The Islamic religion is one of the three major monotheistic religions of the world. These three are Christianity, Judaism and Islam. According to both Fisher and Bassiouni, these religions all can be traced to the prophet Abraham, and all of them originated in the Middle East (Fisher, 2005; Bassiouni, 1999).
According to Bassiouni (1999), Abraham, who is also known to Islam as “The Patriarch,” was the father of Isma’il (Ishmael) and Ishaq (Isaac). The sons and daughters of Isaac formed what were to become the Hebrew tribes. The sons and daughters of Isma’il formed what were to become the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and were the first people to become Muslims. The term “Islam” comes from the same root words “salaam’ which means peace and “silm” which means the condition of peace. A Muslim is one who is at peace and surrenders himself or herself to God. This surrendering to Islam means that one gives oneself to the belief without reservation, and following the letter and the spirit of the Quar’an’s prescriptions (Bassiouni, 1999).
According to Fisher (2005), Islamic tradition states that the Islamic “region sank into historical oblivion after turning away from Abraham’s monotheism.” Fisher also states that after centuries of oblivion, Muhammad was born around the year 570 CE to a poor clan in a very powerful tribe in the region. His parents and his grandparents died and Muhammad was left to his uncle. His uncle put him to work as a shepherd (Fisher, 2005).
Fisher also mentions that when Muhammad was in his teens and on a trip to Syria with his uncle, they met a Christian monk who said that he had the markings of a prophet. When Muhammad was forty, he went on a spiritual retreat during the month of Ramadan. The angel Gabriel came to him and insisted that he recite, and the angel dictated the words that he should recite which became the beginning of the Qur’an (Fisher, 2005).
Fisher mentions that three years after these revelations, Muhammad was instructed to preach publicly and was ridiculed and stoned by the Quarayshites (Fisher, 2005).
Muhammad was forced into exile for three years with his followers. When they returned, they continued to be persecuted by the Quarayshites. During his fiftieth year, which was called the “Year of Sorrows,” his wife and his uncle died (Fisher, 2005).
Fisher mentions that during the height of his trials, he had the Night of Ascension where he ascended to the seven heavens and into the Divine Proximity. He saw other prophets and teachers; he saw heaven and hell and received the great blessings from the Divine Presence (Fisher, 2005). Muhammad had many trials and problems over the years, but his popularity grew.
Fisher also mentions that Muhammad returned to Mecca in the year 630 CE with such a following that the people from Mecca could not resist. He talks about the purging of the Ka’bah of all of its idols, and from that time to this it has been the center of Muslim piety (Fisher, 2005). Muhammad died two years later with no clear instructions as to who should follow him as spiritual leader.
Bassiouni (1999) states that “in Islam there can be no confusion or doubt that Muhammad was a man, and only a man, chosen by the Creator to fulfill a divine mission as a prophet. Muhammad’s mission was literally to ‘read’ what Allah had ordered and ordained nothing more” (Bassiouni, 1999). Muhammad received his revelations from God, according to Islam. These revelations were received either in solitude or in the company of others. Those who observed these revelations claimed that these words coming out of Muhammad’s mouth were inspired. Bassiouni also states that this was Muhammad’s wahy or a divine inspiration or revelation (Bassiouni, 1999).
The sacred scriptures of Islam are the Qur’an. According to Bassiouni (1999), “Muslims believe that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah expressed through the revelations...