History 7 – The Islamic Story of Moses (Musa in Arabic)

The Islamic story of Moses states that he was born around in 1393 BCE in Egypt during a time when the Israelites were slaves of the Pharaoh (the Coptic culture is derived from Pharonic times). The Pharaoh didn’t let the Israelites worship God. They made the Israelites worship idols like them.

The Pharaoh at the time was told that a prophet would be born from the Israelites and that this prophet would be his downfall. Not wanting that to happen, the Pharaoh made a rule that every other year, all newborn Israelite boys would be killed.

Moses was born in a year where newborn Israelite boys were killed so his mother put him in a basket, and sent him down a river, praying that God would protect him. Ofcourse, Moses would always be protected by God, and was guided to the Egyptian queen who was bathing in the river. She picked up Moses and convinced the Pharaoh to let her raise Moses as her own.

Moses’s mother was in despair that she had lost her son but God would not let her stay in that state for long.  God made sure that Moses would not suckle on any other woman’s breast making the queen look for someone who could breastfeed him.  When Moses’s sister, Miriam, heard that her brother was safe and needed a wet nurse, she suggested a woman to the queen who happened to be her mother.   Baby Moses knew that this was his mother, and latched on.  The queen saw that Moses liked this “strange woman”, and made her his nanny.

Moses grew up in the palace with his mother as his caretaker. He learned  to read and write, everything a prince would need to know. By the time he was a young man, he was exceptionally strong and educated but he had a stutter which made him very self-conscious.

When Moses became a young man, he saw an Israelite in a fight with an Egyptian. The Israelite called on Moses for help. Moses went over and punched the Egyptian, killing him.  Moses was scared for his life, and fled Egypt.

Moses had no idea where he was going. He just ran away from Egypt.  His aimless escape led him to Madyan (or Midian in English). It is supposed to be located on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea.  When he reached Madyan, he saw two women trying to lift a boulder that was blocking a well.  When Moses saw that, he offered to help lift the boulder and get water for them. The women expressed their gratitude to Moses, and then hurried home to tell their elderly father about him.  Their father told them to go find Moses and invite him to dinner.  Moses, who was tired and hungry, accepted the invitation and joined the women and their father for dinner.

At dinner, the women’s father told Moses that he planned to wed his daughters soon, and that if Moses worked for him for 8 years, he could marry one of his daughters. If he worked for 10 years, Moses could choose which daughter he wanted to marry. Moses, who wasn’t planning to go back to Egypt anytime soon, chose 10 years of work, and claimed one of the daughters, Zipporah, as his wife.

Moses started to miss his family, and since nothing stopped him from going to Egypt, he left with Zipporah.  On the way, they got lost in the middle of the night and saw a fire in the distance. Thinking that there would be people there to help them, they rode in the direction of the fire. The fire turned out to be God calling out to Moses. God told Moses to throw down his staff, and when Moses did, God turned the staff into a giant snake to prove that He was God.  Moses got scared and started to run away from the snake but God told him to come back, and not to be afraid of the snake.  Another miracle that God showed Moses to convince him that He was God was to turn his hand into a shining bright light when he touched his heart inside his shirt. God then told Moses to go talk to the Pharaoh, and convince him to free the Israelites, and remind him of the Sovereignty of God. Moses thought that this would never work because he had a stutter but God reassured him and said that he could ask his brother Aaron to help him.

When Moses arrived in Egypt, he called on Aaron to help him convince the Pharaoh to free the Israelites. Aaron agreed and headed to the palace with Moses.  Aaron told the Pharaoh to free the Israelites, and if he didn’t, he would be disobeying a command of God.  The Pharaoh was greatly angered with Moses.  The Pharaoh declared that he was god, and that he would never free the Israelites. To prove that God was more powerful than the Pharaoh, Moses challenged the Pharaoh and his court.  The Pharaoh declared that there would be a public duel between his magicians and Moses.

