Biographical information on Muhammad – Vincenzo Calza (1847)

Women Guards at Mecca
Saudi police woman, as they recently deployed to the service at the Grand Mosque, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, in the Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca.

SOURCE- Quran of Mohammed ( 650 )-Translation from Arabic by Vincenzo Calza (1847)


Muhammad , or Mohammed (according to the spelling and pronunciation of the Orientals) was born on 1 April 569 1 of GC in Mecca city of Hedjaz ; province of Arabia; he had for father Abdallah son of Abdhal Mottalib ; and for mother Amina daughter of Wahib ; he thus belonged doubly to the tribe of the Choreicites (QURESH), a tribe of great population and power, which had been enriched by trade, and made important by the exercise of the sovereignty of Mecca , and the custody of the temple of Kaaba ; it also owed its importance to antiquity and the splendor of its origin.Ishmael son of Abraham , that representative of the cult of the Semitic race, had settled in Mecca, and became the father of a tribe which at a certain time received the name of Coreic , or Koreich . Muslim historians admit without contest the genealogy of Muhammad for 21 generations up to Adnan descendant of Ishmael, and from Adnan onwards there is a gap that cannot be filled; it is added that each of Muhammad’s ancestors had imprinted on his face the prophetic light transmitted in the last place, and extinguished in the son of Abdallah. If we do not believe the accounts of the miracles that are said to have accompanied Muhammad’s birth, or the days of his childhood, we find nothing extraordinary in his life until the time of his apostolate; she lost her father who was just two months old, and his mother at the age of ten; his education was first entrusted to his grandfather, and then to his uncle Abou-Taleb ; the latter took him with him on his journey to Bosra , Syria, and it was there (according to it is said) that Muhammad met a certain Bahirawho, guessing the future destinies of the young Choreicite, recommended his uncle to watch over him, and above all to warn him against the artifices of the Jews; on his return to Arabia,

Muhammad took part in the war that his tribe waged against the Benou-Hawazin for the violation of the holy month, El-fedjar ; this participation was reduced in spite of very little, since Mohammed being still very young did nothing but collect the arrows thrown by the combatants; at twenty-four he went to Yemen twice , and then made a second trip to Syria with a certain Meissara who did the business of a rich widow named Khadidja; on this occasion he took the bait with some Christian religious whose speeches could exert a great influence on his spirit. Muhammad’s conduct was such during this journey that Khadidja upon returning from Syria offered him her hand and his riches; Muhammad was then 25 years old, and he gave his wife, who was 40, twenty young camels as a nuptial gift. Five years later, the Coreicites were busy rebuilding the Kaaba temple already devoured by flames; when the black stone had to be placed in a part of the temple, something of great veneration, all the divisions of the tribe warmly coveted this honor, and since the contestation could degenerate into contention, it was finally determined to defer to decision of the mayor who would enter through the temple door. Muhammad, who was also working on the rebuilding of this temple, and who had been absent for some hours, entered it, was taken as a judge, had the black stone placed on a cloak, of which a member of each tribe was to keep a part , and laid the black stone with his hands. Mohammed who had already acquired the reputation of a good man, and the nickname of Emin(loyal and faithful), the approval and general esteem was reconciled with this decision, since, by placing the demands of four families in agreement, he was able, without hurting them, to honorably content the Choreicites in such a solemn circumstance. From this epoch onwards the story of Mohammed does not learn anything about his life until the age of forty, which was the year of his mission. 

From his childhood he had always recognized a strong taste for solitude, and often with his family he retreated to the mountain of Harra ., near Mecca, where he spent whole nights in solitude and meditation; the memories left by his travels in Syria, the discussions he had with Christians and Jews scattered throughout Arabia, the spectacle of their religious disputes, the devotion of the monks, the restless and wild life of the Arabs, all these things together they are not extraneous to the grave concerns of Muhammad; in a short time his mind was exalted, he felt the blood of Ishmael son of Abraham running in his veins, and the keeper of the dogma of God’s unity; he also believed himself called to break the idols of his nation of him, since he had made his father.

