Early Arabia The Bedouins were early nomadic herders of the Arabian Peninsula They crisscrossed the desert landscape in search of seasonal pasturelands. Bedouins were also good warriors for they regularly had to fight for pasturelands.
Mecca Mecca was a thriving market town in the 6 th century. Goods from as far as Africa and India passed through the markets of Mecca. Others came to worship at the Kaaba. A shrine that was, at the time, decorated with statues of gods and goddesses The Kaaba is now the central shrine of Islam.
Muhammad He was born in Mecca around 570 C.E. He became a very successful merchant and later married a wealthy business women named Khadija. When he was 40 he is said to have heard the voice of the angel Gabriel tell him to “proclaim” the message of God. Convinced by his wife to take up the call Muhammad devoted the rest of his life to spreading Islam. There won’t be a picture here because it is STRICKLY forbidden to have any representations of the Prophet Muhammad.
Early Islam Meccan merchants were angered by Muhammad and feared his new prophecies would disrupt trade. Muhammad was forced to leave Mecca and went to Yathrib (modern day Medina) to spread his message. This journey is known as the hijrah. In Medina, Muhammad gained many converts to Islam. After eight years Muhammad returned to Mecca with an army, took the city, and destroyed the idols in the Kaaba.
The Message of Islam Islam means ‘submission’ Muslim means ‘one who submits to God’ Muslims believe in one God known as Allah. The Quran is the holy book of Islam. Muslims believe people are responsible for their actions and that their will be a judgment day. Muslims have no priests or mediators between God and the people.
The Five Pillars of Islam These are the five basic duties accepted by all Muslims: – 1. Declaration of faith: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.” – 2. Prayer: Five times a day facing toward Mecca, usually at a mosque or house of worship – 3. Giving Alms: Giving to the poor and needy – 4. Fasting: 1 month a year called Ramadan. – 5. Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca (once in your lifetime)
The Quran Muslims believe the Quran contains the word of God as revealed to Muhammad. It is the final authority on all matters, including how to live your life ethically, honestly, and generously. Muslims also believe the only true Quran is written in Arabic, therefore all converts learn Arabic.
The Sharia This is the name of the Islamic law code. It regulates moral conduct, government, family life, business practices, and other aspects of Muslim life. This law code does not separate religion from criminal and civil law. This makes Islam not only a religion, but also a way of life.
People of the Book To Muslims, Jews and Christians are seen as ‘People of the Book’ Jews and Christians enjoyed religious freedom in early Muslim society. Muslims also believe the Torah and the Bible have partial revelations from God but that the Quran is his final revelation. Muslims, Jews, and Christians all: – Believe in the same God – Recognize prophets such as Abraham, Moses, and Jesus – Believe in heaven, hell, and a judgment day.
The Women of Islam Islam gives spiritual equality to women and men In early Islamic society women were given the right to inherit property, get an education, and in some cases get a divorce. However, in society men and women have very separate roles and status. Over time Muslims adopted Persian and Byzantine practices of veiling women and keeping them in one part of the home. Today the veiling and seclusion varies significantly depending on a woman’s social class and what country she lives in.