Muhammad's mission was foretold by the deliverance of his father, 'Abd Allah, after he had been chosen for sacrifice. The story goes like this: Abd Allah had nine brothers, but he was the favorite son. His father Abd al-Muttalib was in charge of the well of the pilgrims. When the water of the well, Zamzam, dried up, he was at a loss as to what to do. He was advised to make offerings to the gods of one of his sons. Muhammad's father was chosen by the lot. Reluctant to carry out the act, 'Abd Allah's father beseeched the pagan priests to spare his favorite son. They suggested that camels be offered in his stead. It took one hundred camels to satisfy the gods. The well filled again, and the life of 'Abd Allah was spared.
After his birth, as was the custom of the Arabs, Muhammad was given to a wet nurse, a nomad named Halimah as-Sa'diyah, to learn the ways of the desert early on in life. She recounted the following story about the Prophet. When the boy was four years old, two men dressed in white came, took the child, and removed something black from his chest. At the age six, Muhammad lost his mother, Aminah of the clan of az-Zuhrah. 'Abd al-Muttalib cared for him until the age of eight. His uncle, Abu Talib raised him, and taught him caravan trade after the death of his grandfather. Over the years Muhammad earned the name al-Amin-the honest-for his rare qualities of character.
Muhammad was known to meditate in the solitude of the desert and he frequently visited a cave called Hira just outside Mecca. During one of his meditations, he received the first of his revelations from God. The Quran identified the bearer of the message as the angel Gabriel, who commanded the Prophet Muhammad to read. In this way Muhammad became the bearer of the divine message. Thus, Muhammad was the only man, chosen by the Creator to fulfill a divine mission as a prophet and his mission was literally to "read" what Allah had ordered and ordained.
These words were Muhammad's wahy (divine inspiration or revelation) and the Muslims believe that the Quran is the Word of Allah expressed through the revelations to the Prophet. The history of the Prophet, his deeds and sayings, were at first memorized by his companions and passed on as oral record. The historian Ishaq ibn Yasar (ca. 768) first comprehensively recorded them. Later the deeds and sayings of the Prophet, the circumstances surrounding their occurrence and the evidence of those who first witnessed and reported them to others were recorded by a number of scholars. The most authoritative is Al-Bukhari. His text is still relied upon today.
Muslim's other beliefs are: God's angels, previously revealed Books of God, all the prophets, from Adam to Jesus (peace be on them both), the Day of Judgement and indeed the Decree of God. A Muslim has five main duties to perform, namely; bearing witness to the Unity of God and Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) as His Messenger, observing the prescribed prayer, payment of Zakat, keeping the fasts of Ramazan and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Islam believes that each person is born pure. The Holy Quran tells us that God has given human beings a choice between good and evil and to seek God's pleasure through faith, prayer and charity. Islam believes that God created mankind in His image and by imbuing the attributes of God on a human level mankind can attain His nearness. Islam's main message is to worship God and to treat all God's creation with kindness and compassion. Rights of parents in old age, orphans and the needy are clearly stated. Women's rights were safeguarded 1,400 years ago when the rest of the world was in total darkness about emancipation. Islamic teachings encompass every imaginable situation and its rules and principles are truly universal and have stood the test of time.
In Islam virtue does not connote forsaking the bounties of nature that are lawful. On the contrary one is encouraged to lead a healthy, active life with the qualities of kindness, chastity, honesty, mercy, courage patience and politeness. In short, Islam has a perfect and complete code for the guidance of individuals and communities alike. As the entire message of Islam is derived from the Holy Quran and indeed the Sunnah and Hadith it is immutable in the face of change in time and place. It may appear rigid to the casual eye, in actual fact it is most certainly an adaptable way of life regardless of human changes. Islam teaches that the path to spiritual development is open to all.
The main theme of Islam says: By mere knowledge of Quran, Hadith and Sharia one does not become a Muslim. A Muslim must have faith in the Quran and the prophet with his entire mind, with all his soul and with all his strength. A strong faith issues out in action. 'Adhan' in Islam means 'announcement', but really it means the call to prayer by a muezzin. This may be interpreted as the following: 'God is most high. There is no god but God and Muhammad is His messenger'. When a child is born in the Muslim household adhan is uttered in his ears, such is the importance of adhan.
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