"Allah is witness between you and me; and this Quran has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomsoever it reaches."
Muhammad was an agent for wealthy merchants carrying goods via caravan throughout Arabia. He claimed to have had a vision of a majestic being, and heard a voice saying, “You are the Messenger of God.” He had unsettled feelings and doubts after the vision but was reassured by his wife and cousin. They came to the conclusion that the messages were the same as those received in Jewish, Christian, and others that claimed to have had revelations from God. It was decided that he had been appointed to spread these messages among Arabs. He was very insistent that he was not a divine figure and he always warned his followers that they were not to put him on a pedestal. He claimed he was only to bring warnings of the judgment to come. He gained followers, starting with his friends, and his movement grew in numbers after he began preaching publicly. He was also persecuted for his beliefs and looked at as a threat by rich merchants and political leaders because of his growing position of authority. He was given authority over serious disputes among the Muslims of Medina, and later became a strong military leader. He was believed by Muslims to be the best example of behavior. He died in June 632 after suffering fever, head pain and weakness.
Moses wrote the Tawrat of Islam (also known as the Torah of Judaism and the first five books of the Christian Bible).
Moses (c. 14th-13th Century BC)
"…be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left."
Moses was a very important prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He was born a Hebrew slave but was rescued from death when an Egyptian royal family adopted him after he was found in a basket. When he was older, he learned of his family history and later killed an Egyptian slave master who was beating a Hebrew slave. He fled his royal lifestyle and became a shepherd and married in the land of Midian. Years later, while tending sheep, he claimed to have experienced direct communication with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through a burning bush. He was called to return to Egypt and deliver the Hebrew people from slavery. He felt he could not speak well so God allowed his brother Aaron to go with him. After ten plagues, Moses fled with the slaves out of Egypt, escaping through the parting of the Red Sea. The Hebrews escaped safely while the Egyptians drowned. Later, Moses received the Ten Commandments, a system of law, and many ritual regulations from God at Mount Sinai. After wandering in the desert for forty years, he died within sight of the land God had promised him.
Moses wrote about Abraham, the claimed Patriarch of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
(c. Second Millennium BC)
"Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.' " - Genesis 17:3-6
Abraham claimed to be called by God to leave his country to become the founder of a new nation. His story is an important part of history in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He obeyed God without question, and listened to the promise that he would father a large nation even though his wife, Sarai (later called Sarah), was barren. Sarai, knowing she could not bear children, told him to father a child through her maidservant Hagar; this child was Ishmael. Later, he fathered Isaac, through Sarah as God had promised. Even though Abraham had many of the normal human weaknesses he was known for being a man of peace and compassion, a strong warrior, and most widely recognized as a righteous man committed to God no matter what the cost.
ISLAM: A monotheistic religion characterized by the acceptance of the doctrine of submission to God and to Muhammad as the chief and last prophet of God.
Followers of Islam: Close to 22% of the world's population (note).
Qur’an (Koran), Hadith, Sira, Sunna, Injil, Tawrat, and Zabur
• Qur’an: claimed to have been revealed over a 23-year period to Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel. He was unable to read or write, so the Angel Gabriel repeated it to him about three times. Muhammad memorized the verses and then asked companions and friends to write and memorize the verses with him. One hundred fourteen suras (chapters) made up the recitations claimed to be from a guarded tablet in heaven containing the original book of Allah. The original Qur'an was written in Arabic; other translations are considered only explanations to the meaning of the Qur'an.
• Hadith: the traditions, a record of sayings and actions of Muhammad and his companions containing Islamic law, belief, and practice.
• Sira: The biography of Muhammad, revered also as a source of Islamic law, belief, and practice.
• Sunna: A model of behavior, practices and utterances to be lived out by Muslims.
Authors: Muhammad and his followers
Injil - Islam
(Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John - Christianity)
Matthew: tax collector, disciple of Jesus
Mark: missionary in training, traveling companion
Luke: doctor, historian, traveling companion
John: apostle, fisherman, disciple of Jesus
Tawrat - Islam
(Bereishith, Shemoth, Vayiqra, Bamidbar, Devarim - Judaism; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy - Christianity)
Author: Moses: prince, shepherd, leader of the Israelites
Zabur - Islam
(Tehillim - Judaism; Psalms - Christianity)
Author: David: shepherd, musician, poet, soldier, king