Islamic views of Muhammad

Islamic views of Muhammad

Views of Muhammad in some aspects vary widely between the sects of Islam. This article focuses on these sects' doctrines and beliefs surrounding Muhammad.

Veneration of Muhammad

Muslims have many ways to express veneration for Muhammad, as an acknowledgement of him being the final prophet of Islam, with one special exception: Muslims do not worship Muhammad, out of belief in the oneness of God (known to them as Allah) as stated in the Shahada.

The doctrine of sinlessness of Muhammad

Common beliefs

All Muslims believe that Muhammad was sinless in the sense of transmitting the revelation.

Sunni beliefs

Mainstream traditional Sunni believes that Prophet Muhammad did not Commit Mistakes and he was Sinless.They believes that beloved Prophet is Protected from Allah. According to Sunni Scholars , If the Messenger is not error prone then the Message will connotatively lack credentials of authenticity.

  • Qadi `Iyad in al-Shifa' said that the Jumhur Majority of the Jurists from the schools of Maliki, Shafai, and Abu Hanifa, agree that the Prophets are protected from all minor sins because one is required to follow them in the minutest matters.

Allah Most High preserving the Prophets from falling into that which has been prohibited," as explained by the commentators of the Jawhara. [Tattan/Kaylani, `Awn al-Murid `ala Jawharat al-Tawhid, 2.727; also: Bajuri, Tuhfat al-Murid].

They Put forward following Verses ,

Allah Most High has commanded us in the Qur'an to follow the Prophets in numerous verses that are decisive (qat`i) in their indication--such as, "These are the ones whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance.Quran, Surah Al-Anam 90
God made a covenant with the believers that if they obey Him, assist His cause and strive to exalt His Word, by proclaiming His religion, He will help them and make their feet firm in the religion, protecting them against all kinds of deviation Muhammad, 47.7.
O Messenger! Convey what has been sent to you from your Lord. If you did not, you would not have fulfilled His mission. And God will defend you from people. Certainly, God guides not the unbelieving people. Al-Maida,5.67

Shia beliefs

The doctrine of sinlessness in Shia'ism is called Ismah(Arabic/Persian: ِعصمت) literally means 'protection' and is generally translated as "sinlessness". Protection is believed to be of three types of "Protection from mistake in receiving the revelation from Allah", "Protection from mistake in conveying the revelation of Allah" and "Protection from sins." It is believed that all the prophets in Islam, Fatima, and the twelve descendants of Muhammad through Fatima are sinless.

The Shi'a teaches that Muhammad, Fatima together with the twelve descendants of Muhammad through Fatima are purified by God (See the Event of the Cloak). They are commonly called fourteen infallibles. Though the fourteen infallibles are human being and may be tempted by Satan towards sin, it is believed that they will be helped by God to overcome Satan’s temptations. The following verse of Qur’an is sometimes cited to prove this position.

(Satan) said: "O my Lord! because Thou hast put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong,- Except Thy servants among them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace)." (15:39-40)

When was Muhammad’s soul created?

Shia beliefs

Some Shi'a believe that the souls of Muhammad and all the Five Pure Ones were created at the beginning of the world, and it was through them that all the rest of creation arose.

What was the fate of Muhammad's soul after his death?

Sufi views

Sufi's believe that Muhammad is alive with the power of invisibility; his spirit pervades the world and can be reached by true seekers.


Most Muslims believe that Muhammad performed miracles, such as splitting the moon. They also believe the Quran is the living miracle given to Muhammad by Allah.

In speaking and writing

When speaking or writing, Muhammad's name is often followed by the phrase "peace be upon him," in English often abbreviated to PBUH or simply "(p)".

Muhammad is often referenced with titles of praise:

  • al-Mustafa, "the chosen one"
  • ar-Rasûl, "the Messenger"
  • an-Nabi, "the Prophet"
  • al-Khatim, "the last [prophet]"
  • al-Ummi, "the unlettered one"
  • al-Amîn, "the trustworthy"
  • as-Sadîq, "the truthful"
  • al-Mutawkkil, "the one who puts his trust [in God]"
  • al-Kuthâm, "the generous one"
  • al-Fatih, "the opener"
  • al-Mahi, "the eraser [of disbelief]"
  • al-Hashir, "the gatherer [of souls on the day of judgement]"
  • al-Aqib, "the last [prophet]"
  • ad-Dahuk, "the one who smiles, the cheerful one"


  • Abu'l-Qasim
  • Ahmad, "the chosen one"

Muhammad Maher Hamadeh, in his Ph.D. dissertation, lists 1,548 different titles of praise for Muhammad.

