Prophet Muhammad and the Quran
Prophet Muhammad, Muhammed, or Mohammad (ṣ) son of ‘Abdullah (مُحَمَّدِ ابنِ عَبدُالله), is the last prophet (نَبِيّ) and apostle (رَسول) of God whom God sent to the people of the Arabian Peninsula (جَزيرَةُ العَرَب). He is one of the five ul al-‘azm (اُوْلوالعَزم) prophets, which literally means those with strong resolve. They are the five prophets whose religions were universal and had their own Holy Scripture. Prophet Muhammad’s Holy Scripture is the Noble Quran, a book that is proof of his prophethood as well as his everlasting miracle. In this article, we will take a look at verses that are about the Prophet and the Quran including:
Prophet Muhammad’s Names and Titles in the Quran
Despite being spoken by Prophet Muhammad as the medium between God and his people, the Quran mentions the Prophet’s name, tells his story, addresses him, describes him, and commands him to do certain things and refrain from certain acts. As a matter of fact, Prophet Muhammad’s name and title has been mentioned seven times in the Quran:
- four times by his name ‘Muhammad’ [Praised One]
- twice by his two titles, ‘Yāsīn’ (يٰس) and ‘Ṭāhā,’ (طٰهٰ)
- once by his title, ‘Ahmad’ (أَحمَد) [Admirable One]
Furthermore, he is addressed and mentioned in many verses of the Quran as:
- Rasūl (رَسول) [Apostle]
- Rasūlullāh (رَسولُ الله) [Apostle of God]
- Nabiyy (نَبِيّ) [Prophet]
- ‘Abd (عَبد) [Servant]
- Nadhīr (نَذير) [Warner]
- Rasūl al-Nabiyy al-Umiyy (رَسول َنَبِيَّ الأُمِيّ) [Uninstructed Apostle and Prophet]
Evidently, this is another sign that this Holy Scripture is not from Prophet Muhammad himself, but from God, because why would he address himself if the book is from himself? Another key point is that God gradually revealed the Quran to the Noble Prophet from the time he was delegated to prophethood until his demise. Moreover, God revealed the Quran all at once to his holiness in the month of Ramadan, on the night of Qadr (لَيلَةُ القَدر) [night of ordainment].
The Story of Prophet Muhammad in Brief
Prophet Muhammad was born in the year of the elephant (عامُ الفيل), that is, the year the Yemeni King Abrahah (أَبرَهَة) sent a mighty army of elephants in order to destroy the Kaaba (كَعبَة). However, God sent a large number of birds each having a hot rock in their beaks, which they dropped on the elephants, thus defeating the army of Abrahah. This incident has been mentioned in the 105th surah of the Quran, that is, surah Fīl (elephant) in the last juz’ (juz’ 30) of the Quran. This year roughly coincides with 570 AD. Prophet Muhammad was born on 17th of Rabi‘ al-Awwal (رَبيعُ الأَوَّل) in the Islamic lunar calendar.
Prophet Muhammad’s father was ‘Abdullah (عَبدُالله) the son of ‘Abdul Muttalib (عَبدُ المُطَّلِب), and his mother was Amina (آمِنَة), daughter of Wahab (وَهَب). Some historians say ‘Abdullah passed away either several months before his birth, or a few months after his birth. A woman by the name of Halimah (حَليمَة) from the tribe of Bani Sa‘d (بَني سَعد) nursed the Prophet.
Meanwhile, his mother, Amina passed away when the Prophet was about six years old. In fact, the Quran itself states how Prophet Muhammad grew up as an orphan 1 . Initially, his grandfather ‘Abdul Muttalib was his guardian. After he passed away, Muhammad was entrusted to one of ‘Abdul Muttalib’s sons, Abu Talib (أَبو طالِب), the father of Ali (عَليّ), his cousin, and later son-in-law.
Marriage and Children
When Prophet Muhammad was 25 years old, he married Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid (خَديجَة بِنتِ خُوَيلِد) who was a wealthy and pious merchant. Prophet Muhammad had six children from Khadijah, two sons:
- Qasem (قاسِم)
- ‘Abdullah (عَبدُ الله)
And, four daughters:
- Zainab (زَينَب)
- Ruqayyah (رُقَيَّة)
- Umm Kulthum (أُمِّ كُلثوم)
- Fatimah (فاطِمَة)
Only Fatimah survived until his demise. In fact, all of his other children died when they were young.
Among His People
Muhammad was known as Amīn (أَمين) among his people due to his trustworthiness, truthfulness, honesty, and righteousness. Another characteristic of Muhammad which everyone one knew was that he was umiyy (أُمِيّ), meaning he was unlettered and no one had ever taught him to read or write. It was God’s will for him to be so as this itself would show the miracle of the Quran in the future.
