Muhammad was born around 570AD. His father had died before he was born and his mother died in infancy. Muhammad was raised by his uncle, Abu Talib, who was a poorer relative. Tradition states that even though he had received little or no education, Muhammad was an excellent trader, even in his youth. This quality was a factor which made him attractive to a wealthy widow named Khadijah. They married when Muhammad was 25 and Khadijah was 40.
Having suddenly married into sucyh a wealthy house, Muhammad spent more time in reflection. He became one of a small group of local agnostics named Hunafa. Each individual within this group attempted to seek truth by “the light of his own inner consciousness.” To do this, they would often seek refuge from the cities and find a secluded place in the desert to meditate and fast. Muhammad himself would travel to a small mountain,
and find privacy in a cave. It was here
that Muhammad received his call into prophethood. Mt. Hira
At the age of 40, Muhammad received an answer from Allah to his prayers. It came in the form of a vision, in which a voice called to him, “Recite!” There was some ambiguity in this command, because the command could also be understood to say, “Read!” He replied to the voice, “How can I read?” for Muhammad had never been taught to read or write. This dialogue was repeated two more times before the voice answered him:
“Recite: In the name of thy Lord who created,
created Man of a blood-clot.
Recite: and they Lord is the Most Generous
Taught Man that he knew not.”
During this vision, it was revealed to Muhammad that Allah was the one true God and that He has called Muhammad to be his prophet.
Muhammad was unsure of what to make of his vision, whether it was from Satan (Shaitan in Arabic) or Allah. He took Kadijah into his confidence, who advised him to test the spirit to see from whom it came. Muhammad did so, and discovered that he was being visited by the angel Gabriel (Jibreel in Arabic). After more self-doubt and later reassurances by both his wife and his closest friends, Muhammad accepted the role of the prophet to the Arabic peoples.