the disruption of their established social
order, the influential chiefs of Makkah attempted to
dissuade the Prophet by offering him wealth and
authority in return for the abandonment of his call to
worship one God and the criticism of their traditions, in
particular, idol worship.
Finally, they gave Abu Talib an ultimatum: he must
either prevent his nephew from speaking out or allow
them to deal with him themselves. But even if his uncle
should no longer be willing to shield him, the Messenger
of Allah had no option but to continue in his mission. He
told him, “O uncle, by Allah, if they were to place the sun
in my right hand and the moon in my left for me to give
up this matter, I would not give it up until Allah makes it
successful or else I perish in the effort.” Abu Talib could
only say, “Go where you will and say what you will. By
Allah, I will never deliver you to your enemies.”
47 The Global Messenger
Criticism of traditions long held sacred and open
denunciation of paganism generated intense enmity
among those firmly attached to their ancestral beliefs.
Their resentment provoked them to violence against
weak members of the society who had accepted Islam.
The leaders of Quraysh persuaded other tribes to take
similar measures against the defenseless and vulnerable
Muslims among them. The attitude of the Quraysh
strongly influenced other Arabs who respected them as
caretakers of the Kabah. Many believers were compelled to endure beatings, shackles and imprisonment with denial of food and water. Some were stretched on burning sands with heavy rocks placed on their chests and some were burned with red hot irons. Several died as a result of torture, but not one would renounce his faith. All attempts to seduce the companions away from Islam had ended in failure, as did their efforts to stop the Prophet from preaching the religion so fearlessly. As the hostility of the persecutors increased, so did the number of the Prophet’s followers. The polytheistic establishment then decided that people visiting Makkah had to be kept away from the Prophet lest they hear his words and be convinced by them. They lashed out against him personally, calling him a liar, a sorcerer and a poet. They insulted, harassed and abused him in every manner, disregarding the traditional ties of kinship and all humanitarian concerns. 48 The Global Messenger Persecution increased to an alarming degree, but the Prophet restrained his followers from striking back and counseled patience and forbearance in the face of hardship until such a time as Allah would show them the way. Complete trust in the divine promise and compensation of the Hereafter disciplined the Muslims and strengthened their will. Finally, in the fifth year of prophethood, Allah's Messenger gave permission for his followers to seek refuge in Abyssinia, where they were received sympathetically by the Negus, a Christian king who proved to be just and benevolent. It was there the Muslims found an agreeable environment where they could reside until the situation at home improved. A total of eighty-three persons are reported to have migrated to Abyssinia, some alone and others accompanied by their families. The news that Muslims had found peace in Abyssinia reached Makkah, making the pagan establishment all the more angry and frustrated. Their agents soon arrived at the king's court bearing gifts and requesting surrender of the refugees. But the Negus deemed it highly improper to hand over those who had sought his asylum. When the envoys of the Quraysh persisted in their demand, presenting him with a negative portrayal of the religion they professed, he summoned the Muslims to his court in the presence of his bishops, and asked: "What is this religion for which you have forsaken your people?" 49 The Global Messenger Jafar, a son of Abu Talib and cousin of the Prophet,
arose on behalf of the Muslims and addressed the ruler,
saying, “O King, we were a people absorbed in ignorance.
We worshipped idols, ate dead animals, committed
immoralities, broke ties of relationship, mistreated our
neighbors and exploited the weak. But then God sent a
prophet from among us whose honesty, truthfulness and
trustworthiness we knew. He invited us to acknowledge
the oneness of God, to worship Him alone and to
renounce the stones and idols we and our forefathers
used to worship. He enjoined us to speak the truth, to
fulfill our trusts and to observe the rights of our relatives
and neighbors. He ordered us to refrain from everything
unlawful and from bloodshed. He forbade us from
immoralities, telling lies, taking the property of orphans
and from speaking ill of chaste women. He ordered us to
worship God alone, without any associate, to perform
prayer, give the poor-due and observe fasting. We
believed in him and followed him in what he brought us
from the religion of God, so we worshipped God alone
without associating anything with Him. We considered
unlawful what he prohibited and accepted what he
permitted. Hence, our people made enemies of us and
tormented us; they tried to prevent us from our faith and
return us to the worship of idols after we had worshipped
God, and return us to unlawful practices. So when they
oppressed, tortured, restricted and prevented us from
the practice of our religion, we fled to your country,
50 The Global Messenger
having chosen you over all others. We have come seeking
your protection and expect we will not be treated
unjustly with you, O King.”
The Negus listened carefully to the words of Jafar who had spoken truthfully and frankly, well aware that Christian beliefs differed somewhat from those he had expressed. He knew that his words could affect the outcome of this critical meeting. The king inquired of Jafar if he could recite anything that had been conveyed
from God to his prophet, so he recited from the Qur’an
the opening verses of the chapter called Maryam, in
which Allah describes the birth of Prophet John and the
virgin birth of Prophet Jesus to Mary. The Negus wept as
did his bishops. He exclaimed, “Indeed, this [recitation]
and that which Jesus brought came from a single [source
of] light.” And he granted asylum to the Muslims.
The departure of Muslims from Makkah resulted in
additional persecution for those who remained behind.
Frustration at their failure to stop them led the Quraysh
to increase pressure on Abu Talib to surrender his
nephew. The position of the Quraysh strongly influenced
the other Arab tribes to oppose the Muslims. The pagan
chiefs sent an ultimatum to the clan of the Prophet,
demanding that he should be declared an outlaw and
delivered to them for execution. Every member, including
the polytheists among them, rejected the demand.
Thereupon the chiefs determined to boycott the
extended family of Muhammad and any who supported
51 The Global Messenger
them. The Prophet’s uncle, Abu Lahab, left his kinsmen
and participated in the boycott in support of the enemies
of Islam.
Men, women and children were deprived of food and
supplies for nearly three years and endured extreme
hardship. They were reduced to eating the leaves of
bushes and suffered terrible misery. Many of them died,
but no one would defect or betray the Prophet. For his
part, the Prophet never ceased reciting the revelations
from Allah and teaching the religion at every
opportunity.35 Finally, a group of non-Muslims from
different tribes moved by humanitarian sentiment
denounced the unjust and oppressive boycott.
Concurrently, a document declaring the boycott, which
had been hung on the Ka`bah, was devoured by white
ants, leaving only the words “In Your name, O Allah.”
Thus the boycott was finally lifted, and many of those
who had been in Abyssinia returned, only to face
renewed persecution later on.
Owing to the long period of suffering, the Prophet’s
wife, Khadijah and his protecting uncle and chief of the
tribe, Abu Talib, passed away soon after the boycott
ended. Their death was not only a great personal loss,

35 This is a historical refutation of the false claim that Muhammad
was an advocate of nationalism who represented the hopes and
aspirations of the Arabs at that time. It shows that bonds of faith and
common objective are stronger than those of blood or nationality.
52 The Global Messenger
but signaled the beginning of another difficult period for
the Prophet of Allah. Abu Lahab, the ardent enemy of
Islam, now succeeded to leadership of the tribe.
The Messenger then decided to make a journey to the
neighboring city of Ta’if for the purpose of inviting its
people to Allah. There he met the chiefs and leaders,
calling upon them to worship God alone, but the chiefs
were rude and insolent. They incited gangs of youths to
harass and throw stones at him and drive him out of the
city. Exhausted and injured, his only fear was that Allah
might be displeased because he had somehow failed in
his duty. During his return while disheartened and
depressed, Gabriel appeared with an angle who offered
to crush the unbelievers of Makkah between two
mountains, but the Prophet replied, “Rather, I hope that
Allah will bring forth from their loins those who will
worship Him alone without associating anything with

In order to encourage and show favor upon Prophet
Muhammad after the severe trials he had endured, his
Lord honored him through the miraculous night journey
(israa’) to Jerusalem and ascension (mi`raaj). It is
mentioned thus in the Qur’an: “Exalted is He who took
His servant by night from the Sacred Mosque [in
Makkah] to the Farthest Mosque [in Jerusalem], whose

36 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
53 The Global Messenger
surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our
From Jerusalem the Prophet was raised through the
seven heavens during the same night. There he met
several of the former prophets and was shown some of
the greatest signs of God. It was there, as well, that Allah
made five daily prayers obligatory. Details of the journey
were related to the people the following morning.
Muhammad was asked by the disbelievers to describe
Jerusalem as proof to them, which he did accurately,
additionally informing them of a caravan on its way to
Makkah, which arrived at the predicted time. But in spite
of that evidence, most of them refused to believe. The
believers, however, had no doubt about this event,
certain of the Prophet’s truthfulness.
The Messenger of Allah continued to approach various
tribes during their visits to Makkah and to the Ka`bah,
asking them to acknowledge that God alone was worthy
to be worshipped. He would say, “O people, declare that
there is no god other than Allah and you will attain
success.” But Abu Lahab would follow him, appearing
wherever people assembled around him and shout, “He is
misguided and a liar. He wants you to abandon your gods
and goddesses. Do not let him lure you away from your
religion and the religion of your forefathers.” The Prophet
would sometimes inquire of those present, “Would any

37 Qur’an – 17:1
54 The Global Messenger
man take me among his people since the Quraysh have
prevented me from conveying the words of my Lord, the
Mighty and Majestic?”38

Then, by the will of God, came the turning point for
Islam. During the pilgrimage season some men from the
northern city of Yathreb heard the Prophet speaking,
accepted the truth of what he said and swore allegiance
to him. They returned with the message to their city,
where more people entered the faith. Islam spread in
Yathreb, and the following year a delegation was sent to
invite the Messenger to their city and pledge that they
would defend him as they would their own families.
The pagan establishment would never allow Muslims
the freedom to practice their faith. Those who had
endured unbearable conditions in Makkah were at last
given permission to migrate to Yathreb. They moved
quietly in order to avoid confrontation as much as
possible, most being forced to abandon everything they
owned. They left their homeland, their kinsmen and their
properties, all for the cause of God, to uphold and spread
the principles of His religion. But the Prophet himself
remained behind, awaiting a divine command at the
appropriate time, for the primary concern was to insure
continuation of his mission.
The Quraysh, dismayed at the turn of events and the
escape of so many Muslims from under their jurisdiction,

38 Narrated by Ahmad.
55 The Global Messenger
convened once again, determined to end the challenge to
their authority once and for all. About the same time that
Allah directed His Messenger to emigrate from Makkah,
the Quraysh were plotting his assassination. A member of
each clan was to take part in the collaborated murder in
order to avoid retribution by the heirs against any one of
them. However, Allah inspired His Messenger with
perception of the conspiracy, enabling him to elude his
enemies and leave the city with his close companion, Abu
It was only their stubbornness and attachment to
influence and supremacy which prevented the
unbelieving Quraysh from accepting Muhammad’s
message of reform. Strangely enough, they had entrusted
some of their valuables to the care of the Prophet,
evidence that they were well aware of his integrity. In
fact, they had trusted him with their possessions even
while they were opposing him and plotting his death.
Before his departure from Makkah with his life in danger,
the Messenger of Allah instructed that everything
entrusted to his care by them be returned to the owners.
The Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Yathreb is
called the Hijrah.
39 All attempts of the Makkan polytheists
to overtake him and prevent it ended in failure. There are
authentic accounts of several incidents during the

39 This event was later designated as the beginning of the Islamic
56 The Global Messenger
journey when the Prophet and his companion faced grave
danger but Allah protected them miraculously from harm.
Yathreb had been chosen by God to shelter His
Messenger and to serve as a focal point for the universal
call of Islam. Following the Hijrah, it came to be known as
“Madinat ar-Rasul” (City of the Messenger), or simply,
Madinah. Various cultures, religions and communities
flourished in this city in contrast to Makkah, which was
dominated by a single faith and cultural pattern.
The Madinan Period – Before Islam came to Madinah,
its inhabitants belonged mainly to three communities:
the two Arab tribes of Aus and Khazraj and the Jews, in
whose hands was much of the city’s wealth and who
dominated its economy largely through the practice of
monopoly and usury. Rifts between the two Arab tribes
were promoted by the Jews who profited from moneylending toward war efforts and the sale of weapons. As a
rule, the pagan inhabitants of Madinah followed the
religious and social traditions of the Quraysh, as they
were guardians of the Ka`bah.40 Many of them also
tended to respect the Jews and Christians for the books
and the knowledge they possessed. And since their idol
worship was fundamentally opposed to the message of
monotheism, they viewed the attitude of the “People of