Delegation to Prophethood
Around his late thirties, the Prophet, from time to time, would seclude himself to a cave known as Ḥirā (حِراء) to worship God. After he had finished months of worship, Prophet Muhammad would go to Mecca to circumambulate the Kaaba seven times. On the 27th of the month of Rajab of the 40th year of the elephant when he was forty years old, when Muhammad was in the cave of Hira, God delegated him to prophethood.
The angel Gabriel (جَبرائيل) appeared before the Prophet and said to him, “Read.” The Prophet said, “I cannot read,” as he was unlettered. Once again, the angel said, “Read.” The Prophet replied, “What should I read?” The angel said, “Read in the Name of your Lord who created.” These were the first few verses of the 96th chapter of the Quran, surah ‘Alaq (عَلَق). From then on, the Prophet would receive revelation from God concerning different matters until the last moments of his life.
Invitation to Islam
When the Prophet came back home. There were three people in his house:
- His wife Khadijah
- His paternal cousin Ali son of Abu Talib (whom he had adopted)
- His adopted son Zayd ibn Harithah (زَيدَ ابنِ حارِثَة)
Thus, the Prophet invited his household to Islam. Therefore, the first female to accept Islam was Khadijah and the first male was Ali. In the meantime, the Prophet invited people to Islam in secret for three years. Then, God revealed a verse of the Quran that charged the Prophet to openly invite people to Islam starting with his relatives 2.
Consequently, he held a banquet and invited all of the heads of the Hashemites. After that, the Prophet asked Ali to slaughter a lamb and get some bread and milk for the banquet. Forty people from among the Hashemites ate from that little food and all became full. Just as the Prophet was about to begin his words and invite them to Islam, Abu Lahab said that Muhammad had bewitched them. As a result, the gathering was thrown into chaos and the Prophet was unable to convey his message.
Prophet Muhammad Appoints His Vicegerent and Successor
On another day, the Prophet said, “O children of Abdul Muttalib! I do not think there is any Arab man who brings his tribe something better than I do. I am bringing something that will guarantee your life in this world and the hereafter.” He then invited them all to Islam. Afterward, he said, “Whoever is the first one to aid me in this cause shall be my successor and vicegerent.” Everyone remained silent. Ali said, “O Messenger of God, I am the one who shall help you.” Then the Prophet said, “This is my vicegerent and caliph among you. Listen to him and obey him.” 3
The Embargo of the Valley of Abu Talib
The polytheists of Mecca put a lot of pressure on the Hashemites. They signed a treaty imposing an economic embargo against them and exiling them to a place known as the valley of Abu Talib (شِعب أَبي طالِب). After two to three years, the Prophet informed the polytheists that termites have eaten the contract. They said that if what the Prophet says is untrue, they will hand him over to the head of the polytheists, Abu Sufyan (أبو سُفيان). When they brought the contract, they saw that termites had eaten the entire contract except the name of God Bismika Allāhumma (بِسمِكَ اللّٰهُمَّ). As a result, they lifted the embargo.
Migration From Mecca to Medina
In addition to his existing followers and companions, the Prophet gathered a number of people from the tribe of Khazraj (خَزرَج), who were later called the Muhajirun (مُهاجِرون), meaning the immigrants, in order to migrate from Mecca to Medina. This migration was known as Hijra (هِجرَة). The reason for this migration was that the inhabitants of Medina had shown their readiness to receive the Prophet in their city unlike the people of Mecca. These people were named the ‘Anṣār (أَنصار), meaning the helpers. In the month of Rabī‘ al-Awwal, the Prophet migrated to Medina along with his followers. This migration became a point of history in Islam. It coincided with the year 622 AD.
Demise of the Prophet
After years of hardship and effort in leading the Muslims and fighting the enemies of Islam, the Prophet fell ill when he was 63 years of age, some say he was poisoned. The Muslims, under the leadership of the Noble Prophet, were able to spread Islam all over the Arabian Peninsula and even beyond it; they had conquered Mecca; polytheists had seen no choice but to accept Islam; and during the last months of his life, the Prophet had appointed his successor, Ali in a place known as Ghadir Khumm (غَديرِ خُمّ). Ultimately, Prophet Muhammad, “the Mercy on All the Worlds” (رَحمَةٌ لِّلعٰلَمين) 4, passed away on Safar 28, 11 AH, coinciding with April 1, 633. They buried him in his own mosque in Medina (مَسجِدُ النَبِيّ).
The Two Weighty Things
In the very last moments of his life, the Prophet gathered his close ones and told them that he would leave two weighty things (ثَقَلَين) for them that will guarantee their prosperity in both worlds:
- The Book of God: The Quran
- His progeny: The Ahl al-Bayt (أَهلُ البَيت)
He said that these two weighty things will never depart from each other until they meet the Prophet at the pool of Kausar (حَوضُ الكَوثَر).
