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Prophet’s (PBUH) Life (Question/Answer) – GCE & IGCSE ISLAMIYAT

3 (a) Write about the life of the Prophet up until the first revelation. [10](M/J/10)


Candidates can provide details of any events related to the Prophet Muhammad’s life up until he received the first revelation. However, good answers will write a narrative naming key figures, important events and sequence them in the order in which they happened. Candidates could talk about the Prophet’s parents, his guardianship under his uncle Abu Talib, and his relationship with the Quraysh. They could mention special events that occurred in his childhood, e.g. the angels washing his heart. They should also mention his trade journeys, and related to this, his subsequent marriage to Khadija, as well as the meeting with Bahira. Better answers may also give elaborations about his character and mention his increasing seclusions just before revelation – with any relevant supporting quotations.


(b) Why was his relationship with his wife Khadija important for him? [4]


Good answers to this part will mention Khadija’s support of the Prophet, financially and

spiritually, and being the first Muslim. They could also mention that her support allowed him to spend time in seclusion and that his seclusion prepared him for receiving revelation. They could also mention that her maturity allowed her to console and believe in the Prophet when he received revelation [reference to Sura 93:8]. Candidates should look to give thoughtful and insightful explanations as to why this was important to the Prophet and the subsequent development of Islam.


Question 3

This question was a popular choice with candidates out of the three optional questions and was well answered.

(a) Where candidates answered this very well, they gave detailed and chronological descriptions of the main events of the Prophet’s life from infancy to prophethood.

The best candidates wrote at length on the life of the Prophet but there was often little

discrimination between major, significant events and trivial detail. Some candidates wrote two pages on details of rearing the infant Muhammad and then moved directly to his marriage to Khadija. There was a lot of confused chronology, which made the answers appear confused. However, it was good to see that the more perceptive answers attempted to demonstrate how the events of his early life showed the formation of his character and his predestination as a prophet. A few answers wrote about the Prophet’s revelation showing they did not read the question properly.


(b) This was the best answered of the part (b) questions. Khadija’s support and assistance to the Prophet and the importance of this to the development of his mission was analysed fairly well, although some candidates only managed to explain the nature of her support and not its importance. Most answers talked about her wealth and the implications for the Prophet of not having financial worries. There were a lot of answers that wrote about her wealth but offered no evaluation about its significance.

4 (a) Describe the events relating to the Prophet’s experiences in caves.    [10](M/J/10)


Candidates should be able to give an in-depth narrative of the Prophet’s experiences in the two caves, namely Cave Hira and Cave Thawr/Saur. They should be able to name the caves and give details of what happened in each cave.They should also be able to name the key figures involved, e.g. Jibra’il and Abu Bakr. Related to Cave Hira, candidates could mention why the Prophet was in the cave, the appearance of the angel, the quotation of Sura 96:1–5, as well as a description of what happened to the Prophet when he left the cave. Related to Cave Thawr/Saur, candidates could mention why the Prophet found himself in the cave, who he was with, details about Abu Bakr’s role as well as a reference to the Qur’anic verse relating to this incident.


(b) Explain the significance of one of these experiences for the development of Islam. [4]


Candidates should try to show some understanding of the importance of one of these

incidences, and try to relate its significance to Muslims today. Cave Hira This event started God’s final guidance for mankind as it was when the Prophet was given the first revelation of the Qur’an, which is the most important book for Muslims to get guidance. The event was also significant for the Prophet as he was given his prophethood. It highlighted the transition from polytheism to monotheism. Candidates should try to reflect upon these reasons and their significance to themselves or the wider community of Muslims. Cave Thawr This event was significant because there was a threat to the Prophet in Makka and God gave permission to leave. Candidates should mention that at this time, the Prophet had to have trust in God as well as his followers to escape the threat. If he hadn’t trusted them and if he had been captured Islam would not have developed. It was the beginning of a new phase for the Muslims because they left everything behind. Candidates should try to reflect upon these reasons and their significance to themselves or the wider community of Muslims.  

Question 4

This question was also popular with candidates to answer.

(a) This was generally a well answered question, with candidates being able to give details about the two caves, Hira and Thawr, and the main events that happened. Hira was usually described better than Thawr. The descriptions of what happened at Thawr were sometimes vague and incomplete with candidates failing to refer to key Qur’anic teachings when describing the events in this cave. Some candidates mixed up the names of the caves. Also, some candidates, instead of describing events that happened inside the caves, wrote about what happened outside the caves before and after the actual events in the caves. For example, candidates gave a brief description of the

revelation inside the cave of Hira, but had written a lot about the social situation of the Makkans at that time before revelation, or, they wrote about the plot to kill the Prophet rather than giving details of what happened when the Prophet and Abu Bakr entered the cave. However, most candidates scored highly in this question.


(b) There were some good answers to this part of the question. There were some perceptive answers particularly on the significance of the events at Thawr and the importance of the migration to Madina for the development of Islam. The most common mistakes were to write vaguely that Islam began with the revelation in cave Hira or that it spread widely after that event. However a number of candidates mistakenly attempted to write about both experiences instead of just one, as the question asks.

2 (a) Give a brief description of the Prophet’s experiences in caves. [12] (O/N/07)


The Prophet had two experiences in caves. His experience in the valley of Abu Talib during the Makkan boycott does not count.


(i) The cave on Mount Hira – allow up to 6 marks

• This incident took place in 610; Muhammad was 40.

• Muhammad had withdrawn to the cave to meditate and pray.

• A figure appeared and ordered him “Recite!”

• Muhammad protested that he could not recite.

• The figure squeezed him tightly.

• This squeezing and the command happened three times in all.

• Then the figure recited to him Sura 96.1-5.

• He returned home to Khadija, confused and afraid.

• (No details of the rest of the story.)


(ii) The cave of Thawr – allow up to 6 marks

• This incident took place in 622; Muhammad was 52.

• After his followers had left Makka, Muhammad departed with Abu Bakr.

• When the two knew they were being pursued they hid in the cave of Thawr.

• The pursuers saw two nesting birds at the mouth of the cave and saw no need to

look inside.

• Abu Bakr was bitten by a scorpion or snake but did not cry out.

• Muhammad reassured Abu Bakr by telling him God was with them.

• Abu Bakr’s daughter brought them food.


(b) Explain why one of these experiences was important in the history of Islam. [4]


(i) Mount Hira

• This was the occasion on which the Qur’an was first sent down.

• It marks the beginning of God’s final guidance for humans, telling them how to live

their lives.

• It marked the change from polytheism to monotheism.

• Muhammad was changed and was chosen for prophethood.

(ii) Thawr

• If Muhammad had been captured Islam might not have developed.

• The success of his mission depended on his leaving his home.

• He had to trust to God and to his followers for survival.

• It shows that meeting force with force is not always the way to success.

• The importance of the incident is such that the Qur’an refers to it.


