View Single Post
 
Old 01-12-2016, 01:13 PM
quantumfanatic quantumfanatic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Earth
Posts: 149
The life of Muhammad...continued

Early Life at Mecca

Muhammad was born around 570 AD to a widowed mother who died just six years later. He grew up poor and orphaned on the margins of society, which was controlled by tribal chiefs and trading merchants. He worked for his uncle, Abu Talib, as a camel herder. Although his uncle had some standing in the community, Muhammad himself did not rise above his lowly station until he was 25, when he met and married a wealthy widow, Khadija, who was 15 years older.

His wife's trading business not only nurtured Muhammad's natural talents of persuasion, but it also gave the successful salesman an opportunity to travel and acquire knowledge that was not as accessible to the local population. He would later use this to his advantage by incorporating the stories that he had come across into his "revelations" from Allah, particularly the tales from the earlier religions, Judaism and Christianity.

Having attained a comfortable lifestyle and the idle time that wealth affords, Muhammad would wander off occasionally for periods of meditation and contemplation. It is quite likely that he was experiencing the symptoms of a midlife crisis, including a desire for personal accomplishment and meaning.

One day, at the age of 40, he told his wife that he had been visited by the angel Gabriel in a dream. Thus began a series of "revelations" which lasted almost until his death 23 years later. The Qur’an is a collection of words that Muhammad attributed to Allah. The Hadith is a collection of narrations of the life and deeds of Muhammad. The Sira is his recorded biography. The Sunnah is said to be Muhammad's way of life, on which Islamic law (Sharia) is based.

With his wife’s influence and support, Muhammad proclaimed himself a prophet in same "lineage" as that of Abraham and Jesus, and began trying to convert those around him to his new religion. He narrated the Quran to those who believed him, telling them that it was the word of Allah (heard only by himself, of course).

Muhammad's Quran did not contain a single original moral value and it contributed only one new idea to world religion - that Muhammad is Allah's prophet. In fact, Muhammad's "Allah" seemed oddly preoccupied with making sure Muslims knew to obey Muhammad's every earthly wish, as this mandate is repeated at least twenty times in the narration of the Quran.

In the beginning, Muhammad did his best to compromise his teachings with the predominant beliefs of the community’s elders, such as combining all 300 of their idols under the name “Allah.” His amalgamation of Judeo-Christian theology and pagan tradition grew more sophisticated over time. He also used his "revelations from Allah" to repeatedly affirm his own position. Even if he did not remember the Biblical stories correctly, for example, each one was conspicuously modified to incorporate a common theme: "Believe in the Messenger (Muhammad) or suffer the consequences."


Preaching and Persecution at Mecca

According to early Muslim historians, the Meccans did not mind Muhammad practicing his religion, nor did they feel threatened by his promotion of it. This changed only after the self-proclaimed prophet began attacking their religion, including the customs and ancestors of the people (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 167). This was enough to stir up the resentment of the influential leaders of Mecca, who then mocked his humble background against his pretentious claims. (See also MYTH: Muhammad was Persecuted for Preaching Islam)

Still, Mecca at the time was a remarkably tolerant society. Muhammad was allowed to attack the local customs for thirteen years, even though the town's economy depended on the annual pilgrimage attended by visiting pagans, whose religion he actively disparaged.

At first, Muhammad was only successful with friends and family. After thirteen years, “the street preacher” could boast of only about a hundred determined followers, who called themselves Muslims. Outside of his wife, his first convert was his young cousin Ali (who would later become his son-in-law and the fourth caliph of Islam). Another early convert was Abu Bakr, a wealthy merchant whose money and credulous acceptance of Muhammad can be credited with the survival of the fledgling cult. (Muhammad would later "marry" Abu Bakr's 6-year-old daughter).

Relations with the Meccans turned particularly sour after an episode known as "the Satanic Verses" in which Muhammad agreed to recognize the local gods in addition to Allah. This delighted the Meccans, who generously extended their welcome. But Muhammad soon changed his mind after his own people began to lose faith in him. He claimed that Satan had spoken through him, and he rescinded recognition of the Meccan gods (Tabari 1192, Quran 22:52 & 53:19-26).

The locals intensified their mockery of Muslims and made life particularly difficult for some of them. Although Muslims today often use the word "persecution" to describe this ordeal (justifiably, in some cases), it is important to note that the earliest and most reliable biographers (Ibn Ishaq and al-Tabari) record the death of only one Muslim during this period, an older woman who died from stress.

This fact is a source of embarrassment to modern apologists, who do not like admitting that Muslims were the first to become violent at Mecca (see MYTH: The Meccans Drew First Blood against Muhammad) and that Muhammad was the first to resort to militancy... and at a later time, when it was entirely unnecessary.

