Did the Holy Prophet profess any religion before his prophetic mission?


For quite some time the question of the religion of the Holy Prophet before his appointment to the prophetic mission has been a matter of discussion between the Shi’ah and Sunni scholars. They have raised the following issues and given reply to each one of them:

1. Did the Holy Prophet profess any religion before his appointment to the prophetic mission?

2. Supposing that he was the follower of a religion, was it his own religion?

3. If he was the follower of any other religion was that religion revealed to him independently and he followed it independently or he was reckoned to be one of the followers of that religion?

4. If he acted on that religion independently or as a follower, to which of the former Prophets did that religion belong?

These are the four questions which come across in various books of Seerah (the Prophet’s biography), history, and interpretation. However, is it necessary that we should give definite replies to these questions? Is it basically necessary that we should study various books on history, exegesis and the Holy Prophet’s biography and collect the requisite answers?
We feel that discussion of these particular points is not at all necessary. Rather what is important is that we should conclusively prove that before his appointment to the prophetic mission the Holy Prophet believed in and worshipped only Allah the One, and was pious and chaste.

This can be proved by the following two methods:
Firstly by studying his forty years of life preceding his appointment to the prophetic mission, and secondly by examining what has been said on the subject by the leaders of Islam.

1 To sum up his forty years of life, it was a life of modesty and chastity, honesty and truthfulness, uprightness and righteousness, goodness and kindness to the oppressed and the needy and contempt toward the idols and the idol-worshippers. So much so that once, When he performed a journey to Syria in connection with trade and the other party, to a transaction, swore by idols he said: “The most obnoxious things which always arouse my wrath are these very ‘Lat’ and ‘Manat’ by which you are swearing”.
Besides this, he prayed continuously in the cave of Hira during the month of Ramadan and performed Haj time and again, for as the sixth Imam says, he (the Holy Prophet) performed Haj secretly ten times and according to another narration twenty times. And, as we know, all Haj ceremonies are the performance of rites to which Prophet Ibrahim invited people and wished that by this means those who believe in Allah, the One should assemble at one particular place during a fixed period.
Similarly, the Prophet always remembered Allah while taking his meals and refrained from eating meat of the animals which had been slaughtered in an unlawful manner, and was very much disturbed to see obscene scenes, wine-drinking and gambling; so much so that at times, he sought asylum in the mountains and returned home when a part of the night had passed. Now what demands our consideration is this:
Is it possible to doubt the faith of a man who has passed his life in the manner stated above and who does not possess even the smallest weak point from the very beginning of his life, and who passes a part of his life in hills and in secluded places to meditate upon the beautiful phenomena of the world. We consider an ordinary man to be pious, dutiful and righteous if we observe one tenth of these qualities in him, what to speak of the Holy Prophet?

2 The second method of finding out the real position, is the study of numerous documents and narratives which have reached us from the leaders of Islam. One of them is the discourse of Imam Ali, the chief of the monotheists, in ‘Khutbah-i Qasi’ah’:
“From the time the Holy Prophet had been weaned, the Almighty Allah had associated the most distinguished angel with him so that he might show him the path of magnanimity and goodness during day as well as night”

It all started in the Cave of Hira


The Hira mountain is situated in the north of Makkah and one can reach its summit within half an hour. The surface at this mountain consists of slabs of black stone and no signs of life are found in it. In its northern point, there is a cave which can be approached by man after crossing the stones. Its height is about as much as the stature of a man. Sunlight penetrates into a part of this cave and its remaining part is always dark.
However. this very cave is a witness to such incidents about its close friend that even today people hasten to it with an ardent desire to hear about these incidents from its mute language and to reach its threshold, after undergoing many hardships, so as to enquire from it about the incident of ‘revelation’, as well as about a part of the life history of that great benefactor of mankind. And the cave also replies in its mute language:

“This is the place of worship by the honourable one of Quraish. Before he attained to the office of prophethood he spent many days and many nights in here. He had selected this spot, which was away from uproar, for the purpose of prayers and worship. He spent the entire month of Ramadan here, and at other times also he took asylum in this locality every now and then. So much so that his dear wife knew that as and when he did not come home he must be busy in prayers on the mountain of Hira. And when she sent people after him they found him meditating and praying at this place.”

Before Muhammad (pbuh) attained to the office of prophethood, he used to reflect much upon two matters:

1 He studied thoroughly the book of existence and observed the luminosity, power and craftsmanship of Allah in the features of every existing thing. By conducting deep study of the skies and the stars and prudently considering the creatures on earth he was approaching nearer to his target day after day.

2 He meditated upon the onerous responsibility which, he knew, he had to shoulder. With all the corruption and deterioration of the human society in that time, he did not consider its reformation to be something impossible. However, the enforcement of reformatory programme, too, was not devoid of difficulties and hardship. Hence, he observed the tumultuous life of the Makkans and the voluptuousness of Quraysh and reflected upon the ways and means of their reformation.
He wondered at the people worshipping the lifeless and ineffective idols and showing humility before them and signs of discomfort appeared on his face. However, as he had not been ordained to mention the realities, he refrained from pointing them out to those people.