Question 2

(a) This part was answered well by many candidates, although there was more weight given to the Prophet’s experience in Mount Hira over Mount Thawr. In this question, good answers focused on the significant events in these two caves. The best answers began their narration from the Prophet’s first visit in Mount Hira at the age of 40 by the angel Jibra’il, an account of the conversation between them, and the Prophet returning home to his wife shaken and asking to be covered, without giving details about his life before prophethood or what happened after he returned home. Then the answers would continue with the story of the Prophet leaving his house with Abu Bakr for Madinah, staying in Mount Thawr to escape their enemies, and the relationship between the Prophet and his companion in the cave. Candidates should be careful in these answers not to present too much information that is not related to the question, and Examiners also look for accuracy of facts. Some candidates were confusing the names of the two caves, or giving the wrong names completely, and some gave the name of Abu Bakr’s daughter who brought them food as Ai’shah. Candidates again should read the question carefully, as it asks for the Prophet’s experience in caves (plural), but a few candidates only related an account of one cave.


(b) There were some good answers to this part, but generally answers were vague or repetitive. Here, candidates were expected to show how these events were important, not just the time they happened, but in later years. The experience at Mount Hira was important because not only was the Qur’an first sent down, but it was the beginning of God’s final guidance. It also changed the way the people of the time were living and its teachings were also important for future generations. The experience at Mount Thawr was important because if the Prophet had not left his home in Makkah, he may have been killed and Islam would not have spread and flourished. He also had to put a lot of trust in God and his followers which is a significant lesson for building future communities.


Question 4 (O/N/02)

Most candidates answered this question reasonably well, identifying the cave on Mount Hira’ and the cave of Thawr as the two places associated with the Prophet.


(a) Marks were given for concise and accurate accounts of the experience of the Prophet in each, and candidates were faced with having to decide the point at which to begin and end their description. The best accounts began with the Prophet’s retreats in the cave of Hira’ in his middle age and ended with his return to Khadija, and then with his departure from Mecca and after three days his onward journey to Medina, and covered the main incidents between each. Marks were particularly given in each case for relevant quotations from the Qur’an.


(b) Marks were given for such comments as: Muhammad’s experience on Mount Hira’ was the beginning of his career as a prophet; this was the first revelation of the Qur’an; his experience in the cave of Thawr showed that God was with him; his survival there meant that the growth of Islam went ahead. The main difficulties candidates appeared to encounter were concerned with having to decide what points to put in part (a) and what to put in (b). In questions such as this, it is generally safest to give only descriptions

in (a) and explanatory comments in (b).

2 (a) Give an account of the Prophet’s first experience of receiving

revelation. [10] (O/N/04)


(b) Explain the significance of the actions of the angel and Waraqa lbn

Nawfal in this event. [2 x 3]


(a) For full marks answers should include all the points marked *.

• *Muhammad was meditating in a cave on Mount Hira.

• This was when he was 40.

• *A being unknown to him but later identified as Gabriel appeared.

• *This being seized him and crushed him, and gave him the order ‘Recite!’

• *He could not, and the crushing and order were repeated twice (three times in all).

• *Then the being itself recited ‘Recite, in the name of your Lord who created’, etc.

• (give one mark for a reference to the Qur’anic verses, and 2 marks for a full quotation).

• Muhammad left the cave and returned home.

• On the way he again saw the being as a giant figure astride the horizon.

• He went to his wife Khadija in confusion.

• She took him to her relative Waraqa lbn Nawfal for an explanation of what had happened.

• He said the being was the Angel of the Law.


(b) • The angel was performing the duty he had previously performed with other

messengers.

• He was the first to alert the Prophet to his new career.

• His appearance is a sign that the revelations were truly from God.

• Waraqa was the first to explain to the Prophet the significance of his experience.

• He helped him realise that he had been visited by the angel who had appeared to other messengers.

• This helped the Prophet understand the responsibilities to which he had been called.


Question 2

(a) This part was answered very well by many candidates, though some answers were fuller than others. The fullest detailed the triple crushing of the Prophet, quoted the verses revealed to him, referred to his second vision of the angel after leaving the cave, his comforting by Khadija and his visit to Waraqa. In descriptive questions, the Examiners look for accuracy and completeness, and candidates often lose marks by getting basic facts wrong or leaving them out altogether. The need for planning answers is paramount. There were some surprising interpretations in a few answers. One was that the angel did not crush the Prophet but held him in order to reassure him, and another was that the angel first visited the Prophet six months before coming to him in the cave with the first revelation. If any teachers know an authentic source for such interpretations, they are asked to share them in the Discussion Group (see above). The Hadith preserved by al-Bukhari is generally taken as the most reliable source;

this is quoted in full in the Islamiyat textbook, pages 10-12 (see above).


(b) There were some good answers to this part, though many candidates were unable to say why the two characters of the angel and Waraqa were important. The best answers explained that the angel who appeared was God’s messenger to all Prophets, and was the first to inform the Prophet Muhammad of this new career that had been chosen for him, and that Waraqa helped him to understand what this new career was, who the angel was, and the difficulties that lay ahead.

2 (a) Write an account of the major difficulties encountered by

(i) the Prophet, and [6]

(ii) his followers [6]

during the years when they lived in Makka.

(b) Explain how their reaction to these difficulties can set an example for Muslims today.

[4] (M/J/07)


(a) (i)

• The Quraysh rejected Muhammad when he began his preaching (1 extra mark for

the full story).

• An old woman regularly pelted him with rubbish on his way to prayer.

• He was once nearly strangled while praying.

• The Quraysh subjected him to temptation, insults and verbal abuse (1 mark for a

mention or brief story, 2 marks maximum).

• The death of his uncle Abu Talib deprived him of protection.

• He was rejected and assaulted when he preached at al-Ta’if.

• He and his family were boycotted and forced to live in a narrow valley outside Makka

(1 extra mark for comments about their steadfastness – credit this point either

here or in (ii) but not in both).

• The death of Khadija discouraged him.


(ii)

• Many of his followers were subjected to torture (1 extra mark for the story of Bilal

or of Sumayya).

• Some followers were forced to flee to Abyssinia to the protection of the king (1 extra

mark for comments about the pursuit by Quraysh and their reception by the king).

• They were boycotted and forced to live in a narrow valley outside Makka (1 extra

mark for comments about their steadfastness – credit this point either here or in

(i) but not in both).

• They were prevented from worshipping at the ka`ba.

• Their means of livelihood were taken away.


(b) Main points include:


• Muhammad was not deflected from preaching even when offered bribes.

• He retained dignity and patience at all times.

• His followers preferred to undergo hardships and death rather than give up their faith.

• Muhammad showed concern for his persecutors and forgiveness towards them.

• Muslims under persecution should remain loyal to one another.

(Allow up to 2 marks for mention of moral points such as these.

Allow 1 extra mark for one lesson derived from these points.

Allow 1 extra mark for more than one lesson.)


Question 2

This asked about the difficulties encountered by the Prophet and his followers while they lived in Makka, and how their reaction can provide lessons for Muslims today.

In part (a) candidates were asked for accurate accounts of the personal difficulties of the Prophet, including the insults and abuses he suffered in Makka and al-Ta’if, the boycott, and the problems presented by the deaths of Abu Talib and Khadija; and also for equally detailed accounts of the difficulties faced by the first Muslims, including the tortures inflicted on some of them, the difficulty of worshipping in public and the necessity to flee to Abyssinia. Many candidates gave full accounts, and this tended to be a high-scoring question. Inaccuracies seen in some papers were that the Prophet was stoned until his shoes filled with blood while in Makka not al-Ta’if, that he himself took part in the flight to Abyssinia, and that during the boycott the Muslims took refuge in the cave of Thawr (which is where the Prophet and Abu Bakr hid during their migration to Madina).