40 At that time, the Kabah, representing monotheism, housed 360 idols in and around it. 57 The Global Messenger the Scripture" as justification for refusal to accept to the faith brought by Muhammad. For their part, the Jews and Christians of the region were resentful of the Prophet because they felt that divine scripture should have been revealed to one of them rather than to an Arab, so the majority were openly hostile. Jealousy motivated them to join ranks with the pagans in opposition to Islam even after the fact of Muhammad's prophethood had become unmistakably clear. For several centuries, the Jews had been waiting for the prophet foretold in their scriptures. They often spoke of this expectation, and thus it was known to the Arabs, perhaps indirectly influencing theAus and Khazraj tribes
toward recognition of the Messenger once they heard
about him. The number of Muslims from these two tribes
had been steadily increasing. Upon receiving news of the
Prophet’s departure from Makkah they eagerly awaited
his arrival. The Muslims of Madinah welcomed him to
their city with excitement and elation.
Believers continued to migrate from Makkah to
Madinah until the only ones left were those who had
been forcibly detained by the Quraysh. The Muslims of
Madinah assisted the emigrants in a most generous
manner, offering to share with them equally whatever
they possessed, sometimes even depriving themselves to
accommodate their brothers in faith. They were called
58 The Global Messenger
Ansaar (Helpers), and the Prophet himself established a
bond of brotherhood between them and the Muhajirun
(Emigrants) in order to unite and strengthen the
emerging Islamic society.
After thirteen years of oppression in Makkah, the
faithful now had a community of their own. The first
undertaking of the Prophet after arriving in Madinah was
to begin construction of a permanent place of worship, a
mosque. He then drew up peace agreements with the
Jews of Madinah and Arab tribes of the surrounding
regions. With consent of the non-Muslim Arabs, the Jews,
Christians and others, he established an Islamic state in
which justice was guaranteed for all. Its written
constitution – the first of its kind in world history –
defined the rights and duties of both citizens and head of
state and laid down principles of defense and foreign
policy. It acknowledged that Prophet Muhammad would
have the final word on any matter of disagreement while
explicitly recognizing freedom of religion, particularly for
the Jews, to whom the constitution afforded equality
with Muslims in all that concerned life within the
Prior to the spread of Islam in Madinah and arrival of
Allah’s Messenger, the Aus and Khazraj as well as the
Jews had agreed to recognize Abdullah bin Ubayy as their
leader, and preparations were being made to crown him
king. So when people began to desert him in favor of
Islam, he perceived that the appearance of the Prophet in
59 The Global Messenger
Madinah had deprived him of his kingship and was filled
with rage and jealousy. Since most of the community was
determined to embrace Islam, he went along with the
tide and declared acceptance of it outwardly while
retaining enmity in his heart. All those who had been
ambitious for power and prestige were similarly outraged
at the success of this new movement which had united
the Muhajirun and Ansaar in allegiance to the Messenger
of Allah. These formed a group of hypocrites who entered
the religion deceptively and worked against it from
Not content with the being rid of their Muslim
citizens, the Quraysh in Makkah contacted Abdullah bin
Ubayy. They sent him an ultimatum demanding that he
hand over or at least expel the Prophet and his
companions, otherwise they would launch a military
offensive that would annihilate his army and take his
women captive. Abdullah bin Ubayy responded positively
to the Makkan polytheists and mobilized his supporters.
On learning of this alliance, the Prophet advised Abdullah
to be more rational and cautioned his men against being
tricked into fighting against their own kinsmen. The men
abandoned the idea so their chief had to comply, but he
remained a dangerous ally of the angry Quraysh and
envious Jews.
The revelation of Qur’anic verses to the Messenger of
Allah continued regularly, providing constant guidance
and direction for him and his followers. The style of
60 The Global Messenger
revelation in Madinah was distinct from that of Makkan
verses and dealt with different matters. Relationships
with other peoples were defined and the believers were
repeatedly warned by Allah against both external
enemies and internal weaknesses. The Qur’an exposed
and warned against strategies of the hypocrites, their
hidden agenda and concealed activities.
Divine legislation and instruction was eagerly awaited
and immediately applied within the community of
believers. The verses were being sent down in stages
according to the needs and requirements of specific
circumstances, giving certainty to the believers that Allah
is aware of all things and that He was with them during
every situation, no matter how difficult. At the same
time, it contained the charter for an Islamic state as well
as universal guidance for all mankind, applicable to every
place and every age and valid until the end of time. The
Qur’an is indeed the lasting miracle of God’s final
Muslims who were unable to emigrate from Makkah
had become the object of increasing vengeance of the
Quraysh, but still no order to defend or retaliate had
come from Allah. In desperation, the oppressed people
called out to Him to save them from the ever-increasing
persecution. At this precarious juncture, permission was
finally given for the Muslims to fight because of the
injustice done to them.
61 The Global Messenger
Provocations and skirmishes were to pave the way for
a major confrontation between the Muslims and the
polytheists. The Makkans threatened to exterminate the
Muslims in their new homeland of Madinah. When the
Prophet received information from reliable sources
attesting to the intrigues and plots being devised by the
enemies of Islam, precautionary measures were taken
and a state of alert was declared.
Then Allah revealed: Fight in the cause of Allah those
who fight you, but do not commit aggression. Indeed,
Allah does not like aggressors.41 Thus began the struggle
defend the infant state, to liberate mankind from the
tyranny of other men and to establish true worship of
Allah upon the earth. This is an aspect of the term
“jihad”. But it is incorrect to assume that jihad is
synonymous with war, for the word essentially means: a
strenuous and sincere effort on the personal as well as
the social level. It is a struggle to implement good and to
remove injustice, oppression and evil from one’s self and
one’s society. This effort is a spiritual, social, economic
and political one.42

41 Qur’an – 2:190.
42 For example, one of the highest levels of jihad mentioned by the
Prophet is to speak a word of truth to a tyrant. Restraining the self
from wrongdoing is a form of jihad, and it also includes social reforms
and efforts to eliminate ignorance, poverty, foreign domination, racial
discrimination, religious persecution and oppression of every kind.
62 The Global Messenger
Trade caravans were essential to the continued
prosperity of the Quraysh. Word reached Madinah that a
caravan returning from Syria laden with goods would be
passing within close range of the city. By intercepting the
caravan the Muslims hoped to assert their influence and
recover a small portion of what they had been forced to
leave behind. However, since it was a commercial
caravan, the Prophet did not make significant
arrangements for fighting. Perceiving the possibility of a
raid, the caravan’s leader sent a call for help to the
Quraysh, who immediately dispatched an army from
Makkah. The result was the Battle of Badr. Upon seeing
the Muslims inadequately equipped and vastly
outnumbered, the Prophet fervently supplicated his Lord
for support. The small band of Muslims fought valiantly,
and as Allah revealed in the Qur’an, He reinforced them
with a thousand angels. The amazing victory at Badr
established the Muslim community as a political entity
and gained it prestige among the neighboring tribes.
One year later, burning with the desire for revenge,
the Prophet’s enemies amassed an army three times
larger than before. Revelation came down from Allah
ordering the believers to defend and strike back.43 The

43 Qur’anic verses concerning battle are often quoted out of their
historical context to allege that Islam promotes violence and exhorts
its followers to kill non-Muslims. However, these verses, without
exception, address aggressions committed against Muslims during
the time of the Prophet. Jihad in the form of armed struggle
63 The Global Messenger
Messenger of Allah decided it would be best to face them
in his own territory, so the armies met at Mount Uhud.
Again the Muslims, whose numbers were small in
comparison, fought courageously. They were on the verge
of victory when a faction of the army, using their own
judgement and disobeying the Prophet’s orders, caused a
weakness in the ranks which was exploited by the enemy.
This led to a setback for the Muslims, the loss of many
lives, and the wounding of the Prophet – a costly mistake
but a valuable lesson for the believers.
After the Battle of Badr, one of the Jewish tribal chiefs
proceeded to Makkah to reconfirm his alliance with the
pagans and incite them to a war of revenge. Following
the Battle of Uhud, the same Jewish leader and his men
conspired to assassinate the Prophet by dropping a large
stone on him from the top of a wall, but Allah again
protected His Messenger. In spite of their treachery, the
only demand made of this tribe was that they leave the
region of Madinah.

becomes an option only after the failure of all peaceful measures,
and then, it can only be declared by the religious leadership or head
of a Muslim of state. Moreover, it is subject to strict regulations. The
Messenger emphatically prohibited the killing of non-combatants,
and the Qur’an instructs: And if they incline to peace, then incline
to it [also] and rely upon Allah. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the
Knowing. (8:61) Islam forbids injustice, even toward those who
oppose the religion. Enmity toward any people or nation should
never provoke Muslims to commit aggression against them, oppress
them or disregard their rights, as stated in the Qur’an (See 5:8).
64 The Global Messenger
Two years later, the Quraysh amassed an even larger
force and made alliances with other pagan tribes and the
exiled Jewish clans as well as the Jews who remained
inside Madinah. They did not hesitate to violate their
agreement with the Prophet since they expected his
defeat at the hands of the powerful alliance. The
coalition planned and mobilized for an invasion.
Upon obtaining this information, the Prophet and his
companions prepared for defense of Madinah. They spent
days and nights digging a trench around the vulnerable
part of the city to keep the attacking armies at bay. The
coalition of enemy forces besieged the city for three
weeks. There were also enemies from within – the Jews
who had defected and Arab hypocrites secretly working
against the state. After a tense and difficult period in
which their defense was nearly broken, the Muslims
turned in fervent supplication to their Lord. Thereupon,
Allah sent a violent wind against the enemy camp,
wrecking havoc therein, terrifying them and forcing them
to withdraw. This encounter, known as the Battle of alKhandaq (or al-Ahzaab), was the last attempt by the
Quraysh to destroy the Muslim base.
In the following period it was necessary to subdue the
Jews, who had violated their treaty with the state, as well
as those polytheistic tribes which were a continuing
threat. But during this time as well, many of the
neighboring tribes, hearing of the “new” religion and
sending emissaries to inquire about it, entered Islam. This
65 The Global Messenger
active period also witnessed several of the Prophet’s
marriages, all of which were contracted for political and
social reasons and out of mercy for widows who had
suffered for the cause of Islam.44

In the sixth year after the Hijrah the Prophet and a
large company of his companions set out for Makkah with
the intention of performing the rites of Umrah.45 Alarmed
at growing Muslim influence, the Quraysh sought to
prevent them, and met them a short distance from
Makkah. After a session of difficult negotiations, they
established a ten year agreement, called the Truce of
Hudaybiyyah. Its conditions may be summarized as
Ÿ Both parties would observe a state of peace and not
interfere with the free movement of the other.
Ÿ Every tribe would be allowed to enter into an alliance
with either party and become a participant in the
Ÿ The Umrah would be postponed until the following
year. At that time, the Muslims would be permitted to
stay in Makkah for three days only.