Description of Prophet Muhammad in the Quran
Several verses and chapters of the Quran describe Prophet Muhammad. For example, verse 157 of surah al-A‘raf (الأَعراف) reads:
ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِىَّ ٱلْأُمِّىَّ ٱلَّذِى يَجِدُونَهُۥ مَكْتُوبًا عِندَهُمْ فِى ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ وَٱلْإِنجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُم بِٱلْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَىٰهُمْ عَنِ ٱلْمُنكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ ٱلطَّيِّبَـٰتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلْخَبَـٰٓئِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَٱلْأَغْلَـٰلَ ٱلَّتِى كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ بِهِۦ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَٱتَّبَعُوا۟ ٱلنُّورَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ مَعَهُۥٓ ۙ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ
[The Godwary are]—those who follow the Apostle, the uninstructed prophet, whose mention they find written with them in the Torah and the Evangel, who bids them to do what is right and forbids them from what is wrong, makes lawful to them all the good things and forbids them from all vicious things, and relieves them of their burdens and the shackles that were upon them—those who believe in him, honour him, and help him and follow the light that has been sent down with him, they are the felicitous. 5
In two other verses, God says how the people of the Book (i.e. the Jews and Christians) knew the descriptions of the Noble Prophet so well, as written in their books and described by their prophets, that they knew him just like they knew their own sons:
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيْنَـٰهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ يَعْرِفُونَهُۥ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَآءَهُمْ ۖ وَإِنَّ فَرِيقًا مِّنْهُمْ لَيَكْتُمُونَ ٱلْحَقَّ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
“Those whom We have given the Book recognize him just as they recognize their sons, but a part of them indeed conceal the truth while they know.” 6
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيْنَـٰهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ يَعْرِفُونَهُۥ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَآءَهُمُ ۘ ٱلَّذِينَ خَسِرُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
“Those whom We have given the Book recognize him just as they recognize their sons. Those who have ruined their souls will not have faith.” 7
So, if the Jews and Christians were to act upon their own Holy Scriptures and prophets, the must have believed in the final prophet, Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, and embraced Islam. However, they concealed this information from others out of their selfish interests. Additionally, they destroyed many of these books so that the truth of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, and the Quran would not be known.
Prophet Muhammad Addressed as Nabiyy
In 13 verses of the Quran, God directly addresses the Prophet by his title Nabiyy, which means prophet. It is repeated:
- Three times in surah Anfal (8)
- Once in surah Tawbah (9)
- Five times in surah Ahzab (33)
- Once in surah Mumtahinah (60)
- Once in surah Talaq (65)
- Twice in surah Tahrim (66)
Here are the verses in order of surah and verse:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ حَسْبُكَ ٱللَّـهُ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“O Prophet! Sufficient for you is Allah and those of the faithful who follow you.” 8
God is telling his prophet in this verse that do not worry if you feel that you are little in number and you feel that you do not have enough supporters. God and the believers are sufficient for your success and victory over your enemies.
In the next verse of the same surah, once again God promises that He will aid the Prophet and his followers and multiply their strength and power in their fight against the disbelievers:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ حَرِّضِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى ٱلْقِتَالِ ۚ إِن يَكُن مِّنكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَـٰبِرُونَ يَغْلِبُوا۟ مِا۟ئَتَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّا۟ئَةٌ يَغْلِبُوٓا۟ أَلْفًا مِّنَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ
O Prophet! Urge on the faithful to fight: If there be twenty patient men among you, they shall overcome two hundred; and if there be a hundred of you, they shall overcome a thousand of the faithless, for they are a lot who do not understand. 9
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّمَن فِىٓ أَيْدِيكُم مِّنَ ٱلْأَسْرَىٰٓ إِن يَعْلَمِ ٱللَّـهُ فِى قُلُوبِكُمْ خَيْرًا يُؤْتِكُمْ خَيْرًا مِّمَّآ أُخِذَ مِنكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
O Prophet! Say to the captives who are in your hands, ‘If Allah finds any good in your hearts, He will give you [something which is] better than what has been taken away from you, and He will forgive you, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.’
