Islam is believed to be one of the youngest, great world religions. Its origins can be traced back as a monotheistic religious tradition that originated and spread from the Middle East in the 7th century C.E. The Arabic word Islam, when translated into literal English, means "surrender" or "submission". The followers of this faith are known as Muslims and it is believed by them, that the inspiration of this belief system comes straight from God and the vehicle, chosen by him to deliver these teaching to the general population was Prophet Muhammad.
The Holy Quran is the central and the most sacred text of the religion. It contains various divine revelations received by the Prophet, in form of his teachings. The main teachings of Islam is the belief in Allah, one and true God. The followers of Islam are traditionally divided into two main branches, namely the Sunni and Shia. Each of these groups, though follow the same religion but their interpretation of certain events and teachings of Islam differ. Today, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world with around 23% of the earth's population adhering to its teachings. To learn in detail about Islam's birth, go through this article.
Origin of Islam
The birth of Islam is placed around 610 CE, when Muhammad a highly spiritual and religious man, who spent months in praying and self contemplation in the secluded cave of Hira in middle of the dessert, almost three miles from the town of Mecca his birth place, began to receive divine messages. The tale goes this way, one morning while at the cave, Muhammad heard the voice of angel Gabriel and through him Allah spoke to him, the words of infinite wisdom, these words were first recited by Muhammad later his disciples and then were recorded as text, which came to known as the Holy Quran. Thus, followers of Islam consider Quran not the work of Muhammad but direct revelations from the Almighty.
Spread of Islam
Muhammad, returned from the cave a changed man, wizened beyond his years with the wisdom and majesty of the divine. The first person he preached to on his return was his wife Khadija, who became the first disciple of this new religion. Muhammad encouraged by this, began to preach the divine revelations received by him to public at large, through his sermons. In these public meetings he openly criticized the evils of drunkenness and inappropriate behavior. He also emphasized on the oneness of God. His preaching earned him many detractors but at the same time the number of people converting to Islam also increased.
The eloquence of the verses, spoken by the Prophet of Islam touched numerous hearts, his divine virtues flowed through his speech and there was no need for any debates or discussions, as people impressed by verses of the Quran converted to Islam out of there free will. However, the growing popularity of Islam jeopardized Muhammad's and his disciples lives, therefore the entire community moved from Mecca to Medina in around 622 CE.
This move became a crucial event in the history of Islam and came to be known as Hijra. The Muslim calendar begins with the day of this migration. The people of Medina accepted, Islam with full faith and hence the spread of this new religion gained momentum. Later with well organized finances, stable statesmanship and vast army Prophet Muhammad conquered and converted Mecca as well. He did not stop here, but sent numerous emissaries to different parts of Arabia, in order to spread the word of Islam. Even after his accession to heaven, this process continued under the guidance of his successive caliphs. Thus, today Islam remains one of the most flourishing religions across the globe, though certain fanatics continue to misrepresent, its peaceful and universal teachings.