Although he succeeded in winning converts to Islam, his group was persecuted by the Qurayshites (the aristocrats) in spite of the protection provided by his influential uncle, and exiled to an isolated place where they were forced to eat the leaves of trees and the wild foods they could gather in order to survive. The persecution persisted even after his band of Muslim converts was allowed to go back to Mecca after three years. The darkest period in Muhammad’s life was when he turned fifty. It was called the “Year of Sorrows” because his wife and his uncle who was protecting him died.
The Islamic tradition explained that it was approximately during that period of hardship that the “Night of Ascension” occurred. It was claimed to be the occasion when Muhammad was supposed to have ascended into heaven and met the earlier prophets like Adam, Abraham, and Jesus Christ in Divine proximity, observed what hell and paradise were, and was later blessed by the Divine Presence (Fisher, 2005). As a consequence of the persistent Qurayshite persecution that they experienced in Mecca, however, Muhammad and his Muslim followers decided to leave Mecca and head for Medina in 622 CE.
Their migration, which was referred to as the hijrah, is now considered as the beginning of the Muslim era. (Risher, 2005). The central teachings of Islam are oneness of God and of humanity; prophethood and the compass of Islam; human relationship to the divine; belief in the unseen life; and belief in the Last Judgment (Fisher, 2005). Oneness of God and of humanity Islam teaches that there is only one God. This is why the first words spoken to a Muslim infant are the words of the Shahadah – “la ilaha ill-Allah Muhammad-un Rasulu-llah” (“There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God”).
According to Muslims, God may be called by many names, but all the attributes assigned to those different names only make up the totality of the One God who created the universe. They contend that there must be absolute unity among all men of all races because they were all created by only one God and should therefore be brothers under the same God. Stretching this argument further, Islam maintains that no one race should be considered the chosen race, nor be considered superior than other races. Islam teaches that the individual should be one with God, therefore his or her thoughts and deeds should always be inspired by God.
This oneness of God and of humanity was very emphatically expressed by Abu Hashim Madami, an Indian Sufi sage, when he said that “There is only one thing to be gained in life, and that is to remember God with each breath; and there is only one loss in life, and that is the breath drawn without the remembrance of God” (Fisher. 2005). Prophethood and the compass of Islam All the prophets from Abraham to Jesus Christ are honored, but they maintain that Muhammad was the last prophet sent by God with the final message.
This means, therefore, that the Qur’an sums up all the messages from God so Islam should include all religions, including Christianity and Judaism which also trace their roots to Abraham (Fisher, 2005). Muslims believe that although God sent many messengers namely: “Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Muhammad,” the message He revealed to Muhammad was the final message intended for all of mankind (Robinson, 2007). Human relationship to the divine They believe that God created the universe for a specific purpose or purposes.
To achieve His purpose/s, He set down particular laws to govern the actions of everybody. For this reason, Islam maintains that man could live in peace and prosperity only if he recognizes the laws which were set by God and faithfully abide by them. The set of laws of Islam is called the Sharia Law which has been derived from the Qur’an and the Sunna, which has been considered as the Islamic “custom or practice; particularly that associated with the exemplary life of the Prophet Muhammad, comprising his deeds and utterances as recorded in the hadith” (Robinson, 2007).
Belief in the unseen life They accept the existence of the unseen life such as angels. Specifically, they believe in Gabriel, whom they have credited with bringing down the messages of God to humanity. Muhammad, for one, related that the revelations were sometimes brought to him by an angel in human form who would recite the Qur’anic passages to him. They likewise believe that Satan exists just as they believe that there are saints. Belief in the Last Judgment
For them, the Last Judgment means that dead Muslims are allowed some rest before being raised from the grave for the final reckoning, after which the sinners and the unbelievers are sent to hell (Fisher. 2005). Those who lived their lives on earth believing in Allah and his prophets and messengers would enter paradise while “Agnostics, Atheists, Polytheists, and followers of non-Abrahamic religions” would be rejected. Entry into Paradise, according to Muslims, would likewise be denied to all those whose lives were dominated by “evil deeds” (Robinson, 2007).