A Brief History
On December 11, 629, the Prophet of Allah and founder of the Muslim religion, Muhammad, led an army of 10,000 converts to Islam into Mecca and conquered the city with minimal casualties.
As often takes place today when Islamists take over an area previously shared by other faiths, the Muslims destroyed all traces of Arabian, Jewish, and Christian statuary, paintings, and other objects of non-Islamic religious significance, although some accounts claim Muhammad spared depictions of Jesus and Mary.
The land we now know as Saudi Arabia, or the Arabian Peninsula, was peopled by followers of a variety of religions at this time. Jews were common inhabitants of Arabia and had an on again, off again, tradition of competition and conflict with followers of Arabian traditional religion and later with Muslims. (Initially, Muhammad was surprisingly tolerant of Jews.)
Muhammad had been born in Mecca in c. 570, and around 610 began receiving revelations from God (Allah) during periods of meditation. Around 613 Muhammad began his religious mission, preaching the news of his revelations and informing people that he was the Prophet of God. Muhammad gained only a moderate amount of followers and was forced to leave Mecca for Medina, where he continued his formation of Islam. Later, he returned in triumph to Mecca after defeating Meccan forces in various battles along the way.
By the time Muhammad died of ordinary illness in 632, the vast majority of Arabia had converted to Islam. During the 23 years of revelations Muhammad had experienced and until after his death, the Quran, holy book of Islam, had been passed along in an oral tradition, with devout followers memorizing the text in its entirety. After Muhammad’s death and the death of some of those people who had memorized the holy words, the First Caliph, Abu Bakr, decided to get the entire text written down to preserve the word of Muhammad and Allah. A group of scribes then transcribed the Quran. Other accounts of how the Quran got to be transcribed and by whom, also exist, with some variation in wording and chronology.
Muhammad is unusual as a religious leader in that he was a warrior and conqueror, as well as a slave holder and someone who almost assuredly had personally killed people in battle, as well as ordering many executions. One of his 13 wives, Aisha, became betrothed to Muhammad while she was only 6 or 7 years old, and the marriage was consummated when the girl was only 9! (Though supposedly already pubescent.) The Quran also describes Muhammad as handing out slave girls as spoils of war to his officers.
Today there are around 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, an enormous legacy of the mission of Muhammad. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world (not just the Middle East) people of the Islamic faith are in conflict with people of other (or no) faiths. Do you think this conflict between Islam and other religions will result in some sort of Armageddon where only Islam is left as a world religion or Islam is erased from the Earth? Or do you think this sort of final showdown will not occur? Give us your predictions on the subject.
For counterpoint views to the generally reported information contained here, see: http://www.muhammadfactcheck.org/
If you liked this article and would like to receive notification of new articles, please feel welcome to subscribe to History and Headlines by liking us on Facebook.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…