The Pharaoh’s magicians went first, casting down their staffs and ropes, and making it look like they were moving like snakes. When it was Moses’s turn, he threw down his staff which turned  into a snake larger than before and ate the magicians’ snakes on the items on the ground. The magicians, as well as all the onlookers, saw that God’s power was far superior. The magicians accepted Moses’s God as the One True God. The magicians repented, and God, being All Forgiving, forgave them.   The Pharaoh was infuriated that his magicians had been defeated in the duel in front of the public.

Moses and Aaron realized that the Pharaoh wasn’t going to free the Israelites anytime soon. So, they devised a plan to sneak the Israelites out of Egypt. In the dark of night, Aaron and Moses collected the Israelites and snuck out.

The next morning the guards discovered that the Israelites were gone and informed the Pharaoh. He was furious that Moses and Aaron had taken the Israelites. The Pharaoh created a search team, including himself, and set off in the direction the people went.

The Israelites were trapped at the edge of the Red Sea with the Pharaoh closing in behind them. God told Moses to hit his staff on the ground. When the staff hit the ground, the Red Sea parted in two, and Moses and the Israelites  were able to pass through.  The Pharaoh and his men also tried to pass through but the water closed on the Pharaoh and his men, drowning them.  It is said that the Pharaoh accepted Moses’s God before drowning.

After crossing the Red Sea, the Israelites continued on to their Promised Land with Moses and Aaron.  They hadn’t brought much food when they escaped so God made sure that every morning when they woke up, there would be food on the ground for them. God also provided fresh springs of water for them to drinks.

But the Israelites were not grateful. Aaron and Moses kept trying to remind the people how much God had given them but were unsuccessful.  When the time came to take their Promised Land from the disbelievers, they refused.  The Israelites insisted that it was impossible. They claimed they wouldn’t succeed  because the disbelievers had a larger army.   Moses and Aaron reminded them that they would be protected by God like always. But they still refused.

As punishment for not obeying Him, God “cursed” the Israelites to wander the desert for forty years without a determined home.

While travelling across the desert, Moses saw a burning bush at the top of a hill called Mount Toor (now known as Mount Sinai). Moses recognized it as God wanting to talk to him, and left the Israelites with Aaron.  When Moses got to the top of the hill, God told him to write down what He dictated, which was the Torah (i.e. The Law). Moses finished inscribing the Torah on tablets after forty days and nights.

Moses was very happy that he had the Torah for the people. When he reached the bottom of the hill, he saw what the people were doing while he was away.  They had melted gold and constructed a golden calf to worship.  Moses was greatly angered that the people had slipped back into idol worship, and that Aaron had let them do this.  Aaron claimed that the people threatened him if he didn’t let them make the calf.

After wandering across the Sinai desert (in the Sinai Peninsula)for forty years with the Israelites, Moses finally died at the age of 120 years-old.  Before his death, he asked God if he could live for a little longer to lead the Israelites but God said no, and that it was his time.  Who can argue with God?

As you can see, Moses spent almost all of his life leading and helping the Israelites. In my opinion his biggest achievement in life was delivering the Torah, or the Law, to the Israelites. The fact that Moses asked God for more years to live to lead the Israelites just shows how dedicated he was to them.

History 7 – Islamic History After the Death of Prophet Muhammad

After the death of Prophet Muhammad, there were several Islamic Dynasties.  In this essay I am going to briefly explain each of these dynasties.

The Rightly Guided Caliphs

The first dynasty after the Prophet, the Ummah (the community) elected four of the closest Companions to the Prophet.  Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali were chosen to be the successors or Caliphs.  They were known as the Rightly Guided Caliphs.  You can think of them as the most able apprentices.  They ruled the Islamic state of Medina and defended it.  Abu Bakr was a caliph for only two years before his death in 634 CE.  He was then succeeded by Umar who created a Council of six senior Companions to elect the next Caliph in 644 CE, which was fitting as he was assassinated that year.  The Council then elected Uthman to be the next Caliph.  Uthman was a Caliph for 12 years before being assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.  The Council then elected Ali to be the next Caliph.  Ali was then assassinated five years later.

