Mohammed : 570-632
Life and Calling.
Mohammed was born in 570, orphaned from a well to do family, and raised by the local chief. He became a trader
and married his employer, Khadijah, a widow, in 595. His trading journeys exposed him to the thoughts of Jews and Christians that he considered to be more rewarding than the polytheism of his native Arab tribes.
Muhammed had a reflective turn of mind and routinely spent nights in a cave (Hira) near Mecca in meditation and thought. Round the year 610, Mohammad was visited by the Angel Gabriel. Muhammad began to spread his message amongst the people about 613.
He preached the doctrine of one god and the promise of the Day of Judgment. As he became accepted, he determined that he had been sent by God in order to complete and perfect his teachings.
Ascension to heaven from Jerusalem. This was not upon his death, but is said to
have occurred on October 2, 620. During that night, the Angel Gabriel
took him on a two part journey, the first, Isra, he traveled from Mecca to the furthest mosque at Jerusalem. In the second part, the Miraj, they toured Heaven and Hell, and spoke with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. This vision is the reason that
Muslims consider Jerusalem one of their holy cities.
Hijra, the flight. Mohammed called for the expulsion of the idols that made Mecca famous and was in danger of assassination for his preachings that would destroy the pilgrimage trade, He and his followers fled to Medina in 622.
Medina. Mohammed and his followers needed a means of support, so he started raiding caravans to and from the ungrateful Meccans. See Brigand, 622-630.
Victory at Badar.
In March of 624, Mohammad led some 300 warriors in a raid on a Meccan merchant caravan. The Meccans successfully defended the caravan and sent a small army to teach him a lesson. On March 15, 624 near a place called Badr, the Meccans and the Muslims clashed. Though outnumbered, 1000 to his 300 in the battle, the Muslims met with success, killing at least forty-five Meccans and taking seventy prisoners for ransom; only fourteen Muslims died. This inspired victory marked the beginning of Muslim militarism.
Kaaba. The town of Mohammed's birth was the place of a shrine for the idols of the Arab tribes and a place of pilgrimage. Later, in his prophet years, he called for the expulsion of the idols and was in danger of assassination and had to flee. When he returned with an army to conquer Mecca in 630, without bloodshed, the natives converted to Islam. Mohammad is said to have destroyed the 360 idols in the Kaaba by his own hand. Henceforth the shrine and pilgrimage would be Muslim.
The shrine is thought to have been built by Abraham (Bible verses, Quran verses) and further, that during the building, the original alter built by Adam was found on the site and used for the foundation.
The Kaaba is now a stone building within a huge, open Mosque. It measures
60 feet on a side, is draped in cloth, and is a required pilgrimage of Muslims from around the world, the Hajj. [Picture]
Direction of prayer. This was originally towards Jerusalem because Mohammed was teaching Jewish inspired monotheism. When Mohammed was rejected as a prophet by the Jews of Medina, he slaughtered them and changed the direction of prayer to his capitol, Mecca.
Death. One day upon returning from a visit to a cemetery Muhammad became very ill.
He suffered for several days with head pain and weakness. Muhammad finally succumbed around noon on Monday June 8, 632, at the age of sixty-three. He died in the apartment of his favorite wife, Aisha, whom he had married when she was nine. He was buried there and the site was incorporated into the neighboring mosque.
See more about the early Medina Period : Brigand, 630-642
About this page: Mohammed - Some details of Mohammed's life.