History of Islam – Essay Example
Islam is the third world religion, along with Buddhism and Christianity that emerged at the beginning of VII century among the Arabs, the indigenous inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula. They did not make up a single nation; they were a group of tribes, mostly nomadic without central control. Most of them remained pagans. According to the ancient Semitic custom, they worshiped the Sun and the Moon, different gods and spirits, forces of nature and dead ancestors. In central Arabia fetishism ruled, which was reflected in the large stones placed on their side. The largest representation of this fetish is the famous Black Stone at the Kaaba shrine in Mecca. Surrounded by many smaller stones, symbolizing other tribal deities and spirits, the Black Stone was seen by all Arabs as the supreme, divine symbol.
Everything changed with the advent of Muhammad, born in Mecca around 1570, who was the only child of a merchant Abdallah. His father died shortly after the birth of Mohammed, and his mother passed away when he was 6 years old. He was brought up by his uncle Abu Talib. When he was 15 years old, the boy began to lead an independent life – he was tending sheep and equipped the caravans. In 595, after he married a rich widow, his life turned for the better. He began to sell skins, traveled a lot and was impressed by the Judeo-Christian belief in one god. When Muhammad was 40 years old, he had a vision of angel Dzhibryl, who gave him the holy book of the Muslims – the Koran. The angel asked him to teach people the prayer, the ritual of purification and to tell them that there is only one god – Allah. The word “Islam” means “those who have given themselves to Allah”. The Koran is written in a rhythmic prose. It became the basis for the emergence of a unified Arabic language.
At first, Islam spread very slowly and even Muhammad was forced to move to Medina in 622. Chronology of Islam begins with the time of the relocation. Here, he built a mosque and established the Islamic community. Number of followers of Islam began to grow – many Arabs lived in poverty, and Islam professed a righteous society.
In 630, Muhammad conquered Mecca and became its ruler. He forbade idolatry and ordered to destroy the pagan shrines. Some tribes converted to Islam, and some were against Muslims. Muhammad defeated them and captured many trophies, among which were 6 thousand prisoners (women and children), 24 thousand camels, 40 thousand sheep. Cattle and money was divided between the winners; women and children returned to their tribes without compensation. With such generosity and kindness, he conquered them without a fight – they adopted Islam. Prior to 632, all tribes who believed in the sacred Kaaba, have become Muslims. On June 8th, 632, Muhammad died in Medina.