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The Challenge Of Muhammad: The Prophet Of The God

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Muhammad was the Prophet of the God. He was the last and final Prophet. His sudden death in 632 CE marked a time of challenge for Muslims as they faced the uncertainty of the future. The most imminent challenge the Muslim community faced was the prospect of who would be the heir to Muhammad. Who was the rightful heir? There was much divide on this subject throughout the Muslim community between the Sunnis and the Shi`a. Along with the uncertainty of who the authority of Islam would now be, the challenge of what kind of authority they would bring also plagued Muslims. Islam was still a developing religion amongst the already dominant religions of Judaism and Christianity so the Muslim community now had the challenge of still expanding their…show more content…
Questions surrounding legitimacy and what authority the next caliphs would hold created the most tensions within each caliph’s successorship. However, Muhammad had a legion of followers who were well versed in his teachings and style of rule that “before the Prophet died, he had created the conditions for a universal brotherhood on the basis of faith, a principle which he vigorously substituted for the old blood-ties and tribal loyalties of the Arabs” (Rahman 25). Muhammed preached monotheism, which “demanded a radical break from the polytheism of pre-Islamic Arabia” (Berkey 72). This set up the concepts of authority that the caliphs that took over Muhammad’s rule after his death and unified the authority to conduct themselves to the laws and rules on the one God. Therefore, this united the tribes that became part of the Islamic Empire through the authority of a monotheistic state and religion. The Rashidun dynasty became the first to rule after the death of Muhammad. However, this decision created a divide amongst the two sects of Islam; the Sunnis and Shi`a. Their opposing views about legitimacy ignited the instability that would reign towards the end of the Rashidun rule and still marks for the tensions between the two groups in the Muslim community today. Yet, because of the expansion of Islam with the Near East, the caliphs had to draw in multiple…show more content…
In the beginning, “the institutions of Islam at this point were still grounded in Arabian identities”, but with the erection of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem a more Islamic identity emerged as the essence of Islam through the preservation of the Qur`anic text – the epitome of the Islamic tradition (Berkey 77). Islam had expanded on such a large scale geographically that it was only natural that their presence on the religious scale be established. It proclaimed the emergence of Islam as a supreme new faith linked to biblical tradition yet distinct from the religions of the conquered people. The Dome contrasted against the other religions already heavily present in the Near East. It was “in the thick of a competition, almost a confrontation, between Christianity and Islam”, but inexplicitly also shaped the original perception of the Dome through this competition (Grabar 54). By explicitly inscribing the text of the Quran for the first time it signified that the people of Islam had now reached a point after the death of Mohammed that they felt they knew who they were and were coming to realize what they were as Muslims. In this way “the Dome reflects the process by which Islam gradually came together in a distinctive shape” (Berkey
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