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London Islamic Cultural Society
Haringey's First Purpose-Built Masjid
Through the study of Prophet Muhammad (saw) life, we can only know the way of Islam and how to spend our worldly life for the betterment of our final life; life hereafter (al-Akhirah). Prophet Muhammad (saw) was the Greatest Man in History who bought down tranquillity and peace to mankind. Here we have bellow an interactive timeline of our Prophet (saw) where you can hover over each stage of his life to gain a snapshot of what he went through. To get the best experience we recommend you view this on your desktop/PC or alternative use the version bellow to view one table/phone screens. We hope this inspires you get on a path to gain further knowledge about our wonderful deen.
1. Pre-Islamic Arabia
Pre Islamic Arabia was a society in turmoil, female infanticide, prostitution and fornication, fraudulent market practices and idolatry were characterisations of the social ills of the time. Politically the Arab tribes were at continuous war and there was no political system or leader who could unite them. Amidst this chaos Makkah was still recognised as the trading centre of the peninsula where pilgrims would also converge annually. This gave the Makkan’s some political and social authority. The Arabs were proud of their ability at poetry and memorisation; they held onto this very dearly, the Quran would come to challenge them in this regard.
2. Lineage & Early Years
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) was born on Monday 9thof Rabi al Awwal (570 CE), into a noble family and tribe. He was from Quraish, specifically from the Bani Hashim tribe who looked after the pilgrims. Sadly the Prophet’s (saw) father, mother and grandfather all passed away before he (saw) reached the tender age of 9. His uncle, Abu Talib, took care of him and raised him as one of his own. From the day he (saw) was born there were signs of Prophethood. At an early age he (saw) came across Bahirah, a monk, who recognised the seal of Prophethood on the Prophet’s (saw) back. The Prophet (saw) was known as Al Amin, ‘the Trustworthy’, as his character from a young age was impeccable. Due to the immoral decadent society around him, he (saw) would seclude himself for days in Cave Hira just outside of Makkah, to contemplate and reflect.
The first revelation (“Recite in the name of your Lord”) was given to Muhammad (saw) in 610CE. Naturally the Prophet (saw) was shocked and confused and at this time, his wife Khadijah (ra), comforted and consoled him. They met Waraqah, a knowledgeable Christian, who confirmed that he (saw) truly was a chosen Prophet and that it was the angel Jibraeel who had visited him (saw). Once reconciled with the fact he (saw) was a Prophet, he (saw) said to his wife “from this day there is no rest”, realising that the struggle for his mission and message would require the utmost effort and sacrifice.
4. First Stage
It was clear from the outset that the revealed message of Islam was to change the political landscape of the Arabian Peninsula, curing the social ills and ushering in an era of tranquillity. The first stage of the Prophet’s (saw) call involved approaching his close friends and family. The early converts were his wife, his adopted son Zaid (ra), his cousin Ali (ra) and his close friend Abu Bakr (ra), and a few others. These early converts would be cultured with the Islamic concepts and ideas by the Prophet (saw) in the house of Arqam. They would also go out to the hilltops to pray, away from the eyes of Quraish. But the Quraish became aware of the Prophet’s (saw) activities and were seeing changes in those he had converted. This made them suspicious of what Muhammad (saw) was up to.
5. Second Stage
The second stage of the Islamic mission required Muhammad (saw) to openly address the public, which he did famously on the mountains of Safa, declaring that he was a chosen Prophet. Muhammad (saw) also invited key members of his family and tribe to a dinner in his house, where he could address them in a nice and comfortable environment, not influenced by outsiders to their tribe. But on both fronts the Prophet’s (saw) call was met with widespread rejection and ridicule. So then Allah (swt) ordered the Prophet (saw) to challenge the false ideas of Quraish in public, and in their meeting places & gatherings. This was to provoke thought amongst the people about their societal interactions and collective problems, and to show them that the Islamic values could elevate them and lead to a just society.