Part (b) was more demanding, asking candidates to reflect on the facts given in part (a) and to make a connection between the response of the early Muslims to their difficulties and Muslims today. Good answers would have referred to the first Muslims’ steadfastness and refusal to abandon their faith, the dignity they maintained, their unfailing loyalty towards one another, and the concern shown by the Prophet himself for his persecutors. The best answers would have gone on to add comments about the lessons these reactions can teach Muslims now. A shortcoming seen in some answers to this part was that they gave general comments about Muslim behaviour without connecting these to the conduct of the Prophet and his first followers. Candidates who

gave answers such as these had clearly not thought about the Question.

3 (a) Describe the main difficulties encountered by the Prophet himself during his time in

Makka after his call to prophethood. [10] (O/N/10)


Candidates should write a detailed account of the difficulties faced by the prophet, and

should write about the events as they happened. Candidates could give a brief description of the Prophet beginning to preach openly after years of secret worship, including an account of when he stood on the hill and made his speech declaring his faith, and the reaction of the Quraysh. They could go on to give a description of the subsequent mocking and torture he faced, mentioning the key figures involved in the persecutions, and mention of the tolerance and patience of the Prophet. They could also include relevant references from the Qur’an.


(b) How does his conduct in one of these difficulties provide an example for Muslims

today? [4]


Candidates should take one of the incidents mentioned in part (a) and comment on how it can be used as an example to Muslims. They should give a brief mention of one incident, e.g. throwing intestines on Prophet, preaching at Ta’if, etc., and elaborate by saying how the Prophet reacted and the characteristics displayed e.g. patience, tolerance, forgiveness. They should then go on to give an example of how this could be related to a present day situation. Better answers will be able to give a detailed explanation of how the prophet’s morals give guidance for the contemporary situation.


Question 3

This question was a popular choice with candidates out of the three optional questions.

(a) Overall this part was answered well, with most candidates writing about the difficulties faced by the Prophet once he was given the order to preach openly. Excellent answers provided a clear and detailed narrative of the key events, the main people involved in the persecution as well as giving relevant quotations. As well as showing that they had knowledge of the topic (mentioning a lot of the key events relating to the persecution of the Prophet, e.g. the events at Ta’if, the mocking and boycott) candidates

needed to give details of what happened and mention specific names of those involved.

The persecution inflicted upon the companions of the Prophet was not required for this question. There were a few candidates who seemed to have memorised a completely different answer, usually about the wars the Prophet took part in, and simply narrated that without checking what the actual question was asking.


(b) Answers for this part were too general. Many candidates were able to pick out the Prophet’s conduct, e.g. his forgiveness. This then needed to be linked with Muslims today. General statements such as the Prophet showed forgiveness and so Muslims today should also needed more detail. The best answers showed a mature reflection on behaviour and attitude to events today rather than just a general comment about behaviour, e.g. linking the Prophet’s patience or forgiveness to the situation in Kashmir.

5 (a) Describe the difficulties faced by the followers of the Prophet in Makka. [10] (M/J/11)

Candidates should give a detailed narrative of the persecutions faced by the early converts in the days after the Prophet started preaching Islam. Good answers will be able to name key figures involved in the persecution, and the names of the Muslims who were being persecuted, stating that it included slaves and those without tribal protection. They could talk about the type of difficulties they faced and give an account of the persecutions. Good answers will be able to present their narratives in a clear and comprehensive manner without confusing details.


(b) What can these stories teach Muslims in their everyday lives today? [4]


Answers should reflect on the accounts the candidates have given in part (a) and be able to put their answers in a modern context. They may be able to say e.g. that Muslims should remain steadfast under all circumstances, or that they should not retaliate, but the better answers will be able to give clear examples from the lives of the candidates or the world they live in. Better answers will refer to (a) but not repeat the description, rather will explain the accounts/stories in a modern context or related to their everyday lives.


Question 5

(a) Where chosen, this question was answered reasonably well, and again where candidates did not gain the highest level marks it was due to a lack of detail in their answers. Most candidates wrote about the persecution of various companions, giving their names and the way in which they were tortured. Some included mention of the boycott and the migration to Abyssinia. The better answers wrote about all this, giving names and clear details about these events. There were a significant number of candidates who concentrated on the persecutions upon the Prophet, some starting with the companions then concentrating on the Prophet and others only talking about the treatment of the Prophet. Candidates should always keep the focus of the question in mind when preparing answers, and perhaps a minute spent planning their answer would aid this.

(b) This part of the question was not so well answered with most candidates repeating the fact that the followers of the Prophet were steadfast, and that Muslims today also need to be steadfast. There was not much attempt at evaluation.

Better candidates gave real life examples whether personal, national or global.

2 (a) Write brief accounts of the following two incidents in the life of the Prophet: (M/J/05)


  1. his attempt to preach to the people of al-Ta’if; [5]


• Muhammad went to al-Ta’if when the persecution at Mecca was intense.

• He was looking for a new place where his teachings would be accepted.

• The townspeople rejected his message.

• Boys pelted him with stones as he left.

• He was badly injured.

• Angels offered to destroy the town for him, but he forgave the people.

(1 mark for quotation of his words: I was sent as a blessing to the worlds…)


  1. his conquest of Mecca. [5]


• By 630 Muhammad had grown powerful in Arabia.

• He decided to attack Mecca because the people had broken their treaty.

• He promised that those Meccans who did not resist would be safe.

• He approached Mecca with a great army.

• There was no resistance when he entered.

• He spared all who sought his pardon.

• He executed a few stubborn people who resisted him.

• He cleansed the ka`ba of its idols.


(b) What lessons can Muslims today learn from the Prophet’s conduct in each of these

incidents? [2 x 3]

[Candidates should make at least 3 comments about each incident, e.g.:]

(i) • Muhammad attempted to find a realistic solution to his difficulties in Mecca.

• He did not try to resist the people of al-Ta’if when they rejected him.

• He responded to cruelty with forgiveness.

• He attempted to understand the people’s ignorance of who he was and what he

said.

[Reserve the third mark for clear applications of these lessons to contemporary

conditions.]


Question 2

(a) This part was generally well answered. Nearly all candidates gave full accounts of the Prophet’s failure in al-Ta’if, though some thought he went there from Madina rather than Makka, and some thought he went with an army to conquer the town. Most candidates also gave full accounts of the Prophet’s conquest of Makka, explaining why he gathered an army against it, how he approached the town, and what he did when he got there. Some candidates gained full marks for their concise and full answers to this part.

(b) This more challenging part was on the whole not answered so well. Good answers would have commented on the Prophet’s reaction of forgiveness in al-Ta’if to the people’s rejection and his refusal to allow revenge; also his peaceful approach to Makka, his willingness to allow his enemies every chance to abandon their resistance and his concern to instate Islamic practices. And they would have made links between these examples from the Prophet’s life to their own lives. While a number of candidates did exactly this, many more made general comments about the Prophet being a perfect example of forgiveness without showing how this quality was brought out in the two stories in (a), and without making links with contemporary situations. It is important in this part to be specific in identifying precise elements in the Prophet’s conduct, and showing exactly how these can be applied in actual situations today.

