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                        "THE RELIGION OF ISLAM"

                         The Origins Of Islam


1. Recent events in the Middle East and the U.S. has brought the
   religion of Islam to the public eye and generated much interest...
   a. The hostage crisis in Iran in the late 1970s
   b. The war with Iraq in the early 1990s
   c. The attack on the World Twin Towers and the Pentagon in 2001
   d. The U.S. war against international terrorism in response
   e. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past fifty years

2. The increasing popularity of Islam has also caught the attention of
   a. It is estimated there were 1.6 billion (one-fourth of the world
      population) Muslims in 1998
   b. Many live in the Arab world (120 million)
   c. Many more live in countries such as Iran, India, Pakistan,
      Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, remnants
      of the USSR, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Sudan
   d. It is the world's fastest growing religion...
      1) It has grown 235% from 1935 to 1983 ("Christianity" - 47%)
      2) An estimated 10 million Muslims reside in the United States
      3) 34,000 Americans have converted to Islam following the events
         of September 11 (the highest rate of conversion since Islam
         arrived in America)
      -- Islamic Web (http://islamicweb.com/begin/statistics.htm)

3. Such growth can be attributed to a number of different factors...
   a. High birth rates
   b. Militant and evangelistic fervor
   c. Independence of Islamic countries
   d. Wealth (oil)
   e. Education in other countries

4. Christians need to become more familiar with Islam...
   a. To better understand world events, our neighbors, and in some
      cases, our enemies
   b. To be able to share the gospel of Christ with those who in many
      cases know the Bible better than many professing "Christians"

[In view of the need to understand the religion of Islam, let's take a
brief look at the origins of Islam...]


      1. They believe Abraham (together with his son Ishmael) rebuilt,
         in what is now Mecca, the first temple in the world for the
         worship of a single God (whose name in Arabic is Allah)
      2. That Moses, David, Jesus, and others were prophets sent from
         a. That God delivered the Torah to Moses, but it was corrupted
            by the Jews
         b. That God delivered the Gospel to Jesus, but it was distorted
            by the apostles
      3. "Muslims believe in all Messengers of Allah without any
         discrimination among them, as every known nation has a Warner
         or messenger from Allah. They were chosen by God to teach
         humanity and deliver His Divine message. The Qur'an mentions
         the name of some of them including Jews including Adam, Noah,
         Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron,
         David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus
         (peace be upon them)." - IslamicWeb.com
      4. "Muslims believe in all original scriptures and revelations of
         Allah, accepting them as the guiding light that the messengers
         received to show their respective people the right path to Him.
         However, some of these books and revelations had been lost or
         corrupted before the revelation of the Qur'an. The only
         authentic and complete book of Allah in existence today is the
         Qur'an, which has been preserved as it was revealed to prophet
         Muhammad through Angel Gabriel in its pristine, pure form."
         - ibid.

      1. "In Islam there can be no confusion or doubt that Muhammad was
         a man, and only a man, chosen by the Creator to fulfill a
         divine mission as a prophet. Muhammad's mission was literally
         to 'read' what Allah had ordered and ordained, nothing more.
         The Prophet received his revelations from God, sometimes in
         solitude, sometimes in the presence of others. Words flowed
         from his mouth in a way that others described as inspired. This
         was Muhammad's wahy (divine inspiration or revelation). Muslims
         believe that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah expressed through
         the revelations to the Prophet." - Introduction To Islam,
         M. Cherif Bassiouni
      2. "The history of the Prophet, his deeds and sayings, were at
         first memorized by his companions and passed on as oral record.
         They were first comprehensively recorded by the historian Ishaq
         ibn Yasar (ca. 768). Later the deeds and sayings of the Prophet
         (the hadith), the circumstances surrounding their occurrence,
         and the evidence of those who first witnessed and reported them
         to others were recorded by a number of scholars." - ibid.

[Muslims thus believe that Islam goes back even to Adam, Noah, and
Abraham.  They base this on the proclamations of Muhammad.  Because of
the significance of Muhammad and his successors to Islam, it is
beneficial to have at least a basic understanding of...]


