People outside of the Islam religion credit Muhammad with “founding” the religion. But Muslims identify him differently. They believe that Muhammad is the last of a line of God’s prophets, sent to get the original religion of God back on track, to correct inaccuracies and corruptions that had seeped into the religion.
Muslims recognize Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus as God’s prophets, and their stories are part of the original religion that Mohammad was instructed to teach about. Much like the previous prophets, Mohammad warned unbelievers about the dangers of their disbelief, and how they should listen to and serve God. He also cautioned them about evil and continuing their idol worshiping practices.
Credit: 27imaginarylines.deviantart.comMuhammad was born around 570 CE to a prominent family in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. But his life was not as comfortable as one would think. His father died before he was born. His mother died when he was 6. The grandfather who cared for him after his mother died, died when he was 8. The next relative to care for him was a miserly uncle, who barely kept him fed.
The uncle was a commercial trader, and Muhammad traipsed along side of him from city to city, learning the trade routes and getting to know the leading merchants of the time. By early adulthood, he had established his reputation as a savvy and upright businessman.
At 25 years of age, a 40-year-old named Khadijah, proposed marriage to him, and Muhammad accepted.
Angel Gabriel appears
Credit: wasdarwinwrong.comMuhammad’s prayer practices included regularly praying alone in a cave on Mount Hira, outside of Mecca, where, beginning in his 40th year, the Angel Gabriel began regularly visiting him there. At first these appearances scared him, and caused him great distress. But Khadijah, his wife, believed him, and comforted him as the appearances of the great angel continued.
He began to receive messages from God in the cave as well. This disturbed him more. But, he listened and obeyed the words spoken to him, and shared what he had experienced in the cave through preaching.
The heavenly visits continued until his death, and Muhammad was given instructions from God on how to live an obedient life as an individual, a family member, and a community member. These instructions were written down, and now are the verses of the Muslims’ holy book, the Quran.
Credit: spicetrader.netEarly on Muhammad was mocked for the messages he preached and converted only those who were outcast, or had fallen out of favor with their tribes. But eventually the number of his followers grew, and to avoid persecution, Mohammad moved his followers to the city of Medina. This migration is called the Hijra, and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
He united the tribes of his followers, and after 8 years of fighting, he marched with his converts on the city of Mecca and took over the city. He destroyed all the pagan temples in the city and most of the temples in the eastern half of Arabia. After a pilgrimage back to Medina in 632, Mohammad died. By that time, most of the Arabian peninsula had been united politically with a majority converting to the Islamic religion because of Muhammad's influence and teachings.