All four Caliphs spread the message of Islam and defended Islamic communities, sometimes through war, and expanded the reach of Islam from northern Africa to the Middle East to Persia (modern day Iran).  It was during the reign of Umar that Jerusalem was captured by the Muslims in 638 CE.  For the first time in over 500 years, the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.  Jews had been expelled by the Romans in 70 CE.

The Umayyads

The Umayyad dynasty was founded by Mu’awiyah, a Companion of the Prophet.  After the death of Mu’awiyah, his son was appointed to succeed him, effectively replacing the governance by principle of consultation to a dynastic (monarchy) rule.  The Umayyads lasted for 89 years before being succeeded by the Abbasids.

In 732 CE, the Umayyads were defeated at the Battle of Tours by the Franks in modern day France; this is regarded as a decisive battle.  If the Muslims had won, they would have continued to conquer the rest of Europe.

In that time, the Umayyads were known for their military skills, architecture, and the minting of the earliest silver and gold Islamic coins.  They also introduced Arabic as the main language in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Persia.  They had expanded the Islamic empire, in the west from North Africa to modern day Spain and Portugal (then called Al Andalusia), and in the east to modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz was the great-grandson of Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Rightly Guided Caliph.  Umar was one of the best Umayyads and was known as the Fifth Rightly Guided Caliph because of his fairness and kindness.

In 750 CE, the last Umayyad Caliph, Marwan II, was killed by the Abbasids marking the end of the Umayyad dynasty and the start of the Abbasids.

The Abbasids

The Abbasid dynasty took over the Umayyads in 750 AD.  It lasted 508 years.

Under the Abbasid caliph, Abdallah al-Ma’mun, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, algebra, geometry, trigonometry and optics were developed.

Harun al-Rashid ruled for 23 years (786 CE – 809 CE).  Those years were known as the golden age of the Abbasid dynasty.  In his reign he worked to establish political stability and economic success.

The Abbasids had a golden age of learning from 750 CE to 945 CE.  Until the twenty-third Abbasid caliph, al-Mustakfi, was forced to abdicate in favor of the effective ruler of Iraq, Buyid ruler Mu’izz al-Dawla Ahmad.  Mu’izz kept the Abbasids as mere figureheads.

From 945 CE to 1258 CE, the Abbasids struggled to get their power back but never reached the height they once held.  In 1258 CE, they fell to the Mongol invasion lead by Genghis Khan’s grandson Hulegu Khan.  Hulegu then established the Ilkhanid Dynasty that favored Buddhism and Nestorian Christianity for about 40 years.

The Mamluks

The Mamluk dynasty was originated from a Turkish military household.  In 1250 CE, they gained power by taking control of Egypt and Syria from the Ayyubids.  The Mamluks lasted 267 years (1250-1517).

Unlike the Abbasid dynasty, the Mamluks were a warring dynasty.  They never had a golden age of education or learning.

The most notable battle that the Mamluks fought was The Battle of Ayn Jalut (in modern day Palestine) in 1260 CE.  They defeated the Mongols who had wiped out the Abbasid dynasty.  This battle is marked as one of the great turning points in history.  If the Mongols had won they might have continued to conquer all of North Africa and Europe.

In 1517 CE, the Ottoman conquest through Syria and Egypt put an end to Mamluk dynasty.

The Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughals

The Ottoman Empire lasted 641 years (1281 CE – 1922 CE).  They emerged from what is modern day Turkey and started to gain power in 1357 CE as they started to expand into Europe.

The Ottomans also created a force within their army called the Janissaries (like the modern day Marines).  These were forcefully-recruited young Christian boys (from the ages of 10 – 12), converted them to Islam, and then trained them for battle.  For some poor families of conquered lands, it was a road out of poverty for their children.