When he was 40, one day, absorbed in his meditations, he thought he heard a voice shouting at him:

“Read in the name of God who created man, who taught man Scripture, and who learned what he did not know (Koran Chap. 96).” He went into the middle of the mountain, and heard another voice: «O Mohammed! you are the Apostle of God, and I am Gabriel. ” This voice decided on his prophetic mission; he told the vision of her to her wife, who immediately became a part of it to Warka-ben-Naufel of her cousin, a man well versed in the Scriptures; he admitted the possibility of revelation, and saw in Mohammed the Moses of the Arabs 2 ; Khadidja first embraced the new faith, and after it Alj son of Abou-Taleb, Zaid , and Abou-Bek’r. But the moral influence that Muhammad exerted on those around him could not immediately gain much effect, and it was not until after three years, and after many discussions and secret initiations, that he openly declared war on the ancient beliefs of his fellow citizens; his first sermons at first attracted much derision, and later hatred and envy persecuted him into his family; although these sorrows were amply rewarded by gaining some remarkable men, such as Omar , and Hamza , yet a great number of proselytes were forced to abandon Mecca, and flee the persecutions of idolaters to Abyssinia; the Coreicites had committed themselvesby pact not to have any more relations with the Benou-Hachem , who by blood ties belonged to the party of Mohammed; finally, forced himself to leave his homeland, he spent three years in a mountain gorge with his most zealous followers; from there he went to the city of Taief to look for allies against Mecca, but was greeted with derision and insults, and then returned again to Mecca, where he found the idolaters more hostile than ever to the new faith; after other unsuccessful attempts by various Arab tribes gathered in Mecca on the occasion of the pilgrimage, he had to abandon this city, and passed to Jatrib , a city of Hedjaz called from then on Medina ( Medinet en’Nabi, city of the prophet) where many friends of his cause already called him; this departure from Mecca, operated with deception to avoid certain death, was later called egira ( hidjret , which means flight) and this epoch established the beginning of the Mohammedan era. 

Since then, Muhammad saw himself at the head of the Mohadjer (emigrants) who had come from Mecca, and of the Ansar (auxiliarj) citizens of Jatribwho came from Mecca to help him; always developing his doctrine with successive additions made to the verses of the Koran that he had already revealed, wherever he passed, he founded houses of prayer, and took care in the same time to organize his forces. In the second year of the hegira he ordered that every Muslim choose a friend with whom he would indissolubly bond as a brother, and while this institution established close ties to further consolidate the new cult, various other institutions in the same era tended to outwardly separate Muslims from populations. surround. An important event signaled this year: knowing Muhammad that a caravan of Coreicites, 950 strong men, was approaching Medina, left the city, attacked the enemy (March 1, 624) and beat him completely; this first advantage obtained against the idolaters was certainly not capable of discouraging them, much less of annihilating them, but it inspired the Muslims to trust in their own strength, and made it known that Mohammed was not a simple apostle, but also a general. If we reflect that after 12 years of preaching, Muhammad could only oppose the enemy in this first conflict with two knights and 311 foot soldiers, it will be understood how many obstacles stood in the way of the propagation of the new doctrine, and of what importance the slightest success was.

