Islam: The Religion of Peace and Submission

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The Origins of Islam

Islam is a religion that dates back several years to the time of the Prophet Ibrahim(Abraham). Islam shares many similarities with Christianity and Judaism which include the belief in the prophets Musa (Moses), and Isa (Jesus). The main prophet for the Islamic religion is a man named Muhammad (Mohammed). Muhammad was born approximately in 570 CE. He was orphaned at a very young age and moved from household to household. At the time, the Quraysh were the main tribe in Makkah. Every year, pilgrims would come to pray at the Kabah, a sacred place of worship built by Prophet Ibrahim. Surrounding the Kabah were idols that the Quraysh worshipped in addition to Allah (the Muslim God). At age 40, Muhammad married Khadijah, a wealthy merchant, and recieved the revelation that would change his life. Muahmamd would go up to a mountain surrounding Makkah and meditate because he wanted answers. He knew that worshipping idols wasn't the right thing to do. Then, one night, the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), came with a message from Allah. He said "READ!" and Muhammad replied, I can not read. The Jibreel squeezed him and the process continued until Jibreel gave him the first verses of the Quran,

"Read, in the name of the Lord that created you. Created man with a clot of blood. Read! And your Lord is the most generous."

These were the first verses of the Quran. Muhammad reported this to Khadijah, who became the first believer. Khadijah took Muhammad to her cousin Waraqah. Waraqah told Muhammad that the people will dirive him out of Makkah.

During this time, Muhammad in Mecca preached to the people, telling them to abandon the idols and to worship one God. Although some converted to Islam, the leaders of the Quraish persecuted Muhammad and his followers. This resulted in some Muslims migrating to Ethiopia. Many converts to Islam were the poor and former slaves like Bilal ibn Rabah who felt like Islam was fair and just. The Quraysh felt that Muhammad was ruining their social order by preaching about one God and about racial equality, and that he gave ideas to the poor and to their slaves. They felt like this would drive away pilgrims. After 12 years of persecution of Muslims by the Makkans and the Makkan boycott of Muhammad's relatives and the Muslims, Muhammad and the Muslims performed the Hijrah (or emigration) to the city of Madina in 622. There the Muslim citizens of Madina (Ansar) and the Makkan migrants (Muhajirun) established a political and religious authority. A state was created using Islamic rules and laws. A constitution was formed to unite the Christains, Jews, and Muslims living in Madina. Within a few years, two battles took place against the Quraysh. First was the Battle of Badr in 624 in which although the Muslims were outnumbered, with the help of the angels, won, and then a year later, when the Makkans returned to Medina, the Battle of Uhud, which ended with some Muslims betraying the Prophet in battle, and the Prophet's uncle, Hamza, being killed.

Tribes in the rest of Arabia then formed a pact and during the Battle of the Trench in 627. They surrounded Madina with the goal of destroying Islam. However, the Muslims had dug a trench around Madinah, making it impossible to cross, even with betrayal from some of the Jewish tribes in Madina. The Muslims wanted to return to Makkah, but the Quraysh refused, resulting in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah, which was broken by the Quraysh. Muhammad decided to take an army of 10,000 men to Makkah to make the pilgrimage. The Muslims ended up conquering all of Arabia, ruling under a firm, yet just hand. Muhammad had fulfilled his mission to teach the people to worship one God but sadly, died at the age of 63 in Madinah. He was followed by a series of Caliphs that were his close friends. Islam reached far to Europe and Asia and at one point of time, was the largest religion in the world. Islam is still a major religion and is the fastest growing religion in the world.

To learn more go to these helpful links

  1. Why Islam?
  2. Islam Religion
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