The Arab prophet who founded Islam (570-632 a.d.) He was born into the clan of a powerful Meccan family. He was orphaned at age six and was then raised by his grandfather and his uncle. He received little schooling and began working in the caravan trade as a very young man. At 25, he became a trader and business manager for Khadijah, a wealthy businesswoman of about 40. Later, they were married. It was a good marriage and partnership. He took great interest in religion and meditated a lot. When he was around 40, he was meditating in a cave outside Mecca and he heard the voice of Angel Gabriel. Allah spoke through him and Muhammad realized he was the last of the prophets. He taught that Allah was the one and only god. Islam means submission to the will of Allah and Muslim means one who has submitted. He was publicly preaching by 613 a.d. and met some hostility. Mecca was a pilgrimage center and had many idols that would be neglected if Muhammad gained enough followers. Muhammad decided to leave Mecca in 622 because some of his followers got attacked. He took the Hijrah, the migration to Yathrib (now Medina), and gathered up a lot of followers in Medina. In 630, Muhammad and his men (some 10,000 followers) returned to MEcca and Mecca's leaders immediately surrendered. Muhammad died years later at age 62 without leaving information on how to rule once he was gone.
the sacred writings of Islam revealed by God to the prophet Muhammad during his life at Mecca and Medina, the holy book of Islam. Also called the Qur'an.
Five Pillars of Islam
To be a Muslim, all believers have to carry out five duties called the five pillars of Islam. Faith: to become a muslim, a person must testify to a statement of faith: "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah". Prayer: 5 times a day, facing towards Mecca; they may assemble at a Mosque. Alms: Muhammad taught that all Muslims have a responsibility to support the less fortunate. Muslims meet that social responsibility by giving alms, or money for the poor, through a special religious tax. Fasting: during Ramadan, Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. A simple meal is eaten at he end of the day. This is to remind them that their spiritual needs are greater than their physical needs. Pilgrimage: all muslims who are physically and financially able perform the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once. Pilgrims wear identical garments so that all stand as equals before Allah.
When Muhammad died in 632 a.d. and named no successor there was much confusion. Abu-Bakr was a loyal friend to Muhammad and the Muslim community elected him as their leader in 632. He became the first caliph, a title that means successor or deputy. Regarded by Sunni's as the 1st caliph and rightful successor. The Shi'a regard him as a traitor of Muhammad. Abu-Bakr and the next three elected caliphs-Umar, Uthman, and Ali, all knew Muhammad. They used the Koran and Muhammad's actions to guide their leadership. For this, they were known as the rightly guided caliphs and their rule was called a caliphate. Abu-Bakr invoked Jihad because there were some abandoning the faith and refusing to pay taxes. It means striving, and can refer to the inner struggle against evil or an armed struggle against unbelievers. He died in 634 when the Muslim state controlled all of Arabia and he had asked before dying that Umar lead after him so there was no confusion and leadership struggles.
A famous persian Sufi poet and founder of the Whirling Dervishes, Rumi told many stories to a companion who wrote them down because Rumi was too high to do it himself.
A branch of Islam whose members acknowledge the first four caliphs as the rightful successors of Muhammad, believed that Muslim rulers should follow the Sunna, or Muhammad's example. They claim that the Shi'a have distorted the meaning of various passages in the Qur'an. Now about 83% of Muslims are Sunni.
They believe that Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, should have succeeded him, they believe that all Muslim rulers should be descended from Muhammad; do not recognize the authority of the Sunna; they claim that the Sunni have distorted the meaning of various passages in the Qur'an. About 16% of todays Muslims are Shi'a.
A series of holy wars from 1096-1270 AD undertaken by European Christians to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule. Pope Urban II issued a call for a holy war after reading a letter sent by the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius Comnenus, to Robert, Count of Flanders, asking for help against Muslim Turks who threatened to conquer his capital of Constantinople. Muslims controlled Palestine (the holy land). The Pope wanted to reclaim Palestine and reunite Christendom, which had split into Eastern and Western branches in 1054. The goal was to capture Jerusalem which the christians did with an army of 12,000 on july 15th, 1099. By 1187, however, Jerusalem and its four divisions made by the christians had all fallen to a Kurdish warrior and Muslim leader named Saladin. The second crusade to protect Constantinople and capture Jerusalem happened in 1099 but the third was to recapture Jerusalem. It was lead at first by three of Europe's most powerful monarchs: Philip II (Augustus) of France, German emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa), and the English king, Richard the Lion-Hearted. Philip argued with Richard and went home; Barbarossa drowned on the journey so it was all on Richard. In 1192 Richard and Saladin agreed on a truce. Jerusalem was still under Muslim control but Christians could visit freely. In 1204, the fourth crusade to capture Jerusalem failed because the knights didn't reach the Holy Land. They looted Constantinople on the way. In the 1200s, four more crusades were unsuccessful. In two later crusades, armies marched to Egypt not the Holy Land, to weaken Muslim forces before heading to the Holy Land but this didn't do much. Richard lived from 1157 to 1199 a.d. and Saladin lived from 1138 to 1193 a.d.