In addition to laying the foundations of Islam, Muhammad (c. 570-632), is considered one of history’s most influential leaders. According to the Qur’an, he was the last prophet sent by God to reaffirm the monotheistic beliefs proposed by ancient emissaries. Muhammad’s biography is an essential read for anyone interested in the life of the man who founded a religion with almost two billion adherents worldwide.

Summary of Muhammad’s biography

The index

  • Trader’s years

  • Message from Gabriel

  • During Muhammad’s stay in Medina

  • Prophet’s death

Trader’s years

Muhammad was born around 570 in Mecca, which is now part of Saudi Arabia. His family came from a prestigious tribe of the Quraysh, which would later become the most powerful in the region. His father, Abdullah, died six months before he was born, and his mother, Amina, died around 576. In addition to his grandfather, Muhammad’s uncle raised him after he was orphaned.


Muhammad – or any variant of Muhammad – is the most common name in the world due to Islam’s enormous number of followers.

The tribes occupying the Arabian peninsula frequently crossed the desert in order to exchange goods during the fifth century. Several times, Muhammad crossed the Mediterranean Sea and moved to Syria as a merchant, like many young people do. In different territories, his work allowed him to gain experience and become known as a good-hearted and honest merchant.

Message from Gabriel

Muhammad began working for a wealthy Meccan merchant named Khadijah after reaching the age of 25. Because trade routes only involved traveling to Damascus and back, the young merchant was able to spend more time near his hometown. Khadijah was eventually fascinated by the young man’s commitment and hard work and proposed to him. Six children were born to the couple around the year 596.

Muhammad was a highly religious man who spent most of his spare time praying in city temples or traveling to remote locations to meditate. About 610, he climbed the Jabal-al-nuur mountain alone to pray. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad in the cave of Hira and ordered him to profess the word of God.

Please note

Each day, more than 5,000 Muslims visit the Hira cave. Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca made by the most faithful believers.

Many historians disagree over whether Muhammad immediately spread Gabriel’s message. Khadijah was the first to learn of the meeting, and she also became the first follower of Islam. Abū Bakr, a close friend of Muhammad, followed suit. Most Meccans, however, scoffed at Muhammad as a fool.

Medina, Muhammad

As the tribes living together in Mecca worshipped different gods, Muhammad’s monotheistic message upset the leaders of these communes. Islam’s popularity also resulted in an economic loss for merchants who served pilgrims who traveled to Mecca every year to pray to these deities. The growing difference in ideologies served to spread the message of the prophet.

The chiefs of the tribes and merchants offered Muhammad a financial reward for abandoning his mission in response to the threat he posed. Tensions continued to escalate after the prophet declined the offer. Amidst tremendous adversity in 620, Muhammad claimed to have ascended to heaven in one night. As God had allowed the prophet to speak with ancient messengers, he had no doubts about him anymore.

In Muhammad’s life, meeting other prophets represents a before and after. In the name of God, it meant facing larger forces. Tariq Ramadan, Swiss philosopher.

A violent conflict between Muhammad and local tribal leaders in 622 led him and his followers to flee to Medina. Due to severe differences between the tribes inhabiting the city, the Muslims found a bleak picture upon arriving at their destination. Through a treaty, Muhammad managed to resolve the conflict and bring peace to that region despite all odds.

Prophet’s death

Muhammad and his followers were attacked by warriors sent from Mecca after gaining the support of the citizens of Medina. Muslims believed they had divine support after the prophet and his men emerged victorious despite being vastly outnumbered. Muhammad had more followers than any rival tribe by the year 630. To end the conflict, the prophet and his allies marched to Mecca.


Muhammad had 13 wives in total. His first wife Khadijah bore him six children, six of whom he fathered. In spite of this, none of his male children reached adulthood.

Seeing that they were outnumbered, the Meccan chieftains surrendered. Within a few years, the majority of the city’s population converted to Islam, and Muhammad became the highest representative of his religion on earth. Muhammad fell ill after returning to Medina and spent several days in bed. In the end, he died on June 8, 632. The Prophet’s Mosque contains his remains.

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