I. A Prophet and His World A. Muhammad and His Message 1. The Arabian peninsula a. Nomadic Bedouin lived in the desert-covered peninsula for millennia 1. Kept herds of sheep, goats, and camels 2. Organized in family and clan groups 3. Importance of kinship and loyalty to the clan b. Post-classical Arabia, active in long-distance trade c. An important link between India/China and Persia/Byzantium 2. Muhammad’s early life a. Muhammad ibn Abdullah born in a Mecca merchant family, 570 C. E. b. Difficult early life, married a wealthy widow, Khadija, in 595 c. Became a merchant at age 30, exposed to various faiths . Muhammad’s spiritual transformation a. At age 40, he experienced visions 1. There was only one true god, Allah (“the god”) 2. Allah would soon bring judgment on the world 3. The archangel Gabriel delivered these revelations to Muhammad b. Did not intend to found a new religion, but his message became appealing 4. The Quran a. Followers compiled Muhammad’s revelations b. Quran (“recitation”), became the holy book of Islam c. A work of magnificent poetry B. Muhammad’s Migration to Medina 1. Conflict at Mecca a. His teachings offended other believers, especially the ruling elite of Mecca b. Attacks on greed offended wealthy merchants c. Attacks on idolatry threatened shrines, especially the black rock at Ka’ba 2. The hijra a. Under persecution, Muhammad and followers fled to Medina, 622 C. E. b. The move, known as hijra, was the starting point of the Islamic calendar 3. The umma a. Organized a cohesive community called umma in Medina b. Led commercial adventure, sometimes launched raids against Mecca caravans c. Helped the poor and needy 4. The “seal of the prophets” a. Referred himself as the “seal of the prophets,” – the final prophet of Allah b. Held Hebrew scriptures and New Testament in high esteem . Determined to spread Allah’s wish to all humankind C. The Establishment of Islam in Arabia 1. Muhammad’s return to Mecca a. He and his followers conquered Mecca, 630 b. Imposed a government dedicated to Allah c. Destroyed pagan shrines and built mosques 2. The Ka’ba a. The Ka’ba shrine was not destroyed b. In 632, Muhammad led the first Islamic pilgrimage to the Ka’ba 3. The Five Pillars of Islam a. Obligations taught by Muhammad, known as the Five Pillars b. The Five Pillars bound the umma into a cohesive community of faith 4. Islamic law: the sharia a. Emerged during the centuries after Muhammad b. Detailed guidance on proper behavior in almost every aspect of life c. Drew inspiration especially from the Quran d. Through the sharia, Islam became more than a religion, but also a way of life II. The Expansion of Islam A. The Early Caliphs and the Umayyad Dynasty 1. The caliph a. Upon Muhammad’s death, Abu Bakr served as caliph (“deputy”) b. Became head of the state, chief judge, religious leader, military commander 2. The expansion of Islam a. Between 633-637, seized Byzantine Syria, Palestine, and most of Mesopotamia b.
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