Islam appeared in the Arabian Peninsula, part of southwest Asia, which is mostly desert. Bedouins, or nomadic herders, adapted to the conditions of the desert. They regularly traded with people from oasis towns like Mecca. Mecca is located in Western Arabia. Mecca was a thriving pilgrimage and economic center. It was a market town at the crossroads of two routes, one that linked S. Arabia to India and to Syria and Palestine on the Med. Coast, and the other crossed from Mesopotamia to E. Africa.
The Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad was born in Mecca in about the year 570. In about the Year 510, Muhammad first spoke of his vision in the Arabian town of Mecca. Some believed him, and some doubted him. But in years to come, Muhammad would be recognized by millions of Muslims as Prophet and Islam would be spread throughout three continents. In 622, Meccan merchants threatened him and so he and his followers left for Yathrib, which is now known as Medina, or “the city of the Prophet.” This journey was known as hijra. After the death of Muhammad in 632, Islam did continue to spread worldwide. Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, or successor to Muhammad, helped Islam survive the death of its prophet.
The Message of Islam
Five Pillars- All Muslims had to accept five basic duties. These are known as the Five Pillars of Islam.
The first pillar is the declaration of faith- “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of god.” They do believe that Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Prophets, but they believe that Muhammad was the last and most important.