While one population has just celebrated Easter, the other just celebrated a very special birthday, that of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). Although it is not celebrated as elaborate and as commercially like in the Western world as the birth of Jesus Christ, it is a very special occasion, for which in Islamic countries there is a public holiday and many events are organized in mosques or religious centers. As I am of European origin and used to the commercial make up of such an event, which helps to create a special atmosphere during these occasions, it takes some time to develop a feeling of celebration. It is interesting that the Western media is so powerful as to export that special feeling of celebration at Christmas time to at least those places of the world that have access to satellite TV.
Thus, as the Prophet of Islam is not only a religious important figure for the Muslim population, but a historical significant one for the whole world, which is often ignored or even dismissed, I would like to commemorate this event with just a few simple facts for the uninformed.
The Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was born in the month of Rabia Al-Awal in the year of the Elephant (the year that a hostile army mounted on elephants wanted to destroy the holy Kaaba, that had been a house of worship since it was built by the Prophet Abraham, which, however, was prevented by a huge flock of birds stoning this army with the pebbles they had carried in their beaks), and equals the year 570 AC.
His father Abdullah died in the same year the Prophet was born, and his mother Amina died when he was only six years old. He was then raised by his uncle Abu Talib, the father of who was later to become Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib.
The Prophet married an older widow, Khadija, for whom he worked as a caravan guide.
At the age of 40 he received the first revelation and became the Prophet of Islam until he died in the month of Saffar in the year 11 after the Hijra (the migration to Medina), which is the year 632 AC.
His struggle to spread the message was very difficult. Many people, including from his own tribe, tried to stop him by any means, but, as one would expect God’s messenger to do, the Prophet persisted till Islam had been firmly established in the Arabian world (where, by the way, all the prophets came from).
The message spread even after the death of the Prophet, but the struggle for truth was not over yet, it never has been. Islam has yet to face its biggest challenge, the manipulation of its message from within, by some of its followers themselves.
The message first revealed to the Prophet was to read, seek knowledge. The same applies to us today. And that what happened on the way till today, well, that is a story written by history. In a time of rising trouble and confrontation we must study this history, because it holds the key to understanding what is going on in this world today. But seeking knowledge, of whatever kind, is like a long journey, that may face us with some surprises and adventures …. If you are ready for it.