The victory was a decisive and fruitful result, having placed Mohammed the following year at the head of 1000 men, of which 700 fought against 3000 Choreicites; this battle followed at Ohad , and although in the beginning all to the advantage of Muhammad, he soon failed in the end to lose him entirely; the Muslims excited by a blind greed threw themselves on the booty as soon as they had the first successes, and the disorder made them miss the victory, compromising the life of their leader who was wounded. The expeditions of the following years, of Radji , of the well of Mouna , and against the powerful tribe of Benou Mostalak, all three conducted successfully, repaired the losses they had had. In the sixth year of Hegira Mohammed concluded a suspension with the idolaters for ten years, although this step did not please the most zealous who did not allow truce, but Mohammed took advantage of this armistice to go and besiege the Jewish tribe of Khaibar , and the taking of this square, stubbornly defended, caused a large number of prisoners to fall into his hands, as well as many other neighboring villages, including Fadakwhich became the property of his family. Reassured by the latest victories over the future of his mission in Arabia, he considered instructing the princes of neighboring countries, and sent messages to the king of Persia, the Roman Emperor, the king of Abyssinia, and some other princes. Christians, or idolaters, exhorting them all to embrace Islam; although such an appeal was not well received, and had no result whatsoever the moment, however, helped to extend the reputation of the apostle of the Arabs; but it was necessary to strike a decisive blow, and to become masters of Mecca; it seemed that the peace concluded with the Choreicites took away the moment, and the Muslims, admitted to the sanctuary of Mecca to make the pilgrimage, did not dare, nor did they want to be the aggressors; since, however, the Coreicites sent relief to the tribe of Benou-Bek’r, their ally against that of the Benou-Khozaaally of Muhammad, he taking this aid for a breach of covenants, made the necessary preparations at once, and advanced at the head of ten thousand men under the walls of Mecca; not being able to oppose a serious resistance, the city fell into the power of the Muslims, almost without massacre, on 12 January 630 of GC 8 ° of the hegira; Muhammad entered a camela on it, and after circling the Kaaba seven times, he entered the temple, knocking down the idols with his own hands; on the same day a Muezzinannounced (at midday) the hour of prayer from the top of the Kaaba, and Muhammad, inebriated by such a tremendous success, obtained without sacrifice, showed himself generous towards those same idolaters who had persecuted him so fiercely, and only discarded him 6 men and 4 women.

Immediately after the capture of Mecca he sent many detachments of cavalry to subdue the surrounding tribes, and in the same year made an expedition against three tribes assembled at Honain ; the success of this battle, which was initially unfavorable to the Muslims although 12 thousand in number, was due to the presence of spirit of Mohammed, or, as his historians claim, to a miracle.

The siege of the city of Tajef illustrated the end of the eighth year of the hegira, despite the fact that its tribes did not voluntarily submit, and did not embrace Islam until the following year. The ninth year was famous for the subjugation of Yemen , and of some princes of northern Arabia following the Tabuc expedition , in which Muhammad led an army of 30,000 men including 10,000 knights, but did not survive long. . After the pilgrimage of Mecca, and the visit of the holy places, later called the farewell visit , and ended in the tenth year of the hegira, he returned to Medina, and remained there all year; at the beginning of the eleventh he fell ill, and was treated in the house of Aicha, one of his wives, working up to the last days of the project of an expedition against the false prophet Mosailamah , and performing the functions of pontiff in the mosque; instructed Abou-Bek’r to pray to the people three days before his death, which occurred on the 13th of the Rabi-el-Aouel of the eleventh year of the hegira (on June 8, 632 of GC) at the age of 63 years, according to the calculation of Abulfeda which establishes the principle of his apostolate from the fortieth year of his life; he was buried in the very place where he died, and his tomb over which Muslim piety later erected a superb mosque, has remained to this day an object of veneration, and the purpose of frequent pilgrimages.

