The orphan lost his father before he was even born. At the age of six, the orphan’s mother decided to visit the grave of her husband. Her family tried to dissuade her but she was determined. The journey was long and difficult. There were three of them: the orphan, his mother, and his mother’s servant-girl, who had been with the orphan since he was born.
The three made it to the grave of the orphan’s father. On the way back the orphan’s mother became seriously ill with a fever so they stopped for the night. As the night grew dark in intensity, so did her temperature. Her body was in pain and her head was throbbing. In agony, she called out to her servant-girl and said to her,
“My dear, I am about to depart from this world. I commend my son to your care. He lost his father while he was in my womb. Here he is now, losing his mother under his very eyes. Be a mother to him, my dear. And don’t ever abandon him.”
The servant-girl described how she was feeling at the time. “My heart was shattered and I began to sob and wail. The child was distressed by my wailing and began to weep. He threw himself into his mother’s arms and held tightly onto her neck. She gave one last moan and then was forever silent.”
And with that, the orphan lost both of his parents by the time he was only six years old. He had no brothers and no sisters; he was a lone child. His grandfather took him into his care, but he too died two years later. So the orphan was taken in by his uncle.
As the orphan grew into a teenager, he accompanied his uncle on his business trips to faraway lands. He developed an exceptional personality and was known for his refined, impeccable manners. No-one around him would know of the turmoil and insecurity that the orphan had undergone in the most formative years of his life, years that he lived without a father and without a mother.
The orphan never had brothers and sisters that he could confide in as he faced the struggles and challenges of life. He had to survive alone. And survive he did, because Someone was looking out for him.
From a teenager, the orphan grew into a young man. And from a young man, he soon reached his full manhood.
Despite his difficulties, the orphan remained steadfast in his character. He never lied or cheated anyone. He never betrayed the trust that anyone placed in him. He fed the hungry, visited the sick and helped the weak. He looked out for other orphans, he never forgot who he was. And while doing all this, he was selfless. He never served anyone for any personal gain or reward.
The orphan was known as a peace-maker with a reputation for his justice and fairness. He would reconcile between individuals and groups who were disputing with one another. No-one in a dispute would ever go to him except that both parties would come away reconciled and at peace.
The orphan loved children. Sometimes, people deprived of a childhood take their anger out later on in life on other children. Not so the orphan. By the way he would treat children, one would think that he had had a loving childhood growing up in a close-knit family. One would never know that he had made it this far alone.
The orphan was kind to animals and would not like it when others would mistreat them. He would love animals and they would love him.
Had the orphan survived through the challenges and hardships of his own sorrowful life, it would have been enough. But even though he spent most of his life in poverty, the orphan looked out for others and he looked out for society. He encouraged others around him to follow his example and to deal with others as they themselves would like to be dealt with. He spoke out against injustice, treachery and evil.
As the orphan became more prominent in society, people loved him and began to rally around him. In time, the evil-ones began to see him as a threat and tried to harm him and his followers. They mocked him and taunted him. This would make him sad and he would go home and weep alone. Even though he was now a man, he didn’t have any parents, brothers or sisters that could console him like only blood-relatives can. But he survived.
They spread rumours about the orphan. They told people he was mad, or possessed by evil spirits. They incited people to turn against him. And turn against him they did. They beat him. They pelted him with sticks and stones until blood flowed from his shoes. But he never carried any grudges against them. He survived.
They expelled the orphan and his followers from their homes. They even tortured some of his followers to death. With tears in his eyes he buried his followers with his own hands. His enemies subjected him to sanctions and boycotts. They told people not to deal with him. For three years he suffered fear, hunger and loneliness. But he survived.
They plotted to kill the orphan. He was left with no choice but to flee for his life to another city far away. He wept in grief as he left behind the streets he played in as a child, a lone orphan child. But he survived.
The orphan didn’t just survive. He thrived. From his new home, he continued his message of good-will to humanity. Wherever he went, he called people to goodness, to become better people and to leave wrongdoing in their lives. With time, he even won over his enemies to his side. Before the end of his life, he returned to his home city triumphant and powerful. But he forgave those who had done wrong to him.
One Monday night, after a life full of sorrow, struggle and hardship, the orphan died. He died in his tiny house, leaving behind a mat, a blanket, a jug and a few clothes. He was 62 years old. Even though he died, the message he brought survived and lived on after his death. Today, billions of people around the world repeat his name and name their children after him. The name of the orphan? Muhammad, the final messenger of God. The greatest survivor in history.
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