6. Quraish Response to the Islamic Call
The Quraish could offer no intellectual response against the Prophet (saw) and the Islamic call, so they resorted to subversive tactics. They would bar pilgrims who came from outside of Makkah from speaking to Muhammad (saw), they began a campaign of misinformation and lies to discredit the Prophet (saw). The Quraish went further committing atrocities and torturing Muslims, especially the weak ones who had no protection. Amongst the victims was Sumayyah, a lady who was the first Muslim martyr. Even the Prophet (saw) was not spared physical abuse. The situation was unbearable, so the Prophet (saw) allowed some Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia. The travellers were mostly from the noble families, and this embarrassed the Quraish publicly, as they were seen as driving out their own people for holding different ideas.
7. First Demonstration
The first Muslim demonstration marched to the most public and central spot in Makkah; outside the ka’aba and infront of the meeting house of Quraish leaders. It took place after the conversions of Hamza (ra) and Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra), whose combined strength helped transfer the Islamic call from secrecy to an open challenge. The public display was unique and something the society had never witnessed before. In two rows, side by side, were the rich and poor, the white and black, the strong and weak, former slaves and masters etc. All this shook the Quraish tremendously as Islam now had strength to demonstrate its societal values. So their tactics changed again, they offered Muhammad (saw) kingship, the best women and wealth, in return for not propagating Islam. But the Prophet’s (saw) response was firm, “if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in return for my giving up this cause, I would not give it up until Allah makes the truth victorious, or I die in His service”.
10. Seeking Support
The Prophet (saw) began turning to the tribes outside of Makkah for support and to establish Islam as a political authority. He visited dozens of tribes, especially seeking out the strongest of them. On one famous occasion he went to the people of Taif to gain support. However the Prophet (saw) received a brutal response as he (saw) was stoned, bleeding head to toe, and was driven out of Taif. Whilst seeking political support outside of Makkah, he (saw) and his followers continued with the dawah in Makkah.
The Quraish, realising that the Islamic call was growing strong, decided to instigate a total boycott of the Muslims. People were not allowed to trade with Muslims, marry them, support them etc. Muslims were also exiled to the outskirts of Makkah and left in a harsh environment. The boycott lasted for 3 years, but this treatment was seen as too harsh by those sympathetic towards the plight of the Muslims. The Quraish thought that this could backfire politically, so they agreed to end the boycott.
9. The Year of Grief
In the 10th year of Prophethood, the Prophet (saw) experienced major personal tragedies. Both his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Khadijah (ra) passed away. Abu Talib provided political support and protection. Khadijah (ra) gave comfort and consoled him (saw) giving personal support and encouraging him at times of hardship. But the Prophet (saw) had a mission to complete, so carried on despite the suffering he felt inside.
11. The Tribes of Madinah Respond
In the 11th year of Prophethood, the Prophet (saw) approached 6 men during the pilgrimage season. The men, from Madinah, embraced Islam and took the message home to their people. The following year they came back with 12 people altogether from Madinah. They gave the first pledge known as the ‘Pledge of Aqabah’ to support the Prophet (saw) and the call of Islam. The Prophet (saw) then sent an envoy with them Mus’ab ibn Umair (ra), whose job was to teach Islam, give practical guidance and approach the influential’s and leaders so they would support the Islamic cause. Mus’ab (ra) did a magnificent job as he convinced leaders like Sa’d ibn Mu’adh (ra) and Usaid ibn Hudair (ra) with wisdom and humility. No house was left in Madinah that wasn’t affected positively by the Islamic message.
12. The Ansar Pledge Their Support
In the 13th year of Prophethood, Mus’ab (ra) returned to Makkah with more than 70 Muslims from Madinah to meet the Prophet (saw). The Muslims of Madinah (who became known as the Al-Ansar, the helpers) gave the second pledge of Aqabah, to honour their promises to the Prophet (saw), to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, to listen and obey in hardship & ease, and to unconditionally protect the Prophet (saw) against all his enemies. In return they wanted assurances that the Prophet (saw) would not leave them if he were to become victorious. He (saw) smiled and was very happy to oblige.
13. Third Stage & Hijrah
Now that the loyalty, military guarantee and invitation from the most powerful sections of Madinah (The Ansar) were secured, with a strong awareness in the city, the situation was ripe for the implementation stage of the Islamic state. The Prophet (saw) and his companions began making preparations to migrate there. But it had to be in secret, and in small groups as they would definitely be captured and even killed if the Quraish were to know. But the Quraish did find out, and they consulted each other as to what to do. They knew if the Prophet (saw) went to another state, and became leader, Islam would be established as a political authority and the Muslims would then have strength. So they plotted to kill the Prophet (saw), but their plans failed.
14. Entering Madinah
The Prophet (saw) entered Madinah as a ruler. The Muslims from the tribes of Aws and Khazraj appointed 12 leaders who stood on mountain tops to signify their allegiance to him (saw). It was clear the Muslims had won public opinion and had support of the leaders in Madinah, resulting in the first Islamic State and the Prophet (saw) as head of state. Preparations to build the first masjid (Masjid An-Nabawi) also took place, which would be the centre of Muslim activities, policies, planning and guidance. The Hijrah signified the transformation of the Muslims, from a state of persecution and oppression to one of power and security. It was the beginning of Darul Islam (Land of Islam), for this reason it was chosen as the beginning of the Islamic Calendar.
Muhammad (saw) drew up a constitution for Madinah. It dealt with all aspects of life in the newly formed Islamic State. Some articles of the state were:
This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet (saw), governing relations between the Believers i.e. Muslims of Quraish and Yathrib and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They form one nation (Ummah).
In case of war with anybody they will redeem their prisoners with kindness and justice, common among Believers. (Not according to pre-Islamic nations where the rich and the poor were treated differently).
The Believers, who fear Allah, will oppose the rebellious elements and those that encourage injustice or sin, or enmity or corruption among Believers.
Protection (when given) in the Name of Allah will be common. The weakest among Believers may give protection (In the Name of Allah) and it will be binding on all Believers.
Those Jews who follow the Believers will be helped and will be treated with equality. (Social, legal and economic equality is promised to all loyal citizens of the State).
No Jew will be wronged for being a Jew.
No separate peace will be made by anyone in Madinah when Believers are fighting in the path of Allah.
The Believers (because they fear Allah) are better in showing steadfastness and as a result receive guidance from Allah in this respect. Others must also aspire to come up to the same standard of steadfastness.
When you differ on anything (regarding this document) the matter shall be referred to Allah (swt) and Muhammad (saw).
Loyalty gives protection against treachery. (Loyal people are protected by their friends against treachery. As long as a person remains loyal to the State he is not likely to succumb to the ideas of being treacherous. He protects himself against weakness).
Anyone (any individual or party) who is wronged must be helped.
16. Dealing with Madinan Society
The Prophet (saw) quickly established order and started to address any problems in Madinan society. The rights of non-Muslim citizens were made clear, especially with the Jewish tribes. A penal code was declared that quickly reduced crimes and indecent behaviour. The Muslims of Makkah and Madinah were told to join up with one another from the opposite tribe in order to establish brotherhood, sharing each others burdens and wealth. Islamic rules were revealed related to trading, family and judiciary that created a harmonious and safe environment.
17. Battle of Badr & Uhud
The first major battle for the Muslims took place at Badr. This was a result of the Prophet (saw) weakening the Quraish economy by capturing their trade caravans. This battle was also significant because the Muslims were heavily outnumbered, it also tested their resolve as they would face their kinsmen in battle. The Muslims did show their commitment and won the battle. The second major battle was in Uhud, where Muslims suffered a minor defeat after they were on the verge of victory. Around 70 Sahaba were martyred, including senior companions like Hamza (ra) and Mus’ab ibn Umair (ra).
18. Battle of Ahzab
The Quraish and the enemies of Islam wanted to destroy the Muslims once and for all, this led to the third major battle which saw the Quraish in coalition with other tribes. The Prophet (saw) was an inspiring leader, he ordered the Muslims to dig a massive trench halting the march of the enemy. The Prophet (saw) also sent one of his companions undercover amongst the confederates to cause dissent and break their unity, which he accomplished. The Muslims came out victorious after coming close to annihilation.
