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Who is Muḥammad ﷺ?

In the very recent past the Almighty blessed me with a beautiful baby girl. In the last few weeks of my wife’s pregnancy one of her non-Muslim friends enquired, “If the baby is a boy what name will you give?” My wife replied proudly and instantaneously, “Muḥammad”.

Needless to say, as subjective as this may sound, the facial expression of the friend changed so as to display a metaphorical mosaic of what has been fed into the public through selective outrage, media manipulation, Islamophobes, apologetic Muslims and, perhaps most importantly, politicians.

So, a pertinent question in the minds of people right now is: “Who is Muḥammad?” Muslims worldwide echo “Peace and Blessings be upon him” in Arabic whenever his name is mentioned. Who is this man who 1.6 billion people lay claim to as their ultimate leader? What is it about this man that he is followed, respected and loved in every corner of the world?

Whenever a particular theology is debated the first thing the opposing sceptic tends to ask is “What is the proof for your religion?”, or in a Muslim’s case: “What is the proof Muḥammad is a Prophet?” People require proof; it is an innate concept to request proof in theological matters.

As Muslims we tend to follow the maxim ‘we hear and obey’ and, thus, the miracles attributed to Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) are a beautiful reality for us.

The focus herein will not be on miracles, such as the splitting of the moon, the night journey or the opening of the chest. I can almost hear the Islamophobes requesting objective proof that these occurred.

In my humble opinion, some miracles of the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) are summarised below and these will only affect those with open minds:

The Unlettered Prophet

Our Prophet was born into a civilisation that did not value education, he was, therefore, illiterate. In the whole of Makkah there were a handful of people who could read and write in that time. They had no governmental system in place or academic buildings such as schools or libraries. One, therefore, should ponder how a person originating from this society brought forth a message which is so profound and universal; someone who could neither read nor write, someone who was not interested in poetry whatsoever. Where did he receive the revelation from and how could he concoct the same from the middle of the desert whilst working as a shepherd?

Moral Characteristics

It is well-documented in history books that the people of Makkah had (many years prior to the announcement of Prophethood) named him as ‘The Truthful and Trustworthy One’.  He did not abuse, neither did he lie; he was a symbol of humility and morality, even towards the end of his life when he was the most powerful man in the Arabian Peninsula. That power did not corrupt him. We only need look at the politicians and men in power in our time to see how corrupted a person can become post-power, money and fame.  The Prophet had all three of these at his disposal yet he did not become corrupted at the hands of these temporary vices.

The Motivation

Why would he preach this message? What was his motivation? If one was to study the biography of the Prophet it would be impossible for them to doubt the evident sincerity he had in his own message. Despicable Islamophobes put forward the falsehood that the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was a warlord and womaniser by misconstruing events in history for their own ignoble agenda. They, therefore, ignore the aspect of history which displays facts completely in opposition to their understanding.

Once one of the leaders of the Quraysh ʿUtbah b. Rabiah told the members of the Quraysh that he would make some proposals to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) to stop him preaching Islām.

ʿUtbah spoke first and unconditionally offered the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) four things which men readily covet. These are wealth, honour, kingship and women.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) listened patiently. When ʿUtbah had finished talking, he asked him, “Is it all that you have to say?” to which ʿUtbah replied, “Yes”.

“Now listen to me,” said the Prophet: he then recited a portion of Sūrah Fussilat to ʿUtbah and once he had finished his recitation ʿUtbah went on his way.

As the Quraysh saw ʿUtbah returning, they said; “Truly, he comes with an altered expression on his face.” They asked him what had happened.

ʿUtbah stated, “I have heard words the like of which I had never heard before. O Quraysh, that what he says is neither poetry, nor spells, nor witchcraft. Take my advice and leave this man alone.” In other versions it says that ʿUtbah added, “These words (i.e. the Qur’ān) will bring about great changes.”

ʿUtbah, amongst other members of the Quraysh, had accused the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) of sorcery, soothsaying and being a madman. It is not surprising, then, that Islamophobes continue on this very trend to this day.

The fact of the matter is that the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had power, kingship, women and honour offered to him and he could have acquired all these without 23 years’ worth of assassination attempts, being driven out of his home, ridiculed, pelted by the people of Ṭāif with stones and many other hardships. The motivation and sincerity of the message is flawless.

The Message itself

Islamophobes state that the motivations of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) were fame, power, women etc. We have heard this far too many times. However, one must look at the message itself logically and see whether the message itself would attract fame, power and other facets leading to corruption.

The message preached (to mention a few aspects) was one of Monotheism; feeding the hungry and poor; not burying baby girls alive; banning usury, and the belief that all mankind is equal in the sight of Allāh and the one closest to Allāh is the one with the most God-consciousness. This message was unprecedented at that time both in the world as a whole and specifically in a tribal society where the entire moral fabric of that society was firmly rooted in ethnicity, tribe and bloodline.

The question which begs to be answered is: “How can someone covet fame, fortune and power by going against the very moral fabric of the society within which he resides?” How could fame be gained by attacking the status quo of the whole world?


The above gives a brief insight into who Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) is, and gives an analysis into the truth of his message. We cannot do justice to this great man and the favours he has done upon us by providing us the beacon of light which guides us out of darkness.

We ask Allāh to reunite us with our beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the Hereafter. Amīn.



About Waseem Raja

Waseem Raja is a Solicitor working in civil litigation, personal injury, immigration and human rights cases. He is particularly interested in the Seerah of our beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) having studied the early generations of Islam with a particular focus on the era of the Sahaba. He is also an accredited Police Station representative specialising in criminal law.


