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History Of Islam
When Charles Martel defeated the Muslims in Spain and stopped their advance into greater Europe (Ahmed 67)0, he most likely did not know just how much of an effect his victory had on the history of not only Europe, but of the known world. The fact that Islam may have overtaken the rest of the world had it not been for that crucial battle attests to the strength of this relatively new religion. If the strength of the religion is dependent upon those who start it, then it is important to analyze the life of the one key character in history who began it all. That key character is Muhammad, the man that is known as the first and last true prophet of Islam.
Muhammad, the great prophet and founder of Islam, was born in 570 AD, and was soon an orphan without parents. He was raised by a family of modest means and was forced to work to support himself at an early age. He worked with a travelling caravan as a driver and at the age of twenty-five, married his employer, a woman by the name of Khadija, by which he had four daughters and no sons.
In Mecca, the Ka\'ba had long been a pagan pilgrimage site. A black stone, which had fallen to the earth, was kept in the cube that also held 360 idols representing different gods and prophets, one for each degree of the earth. The environment in which Muhammad was raised was a polytheistic society that had a strong emphasis on religion but not religious purity. This clear lack of religious dedication upset Muhammad greatly, and he began to speak out against the practice of idolatry. By this time Muhammad had gained a large following. By the age of forty, Muhammad began to receive visits from the angel Gabriel, who recited God\'s word to him at irregular intervals. These recitations, known as the Qur\'an, were compiled by Muhammad\'s followers around 650 or 651. The basic message Muhammad received was that of submission.
The very word Islam means "surrender" or "submission". The submission is to the will of Allah, the one and only true God. Muslims are those who have submitted themselves. The basic theme of Islam is very simple and clear: There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah (Denny 67-70). Islam teaches that there is one God, the creator and sustainer of the universe. Muhammad taught his followers that this God, Allah, is compassionate and just. Further, he taught them that because He is compassionate, He calls all people to believe in Him and worship Him. Because He is also just, on the Last Day He will judge every person according to his deeds. On the Last Day, all the dead will be resurrected and either rewarded with heaven or punished with hell. On the last day, or judgment day, the same holds true in Muhammad\'s Islamic teachings as does in modern day Christian beliefs, the dead will be resurrected and either rewarded with heaven or punished with hell.
When Muhammad and his followers began to speak out against the pagan and immoral practices in Mecca and began teaching the above doctrine, they threatened the trade brought in by the pilgrims, which enraged the local merchants. Under serious persecution, Muhammad and his followers fled to the town of Medina, 240miles north of Mecca, in 622. This event has become known as the Hegira and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
While in Medina, Muhammad and his men trained not only in religious aspects, but also trained to be mighty warriors. They attacked caravans going to and from Mecca for supplies and new recruits. They gathered more support as the years went on and became a powerful force ready for battle. In630, that battle came. Muhammad and his men attacked and seized Mecca in 630 and destroyed all of the 360 idols within the Ka\'ba, with the exception of the sacred stone, which is still a revered Muslim artifact. It was during the Medina years that the basics of the Islamic beliefs came into focus.
Firstly, all followers were to be fair and just in all that they did, including business actions. They were also expected to be completely
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