      1. 570 - Born into the leading tribe Quraysh of the town of Mecca
         a. Father dies before his birth, his mother dies when he was
            six years old
         b. Raised by his grandfather, then his uncle Abu Talib
         c. Name means "highly praised," and many have taken name since
      2. As a youth, he travels with trading caravans and is exposed to
         many teachings, including Judaism and Christianity
      3. 595 - At age 25, he marries a widow named Khadija fifteen years
         his senior, who becomes a devoted companion
      4. 610 - Claims to receive the first revelations of the Qur'an from
         the angel Gabriel...
         a. In a cave on the summit of Mt. Hira, where he often went to
            pray and fast
         b. Commissioned to be the Messenger of God, to reveal the word
            of Allah
         c. A process involving a series of revelations lasting the rest
            of his life (23 yrs)
         d. Illiterate, he recited while others wrote words
      5. 612 - Begins teaching in a religiously volatile atmosphere
         a. Pagans influenced by idolatry did not like his monotheism
         b. Jews and Christians balked at his claim of revelations
         c. He converts his wife, his cousin Ali, and friend Abu Bakr
         d. In three years, forty people accept Islam
         e. Relations with his tribe (the Quraysh) become tense;
            persecution of Muslims begins
         f. In 615 he encourages 80 Muslims to emigrate to Abyssinia
            (Ethiopia) for safety
      6. 616 - Persecution of Muslims in Mecca intensifies
         a. A ban against marrying or trading with the Muslims lasts two
            years, causing food shortages
         b. Shortly after the ban is lifted, his beloved wife Khadija
         c. In 619 his uncle and protector Abu Talib dies, exposing
            Muhammad to great risk
      7. 620 - Arabs from Yathrib (Medina) make contact
         a. The envoys convert to Islam; pledge not to fight the Muslims
         b. Invite Muhammad to come to Yathrib and lead their ummah
      8. 621 - The events of al-Israa and al-Miraaj supposedly take
         a. al-Israa - Gabriel takes Muhammad to Jerusalem and back in
            one night
            1) From the Kabah in Mecca to what is now known as The Dome
               Of The Rock
            2) Muhammad meets Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others
         b. al-Miraaj - Muhammad taken to the heavens to see the signs
            of God
      8. 622 - Muhammad and seventy families flee to Yathrib (Medina)
         (250 miles N)
         a. Leaders of the tribe of Quraysh plot to kill him; Gabriel
            warns Muhammad to flee
         b. Called hijrah ("the Night of Migration"); this marks the
            beginning of the Muslim era
         c. Residents of Mecca view the hijrah as a defection; vow
      9. 624 - Two major developments occur
         a. The change of qiblah (direction of prayer); toward Mecca
            instead of Jerusalem
            1) Muhammad tells the congregation to turn around and pray
               toward Mecca
            2) This began to distinguish them from Judaism and
         b. The adoption of ghazu (raid), raiding caravans for booty to
            support families
            1) Muhammad leads a band to intercept the largest Meccan
               caravan for that year
            2) This leads to the Battle of Badr, in which Muslims defeat
               a large Meccan army
     10. 625 - The Battle of Uhud, outside Medina
         a. Army of Mecca defeats the Muslims
         b. Jewish tribes of Qaynuqah and Nadir expelled from Medina for
            collaborating with Mecca
         c. In 626 he began to take several wives; favorite is Aisha
            (daughter of Abu Bakr)
     11. 627 - The Battle of the Trench
         a. Muslims (3000) defeat a much larger Meccan army (10,000)
         b. Followed by the massacre of 700 men of the Jewish tribe of
            Qurayzah, their women and children sold as slaves
            1) For their support of the Meccans against the Muslims,
               perceived as betrayal
            2) It did not lead to hostility toward Jews in general
     12. 628 - Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
         a. Peace is made between Medina and Mecca
         b. Muhammad now the most powerful man in Arabia
     13. 630 - Meccans violate the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah
         a. Muhammad marches on Mecca with a large army of Muslims and
            their allies
         b. Mecca concedes defeat without a fight
         c. Muhammad takes the city without bloodshed; no one forced to
            convert to Islam
         d. He destroys the idols around the Kabah (believed to have
            been built by Adam, rebuilt by  Abraham and Ishmael),
            rededicating it to Allah, and gives the old pagan rites of
            the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) an Islamic significance
     14. 632 - Muhammad dies; Abu Bakr elected as his khalifah
         a. Virtually all the tribes of Arabia had joined the ummah
            (Muslim community) either as converted Muslims or
         b. Single-handedly, Muhammad had brought peace to war-torn
      -- Adapted from the chronology in Islam - A Short History, by
         Karen Armstrong, also helpful was The Biography Of Prophet
         Muhammad, by Dr. A. Zahoor and Dr. Z. Haq