Question 2 (M/J/03)

In part (a) candidates were expected to give a concise but accurate account of the main difficulties experienced by the young Muslim community in the years between the first revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and the hijra. An immediate challenge was to decide when to start and when to finish the account. Good answers would not have started with the first revelation itself, but with the Prophet’s first public preaching and the rejection he encountered. Answers should have concluded at the point of the hijra, but should not have described it, since the Prophet left Mecca at this time. They would have included, e.g. the sufferings of Muhammad’s followers, especially Bilal and others known to have been tortured; the insults and physical assaults on the Prophet himself; the flight to Abyssinia; the boycott imposed on the Prophet’s family; the deaths of the Prophet’s wife and uncle. Examiners looked for sharp accounts of these sufferings, and there were many very full answers, leading to high scores in this part. However, some candidates

omitted a number of these events, others brought in events from the Prophet’s youth or the hijra, and one or two wrote about the battles waged between the Prophet’s forces and the Meccans in the years following 622. Part (b) was answered very well by some candidates, and a few were able to draw moral comparisons between the events of the Prophet’s time and events taking place in the Arab world at the time of the examination itself. This is exactly what the Examiners wish to encourage, since it shows a lively ability to see in the crucial happenings of the Prophet’s life lessons for Muslims today. Others wrote more generally about the examples of patience and acceptance set by the first Muslims, though some continued to give facts about the period referred to in the question without addressing the question asked in (b) itself.


4 (a) Write an account of the first migration (hijra) of the Muslims to Abyssinia. [10]          (M/J/09)


Good answers should be able to narrate the story of the migration to Abyssinia with

considerable detail, being able to name the main Muslims involved. Answers could give an account of the persecution faced by Muslims in Makkah and why these persecutions had increased on the Prophet’s followers; that the Prophet ordered some followers to go to Abyssinia to seek protection from it’s just king; they were led by the Prophet’s cousin, Ja’far Ibn Abu Talib; the Quraysh followed them and asked the king to return them; what happened when Sura Maryam was recited to the king. Excellent answers will give in-depth details of the story as it happened, as well as saying why these particular Muslims took part.


(b) Why did the people of Makka pursue these Muslims? [4]


Good answers here will be able to give reasons for the migration rather than repeat the story again. They could say why the Makkans wanted to destroy the new faith, as it threatened their own religious and economic stability, and therefore didn’t want the Muslims to escape and for Islam to flourish. Excellent answers will show a clear understanding of the threat the Makkans felt and the fears they had due to the increasing number of Muslims.


Question 4

This question was also popular with candidates to answer.

(a) This was generally well answered, and good answers were able to give a detailed and concise narrative about the migration to Abyssinia, from the persecution of the new Muslims to the events in King Negus’s court. Many candidates gave an excellent account including the names and number of migrants, the difficulties faced during the hijra and the acceptance of Islam. Candidates made the connection between Christianity and Islam being similar and also pointed out why they thought so.

Some lower level answers were unbalanced with a lot of detail about persecution and a lack of detail of about why they decided to go (lack of protection/vulnerability) as well as what happened in Abyssinia. Unfortunately a significant minority of candidates wrote at length about the Hijra to Madinah.


(b) This part was answered well on the whole, but there was some confusion with a number of candidates misunderstanding that the question was referring to the pursuit by the Quraish of the Muslims who escaped to Abyssinia. Many answers were further descriptions of the persecution of the Muslims in Makkah, possibly because candidates confused the word ‘pursue’ with ‘persecution’. Again, candidates should do their best to read the question carefully and understand it before attempting to answer it.

4 (a) Describe the main events relating to the first migration (hijrah) of Muslims to Abyssinia. [10] [M/J/12]


(b) What was the importance of making this migration at that time? [4]


(a) Good answers should be able to narrate the story of the migration to Abyssinia with

considerable detail, being able to name the main Muslims involved. Answers could give an account of the persecution faced by Muslims in Makkah and why these persecutions had increased on the Prophet’s followers; that the Prophet ordered some followers to go to Abyssinia to seek protection from it’s just king; amongst the first group was ‘Uthman and Ruqayyah; the second group was led by the Prophet’s cousin, Ja’far Ibn Abu Talib; the Quraysh followed them and asked the king to return them; what happened when

Sura Maryam was recited to the king.

Excellent answers will give in-depth details of the story as it happened, name the Muslims who migrated, as well as saying why these particular Muslims took part.


(b) Candidates could mention that the Muslims being persecuted meant they could not establish their religion in Makka, and moving to Abyssinia allowed them religious freedom. Those not willing to renounce Islam were in danger of torture or death. The migration therefore safeguarded the new converts to Islam and the future Muslim community. Importantly, it was the Prophet who encouraged them to go.

3 (a) Give an account of the events of the Prophet’s night journey and ascension [‘Isra wa mi’raj]. [10] (M/J/11)


Candidates should talk about the events of the night journey as they happened, and be able to provide an in-depth narrative of the journey. They could talk about the Prophet being woken from his sleep and taken on al-Buraq from Makka to Jerusalem by the angel Jibril They could mention all the things that he saw on his way, the prophets that he met, the questions that he asked Jibril, and the fact that he led the prophets in prayer. They should also go on to mention that he was taken through the heavens and was finally in the presence of his Lord. Answers should also mention that this all took place in one night, and what the people of Makka said when he told them about his journey.


(b) Explain the importance of this event to the Prophet himself. [4]


Good answers here will be able to mention the conditions for the Prophet in Makka at this time that he had lost his closest supporters and was being mocked for being left by God. They should talk about the importance of physical and spiritual support needed by the Prophet. The events reassured him of his closeness with God and his status among other messengers, and gave him spiritual support. His physical support came from his companions who believed that if the Prophet said it happened, then it did.


Question 3

(a) This part was answered well, with most candidates being able to write about some of the key events of this journey. Many answers narrated different aspects of the story. More detail was needed for the higher levels. Excellent answers provided a clear and detailed narrative of the key events, from the Prophet being awoken in Makka by Jibra’il, being taken to Jerusalem, his journey to the heavens, his meeting with God, giving details of what happened at the different stages, as well as including relevant quotations.

Some responses focused too much on what happened at each level of the skies at the expense of e.g. mentioning the stop at Masjid al-Aqsa and the gift of prayers, and there were a few confused scripts where the events were totally out of sequence or major and important parts missed or not well covered.


(b) It was important to write about the significance of this journey in answering this question not just to give a general answer. Good answers showed how this event was important to the Prophet e.g. it was to boost his morale especially after the loss of his wife and uncle, he found support amongst his companions such as Abu Bakr, or in fact that it was a vindication for the prophet’s claim that he was a messenger of god.

3 (a) Write about the Prophet Muhammad’s interaction with the Quraysh while he lived in

Makka, before and after revelation. [10] (O/N/2011)


Good answers will be able to provide a detailed and concise narrative of events that occurred between the Prophet and the Quraysh. Candidates should talk about the Prophet’s status in the community prior to Islam. They could talk about the fact that the Prophet was known as ‘Al-Amin’ or the trustworthy. They could mention, using examples, that prior to his Prophethood, the Quraysh used to consult him in important matters, trust him with their goods, and look to him for advice. For example they could mention that when the Prophet was younger he was chosen by the Quraysh to settle the dispute of who should replace the sacred black stone to its position at the Ka’ba.

