World Religion


I. A Background on Islam

     By definition, Islam is the religion of those who follow teachings of the
Prophet Muhammad. The prophet, who lived in Arabia in the early 7th century, initiated a religious movement that was carried by the Arabs throughout the Middle East. Today, Islam has adherents not only in Middle East origins, where it is the dominant religion in all countries (Arab and non-Arab) except Israel, but also in other parts of Asia, Africa and, to a certain
extent, as well as in Europe and in the United States. Those who adhere to
Islam are called Muslims. (Jeffrey, 1958).  

Proclaims but also because it is "every person's religion," the natural religion in which every person is born. (Andrae, 1971).

II. The Life of Muhammad

     Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca, an important trading center in
western Arabia. He was a member of the Hashim clan of the powerful Quraysh tribe. Because Muhammad's father, Abd Allah, died before he was born and his mother, Amina, when he was 6 years old, he was placed in the care of his grandfather Abd al-Muttalib and, after 578, of his uncle Abu Talib, who succeeded as head of the Hashim clan. At the age of about 25, Muhammad
entered the employ of a rich widow, Khadijah, in her commercial enterprise.
They were married soon after. Two sons, both of whom died young, and four
daughters were born to Mohammud and his wife. One of the daughters, Fatima, acquired special prominence in later Islamic history because of her marriage to Muhammad's cousin Ali. (Glubb, 1970).
  Reportedly, in (approximately) the year 610, Muhammad, while in a cave on Mount Hira outside Mecca, had a vision in which he was called on to preach
the message entrusted to him by God. Further revelations came to him
intermittently over the remaining years of his life, and these revelations
constitute the text of the Koran (equivalent of the Islamic Bible). The
opening verses of chapters 96 and 74 are generally recognized as the oldest
revelations; Muhammad's vision is mentioned in 53:1-18 and 81:19-25, and the night of the first revelation in 97:1-5 and 44:3. At first in private and
then publicly, Muhammad began to proclaim his message: that there is but one God and that Muhammad is his messenger sent to warn people of the Judgment Day and to remind them of God's goodness. The Meccans responded with hostility to Muhammad's monotheism and iconoclasm. (Guillaume, 1995).

Join now!

     As long as Abu Talib was alive, Muhammad was protected by the Hashim, even though that clan was the object of a boycott by other Quraysh after 616. About 619, however, Abu Talib died, and the new clan leader was unwilling to continue the protective arrangement. At about the same time Muhammad lost another staunch supporter, his wife Khadijah. In the face of persecution and curtailed freedom to preach, Muhammad and about 70 followers reached the decision to sever their ties of blood kinship in Mecca and to move to Medina, a city about 250mi to the north. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay