CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 31, 2015 – It is entirely possible that Muhammad may have perpetuated the greatest and most deadly hoax in the history of mankind. So who exactly was he?
Muslims believe the founder of Islam was the last prophet and, as such, the perfect man. They do not believe, however, that Muhammad was divine. He was merely a mortal conduit through whom Allah passed his words to the human race.
This is a major difference between Muhammad and Jesus Christ, who, according to Christian doctrine, was the son of God and, therefore, divine. The concept of the Holy Trinity is tantamount to apostasy in the minds and hearts of Muslims. It is anthema to their beliefs and one of the primary reasons for the inability of the two religions to compromise.
Muhammad is believed to have been born in A.D. 570 in the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. The Quraysh was one of the larger, more influential tribes in the city; its greatest achievement was making certain that every religion was represented by an idol in Mecca’s pagan temple, the Kabah.
Muhammad’s tribe even adopted a huge black stone, most likely an asteroid or some space object, as their tribal magic stone, which was placed at the Kabah. By the Quraysh this stone was regarded in some way as divine, leading to the practice of pilgrims’ kissing it whenever they came to Mecca to worship.
Muhammad’s father died before he was born, and his mother passed away when the child was very young, leaving him an orphan at a very early age.
He was sent to live with his extremely wealthy grandparents and later passed along to an uncle who was also rich. Ultimately Muhammad went to live with yet another uncle, who was very poor. Undoubtedly his varied upbringing had a distinct influence on his thinking.
One source claims Muhammad’s poor uncle believed his nephew to be insane.
During Muhammad’s time, the Quraysh tribe was especially strong. Mecca was the religious and commercial center of Arabia, and many Christians and Jews were successful businessmen in the city. It was in this environment that Muhammad was brought up.
Ultimately Muhammad’s tribe became the acknowledged guardians of the sacred Kabah.
Other than the impression Muhammad had instilled in the mind of his poor uncle, most accounts say that he was a typical Arab youth who spent much time talking with the people from the caravans passing through Mecca.
And, like other youngsters of his age, he also enjoyed exploring the desert and spending idle hours in the natural caves.
When he was 25, Muhammad married Cadijah, an older woman by 15 years who had made a fortune in the camel trade. As a result of the marriage, Muhammad learned much about Christianity from his wife’s uncle, who was highly critical of the idol worship endorsed by the Quaraysh tribe.
In fact, Christianity, in one form or another, was the primary religion in most of the surrounding villages in the region where Muhammad lived.
By the time he was 40, Muhammad experienced the most powerful vision of his life while praying in a cave during a holy time. At first Muhammad revealed his dreams only to his family, but eventually he began to claim that he had been called by Allah to be a prophet.
Living in wealthy surroundings like Mecca, Muhammad began to realize there was no organized religion of any consequence to which the poor could relate. At first, many of the converts to his small religious sect were members of his own family.
Muhammad was illiterate throughout his life and, therefore, when he began “preaching” in Mecca, he was primarily regarded as an uneducated, ignorant kook who had now become the subject of incredibly harsh public hostility.
Early in his ministry Muhammad attempted to live in peace in Mecca with the Christians and Jews of the city, but the ridicule he received was embarrassing to the extreme.
Eventually, early in the 7th century during the Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Muhammad was invited by the citizens of Medina to leave his home for a new environment where he would be greeted with open arms.
Renouncing one’s family or tribe by leaving for another home was a major decision that was not taken lightly in Muhammad’s day.
Medina sweetened the pot for the prophet even further by providing him with something he had never had before – an army.
In 622, Muhammad left Mecca in a movement known as the Hijrah, which marks the beginning of the Islamic religion.
It also marks another beginning, the point in history where the embarrassment of the prophet incurred at the hands of his own people in Mecca created a hatred of Christians and Jews that has continued for 14 centuries.
Interestingly enough, the parallels between Muhammad and the rejection Osama bin Laden received from his homeland of Saudi Arabia following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait during the presidency of George H.W. Bush are amazingly similar.
Thus, the seeds of discontent were planted in the harsh desert sun of 7th century Arabia, and they continue to grow today.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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