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ جَـٰهِدِ ٱلْكُفَّارَ وَٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ وَٱغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَمَأْوَىٰهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَبِئْسَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ
“O Prophet! Wage jihad against the faithless and the hypocrites, and be severe with them. Their refuge shall be hell, and it is an evil destination.” 10
As we can see in this verse, God is telling Prophet Muhammad that he must do jihad against the disbelievers and hypocrites. In reality, many of the things that God tells Prophet Muhammad to do are things that all Muslims should do, hence they are a religious law.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ ٱتَّقِ ٱللَّـهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ وَٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
“O Prophet! Be wary of Allah and do not obey the faithless and the hypocrites. Indeed Allah is all-knowing, all-wise.” 11
God tells Prophet Muhammad not to obey the disbelievers and hypocrites. Therefore, it is also the duty of believers and Muslims to obey such a command.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَٰجِكَ إِن كُنتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ ٱلْحَيَوٰةَ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا فَتَعَالَيْنَ أُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَأُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِيلًا
“O Prophet! Say to your wives, ‘If you desire the life of the world and its glitter, come, I will provide for you and release you in a graceful manner.” 12
The wives of the Prophet are role models for other Muslim women. For this reason, the Quran states that if they do good deeds, their reward will be doubled. If they commit sins, their punishment will be doubled in like manner 13 .
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ إِنَّآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ شَـٰهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى ٱللَّـهِ بِإِذْنِهِۦ وَسِرَاجًا مُّنِيرًا وَبَشِّرِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّـهِ فَضْلًا كَبِيرًا وَلَا تُطِعِ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ وَٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ وَدَعْ أَذَىٰهُمْ وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱللَّـهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّـهِ وَكِيلًا
O Prophet! Indeed We have sent you as a witness, as a bearer of good news and as a warner and as a summoner to Allah by His permission, and as a radiant lamp. Announce to the faithful the good news that there will be for them a great grace from Allah. Do not obey the faithless and the hypocrites, and disregard their torments, and put your trust in Allah, and Allah suffices as trustee. 14
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ إِنَّآ أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَٰجَكَ ٱلَّـٰتِىٓ ءَاتَيْتَ أُجُورَهُنَّ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ يَمِينُكَ مِمَّآ أَفَآءَ ٱللَّـهُ عَلَيْكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمِّكَ وَبَنَاتِ عَمَّـٰتِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَالِكَ وَبَنَاتِ خَـٰلَـٰتِكَ ٱلَّـٰتِى هَاجَرْنَ مَعَكَ وَٱمْرَأَةً مُّؤْمِنَةً إِن وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِلنَّبِىِّ إِنْ أَرَادَ ٱلنَّبِىُّ أَن يَسْتَنكِحَهَا خَالِصَةً لَّكَ مِن دُونِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۗ قَدْ عَلِمْنَا مَا فَرَضْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ فِىٓ أَزْوَٰجِهِمْ وَمَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُهُمْ لِكَيْلَا يَكُونَ عَلَيْكَ حَرَجٌ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّـهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
O Prophet! Indeed We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand owns, of those whom Allah gave you as spoils of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncle, and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncle, and the daughters of your maternal aunts who migrated with you, and a faithful woman if she offers herself to the Prophet and the Prophet desires to take her in marriage (a privilege exclusively for you, not for [the rest of] the faithful; We know what We have made lawful for them with respect to their wives and those whom their right hands own, so that there may be no blame on you ), and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful. 15
Verse of Hijab
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ قُل لِّأَزْوَٰجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَآءِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِن جَلَـٰبِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰٓ أَن يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّـهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw closely over themselves their chadors [when going out]. That makes it likely for them to be recognized and not be troubled, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.
Muslims know this verse as the verse of hijab, as God tells Muslim women to cover themselves with their veils so that other men would not bother them.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ إِذَا جَآءَكَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتُ يُبَايِعْنَكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن لَّا يُشْرِكْنَ بِٱللَّـهِ شَيْـًٔا وَلَا يَسْرِقْنَ وَلَا يَزْنِينَ وَلَا يَقْتُلْنَ أَوْلَـٰدَهُنَّ وَلَا يَأْتِينَ بِبُهْتَـٰنٍ يَفْتَرِينَهُۥ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِنَّ وَأَرْجُلِهِنَّ وَلَا يَعْصِينَكَ فِى مَعْرُوفٍ ۙ فَبَايِعْهُنَّ وَٱسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُنَّ ٱللَّـهَ ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
O Prophet! If faithful women come to you, to take the oath of allegiance to you, [pledging] that they shall not ascribe any partners to Allah, that they shall not steal, nor commit adultery, nor kill their children, nor utter any slander that they may have intentionally fabricated, nor disobey you in what is right, then accept their allegiance, and plead for them to Allah for forgiveness. Indeed Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful. 16
From this verse, we understand that God will forgive us our sins if the Prophet acts as a mediator between us and God and asks God to forgive us.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ إِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَطَلِّقُوهُنَّ لِعِدَّتِهِنَّ وَأَحْصُوا۟ ٱلْعِدَّةَ ۖ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ رَبَّكُمْ ۖ لَا تُخْرِجُوهُنَّ مِنۢ بُيُوتِهِنَّ وَلَا يَخْرُجْنَ إِلَّآ أَن يَأْتِينَ بِفَـٰحِشَةٍ مُّبَيِّنَةٍ ۚ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّـهِ ۚ وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ ٱللَّـهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُۥ ۚ لَا تَدْرِى لَعَلَّ ٱللَّـهَ يُحْدِثُ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ أَمْرًا
O Prophet! When you divorce women, divorce them at [the conclusion of] their term and calculate the term, and be wary of Allah, your Lord. Do not turn them out from their homes, nor shall they go out, unless they commit a gross indecency. These are Allah’s bounds, and whoever transgresses the bounds of Allah certainly wrongs himself. You never know maybe Allah will bring off something new later on. 17
This is the first verse of surah Ṭalāq, which means divorce. God explains the ruling regarding divorce and informs His prophet how it must be carried out. In this way, other Muslims learn that if they want to divorce their wives, they should do just as God commanded His prophet in this verse.
