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Islam and the Prophet Muhammad

Islam and the Prophet Muhammad - Islam and the Prophet...

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Islam and the Prophet Muhammad BISMA'LLAH AR-RA'CHMAN WA' AR-RA'CHIM Although Islam is a sister religion of Christianity and Judaism, Christians are generally ignorant and contemptuous of its origins and beliefs. One might note that Muslims hold education and learning in high esteem. Like the Jewish faith, Islam encourages the faithful to learn to read and instructors in Islamic lands customarily begin each lecture with the bismallah , an invocation that appears at the beginning of these lecture notes. And let's not say "Mohammedanism." Here are some useful distinctions Muhammad : the prophet of Islam Islam : "the yoke": the religion revealed to Muhammad Muslim : a follower of Islam Arabic : usually refers to the Arabic language. Most Muslims are not Arabs, although most Arabs are Muslims. 1. Mecca in 570 a.d. A: It was an agricultural center of the Arabian periphery. It was ruled by the heads of the major clans of the city's population. B: It was the center of Bedouin worship. The nomadic peoples of the interior brought the physical embodiments of their gods to be placed in the building in the center of Mecca called the Ka'aba for safe-keeping. Individuals went their on pilgrimage ( hadj ) and entire clans went there for collective worship during the sacred truce of Ramadan . Thus Mecca was a center of all Arabia, and obtained considerable wealth from its visitors. C: Mecca was also a major caravan center. The Persian-Byzantine wars had blocked the overland route of the silk and spice road to India and China, and pirates and bandits blocked the Red Sea to regular commerce. Goods came by sea from India, landed at Aden (in Yemen) where they were joined by trade goods from the interior of Africa, and carried in caravans up the western coast of Arabia -- through Mecca and Medina to Petra in Palestine, where the route split. The northern fork went to Damascus and the southern to Alexandria. An observation: although largely a tribal society of polytheists, the inhabitants of Mecca lived in one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the time and were exposed to a wide range of ideas. Their culture was oral, but rich. 2. Muhammad (570-632) Born to a poor branch of the major clan of the Khoraish , and orphaned at an early age, Muhammad was reared by his uncle, who got him a job with a caravan company. He eventually married Khadija , owner of the company, and settled down to a dignified life of study -- although he could not read -- contemplation, and poetry. He began to contemplate religion, and would retire to a cave outside Mecca to meditate upon the universe. A vision of the angel Gabriel appeared to him, telling him that he had a mission from god. God had written a book -- the Qu'ran -- at the beginning of time that contained all wisdom. Gabriel would tell him from time to time a portion of that book and he would reveal it to the people.
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