  1. ameela momoniat

    @ Abu Mustafa
    You are confusing things brother. What is illiterate? It can be used an adjective which means unable to read or write. And it can be used as a noun which also means a person who is unable to read or write.

    Don’t confuse his lofty character, intelligence, integrity etc with what the author is saying. There is no difference of opinion that he was
    فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا
    Which leads us back to the definition…. Lol
    Wa Salaam

    • Wa Salaam, jkk.
      What I mean to say is these are English terms of a phrase in Arabic. We can define it how much we can in English but Arabic does not translate into English, you just get a idea of some of the meaning that all.
      We should stick to the Arabic terms and there would be no confusion.

      • And JazakAllahKhair to you and all Muslims who jump to the defense of our Messenger
        (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) this is what a heart of a Muslim should be like.

        “None of you becomes a believer until I am dearer to him than his children, his parents and all mankind.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

  2. Prophet s.a.w. was taught by Allah s.w.t. Stop this stupidity of calling him illiterate and gain more maarifa of the holy soul.

    • ameela momoniat

      @ Ali
      It is not stupidity, Allah Ta’ala refers to the Messenger sws as unlettered meaning he was unable to read or write.

      Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
      “Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read not write whom they find written with them in the Tawraat and the Injeel, – he commands them for al-Ma’roof (i.e., Islamic monotheism and all that Islaam has ordained); and forbids them from al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islaam has forbidden); he allows them as lawful al-Tayyibaat (i.e., all good and lawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), and prohibits them as unlawful al-khabaa’ith (i.e., all evil and unlawful as regards things, deeds, beliefs, persons, foods, etc.), he releases them from their heavy burdens (of Allaah’s Covenant) and from the fetters (bindings) that were upon them. So those who believe in him (Muhammad), honor him, help him and follow the light (the Qur’aan) which has been sent down with him, it is they who will be successful.”
      [al-A’raaf 7:157]

      Al-Qurtubi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his tafseer of this aayah: “Allaah says ‘al-ummi.’ Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: ‘Your Prophet was unlettered, unable to read or write or calculate.’ Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Neither did you (O Muhammad) read any book before it (this Qur’an), nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand . . .’
      [al-‘Ankaboot 29:48].”

      Ibn Katheer, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his tafseer of the second aayah quoted [al-‘Ankaboot 29:48]:
      “Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Neither did you (O Muhammad) read any book before it (this Qur’aan), nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand . . .’ i.e., ‘you (O Muhammad) lived among your people for a while before you brought this Qur’aan to them, and you never read any book or were able to write anything. Everyone among your people and others knows that you are an unlettered man, who does not read or write.’ This is how he was described in the previous Books as Allaah said (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read not write whom they find written with them in the Tawraat and the Injeel, – he commands them for al-Ma’roof (i.e., Islamic monotheism and all that Islaam has ordained); and forbids them from al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, polytheism of all kinds, and all that Islaam has forbidden) . . .’ [al-A’raaf 7:157].

      Hence the Prophet will remain unable to write even one line or one letter, until the Day of Resurrection. He had scribes who would write down in front of him the Revelation and letters to different regions. . . . Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): ‘. . . In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.’ [al-‘Ankaboot 29:48], i.e., if you had been good at it (reading and writing), some of the ignorant people would have doubted you and said that you had learnt this from the previous Books left by the Prophets. Indeed, they say this despite the fact that they know he was unlettered and unable to write, as it says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): ‘And they say: “Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.”’ [al-Furqaan 25:5]”

      Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

      “He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them (from the filth of disbelief and polytheism), and teaching them the Book and al-Hikmah (al-Sunnah). And verily, they had been before in manifest error.”
      [al-Jumu’ah 62:2]

      Al-Qurtubi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his tafseer of this aayah:
      “It was said: ‘the unlettered ones’ means those who do not write. Such were the Quraysh. Mansoor reported from Ibraaheem, who said: ‘Al-ummi (the unlettered one) is the one who neither reads nor writes. “A Messenger from among themselves” means Muhammad , who was unlettered and never read a book nor learned how.’ Al-Mawardi said: ‘What is good about the fact that Allaah sent an unlettered Prophet? There are three things:
      (i) his message fulfilled the foretelling of the previous Prophets;
      (ii) this made him similar to and closer to other Prophets;
      (iii) this would eliminate all suspicion that he had learned the message he preached from books and writings that he had read.”

      I say: all of this is evidence of the miraculous nature and truth of his Prophethood.

      (The above has been summarized from the Tafseer of al-Qurtubi, may Allaah have mercy on him).

      • Ronnie Shakespeare

        Ok he could not read . But what about people who read for him or Jews or Christians telling him things ?

        • “the things” are passing in you claim has to do NOTHING what Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saying were and are.

          Please read about His Life and see how transparent and well-documented it is.

          Prophet Muhammad (pubs) said this first: There is no god but Allah. No helper, no son etc. Okay?

          What Christianity and Judaism says about oneness of God! NONE.

          Please read, enlighten yourself and witness differences of Islam yourself.

    • He (sws) was not illiterate but he was unlettered. It’s 2 different things.
      He could not read or write in the conventional sense but he was without doubt the wisest, most knowledgeable person which the non muslims of makkah also attested to. He was the best of speakers and he was given command of the Arabic language like no other.
      As one sahabi said after seeing him, never did I lay eyes on anyone like him in my entire life before and never did I lay eyes on anyone like him after that.
      May Allah give us death as firm believers in the Ummah of Muhammad sws.

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