Who founded Islam?

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The Prophet Muhammad was the founder of Islam. Muhammad was a merchant who was born in and lived in Mecca, a commercial hub on the Arabian peninsula. He worked along the many trade routes that traversed the region and became wealthy in the process. As he entered middle age, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to him and commanded him to recite a series of revelations that he made to him. These became the foundation of the Qur'an, and the basic truth that was revealed was that there was no God other than Allah, a departure from the polytheism practiced throughout much of the region. Muhammad was forced to leave Mecca due to the unpopularity of his message with many of the wealthy merchants in that city, and went to Medinah in 622, a journey known as the hijrah. He returned triumphantly a few years later as his preaching had popularized his message to the point where even Mecca's elites had embraced it. After his death, Islam spread along trade routes and through Arab military expansion through the Middle East, North Africa, and the old Byzantine Empire.

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According to Islamic tradition, the founder of the religion was the prophet Mohammad, who was born in Mecca in 570 C.E. When Mohammad was at the age of 40, Allah (the name of God in Islam) revealed himself to Mohammad as the one true God, and, through the Angel Gabriel, delivered the teachings that would become the Islamic holy book known as the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran defines Islam as the religion of the one true God, it outlines the rules and requirements for behavior and describes the conditions that would bring about the end of the world and the Apocalypse. In the Saudi Peninsula of Mohammad's day, the monotheistic Judaism and Christianity were well established, and there were many followers of ancient polytheistic traditions. Islam took hold because of Mohammad's military and political prowess, and remains a dominant world religion to this day. Mohammad died in 632 C.E.

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The religion of Islam was not founded by any individual person; it is a religion of God, Allah, in Arabic. Contrary to popular belief that Muhammad is the founder of Islam, Muhammad was merely a 40-year-old man (570-632 AD) whom Allah chose to represent and spread the religion. When Allah chose Muhammad, he became a messenger and prophet of Allah. In Islam, the holy book known as, the Quran, is a book of guidance written by Allah and dictated to Muhammad through visits from the Angel Gabriel, Jibreel in Arabic. Muhammad memorized the dictations, (he was illiterate), and understood the meaning. Thus, he began spreading Islam to his close family members and friends, then to the community for the next twenty-three years until his death at the age of 63. Muslims believe that the principles and teachings of Islam predate Muhammad, as the Quran states, “He [Allah] has sent down upon you [O’ Muhammad] the book of truth, confirming what was before it. And He [Allah] revealed the Torah and the Gospel.”