Muslim World

Why Did Allah Choose Muhammad?

At the time of this writing, Islam boasts 1.8 billion followers throughout the world. That number is rapidly increasing. In just a couple of years, it will likely be in excess of 2 billion. Recent studies estimate Islam will have surpassed Christianity as the leading world religion by 2070, although we can expect it to happen much sooner than that. Islam is indeed an empire of faith. It is an empire so vast that it can sometimes be difficult to believe that it was founded by a single man. But, of course, it was. That man was Muhammad. A simple caravan trader in 7th century Mecca, Muhammad was already 40 years of age when he received the first revelation of what would become the Quran. He seemed an unlikely candidate for prophethood, yet it was he who was tasked with introducing the people of Mecca to monotheism. It was he who was tasked with restoring the faith of Abraham. It was he who was tasked with changing the world as we know it. But why did Allah decide Muhammad was the right man for the job? That's what we're going to figure out in this article. Read on to find out why Allah chose Muhammad to bring forth the Quran and establish Islam among His people.

b2ap3_large_04 Why Did Allah Choose Muhammad? - Blog

Muhammad Was a Seeker

Reports of Muhammad's life prior to his prophethood describe him as being extremely concerned with theological matters. Those who knew the childhood Muhammad recall how he delighted in encountering Jews and Christians on his travels with trade caravans as they would share stories of their faith with him. Some sources even recall Muhammad encountering a Christian monk during one of his journeys with Mecca's caravan traders. The monk, a hermit who was revered for his spirituality and theological knowledge, is said to have predicted Muhammad's rise to prophethood. This experience understandably increased Muhammad's spiritual thirst. He spent much of his 20s and 30s studying deeply in the various religious beliefs at the time. However, the future Prophet always looked at the idol worship which was so common in Mecca at the time with a tinge of suspicion, if not outright disdain. In order to escape Mecca's prominent idol worship, Muhammad made a habit of spending several weeks a year in a cave. There, he would fast and pray in solitude, worshipping a single God and seeking guidance and answers. It was during one such pilgrimage that Muhammad received his first revelation from Allah. It is no coincidence that such an event should occur during one of Muhammad's isolated retreats. By removing himself from the world and denying himself the indulgences of the flesh, choosing instead fasting and prayer, he created the perfect environment for a spiritual experience. Furthermore, his many years of seeking a monotheistic truth had created a spiritual hunger which put him in a position to receive Allah. Finally, in his years as a seeker, Muhammad had built up an encyclopedic knowledge of religious beliefs. Allah recognized that this would be useful in spreading the message of the Quran among the Christians and the Jews.

Muhammad Had Experienced Hardship  

Muhammad's earliest years were plagued by tragedy. His father, Abdullah, died after falling ill during a caravan trading trip. His passing occurred six months before Muhammad was born. In an attempt to ease the burden of his recently widowed mother, Muhammad was handed over to Halimah al-Sa'diyah, a wet nurse who served as his adoptive mother for two years. Finally, after being without her for two years, Muhammad was reunited with his biological mother. Unfortunately, their reunion was brief, as she died when Muhammad was aged just six years old. Orphaned before he had even reached double digits, Muhammad spent the next two years of his life with his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib Shaybah ibn Hashim. Muhammad experienced tragedy again at the age of eight, when his grandfather passed away and his custody fell to his uncle, Abu Talib. Just as Muhammad's grandfather had been, Abu Talib was the head of the Banu Hashim clan. Unfortunately, even as leader he was in no position to grant Muhammad anything beyond basic care. The clan's fortunes were receding, meaning Muhammad was fed just enough to avoid starvation. Outside of the small support he received from the Banu Hashim, Muhammad had to fend for himself. As heartbreaking as these early events in Muhammad's life must have been for him, they lay the groundwork for his prophethood. Even in the face of seemingly constant tragedy, he never lost faith in Allah. He continued to pray, perhaps with even greater devotion, and did not curse his creator. This no doubt proved to Allah that Muhammad was the unwavering servant He needed to bring His message to mankind. Additionally, the fact that Muhammad had experienced such hardships meant that he understood the plight of the poorest members of society. As a prophet, he would not overlook the poor and the needy. He made sure the weakest of his followers always had the support they needed from the rest of the Muslim community. This empathy, forged throughout Muhammad's trying youth, made him a prophet for all people.

