Abu l-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn’Abd Allāh al-Hāšimī al-Qurayšī, better known as Muhammad, was born in Mecca, present-day Saudi Arabia, on April 26, 570 and died, at 63, on June 8, 632 in Yazrib, nowadays Medina, in the Hijaz (Saudi Arabia). He was the founder of Islam, an Abrahamic monotheistic religion whose dogma is based on the book of the Koran, which establishes as a fundamental premise for his believers that “There is no God, but Allah and that Muhammad is the last messenger of Allah.”
Although there is no exact information about who his parents were, it is said that Muhammad was born into a family belonging to the Quraish tribe and that the first miracle he did was when the archangel Gabriel descended and opened his chest to take out his heart; He extracted a black clot from it and said, “This was the part where Satan could seduce you.” Then he washed it with water from the well of Zamzam in a golden bowl and returned the heart to its place. The children and playmates he met ran to his wet nurse and said: “Muhammad has been murdered” they all addressed him but discovered he was alive.
At six he was orphaned and was picked up by his uncle Abu Talib, whom he accompanied on his trade trips. At an early age, he began to work, but without a doubt, his most important job was to be a commercial agent in Khadijah; as a subaltern of a wealthy 40-year-old widow, for he would end up marrying her. For twenty-five years that woman was a faithful companion, filling him with love and happiness. He had several children, but only his daughter Fatima would give him descendants.
At the age of forty Muhammad began to retire to the desert and to stay for days in a cave on Mount Hira, where he believed he received the revelation of God-Allah, who spoke to him through the archangel Gabriel and communicated to him the secret of true faith. The first revelations made Muhammad think he was under the influence of a demonic presence, taking him close to suicide. The mediation of his wife prevented such an outcome and encouraged Muhammad to listen to the revelations. Encouraged by his wife Jadicha, he began to preach in his hometown, presenting himself as a follower of the great monotheistic prophets of the past, Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ.
The writing of the Koran was done through the preservation of the word of God (Allah) transmitted by Gabriel, to the memorial retentive, who memorized it by reciting it tirelessly to be compiled while preserving its original message, without the slightest change or background nor of form. For this, they used materials such as the camel’s scapulae, on which they recorded verses from the Koran. Although the Qur’an offers interesting facts to know the thought of the Prophet Muhammad, it is very poor in relation to his life. As with other founders of great religions (Buddha, Jesus), only the stages prior to initiating the preaching of their doctrine are known in broad strokes.
In his preaching, Muhammad was inclined towards a monotheism based on the belief in a God full of goodness and almighty, who will judge everyone according to his performance. Man must show gratitude to God and recognize his dependence on him. The recognition of the divine omnipotence is opposed to the attitude of the great merchants, convinced that their wealth allows everything; for Muhammad, the life of man had to be based on doing what was necessary to reach paradise. Generosity and respect for the weak were the essential points on which they insisted their first preaching.
Initially, Islam was presented as a continuation of Christianity and Judaism, religions that Muhammad knew. With public preaching, criticisms of the monotheism professed by Muhammad were initiated, and a first confrontation with the polytheistic Arabs soon took place. The unique God of Muhammad could be worshiped in the Kaaba (building of Mecca built, according to the Qur’an, by Abraham, and containing the black stone that Gabriel gave to Isaac), but not in other shrines consecrated to other gods and goddesses in the outskirts of the city. But it does not seem certain, as has been asserted, that the opposition to Mohammed started from the great merchants for fear that, as the idols disappeared, the commercial activity would decline.
The Kaaba, the sanctuary of Mecca, remained the sanctuary by excellence, and the disappearance of the idols would have harmed only a small group of merchants who had settled near the city and created new shrines there, whose cults were expressly condemned by Muhammad.
The reasons for the growing enmity of the commercial oligarchy of Mecca towards the Prophet must be sought in Muhammad’s attacks on the way of life of the rich, in the denial of his omnipotence and, above all, in the possibility that preaching gave Muhammad a sufficient political personality to put him in charge of the city in the near future. The content of the faith was based on the belief in Allah as the only God, almighty and eternal, creator and owner of all things. The belief in Allah is accompanied by the belief in the prophets (of whom Muhammad is the last), in the angels, in the sacred books (of which the Qur’an is the last and the only necessary), in the resurrection and in the predestination.
Those who belong to Islam must make the profession of faith, recite the prayers five times a day, pay the legal alms, fulfill the pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lives and fast during the month of Ramadan.