44 After the death of Khadijah and before the Hijrah, the Prophet
married Sawdah, a widow, and A’ishah, the daughter of his closest
companion, Abu Bakr, before the Hijrah. The rest of his marriages
took place after his residence in Madinah.
45 The lesser pilgrimage to the Ka`bah, which may be done at any
time of the year.
66 The Global Messenger
Ÿ Any man leaving the Quraysh to join the Muslims must
be sent back, but any man coming from the Muslims
to Quraysh would not be sent back.
The Quraysh of Makkah was pleased with this treaty
so seemingly to their advantage. Although they were
reluctant to accept its terms and viewed it as a setback,
the companions complied out of faith in their prophet,
who had agreed to the conditions. But Allah distinctly
referred to it in the Qur’an as a “clear victory”, and those
who had first considered it a concession came to
understand its benefit and wisdom thereafter. This truce
was, in fact, a formal recognition of the Muslim state and
of the right of all people to practice and invite others to
their religion.
The following year Makkah was temporarily evacuated
by the Quraysh, and the Messenger with 2000 of his
followers were allowed to perform Umrah. Observing
them from the surrounding hills, the Makkans were
impressed by the sight, and many conversions to Islam
took place.
Even before the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and despite his
demanding responsibilities as head of state, the Prophet
had been resolutely teaching the religion ordained by
Allah. But it was as yet confined to the region of Madinah
due to the belligerent activities of the Quraysh and their
widespread influence. The ten-year truce provided a
cessation of hostilities between the Quraysh and Muslims
67 The Global Messenger
during which the Prophet could freely send his
representatives on missions to make the religion known
throughout the Arabian Peninsula. This he did with
remarkable results.
Among the objections to Islam cited by pagan chiefs
who rejected any concept of accountability for their actions
was belief in the Hereafter and its balance of just
compensation. They asserted that restoration of life after
death is impossible, simply because no man had ever
witnessed it. But the Qur’anic verses recited by the Prophet
offered the logical answer that the present creation is in
itself a clear sign of Allah’s ability to create and re-create as
He wills. “Is not He who created the heavens and earth
able to create the likes of them?46 Do they not see that
Allah, who created the heavens and earth and did not fail
in their creation, is able to give life to the dead?47 Does
man not remember that We created him before, while he
was nothing?48 And you have already known the first
creation, so will you not be reminded?”
49 Many found this
reasoning compelling enough to dispel all doubt. Other
issues of faith were progressively being resolved in the same
way – through divine revelation to the Messenger of Allah.

46 Qur’an – 36:81
47 Qur’an – 46:33
48 Qur’an – 19:67 It is to be noted that God’s reference to Himself as
“We” in many Qur’anic verses is understood in the Arabic language to
denote grandeur and power, not plurality.
49 Qur’an – 56:62
68 The Global Messenger
As he was commissioned by Allah to address all of
mankind, Prophet Muhammad campaigned intently for
the return to pure monotheism and to divinely ordain
moral values among the peoples of the world. Profiting
from the period of peace, he now launched an intensive
program for the propagation of Islam and extended his
message into lands beyond the frontiers of Arabia. He
sent emissaries who, in addition to their dedication and
extensive knowledge of the religion, were acquainted
with the culture and language of the peoples to whom
they were sent. The Prophet dispatched letters to rulers
of Byzantium, Persia, Abyssinia, Egypt, Damascus,
Bahrain, Yamamah, Oman and other provinces, some of
whom responded favorably while others refused out of
arrogance or fear of losing power.
Because common people are likely to follow the
customs, ideologies and incentives of their leaders, the
Messenger of Allah addressed several letters to the most
influential rulers of neighboring nations and empires,
inviting them to Islam. Only a prophet of God sent on a
divine mission would dare to summon imperious
autocrats to accept his prophethood. Such a man could
not harbor the least doubt about the success of his
sacred mission. His conviction regarding the support and
capability of his Lord was such that the proudest
sovereign did not appear to him anything more than a
puppet whose strings were held in the hand of Allah.
Whatever responses he received, the Prophet and his
69 The Global Messenger
message had now been acknowledged by the major
powers of the day.
The universal nature of Islam was confirmed early in
the Prophet’s mission, while a small number of his
followers were being oppressed in Makkah. At that time
Allah had revealed: “And We have not sent you except as
a mercy for the worlds.”50
Again, while yet in Makkah,
Allah instructed him: Say, “O mankind, indeed I am the
Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom
belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth.
There is no god except Him; He gives life and causes
death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the
unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His
words, and follow him that you may be guided.”51

Of the communications sent to foreign heads of state
by the Prophet, those to the Negus (King of Abyssinia),
Heraclius (Byzantine Emperor), the Muqawqis (Ruler of
the Copts in Egypt) and Chosroes (Emperor of Persia), and
are the most well-known. Each of his letters began in the
name of Allah, and their substance may be summarized
as follows:
Ÿ From Muhammad, Messenger of God, to the Negus,
Grand Ruler of Abyssinia:

50 Qur’an – 21:107. Again, “We” denotes the grandeur and power of
51 Qur’an – 7:158.
70 The Global Messenger
Peace be upon him who follows right guidance. I praise
Allah (God), other than whom there is no deity, and I
testify that Jesus, the son of Mary, is the Spirit of God,
and His Word which He sent to Mary, the good and pure
virgin. She conceived Jesus through His spirit and His
breath just as He created Adam by His hand and His
breath. I invite you to God, who is one without any
associate, and to His obedience, and to follow me and
believe in what has come to me, for I am the Messenger
of God. I invite you and your men to God, the Might and
Majestic. I have communicated this, so accept my
Ÿ From Muhammad, Messenger of God, to Heraclius,
Emperor of Rome:
Peace be upon him who follows right guidance. I hereby
invite you to Islam. Accept Islam; you will be in peace and
God will give you your reward doubled. But if you do not,
the sin of your subjects will [also] be upon you. “O People
of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable
between us and you – that we will not worship except
Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take
one another as lords instead of Allah.”53

52 The Negus replied positively and embraced Islam.
53 The Qur’anic verse quoted is 3:64. The letter addressed to the
Muqawqis in Egypt was worded similarly. Both Christian rulers
acknowledged the truth of the message but worldly concerns
prevented them from entering Islam.
71 The Global Messenger
Ÿ From Muhammad, Messenger of God, to Chosroes,
Emperor of Persia:
Peace be upon him who follows right guidance, believes
in God and His Messenger and testifies that there is no
god but Allah alone with no associate, and that
Muhammad is His servant and messenger. I invite you to
God, for I am the Messenger of God to all people, to warn
those who are alive and verify [His] decree against the
disbelievers. Accept Islam and you will be in peace. But if
you refuse, the sin of the fire worshippers will [also] be
upon you.

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Not even three years had passed following the Treaty
of Hudaybiyyah when the Quraysh violated their
obligations.55 Their attempts to deceive the Prophet
about the matter failed, and in the eighth year after the
Hijrah a Muslim army of 10,000 led by the Prophet of

54 Upon receipt of the letter, Chosroes angrily tore it up and illtreated the Prophet’s envoy. The Prophet remarked that his empire
would soon be torn up. This occurred within a period of eight years as
it fell bit by bit to the advancing Muslims and most of the population
entered Islam.
55 Prophet Muhammad always adhered to the terms of treaties of
which he was a party. He honored all promises and pacts and ordered
his followers to do the same. Among the cardinal principles of his
policy was that whenever he made an agreement, he abided by it
strictly until it was violated by an enemy.
72 The Global Messenger
Allah marched towards Makkah. Nearing the city, the
Prophet’s uncle, Abbas, encountered Abu Sufyan, then
leader of the Quraysh, and advised him to join the
Prophet and avert bloodshed. Abu Sufyan accompanied
him to the Prophet’s campsite and declared his
acceptance of Islam. In a gesture of generosity, the
Prophet promised that anyone who entered the house of
Abu Sufyan would be safe, as well as those who entered
the Sacred Mosque in which was the Kabah. The leader of the Quraysh returned to Makkah, warning his people that resistance would be of no avail against the Muslim forces. So they apprehensively awaited the army's approach. The army of companions had been divided into two factions, one led by the Prophet and one by his brilliant commander, Khalid bin al-Waleed. Khalid's faction was met by allies of the Quraysh who attempted to prevent them from entering the city but were easily overcome. The Prophet's faction met no resistance at all. In a manner so unlike that of an arrogant conqueror, Prophet Muhammad entered the city whose people had been a source of abuse and injury for twenty years. Bowing humbly, he gave thanks to Allah for His great favor and the victory for Islam. The Kabah, built for Allah and the very symbol of
monotheism, had been turned into a house of idols and
images, housing 360 objects of worship in and around it.
Upon entering Makkah, Prophet Muhammad proceeded
73 The Global Messenger
to the House of Allah. He circled it seven times as
prescribed, while breaking the idols in his path and
reciting: “The truth has come and falsehood has perished.
Indeed, falsehood [by nature] is bound to perish.”56 The
door of the Kabah was opened and Allah's Messenger had the pictures within it effaced and all the idols destroyed, thereby purifying the House for the worship of Allah alone, as it was always meant to be. He then entered and prayed to his Lord inside the Kabah.
Then he came out, returned the key to its traditional
custodian and addressed the Quraysh, saying, “What do
you suppose I should do with you?” In spite of their
former animosity, they knew him. They replied, “What is
good. You are a generous brother and the son of a
generous brother.” Said the Messenger of Allah, “No
blame will there be on you today. Go, for you are free.”
Thus did Almighty Allah open the hearts of the people
to Islam. After observing that justice was truly
established, the former enemies came to the Prophet,
asking for forgiveness and declaring their commitment to
Islam. And he accepted them all. Even those who had
joined the Muslims initially for worldly advantage or
material gain now accepted the religion from their hearts,
dedicating themselves sincerely to Allah.
The Prophet remained in Makkah for nineteen days
during which he gave numerous addresses, teaching the

56 Qur’an – 17:81.
74 The Global Messenger
religion and explaining its legislation. He also sent
deputies to destroy the temples of pagan gods in the
areas surrounding the city and received delegations and
individuals pledging allegiance to Allah and His
Messenger. The liberation and complete transformation
of Makkah was accomplished within these few days.
However, the neighboring city of Ta’if remained
hostile and was determined to defend its idols. They also
aspired to defeat the Muslims in order to replace the
Quraysh as custodians of the Kabah. Their armies assembled and advanced toward Makkah. In order to avoid bloodshed in the vicinity of the Kabah, the Prophet
led his forces out of the city to meet them. They were
made up of the 10,000 who had accompanied him from
Madinah joined by another 2000 from the newly
converted youths of Makkah. A bit overconfident due to
their now greater numbers, the Muslims were at first
somewhat careless in this encounter, leading to losses
and the wounding of the Prophet. Yet, in the end they
were victorious by the will of Allah. Again, no retribution
was carried out against the people of Ta’if.
Fearing the expansion of the Prophet’s influence and
authority in Arabia, the oppressive Byzantine Empire
amassed troops in preparation for an attack. In response
to this, the Prophet organized a march to the north. The
long and difficult journey was yet another test for the
believers, and upon finally reaching the settlement of
Tabuk, they found the Romans had withdrawn. Not long
75 The Global Messenger
after the Prophet’s death, the mighty empires of Rome
and Persia were defeated, liberating the peoples under
their occupation who gladly sought refuge in the justice
of Islam.
In the tenth year following the Hijrah, a great
multitude of Muslims from Madinah joined by others
from every part of the Arabian Peninsula
accompanied the Messenger of Allah to Makkah to
perform the rites of Hajj.57

It was during this pilgrimage that Allah revealed verses
which alluded to the fact that Prophet Muhammad’s
mission on earth was completed and that the time of his
death was near. And it was then that he gave what is
known as his “farewell address” in which he clarified and
confirmed many aspects of the law and in which he called
for justice to all people.
He explained the fundamental principles of Islam and
denounced polytheism and ignorance. He declared life,
honor and property to be inviolable and that all practices
of the pagan past were now abolished. He addressed the
rights of women and servants. He requested those
present to pass on what they had heard to those who
were absent, finally inquiring of them, “Have I conveyed
the message?” Upon hearing their unanimous reply to
the affirmative, he concluded, “O Allah, witness it.” After

57 The greater pilgrimage, required of every Muslim who is physically
and financially able once in a lifetime.
76 The Global Messenger
the pilgrimage the Prophet remained in Makkah for ten
days and then returned to Madinah.
The greatest longing of Prophet Muhammad was to
meet his Lord, and now Allah was to permit him to leave
this transitory world of test and trial for the eternal home
where his wish would be fulfilled. The Prophet had
completed his work on earth and discharged his trust.
Early in the eleventh year he became ill. Perceiving the
end was near, he addressed the people, inquiring
whether he had wronged anyone or owed something to
anyone, not wishing to leave behind the least liability. He
continued to offer advice and warnings and to lead the
people in congregational prayer. Finally, pain and fever so
weakened him that he ordered Abu Bakr to lead the
prayer in his place. He passed away three days later.
The companions were profoundly grieved, not only by
the loss of their beloved Prophet but also because they
knew there would be no further revelation from Allah.
But as Abu Bakr declared to those still in shock and
disbelief at the news, “If any worshipped Muhammad,
Muhammad is dead. But whoever worships Allah, Allah is
the Ever-Living, who will never die.” And he recited the
verse: “Muhammad is not but a messenger. Many
messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to
die or be killed would you turn back on your heels [to