Muhammad Had A Strong Family Unit  

As we discussed in the previous section, Muhammad's first decade on this earth was a macabre marathon of loss. By the age of six, he was an orphan and by the age of eight he had lost the grandparent who had been caring for him. Thankfully, the proceeding decades of Muhammad's life were very different. When he was around the age of 25, Muhammad married Khadijah. Khadijah was about 15 years Muhammad's senior. She too had experienced great loss. She had been married twice before her marriage to Muhammad, with both husbands dying. The silver lining, however, was that she had inherited a significant sum of money from each of her husbands, which she and Muhammad used to begin building their family. Muhammad's marriage to Khadijah was an extremely happy one and gave the soon-to-be prophet six of his seven children. Family life very much suited Muhammad and he delighted in the company that he had missed out during his childhood. By all accounts, he treated Khadijah as his complete equal, which shouldn't come as any surprise given the stories about her hard-headedness. She was strong and independent, though loved Muhammad deeply and was supportive of his endeavors. This no doubt contributed to Allah's decision to choose Muhammad as His messenger. Prophethood is not the kind of thing anybody expects to have thrust upon them and it can be immensely difficult for one to accept. Many Biblical and Quranic reports of prophets tell of their reluctance to embrace their role for fear of bringing violence upon themselves. Allah knew Muhammad would also face these struggles. However, He also knew that the support of Khadijah would pull him through and it did just that. Khadijah was instrumental in helping Muhammad come to terms with his role as the messenger of Allah and is revered in Islamic tradition as the first person to believe him. She even arranged for him to meet with her cousin, Waraka ibn Nawfal, who was a respected Arab priest. Waraka ibn Nawfal confirmed Muhammad was a prophet and helped him better understand what was expected of him by Allah. Today, Waraka ibn Nawfal is recognized as another member of Muhammad's family without whom the Quran could not have come to fruition.

Muhammad Had No Political Aspirations

Muhammad was the grandson of the leader of the Banu Hashim clan. As such, he could have secured a nice role for himself as a clan leader upon entering adulthood. However, Muhammad had no desire to be an authority figure. Politics was of no interest to him. Instead, he chose to remain a caravan trader, which earned him a meager but sufficient income. Even after his marriage to Khadijah left him with a sizable increase in riches, he continued to live a simple life. Muhammad's lack of political aspirations made him the perfect candidate for the role of Allah's messenger. Allah could be sure Muhammad would deliver the message of the Quran to the people of Mecca just as it had been delivered to him. He would not malign or manipulate a revelation for his own personal or professional gain. This meant he could be relied upon to preach the more controversial parts of the Quran, such as those which went against the teachings and rulings of Mecca's elite.

Muhammad Knew Key Travel Routes

As mentioned in the previous section, Muhammad remained a caravan trader even though he could have had a fruitful career as a political leader. It seems Muhammad reveled in the life of a merchant and particularly enjoyed the travel it entailed. This isn't all that surprising, given the fact that Muhammad had been traveling since he was an infant. He knew no other way of life. It was this extensive experience traversing the Arabian deserts which presumably partly influenced Allah to choose Muhammad as His prophet. Anybody tasked with spreading the word of the Quran through Mecca and beyond would have to know how to get it, well, beyond Mecca. They would have to be familiar with key travel routes so they could safely and swiftly get to their next destination to preach the word of Allah to a new audience. Additionally, Allah knew that His chosen prophet would likely spend much of his ministry fleeing from aggressors, usually with his followers in tow. Familiarity with the Arabian wilderness would be essential in such scenarios as it would allow the prophet and his people to utilize shortcuts and less-traveled areas in order to avoid those who wished to harm them. With four decades of experience on the merchant caravans, Muhammad knew the roads leading to and from Mecca better than anybody else. His extensive knowledge of travel routes, combined with his extensive knowledge of spiritual and theological matters, made Muhammad the only man who had a legitimate chance of spreading Islam across the world.

Muhammad Was Well Respected 

Muhammad avoided any major authoritative roles in the years prior to his prophethood. But despite this, he was very well respected throughout Mecca. The people of the city admired and revered him, which says a great deal about his strength of character because in 7th century Mecca respect was generally reserved for people who were in positions of authority. Muhammad was renowned for his strength of character. He was famous throughout Mecca for his honesty and reliability, so much so that he was given the nickname "al-Amin". In English, this translates to "The Trustworthy". He was also known as "al-Sadiq", or "The Truthful", and was regularly called upon to settle disputes between warring factions. Perhaps the most noteworthy story about Muhammad serving as an impartial judge recalls him being called upon by rival clan leaders. The leaders were debating who among them deserved the honor of placing the sacred Black Stone back into the Kaaba following renovations. Muhammad, exercising his famous fairness and problem solving abilities, commanded the men to place the stone in the center of a cloth. From there, he instructed each to grab a corner of the cloth so they could work as a team to raise the stone to the Kaaba. This incident served to further establish Muhammad as the most honorable man in all of Mecca and left nobody unconvinced of his honesty. With such a strong record of truthfulness, Muhammad had a much higher chance of being accepted as a prophet than virtually any other man or woman in Mecca. Of course, he still faced many challenges convincing people of his prophethood, but Allah knew if anybody had any chance of being believed, it was al-Amin.