The Prohibition (Tahrim)
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ لِمَ تُحَرِّمُ مَآ أَحَلَّ ٱللَّـهُ لَكَ ۖ تَبْتَغِى مَرْضَاتَ أَزْوَٰجِكَ ۚ وَٱللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“O Prophet! Why do you prohibit [yourself] what Allah has made lawful for you, seeking to please your wives? And Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.” 18
This is the first verse of surah Tahrim. Despite the fact that it seems that God is reproaching the Prophet for prohibiting something that is halal (lawful) for him, God is actually defending His prophet and saying he must not make something that is halal and enjoyable for him prohibited for himself.
The story of this surah, according to some narrations, is that once the Prophet went to the house of one of his wives. She gave the Noble Prophet a drink made of honey. Two of the other wives of the Prophet became jealous of her and decided to tell the Prophet that his mouth smells like a foul-smelling herb which the honeybee had eaten from.
When they said that to him, Prophet Muhammad, in order to please them and also because he disliked anything that smelled bad, swore an oath and made honey prohibited for himself. This is when this verse was revealed. God asked the Prophet to break his oath and pay the kaffārah [compensation] for it and enjoy whatever is halal for him.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ جَـٰهِدِ ٱلْكُفَّارَ وَٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ وَٱغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَمَأْوَىٰهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ ۖ وَبِئْسَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ
“O Prophet! Wage jihad against the faithless and the hypocrites, and be severe with them. Their refuge will be hell, and it is an evil destination.” 19
Prophet Muhammad’s Name in the Quran
There are four verses in the Noble Quran in which God mentions the name of the Noble Prophet. However, God does not address the Prophet in these verses, meaning the verb used is not second person like the aforementioned verses where God addresses the Prophet by saying, “O Prophet,” but rather third person. Here are the verses in order of surah and verse:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ ٱلرُّسُلُ ۚ أَفَإِي۟ن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ ٱنقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَىٰٓ أَعْقَـٰبِكُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ ٱللَّـهَ شَيْـًٔا ۗ وَسَيَجْزِى ٱللَّـهُ ٱلشَّـٰكِرِينَ
Muhammad is but an apostle; [other] apostles have passed before him. If he dies or is slain, will you turn back on your heels? Anyone who turns back on his heels, will not harm Allah in the least, and soon Allah will reward the grateful. 20
God revealed this verse when in the Battle of Uḥud (أُحُد), the Muslims who were commanded to guard their posts, left them in order to take war booty, thinking the enemies were defeated. At this instant, the enemies made a surprise attack and defeated the Muslims. Subsequently, it was rumored that the Noble Prophet had been killed. This was when God revealed the above-mentioned verse.
Muhammad is not Your Father
مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَآ أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَـٰكِن رَّسُولَ ٱللَّـهِ وَخَاتَمَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ ۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمًا
“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets, and Allah has knowledge of all things.” 21
God revealed this verse when people considered Prophet Muhammad as the father of his adopted son, Zayd ibn Harethah, by calling him Zayd the son of Muhammad. God revealed this verse denying such a claim.
