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I don't know about you, but I have been confused, puzzled and outraged by the actions of those that call themselves followers of Islam. How can a major religion advocate killing of innocent people in such cruel ways? I know, most apologists say that they don't, but at the same time violence has always seemed to be an integral part of this belief system. In the following days I hope to get a better idea of the beliefs of this religion, and will put my thoughts down on this page.
An Arabic merchant, given to thoughts far above the seventh century life in which he lived meditated in a cave and had a vision in which the angel Gabriel imparted knowledge to him. From this vision sprang the religion of Islam which ran with a consuming fire over Arabia, northern Africa and Spain, the Mid East, and parts of Asia and the East Indies.
This man, this merchant, Muhammed (ca. 570-632) had other visions throughout his life and set them down in what became the Qur'an or Koran. Muslims see him today as the last prophet of God, or Allah, earlier prophets being Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
Muhammed was born in Mecca to a prominent family, but was raised according to tradition by his bedouin wetnurse in the desert. Muhammed believed that he was chosen to perfect the teachings of Judaism and Christianity, but his idea of one God conflicted with many of the people in Mecca whose livelihood depended in part to the income from a temple there which housed many different idols. Arabs made pilgrimages to this temple during which all conflict was forbidden.
Conflict erupted between Muhammed's followers and the people of Mecca and he was forced to flee to Medina in 622. War erupted resulting in victory by Muhammed and his followers. He eventually conquered Arabia and after his death the movement spread and conquered surrounding areas. This military conquest combined with missionaries eventually spread Islam over a large area.