In 1453 CE, the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) in their defeat of the Byzantine Empire.  They continued the expansion of their Empire into Europe.  In 1683 CE, the Ottomans Turks lost to the Holy Roman Empire in The Battle of Vienna.  Since then, they never could regain their power and in 1922 CE, the Ottomans finally collapsed due to the expansion of European powers post-World War I.

Meanwhile, The Safavid Empire had been established in the east in modern day Iran and Afghanistan.  The Safavid Empire lasted 221 years (1501 CE – 1722 CE).  They were a Turkic dynasty and they were supporters of the arts.  During their time paintings, carpets, textiles, ceramics, and architecture were considered great accomplishments.

Another Muslim Empire at about the same time, the Mughal Empire (descendants of the Mongol invasions), the Mughals lasted 332 years (1526 CE – 1858 CE).  They ruled most of modern day India and Pakistan.

During the height of the Mughal Empire, a man named Shah Jahan ruled.  He loved his wife Mumtaz Mahal more than anything in the world.  When she passed, he built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for her.  When Shan Jahan died he was also buried there.

In 1857 CE, British Indian soldiers revolted against the British rule in India (the Sepoy Uprising).  The British then attacked Delhi and ended the Mughal Empire.

The Start of a New Empire

By 1900 CE, nine European empires and Chinese empires ruled over 80% of the once great Muslim Empires.  Only 20% of the Muslims lived in the remaining Muslim states: the Ottoman Empire, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Morocco, and Afghanistan.  During World War 1, the British and the French signed a treaty agreeing to split the lands that the Ottoman Empire once owned.

In 1924 CE, the 600-year old Ottoman dynasty was exiled from Turkey, marking the end of all Muslim Empires.

Conclusion

In this essay, you can see how Islam grew and spread from a small community in the Arabian desert to multiple empires that spread from Spain to Indonesia, and contributed to science, arts and trade.  By the end of World War I, all Muslim empires had disintegrated.  From them emerged, many Muslim majority nations none of which are leading powers in the world.  Indeed, many Muslim majority nations are among the poorest in the world in 2020.   The golden age of Islam is long past.

Muslims now look forward to the Second Coming of Jesus to a world governed by God’s commandments.

History 7 – The Islamic Story of Prophet Muhammad

Early Life

The Islamic Story of Muhammad starts with a very poor man named Abd al-Muttalib, who would later become the Prophet Muhammad’s grandfather, in Makkah in early 6th Century AD.  Abd al-Muttalib had a dream that a crow was picking up stones with its beak, and when all the stones were gone water gushed forth.  He had a good feeling about this dream and went to the spot where the crow was and started digging.  After a while water gushed out like in his dream; this was the Zamzam well.  He turned the well into a business, and the people in the desert town started to respect him and held him in the highest esteem as water was a precious resource.  Abd al-Muttalib became rich from the well and had ten to fifteen sons.   Abd al-Muttalib married one of his sons, Abdullah, to a woman name Aminah.

Abdullah and Aminah are the parents of the Prophet.  While Aminah was pregnant with Muhammad, Abdullah contracted an illness and died.  Aminah was then left as a widow with a child to take care of by herself.  Muhammad was born in 570 AD in Makkah.

When Muhammad was either four or five years old, wet nurses from the Banu S ’ad tribe came to take children to raise for a couple years, as was the custom in those times.  When it was time to leave all the women had children, except Halima Sadia and Muhammad did not have a wet nurse.  None of the women wanted Muhammad when they found out that he had no father, they expected to be paid by the father.  Halima told her husband she did not want to go home without a child and asked if they could take little Muhammad.  Her husband agreed and they took Muhammad with them.  While living with Halima, the Prophet was happy and flourishing, as was everything else in Halima’s household, she was overjoyed by this and knew it was because of Muhammad.

When Muhammad was six years old his Aminah decided to take him to Yathrib(now known as Madinah) to visit his uncles.  The Prophet and Aminah enjoyed the pleasant climate and the company of their relatives for a month before heading back Makkah.  Unfortunately, on the way back Aminah became ill and died before they reached home.  Muhammad continued on home with his mother’s maid, Barakah.  When he reached home his loving grandfather adopted him as his own.

