The Rise Of Islam: Reasons For it’s Success
* The twenty first century recognizes Islam as the second largest religion in the world. The initial rise of Islam in the 7th century in the city of Mecca, modern day Saudi Arabia, was extensive and rapid. In its first few centuries Islam spread as far as the west near the Atlantic Ocean and Far East in Asia. To deduce why Islam’s initial expansion was so successful and rapid calls for an understanding of three major factors, the life the pioneer of Islam Mohammed, Islam’s innate tolerance, and the concept of jihad. * Much of what actually made Islam’s expansion strong and successful can be credited to the prophet Mohammed. Learning from life experiences and the world around him Mohammad was able to give Islam its core values and content. His life experiences and personality are said to be the foundation and backbone of Islam, as well as a key factor to its nearly invisible expansion. Muhammad was born in 570 CE and became an orphan at a young age. His experiences being impoverished and orphaned in a society that heavily relied on family tribal relations greatly influenced his desire to make his followers accountable for the economic welfare of all community members, not just family. There are many quaranic verses that exemplify this humility, for example “And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.” The idea that a person was just as responsible for their neighbor as their family was not only something new at the time, but largely appealing to highest and lowest of societal classes. Appealing to those members of society who felt alienated allowed for a feeling of belonging and economic help, and a strong sense of dignity to those who had more than enough wealth needed to survive. Thus the more he preached his message and revelations, the more followers from all societal class joined Islam. * Mecca, in the 7th century, was a large trading city and a common meeting ground for many businessmen and merchants of different races, religions, classes, and regions. The diverse experiences and people he encountered, as well as the social tensions he experienced because of vast economic inequality, allowed the prophet to understand and relate to many people of different walks of life. He strongly emphasized the disregard of differences like race and class, and pushed for equality among all people. This view on equality is shown throughout the Quran, “Allah commands you that . . . when you judge between people (i.e., of any race, religion, family, class, etc.), you judge with justice." and ‘"Mankind is a single nation." Mohammad’s pursuit of universal equality and brotherhood furthered its appeal, not only among the poor and the alienated, but people of different backgrounds, classes, and races. Mohammad’s revelations gave guidance to people and communities that were largely independent of one another and allowed for a solution to the problem of large economic inequalities among people. Islam was thus not only universal, but also free of discriminations, allowing all ‘”people from different countries, speaking diverse languages, attended gatherings of Mohammad” Unlike another popular religion at the time, Judaism, Islam did not designate a chosen people, but instead encouraged everyone that heard Mohammad’s revelations to join the religion, regardless of age, sex, class, and race. * The second major factor in Islam’s expansion also relates to justice among all people, meaning Islam’s toleration and respect of non-Muslims and other religions. Muhammad believed that since all people derived from the same heavenly father there was no reason not to treat them with respect and toleration, even if they chose not to convert. This desire for tolerance is exemplified in Mohammad’s conquest of Mecca, the Battle of the Trench, and excerpts from Quran. *...
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