58 Qur’an – 3:144.
77 The Global Messenger
At the time of the Prophet’s death, most inhabitants
of the Arabian Peninsula and the southern regions of Iraq
and Palestine had voluntarily embraced Islam. Those
Christians, Jews and Persians who remained attached to
their own religions were granted freedom of belief as
well as judicial, juridical and cultural autonomy. On
numerous occasions he had upheld and emphasized the
rights of non-Muslim citizens, and had said, “Whoever
harms a non-Muslim [within our state] will have me as his
adversary, and I will be his adversary on the Day of
Muhammad was sent as a mercy from God to all of
mankind. To posterity he left a creed of pure monotheism
including comprehensive legislation based on a system of
moral values. The teachings of God’s final messenger live
on through the authentic narrations found in volumes of
hadith literature. Second only to the Qur’an, these
narrations are held as proof in any cases of doubt or
disagreement about what is allowed, prohibited or
preferable within the religion, since the Prophet’s
authority is derived from the divine will.60

59 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
60 In addition to the verses commanding him to convey and explain
His message, Allah stated about His Messenger: He does not speak of
his own inclination. It is not but an inspiration revealed. (53:3-4)
78 The Global Messenger
In his farewell address during the Hajj, the Messenger
of Allah informed the large gathering of Muslims and all
future generations that they would not fall into error so
long as they adhered to the Book of Allah (the Qur’an)
and Sunnah of His Prophet. “Sunnah” in Islamic
terminology means the divinely ordained way or method
followed by Prophet Muhammad, and is derived from the
body of saheeh (authentic) and hasan (acceptable) hadith
literature. In turn, the Prophet’s Sunnah is followed by
Muslims as the best means to obtain Allah’s approval and
His reward in the life to come.
The Sunnah is known through study of the confirmed
narrations and the explanation of their meanings and
proper application by qualified and trustworthy Muslim
scholars. The study of hadiths is aimed at correctly
understanding the rulings and lessons they contain, for
they deal with what is obligatory, permitted or prohibited
and demonstrate correct methods of worship. They also
reveal the core aspects of belief, mentality and behavior
expected of human beings by their Creator.
Unfortunately, much of the latter has been disregarded
within Muslim populations of recent times. But the fact
remains that all prophetic observations were spoken and
79 The Global Messenger
recorded for the very reason that they are important
elements of the religion, and as such cannot be ignored.
Several verses of the Qur’an order obedience to the
Messenger as a manifestation of obedience to Allah.
Muslim scholars all agree that obedience to the Prophet
after his death is in adherence to his Sunnah. The final
Messenger was sent not only to pass on the message as
Allah revealed it to him, but to explain it and put it into
practice as an appropriate pattern of conduct that is not
beyond the capabilities of ordinary human beings.
Hadith narrations illustrate how he exemplified and
elaborated on the principles laid down in the Qur’an,
providing guidelines for their correct interpretation and
application. For example, in the Qur’an, Allah orders
prayer. But it is from the Sunnah that one learns the
times and conditions for prayer and how to perform it. In
fact, everything in the Sunnah was directly or indirectly
addressed by Allah in the Qur’an. And the entire Sunnah
is included in the verse which orders: Whatever the
Messenger has given you – take; and what he has
forbidden you – desist.61

The Prophet’s Sunnah, when taken in entirety, offers a
balanced view of the Islamic faith, worship, education
and discipline he advocated, one that compliments and
completes the basic religious obligations that every
Muslim is required to observe and obey. Beyond

61 Qur’an – 59:7.
80 The Global Messenger
statements of legal rulings and merits of worship, his
sayings reflect particular objectives of Islam.
In the following sections, statements of Prophet
Muhammad are given in italics. All of them have been
confirmed as authentic by scholars of hadith, and their
narrators and degree of acceptability are cited in
footnotes.62 People can benefit greatly by reflecting upon
these words, relating them to their own situations and
putting them into practice whenever possible. For the
Sunnah relates to contemporary human existence, and
indeed remains valid for all time to come as the
foundation for a higher plane of civilization.
In the Realm of Belief
In addition to the basic pillars of faith,63 the Islamic
creed of required beliefs includes everything stated as
fact in the Qur’an and in the verified hadiths of Prophet
Muhammad. The Messenger of Allah passed on some
interesting and vital information about God and His
creation, about the nature of His religion and about
experiences of man during his worldly life and the results
he will find in the eternal life to come. Knowledge of
these realities provides a healthy perspective of the

62 Hadiths narrated by al-Bukhari or by Muslim are almost always
graded as saheeh (authentic).
63 Which are: belief in God, His angels, His books, His messengers,
the Last Day and predestination.
81 The Global Messenger
world as well as a basis for dealing with an increasingly
challenging and often stressful existence.
Prophet Muhammad was a human being, and as such,
he had no knowledge outside of that granted to him by
Allah. However, as a sign of his prophethood he was
provided with particular information through divine
inspiration that others did not possess. Describing the
beginning of creation, he said:
There was Allah, and there was nothing other than
Him. His Throne was over water, and He wrote everything
in the register, and He created the heavens and the
The first thing Allah created was the pen, and He
said to it, “Write.” It said, “O Lord, what shall I write?”
He said, “Write the destiny – what has been and whatever
will be forever.”65 When Allah created the creation, He
wrote in the register that is with Him above the Throne,
“My mercy overcomes My anger.” 66
Divine mercy will be fully manifested for believers in
the life to come. But even in this world it is often evident
in subtle ways. While everyone can expect to suffer a
certain degree of physical and mental distress during his
lifetime on earth, a Muslim believer benefits from the
misfortunes and hardships of worldly life whenever he
endures them patiently, anticipating full compensation

64 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
65 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
66 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
82 The Global Messenger
with additional bounty in the greater, eternal life. Allah’s
Messenger declared:
Paradise is surrounded by difficulties and the Hellfire is
surrounded by desires.67 The world is a prison for the
believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.68 No person
has been provided with anything better or more
comprehensive than patience.69
For the believer, patience to endure difficulties and
the temporary restrictions of this world, deferring
immediate satisfaction for a greater aim results in the
attainment of complete gratification in the next life. He
is aware that there is no benefit in anger or impatience,
and that on the contrary, trials and afflictions are
opportunities to earn unlimited rewards through
forbearance and prudent behavior. The Prophet gave
insight into such matters:
No Muslim is afflicted by worry, distress, fatigue or
illness, even the prick of a thorn, but that Allah will
remove through it some of his sins.70
A man is given trials
according to his religion. If there is firmness in his religion

67 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
68 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim. Believers restrict themselves from
unlawful pleasures during the worldly life out of fear and love of
Allah, while criminals and sinners might enjoy their present
temporary existence to the full, but in the next life they will pay the
price of transgressions.
69 Narrated by Al-Hakim – saheeh.
70 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
83 The Global Messenger
his trial is increased; but if there is weakness in his
religion, then it is lightened. Tribulations remain with the
servant until he walks upon the earth having no sin left
upon him.71

Amazing is the affair of a believer; all of it is good, and
that is for no one but the believer. When he is touched
with benefit he is grateful and that is best for him. And
when he is touched by misfortune he is patient and that is
best for him.72 Nothing afflicts a believer of weariness,
grief, prolonged suffering or even a concern that worries
him but that Allah removes thereby some of his
The Messenger informed people of another important
aspect of divine mercy. Because Allah is entirely familiar
with each of His servants and completely aware of their
aims and intentions, they will never be misunderstood by
their Lord at the time of Judgement, and therefore can
expect from Him absolute and perfect justice.
Allah, the Exalted, has overlooked for my people the
error [they committed], what was forgotten [by them]
and what they were compelled to do.74

71 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – hasan-saheeh.
72 Narrated by Muslim.
73 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
74 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh. This assumes that the overall mindset of believers is one of righteousness, so that what is done without
their conscious intent is overlooked.
84 The Global Messenger
The reference here is specifically to that which is done
or neglected unintentionally, because obviously,
deliberate premeditated transgressions are never
overlooked by Allah. Justice demands that they be
subject to account on the Day of Judgement unless the
wrongdoer repents from the sin sincerely before his
The Prophet often reminded man of his Creator’s
perfect awareness of his every deed, word, thought and
intent. Through such knowledge one can avoid
inappropriate thoughts and actions and can mentally
interact with his Lord in a positive way throughout his
Allah does not look at your bodies or faces, but He
looks at your hearts and deeds.75
Get to know Allah in
times of ease and He will know you in times of

Whoever would like to meet Allah – Allah will like to
meet him. And whoever would not like to meet Allah –
Allah will not like to meet him.77
Allah, the Exalted has
said, “I am with My servant when he thinks of Me; so let
him think of Me whatever he will.”78

75 Narrated by Muslim.
76 i.e., His help will be near. Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
77 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
78 Narrated by Ahmad, at-Tabarani and al-Hakim – saheeh.
85 The Global Messenger
The non-believer thinks negatively of his Lord,
assuming that He does not exist or that He created man
unjustly for no purpose. Hence, he has no desire to meet
Him. And at the time of death he will dislike that meeting
intensely and fear it, for then he will have become fully
aware that all he had previously denied is an inescapable
reality. In contrast, the righteous believer cannot but
think most highly of Allah. He is eager to meet Him and to
experience His justice, mercy and approval. Another
narration gives him encouragement and reassurance:
Allah, the Exalted has said, “I am with my [righteous]
servant when he thinks of Me, and I am with him when he
remembers Me. So if he remembers Me to himself I
remember him to Myself, and if he remembers Me in a
company I remember him in a company better than them.
If he approaches Me a hand span I approach him an arm’s
length. And if he approaches Me an arm’s length I
approach him the expanse of open arms. If he comes to
Me walking I come to him running.”79
The Prophet added, “The comparison of one who
remembers Allah and one who does not is like that of the
living and the dead”80
And he himself used to supplicate,

79 Obviously, since the Creator bears no resemblance to His creation,
the meaning is not to be taken in a physical sense. Narrated by alBukhari and Muslim.
80 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
86 The Global Messenger
“O Allah, help me to remember You, to be grateful to You
and to worship You well.”81

He also encouraged study, contemplation and
reflection upon life and the occurrences which affect
individuals, communities and nations.
For everything there is a reality, and a servant does
not attain the reality of faith until he knows that
whatever struck him could not have missed him and
whatever missed him could not have struck him.82 For
whomever Allah wishes good, He gives him understanding
of the religion.83
The Messenger was aware that Allah, the Mighty and
Majestic, has subjected His creation to certain natural
laws. There are physical laws governing the operation of
the entire universe from the huge galaxies to the tiniest
atoms. There are laws governing life and death. And
there laws governing occurrences in the present
existence and others created for the Hereafter.
The present universe and everything that happens
within it is due to the Creator’s law of cause and effect. It
began when Allah, the primary cause of all things, willed
to bring it into existence, and thus it was created. And
when He willed to give man the freedom to choose and

81 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh
82 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
83 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
87 The Global Messenger
follow his own course in life, He informed him that
naturally, according to this same law, there would be
consequences for his actions in both this life and the
next. And He warned in the Qur’an:
Whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what
your hands have earned; and He pardons much.84
And beware of a trial that will not strike those who
have wronged among you exclusively, and know
that Allah is severe in penalty.85
The Messenger explained:
When Allah sends down punishment on a people, it
afflicts whoever is among them; but then they will be
resurrected [individually] according to their deeds.86

Thus, during the period of worldly existence, the
condition of any people or nation is determined by its
majority. The Muslim nation is no exception. Whenever
most Muslims were conscious of Allah, obedient to Him,
honest and productive, their society reflected these
values, and consequently justice and prosperity
prevailed. The few who deviated and departed from the
right path did not have a noticeable effect on community
wellbeing. On the other hand, when great numbers of
people forgot Allah, became self-serving, irresponsible