To deal with this unpleasant truth, sympathetic narratives of the early Meccan years usually exaggerate the struggle of the Muslims with claims that they were "under constant torture." They may also include apocryphal accounts that are unsupported by earliest and most reliable historians (see MYTH: Persecution of Muslims at Mecca - Many Deaths).

Modern storytellers and filmmakers (such as those behind 1976's The Message) have even been known to invent fictional victims of Meccan murder, either to dramatize their own tale or to provide justification for the "revenge killings" that followed. But, in fact, the only Muslim whose life was truly in danger was that of Muhammad - after 13 years of being allowed to mock the local religion. (See also MYTH: Muhammad was Tortured at Mecca).was born around 570 AD to a widowed mother who died just six years later. He grew up poor and orphaned on the margins of society, which was controlled by tribal chiefs and trading merchants. He worked for his uncle, Abu Talib, as a camel herder. Although his uncle had some standing in the community, Muhammad himself did not rise above his lowly station until he was 25, when he met and married a wealthy widow, Khadija, who was 15 years older.

His wife's trading business not only nurtured Muhammad's natural talents of persuasion, but it also gave the successful salesman an opportunity to travel and acquire knowledge that was not as accessible to the local population. He would later use this to his advantage by incorporating the stories that he had come across into his "revelations" from Allah, particularly the tales from the earlier religions, Judaism and Christianity.

Having attained a comfortable lifestyle and the idle time that wealth affords, Muhammad would wander off occasionally for periods of meditation and contemplation. It is quite likely that he was experiencing the symptoms of a midlife crisis, including a desire for personal accomplishment and meaning.

One day, at the age of 40, he told his wife that he had been visited by the angel Gabriel in a dream. Thus began a series of "revelations" which lasted almost until his death 23 years later. The Qur’an is a collection of words that Muhammad attributed to Allah. The Hadith is a collection of narrations of the life and deeds of Muhammad. The Sira is his recorded biography. The Sunnah is said to be Muhammad's way of life, on which Islamic law (Sharia) is based.

With his wife’s influence and support, Muhammad proclaimed himself a prophet in same "lineage" as that of Abraham and Jesus, and began trying to convert those around him to his new religion. He narrated the Quran to those who believed him, telling them that it was the word of Allah (heard only by himself, of course).

Muhammad's Quran did not contain a single original moral value and it contributed only one new idea to world religion - that Muhammad is Allah's prophet. In fact, Muhammad's "Allah" seemed oddly preoccupied with making sure Muslims knew to obey Muhammad's every earthly wish, as this mandate is repeated at least twenty times in the narration of the Quran.

In the beginning, Muhammad did his best to compromise his teachings with the predominant beliefs of the community’s elders, such as combining all 300 of their idols under the name “Allah.” His amalgamation of Judeo-Christian theology and pagan tradition grew more sophisticated over time. He also used his "revelations from Allah" to repeatedly affirm his own position. Even if he did not remember the Biblical stories correctly, for example, each one was conspicuously modified to incorporate a common theme: "Believe in the Messenger (Muhammad) or suffer the consequences."


Preaching and Persecution at Mecca

According to early Muslim historians, the Meccans did not mind Muhammad practicing his religion, nor did they feel threatened by his promotion of it. This changed only after the self-proclaimed prophet began attacking their religion, including the customs and ancestors of the people (Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 167). This was enough to stir up the resentment of the influential leaders of Mecca, who then mocked his humble background against his pretentious claims. (See also MYTH: Muhammad was Persecuted for Preaching Islam)

Still, Mecca at the time was a remarkably tolerant society. Muhammad was allowed to attack the local customs for thirteen years, even though the town's economy depended on the annual pilgrimage attended by visiting pagans, whose religion he actively disparaged.

At first, Muhammad was only successful with friends and family. After thirteen years, “the street preacher” could boast of only about a hundred determined followers, who called themselves Muslims. Outside of his wife, his first convert was his young cousin Ali (who would later become his son-in-law and the fourth caliph of Islam). Another early convert was Abu Bakr, a wealthy merchant whose money and credulous acceptance of Muhammad can be credited with the survival of the fledgling cult. (Muhammad would later "marry" Abu Bakr's 6-year-old daughter).

Relations with the Meccans turned particularly sour after an episode known as "the Satanic Verses" in which Muhammad agreed to recognize the local gods in addition to Allah. This delighted the Meccans, who generously extended their welcome. But Muhammad soon changed his mind after his own people began to lose faith in him. He claimed that Satan had spoken through him, and he rescinded recognition of the Meccan gods (Tabari 1192, Quran 22:52 & 53:19-26).
__________________
 
Reply With Quote