Assume that you are a polytheistic Arab; what is really radical or striking about Mohammed's message, if he is speaking as the Prophet?

Arabs, including Jews, Christians, and polytheists, found Mohammed's message both striking and radical because of its progressive and unitary nature. Islam demanded its followers adhere to a universal code of morals based on humane treatment of war captives, fairness in trade, and conflict resolution guidelines, ending the violence of tribal blood feuds of the past. It united rural and urban populations under a common mission, and subjects were treated better than they had been under previous regimes.

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The strict and radical form of monotheism preached by Mohammed and his early followers arrived at a point in history where human consciousness was experiencing a shift which aligned with a shift in social relations as the great civilizations of antiquity decayed into shadows of their former greatness.

The Roman Empire had long fractured into competing fiefdoms run by warlords, and the oppressive theocracy of the Catholic Church now ruled the West from the city of Rome. The Old World of Mesopotamia, the Levant, Egypt, and North Africa was ruled by the reactionary Byzantine aristocracy from Constantinople, and their despotic regime of increasing taxes and religious bigotry resulted in a rather disloyal population who cared not for the fate of their hated rulers. The Eastern Orthodox clerical regime made enemies of Christians and Jews alike within the Old World, and when the armies of Mohammad emerged from the desert sands, they were often indifferent and occasionally even welcomed their new Arab rulers, who were bound by a moral imperative to treat these "People of the Book" with compassion and dignity. And although the trans-Saharan slave trade was active under Islamic rule, the poor souls who found themselves enslaved in East Africa would come to be relieved upon hearing that their master was a Muslim, rather than one of the old tribal warlords whose moral code saw fit to cut off the legs of their slaves and leave them to die in the desert if they so much as fainted from exhaustion.

The reality was that Mohammed and his new creed ended centuries of violent tribal blood feuds among the Arab desert Bedouins and united them under a unitary mission which required absolute devotion and dedication to the new moral way of life. Now, the community of Muslims were all working from the same understanding and adhered to the same morals and guidelines regarding trade, marriage, social customs, community conflict, and a variety of other realms of social relations. The new way of life united desert nomads and cosmopolitan merchants alike, and the old gods whose rituals had become meaningless were replaced by the strict but fair Allah, the God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as well. Subjects of the early Islamic Caliphate were generally not required to convert and could run their own communities and expect lower taxes than their old rulers. And with this new revolutionary and universal code of existence, the armies of Mohammed were able to create an empire spanning from Spain to Afghanistan within a decade of their prophet's death.

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