Muhammad Respected Women

As well as being one of the most respected men in all of Mecca, Muhammad was one of the most respectful. Reports of the Prophet describe the respect he had for everybody he encountered, including women. Although it thankfully isn't the case today, the idea that women should be respected was pretty unpopular in 7th century Mecca. Some even found it down right laughable. The society that Muhammad grew up in treated women as second-class citizens. Only men, it was said, possessed the intelligence, strength, and depth of character necessary to hold a position of power. Women were relegated to having children and maintaining the home. From his earliest years, Muhammad disagreed with these views. For the first six years of his life, Muhammad was raised by women, first by his wet nurse and later by his mother. He knew that women could be as strong as men, oftentimes proving themselves to be even stronger. When he married Khadijah, he made it clear that their relationship was one of equals. He gave her no commands and even sought advice from her, which was a practical first for any married man in Mecca. Despite what critics who buy into anti-Islam propaganda seem to believe, Islam bestows great honor upon women. The Quran states repeatedly that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah and it seems Allah wished to reveal the Quran to somebody who was already convinced of that fact. Muhammad pushed women's issues ferociously during the early days of Islam. He made it clear to his followers that respecting women was not optional. If they wanted to be considered a Muslim, they had to treat females as fairly as they treated males. This led to women receiving noteworthy rights for the first time in the history of Mecca and laid the groundwork for Muslim women entering business, education, and politics.

Muhammad Was Illiterate 

Despite being one of the most well-respected members of Meccan society, Muhammad could not read or write. We know this may seem like a strange quality to desire in a prophet, but it proved crucial in spreading Islam across the world. When Muhammad first began sharing the message of the Quran, many of his critics branded him a plagiarist. They claimed that the poetry of the Quran was so immensely beautiful that Muhammad most have stolen it from some overlooked work of literature. These critics were right about the amazing beauty of the Quran. However, their accusations of plagiarism were completely unfounded. As Muhammad's defenders were quick to point out, the newly minted Prophet could neither read nor write. As such, it was impossible for him to read and memorize any work of literature, let alone one as complex as the Quran. On top of this, he could not have possibly written the Quran himself as it contains mountains of information that was unknown to even the most educated figures of the time. Muhammad's illiteracy served to convince more than a few people of his prophethood and it continues to do so to this day. Even non-Muslim scholars who have studied the Quran admit that it is unlikely Muhammad could have written the Quran himself or plagiarised it from other sources.

Muhammad Had Superb Oratory Skills 

Although Muhammad was inept when it came to reading and writing, he was immensely talented when it came to public speaking. Allah blessed him with superb oratory skills and he did not wait until his first revelation to use them. For much of his life, Muhammad relied upon his oratory skills for survival. A caravan merchant by trade, he relied on his speaking ability to sell goods to customers. He also regularly drew upon his talents to engage in theological discussions with those who wished to discuss such matters. His oratory skills also came in handy when settling disputes, such as the famous disagreement between the Meccan clan leaders regarding the Black Stone. Of course, Muhammad's public speaking ability never proved more useful than it did during his prophethood. While preaching the message of the Quran, Muhammad spoke in front of crowds on a regular basis. Some of these crowds were larger than others, but Muhammad always spoke with the same immense energy needed to keep his audience engaged. The finest example of Muhammad's superb oratory skills can be found in The Farewell Sermon. In it, Muhammad touches on a variety of topics and encourages his followers to remain steadfast in their faith after he has departed. Even though he was in failing health and nearing death, Muhammad delivered The Farewell Sermon with the same clarity and zeal he had displayed throughout his prophethood. One can safely assume that Muhammad's incredible aptitude for public speaking at least partly inspired Allah to choose him as His prophethood. The Quran can be quite complex. Its laws and messages sometimes require elaboration to be fully understood. Muhammad had the skills to provide that elaboration and was able to perfectly articulate the message of Allah so that it may be understood by people from all walks of life.

Muhammad Was Disciplined 

One of the key themes of the Quran is the importance of self-denial in this world. Only through a life of self-sacrifice can a person prove their worthiness to Allah and secure a place in Paradise. This means no drinking, no smoking, no gambling, and no frivolous sexual activity, among other things. Unfortunately, the Mecca of Muhammad's time was one of indulgences. Those in a position of authority lived like Roman emperors, eating and drinking to excess. Even those who had less money to squander found other ways to indulge in the pleasures of this world, usually through gambling and decadent sexual acts. It seems Muhammad was the only man in 7th century Mecca who possessed the self-discipline becoming of a prophet. He understood the value of a good day's work. As such, he awoke early and worked diligently, traveling and selling across Arabia. His relentless schedule left little time for vice. Even in his scarce time off, Muhammad shunned the indulgences of the world and preferred to be in the company of his wife and children. He also made sure to fast during certain periods of the year, displaying a remarkable ability to go without food and draw his nourishment purely from spiritual fulfillment. Allah knew his chosen prophet would have to lead by example if he was to be taken seriously. This is what made Muhammad such an alluring candidate. He already shunned alcohol, gambling, and other activities which breed addiction. As such, he would have no trouble adhering to the Quran's prohibition of these things. Over time, Muhammad was able to teach this level of discipline and self-control to his followers, just as Allah had foreseen.

