Prophet Muhammad’s exemplary qualities celebrated in poetry

Aga Khan Museum Online Gallery: Three-Legged Stand 13th century CE
Aga Khan Museum Online Gallery. The circular rim of the stand displays a fine horizontal inscription in kufic characters, presenting a long sequence of wishes: (with good fortune, blessing, good fortune, joy, fulfilment, happiness, health, gratitude, that which inspires gratitude, divine generosity, long duration, health, the Prophet’s intercession, abundance, grace, contentment, that which gives victory, pleasure, mercy, assistance / victory, that which is possible, power, greatness, the Prophet’s intercession, longevity and duration to its owner).

Prophet Muhammad was born around 570 CE in Mecca. His father had died before his birth, and his mother and grandfather, who had raised him, both died before he was 8 years old. His Uncle, Abu Talib, became his guardian, training him in the family business and eventually taking him on trading missions along the caravan routes. As his experience increased, the Prophet took on greater responsibilities and earned a reputation as an able and trustworthy businessman. The Prophet was subsequently approached by a widowed businesswoman, Khadija, to manage her business and caravans. Her trust in him eventually grew into affection and they married.

Although the Prophet was a good family man and an active member of the merchant community, he was concerned about the moral and spiritual life of the community. He often retreated to a cave on Mount Hira to contemplate and reflect. In the year 610, the Prophet received a message, which is believed to be the first revelation of Islam and marks the beginning of the process that continued for 22 years. His wife Khadija was the first to believe in the Prophet and supported him during the early periods of his mission. Initially, the Prophet  conveyed the message to the members of his family, eventually delivering the message to the people. “He asked them to submit to One God, Allah, and to forsake their traditions of polytheism, to share their wealth, and exercise good stewardship by paying attention to the poor and the disadvantaged, reminding them of the judgement to come after death.”*

The Prophet continued his mission despite the opposition from Meccans and the persecution of his family. He and his community subsequently migrated to Medina in 622. This migration, Hijra, inaugurated the Muslim calendar. The Prophet and some of the Meccans who had migrated, eventually returned to Mecca. Prophet Muhammad died on the 12th day of Rabi al-Awwal, during year 10 of the Muslim calendar.

The Prophet’s “practice of prayer and devotion; his spirituality; his example of humility, compassion, and justice; his role as husband and parent; his acts of kindness to children, orphans, the disadvantaged, and animals and birds; and his commitment to the use of reason and the pursuit of knowledge, all serve for Muslims as a model of ideal conduct. It is this picture of [Prophet] Muhammad as  a teacher, exemplar and friend of God that has given him a special place in the hearts of Muslims through the ages. In their daily prayers and whenever his name is mentioned, they invoke God’s blessings on him and his descendants, as a continuing mark of remembrance and gratitude. Praise of [Prophet] Muhammad, his prophetic qualities and his position as the chosen messenger of God has been recorded in all Muslim languages and folk traditions, celebrated in poetry, and commemorated on his birthday. Above all, for Muslims he is the recipient of God’s final revelation in the Quran.”**

* Azim Nanji, “The Prophet, the Revelation and the Founding of Islam,” The Muslim Almanac, Gale Research Inc., Detriot, 1996
**Azim Nanji, Dictionary of Islam, Penguin Books, London, 2008

Research by Nimira Dewji


Related from the Ismailimail Archives:

Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet
Simerg: Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet - Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s) changed world history in 23 years and continues to shape and inspire…

Poetry has been central to the spiritual life of Muslims
Poetry has been central to the spiritual life of Muslims
Poetry has been central to the spiritual life of Muslims - The earliest examples of religious poetry in Islam are to be found in the verses…

Milad-un-Nabi – Lectures at the Ismaili Centre, London
Milad-un-Nabi – Lectures at the Ismaili Centre, London
Milad-un-Nabi – Lectures at the Ismaili Centre, London - This week, Muslims around the world commemorate Milad-un-Nabi, literally meaning the “birth of the Prophet.”…

Ali S. Asani: Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry
Ali S. Asani: Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry
Book: Ali S. Asani: Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet in Popular Muslim Poetry - Asani AS, Abdel-Malek K, in collaboration with Schimmel A. Celebrating Muhammad: Images of the Prophet…

Remembering the Spirituality of the Prophet Muhammad
Remembering the Spirituality of the Prophet Muhammad
Milad al-Nabi: Remembering the Spirituality of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) - On the occasion of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and…

A tenth-century Muslim brotherhood discussed the healing qualities of music
A tenth-century Muslim brotherhood discussed the healing qualities of music
A tenth-century Muslim brotherhood discussed the healing qualities of music - The Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity) is a unique work in…

Annemarie Schimmel: And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety
Annemarie Schimmel: And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety
Annemarie Schimmel: And Muhammad Is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety - via amaana.org A Turkish dervish of the seventeenth century sings: The night in which the…

Music in Islam – By Nimira Dewji
Music in Islam – By Nimira Dewji
Music in Islam – By Nimira Dewji - Ismailimail highlighted Music in Islam Series, a compilation of researched articles presented by Nimira Dewji.…

The Prophet of Islam and the Spirit of Tolerance - Reza Shah-Kazemi
The Prophet of Islam and the Spirit of Tolerance – Reza Shah-Kazemi
The Prophet of Islam and the Spirit of Tolerance – Reza Shah-Kazemi - Delivered in London at the Indian YMCA Hall, 24 June 2011. The first part of…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s