Arabia before Muhammad Arabs are the people of Arabia. The word Arab means “to move or pass” – meaning these people were nomadic. They were also known as “Bedouins” They were sheep and goat herders, spoke Arabic, were skilled at warfare and practiced Polytheism
Arabia before Muhammad continued A powerful Arab tribe called the Quraysh settled at an oasis called Makkah. This eventually became the city of Mecca. The Quraysh were polytheistic and made a shrine with over 300 idols called the Kaaba or Ka’ba that was at the center of the city.
Born in Mecca around 570 to a poor family. His parents died and he was given to his uncle’s nomadic family in the desert. He learned Arab traditions of helping needy members of society- the poor, widows, orphans… Muhammad’s Early Life
While living with his uncle, he was a shepherd and later became a successful trader of goods. He was known for being honest. When he was about 25 he married a wealthy widow named Khadija and became wealthy as a merchant.
Muhammad had always been a seeker of solitude. Around 610 Muhammad went to pray in a cave in the mountains. According to Islamic teachings he was visited by the angel Gabriel who told him he should “recite” and become a messenger of God.
Muhammad was scared he was going crazy, but he eventually believed he should reveal God’s message. His wife was the first convert to Islam – a monotheistic religion with the same God as Christianity and Judaism.
Muhammad’s Teachings Muhammad believed that God had many prophets (including Jesus and Moses) and that he was the last one. His main teachings include these ideas: There is only ONE God. (Allah) All believers are equal. The rich should take care of the poor. People should live righteously. All people would be subjected to a “Judgment Day”
The 5 Pillars of Faith The most basic rules of Islam are summarized in the 5 Pillars called: Shahada is the declaration of faith (only one God, Allah, and his prophet is Muhammad) Salat is the daily prayers (5 times a day) Zakat is almsgiving or charity Sawm is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan Hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca – undertaken at least once in a lifetime, followers go to touch the black stone at the Kaaba.
Muhammad could not read or write, but he remembered the messages by heart. His followers wrote them down and they became known as the Qu’ran. The beauty of the words and poetry of the book helped to convert more people.
The Sunnah The Sunnah is a book that includes the words and actions of Muhammad. It gives a guideline for how to live a good Muslim life and some of Muhammads interpretations of the Qu’ran.
Around 613 Muhammad started to teach to other Meccans. He told them to pray to ONE God, to give to the poor, and that all people were equal. This upset the wealthy leaders of the community and they threw him out.
In 622, Muhammad and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib). This journey is called the Hijrah. They increased the number of Muslims and although many Jewish leaders didn’t think he was a prophet – Muhammad took military and political control of Medina.
The Battle of Badr Muhammad built up his followers and army and after many battles and confrontations he finally returned to Mecca and defeated the powerful Quraysh tribe who controlled it. Muhammad took over Mecca in 630 A.D. He banned the worship of idols and old gods and rededicated the Ka’ba to Allah. The word Islam means: “Surrender to God”
After forgiving his former enemies, and with the wars over, Muhammad returned to Mecca in 632 to give his Last Sermon. He reminded his followers to treat each other well and be faithful to their community.