84 Qur’an – 42:30.
85 Qur’an – 8:25.
86 Narrated by Ahmad and al-Bukhari.
88 The Global Messenger
and corrupt, Allah allowed their societies to decline
accordingly. The righteous but weak minority could
neither prevent the outcome nor escape its overall effect.
In the Hereafter, however, the results of good and evil
are manifested for every person individually, as stated in
the hadith. Each one will be precisely judged and justly
compensated according to Allah’s perfect knowledge of
his general attitude and unique situation during his
period of existence on the earth.
Thus, Islam is not based on magic formulas or wishful
thinking. Benefit and advantage are accomplished
through planning and persistent effort while neglect
allows dissolution and decline. This is true for everyone,
believers and non-believers alike. The Prophet disclosed:
Allah does not punish ordinary people for the deeds of
leaders until the leaders do that which the people are
able to correct but they do not correct it. That is when
Allah will permit the destruction of both the people and
the leaders.87
When people see wrongdoing and do not
correct it or see an oppressor and do not prevent him,
Allah will be ready to include them all in His penalty.88
Nonetheless, he supplicated to his Lord for the just
remuneration of rulers, administrators and others in
responsible positions according to their conduct: “O

87 Narrated by at-Tabarani.
88 Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
89 The Global Messenger
Allah, whoever has been given authority over my ummah
and makes difficulty for them, then make difficulty for
him, and whoever has been given authority over my
ummah and is considerate of them, then be considerate
of him.89 This is general for all time to come, and the
Messenger’s supplications have never gone unanswered.
Allah, the Exalted, revealed to Prophet Muhammad
that He has given man a position of responsibility upon
the earth, to improve and develop it and to enhance the
quality of human life. The early Muslims trained and
educated by the Messenger were fully conscious that
there is a cause for every occurrence; therefore, they
utilized the natural laws established by Allah to achieve
success. They dedicated themselves to the cause of Allah
and employed only lawful methods to build their society
and accomplish their objectives. They planned ahead,
prepared well, anticipated dangers, practiced caution,
applied statistics and strategies, and made maximum use
of their minds and of available material means. Then they
trusted and relied upon Allah, never forgetting that the
result of every affair is in His hands and achieved by His
Prophet Muhammad was much concerned with the
welfare of all people, yet he had to inform them that
Allah guides only those who are willing to be guided:

89 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
90 The Global Messenger
The example of that with which Allah has sent me of
guidance and knowledge is like a rain that falls on the
ground, part of which is good, absorbing the water and
producing much pasture and grassland. And within it [i.e.,
this area] are basins retaining water whereby Allah gives
benefit to the people – they drink from them and irrigate
and cultivate. Yet, it falls also on another [area] which is
but barren valleys that do not retain water nor do they
produce pasture. This is the example of one who is
knowledgeable in the religion of Allah and benefits from
that with which Allah has sent me, so he learns and
teaches, and of one who pays no attention to it and does
not accept the guidance of Allah with which I have been

Even for the believer, adherence to the straight path is
not always easy. Throughout the worldly life, people
commonly have to struggle with negative thoughts and
suggestions. But Allah’s Messenger directed his followers
how to deal with such matters:
Strive for that which benefits you, seek help from Allah
and do not give up. If something should afflict you, do not
say, “If only I had done that, [the result] would have been
such and such.” But say, “What Allah decreed and willed
He has done”, for “if” opens the way for Satan.91

90 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
91 Narrated by Muslim.
91 The Global Messenger
Allah, the Exalted, has overlooked for my ummah that
which occurs to one’s mind as long as he does not speak
of it or act upon it.92

A faction of my community shall remain clearly
[standing] on the truth. They will not be harmed by those
who forsake them until the decree of Allah comes.93

Remember often the destroyer of pleasures – death.
For no one will remember it during a difficult time but
that it will make it easier for him, and no one will
remember it during a good time but that it will narrow it
for him.94

And the Messenger of Allah cautioned that although
the Hereafter is often seen by people as very distant in
time, place or possibility, it is in reality as near as one’s
own departure from the present existence, beginning
with his death, and that moreover, his final destination is
being determined right now by that which he believes,
intends and does in the present life.
Paradise is nearer to one of you than the strap of his
shoe, and so is the Hellfire.95 Allah, the Exalted has said,
“By My might and My majesty, I will not combine for My
servant two securities nor two fears. If he feels secure
from Me in this world I will make him fearful on the Day I

92 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
93 Narrated by Muslim.
94 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi – hasan.
95 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
92 The Global Messenger
gather My servants, and if he fears Me in this world I will
make him secure on the Day I gather My servants.”96

When someone dies, he is shown his destination by
morning and evening. If he is among the people of
Paradise, then [he will see himself] among the people of
Paradise, and if he is among the people of Hell, then [he
will see himself] among the people of Hell.97
A person
will be [in the Hereafter] with those he loves.98

The last statement, which was a cause for rejoicing
among the Prophet’s companions, assures those who love
Allah, His Messenger and righteous believers of enjoying
their company in Paradise. But it also holds a warning to
those who prefer sinful, malicious or unworthy associates
that they will join them in the Hellfire. Hence, one should
consider carefully whom he chooses to love.
Among the basic tenets of Islam is individual
accountability with knowledge that Allah is aware of all
things. The natural consequence of one’s intent and
behavior, both positive and negative, is none but full
compensation in the life to come. Restoration of the
balance of justice in a more advanced stage of creation
completes the story of human existence and is but
another manifestation of the Creator’s perfect scheme.
In the next existence, new kinds of laws will be in

96 Narrated by al-Bazzar – hasan.
97 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
98 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
93 The Global Messenger
operation. Among them is that punishment is in precise
proportion to sin while reward is multiplied many times
over. And among them is that in contrast to the
temporary nature of this world, the afterlife is eternal. It
is the genuine existence which will prove the present life
to be essentially insignificant, except for its being a
period of trial and examination.
Knowledge of such matters contributes greatly to a
person’s success during the tests and trials of this world.
It also keeps him in a healthy balance between fear and
hope, both of which constantly motivate him toward
seeking his Lord’s forgiveness and approval. It was for this
very purpose that the Prophet described some realities of
the life to come:
Allah, the Exalted said, “I have prepared for My
righteous servant [in the Hereafter] what no eye has seen,
no ear has heard and has never occurred to a human
Allah, the Exalted extends the time of an oppressor,
but when He seizes him, He will not let him escape. And
thus is the seizure of your Lord when He seizes the cities
while they are transgressing. Verily His seizure is painful
and severe.100 Allah will grip the earth on the Day of
Resurrection and fold up the heavens in His right hand.

99 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
100 Narrated by Muslim. The Qur’anic reference is 11:102.
94 The Global Messenger
Then He will say, “I am the Sovereign. Where are the
kings of the earth?” 101

No one will enter Paradise except that he will be
shown his place in the Hellfire if he had done evil – to
increase his gratitude. And no one will enter the Hellfire
except that he will be shown his place in Paradise if he
had done good – to increase his regret.102
Regarding Manners and Character
After the initial Muslim victories that liberated people
from the tyranny of tribal warlords and the oppression of
Roman and Persian occupation, Islam rapidly spread
eastward to China, westward to Spain and deep into
Africa. This phenomenon was not due to further military
conquest, but to the exemplary personalities of energetic
Muslims who traveled to their lands as tradesmen,
workers and educators. In those early centuries of Islam,
the Prophet’s Sunnah was the unmistakable model of
conduct which formed a Muslim’s character. Often, mere
contact with Muslim believers was enough to interest the
local population in the remarkable religion that had
produced such a high standard of justice and morality
among ordinary men.
Allah granted those Muslims success as a consequence
of adherence to the Sunnah in their public and private

101 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
102 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
95 The Global Messenger
lives. This they did out of certain knowledge that it is the
true means to their Lord’s approval. On numerous
occasions Allah’s Messenger had affirmed, “The most
beloved of His servants to Allah is the best of them in
character.103 There is nothing heavier on the balance than
good character.”104

A person’s character, unlike his physical appearance,
is something that can be altered, and this is among the
main purposes for which religion was ordained. Allah’s
Messenger provided warnings, encouragement and
practical advice for the improvement of manners,
behavior and character.
One positive aspect of a believer’s character is
satisfaction with whatever Allah has provided and
decreed, appreciation of his Lord’s blessings and not
being overly concerned with worldly pleasures and
comforts. He can then turn more of his attention to
things that will benefit him in the eternal life to come.
The Prophet stated:
Wealth is not in an abundance of goods, but it is in
contentment of the soul.105
Eat, drink, give charity and
dress without extravagance or pride.106 What is little and

103 Narrated by at-Tabarani – saheeh.
104 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
105 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
106 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
96 The Global Messenger
sufficient is better than what is much and distracting.107
Look to him [whose condition is] below you and do not
look to him above you, for that is more likely that you will
not underestimate Allah’s favor upon you.108

Gabriel came to me and said, “O Muhammad, live as
long as you will, for indeed you will die. And love whom
you will, but you will be leaving him. And do what you
will, for you will be compensated for it. And know that the
honor of a believer is his standing in night prayer and that
his power is in freedom from dependency upon people.”109

A man came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of
Allah, direct me to a deed which, when I have done it,
Allah will love me and people will love me.” He replied,
“Be indifferent toward [pleasures of] the world and Allah
will love you, and be indifferent to what is in the hands of
people and people will love you.”110

The measure of Allah’s love and honor for His
righteous servant of good character may be shown in
unexpected ways, but it is not always apparent from his
condition in the present life. Allah’s Messenger explained:
“Within my ummah are those who, if one of them asked
Allah for Paradise, He would grant it to him; but if he

107 Narrated by Abu Ya`la – saheeh.
108 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
109 Narrated by al-Hakim – hasan.
110 Narrated by Ibn Majah, at-Tabarani and al-Hakim – saheeh
97 The Global Messenger
asked Allah for something from this world, He would not
give it to him out of regard for him.”111
Acquiring new qualities that build good character is
possible with effort and discipline. The Prophet himself
used to ask Allah to direct him to the best of manners
and morals and enable him to practice them. He would
say, “O Allah, guide me to the best manners; none can
guide to the best of them but You. And turn away from
me bad manners; none can turn them away from me but

The Messenger of Allah had much to offer in the way
of guidance in this respect. His general advice to those
who inquired was, “Say, ‘I believe in Allah’, and then be
upright.”113 This concise answer shows that faith alone,
or the claim of faith, is insufficient, and that words must
be proven by deeds. A Muslim is required to be upright in
all his dealings, and especially toward his Creator through
careful obedience and sincere worship. Then, he must be
honest, ethical and considerate with respect to all
people, creatures and creations.
Whoever would like to be saved from the Fire and
enter Paradise should meet death believing in Allah and
the Last Day, and should do to people as he would like

111 i.e., in order to protect him from that which has no real benefit or
might be harmful. Narrated by at-Tabarani – hasan.
112 Narrated by Muslim.
113 Narrated by Muslim
98 The Global Messenger
done to him.114 None of you [truly] believes until he likes
for his brother what he likes for himself.115
Do not
consider anything good as insignificant, even meeting
your brother with a pleasant face.116 Allah is generous
and loves generosity; and He loves high morality and
hates base morality.117 The signs of a hypocrite are three:
when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks it
and when he is entrusted he betrays.118
In addition to the Prophet’s own words, there are
hadiths in which his character was described by those
who knew him. For example, a boy who served him for
nine years, said, “He was the best of people, the most
generous of people and the most courageous of people.
He never said about anything I did, ‘Why did you do
that?’ and he never mentioned my faults. He never even
said, ‘uff’ to me”119
His wife, A’ishah, replied to a man
who inquired, “His manner was the Qur’an”120
, meaning
that he lived according to its teachings. She also said,
“The Messenger of Allah never struck anyone with his
hand, not a woman nor a servant, except when fighting
for the cause of Allah. And he never took revenge on

114 Narrated by Muslim.
115 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
116 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
117 Narrated by at-Tabarani and al-Hakim – saheeh.
118 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
119 Narrated by Muslim. “Uff” is an expression showing displeasure.
120 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
99 The Global Messenger
anyone who had harmed him, except that when a
prohibition of Allah was violated he would retaliate on
behalf of Allah.”121 And he said, “Allah has revealed to
me that you should be modest, so that no one shows
conceit over another and no one tyrannizes another.”122
Consideration for others was noticeable in his day
to day behavior. When leading the people in prayer he
would be brief so as not to cause them hardship,
although while alone he would prolong his prayer for
lengthy periods, especially at night. When he heard
something objectionable about someone, he would not
mention his name in public, but only say, “What is the
matter with people who do such and such?”123 He
expressed anxiety for his followers and for the future of
the Muslims, warning them to be alert and not to fall into
practices that lead to individual failure or to collective
decline and downfall: “I do not fear for you from poverty,
but I fear for you from competition in worldly increase.
And I do not fear for you from error, but I fear for you
from deliberate intent.”124 Concern for all people was
evident in the way he grieved for those who refused his
message of truth and justice, preferring instead the path
leading to Hellfire and eternal regret.

