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Origins of Islam

The Origins of Islam
(by  Bob Pulliam)

The origins of Islam is not a study usually undertaken by a Muslim. To research historical information from the time of Muhammad is tantamount to not believing the Islamic sacred writings concerning that time. Anything discovered in history, that might contradict sacred writings or tradition, is quickly relegated to the tampering of infidels. Such is a convenient way to changing history to suit one's own purpose.

History has always been a doorway by which we might confirm the present. Without an honest evaluation of it, we can only believe the past on the basis of present desires, rather than an evaluation of truth. How much of the Quran relates history? And how often does the Quran invite the reader to evaluate it's truth based on history? Here, we will examine this very question. History is filled with unbelievers who were antagonistic to Christianity, and yet we have never been placed in the position of saying that "history was changed by infidels" (although there is a present effort to eliminate God and religion from the beginnings of this great country, one may still examine history and find the truth).

If you have any trouble understanding words used here, go to Terminology Used in Islam.

An Introduction to the Islam's Founder...

The founder of Islam was Muhammad. Muhammad was born to an impoverished family in about AD 570. His mother died when he was young, but was prone to visits from genies (known as jinns), and spirits, claiming also to have visions (McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 6:406). We also know from Muslim tradition that Muhammad would fall down and have seizures when his Koranic revelations were received (whether or not these were epileptic seizures have been the subject of great debate, and bear little on our study).

The beginnings of these seizures frightened Muhammad to suicide, but the angel Gabriel is said to have stopped him. Still concerned that he might be possessed, Muhammad told the account to his first wife. Muhammad's first wife consoled him, and sought counsel from Warqa b. Naufal (her cousin), who was a Christian. While Muhammad's wife soon became a convert to Islam, her cousin remained a Christian to his dying breath. This has led to grave doubts about what he actually told her when she confided in him.

Muhammad died around AD 632 (for information on his life, go to The Life of Muhammed). It is clear that Muhammad had no premonition of his death. If he had, he would have appointed a successor, and organized the Quran... But as it was, he left successorship in turmoil; and the many copies of the Quran had to be weeded through, destroying those that were with errors. This was done by Caliph Uthman, son in law to Muhammad.

The Sacred Writings of Islam...

The Quran is the sacred writing of Islam. Second to it is the Hadith, and then the Bible pulls up with a distant third. The Quran is divided into Suras, and begins with the longest working it's way to ending with the shortest. Muslims are divided as to how these writings were preserved for posterity. Some take the position that they were never written down for years after Muhammad's death. Those more learned, and less inclined to romaticism, concede that these were written on palm leaved, pieces of bone, and tree bark.

It is claimed that there has never been a conflict between any of the Quranic texts. This is easily understood when one realizes the Caliph Uthman collected the Islamic texts, and destroyed all conflicting texts within that body of writings. This act would have been equal to the Catholic church destroying Bible manuscripts, had it ever done so. The only Bible burnings that have ever taken place were to keep people from reading it, rather than destroy damaging evidence about it.

We are told that one cannot help but believe the Quran if one reads it with an open mind. It is claimed to have the most beautiful and sublime character. We are also told that no one has the right to criticize Islam if they have never read the Quran. Of course, they will say the same thing about those who have read it too. This is the same approach taken by the Mormons. They will ask if you have ever read the book of Mormon. If not, how can you know it is not from God? The problem with this reasoning is that these people never follow the same logic for themselves. Has a Muslim read the Book of Mormon?... How can they deny it's claims? Has a Mormon read the Quran? How can they deny it's claims? The truth is, one need not read all of either book if other factors dictate that the claims are false (see Miracles of Islam).

The Hadith is a collection of traditions delivered from "reliable" sources. Each Hadith begins with the source of it's information and the circumstance involved. For example, so-and-so, an apostle of the prophet, heard him tell so-and-so not to do such and such. The amount of information comprising the Hadith is quite extensive. My set has nine volumes. Much of the Muslims definition of how things should be done in life comes from the Hadith.

Allah, the God of Islam...

The Kabah is the most sacred place in all of Islam. The Muslim believes the Kabah was first built by Abraham, and then became a place of extensive idolatry. During that time, Allah supposedly was forgotten, and Muhammed had to reveal him to a people ignorant of his name. If Allah's name was unknown to pagan Arabs until Muhammad revealed it, then we must explain why the name of Muhammad's father was "Abd-Allah". Then there was Muhammad's uncle. His name was "Obied-Allah". The truth is, Allah was one of the many religions pursued at the Kabah. "Amidst the profusion of idols in the West Arabian pantheon, one stands out as the chief god of the Meccans. The cult of the deity termed simply, the god (Allah < al-ilah) was known throughout southern Syria and northern Arabia, and was obviously of central importance in Mecca, where the building called the Ka'ba was indisputably his house." (F.E. Peters, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam, (State Univ. of N.Y. Press, 1994), p107).

The cult of Allah was a well developed religion in Muhammad's day. The Arabs believe that Allah had three daughters (goddesses). In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was the Moon god, and was married to the Sun goddess. Together, they had three daughters, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat. In proof that there was knowledge of Allah and his daughters before Muhammad came along is this passage:

"Now ask them their opinion: Is it that thy Lord has (only) daughters, and they have sons? - Or that We created the angels female, and they are witnesses (thereto)?" Sura 37:149f

Muhammad argued that the Meccans were not to worship the three daughters of Allah, that they were only angels. But why would he argue such a thing if the Meccans did not know about Allah or his daughters?

These three daughters proved to be a source of salvation for Muhammad in a time of trouble. Great has been the dispute over the satanic verses of Sura 53. Muslim scholars have had to admit their presence from the evidence of Hadith, and then explain them away. The tradition tells us that on an occasion when Muhammad was under threat from his own tribe, be produced Sura 53. In that Sura, the three daughters of Allah are mentioned. Originally, it is claimed that Muhammad said, "These are high-flying cranes; verily their intercession is to be hoped for." Later, verses 21-23 were substituted. Muslim scholars tell us that Satan induced Muhammad to utter these verses. Whether it was Satan, or not; the modern Islamic scholar must admit that Allah was the "high god" of Mecca before Muhammad came along, and that Allah had three daughters being worshipped in that city! The modern Islamic scholar must also concede that Muhammad could be decieved by Satan, and then tell us how we know that the remainder of the Quran was not the work of demons.

Conclusion:

Hopefully this material has given you a start to understanding where Islam came from. It is usually not easy to understand Islam's appeal to so many people. It does appeal to certain individuals, however, and they are easily hooked if they do not take the time to look into Islam's claims.