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Ch 11 Sec 1 – Rise of Islam

I. The Prophet Muhammad

A. Geographic Setting
1. Arabian peninsula mostly desert but farming is possible through
irrigation or in scattered oases (fertile areas in a desert, watered by a
natural well or spring)
2. Many Arab clans occupied Arabia at the time of Muhammad
3. Nomadic herders (Bedouins) used camels to cross the scorching desert
in search of pastureland
a.) Raids for scarce grazing land led to frequent warfare
b.) The Bedouins formed the backbone of the armies that conquered a
huge empire in the 600 and 700s
4. Mecca – Oasis town
a.) Bustling market town at the crossroads of 2 main caravan routes
b.) Arabs came to pray at the Kaaba (ancient shrine)
c.) The pilgrim traffic brought good profits to local merchants
B. Muhammad’s Vision – (born in Mecca about 570)
1. He led caravans across the desert and became a successful merchant
2. When he was 25 he married Khadija, a wealthy widow who ran a
prosperous caravan business
3. He was troubled by idol worshop and moral ills of society
4. According to Muslim belief, he went to the desert and heard “Recite in
the name of your God, the Creator, who created man from clots of
a.) he believed this to be the voice of the angel Gabriel calling him to
be the messenger of God
5. His wife became the first convert to Islam (Arabic for “submission”)
6. He spent the rest of his life spreading Islam and urging Arabs to give up
their false gods (Allah is Arabic word for god)
C. The Hijira : A Turning Point
1. At first, few people listened to his teachings
2. In 622 he and his followers left Mecca for Yathrib (renamed Medina), a
journey known as hijira
3. 622 became the first year of the Muslim calendar
4. Thousands of Arabs adopted Islam and the Muslims attacked Meccan
caravans and defeated them in battle
5. In 630, Muhammad returned to Mecca where he destroyed the idols in
the Kaaba
6. Today Islam is one of the world’s major religions
II. Teachings of Islam – monotheistic (one God). The Quran is the sacred text that
teaches that God is all-powerful and compassionate and that people are responsible
for their own actions
A. Five Pillars – All Muslims accept 5 basic duties
1. Declaration of faith. “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the
messenger of God”
2. Daily prayer. After a ritual washing, Muslims face the holy city of
Mecca to pray. They often pray in mosques (houses of worship)
3. Giving charity to the poor
4. Fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan
5. Hajj – pilgrimage to Mecca. All Muslims who are able are expected to
visit the Kaaba at least once in their lives
6. Some Muslims look on jihad (struggle in God’s service) as another
duty. Some have focused on a spiritual effort to overcome immorality
other have engaged in warfare to defend Islam.
B. The Quran
1. To Muslims, it contains the sacred word of God as revealed to
2. It is the final authority on all matters
3. Emphasizes honesty, generosity, and social justice with harsh penalties
for crimes such as stealing or murder
C. “People of the Book”
1. Muslims profess faith in the same God as Jews and Christians
2. The Quran teaches that Islam is the final and complete revelation and
that the Torah and Bible contain partial revelation
III. A Way of Life
A. Sharia – Islamic system of law
1. Regulates moral conduct, family life, business practices, government,
and other aspects of a Muslim community
2. Helped unite the many peoples who converted to Islam
3. Does not separate religious matters from criminal or civil law
4. Applies the Quran to all legal situations
B. Impact of Islam on Women
1. Before Islam, some women took a hand in religion, trade, or warfare
2. Most women were under the control of a male guardian and could not
inherit property
3. Islam affirmed the spiritual equality of women and men
a.) Women therefore won greater protection under the law
4. The Quran prohibited the killing of daughters
5. Inheritance laws guaranteed a woman a share of her parents’ or
husbands’ property
6. Muslim women had to consent freely to marriage and had the right to an
7. In Persian and Byzantine lands, Arabs adopted the practice of veiling
upper-class women and secluding them in a separate part of the home
a.) There they managed the affairs of the household but seldom ventured out