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ وَءَامَنُوا۟ بِمَا نُزِّلَ عَلَىٰ مُحَمَّدٍ وَهُوَ ٱلْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۙ كَفَّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّـَٔاتِهِمْ وَأَصْلَحَ بَالَهُمْ
“But those who have faith and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down to Muhammad—and it is the truth from their Lord—He shall absolve them of their misdeeds and set right their affairs.” 22
The Attributes of Prophet Muhammad and His Followers
مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ ٱللَّـهِ ۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ مَعَهُۥٓ أَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى ٱلْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ تَرَىٰهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ ٱللَّـهِ وَرِضْوَٰنًا ۖ سِيمَاهُمْ فِى وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ ٱلسُّجُودِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِى ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ ۚ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِى ٱلْإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْـَٔهُۥ فَـَٔازَرَهُۥ فَٱسْتَغْلَظَ فَٱسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوقِهِۦ يُعْجِبُ ٱلزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ ٱلْكُفَّارَ ۗ وَعَدَ ٱللَّـهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَعَمِلُوا۟ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًۢا
Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating [in worship], seeking Allah’s grace, and [His] pleasure. Their mark is [visible] on their faces, from the effect of prostration. Such is their description in the Torah and their description in the Evangel. Like a tillage that sends out its shoots and builds them up, and they grow stout and settle on their stalks, impressing the sowers, so that He may enrage the faithless by them. Allah has promised those of them who have faith and do righteous deeds forgiveness and a great reward. 23
In fact, this is the last verse in which the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned. It describes the Noble Prophet and his followers, especially by saying that they are harsh in confronting the disbelievers and merciful among believers. In other words, this is a concept known as tawallā (تَوَلّیٰ) and tabarrā (تَبَرّیٰ). To explain, tawallā means befriending the prophets, Imams, and saints of God, whereas tabarrā means disassociating oneself from their enemies who are in fact the enemies of God. Therefore, it is impossible to both like someone who is obedient to the Prophet as well as one who is his enemy, as it is contradictory and illogical.
The Name ‘Ahmad’ in the Quran
Prophet Muhammad has many names. For example, he is known as:
- Muhammad (مُحَمَّد)
- Ahmad (أَحمَد)
- Mustafa (مُصطَفیٰ)
- Maḥmūd (مَحمود)
- Ṭāhā (طٰهٰ)
- Yāsīn (يٰس or ياسين)
After Muhammad, the Prophet’s most famous name is Ahmad.
Historians say that people knew Prophet Muhammad by both of these two names. His grandfather ‘Abdul Muttalib named him Muhammad, while his mother Amina named him Ahmad. Furthermore, historians say that his uncle and guardian Abu Talib used to call the Noble Prophet by both his names, as can be seen in the poems that are attributed to Abu Talib about the Noble Prophet.
God has mentioned the name Ahmad once in the Quran in surah Saff, verse six, where God quotes Prophet ‘Īsā (عيسیٰ: Jesus) as saying:
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَـٰبَنِىٓ إِسْرَٰٓءِيلَ إِنِّى رَسُولُ ٱللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَىَّ مِنَ ٱلتَّوْرَىٰةِ وَمُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِى مِنۢ بَعْدِى ٱسْمُهُۥٓ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ قَالُوا۟ هَـٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ
And when Jesus son of Mary said, ‘O Children of Israel! Indeed I am the apostle of Allah to you, to confirm what is before me of the Torah, and to give the good news of an apostle who will come after me, whose name is Ahmad.’ But when he brought them manifest proofs, they said, ‘This is plain magic.’ 24
Many Muslims say that this verse is a reference to the gospel of John 14:16 in the Bible:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—“ 25
Advocate here is the translation of the Greek word Paraclete which can also mean, ‘Counselor,’ or ‘Helper.’ However, Muslims believe that this word was actually Periklytos in Greek, which means praiseworthy, the translation of Muhammad and Ahmad. Consequently, the heads of the Church cleverly changed the word Periklytos or Paraclete so that Christians would not know the truth of Islam and Prophet Muhammad, and heads of the Church would continue to thrive.
