Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbdul-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Arabic: مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ ٱللهِ بْنِ عَبْدِ ٱلْمُطَّلِبِ بْنِ هَاشِمٍ) (c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE), commonly known as Muhammad, is believed to be the seal of the Messengers and Prophets of God in all the main branches of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, was revealed to Muhammad by God and that Muhammad was sent to restore Islam, (which they believe did not originate with Muhammad but is the true unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets). The religious, social, and political tenets that Muhammad established with the Quran became the foundation of Islam and the Muslim world.
Born about 570 into a respected Qurashi family of Mecca, Muhammad earned the title “al-Amin” (اَلْأَمِينُ, meaning “the Trustworthy”). At the age of 40 in 610 CE, Muhammad is said to have received his first verbal revelation in the cave called Hira, which was the beginning of the descent of the Quran that continued up to the end of his life; and Muslims hold that Muhammad was asked by God to preach the oneness of God in order to stamp out idolatry, a practice overtly present in pre-Islamic Arabia. Because of persecution of the newly converted Muslims, upon the invitation of a delegation from Medina (then known as Yathrib), Muhammad and his followers migrated to Medina in 622 CE, an event known as the Hijrah. A turning point in Muhammad’s life, this Hegira also marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. In Medina, Muhammad sketched out the Constitution of Medina specifying the rights of and relations among the various existing communities there, formed an independent community, and managed to establish the first Islamic state. Despite the ongoing hostility of the Meccans, Muhammad, along with his followers, took control of Mecca in 630 CE, and ordered the destruction of all pagan idols. In his later years in Medina, Muhammad unified the different tribes of Arabia under Islam and carried out social and religious reforms. By the time he died in 632, almost all the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam.
Muslims often refer to Muhammad as Prophet Muhammad, or just “The Prophet” or “The Messenger”, and regard him as the greatest of all Prophets. He is seen by the Muslims as a possessor of all virtues. As an act of respect, Muslims follow the name of Muhammad by the Arabic benediction sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, (meaning Peace to be upon him), sometimes abbreviated as “SAW” or “PBUH”.
The deeds and sayings in the life of Muhammad – known as Sunnah – are considered a model of the lifestyle that Muslims are obliged to follow. Recognizing Muhammad as God’s final messenger is one of the central requirements in Islam which is clearly laid down in the second part of the Shahada (شَهَادَةٌ, “Testimony” or proclamation of faith): Lā ilāha illā l-Lāh, Muhammadun Rasūlu l-Lāh (لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللهُ، مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ ٱللهِ, “There is no god but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God”). The Quran, in passages such as 3:132, 48:29 and 66:1, often uses the words “messenger” and “prophet” (such as ar-Rasūl (اَلرَّسُولُ, “The Messenger”) or Rasūl Allāh (رَسُولُ ٱللهِ, “Messenger of God”) for Muhammad, and asks people to follow him, so as to become successful in this hayāt (حَيَاةٌ, ‘life’) and al-Ākhirah (اَلْآخِرَةُ, the Afterlife).