Who Was Muhammad?

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Who Was Muhammad?
The content and structure of this section is largely based off of Mark Gabriel’s Jesus and Muhammad. I strongly encourage anyone reading this essay to read through Gabriel’s book in its entirety. My writing will focus on Muhammad’s life timeline, which is interesting in and of itself, but it is incredibly valuable to see the life of Muhammad side by side with the life of Jesus. Gabriel does just that.
Early Days (AD 570-594, 0-24 y/o)

570 (-) Birth and infancy

Muhammad was born in AD 570 in the town of Mecca – a mountain town in the high desert plateau of western Arabia. His name comes from the Arabic verb hamada, meaning "to praise, to glorify." Muhammad's father died before he was born, and Muhammad was the only child born to his mother, Amenah.

575 (5) Muhammad becomes an orphan

Because her husband had died, Muhammad's mother took her baby and went to live with her family. They were together for six years until she got a high fever and died. Then Muhammad went to live with his grandfather, Abdul Al-Muttalib, in Mecca. His grandfather’s family was part of the Quraysh tribe, the most powerful tribe in Mecca. Mecca was Arabia's most important pilgrimage center and Abdul Al-Muttalib its most respected leader. He controlled important pilgrimage concessions and frequently presided over Mecca's Council of Elders. This tribe controlled the main place of worship for all of Arabia, a temple filled with idols known as Al-Ka'ba. Muhammad's grandfather had the honor of serving as the caretaker for Al-Ka'ba. He was in charge of repairs and cleaning.

All tribes believed in a supreme god, but they were not sure who this supreme god was. They looked for a mediator to help connect them to this supreme god. So they made di...

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...m: Fasting
Ritual fasting is obligatory during the month of Ramadan. Muslims must abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk during this month, and are supposed to be especially mindful of other sins. The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness and to look for forgiveness from God, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, and to atone for their past sins.

Zakāt: Giving Alms
Muslims are expected to give alms to the Muslim community that amount to 2.5% of one’s income. The principle of knowing that all things belong to God is essential to purification and growth. Zakāt is obligatory for all Muslims who are able to do so. Currently,Muslims are living under secular governments and must pay taxes to them. So the zakat is in addition to their secular taxes. Because there is no central Islamic state, each person must choose where to give his money.

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