There is an inherent degree of difficulty incurred in the life of a prophet. This fact is documented in a number of different texts, one of the most revealing of which is The Life of Muhammad. This book is valuable because it illustrates a multitude of events in the progression of Muhammad's life from his birth to his journey as a man. However, it does so by revealing the fact that during all stages of his life, he was favored by God -- rendering him worthy as a prophet of Allah. Furthermore, this book illustrates the fact that despite a plethora of burdensome situations, Muhammad always retained God's favor and acted in accordance with his role as a divine prophet. A close examination of the textual evidence in this manuscript reveals that as a prophet, Muhammad encountered a significant amount of austere trials, the results of which unequivocally demonstrate the fact that he was favored by God and worthy of prophesizing event surrounding Allah's will.
Prior to examining the specific textual evidence offered in The Life of Muhammad, it is necessary to discuss why this particular source has value for its chronicles of the prophet's life and for the general understanding of early Islam. Foremost among the reasons is the fact that it is a primary text, which strives for a degree of objectivity in its stating of various events pertaining to the lives of Muhammad and to those which both influenced him and which he in turn influenced. As such, this manuscript has historical value and strives for accuracy. The historical perspective makes this text worthy of scholastic pursuit unlike other texts pertaining to religion which merely provide parables or mystical narratives. The Life of Muhammad offers several details regarding the humanity of the prophet -- which account for many of the difficulties he incurs -- and contains information about his mother, his father, (1) grandfather, uncles, and a host of others in his lineage. It also provides details regarding the prophet's life in a factual context related to others to ensure historical accuracy, such as relating the ages of other personages at the time in which they first heard of the prophet's birth to verify such details (2). Additionally, this manuscript makes a point to delineate fact from speculations, which is evinced in passages in which there are some details described as "alleged" (3), which naturally contrast with those that are confirmed. Therefore, this text is useful in providing objective information regarding the nature of difficulties relating to prophets, allowing the reader to understand that those difficulties were primarily trials which Muhammad overcame to show God's favoritism towards him and the religion the former would establish for the latter.
The Life of Muhammad conveys the fact that as one who was destined to become a prophet of Allah, Muhammad encountered tests repeatedly, starting during his infancy. Yet even then, this text demonstrates that these trials merely served to reinforce the fact that the prophet had been favored by God as one worthy of indicating Allah's will. This fact is evinced quite dramatically when Muhammad was a mere suckling whose father had died prior to his being born. As such, none of the women who nursed sucklings wanted to take him, since they were looking to receive infants whose parents would pay the women to nurse them. During the great famine that occurred as Muhammad's foster mother, Halima, tried to gain other babies to nurse, she could not produce milk, Muhammad could not eat, and both of them had to endure starvation and a lack of sleep from the child's crying because he was so hungry. Halima decided to keep the suckling, and the will of God suddenly blessed her and her camel with plentiful milk to feed Muhammad and her companions, indicative of God's favor towards the fledgling prophet (4). This favoritism bestowed by Allah merely reinforced the fact that the boy was in God's good graces, special, and would one day become a great prophet. Had he not suffered this particular trial of starvation and sleep deprivation, the results of this trial (the bountiful milk and feasting that occurred subsequently) would not have taken place proving that Muhammad was Allah's prophet.
The importance of trials and overcoming difficulties that is essential to the life of a prophet was also apparent when Allah initially revealed to Muhammad that he wanted him to "believe in him, testify to his truth and help him against his adversaries" (5). The specific tests that Muhammad endured while receiving this offer from Allah are denoted by a variety of different sources, which is yet another advantage of utilizing this particular text. The author gives the accounts of three different individuals who corroborate the fact that Allah made this requirement of Muhammad (6). Again, the effect of having different sources to verify events taking place within Muhammad's life is that these events are presented as having historical value, since they are corroborated by more than one omniscient author.
Yet, in simply receiving this charge from Allah, Muhammad received a fairly stern trial of his faith and his ability to actually believe in Allah enough to operate as a prophet and spread Allah's will. Initially, Muhammad was nearly smothered with "a coverlet of brocade" that was pressed to him so tightly that he believed he would die (7). He eventually surpassed this test of his faith and his ability as a prophet by reading from the book words that declared God's altruism and the message that Muhammad would teach it. Yet another trial awaited Muhammad shortly thereafter as, once he awoke from his dream, he was afraid that he was "possessed" and was going to leap from a mountain to keep from being debauched from some evil or poetic notions (8). However, he was reassured by the angel Gabriel that indeed it was Allah who had come before him, which merely solidified the fact that by withstanding the throes of death on two separate occasions, Muhammad had signified his worth as a profit. It was only by overcoming these burdens that he was able to understand that he was worthy of Allah's divine favor and of prophesizing his religion. These particular trials provided this confirmation more Muhammad himself, which is necessary to do before he can into the world teaching others of this very fact and of Allah's beneficence.
However, the greatest burdens that Muhammad would face as a prophet would come from convincing other men of the authenticity of the will of Allah that Muhammad was bearing and was an apostle of. There are a number of reasons for this fact. At the time that Muhammad was initially championing Islam there were two well-established additional monotheistic religions. Additionally, several of the men he encountered had previously adhered to a different religion, and would require time to understand and accept that which Muhammad propagated as Ali b. Abu Talib required (9). The difficulties of bearing the message of prophecy are most arduous due to the resistance from other men, point which the following quotation proves. "Prophecy is a troublesome burden -- only strong, resolute messengers can bear it by God's help and grace, because of the opposition which they meet from men…The apostle carried out God's orders in spite of the opposition and ill treatment which he met" (10). This quotation alludes to the fact that there was stiff competition that Muhammad encountered in bearing the message of Allah, due to the fact that other men already believed in other religions and would not be easily swayed. There conviction merely served as other forms of trials that Muhammad had to overcome to prove his strength and resoluteness as Allah's apostle.
The difficulties that Muhammad had to overcome as a prophet of…