121 Narrated by Muslim.
122 Narrated by Muslim.
123 Narrated by Abu Dawud – saheeh.
124 Narrated by Ahmad and al-Hakim – saheeh.
100 The Global Messenger
A person of good character has been described as one
who is not resentful, stingy or covetous, does not annoy
people and avoids insulting and backbiting. He is modest,
dignified truthful, patient and friendly. He is concerned
with people but not intrusive; he strives to satisfy others,
he is pleasant, appreciative, and sympathetic but not
naive. He is committed, dedicated and alert, and he can
be firm when necessary. This was the disposition of
Allah’s Messenger, whose awareness of real life situations
prompted him to warn, “The believer is not bitten from
the same hole twice.”125 And he advised, “Love the one
you love moderately, for perhaps he will be hated by you
one day. And hate the one you hate moderately, for
perhaps he will be loved by you one day.”126 In addition,
he pointed Muslims in the right direction by saying,
“Whoever loves for Allah and hates for Allah and gives for
Allah and withholds for Allah has completed the faith.”127

The Prophet of Allah directed people how to recognize
within themselves the signs of righteousness and
wrongdoing, saying, “Righteousness is good morals, and
wrongdoing is that which wavers within yourself and you
would dislike people to discover.”128

125 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
126 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi- saheeh.
127 Narrated by Abu Dawud – hasan.
128 Narrated by Muslim.
101 The Global Messenger
He taught through his own example, but his
instructions and advice give additional emphasis.
Let there be no harm [to anyone] and no harming [in
reciprocation].129 Whoever of you sees a wrong, let him
change it by his hand; and if he is not able, then with his
tongue; and if he is not able, then with his heart, and that
is the weakest of faith.130

The believer who mixes with the people and is patient
with their abuse is better than the believer who does not
mix with the people and is not patient with their abuse.131
Should I not inform you of the best witness? It is the
one who produces his evidence before he is asked for it.132
Make things easy and do not make them difficult; give
good tidings and do not drive [people] away.133

May Allah have mercy on a man who is lenient when
he sells, lenient when he buys and lenient when he
requests payment.134 Those who are merciful will be given
mercy by the Most Merciful. Have mercy upon those on

129 Narrated by Ibn Majah and ad-Daraqutni – hasan
130 Narrated by Muslim. Thus, there is no faith in the heart of
someone who does not dislike wrongdoing or find it objectionable.
131 Narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
132 Narrated by Muslim
133 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
134 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
102 The Global Messenger
the earth and you will obtain mercy from Him in the
Do not envy one another; do not deceive one another;
do not hate one another; do not turn your backs on one
another; and do not intrude on the transactions of one
another, but be, O servants of Allah, brothers.136

From the excellence of a person’s Islam is his leaving
alone what does not concern him.137 He is in a good state
who is occupied with his own faults rather than the faults
of [other] people.138
He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should say
what is good or keep quiet.139 Sufficient it is as a lie for a
person to speak of everything he hears.140 Do not
backbite Muslims or pursue their faults. For he who
pursues the fault of his brother Muslim – Allah will pursue
his fault, and when Allah pursues his fault, He will expose
him, even if he should be in the interior of his house.141

If someone insults you and describes you with a fault
you do not have, do not describe him with a fault he does

135 Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
136 Narrated by Muslim.
137 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – hasan-saheeh.
138 Narrated by al-Bazzar – hasan.
139 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
140 Narrated by Muslim.
141 Narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud – saheeh.
103 The Global Messenger
have. Rather, let him earn the sin, and you will have the
reward; and do not curse anyone.142
The Messenger of Allah advocated tolerance,
forgiveness and avoiding revenge. He said, “Indeed, Allah
is kind and loves kindness. He grants for kindness what He
does not grant for harshness.143 No household is given
lenience but that it benefits them.144 Allah does not
increase His servant who pardons [others] except in
He would excuse those who were offensive in
their dealings with him on a personal level, but if the
transgression had to do with disobedience to Allah or
injustice to others, he would show his disapproval and
anger, and would not hesitate to take appropriate action.
This is reflected in severe warnings to unrepentant
The most ruthless in punishing people in this world will
be the most ruthlessly punished of people by Allah on the
Day of Resurrection.146 The most severely punished of
people on the Day of Resurrection is an unjust leader.147
Fear the supplication of one who is wronged, even a
non-believer, for there is nothing to screen it [from

142 Narrated by Ibn Hebban – saheeh
143 Narrated by Muslim and Abu Dawud.
144 Narrated by at-Tabarani – saheeh
145 Narrated by Muslim.
146 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
147 Narrated by at-Tabarani – hasan
104 The Global Messenger
Allah].148 For every traitor there will be a banner by which
he will be known on the Day of Resurrection.149

Among that which people knew from the words of
former prophecy is: When you feel no shame, then do
whatever you wish.150 The worst of people is one that
others leave alone out of fear of his evil.151
The warnings issued by Allah’s Messenger about
punishments in the next life are balanced with countless
indications of how to avoid them and attain Paradise
through correct worship and righteous deeds. Study and
reflection reveal that the Prophet’s guidance is
comprehensive, balanced and complete. He used a
variety of approaches in dealing with different issues
because conditions and personalities are diverse. He
observed, “Indeed, the religion is easy, and no one will
make religion difficult but that it will overpower him. So
do what is right, strive for perfection, receive good tidings
[of reward], and seek help through prayer in the
mornings, afternoons and some part of the night.”152

148 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
149 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
150 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
151 Narrated by al-Bukhari
152 Narrated by al-Bukhari.
105 The Global Messenger
Regarding Deeds and Worship
Allah stated in the Qur’an that to worship Him is the
purpose of human existence153 and He stated that He
gave man life on earth in order to test him as to who is
best in deeds,154 meaning the deeds one does while
intending worship of Him. For any deed that is done or
avoided while seeking the acceptance of Allah
automatically becomes an act of worship. However, the
Prophet affirmed that Allah does not benefit from the
worship of His creations, nor does their refusal harm Him
in the least. In reality, it is His servants who benefit from
their worship and obedience, both in this life and the
next, and this is another aspect of the Creator’s unlimited
mercy. Every effort in His path brings a beneficial result.
To cite but a few examples of cause and effect given by
the Prophet on the subject of worship:
No people sits mentioning Allah except that the angels
surround them, mercy covers them, tranquility descends
upon them and Allah mentions them to those near Him.155

Recite the Qur’an, for it will come on the Day of
Resurrection as an intercessor for those who recited it.156
Whoever is skillful in recitation of the Qur’an will be with
the noble messenger angels, and whoever recites the

153 See Qur’an – 51:56.
154 See Qur’an – 18:7 and 67:2
155 Narrated by Muslim.
156 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
106 The Global Messenger
Qur’an faltering while it is difficult for him will have two

The five [obligatory] prayers, Friday [prayer] to the
next Friday and Ramadhan [fasting] to the next
Ramadhan are expiation for what occurred between them
when the major sins are avoided.158 Extract the poor-due
from your wealth, for it will purify you.
For the fasting
person at the time of breaking his fast is a supplication
that is not refused.160
From one Umrah to the next is
expiation [for sins], and the reward of a sinless Hajj is
none but Paradise.161
The best prayer after the obligatory one is prayer
during the night.162 Our Lord, blessed and exalted is He,
descends to the nearest heaven when the last third of the
night remains and He says, “Who will supplicate to Me so
I will answer him? Who will ask Me so I will give him?
Who will seek My forgiveness so I will forgive him?”163

157 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
158 Narrated by Muslim. Major sins are removed only through sincere
159 Narrated by Ahmad – hasan.
160 Narrated by Ibn Majah.
161 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
162 Narrated by Muslim.
163 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Allah’s descent is not a
physical one like that of His creation; rather it indicates extra
107 The Global Messenger
Each of the preceding narrations illustrates that acts
of worship motivated by conscientious obedience are
causes of beneficial results. Prophet Muhammad
mentioned this relationship between the cause and its
effect as an encouragement for believers to make good
use of the time, abilities, means and opportunities they
possess for obtaining something desirable or
Other hadiths disclose that the best and most beloved
deeds to Allah are the religious obligations which He has
ordained, so they must always be given priority by a
believer. It is fulfillment of these obligations that earns
the greatest benefits, and none of them can ever be
replaced by voluntary worship of any kind. When a
Muslim carries out his religious obligations, carefully
observing their requirements and conditions, he has
cleared himself of the sin of negligence and earned the
generous reward due to him from Allah.
After completing his obligatory acts of worship, one
may go on to obtain further benefit and become even
closer to Allah. The Prophet reported that Allah, the
Mighty and Majestic, said, “My servant does not draw
near to Me with anything more loved by Me than what
[duties] I have imposed on him. And My servant
continues to draw near to Me with additional works until I
love him; and when I love him, I am his hearing with
which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand
with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. If
108 The Global Messenger
he asks [something] of Me, I will surely give it to him; and
if he seeks refuge with Me, I will surely grant it to him.”
But worship is not limited to the formal rites of
prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and the like. It includes
everything that is pleasing to Allah of words, deeds,
attitudes and intentions. And it includes compliance in
the upright conduct ordered by Allah: honesty, opposing
injustice, respect and good treatment of people, teaching
knowledge, counseling, preventing harm and giving
benefit; all these become forms of worship as long as
they are intended by a believer for his Creator’s
acceptance. Many of the Prophet’s hadiths demonstrate
that the concept of worship is extensive and
comprehensive. For example, he said:
One who strives for [assistance of] the widow and the
needy is like a fighter for the cause of Allah or like
someone who prays by night and fasts by day.165

Every good deed is a charity, and the one who directs
to good is like one who does it.166 There is no Muslim who
plants a sprout or a seed from which a person, animal or
bird will eat but that it will be counted for him as a

164 Narrated by al-Bukhari. Allah does not “become” part of His
creation in the physical sense. Rather, the servant’s perception and
actions are guided by what Allah has ordained.
165 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
166 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi – saheeh
109 The Global Messenger
Among the best of deeds is making a believer
happy; paying for him a debt; satisfying for him a need;
relieving him of a problem.168

Thus, it may be understood that nearness to Allah is
attained primarily by behavior which is pleasing to Him.
The methods to be employed toward this end have been
outlined in the Qur’an and elaborated upon in greater
detail within the Sunnah. But the Prophet pointed out
that the righteous act alone is insufficient. It must be
accompanied by the correct intention, meaning that it is
done solely for the acceptance of Allah and no one else,
and for no other reason. That is how one’s deeds become
acts of worship and are distinguished from those of habit,
custom or hypocrisy. The Prophet cautioned: “Deeds are
only by intentions, and every man shall have only what he
intended.”169 Thus, if he intended something for the
approval of his Creator he will have that approval and its
reward, and if he intended it for a worldly purpose, such
as praise and recognition, he will have in this life what he
sought, but without Allah’s approval and reward, for His
justice is precise and perfect.
This aspect of the Sunnah encompasses everything in
a believer’s life. In the Qur’an, Allah instructed His

