Muhammad and the Beginning of Islam

How did the Muslim religion begin? Islam began more than 500 years after the death of Christ with the birth of Muhammad in 570 AD in Mecca (Saudi Arabia). Sadly, his father died before his birth, and his mother died when he was six. After his mother’s death, his grandfather cared for him. Two years later his grandfather died so his uncle, Abu Talib raised him. Muhammad traveled the trade routes with his uncle as far as Syria. At the age of 25, Muhammad married a wealthy caravan owner, a 40-year-old woman, Khadijah. 

After their marriage, each year Muhammad took time in a cave in the mountains surrounding Mecca to seek the unseen God. He did this for many years and at age 40 he had a visitation from what he believed was the angel, Gabriel. The website, Answering Islam describes the visitation, “In the first encounter, …Gabriel caught him (forcefully) and pressed him so hard that he could not bear it anymore, and this was repeated three times. Gabriel left Muhammad terribly shaken.”

Islam teaches that for two years following the visitation, Muhammad thought he had gone mad and reached a point where he wanted to commit suicide. His wife, however, stood by him and assured him that he was a good man. 

Muhammad’s encounter with what he believed was the angel Gabriel is interesting, especially when it is contrasted with Gabriel’s appearances in the Bible. Muhammad was terrified and “pressed” until he could not bear it anymore and continued to be frightened after the encounter. In the Bible, Gabriel appears to Daniel (Daniel 8:16-18, 9:20-22), Zechariah (Luke 1:13, 18-19) and Mary (Luke 1:26-30). In each case, although the Gabriel’s appearance is most assuredly startling, the angel does not leave people in fear. He raises Daniel back to his feet and tells both Zechariah and Mary to not be afraid.

Muhammad, as a trader in pre-Islamic Arabia, was exposed to mixture of many different religious beliefs. Polytheism was prevalent in Mecca where the people worshipped over 360 different gods. Christianity, Judaism, and Iranian religions including Manichaeism (a mixture of Mesopotamian religion and gnosticism) also had a presence in the region. Traces of these religions may be found throughout Muhammad’s only “miracle” – the Qur’an itself.

We Take Up the Rod of Heaven’s Authority:

Lord God, we know how much You love the Muslim people and desire them to be in Your eternal kingdom. We stand upon the scripture in John 6:44a, where Jesus declared, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” We align our hearts with yours and believe through this Islamic season of Ramadan, You are drawing multitudes of Muslims toward You, opening their hearts to Your love, resulting in them receiving Jesus Christ as Lord! We praise You, for the victory they will have in Christ!

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