Name of Muhammad and Ahmad in the Gospel of Barnabas
The Gospel of Barnabas is an uncanonical gospel that historians discovered two of its manuscript in the late 16th or early 17th century, one in Italian and the other in Spanish. In this Gospel, there is somewhat of a reference to the aforementioned verse of the Quran about the arrival of Prophet Muhammad after Jesus:
The name of the Messiah is admirable, for God himself gave him the name when he had created his soul, and placed it in a celestial splendor. …Mohammed is his blessed name. 26
God Addressing the Prophet as Rasūl
In two verses of the Quran, God addresses the Prophet by saying yā ayyuha al-Rasūl (يٰأُيُّهَا الرَّسول). As a matter of fact, God addresses the Prophet in the Quran in this way when He wants to say an extremely important matter to him. To illustrate, here are the two places where the Quran uses this expression in order of surah and verse:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلرَّسُولُ لَا يَحْزُنكَ ٱلَّذِينَ يُسَـٰرِعُونَ فِى ٱلْكُفْرِ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُوٓا۟ ءَامَنَّا بِأَفْوَٰهِهِمْ وَلَمْ تُؤْمِن قُلُوبُهُمْ ۛ وَمِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ هَادُوا۟ ۛ سَمَّـٰعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ سَمَّـٰعُونَ لِقَوْمٍ ءَاخَرِينَ لَمْ يَأْتُوكَ ۖ يُحَرِّفُونَ ٱلْكَلِمَ مِنۢ بَعْدِ مَوَاضِعِهِۦ ۖ يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَـٰذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَٱحْذَرُوا۟ ۚ وَمَن يُرِدِ ٱللَّـهُ فِتْنَتَهُۥ فَلَن تَمْلِكَ لَهُۥ مِنَ ٱللَّـهِ شَيْـًٔا ۚ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يُرِدِ ٱللَّـهُ أَن يُطَهِّرَ قُلُوبَهُمْ ۚ لَهُمْ فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا خِزْىٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
O Apostle! Do not grieve for those who are active in [promoting] unfaith, such as those who say, ‘We believe’ with their mouths, but whose hearts have no faith, and the Jews who eavesdrop with the aim of [telling] lies [against you] and eavesdrop for other people who do not come to you. They pervert words from their meanings, [and] say, ‘If you are given this, take it, but if you are not given this, beware!’ Yet whomever Allah wishes to mislead, you cannot avail him anything against Allah. They are the ones whose hearts Allah did not desire to purify. For them is disgrace in this world, and there is a great punishment for them in the Hereafter. 27
In this verse, God consoles the Prophet and tells him not to worry about those who are hypocrites and do not obey you and submit themselves to God. Indeed, if it were not for these verses, the Prophet would become very sad over the things that afflicted him. For the same reason, the Quran is a source of comfort for the Prophet and all those who believe in him.
The Final Mission of the Prophet
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۖ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُۥ ۚ وَٱللَّـهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ
O Apostle! Communicate that which has been sent down to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you will not have communicated His message, and Allah shall protect you from the people. Indeed Allah does not guide the faithless lot.
God revealed this verse to the Prophet during the farewell hajj (حَجَّةُ الوِداع) of the Prophet when he was in a valley known as Ghadir Khumm. This was a place where many Muslims were present due to the geographic location of this valley. At this point, God commanded the Prophet to tell people of the vicegerency of Imam Ali (AS) and how he would be the successor to him. This would be the final mission of his prophethood. However, the Prophet was afraid that some of his companions would cause trouble.
Therefore, God revealed this verse stating that if he does not announce Ali as his successor, it is as though he has not accomplished his mission of prophethood. After that, God said that He will protect him from the plots of his enemies who had disguised themselves as his followers. Thereupon, the Prophet did as he was commanded and announced to all people that his successor and Imam of the nation after him is Ali the son of Abu Talib. Shortly thereafter, people came and pledged their allegiance to Imam Ali and congratulated him.
Perfection of Religion
Immediately following this event, God revealed the following part of verse three of surah Maidah to the Noble Prophet:
ٱلْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَٱخْشَوْنِ ۚ ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًا
Today the faithless have despaired of your religion. So do not fear them, but fear Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion. 28
Quranic exegetes have called this verse the “verse of perfection of religion” (إِكمالُ الدين). By announcing his successor, God through Prophet Muhammad perfected the religion of Islam and guaranteed its existence. These two verses were perhaps the final verses that God revealed to the Prophet, as the Prophet performed the farewell hajj in the same year as his holiness passed away.
The Verse of Purification
Once, the Prophet was feeling weak. He told his daughter Fatimah to bring his Yemeni cloak (كِساءُ اليَماني). Then, his two grandsons, Hassan and Hussain sensed the scent of the Prophet and went to him. They greeted him and asked if they can also go under his cloak whereupon the Prophet permitted them. Then Ali did the same and lastly, Fatimah. As soon as they were all gathered under the cloak, the Prophet prayed to God that He purify himself and the four members of his family.
Subsequently, the angel Gabriel descended, greeted the Prophet and told him that God had accepted his prayer. Then, the angel revealed to him verse 33 of surah Ahzab which became known as the verse of purification:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّـهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ ٱلرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ ٱلْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
“Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification.” 29
This incident has been related by Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari (جابِر ابنِ عَبدُالله الأَنصاري) from Lady Fatimah. It is known as “the Hadith of the Cloak” [Ḥadīth al-Kisā’] (حَديثُ الكِساء).
Did Prophet Muhammad Write the Quran?
