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I read in a biography that before Muhammad (pbuh) became a prophet, he always prayed and fasted in the mountain of Hera. So that probably means that he knew about Allah and Jesus (pbuh) and all the other prophets before Gabriel revealed the first ayah to him. Was he following Jesus's faith as a traditional Christian? (By traditional christian, I mean the old, un-corrupted form of christian. Not the modern type of christian)

And even if he was a christian, how did he come to know about Allah and the prophets in the first place? Because majority of the Arabs were idol worshipers. Why wasn't he an idol worshiper before he became a prophet?

I apologize if this question seems offensive in any way. But this is something that recently sparked my curiosity.

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No he wasn't. He was neither a Christian, nor a Jew. He was a Hanif, that is a follower to prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon them all). And Hanifi religion was well known in Mecca, though its followers were not so much numbered, because it — like Islam — was ordering its followers to be clean and pure and honest, in opposition to idol worshipping, which made its followers live like they wanted: animals.

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All Praise to Allah Subhanahu wa Taala and blessings of Him be on Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him His family and companions

As Drwael has answered I want to make an addition ,In Quran Surah Baqarah , Allah Swt says

قَالُوا۟ كُونُوا۟ هُودًا أَوْ نَصَـٰرَىٰ تَهْتَدُوا۟ ۗ قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَٰهِـۧمَ حَنِيفًا ۖ وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ They say: “Be Jews,” or “Be Christians.” “Then you will be rightly guided.” Say to them: “No, follow exclusively the way of Abraham who was not one of those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity 2:135

It is narrated from Ibn Abbas Ra which interpretes that some well known jews and christians from madinah gathered and did debate with Muslims on religion and claiming their religion to be best and refusing prophethood of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him ,rejecting Quran as the holy book and asking muslims to enter into their deen or religion so Allah Swt revealed this ayah.

Keeping in mind that teachings of the Judaism is not assosciated with Propet Moses or Moosa peace be upon him or christianity to prophet Jesus or Isa peace be upon him directly as they are later formed and their inspiration contradict to the teachings of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim).So on one side both Jews and Christians claim to follow the way of Prophet Abraham peace be upon him but are also involved in Shirk.

So Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was following the way of Prophet Abraham which rejects any idea of polytheism and believing oneness of God.

Allah Swt and his Messenger knows best

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Nabi Muhammad* lived in a place that yes they believed in the one true God. But they also believed in the lesser gods as well as Jehovah, I.e. Allah- like Eloh in Hebrew. The people , some assumed that Jehovah was too far away to be concerned wit there life so they assumed the lesser Gods would do for them. Reason how they even know about GOD is that Arabs, being brethren to Jews, had the same God. Over time, Arabs got introduce to other gods and some except them. Over time , more and more other gods were excepted an this made the Arabs pagan

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Also Muhammad * knew believed, that Jesus was messenger of the lord God. He didn't believe or think Jesus was Gods son or incarnation of God on earth. Nor did he believe in crucifixion of Jesus so no he wasn't ever Christian. Also he didn't pray in Hebrew or do any of the religious customs of orthodox Judaism. So he's not ever Jewish. He was a Hanif, of or pertaining to Abraham faith

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No he was not a Christian or a jew.

Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) was born in Mecca. His father, ʿAbdullah, and his mother, Amiah, belonged to the family of the Banu Hashim, a sect of the powerful tribe named Quraysh, which was also the ruling tribe of Mecca, and also the guardian of the Kaabah. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) is suppoosed to be descendant of Prophet Ismail(pbuh) through the lineage of his second son Kedar, and hence the ancestry of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) can be traced to Prophet Abraham(pbuh).

Source- http://www.britannica.com/biography/Muhammad

Gibb, Hamilton A.R. and Kramers, J.H. (1965) Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam. Ithaca:Cornell University Press. pp. 191-198

Encyclopedia of Religion by Lindsay Jones

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    How does this answer the question? I'm confused! Please clarify my dear brother! – Aboudi May 9 '16 at 18:15
  • Since there is no historical record that the Banu Hashim tribe was Christian or Jews, so there is no way that our Prophet was following Christianity or Judasm before the first ayah was reveal to him. – tariq May 9 '16 at 20:12
  • . Also the ancestry bit that i mentioned is just to clarify the our Prophet(pbuh) is not at all connected with Prophet Moses(pbuh) as some people think he is..Plz read book and article mentioned above, it will give you a lot of insight, also share your thought on this topic with us – tariq May 9 '16 at 20:24
  • I see your point but just because he was born into that tribe it dose not mean that he autonomously adapted to their belief system, we know this because of Abraham. But before I continue this conversation and state my thoughts, I will read the resources you cited. Jazak Allah kheir – Aboudi May 9 '16 at 21:45
  • Any recommendation on books or articles of the life of the prophet PBUH before revelation would be much appreciated! – Aboudi May 9 '16 at 21:46

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