Friday, January 27, 2006

A brief look into the history of Islam

Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (PBUH) was born on the year 570 AD. He was born to Abdullah and Ameena in the holy city of Mecca in present day Saudi Arabia. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) found himself orphaned at the age of six when his mother Ameena died while traveling from Medina to Mecca. His father died previously, shortly after the holy prophet’s birth. Upon his mothers death the burden of raising the holy prophet fell upon his grandfather (Abdul Muttalib) and shortly after his death his uncle (Abu Talib).

Later in young adult hood the prophet became well known for his honesty and compassion for his fellow man and as such was given the name Mustapha (One who is trust worthy). As a result of this he was given the opportunity to run a caravan trading business for a widowed business woman by the name of Khadija bint al Khuwalid. After a brief period Khadija bint al khuwalid expressed an interest in marrying after witnessing his good moral character. It was not long after that Khadija and the holy Prophet were married. From the fruits of their marriage came two sons named Qasim and Tahir who passed away as infants in Mecca and four daughters named Ruqiyah, Zaynab, Umm Kulthum, and Fatima. After twenty five long and glorious years of marriage Khadija Bint al Khuwalid died at the age of 65.

During the early years of the holy prophets marriage to Khadija he would go to mount Hirat to contemplate on life when one day he was visited by the Arch Angel Gabriel (Jibreel in Arabic) who said to him `Recite!' to which the holy prophet replied, `What shall I recite?' Again the divine voice very clearly and openly called out, `Recite, O Muhammad!'
And a third time Gabriel repeated, `Recite in the Name of Your Lord Who created. He created the human being from a clot. Recite and your Lord is Most Honorable, Who taught (to write) with the pen, taught the human being what he knew not' (Al Quran 95:1-5).
This marked the beginning of Mohammad’s (pbuh) prophetic mission. The Holy Prophet Muhammad taught that Islam is an Abrahamic faith. To understand this one must understand that Islam follows the traditions of the prophet Abraham. This may be a bit confusing to some but it must be remembered that contrary to popular belief, The Prophet Abraham was not Jewish as the term Jewish did not come about until the time of the kingdom founded by the son of the prophet Jacob (Ya’qob) whose name was Yahudah. To be more precise the word Jew or Jewish is an English mistranslation of the word Yahudah which is the Hebrew word for the son of the prophet Jacob and later attributed to those people from his kingdom. The prophet Abraham in fact was a monotheist and he and his followers were referred to as Hebrews. According to Jewish sources the word "Hebrew" (in Hebrew, "Ivri") is first used in the Torah to describe the prophet Abraham (Gen. 14:13). According to the same Jewish source the term Hebrew may also be derived from the name Eber, one of Abraham's ancestors. Another Jewish tradition teaches that the word comes from the word "eyver," which means "the other side," referring to the fact that Abraham (pbuh) came from the other side of the Euphrates, or referring to the fact Abraham was separated from the other nations morally and spiritually.

On a side note, I would also like to mention that in English bibles the term Jew does appear however as stated above the term does not appear in the Jewish bible, and instead is a mistranslation.

Whatever the case may be the prophet Abraham is attributed with being the world’s first monotheist and is the fore father of a long line of prophets and the father of Ishmael and Isaac who are attributed to being the fore bearers of the two Semitic groups Arabs and Jews a like. From the line of prophets descending from the prophet Abraham we have the present day three major religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as smaller lesser known group’s one being the Sabeans (the followers of John the Baptist). It should also be mentioned that Islam accepts all of the biblical as well as thousands of other prophets who were sent to the different nations and tribes on the earth, all of which were sent by Allah to reform the nations to which they were sent. Muslims also believe that Muhammad (pbuh) was the last and final prophet and is the seal of the prophets.
The Islamic creed which serves as the foundation of Islamic teachings is the five pillars of Islam which are as follows:

1. There is no god but Allah and Muhammad Ibn Abdullah is his last and final messenger.
2. The establishment of the five daily prayers (Morning, Afternoon, Early Evening, Late evening and Night)
3. The giving of Alms (which is equal to about 2% of a persons savings) which is to be distributed to the needy
4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan (This is the month it is said the Quran was revealed to the holy Prophet)
5. The pilgrimage to Mecca (which is only to be undertaken by those who have the financial and physical means to undertake the journey)

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