As with other faiths, no definite date can be given for the beginning of the history of Islam. For anyone interested in knowing when the religion began though, learning something of its prophet is mandatory.
The Prophet Mohammed
Mohammed was born in 570 AD. He was well to do, but was drawn towards prayer and meditation. It was during his 40th year that he received the vision and message from an angel. From these visions would come the basic tenets and foundations of the new religion. From that point on he traveled around Mecca to spread the word about Allah.
622 AD: the Hegira
Faced with persecution, Mohammed and his followers left Mecca for Medina. This journey is known as the Hegira (breaking of former ties). It is one of the most vital aspects of the history of Islam.
Although in exile, the new religion spread rapidly across the Arabian Peninsula. In 630 AD he made a triumphant return to Mecca. By this time Islam had become the dominant religion among the Arabs. Furthermore it unified the once scattered and pagan nomadic tribes.
Expansion in the Middle East and Europe
Even after Mohammed’s death in 632 it continued to expand. From Arabia the Muslims marched forward and took control of Syria and the surrounding areas. The region of the Middle East had embraced the new religion.
From the Middle East the Muslims eventually reached Europe. In 700 AD the history of Islam took a pivotal turn. The Muslim armies made it to Europe. The Muslims took a particularly strong hold in Spain where its culture flourished.
During the 11th and 12th centuries, the Christians and Muslims fought numerous battles for control of Jerusalem. These became known as the Crusades. These battles were fought for several decades and played pivotal roles in shaping both religions.
Expansion in Asia
The Muslim surge in Europe was stopped from the mid to late 1400s. They were pushed back by Spain which for centuries flourished under Muslim rule. However, the religion expanded in other parts of the world. For example, in Asia it gained a stronghold in Mindanao in the Philippines.
The history of Islam and its faith were also embraced by Indonesia. Although not as prevalent in Europe now, there are still Muslims in the continent. Its presence is also being felt in parts of Africa as well.
Although it had gone through various stages, its basic tenets remain unchanged since Mohammed’s time. They believe that Allah is the only God and Mohammed is his prophet.
The Muslim must also pray at least five times a day facing the city of Mecca. Giving to the poor and fasting during the month of Ramadan is also practiced by the devoted. A pilgrimage to Mecca is also expected of Muslims who can afford to do it. Reading of the Quran, their holy book, is also performed by the devoted.
Today the Muslim religion continues to spread throughout the world. With an understanding of the history of Islam, people will be in a better position to comprehend it and avoid misapprehensions.