From Merchant to Messenger

The Prophet Muhammad's struggle for legitimacy as revealed in the Koran

When in the Presence of the Prophet

From Merchant to MessengerAfter being informed of another attempt on his life, Muhammad and his closest collaborator Abu Bakr fled to the oasis city of Medina. They were later joined by followers.

Having failed to convince his Meccan kin of his elevated status as God’s confidant on his say-so, Muhammad decided to make the Arabs see the light by force. Allah’s approval is reflected in the belligerent tone of the revelations that Gabriel now delivered known as the Medinan Surahs. With God’s approval, God’s spokesman embarked on a military campaign that would see all infidels of the Peninsula who refused to become Muslim either killed or enslaved (recommended: Jihad in the Koran, Boreal Books).

Before he became absolute ruler of all he surveyed, Muhammad told people how to behave in the presence of his Benefactor who is everywhere; now it is God who tells people how to behave in the presence of the man who now ruled in His Name.

24:62 The true believers, who believe in Allah and His Messenger, if they are with him for some common affair, will not depart till they take their leave. Indeed, those who ask leave from you are those who believe in Allah and His Messenger. If they ask leave from you for some affair of theirs, give leave to whom you wish and ask Allah’s forgiveness for them. Allah is surely All-Forgiving, Merciful.

24:63 Do not make calling the Messenger out among you like your calling one another out. Allah knows those of you who slip away stealthily. So, let those who disobey His command beware of an ordeal that might befall them, or a very painful punishment that might befall them.


49:1 O believers, do not advance hastily before Allah and His Messenger, and fear Allah. Allah is indeed All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

49:2 O believers, do not raise your voices above the Prophet’s voice and do not be loud in speaking to him, as you speak loudly to one another, lest your works come to grief while you are not aware.

49:3 Surely, those who lower their voices in the presence of Allah’s Messenger are those whose hearts Allah has tested for piety. They will have forgiveness and a great wage.

49:4 Those who call you from behind the Chambers, most of them do not understand.

49:5 Had they waited for you to come to meet them, it would have been better for them. Allah is All-Forgiving and Merciful.

When Muhammad first started out, God warned him about asking to be paid for the message he delivered on His behalf. Now that too had changed with Allah telling the believers, to whom Muhammad would speak privately, to pay him for the privilege. The addition of the word “free” before “offering” in Revelation 58:12 would indicate that the contribution should not come with strings attached.

58:11 O believers, if you are told: “Make room in assemblies”, then make room that Allah may make room for you; and if you are told: “Sally forth”, then sally forth, that Allah may elevate those of you who have believed and those who have been given knowledge many steps. Allah is truly Fully Aware of what you do.

58:12 O believers, if you converse privately with the Messenger, then tender a free offering before your secret conversing. That is better for you and purer; but if you do not have the means, then Allah is All-Forgiving, Merciful.

Allah may or may not pardon you if you don’t make the expected payment.

58:13 Do you dread to make free offerings before your private converse? If you do not do so and Allah pardons you, then perform the prayer, give the alms and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah is Aware of what you do.