The death of Muhammad caused consternation among the people, to the point that some did not want to believe it, and that many wanted to apostatize, but the authority of Abou-Bek’r , and of Omar knew how to distort them and consolidate the work of the deceased, who he left no male successor, and made no testamentary disposition, not even tending to prevent his people from ever falling into error; the partisans of Alj , Muhammad’s son-in-law, claim that the prophet had indicated long before his death that Aljwould be his successor; they cite some traits of the Koran, and a mass of traditions which establish a close kinship between Mohammed and the sons of Alj born of Fatima, and which must according to them be considered as a testament. Muhammad had fifteen legitimate wives, and eleven concubines, however up to who lived Khadidja had no other wife; except one son, Ibrahim , whom he had from the Coptic Mary and who died before him, all the others were of Khadidja , from whom he had four males Kasem , Taieb , Taher , and Abdallah , and four females Fatima , Zeinab , Rokaia and Omm- Koltum ; among the wives the most famous were Khadidja , Aicha , Hafsa , Zeinab and Omm-Habiba. Such a number of wives, married largely in the last years of his life, contradict his Qur’anic prescriptions that allow Muslims to marry up to four. (Cor. Chap. 4.) Muhammad, far from conforming to this precept, married, among others, Zeinab wife of Zaidthat he had made free, after he had repudiated her, so as not to displease his prophet, and since this fact was a scandal to the Muslims, he covered him with the revelation of Heaven which allowed him to take as many wives as he pleased. have. (Cor. Chap. 33.) Nor was this the only circumstance in which Muhammad caused an immediate revelation to intervene to silence the malevolent intentions of his sectarians; the chap. 24 brought to an end the scandal of an accusation of adultery against Aicha, but the Muslims, far from drawing adverse consequences to his apostolic mission, far from accusing him of transgression of the precepts established for his whole nation, maintained that he was not obliged to observe them, and that in his capacity as prophet and pontiff he enjoyed certain particular and exceptional prerogatives, which in no way altered the impeccability indispensable to any prophet. Muslim authors have passed on to us a number of details relating to Muhammad’s person and private life, all taken from the traditions left by his companions, and these traditions serve at the same time to complete the Koran, and to develop it. It is difficult to say today whether the art of reading and writing was known to Muhammad; the name of ignorant and illiterate prophet, which he himself gives himself in the Koran with a certain affectation, and perhaps to better show the character of an inspired man, probably meant that he had little given to the study of the Scriptures, and he gives this same qualification to Arabs in general as that they they did not have a revealed book, a sacred code; the way in which the Arabs cultivated poetry does not allow to deny it much intellectual culture, and it can also be concluded from some passages of the Koran that Muhammad himself knew the art of writing. 

Without being rich, he had something to do with his own needs and his house where he had so many wives; the fifth of the booty that conquered him they provided him, becoming him as head, (Cor. chap. 8) served to enlarge his fortune. So when the biographers of Muhammad speak of his extreme sobriety and his privations, when they tell with tenderness that he was often forced to tighten his belly to silence hunger, or that months went by without a fire being lit in his house, that the barley bread, the milk and the dates were often his only nourishment, we must see in this the habit of living of the Arabs, and the inseparable deprivations of an active and risky life, rather than poverty and misery; he cultivated his garden by himself, recommended his clothes by himself, etc. But he had 22 horses, 5 mules, of which the best known was called milk and dates were often his only nourishment, we must see in this the habit of living of the Arabs, and the inseparable deprivations of an active and risky life, rather than poverty and misery; he cultivated his garden by himself, recommended his clothes by himself, etc. But he had 22 horses, 5 mules, of which the best known was called milk and dates were often his only nourishment, it must be seen in this the habit of living of the Arabs, and the inseparable deprivations of an active and risky life, rather than poverty and misery; he cultivated his garden by himself, recommended his clothes by himself, etc. But he had 22 horses, 5 mules, of which the best known was calledDoldol , 2 Ofair and Iafur donkeys , 4 saddle camelas over 20 others for milk, 100 sheep and some goats. It then had 9 skiable, and the best known, which then passed to Alj, is the dhoul-fikar with two blades diverging towards the tip; also three blades, three arches, seven cuirasses, three shields, a white banner, a black flag (called okab , black eagle) which is still preserved in Constantinople; his silver seal bore these carved words: Muhammad apostle of God .

