The Rise of Islam
Islam was initiated by Prophet Mohammed when he encountered Archangel Gabriel on Mount Hira. He later preached the words of Allah at the Mecca city and managed to convert some people to Islam. Mecca was composed of the other idol worshipers who felt that Mohammed was spoiling their polytheist religious activities (Lings, 2006). They chased him to Medina. Muslims made Mecca their religious city, and it remains a city of worship until today. Succession of Mohammed resulted into wars and division among Muslims. The Sunni and the Shia groups emerged from the conflict during succession. The Muslim groups held different teachings with the Sunni group that was blamed for adopting extremism and violence in the present generation.
The genesis of Islam dates back to the seventh century in Mecca. The archangel Gabriel appeared to Mohammed at night and told him to speak the words of God to the people. The angel appeared to him when on a journey of trade (Spencer, 2007). The main religious practices of that time were Judaism and Christianity. Mecca was a commercial center at the coast of Arab as well as a place of gathering of many travelers (Ramadan, 2009). Sometimes, the prophet could hear the angel but not all the time. The angel was sometimes quiet and made Mohammad doubt his calling. When Mohammad became hesitant, Gabriel sounded harsh and instituted that he teaches the words. Many traders converged there on their trade routes (Smith, 2009).
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Mohammed was a trader before he became a preacher and a prophet. Many people worshiped their gods and idols at Mecca. This town had a place called Kaaba, where many idols were placed and worshiped by their followers (Smith, 2009). Mohammed taught that Allah was the only god and that many other prophets had served Allah before (Smith, 2009). He mentioned that Moses, Abraham, and Jesus had also preached Allah’s word before (Ramadan, 2009). The other traders were not pleased with Mohammed and plotted to kill him. Most of those who wanted him killed were polytheist traders who hated the teachings of Islam. Mohammed escaped to Yathrib, which was situated on the northern side of Mecca.
Yathrin was later renamed to Medina. The people of Medina welcomed Prophet Mohammed and followed his teachings about Islam (Smith, 2009). Mohammed became a religious and political leader while at Medina. His teachings were assembled and recorded in a book called Koran. Mohammed had many followers, and his troops marched towards Mecca in a bid to use Kaaba for religious practices (Ramadan, 2009). As a result, the people of Mecca resisted. Later, the prophet Mohammed negotiated a peaceful agreement in order to allow Muslims visit Mecca for worship (Ramadan, 2009). The people in Mecca later failed to obey the requirements of the peaceful treaty. Mohammed and his troops consequently marched against Mecca and gained control of the city in a rather easy battle. Mecca became the main and holy place of worshiping Islam, but Mohammed remained in Medina (Ansary, 2010). The idols in Mecca were destroyed except for the Kaaba, which still had religious significance to Muslims.
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Mohammed’s wife Khadija died soon after the Mecca negotiation. Mohammed did not have a son to succeed him. When the prophet died, his position was taken by his wife’s father (McCarthy et al, 2010). The Muslim faith had started spreading in the Middle East mainly through battle. The Muslim troops consumed a wider area of the Sinai Desert including Jerusalem. Abu Bakr was later succeeded by Omar (Ansary, 2010). Those who achieved success in leading the Muslim group were always killed and assassinated by those who were not content with the decision. Ali came to power after the death of Abu Bakr. Ali was later selected as the next successor after Othman. The Muslims were not satisfied with Ali’s ruling and they decided to make two factions. This served as a leading factor to the formation of the Sunni and the Shia Muslim groups during the reign of Ali (Harris and Nawaz, 2015).
The religion was already transforming into political influence at the time of the division. The Sunni comprised the majority, while the number of Shia Muslims was small (Harris and Nawaz, 2015). They had battles and assassinations but later cooled in their killing spree. The Sunni believed in the teachings of Prophet Mohammed, while the Shias had their own teachings known as Ayotollahs reflections. The difference between these two Muslim factions introduced different ideologies, some of which border extremism (Spencer, 2005). The Shias blame Sunni Muslims for helping fuel violence that is currently present in the Middle East. The ISIS in Syria is an example of an extremist group fighting to protect Islamic religion (Cockburn, 2015). Some extremist terror groups are linked to Sunni teachings on war against the non-believers. Muslims and Christian wars still continue in Israel and Palestine in bid to gain control over the religious cities.
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Islam appeared when Prophet Mohammed received a vision from Archangel Gabriel. He spread his teachings, and thus gained many followers during that time. Islam faith taught by Mohammed encouraged people to be monotheist. Some people believed the teachings of Prophet Mohammed and were converted to Islam. The Sunni and the Shia Muslim groups emerged as a result of succession dispute in Mohammed’s larger family. The conflict in the present day is a result of differing teachings between the Sunni and the Shia Muslims.