167 That is, he will earn the reward of a charity every time any
creature eats from it. Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
168 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi – saheeh
169 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
110 The Global Messenger
Messenger: And say, “Work, for Allah will see your
deeds, and [so will] His Messenger and the believers.
And you will be returned to the Knower of what is
concealed and what is witnessed, and He will inform
you of what you used to do.”170

So the Prophet advised his followers to make good use
of their abilities and of any excess time they find to
increase their positive and constructive endeavors,
saying, “There are two blessings of which many people
are deprived: health and free time.”171 And he told them:
Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed
with a good one; it will erase it. And treat people with
good manners.172
The best of people is one whose life is
long and deeds are good, and the worst of people is one
whose life is long and deeds are bad.173

It was his duty to convey to people what kind of deeds
are pleasing to Allah and to inform them that they must
exert effort to prove their faith. That he did in the most
complete manner. It remains for those who claim belief
to confirm it, as Allah clearly stated that there is
responsibility on both sides: Upon him [the Messenger]

170 Qur’an – 9:105.
171 Narrated by al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi.
172 Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi – hasan
173Narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi – saheeh
111 The Global Messenger
is only that with which he has been charged, and upon
you is that with which you have been charged.174

In order to do something in the most efficient and
effective way, adequate knowledge of it is required. In
particular, one must know the correct ways of securing
Allah’s approval and reward, as was confirmed and
emphasized by His Messenger:
Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every
Muslim.175 Whoever follows a path seeking knowledge,
Allah will facilitate for him a path to Paradise.176
He who follows a path in pursuit of knowledge, Allah
will make easy for him a path to Paradise. The angels
lower their wings for the seeker of knowledge, being
pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the
heavens and the earth, even the fish in the depths of the
oceans ask forgiveness for him. The superiority of the
learned person over the ritual worshipper is like that of
the moon over the other planets. The learned are heirs of
the prophets; prophets leave neither dinars nor dirhams
but only knowledge, and he who acquires it has in fact
acquired an abundant share.177

174 Qur’an – 24:54.
175 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi and at-Tabarani – saheeh.
176 Narrated by Muslim.
177 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh. The dinar and dirham were the
units of currency in use at the time.
112 The Global Messenger
May Allah make radiant the face of a person who
hears from me a statement and conveys it as he heard it.
It might be that one who hears it understands better than
the one who conveys it.178
Whoever invites to right
guidance will have reward equal to the rewards of all
those who follow it without it lessening anything from
their own rewards.179

The Prophet always encouraged the pursuit and
teaching of knowledge. This included insight into history,
an understanding of the natural laws governing
occurrences, development of the earth for the benefit of
humanity, the need to refer to specialists in every field,
regulation of public and private conduct, techniques of
dialogue with discipline and diplomacy, awareness of
actual realities, consideration of existing situations,
perception of the aims behind legal rulings and
application of necessary conditions for acceptability of
According to the Qur’an and Sunnah, there are two
requirements for Allah’s acceptance of any deed:
1) correctness, meaning that it is something lawful and
done according to the way prescribed by Allah and His
Messenger, and 2) sincerity, meaning that it is done for
the approval of Allah alone. That is why the Prophet
warned, “Perhaps a fasting person gains nothing from his

178 Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
179 Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim.
113 The Global Messenger
fast but hunger, and perhaps one who stands in night
prayers gains nothing from his prayer but
And, “Anyone who innovates something
in this religion of ours that is not a part of it – it will be

And some of the most significant and essential
information regarding work and worship left by the
Messenger is the following:
The most beloved deeds to Allah are the most regular,
even if they are few.182 Take on from deeds whatever you
are able, for Allah does not lose interest until you do. And
indeed, the most beloved deeds to Allah are those that
continue, even if they are few.183

Indeed, Allah has ordained conscientiousness in every
matter.184 Allah likes when one of you does something
that he does it well.185
Allah likes when one of you does
something that he does it with precision.186
Allah, the Exalted, has said, “I am the most selfsufficient, needing no partner. So whoever does a deed for

180 Narrated by Ibn Majah – saheeh.
181 Meaning that it will not be accepted by Allah. Narrated by alBukhari and Muslim.
182 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
183 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
184 Narrated by Muslim.
185 Narrated by at-Tabarani – hasan.
186 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi – hasan.
114 The Global Messenger
Me and another [simultaneously], I abandon him and his
There must be no obedience to a created being in
disobedience of the Creator.188 Whoever seeks the
acceptance of Allah but angering people – Allah will free
him from dependence on people, and whoever seeks the
acceptance of people by angering Allah – Allah will leave
him to the people.

When a servant becomes ill or travels, Allah, the
Exalted, registers for him the same as he used to earn
when he was well and at home.190

One who asks Allah for martyrdom truthfully will
reach the position of the martyrs even though he should
die on his bed.191

When a man dies his deeds are ended except for three:
a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge [left by him]
and a righteous child who supplicates for him.192

Some of his companions asked the Prophet about the
issue of predestination – whether there was any use in
performing good deeds since Allah had already decreed
who was destined for Hell and who was destined for

187 Narrated by Muslim.
188 Narrated by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
189 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – saheeh
190 Narrated by Ahmad and al-Bukhari.
191 Narrated by Muslim.
192 Narrated by Muslim
115 The Global Messenger
Paradise. He answered, “Work, for everyone is eased
toward that for which he was created.” Then he recited
to them: As for he who gives and fears Allah and
believes in the best [reward], We will ease him toward
ease. But as for he who withholds and considers himself
free of need and denies the best [reward], We will ease
him toward difficulty.193
He meant that Allah decrees each person’s destiny
due to a cause, and that cause is his intent and action
throughout his life on earth. Divine knowledge of what
every individual will do during his life cannot affect his
freedom to decide and act for himself, because he
himself does not know what his Lord has decreed, and
hence, he is entirely responsible for his own choice.
When a person intends to do evil in spite of his Creator’s
guidance and warnings, Allah is displeased and leaves him
to himself unless he repents and seeks forgiveness. And
when someone intends to do what is right and good,
Allah helps him to accomplish it and to earn its reward.
The Prophet encouraged people to think and to seek
knowledge. He demonstrated how the unique
characteristics of each individual should be capitalized
upon and channeled in the right direction, alluding to this
fact when he said: “Everyone is eased toward that for
which he was created.” He was speaking not only about

193 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim. The Qur’anic verses are 92:5-
116 The Global Messenger
Paradise and Hell, but about the individual distinctions
that need to be developed, refined and directed away
from evil and toward the service of mankind.
He also established the principles and systematic
methodology for obtaining knowledge, imparting it and
acting upon it.194 Tendencies toward excess among his
companions were checked and corrected. Both
fundamental and secondary issues were given due
attention, as all are part of the religion, but fundamentals
always took priority, for they are the base for all other
reforms. Muslims were never allowed to become
preoccupied with means and procedures to the point of
forgetting their major objectives.
The Sunnah, when understood and applied in an
intelligent and balanced manner, puts all affairs in order,
from personal and social etiquette to the politics of
government and international relations. It is the key to
everything good and desirable, the foundation of a
superior civilization and the path to success in the
present life and the life to come.

194 This principle is evident in the Qur’an’s revelation. Early verses
dealt with the establishment of faith and motivation before
introducing and imposing legislation. Obviously, a rational person
will only accept a restriction or ruling when trusting in its benefit or
in the wisdom of the lawmaker.
117 The Global Messenger
The Prophet’s Supplication
Muslims have always been encouraged to learn and
recite some of the invocations that were taught or
spoken by the Messenger of Allah, not only because his
words are concise, comprehensive and linguistically
eloquent, but because obviously, he was the one most
knowledgeable about how the Creator of the universe
should be addressed. Of additional importance is the
Prophet’s manner when addressing his exalted Lord: his
humbleness and sincerity, his acknowledgement of
human imperfection, his gratitude for favors and
blessings, his presence of mind and concentration, his
urgency and polite persistence and his trust in the
wisdom and response of Allah. This too represents a
significant feature of the Sunnah.
When utilized correctly, supplication is an effective
instrument for the acquisition of what is desired and
prevention of what is feared. Information and instruction
on this subject was offered by the Messenger of Allah:
Nothing repels fate except supplication…
195 Whoever
would like Allah to respond to him during hardship and
disaster should supplicate much in times of ease.196

195 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim – hasan. This means that a
destiny which might have been, had Allah not willed to prevent it, is
changed by Him due to the supplication of His righteous servant (of
which He had previous knowledge).
196 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – hasan.
118 The Global Messenger
Three supplications are answered: the supplication of
one who is fasting, the supplication of one who has been
wronged and the supplication of a traveler.197 Three
supplications are answered without doubt: the
supplication of one who has been wronged, the
supplication of a traveler and the supplication of a parent
for his child.198
Do not supplicate against yourselves and do not
supplicate against your children and do not supplicate
against your servants and do not supplicate against your
properties.199 Do not supplicate for death and do not wish
for it. But whoever must, let him say, “O Allah, give me
life as long as life is best for me and cause me to die when
death is best for me.”200

It is evident, however, from both the Prophet’s
biography and the early history of Islam that the Sunnah
does not advocate supplication alone. Rather, it is
required in conjunction with adequate effort based on
sound knowledge. Both physical effort and supplication
are causes and means of obtaining the desired effect in
any endeavor, and neglect of either one will weaken the
force that determines an outcome. For example,
forgiveness of sin cannot be obtained except by

197 Narrated by al-Bayhaqi – saheeh.
198 Narrated by Ibn Majah – hasan. These three are given by way of
example, not limitation.
199 Narrated by Muslim and Abu Dawud.
200 Narrated by an-Nasa’i – saheeh.
119 The Global Messenger
repentance, regret and determination never again to
return to the offense in addition to prolonged, sincere
supplication to Allah for His forgiveness. And any project
undertaken requires a sufficient amount of planning,
preparation and hard work accompanied by supplication
to Allah. Similarly, the perceptive believer seeks refuge in
Allah from evil while doing his utmost to avoid it; and he
asks Allah for Paradise while striving hard to attain it
through righteous actions.
Allah’s Messenger made maximum use of supplication
as an essential supplement to his best efforts according
to the law of cause and effect. His method was to strive
hard while calling upon Allah for support and assistance,
since proper action and persistent supplication are
among the most powerful causes of success. So he asked
and worked, implored and labored; and then he was
answered and aided.
From time to time, Allah tests the patience of His
servants by prolonging difficult conditions. When nothing
more can be done by a person to alter a situation, the aid
of Allah should be sought through fervent supplication.
One should never discontinue supplication thinking that
response is slow or not forthcoming, for He will surely
respond. Allah is pleased by continuing supplication
which shows trust in Him; He rewards for it, provides
psychological relief and responds in the way which He
knows will be best. As His Messenger explained:
120 The Global Messenger
No Muslim supplicates to Allah with a supplication
that is free from sin and from that which severs ties of
relationship but that Allah will give him one of three
things: a direct response to his supplication or the
accumulation of its reward for him in the Hereafter or the
prevention of an evil from striking him which is equal to it
[i.e., to his effort in supplication].201

He further disclosed, “The closest a servant can be to
his Lord is when he is prostrating [in prayer], so [at that
time] supplicate abundantly.”202
Though Allah is exalted
and high above His creation, the Muslim draws nearest to
Him by lowering his face to the ground in sincere worship
and humble submission. At such a time his supplication is
even more likely than usual to earn response.
The words of prophetic supplication obviously reflect
the ideal relationship between a devout, dedicated man
and his Creator. But they are much more than eloquent
expression and moving sentiment. They reveal an inner
dimension of the Sunnah which provides guidance and
direction for every person’s life. What the Prophet
requested from his Lord is everything meaningful,
valuable and worthwhile in both the present life and that
to come. In addition, he knew the subtle aspects of evil
from which to seek protection from his Lord.

