The rise and growth of Islam are connected with Prophet Muhammad who the Muslims believe that was the last among the many prophets who ever existed including Moses and Jesus. Muhammad was considered the chosen recipient of the word of God which came through divine revelations. The important religious text in Islam include the Holy Quran, the sayings of the Prophet (hadith) and his way of life (Sunna) (Annemarie, 1985).
The Divine Revelation was a key religious root used by Muhammad in crafting Isla. Muhammad began receiving visions and hearings which is an action related to religion. In one of the visions, the Archangel Gabriel, appeared and required him to recite in the “in the name of Lord.” These kinds of revelations formed the basis of writing the main religious text in Islam, the Quran.
Some of the teachings and revelation that had deep religious roots was the idea of God. The common belief during those times at the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula was on the polytheistic beliefs where many gods were said to be in existence. However, the revelations by Muhammad indicated the existence of a single God. This caused a conflict with another leader that lead to violent clashes. The City of Mecca surrendered, and Muhammad and his supported took over the city and were keen on destroying the pagan idols and spreading the message of belief in only one God.
How Muhammad United the Arabian Tribes
During these times, Arabia had two main empire, Byzantine which was a predominantly Christian and the Sasanian Persian (which was a Zoroastrian). The Arabian Peninsula at the middles of these great empires had weak and divided tribes. Muhammad was able to unite these tribes under the umbrella of the religion of Islam, and they conquered the two empires. The Islamic religious offered a principle of organization and motivation. It offered the basis of community identity and rationale for the legitimacy of the ruler as well as their agendas of expansion and conquest. This made it possible for Muhammad to have a Trans tribal state that was united as an Islamic community.
Muhammad was able to spread out the teachings of the Islamic religious far and wide through the use of traders, and envoys sent out to other tribes and rulers. Muhammad put in place mechanisms that brought together the independent tribes of Arabia and managed to unite them. The mechanisms used integrated both force and diplomacy. The different Arabian tribes that lead separate lives under the Islamic wing could not have a common identity. Islam introduced a common political and social order alongside the individual life and worship (Esposito, 1988). It offered a common faith and a sociopolitical system. The unity was cemented by the conquest of the Byzantine and Persian armies.
Converting non-Arabs to Islam
Through Muhammad; teachings, the Arab Armies got the inspiration to spread Islam into the Byzantine and Persian Empire that mainly had non-Arabs. The conquest of the army against the Byzantine and Persian empires was made possible by the fact that the empires had grown weak following long fighting of each other and people saw the Arabs as the liberators from the harsh power of the two empires (Wang, 2016).
Since Muhammad used to trade in his mission of spreading Islamic religion, the imposition of special taxes that seemed fair to the non-Arabs was another reason that moved them to join the growing religion. The non-Arab people from the conquered regions were treated with respect which facilitated their interest in the religion. The non-Arab communities found the Islam language simpler and direct and greatly emphasized on the equality of all believers despite their social background.
Annemarie, S. (1985). And Muhammad is His Messenger: The Veneration of the Prophet in Islamic Piety. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Esposito, J. (1988). Islam: The Straight Path . New York: Oxford University Press.
Wang, S. (2016). The Origins of Islam in the Arabian Context. University of Bergen .
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