Itís a myth that the Major Religions are basically the same
-Robert Fawcett, Author
The Major Religions of the World ....Revisited
Social Media Links
< Previous Next >

MuhammadMuhammad the Founder of Islam

Muhammad (also spelled Mohammed) born 570 AD in Mecca (current day Saudi Arabia), and passed away June 8, 632 in Medina (current day Saudi Arabia) is the founder of the religion of Islam; however, he is contrarily regarded by Muslims as a messenger and prophet of God, the last and the greatest law-bearer in a series of Islamic prophets, as taught by the Qur'an.

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of ALLAH and the Last of the prophets; and ALLAH is cognizant of all things." (Qur'an 33:40)

Muslims thus consider him the restorer of the uncorrupted original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. He was also active as a diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, reformer, military general, and, according to Muslim belief, an agent of divine action.Muhammad Preaching

According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad, at the age of 40, was confronted by a being that identified himself as the angel Gabriel. It was the angel Gabriel who commanded him to "proclaim the name of God." What Muhammad saw and heard in successive revelations over some 20 years was summarized in what became Islam's sacred book, The Qur'an.

He was orphaned at a young age, and brought up under the care of his uncle, Abu Talib. His uncle was a businessman merchant who took him on lengthy trips throughout that part of the world, Egypt and the Middle East. During these travels, he engaged in lively conversations with Jews and Christians.

Later, he earned a living as a business manager for caravans, and these same encounters with Jews and Christians continued. From these conversations, and therefore that continuing education, Muhammad learned the theological concepts that were later to influence his teachings.

Tradition continues that he worked for a wealthy widow named Khadija. She was 15 years older than Muhammad - he being 25, and she being age 40. Interestingly, tradition tells us that Khadija was the one who approached him in an offer of marriage. They eventually married; they had two sons who died in infancy, and four daughters.

Discontented with life in Mecca, he retreated to a cave in the surrounding mountains for meditation and reflection. According to Islamic beliefs it was here, at age 40, in the month of Ramadan, where he received his first revelation from God.

Three years after this event, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him is the only way acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God.

The religious message that Muhammad preached grew out of, and responded to, the realities of 7th century Arabia. It was influenced by, and responded to, the political and social conditions, as well as other religious traditions.

While Arabia was critically located along profitable well-traveled trade routes of the Orient, it was far from being tame and safe. It was beset with internal conflict as well as external conflict. So, the world in which Islam emerged was truly a rough neighborhood. War was the natural state of affairs.

Internally, it was beset with tribal raids, and cycles of vengeance and vendetta. Raiding was an integral part of tribal life in society. Tribal and family honor were central virtues: manliness, courage in battle, chivalry, and upholding tribal and family honor were major virtues celebrated by all the poets of the time. There was no sense of moral purpose, or communal moral responsibility. There was no belief in the afterlife. Justice was obtained, and carried out, through vengeance and retaliation.

Externally, the broader Near East, in which Arabia was located, was divided between two warring super powers of the day: the Byzantine Eastern Roman Empire, and the Sasanian Persian Empire. Each had competed with the other for world dominion.

Muhammad gained few followers early on, and was met with hostility from some Meccan tribes; he and his followers were treated harshly. To escape persecution from the tribes around Mecca, Muhammad and his followers migrated to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622 AD. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

In Medina, Muhammad united the conflicting tribes, and after eight years of fighting with the Meccan tribes, his followers, who by then had grown to approximately 10,000, conquered Mecca.

In 632, a few months after returning to Medina from his Farewell pilgrimage, Muhammad fell ill, and died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and he united the tribes of Arabia into a single Muslim religious group - he brought a prophetic message that summoned people to reform their communities, to live a good life based on religious belief, loyalty to ALLAH, and not loyalty to the tribe.

The revelations (or, "Signs of God"), which Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the verses of the Qur'an, regarded by Muslims as the "Word of God" and around which the religion is based. Like all prophets, he was a warner - it was an unwelcome, and very unpopular, message to the tribal leaders, and the businessmen of the area.

His new religion, like other biblical prophets, denounced the status quo, and called for social justice for the poor, the most vulnerable in society, for women, children, and orphans. He put a spotlight on the Meccan unbridled materialism, its covetousness and greediness, and its corruption. He condemned Arabian polytheism, insisting that there was only one true God.

Besides the Qur'an, a book called the Sunnah, which are Muhammad's life (his habits and ways) and traditions, are also upheld by Muslims. They discuss Muhammad, and other prophets of Islam, with reverence adding the phrase "peace be upon him" whenever their names are mentioned.

While conceptions of Muhammad in medieval Christendom and pre-modern times were largely negative, appraisals in modern times have been far less so. Besides this, his life and deeds have been debated by followers and opponents over the centuries. Ironically, it is through the Hadith and the Sunnah that verbal images of Muhammad have been passed down through the ages.

According to Karen Armstrong, a journalist, in her book Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet,

Muhammad by age 25, "had grown up to be good-looking, with a compact, solid body of average height. His hair and beard were thick and curly, and he had a luminous expression which was particularly striking -- it is mentioned in all the sources. He had a decisive and wholehearted character, which made him give his full attention to whatever he was doing, and this was also expressed in his physical bearing."

Clearly Muhammad is a major religious idoc and formed the second largest religion in the world and one that dominates the world stage to this day.

Top ^

< Previous Next >






















If you would like to keep in touch with the latest news on the major religions, sign-up for our newsletter.

Sign Up For Newsletter


For E-mail Newsletters you can trust






Subscribe To
This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to Pageflakes
Add to Newsgator

Muhammad:  Major Religions Of The World... Revisited