      1. 632-34 - The caliphate of Abu Bakr, Muhammad's close friend and
         early follower, whose rule was chiefly preoccupied by the wars
         of riddah (apostasy)
         a. Usamah leads expedition to Syria. Battles of Zu Qissa and
            Abraq. Battles of Buzakha, Zafar and Naqra. Campaigns
            against Bani Tamim and Musailima, the Liar.
         b. Campaigns in Bahrain, Oman, Mahrah Yemen, and Hadramaut.
            Raids in Iraq. Battles of Kazima, Mazar, Walaja, Ulleis,
            Hirah, Anbar, Ein at tamr, Daumatul Jandal and Firaz.
         c. Battles of Basra, Damascus and Ajnadin. Death of Abu Bakr.
      2. 634-44 - The caliphate of Umar ibn al-Katthab, another
         associate of Muhammad who preserved the unity of the ummah by
         extending the ghazu (raids) to neighboring countries
         a. Battles of Namaraq and Saqatia
         b. Battle of Bridge. Battle of Buwaib. Conquest of Damascus.
            Battle of Fahl.
         c. Battle of Yermuk. Battle of Qadsiyia. Conquest of Madain.
         d. Conquest of Syria. Fall of Jerusalem (638). Battle of
         e. Conquest of Jazirah. Conquest of Khuizistan. Advance into
         f. Capture of the post of Caesaria in Syria. Conquest of
            Shustar and Jande Sabur in Persia. Battle of Babylon in
            Egypt.  Battle of Nihawand. Conquest Of Alexandria in Egypt.
         g. Battle of Rayy in Persia. Conquest of Egypt. Conquest of
            Azarbaijan and Tabaristan (Russia).
         h. Conquest of Fars, Kerman, Sistan, Mekran and Kharan.
         i. Martyrdom of Umar (assassinated by a Persian prisoner of war
            in a mosque of Medina)
      3. 644-56 - The caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan, another associate
         of Muhammad who continued the ghazu
         a. Campaigns in Khurasan, Armeain and Asia Minor.
         b. Campaigns in North Africa. Conquest of the island of
         c. Campaigns against the Byzantines.
         d. Naval battle of the Masts against the Byzantines.
         e. Discontentment and disaffection against the rule of Uthman.
         f. Martyrdom of Uthman (assassinated by discontented Muslim
            soldiers who proclaim Ali ibn Abi Talib as the new caliph)
      4. 656-660 - The caliphate of Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin of
         Muhammad. A five year civil war ensues, known as the first
         fitnah (time of temptation)
         a. Battle of the Camel.  Aisha, Muhammad's wife and others lead
            a rebellion against Ali for not avenging Uthman's murder.
            They are defeated.
         b. In Syria the opposition is led by Uthman's kinsman Muawiyyah
            ibn Abi Sufyan
         c. An attempt to arbitrate leads to Muawwiyyah deposing Ali and
            proclaiming himself caliph in Jerusalem
         d. Ali is murdered by a Kharajite extremist.  Ali's supporters
            acclaim his son Hasan as the next caliph, but he abdicates
            and Muawiyyah becomes caliph who starts what becomes known
            as the Umayyad dynasty (moving the capital from Medina
            to Damascus)
      -- Adapted from the chronology in Islam - A Short History, by
         Karen Armstrong; also from the chronology at Islamic Web


1. This has been a brief look at the first generation of Muslims in the
   period of Muhammad and the first thirty years after his death

2. The first four successors to Muhammad are known as the Rashidun
   ("rightly guided" caliphs)...
   a. They were companions of the prophet Muhammad
   b. "...their period of rule would be just as formative as that of the
      Prophet himself.  Muslims would define themselves and their
      theology according to the way they assess the turbulent, glorious
      and tragic events of these years." - Karen Armstrong, ibid.
   -- The importance of knowing the history of Muhammad's life, and that
      of his immediate successors, will become apparent in a later study

3. In view of such a turbulent and violent history, can Islam truly be a
   religion of peace...?
   a. Its adherents say "Yes!", and most Muslims today are very peaceful
   b. "The word 'Islam' is derived from the same root as the words
      salaam (peace) and silm (the condition of peace). Islam means to
      abandon oneself in peace. A Muslim, consequently, is one who in
      peace gives or surrenders himself or herself to God. Islam means
      accepting the faith freely - heart, mind, and soul. Surrendering
      to Islam, as a result, means giving oneself to belief without
      reservation, accepting the tenets of faith, and following both the
      letter and the spirit of the Qur'an's prescriptions."
      - Introduction To Islam, M. Cherif Bassiouni
   c. Yet there are elements of Islam as proclaimed by Muhammad that
      cause many non-Muslims to wonder

In our next study, we will take a look the holy book of Islam, the
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