A few centuries after the spread of Christianity, a new religion began to emerge in the Arabian Peninsula. Islam, the Arabic word for submission, began to spread like wildfire. Unlike Christianity, Islamic beliefs weren’t ambiguous and the lack of incompetent leaders helped propel Islam to exponential success. In a short amount of time, Islam went from being a shunned, persecuted belief to a righteous phenomenon with a strong following.
Islam began circa 610 CE with Muhammad, a merchant from the populated, trading town of Mecca. Born in 570, Muhammad grew up with a lack of an education, but was always a man of religion, learning from Judaism and Christianity alike. At the age of 40, he abandoned his life as a merchant and dedicated his life to religion. Spending most of his time in meditation, Muhammad received visions from Allah, the Arabic word for God. On one occasion, Muhammad saw a vision from the angel Gabriel which instructed him to deliver these messages from Allah to his people.
Muhammad began preaching these visions and his beliefs in Mecca. However, being that the inhabitants of Mecca were polytheists, he was seen as a blasphemous traitor. Fearing persecution for his beliefs, Muhammad traveled north to the city of Medina. This journey from Mecca to Medina is known as Hjira, which also marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar. In Medina, Muhammad was free to preach these revelations from Allah. He would preach about the one God and how nothing else should be worshiped. Muhammad captivated the minds of many people and he established quite a following in a short amount of time.
Muhammad gathered an army of nearly 10,000 followers and he and his fellow Muslims, followers of Islam, traveled to Mecca to take the holy land. With little resistance, Muhammad easily took over Mecca and destroyed all the pagan idols. Muhammad composed the Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam, which tells of the visions he received and the guidelines of being a good…