Muhammad lived with his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, for two years before he died.  When Muhammad was born his grandfather name him Muhammad because it meant “the praised one”. He knew that his grandson had great potential and was destined for greatness.  Abd al-Muttalib was never shy to show his love and pride for Muhammad.  Abd al-Muttalib took care of Muhammad for two years before dying at the age of 85.

The Prophet lived with Abu Talib for seventeen years.  At the young age of 12 Muhammad started to show interest in the trading that Abu Talib was doing.  One day when Abu Talib was heading off on one of his trading journeys to Busra, Syria, Muhammad asked if he could come along.  Abu Talib seeing his interest in trading agreed to take him along.  While in Busra a Christian scholar spotted Muhammad as the last prophet from certain signs.  He invited Muhammad and Abu Talib to dinner and informed them that Muhammad was the last prophet.  He also warned that other people might notice and try to harm Muhammad.  Abu Talib hearing this hurriedly finished his trading and rushed home with his nephew’s safety in mind. 

When Abu Talib was not going on trading journeys the young Prophet would take the peoples sheep and let them graze up in the hills.  While up there he liked to be close to nature and think about life.  Later on in life he told his followers that every prophet in history was a shepherd once.

When Muhammad was fifteen years old a war broke out in Makkah between the Banu Qays tribe and the Quraysh tribe.  This war was known as the Harb al-Fujar.  The aftermath of the war left destruction and the peacefulness in Makkah was gone because it occurred during the sacred months.

The war changed everything, people used to come in thousands to see the Kabbah and many would come to trade.  The Makkans stopped being honorable and truthful, this gave the once holy city a bad name.  The Makkans agreed that they needed to fix their reputation and decided to rekindle an old pact called the Alliance of Fudul.  This pact would help the oppressed people rise up by pressuring the oppressors.  They thought that this would improve their reputation and help the Makkans have a better character.  The Prophet was there to witness the signing of the pact, he was about twenty at that time.

When the Prophet reached young manhood he already had a reputation of being a honest and hardworking, this attracted Khadija and she hired him to sell her goods in Syria.  She sent her servant Maysarah to help the Prophet on his trading expedition          Khadija was amazed that she had gotten so many goods and so much money, she never got this much before.

After the trading trip Khadija told her friend, Nafisa, about Muhammad.  Seeing how much Khadija liked Muhammad, Nafisa suggested that the two get married.  Khadija was a widow and Muhammad was of marriageable age.  Khadija liked the idea and agreed to let Nafisa be the go-between.  Nafisa asked Muhammad why he did not marry, he told her that he could not financially support a family yet.  Nafisa asked him if he would marry if that duty was lifted from him.  He asked how that would be possible.  She said that it was easy, Khadija wanted to marry him.  Muhammad was pleasantly surprised, he held Khadija in the highest esteem.  He agreed to the marriage proposal as long as his uncle, Abu Talib, agreed.  Abu Talib liked this marriage proposal and agreed.    The marriage was confirmed and the ceremony was fixed.

The Beginning of Prophethood and Challenges

After marrying Khadija, Muhammad had the chance to live like a nobleman.  Eventually the Prophet dropped all his everyday activities to go out to a mountain called Jabal al-Nur.  At the top of the mountain there was a cave known as the Cave of Hira.  In 610 AD, when the Prophet was 40 years old, he went to the cave as usual to contemplate life.  This certain day that he went to the cave was during the month of Ramadan, but no one knew yet.  Archangel Jibril (or Gabriel in English) appears to the Prophet and tells him to read.  The Prophet protested saying that he could not read.  Archangel Jibril taught him Sura al-Alaq (meaning The Clot).  These words were the first of the Revelation.