201 Narrated by Ahmad – hasan.
202 Narrated by Muslim.
121 The Global Messenger
Allah’s Messenger knew exactly what to ask for and
how to ask for it. Examination of this element of the
Sunnah will reveal unmistakably what everyone should
try to avoid because of its harm as well as the noble
objectives that should be desired, sought after and
worked for by every believer, in fact, by every human
being on earth.
The Messenger of Allah identified these objectives
and made them known to others through his own
supplications, which were noted attentively by his
companions, memorized and then taught as a part of the
dynamic Sunnah that went on to civilize the world. He
would humbly praise and then address his Lord:
O Allah, I am Your servant, the son of Your male
servant and Your female servant. My forelock is in Your
hand. Your decision is being carried out in me. Your
decree on me is justice. I ask You by every name of Yours,
which You have named Yourself or revealed in Your Book
or taught any one of Your creation or kept within Your
knowledge of the unseen, to make the magnificent Qur’an
the revival of my heart, the illumination of my breast, the
removal of my sadness and the departure of my worry.203
O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me,
grant me well-being and provide for me.204 O Allah, set
right my religion, which is the safeguard of my affairs,

203 Narrated by Ahmad – saheeh.
204 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah – saheeh.
122 The Global Messenger
and set right my world, wherein is my livelihood, and set
right my hereafter, to which is my return. And make life
for me an increase in all good and make death for me a
relief from every evil.205
My Lord, assist me and assist not others against me.
Grant me victory and grant not victory to others over me.
Plan in favor of me and plan not for others against me.
Guide me and make guidance easy for me; and aid me
against whoever should oppress me. My Lord, make me
one who continually remembers You, who is continually
grateful to You, who continually fears You, who
continually obeys You, continually praying and returning
to You. My Lord, accept my repentance, remove my
offense, respond to my supplication, establish my
evidence, guide my heart, direct my tongue and eliminate
resentment from my breast. O Allah, inspire me to
sensible conduct and protect me from the evil of my
O Allah, conceal my faults and remove my fears. O
Allah, guard me from before me and behind me, on my
right and on my left and above me. And I seek refuge in
Your grandeur from being seized unaware from below.207

205 Narrated by Muslim.
206 Narrated by Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah –
207 Narrated by Abu Dawud – hasan.
123 The Global Messenger
O Allah, grant my soul consciousness [of You] and
purify it, for You are the best to purify it. You are its
protector and guardian.208
O Allah, I seek refuge in You
from laziness, decrepitude, debt and sin.209 O Allah, I ask
You for guidance, righteousness, chastity and selfsufficiency.210
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I
have done and from the evil of what I have not done.211 O
Allah, I seek refuge in You from the distress of trial, from
the lowest level of misery, the perversity of fate and the
malicious rejoicing of enemies.212 O Allah, make not our
misfortune in our religion and make not the world our
greatest concern nor the sum of our knowledge.213
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from knowledge that does
not benefit, from a heart that is not humbled, from a soul
that is not satisfied and from supplication that is not
answered. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the cessation
of Your favors, from a change in the well-being You have
given me, from Your unexpected vengeance and from all
that angers You. O Allah, director of hearts, direct our
hearts toward obedience to You.214

208 Narrated by Muslim.
209 Narrated by Muslim.
210 Narrated by Muslim and at-Tirmidhi.
211 Narrated by Muslim.
212 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
213 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi and al-Hakim – saheeh.
214 Narrated by Muslim.
124 The Global Messenger
O Allah, grant us a fear of You [sufficient] to prevent
us from disobeying You, and obedience to You enabling us
to reach Your Paradise, and the certainty which renders
disasters of this world unimportant to us. O Allah, let us
enjoy our hearing, our sight and our strength as long as
You grant us life, and make it remaining among us. Make
our vengeance upon those who oppress us and support us
against our enemies. Let not our misfortune be in our
religion and let not the world be our greatest concern or
the limit of our knowledge. And do not empower over us
those who show us no mercy.215

O Allah, I seek refuge in You from bad manners, deeds,
desires and diseases.”216 O Allah, I seek refuge in You from
anxiety and grief, from failure and laziness, from
cowardice and stinginess, from the constriction of debt
and being overpowered by men. And I seek refuge in You
from the torment of the grave and from the trials of life
and death.217
O Allah, I hope for Your mercy, so leave me not to
myself for even the wink of an eye. And amend for me all
of my affairs. There is no god but You.218 O Allah, make
sufficient for me what You have permitted so I may avoid

215 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
216 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – saheeh.
217 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
218 Narrated by Abu Dawud – hasan.
125 The Global Messenger
what You have prohibited, and make me self-sufficient by
Your favor so I may need no one but You.219

O Allah, forgive me what I have done and what I have
delayed, what I concealed and what I revealed, the excess
I have committed and that of which You are more
knowing than me.220 O Allah, forgive me my sin, all of it;
the minute and the obvious of it, the first and the last of
it, the apparent and the secret of it.221

O Allah, I ask You for all goodness, what I know of it
and what I do not know; and I seek refuge in You from all
evil, what I know of it and what I do not know. O Allah, I
ask You of Your favor and mercy, for none possesses them
but You.222 O Allah, I ask You for useful knowledge, for
lawful sustenance and for work acceptable to You.223 O
Allah, I ask You to grant me the performance of good
deeds and the abandonment of bad ones, love of the poor
and Your forgiveness and mercy. And if You intend a trial
for people, let me die without having failed in trial.224

I seek refuge in Your approval from Your anger and in
Your pardon from Your penalty. I seek refuge in You from

219 Narrated by at-Tirmidhi – hasan.
220 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
221 Narrated by Muslim.
222 Narrated by at-Tabarani – saheeh.
223 Ibn Majah – hasan.
224 Narrated by al-Bazzar – hasan.
126 The Global Messenger
You. I cannot adequately praise You; You are as You have
praised Yourself.225

O Allah, You created my soul and it is You who will
take it; to You belongs its death and its life. O Allah, if You
should keep it alive then safeguard it, and if You should
cause it to die then forgive it. O Allah, I ask You for
freedom from all evil.226 O Allah, make the best of my
days the Day when I meet You, the best of my life the last
of it and the best of my deeds the final ones.227
These are but a few of the supplications that offer a
glimpse into the heart of the final Prophet and reflect his
aspirations for his followers and their future generations.
Like all other prophets, he was a human being, and despite
his extraordinary accomplishments, never claimed divine
status. He called people to the worship of God alone, and
insisted they refer to him as “Allah’s servant and
messenger”. Through obedience and selflessness, effort
and reliance on Allah, he and his companions built a
society based upon principles of strong faith and morality
combined with those of material progress – one
unequaled in the history of mankind.

225 Narrated by Muslim.
226 Narrated by Muslim.
227 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
127 The Global Messenger
Allah, the Exalted, stated clearly in the Qur’an that
this world, along with the present universe, will one day
come to an end in order to make way for the new
creation in which balance and justice prevail. Its final era
began with the prophethood of Muhammad and will
close at the Hour of Resurrection. There will be no divine
scripture after the Qur’an and no prophet after
Muhammad. He once observed, “I and the Final Hour are
like these two,” and held up his index and middle

The Prophet’s Sunnah is second only to the Qur’an as
a source of Islamic legislation, and both are
indispensable. He said, “I have indeed been given the
Qur’an and with it what is similar to it. Yet, a time will
come when someone reclining on his couch will say,
‘Follow only the Qur’an; take as permissible what you find
in it as permissible; and take as prohibited what you find
in it as prohibited.’ But indeed, what the Messenger
forbids is the same as what Allah has forbidden.”229 The
Qur’an itself confirms: Whoever obeys the Messenger
has obeyed Allah.230
The Sunnah remains with us as the divinely ordained
supplement to the Qur’an. It contains a diversity of

228 Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.
229 Narrated by Ahmad and Abu Dawud – saheeh.
230 Qur’an – 4:80.
128 The Global Messenger
options for various situations and conditions present in
the world at any given time and place. It imparts the most
effective methods of accomplishment which demand a
conscious awareness of the priorities of each day and
every hour. Within the vast range of righteous deeds
derived from the Sunnah, a Muslim finds what is
compatible with the needs of his particular society and
with his own capacity for service. Thus, he is not limited to
forms of private worship but also actively participates in
every lawful field of life, excelling in production, precision,
skill and integrity, all the while earning the reward of a
sincere worshipper. And at the same time, he becomes a
source of benefit and blessing within his community.
Prophet Muhammad was chosen by the Creator of the
universe and mankind to invite all people to the correct
beliefs and pure way of life preferred by Him and to
demonstrate the measures and methods leading to His
acceptance. He spared no effort and no sacrifice in
carrying out this duty for the benefit of mankind.
Through him, God made known truth from falsehood and
wisdom from error. And through him He showed man
how to attain eternal Paradise.
What was taught by Prophet Muhammad is as
fundamental today as ever before. The Sunnah provides
the means to achieve the noble existence for which Allah
created human beings. The straight path to which the
Prophet invited by word and deed is, simply stated, the
shortest route to true and lasting contentment. It is the
129 The Global Messenger
path leading to a satisfying relationship with the Creator
of mankind and to His unlimited mercy, appreciation and
generosity. It is a median path of moderation and reason,
avoiding every form of excess or extremism. It is a path
based upon honesty and sincere effort in the present
world which ultimately leads to full compensation and
perfect justice in the next.
Islam is a complete way of life, combining aspects of
faith and worship, legislation and moral teachings to offer
the most intensive and effective means to purify and
refine the human soul and human societies. Unlike many
other religions and ideologies which emphasize some
aspects of man’s nature at the expense of others, Islam
does justice to the demands of all three of his faculties:
the physical, intellectual and spiritual. Among its unique
features are the following:
Ÿ Islam is the only religion whose sources are
authentically preserved and have remained immaculately
free of human alteration and interference.
Ÿ Its divine scripture, the Qur’an, is free of mythical
elements incompatible with modern man’s
understanding of the world. It is in harmony with the
established facts of science, clearly bearing the
signature of the author of the universe.
Ÿ The Qur’an provides answers to questions that haunt
the mind of every intelligent person, those related to
130 The Global Messenger
the purpose of life and about further existence after
death. In it one will find:

  1. Information about the Creator, in particular His
    perfect and absolute attributes
  2. The purpose of creation and of life on earth
  3. The way one should relate to his Creator, to his
    fellow men and to the universe in general
  4. Disclosure of one’s final return to his Creator for
    evaluation and the consequences of his attitudes and
    Ÿ The Qur’an upholds the role of the mind and regards
    those who fail to use reason as intellectually deficient. This
    is distinct from the teachings of many religions which
    assume the incompatibility of faith and reason. The Qur’an
    is unique in its approach to knowledge, stressing
    observation, experience and intellect rather than custom
    and blind assumption.
    Ÿ Islamic beliefs and practices are natural and appeal to
    common sense. They take into account both the instincts
    and faculties of human beings and present a balanced
    program of life that caters to basic physical as well as
    spiritual needs. Additionally, Islam provides an ideal role
    model in the person of Prophet Muhammad, whose
    biography, unlike great heroes and founders of other
    religions, has been recorded in minute detail and is easily
    accessible for study. Islamic history has also provided the
    example of a model society where truth and transparency,
    131 The Global Messenger
    justice and compassion were actually implemented and
    maintained as a vital expression of the religion.
    Ÿ Islam stresses human brotherhood, eliminating the
    negative consequences of tribalism, nationalism and
    racism which create and sustain conflicts.
    Ÿ Islam is the only religion which insists upon worship of
    the Creator alone and completely rejects the worship of
    any of His creations. Hence, it provides liberation from
    servitude to other men as well as the highest spiritual
    fulfillment and contentment that humans are capable of
    Ÿ Islam dispenses with all intermediaries between man
    and God and allows all humans to contact Him directly,
    thus eliminating hierarchies and other sources of religious
    exploitation which have characterized religious history
    throughout the ages.

The Messenger of Allah was sent to mankind with
complete guidance in all matters of faith, its application to
the affairs of human life in order that everyone might
attain the happiness and contentment of this world and
the next. By following the guidance found in the Qur’an
and Sunnah man can fully experience his human worth
and his special position among created beings. And by so
doing he will automatically come into harmony with the
rest of creation, earn the approval of his Lord and obtain
132 The Global Messenger
peace and contentment in a better and permanent
existence to come.
All praise is due to Allah, and may His blessings and
peace be upon Muhammad, the last of the Prophets, and
upon his companions and all those who follow his
guidance until the Day of Recompense.
133 The Global Messenger
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