Some of the objects that belonged to him, such as the mantle (borda) and the stick, were preserved for a long time; a green turban became the  a distinctive sign of her Fatima-born lineage, such as the black color of her side line. Muhammad was of medium height, large head, thick beard, rough feet and hands, strong and vigorous bone, black eyes, straight hair, aquiline nose, soft and colored cheeks, and slightly sparse teeth; in spite of his advanced age he had scarcely any gray hair either on his beard or on his head; on the back between his shoulders had a growth of flesh like a pigeon’s egg which was said to be the sign of the prophetic mission; the extrinsic him of him was very favorable, because it was accompanied by an expression of kindness and nobility that enticed, and the gentleness and affability with which he treated him above all reconciled the spirit of his fellow citizens; always in the same mood with people of any condition, he never left the man who stopped with him first, nor did he withdraw his hand, greeting him, before the one who was speaking to him took his hand away; in chapter 80 of the Koran he makes a severe reproach for a movement of impatience that escaped him from a poor man; in 17 expeditions conducted in person he often gave examples of skill, patience and perseverance to all tests; he was human, and easily forgetting the outrages received, he generously forgave his enemies the most bitter as soon as they manifested the desire to embrace the faith.

 The definitive results obtained by Muhammad prove best of all his genius, and his skill, although the Mohammedans explain them by the will of God, and see the heavenly sanction in all the miracles that he was allowed to work. Muhammad protests in the Koran that he had no other mission than to call the Arabs to worship the one God, and to announce his word to them; but if we do not see any trace of pretension in the Koran, nevertheless we must also confess that some equivocal speeches impressed among its most fervent partisans have given life to the tales of prodigies, such as the ascension to heaven, the broken moon, the healing of a blind, and many others whom Muslims regard almost as articles of faith; the most educated consider the Koran as the most portentous miracle that a prophet has ever worked, since this book is made up of 114 chapters, of which the first are more than 200 verses long, but the last have only a few lines. The materials, however, are not distributed in order, and the stories of the Jewish prophets and those of other peoples, they are mixed with the general precepts, with the transitional provisions, so that it is difficult to find the chronological thread of the preaching that Muhammad was making now in Mecca, now in Medina, just as vice versa it is easy to find contradicting passages that in order to develop them it is necessary to bring them back to the sentiment. general who prevailed in Islam; it is also written in a concise, and often obscure, style that would not be intelligible to the Arabs themselves without the help of the comments, which, moreover, are made on the works composed in the first centuries after Muhammad, which certainly differ greatly from the current version of the Koran . vice versa, it is easy to find contradicting passages that in order to develop them it is necessary to bring them back to the general sentiment that has prevailed in Islamism; it is also written in a concise, and often obscure, style that would not be intelligible to the Arabs themselves without the help of the comments, which, moreover, are made on the works composed in the first centuries after Muhammad, which certainly differ greatly from the current version of the Koran . vice versa, it is easy to find contradicting passages that in order to develop them it is necessary to bring them back to the general sentiment that has prevailed in Islamism; it is also written in a concise, and often obscure, style that would not be intelligible to the Arabs themselves without the help of the comments, which, moreover, are made on the works composed in the first centuries after Muhammad, which certainly differ greatly from the current version of the Koran .


 (1) There is no agreement on the day and year of Muhammad’s birth, which are deceived from 569 to 571 of JC, but those who support 569 are based on the opinion that he gave Muhammad 63 years at the time of his death in 632. The year of the elephant, so called by Abrahà ‘s expedition against Mecca (See chapter 105 of the Koran), is mentioned as that of the birth of the Prophet; but the precise date is difficult to investigate.

 (2) Warka-ben-Naufel was one of the most important characters in the beginning of Muhammad’s career. De Hammer formalizes how Muhammad’s European biographers remarked so little on a man who, as a Christian, as a religious, and a translator of the Bible into Arabic, must have played a large part in Muhammad’s education, and consequently in the creation of the Koran. We do not know where Hammer got what he claims about Warka-ben-Naufel, but it is enough to compare the Qur’anic accounts of the history of the Jews and their prophets with those of the Bible to be convinced that they do not come from a man well versed in Scriptures, and that these are reminiscences in which the false and the apocryphal are almost always alongside the true and the authentic.

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