islam paper - Pre-Islamic The Arabian Peninsula the...

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Pre-Islamic The Arabian Peninsula the birthplace of Islam is one of the hottest and driest regions in the world, consisting mainly of deserts. Since ancient times tribes of the nomadic race had populated the region. Considered the descendents of Noah’s third son Shem they are called Semites. Over the centuries theses Semitic people have migrated into the Fertile Crescent and were assimilated to into existing civilizations. In the sixth century AD, north of the Arabian Peninsula two great powers were locked in a seesaw power struggle. The Christian Byzantine kingdom, successors of the Roman Empire was to the Northwest and controlled the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa and the lands of Palestine. In the northeast lay the Zoroastrian Persian kingdom. Both the Byzantine and Persian kingdoms had client Arab tribes allied to their cause of trade and conquest. The Arabian Peninsula became a land of refuge for those seeking escape from both of these empires. Heretic Christian sects like the Nestorians, and Jewish tribes escaping the oppressive Byzantines found refuge in the protective deserts and cities of the Peninsula. Arabia was divided into tribes and cities. Each city had gods and goddess. Once a year the tribes and cities of Arabia would meet in the city of Mecca during an event known as the Hajj. In Mecca, the Kaba (Cube), a large cube shaped building housed 360 idols from all the tribes of Arabia. The Kaba was the center of Arabian religious life. Here all the warring tribes would put aside their differences as they circled the Kaba. From the Kaba they would proceed to the other shrines outside of Mecca during this five day religious event. The Hajj was a tradition that Arabs of the peninsula remembered going back hundreds of years. Mohammed It was in this world Mohammad Ibn Abdallah was born in the year 570 AD in the city of Mecca. His father died before he was born and his mother Amina died when he was 6 years old. Al-Muttalib his grandfather took charge of the youth and died 2 years later. Abu Talib his uncle adopted young Mohammed into his family and raised him as his own son. At the age of 12, young Mohammed was taken on a caravan-trading venture to Syria and experienced the world outside of Arabia for the first time. Here Islamic tradition informs us that a Christian monk named Buhaira, proclaimed Talib’s young nephew is the last prophet and warns him about the Jews. For the next 13 years little is known of his life except that he was involved in caravan trading in and out of Arabia. At the age of 25, Mohammed marries a 40 year old wealthy, widow named Khadijah who owns trading caravans. During the next 15 years of his life he interactes with Arabs known as the Hanefites. Hanefites were Arabs who rejected idol worship and were searching for the true religion. They looked to the religion of the Jews and Christians as being close to the goal. The Hanefites abandonded their idols and would retreat to the caves of Mecca in meditation
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islam paper - Pre-Islamic The Arabian Peninsula the...

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