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Mohammed’s Early Life. Born in 570, grew up in Mecca, orphaned at age 6 and raised by uncle Abu Tabib Married Khadija, a wealthy, older widow, at age 25; they had several children In his 30s, began to make journeys into the desert for solitary meditation

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mohammed s early life
Mohammed’s Early Life
  • Born in 570, grew up in Mecca, orphaned at age 6 and raised by uncle Abu Tabib
  • Married Khadija, a wealthy, older widow, at age 25; they had several children
  • In his 30s, began to make journeys into the desert for solitary meditation
  • According to his account, first visited by the angel Gabriel in 610 at the age of 40 while on such a journey
early preaching
Early Preaching
  • Immediately convinced his wife and family; spent 3 years only preaching to friends
  • In 613, commanded by Gabriel to commence public preaching in Mecca
  • Encountered significant resistance and hostility
    • Current Meccan religion was animism and idol worship
    • Meccan economy depended on pilgrimage
  • In 622, Mohammed forced to flee Mecca with 70 followers to escape persecution, the “Hejira”
  • Early Muslims settled in Medina, a nearby city
mohammed in medina
Mohammed in Medina
  • Early Muslims lived in poverty for years but were accepted
  • Mohammed succeeded in moulding a new social fabric based on acceptance of Islam rather than family and kinship ties
  • Revealed Islamic moral and family ethics
    • No intoxicants or gambling, usury forbidden, dietary restrictions, penalties for stealing and other crimes
    • The first code of law in Arabia
military activity
Military Activity
  • In 624 Mohammed led Muslims in an attempted caravan raid, resulted in the Battle of Bedr against the Meccan forces and a suprising victory for Mohammed
  • Mohammed ordered an attack on the resident Beni Qainuqa, a Jewish tribe, confiscating all their possessions and forcing them into exile
    • Muslim position is that this was in response to an “ugly incident” involving a young girl and refusal to pay blood-money
  • Mohammed won the loyalty of the desert Bedouin tribes in the course of both raiding their camps and preaching to the emmissaries they sent
  • Two more Jewish tribes who had been living in Medina were eventually attacked and looted, the last one was also massacred
    • Accounts differ on the motivation; the Muslim historians claim the Jews had been plotting with Mohammed’s enemies but agree they were killed
  • Various political opponents of Mohammed were assasinated
    • Account of Abu Afak and others
    • Muslim sources agree he was killed but deny Mohammed’s part
conquest of mecca and death of mohammed
Conquest of Mecca and Death of Mohammed
  • Over the course of 6 years Mohammed had several additional encounters with the Meccan forces, mostly successful against significant odds, generally increasing his military prestige
  • In 630 Mohammed led a force of 10,000 including Muslims including converts from Medina and the Bedouin tribes against Mecca, which surrendered without a fight
  • In 632 Mohammed died from illness
after mohammed
After Mohammed
  • Abu Bekr named first Caliph (“successor”)
  • Words of Mohammed gathered immediately and standardized into the Koran
  • Some of the desert tribes attempted to break away from Islam, but the new Caliph suppressed these attempts with miliary force
age of islamic conquest
Age of Islamic Conquest

634 Raids into Syria

638 Conquest of Jerusalem

639 Conquest of Syria

640 Conquest of Egypt

651 Persia completely subdued

670-677 Failed attempt to capture Byzantium

700 All lands from the Atlantic coast of Africa to western India under Muslim rule

713 Spain conquered to the Pyrennees

732 Islam turned back in France under Charles Martel

success of conquests
Success of Conquests
  • Islamic forces fought with great ferocity and cohesion
  • Desert warriors had superior mobility
  • Empires of the time (Persia and Byzantine) were decadent and exhausted by war
  • Islam offered a more equal and religiously tolerant society than the other empires of the time
    • Tolerance was for Judaism and Christianity; pagan religions were given choice of conversion or death
  • Status of women was improved
  • The Arabs ruled as an overlord class
  • All wars “defensive”
golden age of islam
Golden Age of Islam
  • lasted from 800 to 1200 AD
  • Arab overlords ruled their empire but allowed subject peoples to exist and prosper
  • Advances were made in the sciences, especially astronomy and mathematics
  • Knowledge of ancient Greece and Rome was preserved during European Dark Ages
  • Conversion to Islam was pursued sporadically, encouraged by tax and power structure
rest of islamic history
Rest of Islamic History

1079-1500 Main Crusading period

1219 Mongol advance ends the Golden Age

1453 Final capture of Byzantium by Islamic Turkish Ottoman Empire

1492 Reconquest of Spain by Crusading armies completed

1683 “High water mark” of Islam in Eastern Europe as Vienna is beseiged but holds out

1684-1918 Gradual decay of Ottoman Empire

1800-1930 Colonial Period

1945 Dismantling of European Colonialism

major beliefs
Major Beliefs
  • “Strict monotheism”
    • Idol worship strictly forbidden
  • Five Pillars of Islam
    • Declaration of faith
    • Prayer 5 times daily
    • Fasting during Ramadan
    • Zakah--charity toward poor
    • Hajj--pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime
    • (Jihad--”struggle”)
  • Sharia (Islamic Law)
    • Based on the Koran
    • Punishments for theft, adultery, apostasy
  • “House of Islam” and “House of War”
religious tolerance in islam
Religious Tolerance in Islam
  • Islam was more tolerant than other religions through much of history, but less so than modern democracies
  • “People of the Book” ie Christians and Jews may worship as they please subject to the following conditions:
    • Worship occurs within a church or synagogue, not in public or where Muslims might see or hear
    • No new religious buildings may be constructed
    • Non-Muslims must pay the Jizya, a special tax
    • In modern Islam, attempts to convert Muslims are usually illegal and carry severe penelties in some countries
  • Pagan religions are forbidden
  • Non-Muslims are forbidden from living in (Saudi) Arabia
  • Not all points fully followed at various times in history
islam today
Islam Today
  • There are 1 billion Muslims worldwide today
  • Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world; by some estimates having increased 5 times over the past 50 years; some Western European countries are experiencing dramatic growth in their Muslim populations
  • 85% of Muslims are non-Arabic; Indonesia is the largest Muslim country
  • In the US there are 3 million Muslims, with mosques in most cities
discussion questions
Discussion Questions

1) Discuss personal contacts you may have had with Muslims

2) A great deal is said about the unity of all religions and the similarities between them. As Christians, do we have a duty to evangelize to Muslims, or should we leave them with their own religion?

3) Many points were brought up in the history; feel free to discuss whichever groups members find most interesting. Does the history have any relevance for us today?

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