The Quraish had given up hope on defeating the Muslims. When the Prophet (saw) decided they would try and perform Umrah in Makkah (6AH), the Quraish tried to prevent them. This led to the treaty of Hudaybiyyah, deemed humiliating at the time by many. Even some of the Sahaba did not understand why the Prophet (saw) agreed to a treaty which seemed more in favour of Quraish. Nevertheless the treaty turned out to be a major political victory in itself. It stopped any fighting with Quraish for 10 years, giving time so Muslims could strengthen the infrastructure of their state and deal with other threats.
20. Foreign Policy & Envoys
The Hudaybiyyah Treaty meant that the Prophet (saw) was free to approach and invite leaders of tribes, kings, emperors and people in masse to Islam. Some of these important rulers and people were surprised to see the once lowly Arabs, now had an ideology, system and belief that united them, elevating them from ignorance to enlightenment. Some of these nations and leaders embraced Islam. Others rejected the call to Islam and even made plans to fight the Muslims as they feared the expansion and attraction of Islam.
21. Conquest of Makkah
The Prophet (saw) marched onto Makkah and successfully conquered the city after the Quraish broke the pact agreed at Hudaybiyyah. Upon entering the city, the Prophet (saw) spared the lives of the Makkans, even those who had staunchly opposed him. The Makkans were mesmerised, after forcing the Prophet (saw) and his companions to leave their homes, families, possessions, persecuting them and waging wars, the Prophet (saw) still showed mercy towards them.
22. Farewell speech
O People! Lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and take these words to those who could not be present here today. O People! Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury; therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequality. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all interest due to Abbas Ibn 'Aal-Muttalib be waived. Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al-Harithiah. O men! The unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to prohibit what Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, they are successive, except one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban (meaning Rajab). Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will be able to lead you astray in big things so beware of following him in small things. O People it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah's trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well never to be unchaste. O People! Listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford it. All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a White has no superiority over a Black nor does a Black have any superiority over a White except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. O People! No Prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore O People, and understand words that I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. O Allah, be my witness, that I have conveyed your message to Your people.
As part of this sermon, the prophet recited to them a revelation from Allah, which he had just received, and which completed the Quran, for it was the last passage to be revealed: This day the disbeliever's despair of prevailing against your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me (Allah)! This day have I perfected for you, your religion and fulfilled My favor unto you, and it hath been My good pleasure to choose Islam for you as your religion. (Surah 5, Ayah 3)
At the request of the Prophet, Safwan's brother Rabiah (ra) repeated the sermon. His loud voice faithfully relayed the sermon sentence by sentence to over ten thousand gathered on the occasion. Towards the end of his sermon, the Prophet asked “O people, have I faithfully delivered unto you my message?” A powerful murmur of asserted, “O Allah! Yes!” Arising from the thousands of pilgrims, the vibrant words “Allahumma na'm,” rolled like thunder throughout the valley. The Prophet raised his forefinger and said:
“O Allah bear witness that I have conveyed your message to your people.”
23. After Death
After the Prophet’s (saw) death the Muslims were confused, saddened, as he (saw) was their leader and guide. Abu Bakr (ra) rallied the Ummah, reminding them that Prophets do not live forever and that there was still a duty to carry the call of Islam. The Prophet (saw) had left a political and spiritual legacy and the senior companions met in Banu Thaqeefah to decide the future of the Islamic Ummah. They agreed it was wrong for the Muslims to be disunited with multiple rulers, and after some discussion Abu Bakr (ra) was given the pledge (Bayah), becoming the first Khalif of Islam. The legacy of the Khilafah (Islamic State) continued with the Rashidun, Ummayads, Abbasids and finally the Ottomans until 1924. Muslims today are globally calling for its establishment once again, in line with the method of the Prophet (saw).
If you are unable to view the above time line on a desktop please use the version on the left which is tablet/mobile phones screen friendly. Please click image to enlarge and zoom in and out of each stage to read.