The birth of Islam

The word Islam can be translated as “submit” or as “one who submits”, one of its main facets being submission to the will of Allah . Islam is a monotheistic religion that brings together about 1.8 billion followers and that follows Allah, a name that is believed to derive from “al illah”, whose literal translation is “the God”. Born from the teachings of the Old Testament, Islam takes the premise that Jesus Christ was indeed one of many prophets of God, preceded by figures such as Noah, Abraham, David, etc., and also that Muhammad was the last and most important of all

Ubu’l Kassim (known as Muhammad) was born in the city of Mecca in the year 570. His father died shortly before he was born, and his mother when the little boy was barely 6 years old, so he was first raised and educated by his grandfather and later by Abu Talib, his great-uncle. He worked from a very young age as a camel driver in commercial caravans, which allowed him to make contact with the Syrians and the Egyptians and broaden his intellectual horizons. At the age of 25 he marries a wealthy widow named Khadijahm, giving him the chance to retreat into a life of meditation on the very meaning of existence.

At that time, the Arab religion was polytheistic, with its own pantheon made up of various gods and divinities such as djinn and angels, and among which was Allah. One of the 360 ​​temples in the city of Mecca was called “of the Black Rock» or Kaaba , a fragment of meteorite that fell to Earth and which, according to Arab tradition, was a gift from the Archangel Gabriel to the prophet Abraham.

When Muhammad was 40 years old (in the year 610) his long days of meditation began to bring with them strong convulsions and expulsion of foam at the mouth, and what he considered revelations of other entities, without actually assuring that they were angels. or demons. Unsure about what he should do, he consulted with Khadijahm, who recommended that he listen to such revelations and follow her directions, since (as she believed) they came from the same archangel Gabriel. His visions were collected by his friends over the next 22 years and up to the day of his death, hence the name Qur’an , which is an adaptation of the word “Qur’an”, translatable as recitations. or dictates.

But the expansion of his new religion was not easy at first, especially due to the reluctance of the merchants to lose their business selling cult objects for the wide range of gods and otherworldly creatures. The idea of ​​a single and omnipotent God contrasted with the commonly accepted idea of ​​the Arab pantheon, and the situation reached such a point that Muhammad and his few followers were persecuted in Mecca, being forced to leave the city together with Abu Bakr (one of his followers). ) on July 16, 622 and take refuge in a cave for 3 days. The day that Muhammad and his disciple leave the cave and set out for the city of Yathrib (July 19) is considered the first day of Islam, and that resets the Islamic calendar.

After his arrival in Yathrib he began to gain followers for his cause and such was his success that the city was renamed Medina (city of the prophet), he was appointed magistrate and ended up imposing Theocracy, a society in which religion and politics are indivisible. The figure of Muhammad was elevated to that of recognized prophet and king, using his government to continue spreading Islam among the Jews, but they did not recognize Allah as another vision of Jehovah, and this did not please Muhammad, who decreed that From that moment on, they would pray in the direction of the city of Mecca and not towards Jerusalem. He also started the persecution of the Jews who did not follow the Muslim precepts.

Muhammad’s last years passed between successive victories and defeats and continuous attempts to finance both his status in Medina and the spread of Islam through the looting of caravans, being wounded on more than one occasion. He returned to Mecca and destroyed all the idols and temples except the Kaaba, later declaring it the Holy City of Islam. After the death of Muhammad in 632 the words of the Qur’an resounded throughout most of the Arabian peninsula and his successors were called Caliphs, who further expanded the borders of Islam reaching Syria, Egypt, Persia, Jerusalem and Mesopotamia. .

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