In the city of Mecca around 570 AD a baby was born to the poor clan of
"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
In the city of Mecca, around 570 A.D. a baby was born to the poor clan of Hashim, in the large, well respected tribe of Quraish. Little did anyone know that this baby, named Muhammad would shake the foundation of middle-eastern civilization and later change the world. Muhammad never knew his father because of his untimely death before Muhammad's birth, and then later he last his mother at the age of merely six years. He would be raised and educated by his uncle Abu Talib, and grew up in the same way as any other normal Arabian child.
In his early life the only real apparent difference between him and other children was his morals and honest nature. Muhammad like any other Arabian grew up to be a trader and because of the way he always dealt honestly earned him the name al-Amin, or the trusted one. He was a successful trader and eventually went on to manage the rich widow Khadija's business. Khadija found Muhammad not only to be a very good businessman, but also an honest and caring person. When Muhammad was 25, Khadija offered him marriage and they were married.
Muhammad began preaching the Islamic faith years later after he received his revelations from god. In a rough outline of what god revealed to him, Muhammad believed that he was the last prophet and the only one whom anyone should listen to. Even the prophets of old were to be ignored and if the people did not listen to Muhammad they were eventually doomed to death and destruction of the hand of god.
His following started out slowly with his first followers being his cousin Ali and his wife Khadija. He then began the preaching of his Koran, what his revelations from god eventually came to be called. These sermons attracted small amounts of followers, yet attracted many well-known prominent individuals. Overall Muhammad's movement did not take off and fly like fire until later.
Some of the things Muhammad was preaching began to face opposition. Among these was his insistence that there was a great need for the social reform that including upgrading the treatment and overall lifestyle of poor people, slaves, orphan children, and the woman population in general. He also wanted to unite the tribes not by traditional loyalties, but by their similarity in the Islamic faith. This ticked off the real force, the rich merchants, and brought stiff opposition in the city he needed the most help, Mecca. They very much disliked the idea of reform and more equality and became very powerful enemies against Muhammad's movement. They began to persecute some of Muhammad's followers and raised havoc in general for the movement. Since Muhammad did not want to have his own people hurt or persecuted, he ordered 83 families to move to Ethiopia in 615 AD., until things settled down or he came to join them.
Then tragedy struck for Muhammad when his uncle Abu Talib and wife Khadija died in 619. Not only did he lose his uncle and beloved wife he also lost the social protection that his well-respected uncle gave him. Another blow hit Muhammad when he attempted to convert the nearby town of Attaif. His attempt failed and if he did not find some way to raise a following or get his social respect back he would be crushed like a bothersome ant by the powerful merchants who despised him.
The luck of his god seemed to swing his way in the form of a delegation from the city of Medina, then known as Yathrib. They told him that they desperately needed his help in quelling the tribal feuds that would soon destroy Medina and offered him considerable sway in the government, almost as a dictator. Accepting their offer after negotiations were done, Muhammad, along with his followers made the 186 mile trip north to Medina. Later this move would be known as the Hegira or emigration, and would mark the first day in the Islamic calendar. The decision of Muhammad to leave Mecca was very timely because the merchants that had despised him so much were plotting his death and in perhaps a month more, the prophet Muhammad would never have been able to preach again. . . He would have been dead.
View Full Essay