By Kelly Gneiting, posted at the Independent American Party’s website
December 21, 2015
Muslims currently number more than one billion (almost one-fifth of the world’s population), concentrated primarily in Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, and North Africa, but with significant populations located in Europe and North America.
In 595 C.E., at the age of 25, Muhammad began retreating into the solitude of the desert to pray, meditate, and worship. He had become dissatisfied with the corruption, idolatry, and social inequities that plagued Mecca; he sought for a higher truth that would provide peace, justice, and spiritual fulfillment for him and his people.
When he was 40, Muhammad’s spiritual seeking and preparation reached a culmination. According to Islamic history, one night while Muhammad was engaged in prayer and meditation on Mount Hira near Mecca, the angel Gabriel appeared to him to deliver a message from God (Arabic, Allah). Three times the angel commanded that Muhammad “Recite! In the name of thy Lord who created, created man of a blood-clot. Recite! And thy Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the pen—Taught man that he knew not” (Qur’an 96:1–5).
For a period of 22 years, from 610 C.E. to his death in 632, Muhammad received communications that he said were from Allah, by way of the angel Gabriel, and that he memorized verbatim and recited orally to his disciples. These oral recitations of Allah’s mind and will are collectively referred to as al-Qur’an or “recitation.” His message was rejected in this early period in Mecca, and he and his fledgling community of converts, mostly a few family members and close friends, were shunned, persecuted, and even tortured.
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