Once again I want to remind y'all that this is a Christian BLOG, but I have been doing a study on Islam and Muslims, and I want to pass on some of what I have been learning so I hope you will all bear with me! I hope you all had time to go to Genesis and do some reading especially in Genesis 11: 26 31. and continue along in Genesis to follow the story of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Ishmael and Hagar. It is a very interesting study and a good read. I love the Bible and I love to study and read in it over and over. It seems like every time I go to it and read something I had read previously I find something new to apply to my present situation. It is an awesome book and once you start reading in it you will be drawn to it over and over.
Where I left off was with the animosity that is established between Ishmael and Isaac. It is a very complicated relationship and to fully understand it all you really should read it all for yourself in Genesis. My reason for even mentioning it is because Ishmael is the "father" of the Arabian race, and the Arabians are where Islam begins and Ishmael is also the connector between God and God's covenant and the basis of the Monotheistic beginnings of Islam and the Muslim people. The covenant connection, the enmity between the Hebrew people and Arab people and Monotheism is where we find Muhammed and his meditations that were the basis for the Koran. The enmity and the rest will be more important a bit further along in this discourse. So back to Muhammed. Muhammed was born sometime in the year 570 to 571 C.E. He was born into a family that was one of the leading tribes in Mecca (the Koerish) and he was to find sorrow on the day of his birth because his father had passed away just four days previously. The name Muhammed means "Highly Praised" and his full name is Muhammed ibn Abdullah, by traditional knowledge he is a "Hanif" and one of the direct line of descendants of Ishmael. He has become known as "The Seal of the Prophets" meaning that there may have been many prophets before him but none will come after him. Muhammed is a name that has been given to more male children than any other name in history. So strike one, he is born without a father, strike two his mother dies when he is six and he is taken in by his grandfather. Strike three his grandfather dies when he is nine. He is then taken in by an uncle (Abu Talib) who because of failing fortunes has to put him to work on the family farm tending his goats. Even though he is an orphan he is warmly accepted by his uncles family. Even then it is reported that "the angels were opening out young Muhammed's heart and filling it with light." To say that times were tough for young Muhammed in the world of sixth century Arabia would be an understatement. Descriptions of what it was like by contemporary historians, and later ones said that if they had to condense it down to just one word it would be "barbaric". Conditions for the life of a Nomad in the desert had never been serene or comfortable, there was constant heat and freezing temperatures at night, wind storms that could actually scrub the skin off your body, lack of water and the constant scarcity of material goods and material comforts. When you add to all of this the fact that the average Bedouin felt almost no obligation to anyone other than his immediate family and tribe, and was in a constant mood for a fight, which was exacerbated by the constant burning heat and was a brigand and thought that wars and fighting were a badge of male virility and bravery you can understand just how awful conditions were. Now stir this all up with a general breakdown of the magistrate of Mecca it made for chaos, brawling and bloodshed. Drunkenness and gambling were commonplace, dancing girls moving from tent to tent and again the blazing sun all inflamed the "sons of the desert", and made for a rough and tumble world of depravity that disgusted young Muhammed. What passed for religion was a mix of animistic, pantheistic, polytheism rife with beasties, sprites, powerful Jinns or Genies and demons. Personifications of all "the things that go bump in the night" in the desert. There is absolutely no evidence that it ever inspired any type of religious feeling or fervor and certainly would not inspire any form of moral conviction. The area that was Arabia was ripe for religious deliverance and most certainly ready for a "deliverer" and that man was Muhammed. He was feeling that the angels of God (Allah) were filling him with light and speaking to him (this underlines his character beautifully according to historians) and all around him was depravity, tribal fighting and bloodshed and of course the drunkenness and debauchery that disgusted him; what was a young man of upstanding character (and reportedly) a sweet and gentle disposition to do? It is also probable that his early trials and tribulations made him very sensitive to the trouble and suffering he saw all around him. It is said that he was always willing to reach out to others and offer help, especially to the poor and weak. It is reported that he had a strong sense of duty, honor, honesty and a commitment to truth. As he grew into manhood all of those traits inspired titles like "the true", "the upright" and "the trustworthy one". In spite of his concern for others and his commitment to help them he remained aloof and separate from them which seems a common trait for men of his ilk.He remained isolated in all of this chaos. He saw the lawlessness, the immorality and depravity, the constant fighting among the tribes, and the more he saw the more the disgust grew for the whole Arabic society of the time and the more he matured the more his meditations and thoughts turned inward. In 596 C.E.., at the age of 25 he turned his sights to the business of caravans and trade and went into business with a wealthy widow named Khadija. She was very impressed with his diligence and integrity, and soon her being impressed with him turned to affection, and soon that affection turned to love. Even though she was fifteen years his senior they were married. History reports that they had a very happy and satisfying relationship. He did have other wives later in life but Khadija was his comfort and solace in a world that turned to desolation in his eyes. No one seemed to believe in him and at times even he didn't believe in himself, but through it all Khadija stood by him and offered him the support he needed and bolstered his failing feelings of worth. It is reported by historians that Allah (God) worked through Khadija to comfort him and lighten his burdens. After his marriage to Khadija and before his actual ministry began there was a period of preparation, spiritual communion and meditation that lasted about fifteen years. His need for time away from the world made him turn to a cave that he was familiar with on the outskirts of Mecca on Mount Hira, a huge outcrop of rock that erupts out of the barren desert. In this cave Muhammed found the solitude he needed for his meditations. His visits became more and more frequent as time went on. He meditated on good and evil, on the barbarism he saw daily all around him, the superstitions and pantheism and the moral decay that was the accepted norm, and in his desperation he reached out to God (Allah) the God of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Allah was worshipped in Mecca, but not as the supreme God but as a god amid a pantheon of gods, Jinns and demons. To Muhammed Allah (God) became the supreme provider, the God above all other gods. For Muhammed, Allah inspired real religious feelings and devotion in his heart. Allah being real, became the central focus for Muhammed, and was fearfully wonderful and as real as the universe He created. Muhammed felt that Allah was far more than his countrymen could have dreamed and even more than he could have dreamed. Allah's awesome majesty filled his mind, heart, soul and his cave. His Allah filled the whole universe that Allah Himself had ordained. This God, this Allah was not "just" a god or even a god above all other gods. This Allah was THE God, the One the only true God without rival, La ilaha Allah! Muhammed cried out from his cave to Allah; "there is no God but Allah!".
So, with that, I am going to stop for now, and pick up later today or maybe tomorrow. Remember that this is a Christian Blog and for me Christ is my connection to God, for it says in scripture, "none come to the Father but through Me." and I believe that Jesus is the only true Son of the living God, and to find salvation and forgiveness for my sins I must repent of my sins and ask Jesus to come into my heart and fill me with the Holy Spirit. It is by His blood that we are saved, Jesus Christ went to the cross willingly as the pure and perfect sacrificial Lamb, and the payment for my sins and actually for all of us and all of our sins. How awesome is that? If you are not a "born again" believer in Jesus Christ you can be, and all you have to do is pray what they call the "sinners prayer": Lord I am a sinner and I repent of my sins and ask Jesus to come into my heart and fill me with the Holy Spirit. Wash away all of my sinfulness. I believe that you are the only Son of the living God and it is only through You that I can have salvation. Lord enter my name into the "Book of Life". I thank You God, and I praise You. Amen.