Answers should also mention that after Prophethood, the Prophet Muhammad was rejected when he invited the Quraysh to Islam. He was taunted, mocked and openly humiliated by different members of the Quraysh. The best answers will include details of events before the period of revelation and after revelation.


(b) Why did the Quraysh feel they needed to reject the Prophet’s message?        [4]


Good answers here will be able to mention that the Quraysh had their own belief system and that they worshipped many idols opposed to the Prophet Muhammad’s message of

monotheism. By changing their ways, they faced losing their status and position as leaders and keepers of the Ka’ba. They also faced losing income, felt threatened by the Prophet’s influence upon the youth of Makka, and his growing support. This should not just be a description of the reasons, candidates should include evaluation.

5 (a) Outline the main events of the Prophet’s journey from Makka to Madina. [10]      (O/N/10)


Candidates should be able to write a detailed narrative tracing the main events as they

occurred on his journey to Madina. Candidates could give brief background information relating to the threat in Makka and his departure, and mention by name the key figures involved in the threat and his departure. They should mention that he left with his companion Abu Bakr, and give a detailed account of their journey and their stay in Cave Thawr. They could also mention their stay at Quba as well as giving some details of their arrival in Madina. Better answers will be able to mention all the key figures involved, the events as they unfolded and be able to quote relevant Qur’anic verses.


(b) What was the significance of this journey for the Muslims? [4]


For this part, candidates should look to show some reflection and understanding behind the reasons for leaving Makka, and not repeat the narrative provided in (a). They could give a basic mention of the threat to the Prophet and the believers and why there was little success with preaching. They could mention that the Madinans were inviting him and give reflections on how his migration saved Islam for future generations – any insight shown as to why the migration was important for that generation of Muslims, as well as future generations, should be credited.


Question 5

(a) Where chosen, this question was answered reasonably well. Excellent answers gave some brief background information about the threat posed to the Prophet by the Quraysh, and then gave details about him leaving with Abu Bakr, their stay in the cave and what happened when the Quraysh pursued them, their stay in Quba and their reception in Madina, as well as naming the key figures involved and giving some relevant quotations. Many candidates were able to write about these events, but with fewer details about what happened or who was involved. There were a few candidates who wrote about the migration to Abyssinia, and some who focused their answer on what happened after the Prophet arrived in Madina.


(b) This part of the question was well answered with many candidates being able to show some insight into why it was important for the Muslim community to migrate.


5 (a) Trace the events that led up to the Prophet’s migration (hijra). [10]  (O/N/09)


For this answer an account should be given about the events before the prophet migrated to Madina, not the actual journey or events of migration itself.

Answers could briefly discuss the persecution of the Muslims by the Makkans and their

migration to Abyssinia which later encouraged them to make the migration to Yathrib. The boycott of the Banu Hashim clan by the Qur’aysh followed by the deaths of Abu Talib and Hazrat Khadije are points that candidates can discuss when answering this question. Answers could also talk about the prophet’s reaction to the loss of protection and his attempts to spread Islam elsewhere. The prophet met six men in Makka, who had come from Yathrib for the annual pilgrimage. They became Muslim and returned to Makka the following year with more people who took an oath at ‘Aqaba in 621. The following year more people came to take the oath with the prophet. They invited the prophet to come to Yathrib as their leader. The best answers will be able to give details of the number of pledges, the number of Yathribites/Madinans involved, some brief details of what was in the pledges, and an indication of the result of the pledges.


(b) Explain the importance of the Pledges of ‘Aqaba to the Prophet in the period leading

up to the migration. [4]


Good answers should be able to talk about the prophet’s vulnerability at this time, and his attempt to gain support from other places (e.g. in Al-Ta’if). They could also mention the tribal system of the time and the difficulties the prophet faced without protection within this system. Also, the pledges gave hope to the Muslims and the prophet as they found support and protection from a different, but willing, source.


Question 5

For this Part (a) answer an account had to be given about events before the Prophet migrated to Madina, not the actual journey. Some candidates did make the mistake of writing the latter in great detail. Very few discussed the point that the migration to Abyssinia gave the Prophet and Muslims in general the encouragement to make the greater migration to Madina. Even from those who mentioned the migration to

Abyssinia, many failed to point out the link that its success encouraged the greater migration. Candidates should be encouraged to think for themselves and link answers to the question being asked. Also, in this answer the Pledges of Aqaba had to be discussed in detail to get good marks. The question was well done on the whole by those who attempted it.


In Part (b) of this question many focused on writing a detailed account of the Pledges of Aqaba (even if they had not done so in Part (a) where it would have earned them marks) which was not what was being asked. Good answers needed to talk of the Prophet’s vulnerability at this time and the difficulties he was facing due to lack of tribal support and how, due to the pledges, the Prophet found support and protection from a different but willing source.

2 (a) Describe the main events of the Prophet’s migration from Makka to Madina. [10]          (M/J/08)


(b) Explain why he thought it important to make this journey. [6]


  1. [Candidates have to decide what the main events are.]


• Either Muhammad had incurred the enmity of Quraysh by his preaching [This is

background and for any general information of this kind allow 1 mark]

Or A small group from Yathrib (later renamed Madina) listened to his preaching and

invited him to their town [This is also background but more specific, so 1 mark for such

details]

• He departed from Makka on the same night that the Quraysh planned to murder him

• He departed with Abu Bakr

• He left `Ali in his bed as a decoy/in order to return items people had left with him

• The Makkans sent riders to pursue the two migrants

• They took refuge in the Cave of Thawr

• The Prophet reassured Abu Bakr who was frightened

• Abu Bakr allowed himself to be bitten rather than shout and wake the sleeping Prophet

• A spider wove a web/two birds built a nest over the entrance, which showed there was

no-one inside

• The two made their way to Madina when they knew they were safe

• They stayed at Quba on the way to Medina and established the first mosque/`Ali joined

them there

• The people of Medina welcomed the Prophet publicly

• The Prophet was given a revelation to leave Makka

(b)

• He was in danger of his life in Makka

• He had no clan protection

• His preaching met with little success

• He was assured of acceptance at Madina

• Here he might put the teachings he was receiving into effect

• His migration was in order to save Islam

[Credit the last point in (a) if not already credited]


Question 2

This asked for an account of the Prophet’s hijra, and the reasons why the hijra was important for him.

In part (a) candidates were asked for accurate accounts of the Prophet’s journey north to Madina. A few marks were allowed for background circumstances, but most were given for details of the journey itself, including the parts played by Abu Bakr and ‘Ali, the miracle of the spider and birds at the cave of Thawr, the pursuers from Makka, the halt at Quba, and the arrival at Madina. A number of candidates gave full and detailed accounts, but some understood the question to be about the events leading up to the hijra, or the events that took place after it.


Part (b) was more demanding, asking candidates to reflect on the reasons why this journey was important for the Prophet. Good answers included points such as: the danger to his life in Makka, his assurance of acceptance in Madina, his wish to put the teachings of Islam into effect, the divine instruction to depart. Some candidates wrote descriptively about the Prophet’s failure at al-Ta’if, or gave long accounts of the

pledges of the Madinan pilgrims. However, these were not answers to the question itself because they did not address the issue of the importance of the journey.