See also this

Praise in poetry and music

Islamic poetry is rich in the praise and flattery of Muhammad. Rarely is there any Muslim poet who is without any piece written on him. In fact there is a special class of poetry, known as Nasheed (Arabic) or Naat (Urdu), devoted to such praise. This is inspired by the Islamic traditions (ahadith) that each act of veneration would result in 10 times the blessing of God on the praiser. (see Praise of Muhammad in poetry).

Concerts of Muslim and especially Sufi devotional music include songs praising Muhammad (see Islamic music, Sufism).

The birthday of Muhammad

Muslims celebrate Muhammad's birthday with elaborate festivities. Cities and homes are illuminated with colorful lights and candles, parades and processions are carried out, and conferences on the life of Muhammad are held. Other Muslims, such as the Salafi sect, feel that such celebrations are idolatry or shirk or innovations and discountenance them.

Punishment of criticism

Criticism of Muhammad is often equated with blasphemy, which is punishable by death in some Muslim-majority or Islamic states. This is because the Muslim belief is that Muhammad is the messenger of God himself, and that his actions were willed by God. Many Muslims believe that to reject and criticise Muhammad is to reject and criticise God.

The most notorious recent case of a critic condemned to death is that of Salman Rushdie, who wrote a novel (The Satanic Verses), satirizing Muhammad as a cynical schemer and his wives as prostitutes. In 1989 Rushdie was condemned to death in a fatwa issued by Iran's theocratic leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Rushdie had to go into hiding for years.

Pakistan is frequently in the news for prosecutions under its strict blasphemy law. If the courts decline to act, angry crowds have been known to lynch the suspected blasphemer.

In 2005 a Danish newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten, printed some drawings of Muhammed, some of which were considered unflattering. Some countries -- Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iraq among them -- protested vigorously to the Danish government for not taking action against the newspaper, but the Danish government responded that it does not control the media.

Relics of Muhammad

Relics of the Muhammad, such as his grave, his sword, his clothing, are revered. The largest collection of such relics is to be found in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace museum, where the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle contains items said to be Muhammad's robe, his banner, his footprint, some of his hair, etc.

Other sites displaying items said to be relics of Muhammad:

  • Jama Masjid, New Delhi, India, displays a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals, and his footprint, embedded in a marble slab.
  • Hazrat Bal Dargah, Mosque of the Prophet's Hair, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
  • Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad, India, claims to have a hair from Muhammad's beard, his cloak, and his footprint.
  • Noor Mahal, Uch, Pakistan, claims to hold one of Muhammad's hairs.
  • Badshahi Mosque Museum, Lahore, Pakistan, once held a pair of shoes said to have belonged to Muhammad. They were stolen in 2002.
  • Karka Sharif, Kandahar, Afghanistan, said to hold Muhammad's cloak.

All the relics could be said to be of dubious origin, and many Muslims often dismiss them as not being authentic.

Muhammad is buried in Masjid-al-Nabi, the Prophet's Mosque, in Medina, in what is now Saudi Arabia The Saudi government adheres to the Wahabi or Salafi sect of Sunni Islam, and discourages veneration of relics and graves. The Masjid-al-Nabi is said to have been extensively "modernized" by the Saudis, who removed many traces of the piety of previous ages.

Visual representation

While most of Islam was predominantly aniconistic during most of its history, there are rich traditions of visual representation of Muhammad, mainly in the form of paintings and illustrations in religious or hagiographical texts. Religious figures rarely have their face shown. Such figures are often shown with their head veiled in sheets embroidered with Koranic text. Sunni Islam discourages representations of any religious figure, whereas Shi'as do not have such prohibitions, as there are many images of their imams, including Ali.

See also


  • Schimmel, Annemarie. 1985. And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4128-0.
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