- Islam shares a common history with Christianity and Judaism up until the time of Abraham.
- Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad is a descendant of Ishmael, the son that Abraham had with Hagar and then banished.
- Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad are all considered to be prophets who attempted to reveal Allah’s will to humankind.
- Only the Prophet Muhammad (570-632 CE) is considered to have achieved the definitive collection of revelations the Qur’an embodies.
- The Prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
- At the time, the people were practicing polytheism and idolatry (worship of special objects, i.e. pictures and sculptures, for protection and favours)
- The Ka’bah (very important Muslim pilgrimage site in Mecca) was at the time filled with idols
- The people were nomadic and divided into tribes and family clans
- In 610, during the month of Ramadan, Muhammad was meditating in a cave when he felt the presence of the Angel Gabriel, who revealed to him what would become the beginning of the Qur’an
- Muhammad continued receiving revelations for 23 years, which were assembled into the Qur’an
- When he began receiving revelations, Muhammad quit the family business and began preaching against idolatry and for monotheism
- Muhammad is said to have first communicated with the angel Gabriel at the age of forty. This led him to begin leading the people away from polytheism and idolatry into a belief in the oneness of God.
- His preaching caused increasing problems with authorities in Mecca, resulted in Muhammad’s decision to leave, and he was invited to become the governor of Medina in 622 CE, whereupon he converted the population to Islam.
- Eventually, he unified the Arab tribes under a theocracy (religious leaders are the leaders of the civil government).
- At the time of his death, Muhammad was the political and religious authority throughout Arabia.
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