2 (a) Describe the events that immediately led up to the Prophet’s migration, the

hijra.    [10] (O/N/05)


  1. Suggest three reasons why he decided to move from Mecca to Medina. [6]

(a) [The problem here concerns exactly what events led up to the hijra.

Candidates have to decide when to start the story.]

• Muhammad had incurred the enmity of Quraysh by his preaching. [This is

background and for any general information of this kind allow 1 mark.)]

• His wife Khadija and uncle Abu Talib died in 619 leaving him

defenceless.

• He sought acceptance by preaching at fairs in Mecca and elsewhere.

• A small group from Yathrib (later renamed Medina) listened and accepted

his preaching.

• The next year they swore allegiance to him (the first pact of al-`Aqaba,

the oath of women, not involving fighting for him).

• The following year 73 men from Yathrib swore to defend him (the second

Pact of al-`Aqaba). [1 mark, but 2 marks for details of numbers etc.]

• Muhammad gradually sent Meccan Muslims north to Yathrib.

• He himself went on the same night when the Quraysh planned to murder

him.

• He departed with Abu Bakr.

• He left `Ali in his bed as a decoy, and in order to return items people had

left with him.

• The Prophet received a divine instruction to migrate.


(b)

• He was defenceless at Mecca, because Abu Lahab the head of his clan

after Abu Talib’s death was his enemy. [1 mark, but 2 marks for full

details.]

• His attempts at persuading the people of Mecca to accept his teachings

had met with little success,

• except for a small group of followers.

• These followers were under threat, and some had experienced long

persecution.

• The people of Medina appeared to welcome him.

• They recognized his mission and accepted him as a religious leader.

• They also offered him and his followers protection.


Question 2

(a) This part was answered very well by many candidates, though some answers started their account of the hijra from the beginning of revelation. In descriptive questions, the Examiners look for accuracy and completeness, and candidates often lose marks by getting basic facts wrong, leaving them out altogether or even starting their answer from too early a point. This results in the answer being more general than specific to the question. The need for planning answers is paramount. There were a few candidates who wrote about the events in Madinah immediately after the hijra, which again emphasises the need for the candidates to read the questions properly. Overall, those candidates who answered this question well showed accurate details of the events,

particularly those relating to the Pledges of al-‘Aqaba. (b) Most candidates were able to give some general comments stating the reasons the Prophet moved from Makkah to Madinah. However, Examiners were looking for some elaboration on these points

for candidates to be able to earn the full six marks. Also, some candidates simply repeated comments made in part (a) in this section. There were some good answers to this part where candidates expanded on the basic points, e.g. explaining that the Prophet’s small group of followers had faced lots of persecution which was a threat to the development of a Muslim community in Makkah.

3 (a) Describe the events of two of the battles fought by the Prophet while he was leader of the community at Madina.              [10] (M/J/09)


Candidates may choose any two battles, but will probably write on Badr, Uhud or Khandaq (the Trench). Some may choose Hunayn or Khaybar.

Whichever two battles candidates choose, they should be able to name them and describe them in detail giving dates and important points. Better answers will also narrate the events as they unfolded rather than giving confused details; excellent answers will give an in-depth narrative.


(b) How does his conduct in one of these battles provide a model for Muslims today when they face difficulties? [4]

Answers could give an account of the part played by the Prophet in the particular battle they choose to talk about. Good answers could identify the qualities shown by the Prophet by his actions in the battle, his reaction to danger or his enemies and draw some conclusion from it, e.g. “Muslims today should act like this when they face an enemy”. Excellent answers could be able to identify and discuss how these qualities can be transferred to situations today, and give an example of how Muslims may follow his way of acting. There may also be a relevant quote from Qur’an or Hadith.


Question 3

This question was a popular choice with candidates out of the three optional questions.

(a) Overall this part was answered well, with most candidates choosing to talk about the battles of Badr and Uhud and giving good, detailed information about them. Some candidates also chose to work on the Battle of Khandaq. There were a few unusual answers with the battle of Mutah, Hunain, Conquest of Makkah and Tabuk as well which were not well thought out enough to gain higher marks. Lower level answers wrote inaccurately or padded out their answer with irrelevant detail. (b) Answers for this part often failed to achieve the higher levels because they were too general. So although many candidates were able to pick out the Prophet’s conduct from one battle, e.g. his

patience, they were not able to relate it to their own lives or current affairs. The best answers showed a mature reflection on behaviour and attitude to events today rather than just a general comment about behaviour.


2 (a) Give descriptions of the main events of the battles of Badr and Uhud. [12]

(b) Explain why the people of Makka fought against the Muslims of Madina. [4]   (M/J/06)


(a) • Badr occurred in 624, the second year after the hijra.

• The Muslims had heard of a Makkan caravan passing near Madina, and they waited

for it near the wells of Badr.

• The caravan summoned troops from Makka.

• The two armies were badly mismatched, 300 Muslims against over 1000 Makkans.

• Despite the odds the Muslims won.

• The Prophet surprised everyone by treating the captured Makkans honourably.

• The Muslims saw in the victory God’s support for their cause, when he sent angels to

help them.

• Uhud occurred in 625.

• An army of 3000 from Makka came to destroy the Muslims.

• The Prophet’s army was smaller, and was decreased further by the desertion of some

Madinans.

• In the fighting the Muslims gained the upper hand.

• But then some Muslims who had been ordered to guard a pass left their posts for

spoils.

• Some Makkans saw an advantage and attacked from behind.

• The Muslims were nearly defeated and some leading men killed.

• The Prophet himself was injured.

• The Muslims realised they should obey the Prophet.


(b) • They could see that the Muslims were a threat.

• They threatened their livelihood since they might attack their caravans.

• They also threatened their religion with their belief in only one God.

• They saw Islam as a threat to their leadership in Arabia.


Question 2

(a) Good answers would have given the dates of the two battles, the circumstances immediately before them, the main events of the battles, and the aftermath.

Many answers contained most major elements of the battles, and a good number of high marks were gained for this part. Some candidates clearly knew the events of the battles thoroughly, but some omitted to mention such details as the numbers of the two sides at Badr, the way in which the prisoners after Badr were treated, and the effects of the reversal at Uhud.


(b) Some answers to this were excellent, explaining the threat the Muslims were thought to pose to Makkan trade, the differences in religion between the two sides, the threat they saw to their leading position in Arabia. However, these answers were in a clear minority, and some candidates appeared to have no idea why these battles took place, suggesting they had learnt the facts without understanding their significance.


Question 2 (O/N/03)

The majority of candidates appeared to know a great deal about these two battles, and many scored highly in part (a). The best answers carefully described what happened in the battles, and included such details as their dates and the names of leading individuals whose actions are remembered. There were some excellent answers to (b), containing comments on the religious and economic reasons for the hostility of the Meccans to the Prophet and their fears for their own position in Arabia. Most candidates were able to give some reasons for the enmity based on religious differences.

4 (a) Describe the Prophet’s conduct as leader in two of the battles he fought in.

      [10](O/N/2011)


Candidates can mention his conduct in any two battles, but should remain focused on the Prophet’s conduct rather than giving a narrative of the whole battle. Basic answers will describe the actual events in which the Prophet took part. Better answers will describe his conduct as leader rather than focussing on the actual events of the battles.

Some points that candidates should mention include: that the Prophet constantly turned to God for help, that he would take opinions from others, he was patient and did not fight out of anger, that he treated captives/prisoners of war well, and that he took part in all the battles himself. Candidates could also mention other points as long as they are relevant to the battles and to his position as leader. Good answers will be able to relate examples and events and give the names of the battles they happened in.


(b) What can Muslim leaders today learn from the Prophet’s conduct in their relations with other states?                [4]


Good answers here will be able to take at least one of the examples of the Prophet’s conduct and show some evaluation of how that conduct is relevant to modern lives and in particular the way in which Muslim leaders deal with others. Candidates should show how the Prophet’s way of dealing with things is still relevant today.


3 (a) Give an account of the battles of Khandaq (Trench) and Khaybar. [10] [M/J/12]


(b) What lessons can Muslims learn from either of these battles? [4]


(a) Good answers will be able to give relevant details of both battles with dates and names of keys figures involved, being careful to avoid general answers that could be attributed to any battle fought in the Prophet’s lifetime. Khandaq: took place in 627; Banu Nadir had broken their treaty agreements and planned to kill the Prophet; they planned an attack with the Makkans and gathered an army of 10 000; Salman al-Farsi suggested the Muslims dig a trench to keep the army out; hypocrites in Madina joined the Makkans; the army could not get in and after a storm which prevented them from fighting, the siege ran into weeks and they eventually gave up; there were only minor squirmishes; Banu Qurayza were punished for their treachery. Khaybar: fought in 629 against the Jews who had broken their agreements with the Muslims; a small Muslim army caught the oasis by surprise; captured 2 forts then went for main fort of Qamus, which was heavily guarded; the Prophet sent ‘Ali, who is said to have moved a door by himself which would have taken 40–50 men to move; he was given the title of ‘Lion of Allah’; Jewish leader was killed; Jews requested they stay in the oasis and in return give half their produce to the Muslims.

Excellent answers will expand on these points and give an in-depth narrative.


(b) There could be various answers given for this part and any relevant and detailed answers should be credited accordingly. Some suggestions of what candidates could write are, that in times of difficulty to keep hope like when the Muslims were hungry and weak during the battle of Khandaq and Khaybar (allowance was made to eat non-halal food if there was no other option); Muslims should remain strong and patient and work hard for their victory; despite victory, Muslims should remain fair and trustworthy (keeping their promise to the Jews to allow them to remain in Khaybar); they should have faith in God at all times; it is important to be open to suggestions from others (e.g. the Prophet taking advice from Salman al-Farsi).

2 (a) Outline the changes in the Prophet’s relations with the Jewish tribes

and the ‘hypocrites’ in Medina in the years between 622 and 632. [12]


(b) Suggest reasons why his relations with the Jewish tribes changed. [4]       (M/J/04)


(a) [Ensure that marks are divided between comments on the Jewish tribes and the

munafiqun, hypocrites.]


• At first the Prophet treated all parts of Medinan society equally.

• He devised the Covenant of Medina as an agreement in which all in Medina,

Muslims, non-Muslim Arabs and Jews, were given privileges and responsibilities. (2 marks for a detailed comment here)

• Gradually the Jews distanced themselves from him: they persistently mocked

the revelations, and doubted his claims to prophethood.

• Muhammad expelled the three major tribes in three stages after they showed

treachery in fighting and sided with the Quraysh. (up to 3 marks for dates and

full details)

• These tribes were Qaynuqa’, Qurayza and Nadir. (1 mark for all three names)

• He punished them for their treachery. (2 marks for details)

• There remained Medinans who did not become sincere Muslims or

acknowledge Muhammad.

• They showed their disloyalty most strongly in withdrawing when the Quraysh

attack led to the battle of Uhud.

• They remained persistent opponents of Muhammad.

• The Muslims later attacked the banished Jews in their fortress at Khaybar.

(b)

• He gradually became aware that the Jews did not respect his position.

• They refused to acknowledge that he was a Prophet like the one in their

scriptures.

• They openly made fun of him, especially when the qibla was changed.

• An important turning point was when they subjected a Muslim woman to public

humiliation.

• They broke the Covenant by not defending Medina.

• Their treachery in conspiring with the Quraysh threatened the security of

Medina.

• This was also a threat to the survival of Islam.


Question 2

This question is nearly always concerned with the life and significance of the Prophet. In this paper it asked about the period of his life in Medina, and Examiners were looking for accurate accounts of his relations with the three major Jewish tribes and with the non-Muslim Arabs of the oasis. In part (a), they credited factual details about the developments that took place, including the names of the tribes and their changes in

conduct that led to their exclusion, and also the main actions of the non-Muslim Arabs against the interests of the Muslims.


In part (b), they credited precise reasons for the deterioration in relations between the Muslims and Jews from the time of the Covenant of Medina to the attack on the fortress of Khaybar, including their mocking of the Prophet and his followers, their siding with the Meccans and their breaking of the Covenant. In answers to part (a), most candidates showed impressively detailed knowledge of the exploits of the Jews in Medina, though many thought that the Covenant of Medina was no more a treaty made specifically

between the Prophet and the Jews in which he allowed them freedom. When teaching this aspect of the Prophet’s life, teachers should make clear the true nature of this Covenant, which was intended to include all the tribes and clans in the oasis in an equal agreement with shared privileges and responsibilities, with the Jews named among them. Many candidates said almost nothing about the ‘hypocrites’, those Medinan Arabs who appeared reluctant to side with the Muslims and withdrew their support at Uhud. This is strange, given that in past years when a question on Uhud has appeared candidates have usually written a great deal about the force that withdrew from the Prophet’s army before the battle, giving its number and the names of its leaders.


In answers to part (b), many candidates were able to give four good reasons for the change in the Prophet’s relations with the Jewish tribes, most importantly their siding with the Meccans and desertion of their Covenant obligations. However, there were, unfortunately, many critical and insulting remarks about the Jewish tribes of Medina. Few candidates appeared to be aware that one reason for the change in relations

was that the Prophet gradually saw that his proclamation was not accepted by the Jews as agreeing with theirs. This is a religious rather than political reason.

2. (a) Outline four of the Prophet’s personal qualities that make him a model for Muslims to follow.          [4 x 3] (O/N/06)

(b) Choosing two of these qualities, give one example in each case to show how Muslims can put them into practice in their own lives. [2 x 2]


(a) [Look for four of the Prophet’s qualities that can be a model for Muslims.

Do not give marks for qualities unique to the Prophet, e.g. that he is a blessing for humankind.

In each case award 1 mark for:

• identification of the quality,

• examples of how it was shown in the Prophet’s life,

• possible supporting quotations from the Hadith, Qur’an and remarks of his Companions.]


(b) [In each case:

Give 1 mark for the basic outline of a Muslim putting the chosen quality into practice.

Give a further 1 mark for an example fully worked through.]

