Muhammad was born in Makkah in the year 570 CE, during the period of history Europeans call the Middle Ages.
Muhammad was the son of 'Abd Allah, a noble from the tribe of the Quraysh. Muhammad's father died before
Muhammad's birth, and his mother, Aminah died shortly afterwards. Muhammad was raised by his uncle, Abu Talib.
As he grew up, Muhammad became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, earning the title of al
Amin, the trustworthy one. Muhammad was frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes and counsel his fellow
Muhammad was of a contemplative nature, and had long detested the decadence of his society. It became his habit
to meditate from time to time in the Cave of Hira' near the summit of Jabal al Nur, the 'Mountain of Light' near
At the age of 40, while engaged in a meditative retreat, Muhammad received his first revelation from God
through the Archangel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Qur'an.
Muhammad began to recite the words he heard from Gabriel and to preach the truth which God had revealed to him.
The people of Makkah were steeped in their ways of ignorance and opposed Muhammad and his small group of
followers in every way. These early Muslims suffered bitter persecution.
In the year 622 CE, God gave the Muslim community the command to emigrate. This event, the hijrah or migration,
in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the North, marks the beginning of the
Madinah provided Muhammad and the Muslims with the safe and nurturing haven in which the Muslim community grew.
After several years, the Prophet and his followers returned to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and
dedicated the Ka'bah to the worship of the One God. Before the Prophet died at the age of 63, the greater part
of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to Spain in the west and as far east