One thing we have to remember is knowing who the ones who wrote the Quran were. That is, did Prophet Muhammad write the Quran himself? The answer is that Prophet Muhammad would only recite the Quran and others who were scribes of the Quran would write the Quran. The most prominent of these scribes was his cousin and son-in-law, Imam Ali (AS). Imam Ali himself says that he heard a cry when God first revealed the Quran to the Prophet. He asked the Prophet what that sound was. The Prophet said:
هذَا الشَّيْطَانُ قَدْ أَيِسَ مِنْ عِبَادَتِهِ، إِنَّكَ تَسْمَعُ مَا أَسْمَعُ، وَتَرَى مَا أَرَى، إِلاَّ أَنَّكَ لَسْتَ بِنَبِيّ، وَلكِنَّكَ وَزِيرٌ، وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خَيْر
This is Satan who has lost all hope of being worshipped. O Ali, you see all that I see and you hear all that I hear, except that you are not a prophet, but you are a vicegerent and you are surely on (the path of) virtue. 30
Therefore, Imam Ali would hear the Quran when God was revealing a verse or surah the Noble Prophet and would write down the verses of the Quran. Of course, there were other people who wrote the Quran as well. Besides, many people memorized the Quran and would recite it for others so that they could write it.
Proof of Quran’s Truth
The Quran itself proves that it is the word of God in at least three ways:
- The Prophet was unlettered, therefore, no one had taught him the Quran. 31
- The Prophet had never read any book or written anything as eloquent and unique as the Quran before becoming a prophet. 32
- The Quran is inimitable and no one is able to even bring one surah like it. 33
Praise of Prophet Muhammad in the Quran
Undoubtedly, Prophet Muhammad is the greatest prophet of God in every way. To this end, the Quran praises the Prophet in several verses. Here are some examples in the Quran.
لَقَدْ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“There has certainly come to you an apostle from among yourselves. Grievous to him is your distress; he has deep concern for you, and is most kind and merciful to the faithful.” 34
This is actually God who describes His Apostle, not the Prophet himself! The verse states that God sent Prophet Muhammad to the people of Hijaz, while he himself was also from that region. Therefore, he was not a stranger and foreigner but their fellow countryman and compatriot. Moreover, he is very kind and compassionate and wants that which is in the best interest of believers. That is to say, he wants everyone to be guided to the straight path.
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّـهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّـهَ كَثِيرًا
“There is certainly a good exemplar for you in the Apostle of Allah—for those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah much.” 35
Above all, the Prophet is a role model for all of us. Therefore, we have to try to emulate the Prophet in terms of his obedience and servitude to God, his good conduct and behavior, his politeness and good manners, his kindness and compassion to creation, his enmity toward the enemies of God, and his humility and down-to-earthness to God and believers.
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
“We did not send you but as a mercy to all the worlds.” 36
- Prophet Muhammad is a mercy to the whole world.
- He was the Prophet of mercy, love, and compassion.
- He is the best of God’s creation (خَيرِ خَلقِ الله).
- He will intercede with God on behalf of all of his true followers so that they will not enter hell but rather enter paradise on the Day of Judgment.
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
“And indeed you possess a great character.” 37
In truth, Prophet Muhammad had an excellent character. He was kind and compassionate to everyone. He would seldom get angry at people. Furthermore, he is a role model for all people in terms of conduct as stated in the Quran. 38 In addition, he himself has said that the mission of his prophethood or risālah (رِسالَة) was to complete the noblest of characters:
إِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ مَکَارِمَ الْأَخْلَاقِ
“I was purely made a prophet to complete the noblest of characters [or morals].” 39
- Cf. Quran 93:6.
- Cf. Quran 26:214.
- Tārīkh al-Rusul wa al-Mulūk, vol. 3, p. 1172.
- Cf. Quran 21:107.
- Quran 7:157 (Qarai).
- Quran 2:146 (Qarai).
- Quran 6:20 (Qarai).
- Quran 8:64 (Qarai).
- Quran 8:65 (Qarai).
- Quran 9:73 (Qarai).
- Quran 33:1 (Qarai).
- Quran 33:28 (Qarai).
- Cf. Quran 33:30-31.
- Quran 33:45-48 (Qarai).
- Quran 33:50 (Qarai).
- Quran 60:12 (Qarai).
- Quran 65:1 (Qarai).
- Quran 66:1 (Qarai).
- Quran 66:9 (Qarai).
- Quran 3:144 (Qarai).
- Quran 33:40 (Qarai).
- Quran 47:2 (Qarai).
- Quran 48:29 (Qarai).
- Quran 61:6 (Qarai).
- John 14:16 (NIV).
- Gospel of Barnabas, chapter 97; also see: Chapter 112.
- Quran 5:41 (Qarai).
- Quran 5:3 (Qarai).
- Quran 33:33 (Qarai).
- Nahj al-Balagha, sermon 192.
- Cf. Quran 7:157.
- Cf. Quran 29:48.
- Cf. Quran 2:23.
- Quran 9:128 (Qarai).
- Quran 33:21 (Qarai).
- Quran 21:107 (Qarai).
- Quran 68:4 (Qarai).
- Cf. Quran 33:21.
- Muhammad Baqir Majlisi (مُحَمَّد باقِر مَجلِسي), Biḥār al-Anwār (بِحارُ الأَنوار), vol. 68, p. 382.
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