Rise of Islam

Over one billion Muslims in the World today represent over 22% of world’s population. Islamic community has its roots in a unified past dating back to 1400 years ago in Arabia. Life in Arabia was influenced by harsh desert climate. In terms of political unity, people were organized into many tribes (Qabila). In Religion, each tribe had its own deity. All worshipped Kaaba, which became a pilgrimage place. Arabs had notion of Supreme God but preferred their idols and shrines. Kaaba – The Shrine of Quraysh, Prophet Muhammad’s tribe, was controlled by latter.

Prophet Mohammed, born at Mecca, was orphaned early. He was raised by his maternal uncle, Abu Talib. In his career, he became a successful merchant. As he developed an inclination towards religion, Muhammad withdrew to a cave. Muslims believe that he got the Divine Call when angel Gabriel visited him. Through his teachings, Mohammad declared himself God’s messenger (Rasul) and inspired people to believe in one God, Allah. Acceptors of Muhammad’s doctrine were called Muslims. Various tribes turned hostile towards Mohammad and his followers, who migrated to Medina in 622 CE. This event, called Hijra (migration), marked beginning of Muslim calendar.

Mohammad and his followers found support in Medina, which led to formation of a political order. By 630 CE, Mecca was conquered. All pagan shrines were destroyed except Kaaba, which became focal point of Muslim pilgrimage. Mohammad died in 632 CE. Mohammad’s New Faith of Islam means submission to God’s will. Many people accepted Mohammad’s teachings, compiled as Koran. Teachings of Islam are centered on principles of Monotheism, Judgement Day and Equality of all men. Certain religious practices in Islam are Shahada, Namaz, Zakat, Roza and Hajj.

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