Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) was born in Makkah, Saudia Arabia, in the year 570 CE. His father, Abdullah, died a few months before Muhammad’s birth, and his mother, Ameena, also passed away when he was six. Muhammad was initially under the guardianship of his grandfather until his death, and thereafter was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib. At an early age Muhammad was a shepherd tending sheep, and at the age of nine was taken by his uncle on a caravan journey to Syria so he could learn the art of trade.
Muhammad made a reputation for himself as a hardworking, honest merchant. He was known as Al Ameen – “the trustworthy one”, and was frequently called upon as an arbitrator to help settle disputes and disagreements.
At the age of 25, he married Khadeeja, who was a rich business woman 15 years his senior, Khadeeja had been impressed by the nature of this young man and had sent him a proposal for marriage. At this stage, Muhammad was a man of substance, respected in his community, admired both for his generosity and his good sense, and his future seemed assured. But Muhammad was uneasy and uncomfortable with the decadence and idol worship he saw around him, and as time passed he turned to meditating by himself in a cave.
Muhammad would spend many days in this cave named Hira, which was on a mountain on the outskirts of Makkah. It was on one of these occasions, when Muhammad was 40 years old, he received his first revelation from God via the Angel Gabriel who appeared before him and proclaimed, “Iqra” (which is Arabic can mean ‘read’ or ‘recite’). Muhammad, who was illeterate, replied in fear, “I am not able to read!”. This instruction from Angel Gabriel was repeated again twice for the fear stricken Muhammad as well as the first revelation from God;
“Recite! In the name of your Lord who created, Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous, who teaches by the pen, teaches man that which he knew not.” (Al-Qur’an Chapter 96 : Verses 1-5)
This heralded that start of this Prophethood, and 23 years of revelation from God to Prophet Muhammad (via Angel Gabriel), which formed the exact words of the Qur’an as it is with us now.