Islam has been a dominant throughout the years and continues to rise everyday. Islam is growing so quickly that is expected to become the biggest religion in the world as soon 2070. To understand why this religion is growing so quickly we must understand it’s origins. This essay will explore the life of Muhammad (the creator of Islam), how he created it, and what happened to it after his death.
Muhammad was born in 570 in the town of Mecca to Abd Allah bin Al-Muttalib and Amina bint Wahb and would be their only child. His father died before he could ever see his son so, he was left in the care of his mother. His mother raised him for a short while and followed tradition and entrusted her son to a wet nurse of another tribe where he learned Arabic.
When Muhammad was around six, his mother took him to a town called Yathrib to visit family and his father’s grave. On the way home, Muhammad’s mother became ill and died. His nurse took him to Mecca to be put under the care of his grandfather. Muhammad’s grandfather was a prominent leader in Mecca and Muhammad would get his first tastes of the political scene during this time.
Muhammad’s grandfather would die when he was about eight in 578 and he was then placed under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. He would spend the rest of his teen years with his uncle. Muhammad worked as a shepherd to help provide for him and his uncle. Since his uncle was also a merchant, he would sometimes travel around the middle east stopping at trade centers.
When Muhammad was in his twenties he started working for a wealthy merchant named Khadija bint Khawalayd. Muhammad would carry her goods to the north and bring her the profits. Khadija was impressed with character and proposed marriage. Muhammad would get married in 595 when he was twenty-four and Khadija was almost forty. Muhammad would keep taking care of Khadija’s merchant business and would also had six children. He had two sons that died in infancy and four daughters.
It was around this time Muhammad claimed to have his first revelations. Muhammad didn’t like how materialistic the town of Mecca had become and started fasting and meditating about it. Muhammad claimed to be visited by an overwhelming presence that he thought could have only been God himself. Muhammad started by sharing his message with his family and later spread it to the rest of his tribe. These messages would make up the Qur’an and the foundation for Islam.
The Qur’an contained five basic pillars all muslims were expected to follow. These are faith, prayer, obligatory charity, fasting, and pilgrimage. The pillar of faith is simply to recite what muslims believe, “ There is none worthy of worship except God (Allah) and Muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of God.” Muslims believe that the only purpose in life is to serve and obey God which can only be done through Muhammad’s teachings.
The next pillar prayer. The prayer pillar represents the five prayers that are supposed to be done everyday and link the worshipper and God. Since there is no priest in Islam it is usually lead by someone who knows the Qur’an well and is chosen by the congregation. The payers are held at dawn, mid-day, late-afternoon, sunset and nightfall. The five prayers contain verses from the Qur’an and are to be said in Arabic but can be substituted with the worshippers native language. Prayers are usually done in groups in mosques but can also be done just about anywhere.
The next pillar is obligatory charity. In Islam, everything belongs to God and it is left in human trust. Muslims believe that your possessions are purified if you sit aside a certain amount to give to those in need. Each Muslim figures out their own obligatory charity. This usually includes 2.5% of someone’s wealth without including primary residence, car, and anything they need for their profession. Giving is not limited to the 2.5% and more can be given. Giving is not even limited to financial gifts and can be done through other means. Muhammad says if someone has nothing they are to work and give their earnings to charity. No matter what, a Muslim should be giving.
The next pillar is fasting. Every year in the month of Ramanda-n, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunrise to sunset. Muslims are expected to fats from food, drink, and sexual relations. Exceptions can be made for those who are unable to fast during the month but they are expected to make up the days. Children usually began once they hit puberty but can start earlier if they want to. The Qur’an says, “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint.” (Quran 2:183). Fasting makes Muslims more aware of God’s presence.
The final pillar is pilgrimage. In the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar year, every Muslim that is physically and financially able is expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Every Muslim wears special clothes to show that all people are equal under God. People travel from all over the world to complete this pilgrimage and over two million people congregate in Mecca at a time. This gives Muslims the chance to have fellowship with other Muslims from different nations. The Pilgrimage itself includes going around the Kaaba seven times like Abraham’s wife did when she was searching for water and is followed by all Muslims joining together in the plains of Arafat to pray to God for forgiveness. After these are complete, there is a festival to celebrate the end of the pilgrimage.
Not all liked Muhammad’s new religion though. The Meccans did not agree with Muhammad and led to three major battles through 624-628. These battles included: The Battle of Badr, The Battle of Uhud, and The Battle of the Trench and the Siege of Medina. The Muslims won The Battle of Badr, lost The Battle of Uhud, and survived the Siege of Medina. After this Muhammad would sign a peace treaty with the Meccans that they would breach a year later.
In 630, Muhammad gathered his forces and marched on Mecca. The Meccans saw they were vastly outnumbered and joined Muhammad. Muhammad would then spend the next two years conquering most of the Arabian Peninsula and “converted” many to Islam. In 632, Muhammad would be joined by many other Muslims for his last pilgrimage to Mecca. He returned to Medina and died three months later on June 8, 632 and was buried in a mosque.
Muhammad started his religion as a peaceful one but quickly switched it to violence when times of war came. Muhammad’s last teachings were those of war and conquest. Muhammad has left an interesting legacy as it includes peace and war. Because of his conquest, Islam is one of the biggest world religions to date.