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Episode 2-The Life of Muhammad: Holy Wars

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Written by : published Monday 25th July 2011

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In this second episode, presenter Rageh Omaar continues to chart the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Rageh Omaar shines a light on the most fascinating aspects of Muhammad’s life. He begins by explaining Muhammad’s Night Journey to Jerusalem. According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad ascended from Jerusalem to Heaven. There he met all the past prophets, including Jesus Christ. He then continued his ascendency to the Heavenly throne in which he spoke with Allah. The Night Journey was a very important event in Muhammad’s life. It is believed that he led all the past prophets in prayer. The event was also a confirmation that Muhammad was indeed the last prophet.

After this extraordinary event in his life, Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) abandoned his tribal past. This was to mark the beginning of a new period in his life. He left Mecca and on his journey he met a small group of six men from the town of Yathrib. The men listened to Muhammad as he told them about Islam, and after Muhammad has finished teaching them, they all converted to Islam.  Afterwards Muhammad requested his followers to abandon Mecca and move to Yathrib. At this time, it was unthinkable to leave your tribe for another tribe. However Muhammad’s companions followed his wishes and they left Mecca each night in small numbers so as not to attract attention to themselves.

The Quraysh planned to attack Muhammad and kill him. However Muhammad had fled from Mecca before he could be captured. The Meccan’s pursued Muhammad, although eventually had to abandon their search.

In 622AD Muhammad was in his early fifties. In 13 years, he had gained 150 followers. In Yathrib, Muhammad built his first mosque, which was a very simple mosque. In Yathrib Muhammad freed slaves and established The Constitution of Medina which gave details about the duties and rights of citizens. The Constitution also established the Rule of Law. Yathrib changed its name to Medina, which translates as the City of the Prophet. All the tribes of Medina signed the Constitution.

Muhammad received a number of revelations. The Muslim’s of Medina faced persecution as the Quraysh continued to plot against them. The revelations urged Muhammad to fight against those who persecuted them. Muhammad planned to capture a large Quaraysh caravan which was returning from Syria back to Mecca. The Quraysh guessed the plans of Muhammad and they diverted the caravan away from Medina and they sent an army to meet Muhammad and his followers. There was a battle between the two sides. The Quraysh were defeated and afterwards Muhammad had prestige in Medina. This proved to be an ideological battle.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received a further Divine Deliverance. He received an instruction to change the direction in which Muslim’s prayed. Before this revelation, Muhammad’s followers had prayed towards Jerusalem in the north. Muhammad told his followers that they must now pray to the east, towards Mecca. However the Jewish tribes in Medina did not agree with Muhammad. As he became more powerful and successful, the Jewish tribes resented Muhammad and his followers. The tribes had secret meetings with Muhammad’s enemies and this was seen as an act of defiance.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) learned of these secret meetings and he took part in a two week siege. Muhammad and his followers surround one of the villages of the Jewish tribes. The tribe eventually surrendered and they were banished from Medina.

The Quraysh returned to Medina seeking vengeance. However the Jewish tribes did not fight because of the Sabbath. The two sides met in battle once more but neither side won the battle.

The third and final battle took place in 627AD. Muhammad dug a huge trench to stop the advancing Quraysh army. The Quraysh had an army of 10,000 compared to Muhammad’s 3,000. After two weeks, the Meccan’s became frustrated and eventually gave up the battle. Muhammad felt betrayed by the Jewish tribes who had helped his enemies.

The following event continues to raise controversy. Muhammad ordered his followers to surround the village of the Jewish tribe. Muhammad allowed the Jewish tribes to choose an arbiter to pronounce judgement. The village was massacred because they had betrayed Muhammad twice previously.

The second episode provides an interesting insight into how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) faced a number of battles after he moved to Medina. He faced betrayal from the Jewish tribes and persecution from the Quraysh.

The next episode of this three part documentary continues to chart the remarkable life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

About the author Stacey McEvoy

Stacey McEvoy

My name is Stacey McEvoy and I am currently studying Journalism and Media at the University of Huddersfield. I love writing and it has always been a great passion of mine. I hope to be a journalist, ideally writing for a newspaper or a magazine.

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