ISLAM


570--Birth of Muhammad into Quraysh, the ruling tribe of Mecca. Islamic tradition relates miraculous signs foretelling Muhammad\'s future greatness.


Orphaned and raised by an uncle Abu Talib to be a trader.


595-Muhammad marries Khadijah a rich widow several years his senior.
Earns reputation of "Al-Amin"--the faithful, for his virtue and wisdom.


610-"The Night of Power" (believed to be the 26th of Ramadan)--First revelation while meditating in a cave on Mt. Hira outside Mecca. Voices and visions eventually convince Muhammad and Khadija that they come from a monotheistic God and are collected in the "Qur\'an" (="recitations").


613-First public preaching. Muhammad wins converts from younger members of less powerful clans, slaves, tribeless persons.


Early converts include Ali his nephew, Abu-Bakr a wealthy merchant, and Uthman b. Affan who became a caliph. Muhammad soon demands that all people in Mecca join his movement.


Arouses hostility and persecutions from the Meccans, since he challenged their gods, loose morals, and social inequalities, and condemned their pagan ancestors to hell.


His condemnation of the Ka\'ba cult threatened the lucrative pilgrimage trade.


Attempts to silence him by theats, bribes and ostracism.


619-Death of Khadija and Abu-Talib, Muhammad\'s protector in his clan.


622-Converts from Yathrib offer Muhammad protection and he and about 70 Meccans move there [the \'Hijrah\']. Muhammad is invited to unite pagan Arab tribes in Yathrib in conflict with tribes converted to Judaism.


Muhammad forms the Ummah or tribe of people who accept him as prophet. He becomes the official judge-arbiter of all tribes in Yathrib (Medina).


Classes of Muslims who made up the community in al-Medinah:




o Emigrants (Muharijun) -- those who came from Mecca.
o Helpers (Ansar) -- those who received them in Medinah.
o Hypocrites -- Medinans who accepted Islam only superficially.
624-Ummah begin raids to gain independent economic standing. Ummah defeat large Quraysh force from Mecca.


628-Muhammad marches with 1000 men to take part in hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Signs treaty with Quraysh and withdraws.All pagan idols and shrines in Mecca destroyed.


631-Year of deputations. Tribes from Hijaz and Najd come to offer submission and adopt Islam. Expedition of 30,000 men against Banu Ghassan indecisive.


632- Muhammad dies after "farewell pilgrimage" to Mecca and "farewell sermon."


It was in Mecca that a relatively obscure, forty-year old citizen named Muhammad from a lower clan began to preach a new religion. In 610 AD, Muhammad revealed to his closest relatives that he had been asked by the voice of God to recite a new message to the world. He initially kept this message private among his closest relatives; three years later, however, they would persuade him to carry his recitation to a wider audience. These recitations, which Muhammad would later come to consider to be the voice of an intermediary of God, would form the heart and soul of Islam: the Qur\'an, or "Recitation."

Muhammad considered himself a "Messenger of God," or rasul Allah—a messenger of God in Islam does more than just carry a message to God\'s people, a messenger carries an entirely new and revivifying message to humanity. It was as a rasul Allah that the life of Muhammad would come down to us. Of his forty years of life before the Recitation, the only sources we have are oral traditions that construct that early life in the context of his great calling.

We do know that he came from a relatively poor clan, the Hashim, that was, in fact, the clan that headed the opposition to the wealthy merchant clans. He was born after the death of his father—this meant that he could inherit none of his father\'s property so he grew up in poverty. He became the servant and at the age of twenty-five married a wealthy widow, Khadija.

Muhammad\'s poverty in his youth and the social tensions in Mecca with bitter divisions resulting from the unequal distribution of wealth among the clans became significant aspects of the message of Islam. While the message of the Qur\'an is universal, it is also very historically specific in its content and the traditions surrounding its content. The message that Muhammad delivered was meant for very specific circumstances and many of the revelations would address specific concerns addressed to Muhammad. As far as the division of wealth and Muhammad\'s poverty, one of the fundamental messages of the Qur\'an