material gain? power and glory?
some claim that muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) wrote the qur’an for some type of material gain or for power and glory. however, this claim is at odds with the historical evidence.
in fact, when one studies the history of muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) life, we find that he was actually materially more well off before claiming prophethood than afterwards.
at twenty-five years old, muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was married to the wealthy widow named khadijah and lived a life of relative comfort.
however, after his call to prophethood, his standard of living declined dramatically, sometimes going two months without cooking anything, surviving only on dates and water, because of the extreme hardships that he and his family endured after proclaiming god’s message.
this would not be a temporary sacrifice, but a way of life for him until he died. at no time in his prophethood did he ever live in a fancy palace, wear the finest clothes or enjoy the luxuries of this world. even after the early muslims became successful and started to make financial gains, muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) wives complained about their living conditions and wondered why they had to continue to live so poorly when there was (seemingly) no need.
a revelation then came from god stating:
"o prophet! say to your wives: if you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, then come! i will make a provision for you and set you free (i.e., divorce) in a handsome manner but if you desire allah and his messenger, and the home of the hereafter, then verily, allah has prepared for the good doers amongst you an enormous reward." (i.e., heaven)
one of muhammad’s (peace and blessings be upon him) companions, describing his room said:
“i noticed that the contents of his room comprised of only three pieces of tanned skin and a handful of barley in a corner. i looked but failed to find anything else. i began to cry. he (muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) said: “why are you weeping”? i replied, ‘o’ prophet of allah! why should i not cry? i can see the patterns of the mat imprinted on your body and i am also beholding all that you have in thisroom. o’ prophet of allah! pray that allah may grant ample provisions for us. the persians and the romans, who have no true faith and who do not worship allah but they worship their kings, live in gardens with streams flowing in their midst. but the chosen prophet and accepted slave of allah should live in such dire poverty?!”
the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was resting against his pillow, but when he heard me talk like this, he sat up and said, ‘o’ umar! are you still in doubt about this matter? ease and comfort in the hereafter are much better than ease and comfort in this world. the disbelievers are enjoying their share of the good things in this world, whereas the believers have all such things in store for them in the next’ “ (muslim)
muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) died poor and his deprivation of this world was self-imposed.
the most significant refutation to this claim that muhammad (peace and blessings be
upon him) was seeking wealth and power is the following story when the chiefs of
makkah came to him trying to get him to stop preaching his message:
“o muhammad, you are, as you know a noble from your tribe and your lineage assures you a place of honor. and now you have brought to your people a matter of grave concern, whereby you have split their community, declared their way of life to be foolish, spoken shamefully of their gods and religion and called their forefathers disbelievers. listen to what i propose and see if any of it is acceptable to you. if it is wealth that you seek, we will gather our wealth and make you the richest amongst us. if you seek honor, we will make you our overlord and we will make no decision without your consent. if you seek kingship, then we will make you our king. and if you can not get rid of this demon that appears to you, we will find you a physician and spend all our money until you are cured.” life of the prophet muhammad, ibn hishaam
when he finished, muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) had received revelation which stated: haa meem. a revelation from allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. a book whereof the verses are explained in detail; a qur'an in arabic for people who know. giving glad tidings and warning, but most of them turn away, so they don’t listen. and they say:
"our hearts are under coverings (screened) from that to which you invite us, and in our ears is deafness, and between us and you is a screen, so work you (on your way); verily, we are working (on our way). say: "i am only a human being like you. it is inspired in me that your god is one, therefore take straight path to him and obedience to him, and seek forgiveness of him. and woe to the polytheists. those who give not the zakât and they are disbelievers in the hereafter. truly, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them will be an endless reward that will never end"
so had his aim been wealth and power, then he could have easily achieved his goal without going through the hardship and poverty he went throug h up until his death.