Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Wikinfo - Muhammad

Wikinfo - Muhammad. This is a nice biography of the Prophet Muhammad from the Web encyclopedia Wikinfo.

From the site:

Muhammad was born after his father Abd Allah had died. April 20 570 is sometimes given as his birthdate. He was first placed under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib who was a former leader of the prestigious Hashim clan (which was part of the tribe to Quraysh). Because the climate of Mecca was considered unhealthy Muhammad was given as an infant to a wet nurse from a nomadic tribe and spent some time in the desert. (This was a common practice among the Meccan upper class.) When he was 6 Muhammad's mother Amina died and when he was 8 his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib also died. Muhammad now came under care of his uncle Abu Talib the new leader of the Hashim clan, of the Quraysh tribe - the most powerful in Mecca.

Mecca was a desert city-state whose main distinction was the Kaaba, reputedly built by Abraham, the traditional patriarch of the Jews. Most of Mecca's inhabitants were idol worshippers. It was a commercial centre with no natural resources of its own, visited by many foreign traders.

As a teenager Muhammad began accompanying his uncle on trading journeys to Syria. He was thus well travelled and familiar with many foreign ways.

By all accounts Muhammad played a very active role in the civic life of his city. His uncle Zubair founded the order of chivalry known as the Hilf al-fudul, which assisted the oppressed of the city, local inhabitants and foreign visitors. Muhammad was an enthusiastic member. He assisted in some dispute resolution, most notably when the Ka'aba caught fire and burned to the ground, and the Meccan leaders all wanted the honour of fixing the sacred Black Stone in place when it was rebuilt. Muhammad was the judge chosen to solve the problem; His solution was to spread a white sheet on the ground, place the Black Stone in the middle, and ask the tribal leaders to carry it to its site by holding the corners of the sheet. Muhammad himself then fixed the stone in its place.

1 comment:

Time Bandit said...

Wow. Do you think there's any signficance to the fact that Muhammed's father was named "Abd Allah"? Doesn't that mean "servant of God"? Is that an acquired name based on his son's prophethood or just a coincidence?