Islam is one of the greatly followed religion in the world. Its origins are considered to be from the seventh century. The people following this faith believe that Muhammad was the last prophet of God who spread the words of God to the people and founded the religion Islam.
Muhammad was born to ʿAbd Allāh(father) and Āminah(mother) in the year 570 in Mecca. His father had died before his birth and mother died when he was only six years old. He was taken by his grandfather(who died after two years) to raise him. After the death of his grandfather, he was taken care of by his uncle, Abu Talib.
At the age of 25 years, he married a widow Khadījah bint Khuwaylid who was 15 years elder than him. Khadījah bore him six children, four girls and two boys.
Muhammad usually visited caves and mountains to meditate, to get away from the civilization and to find out the ultimate truth. Muslims believe that the angel of God, Gabriel visited him and revealed the words of God to him which was recorded as Quran.
How did it spread?
Mecca was a place where idolatry was followed and the people who followed Muhammad were asked to leave the place because of opposite beliefs. They left Mecca and moved to Abyssinia where Muhammad kept preaching Islam to the people. People started following and believing in him in a large number and so he asked the people of Mecca and other places who believed in him to join him at Medina. When a large number of people started following him, he returned back to Mecca and due to the large force of Islam followers, Mecca let them in.
Muhammad went back to Medina after all this and set Medina as Muslim state. Muhammad died in Medina in the year 632. The tomb of Muhammad in Medina is one of most holiest place in Islam.
Successors of Muhammad
After the death of Muhammad, the Muslims were divided in two major branches known as the Sunnis and Shias. One branch believed that the rightful successor of Muhammad should be Abu Bakr(Muhammad’s father in law) whereas the other branch wanted Ali(the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad) to be selected as the successor of Muhammad.
- Abu Bakr: Even after the disputes, Abu Bakr, the father-in-law of Muhammad, was selected to be the first successor of Muhammad. He succeeded the Muslims from the year 632 to 634. He died in 634.
- Omar: Omar or Umar was the next successor of Muslims who guided the Muslims from 634 to 644. He was stabbed and killed in 644 in Medina.
- Othman: The third caliph was Othman who was also murdered like Omar, by the rebellious Muslims.
- Ali: Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, was considered to be the rightful successor of Muhammad, but he became the fourth caliph. He guided the Muslims from 656 to 661.
- Mu’awiya: After the death of Ali, Mu’awiya of the Umayyad family(one of the most prominent families of Mecca) became the next caliph or Khalifa.
- After the death of Mu’awiya people wanted Ali’s sons Hasan and Husayn to guide them, but both of them died very soon.
Many Muslims also believe that the Islam was originated before Muhammad. Muhammad is considered to be the one who guided the Muslims and spread Islam in many locations.
Another belief that the Muslims have related to the origin of Islam is that god had made a promise to a man named Abraham to give him a child. As his wife, Sarah was barren and could not give birth to any kid, she asked him to get a child with the help of her servant named Hagar. A child was born who was named Ishmael. Ishmael was not the child that had been promised to Abraham and Sarah. Sarah gave birth to a child named Isaac who later became one of the most important prophets is Islam.
Starting from Mecca, Islam has spread to a large number of countries and is the second most followed religion all over the world.