Question 2

(a) This part was answered reasonably well by many candidates, although equally, many candidates wrote about the same quality more than once, thereby losing out on vital marks. Good answers would have chosen four specific qualities, given a different example for each of them from the Prophet’s life (rather than a general description of the quality) and included a quotation for each quality. Some examples of the types of qualities Examiners look for are: honest/truthful, forgiving/merciful and trustworthy, but not that the Prophet prayed all his prayers or learnt the Qur’an by heart. Many candidates did not realise that honesty and truthfulness were in effect the same quality, and so gave similar examples under two separate headings. A few candidates also

confused some of the stories from the life of the Prophet resulting in the wrong example being given for a chosen quality. Other candidates did not realise that truthful and trustworthy are different qualities and so used them interchangeably.


In descriptive questions candidates often do not gain marks by getting basic facts wrong or by allowing themselves to become distracted by what they have just written. This results in the answer being more general than specific to the question, or it results in the candidates not completing the question. For example, some candidates wrote about two/three qualities of the Prophet and gave many examples of these qualities, but were unable to gain more marks because they overlooked the need to mention another one/two qualities. The need for planning answers is paramount.


(b) There were some good answers to this part, but many candidates did not show how the two chosen qualities could be applied to their own lives/the modern world and instead repeated examples of how these qualities were shown in the Prophet’s life. Excellent answers showed, for example, how honesty can be used in school/at work no matter what the consequences, and then went on to give an example of how students should not lie about their homework if they have not done it. This kind of answer shows that the candidate has thought about the relevancy of these qualities in their own lives, which is what the evaluative part of each question often looks for.


2 (a) Briefly describe four actions or qualities of the Prophet Muhammad that would make clear to the people who lived with him that he was the Messenger of God. [4 x 3]         (O/N/08)

[In each of the four cases look for a clear and specific action or quality that distinguished the Prophet from ordinary people. So it is not enough to say e.g. that he was loving unless the quality of his love is shown to be far superior to love in other people. Examples might be: his quality of forgiveness, shown at the capture of Makka; his periodic receiving of revelations; his Night Journey. In each case give 1 mark for a basic identification; 1 extra mark for a fuller description which introduces some details; and the final 1 mark for a full and rounded description with all expected details, and maybe quotations from the Qur’an or Hadith]


(b) Explain what Muslims mean by the title ‘Seal of the Prophets’. [4]

• This is a title of the Prophet found in the Qur’an.

• It means he completes the line of prophets that stretched up to him.

• Just as a wax seal closes a letter, so his prophethood closes the line.

• It also means he is a prophet for all times and places unlike the local prophets before

him.

Question 2

(a) This part was either answered very well, or very poorly. Candidates had to use their own reasoning more than just relying on teachers’ notes that they may have learnt.

There were many examples that candidates could choose from, but the key was to be able to support their answers to show that this was a quality of the Messenger of God, not just of any other human being. Some examples that could have been used are forgiveness, trustworthiness, honesty, justice, patience and the miracles that he was awarded. Of these, a good answer for forgiveness/mercy would be where candidates showed that this was a quality of the Messenger of God because he was able to forgive people in remarkable ways. So, at the conquest of Makka he forgave his enemies, even those that had persecuted him and his followers for years, and also when he went to Ta’if he showed one of the greatest examples of his mercy for others where he did

not call for the people who hurt him to be crushed between the mountains, but for them to be saved in case even one of them would later become Muslim. Good answers would be able to mention the quality and give full explanations of how that quality was related to the Prophet specifically. Some candidates also mentioned things like “he received revelations”, which in itself would count as an action or quality specific to the Prophet, but many did not expand on it or give any details as to how the revelations happened or that they were significant because the prophet could not read or write, or that these revelations addressed specific people or events happening at the time. Also, saying that the Prophet was a “model of excellence” was too general a comment. The better candidates did very well in this question and lots of good examples were brought out

from the Seerah of the Prophet like the conversation of Heraclius with Abu Sufyan about the Prophet’s trustworthiness. Candidates who did not perform as well were not able to mention four qualities, or mentioned four but two were the same, e.g. they gave truthful as one quality and honesty as another but gave similar examples for each. Also, many candidates wrote the qualities but did not give examples.


(b) Answers in this part were average, with most candidates earning two marks. Good answers would have mentioned that this is a title given to the Prophet by Allah, that he closes the line of prophets that was sent by Allah, and that he is a Prophet for all times and places.

3 (a) Give an account of the Prophet’s first experience of receiving revelation. [10] (S/P/09)

L1 for a bare account of the basic outline

L2 for a fuller account, including names of e.g. Jibril, Khadija and Waraqa

L3 for a full and accurate account including the Prophet’s threefold crushing and the

dialogue between him and the presence

L4 for a full account that includes quotations from the Qur’an (esp. Sura 96.1-5 in

full) and allusions to the Hadith which contains the account


(b) Explain the meaning of the title ‘Seal of the Prophets’. [4]

L1 for saying the Muhammad was the last of the prophets

L2 for adding that he was the end and climax of the line of prophets

L3 for adding that his prophethood was universal whereas earlier prophets were

sent to single communities

L4 for explaining the metaphor of a seal that closes and confirms something that is

sent


3 (b) Explain the meaning of the title ‘Seal of the Prophets’. [4]


Answer 1

Almighty Allah sent Hazrat Mohammad to be the last prophet on this earth. He delivered to us the holy Qur’an which he completed. The Qur’an contains everything to guide Muslims in their life on this earth. The holy Prophet also gave his example for us to follow so that we can live good lives for Allah.


Level: 1

This answer is largely irrelevant. It makes one statement about the significance of the Prophet Muhammad at the beginning, but all that follows does not answer the question.


Answer 2

Our Prophet Muhammad came into the world at a very important time when the world needed a prophet. He was the last Prophet whom Allah had sent, and he completed the line of Allah’s prophets that had begun with Hazrat Adam. He was the last in this line and there was no prophet after him because he completed the line.


Level: 2

There is a clear indication here that Muhammad was the last prophet, and some awareness that there was no need for any prophet after him. The answer is, however, very repetitive.


Answer 3

Hazrat Muhammad was sent by Allah to the whole world. He was the last of the prophets sent by Allah, and he completed the line of messengers that had started with Hazrat Adam. Hazrat Adam and the other prophets such as Hazrat Abraham and Hazrat Musa were sent to their own communities to teach them. But our prophet Hazrat Muhammad was sent to all the world.


Level: 3

This candidate clearly realizes the difference between Muhammad and other prophets, and brings out his universal relevance against their local relevance quite clearly. He also gives suggestive hints about knowing the names of individuals in the line of prophets.


Answer 4

Hazrat Muhammad is called the Seal of the Prophets in the holy Qur’an because he came at the end of the line of prophets sent from Allah and he completed this line. A seal is used on a letter to close it firmly. This is why our Prophet is called the seal of the prophets. Hazrat Muhammad came after Hazrat Adam, Hazrat Ibrahim, Hazrat Musa, Hazrat Isa and the other prophets. They were sent by Allah to their communities, but our Prophet Muhammad was sent to everyone in the earth. This is why he is called the Seal of the Prophets, because he ended the line of prophets and was for the whole earth.


Level: 4

This answer not only refers to the Prophet in relation to earlier prophets, some of whom it names, and explains clearly the difference between him and predecessors, but it also gives some explanation of the metaphorical nature of the title itself. It is a confident response to a question that requires careful thinking.


Prophet’s (PBUH) Life (Question/Answer) – GCE & IGCSE ISLAMIYAT

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