Muhammad Had Superb Leadership Skills

Although Muhammad avoided any major leadership roles in the Banu Hashim clan, leadership was very much in his blood. His grandfather had served as the head of the clan. His uncle had also enjoyed a period as the leader of the Banu Hashim. Allah knew Muhammad shared the superb leadership skills of his ancestors. He also knew that these leadership skills would show themselves the moment Muhammad was put in a position which required them. As any historian of the Islamic world will tell you, the early days of Muhammad's prophethood were filled with such situations. From the moment Muhammad went public with the message of the Quran, he was in constant battle with the ruling figures of Mecca. In order to protect the word of Allah, it was necessary for Muhammad to gather up his followers and direct them to Medina, where they would be safe. Later on in his ministry, Muhammad utilized his inherent leadership abilities once again. This time, he gathered an army of Muslims and led them out of Medina and back to Mecca. There, he served as the general in a war which pitted his followers against the idol worshippers of Mecca. Muhammad's cunning - combined with the grace of Allah - ensured victory for the Muslims. To this day, Muhammad continues to serve as a leader for the nearly 2 billion Muslims throughout the world. Though he is no longer with us, the wisdom of the Hadith - a collection of his sayings and actions - light the way for all of Allah's people.

Muhammad Could Work Of His Own Accord  

Complementing Muhammad's superb leadership abilities were his superb decision-making abilities. The ability to work on one's own accord was not something possessed by every prophet before Muhammad. Many had a tendency to wait for Allah's command before acting. While this is understandable, it was not always the most efficient tactic. In some situations, it resulted in tragedy falling upon the prophet and his followers. While Muhammad consulted Allah at every turn, he also understood that it was sometimes necessary for him to work of his own accord. He was often forced to make snap decisions in order to ensure the safety and survival of his people. These he made without the direct input of Allah, but in total confidence that Allah would be watching over him to prevent his plans backfiring. Muhammad's ability to think and act for himself also proved useful in compiling the Hadith. His teachings, though never in contradiction to those of the Quran, provided and continue to provide Muslims with a more humanistic approach to the divine. His independent elaborations of the Quran serve to make it more accessible, thus helping Muslims better understand its contents.

The Time Was Right

Islam, like the vast majority of monotheistic religions, believes that Adam was the first man. It also teaches that Adam was the first prophet. Many other prophets came after Adam, including Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus. Allah trusted all to bring his message to the people of their time. However, He never tasked any of these prophets with receiving and documenting the Quran. Why, then, did He entrust Muhammad with doing so? Quite simply, the time was right. In the days of the previous prophets, Judaism was the prevailing religion. This meant most people worshipped a single God, Allah, and lived by many of His most important laws. Over time, however, the people of the Middle East drifted further and further away from monotheism. This separation from Allah drastically increased in the centuries following the time of Jesus. With no prophets left to guide them, people turned to idol worship. It became particularly prominent in Mecca, which surely outraged Allah as the city was home to the Kaaba, arguably the most sacred spot on Earth. By the time of Muhammad, monotheism was in danger of being wiped out entirely. In order to prevent this from happening, Allah elected to bestow the Quran upon mankind. This would serve as His final warning and reminder to His creation. Its message, one of strict monotheism, would restore mainstream belief in a single God and allow repentant idol worshippers to secure their place in His kingdom in the next life. Of course, the final message of Allah would require Him to assign a final prophet. Without somebody to serve as a middle-man between the Heavens and the people of the world, it would be impossible for the Quran to have the necessary impact. Allah chose Muhammad to be His final prophet not just because the time was right, but because he boasted all of the qualities outlined above.

Conclusion 

Islam doesn't necessarily promote an idea of fate and pre-destiny. This means that a prophet is rarely born to be a prophet. There are exceptions, of course. For example, we know that both Adam and Jesus were put on this earth to bring the message of Allah to the people. In most cases, however, many Islamic scholars agree that messengers of Allah had prophethood thrust upon them. To be chosen by Allah, they had to live a life which was worthy of receiving His message. Muhammad did just this. His life was one of self-denial and helping others. He regularly fasted and prayed and went to great lengths to honestly provide for his wife and children. When he was enlisted to settle disputes, he did not allow political, personal, or professional gain to influence his decision. Muhammad did all this not in a conscious effort to impress Allah, but because he knew it was the right way to live. It should come as no surprise, then, that Muhammad was chosen by Allah to be his final and greatest messenger.

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