The Message – eBook


A detail and inspiring account of the life of Prophet Muhammad (s), based on authentic historical documents.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”300px” ]Name: The Message
Author: Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani[/box]

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Hayat Al-Qulub, Vol. 2 – eBook


A Detailed Biography of Prophet Muhammad (S)

This is the second volume of the three volume series by Allamah Al-Majlisi, titled Hayat al-Qulub (Life of the Hearts). This volume is a very detailed and comprehensive biography of Prophet Muhammad [s], starting with an account of his esteemed ancestry and ending with the events that transpired shortly after his death.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”440px” ]Name: Hayat Al-Qulub, Vol. 2
Author: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
Translated By:  Sayyid Athar Husayn S. H. Rizvi[/box]

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The Life of Muhammad The Prophet – eBook


Detailed account of the life and history of Prophet Muhammad (s), including his birth and early life, events in Makkah and Madina, and his final years.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”460px” ]Name: The Life of Muhammad The Prophet
Author: Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi[/box]

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The Perfect Role Model: The Prophet of Islam – eBook


This book introduces the Noble Prophet of Islam (s) as the role model for all of mankind and the best example for Muslims of all ages.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”440px” ]Name: The Perfect Role Model: The Prophet of Islam
Authors: Himmat SuhrabPur
Translated by: Hasan Kashani[/box]

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The Prophet’s attitude towards Children and Youth – eBook


A text on Prophet Muhammad’s (S) attitude towards children and youth. The book is divided into two distinct parts, dealing with the Prophet’s attitude towards children and towards youth separately. The subject is presented using sayings from the Infallibles, historical accounts and the occasional findings from scientific research.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”460px” ]Name: The Prophet’s attitude towards Children and Youth
Authors: Muhammad Ali Chenarani
Translated by: Mahdi Azadi[/box]

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Beacons of Light – eBook


The Prophet of Islam (s), his signs, miracles, biography and family life, and a biography of his daughter Lady Fatima (a).[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”430px” ]Name: Beacons of Light
Authors: Abu Ali al Fadl ibn al Hasan Tabarsi
Translated by: Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub ; Dr. Lynda Clarke[/box]

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Muhammad in the Mirror of Islam – eBook


Islam and other religions, importance of the individual, Islamic world view, equality, realism, knowledge and wisdom, and the spiritual path.[divider]

[box type=”note” align=”aligncenter” width=”450px” ]Name: Muhammad in the Mirror of Islam
Authors: William C. Chittick – Sayyid Hussein Nasr[/box]

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The most outstanding miracle of Prophet Muhammad


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he most outstanding miracle of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him and His pure Progeny) was the Qur’an, with which he challenged the kings, the emperors, the idol-worshippers, the Jewish rabbis and the Christian monks.
“And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.” (Holy Qur’an, 2: 23)

It is obvious that if common people, who are prejudiced in their beliefs, priests from different faiths, who hold onto their followers, kings and rulers, who fear the awakening of their nations, could have confronted the Qur’an then they would not have delayed for a moment.

Do you think that if they had the ability to object to this challenge, they would not, which would outbalance their previous religion and world?

Surely they all took pains in encountering the challenge of the Prophet (S) regarding the Qur’an. They had scholars, poets and orators who were outstanding in eloquence and rhetoric. They would compete with each other every year in the famous ‘Ukkadh market and other places. They would hang the most astonishing poems in the Ka’bah. The most famous of these were the seven placards [mu’allaqat].

They strived for the triumph of their religions and this world, which was being threatened by the Qur’an. However, they returned disappointed and disgraced. They did not find any answer except that they said:

“This is nothing but clear enchantment.” (Holy Qur’an, 5: 110)
History records that Abu Jahl (one of the most famous enemy of The Prophet) went to al-Walid ibn al-Mughayrah, who was an authority for the eloquent Arabs, and put forward to him the challenge of the Qur’an given by Muhammad (S). Thus, he replied, “What should I say in this matter?

By god, there is not a single man among you better than me in poetry, nor is there anyone more knowledgeable than me in poetical metre, thematic sequence and songs. By god, what he (Muhammad (S)) says does not resemble any of these. By god, this Word has a sweetness that will shatter everything below it. It is indeed above all and nothing is above it!”

Abu Jahl said, “By god, your people will not be pleased unless you say something against it.”

He replied, “Give me some time to think.” When he pondered, he said, “This is an enchantment that has information about others.” (Jami’ al-Bayan (Tafsir al-Tabari): vol. 29, pp 195, surah 74, verse 24)

Their allegation that the Qur’an is enchantment is surely due to their surrender to its miraculousness, because enchantment is a result of normal causes that are not outside human powers. Hence, that was an achievable matter for them. Magicians and prognosticators were all over the Arabian Peninsula and the nearby lands.

Nevertheless, history has recorded that they could not find an answer for the challenge of the Qur’an. They thus took refuge in trying to tempt the Prophet (S) with wealth and status. When he rejected all that, they began attempts to murder him (S).