Thank you very much for your questions.
Muhammad is a direct descendant of Prophet Abraham through his son Ishmael, peace and blessings be upon them and all of God’s prophets and messengers. He was born in Arabia and was the last messenger of God sent to all of mankind.
Before being called by God to spread the message of Islam, he was known among his people as an honest, wise, and trustworthy man. He received revelation from God, through the Archangel Gabriel, over a 23-year period starting when he was about 40 years of age.
His first followers were his wife Khadijah, his young cousin `Ali, and his best friend Abu Bakr. Soon after, more followers joined him on a daily basis. Some of them recorded the revelations, since he was illiterate, and later collected them into book form. This book is the Noble Qur’an and is the last revelation to mankind before the Day of Judgment. Its authority supersedes all previously revealed books, including the Torah and Bible, since it is the only existing revelation that has remained unaltered by human hands.
In carrying out his mission, he suffered persecution at the hands of the pagan Arab leaders of Makkah, his hometown. Islam continued to grow despite persecution of Muhammad and his followers until all of Arabia eventually came under the influence of this new way of life. Muhammad’s exalted character was a major contributor to people embracing Islam and continues to be a major factor today.
He encouraged good treatment of parents and strengthening family ties. He established the rights of the poor and women and fought for justice and peace. He was a model of mercy and excellent conduct in all human interactions.
As for your second question, in Islam, Jesus is considered one of five great prophets sent by God to man. He is worthy of the utmost honor and respect as a prophet of God to the Children of Israel. He was neither an incarnation of God nor God’s son, and he never claimed to be.
He was born of a virgin and had no father. This is a miracle of God and a sign to all that God has power to do anything He wills. His mother Mary was a pious woman and innocent of the accusations the Jews made against her honor. For more on Mary, you can read The Story of Mary and the Birth of Jesus.
It is one of the six pillars of faith in Islam to have a firm belief in God’s messengers. To deny that Jesus was a prophet of God is to disbelieve in Islam. According to Islam, Jesus was not crucified but was raised up to be with God until a time in the future when God will return him to earth to complete his mission. He did not die for the sins of mankind; each person will be accountable for his/her deeds before God on the Day of Judgment. No one can pay for the sins of others. This is the Islamic stand.
In answer to your third question, to become a Muslim it is not a requirement to be a virgin. It is a requirement, however, to live a disciplined life, free from lewd behavior such as drinking alcohol, gambling, adultery, or fornication. If these were practiced in the past, God will forgive them if the one embracing Islam as a way of life has repented from these sinful behaviors and makes a sincere effort to live a clean and pious life as a Muslim.
I hope this helps in your understanding of Islam and in answering your questions. Please keep in touch if you have more questions.
Thank you and Salam.
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