This experience left the Prophet confused and surprised, he thought that he was becoming ill or going insane.  But in those words all his questions about life had been answered.  When the Prophet came home he was shaking and scared.  Khadija was there to comfort him and put him to sleep.  Once he was asleep she went to her cousin’s house.

Her cousin, Waraqah, was a very spiritual man and Khadija trusted his judgement.  She told Waraqah about what Muhammad had said he experienced.  Waraqah said that if what she said was true, that angel must have been the same one that visited Prophet Musa(Moses) and Prophet Isa(Jesus).

Khadija took Muhammad to Waraqah one day and Muhammad told him what he had seen in that cave that day.  Waraqah immediately understood, Muhammad would be the prophet of their nation.  Waraqah realized how special Muhammad was and promised to help him in his mission.  Waraqah, unfortunately, passed away soon after.

The Prophet started to understand the meaning of what Archangel Jibril had told him.  He also realized how big his responsibility was.  Muhammad started doing dawah(inviting people to Islam) within his family.  His wife, Khadija, was the first convert.  Then his little cousin, Ali who was only ten years old at the time converted.  Then Khadija’s old slave that had been freed, Zayd ibn Haritha, and all four of the Prophet’s daughters Zaynab, Umm Kulthum, Ruaqayyah, and Fatima, and his childhood friend Abu Bakr.  Now all of the Prophet’s household was Muslim.  With the help of Abu Bakr, the number of Muslims grew into a small community.

One of the new converts named Arqam ibn al-Arqam lived far away from the rest of the houses of the Quraysh, making it the perfect place for the Muslims to meet.  His house became the first training center of Islam.  The people would meet and pray or recite whatever portions of the Quran that had been revealed at that time.  The Prophet would tell his followers to write and memorize the Quran.  He would also explain each verse so that the followers could understand what they were reciting.  Because the house was so far away from the others the Quraysh had no knowledge of what was going on.

Once a year people would gather in Makkah for Hajj.  This was the perfect time for the Prophet to try to bring people into Islam.  He would call to people, but many were stuck in the old ways, others were scared their tribe would leave them.  In those times if you did not have a tribe you would be constantly struggling to survive.

The Prophet’s tribe, the Quraysh, did not like his preachings.  They did not support him and started to mock him.  When they realized that he was not fazed they started to torture him and his followers.  Some days the Prophet would come home so injured that the next morning he could not get up to pray.  When the Muslims would pray in public and they would prostrate, people will attack them from behind.  One of the Prophet’s uncles, Abu Lahab, was one of the worst opposers of his message.  Abu Lahab and  his wife Jamila made life very hard for the Prophet.  They would throw stones at him and put thorns on the path when the Prophet would walk home.

The Quraysh tried everything to stop the Prophet from preaching.  The Quraysh tortured and abused the Prophet and his followers, many died by the Quraysh.  But the Prophet never stopped and kept on preaching patiently.  The Quraysh realized that Muhammad was protected by his uncle Abu Talib.  They told Abu Talib to stop his nephew from preaching this “false religion”.  Abu Talib was scared for his nephew’s safety and begged him to stop.  But Muhammad refused, he told his uncle that even if they put the sun in his right hand and the moon in his left he would never stop his work.  Abu Talib admired his nephew’s bravery and supported his decision.

One of the converts, Sumayyah, was the slave of Abu Jahl, one of the Prophet’s opposers.   When he found out that she had joined Islam he became furious and demanded that she abandon the faith.  Sumayyah refused, angering Abu Jahl.  He took some ropes and tied her to a pole and started flogging her.  Abu Bakr had freed many slaves that had accepted Islam and he tried to save Sumayyah, but Abu Jahl refused to sell her.  Finally, Abu Jahl had enough of Sumayyah and took her into the public square.  He asked her, in front of the people, if she would leave Muhammad’s religion.  She once again refused and Abu Jahl hit her with his spear, killing her instantly.  At that moment Sumayyah became the first martyr of Islam.

The Prophet realized that his tribe will not protect him and goes to a nearby city to ask for protection and help.  The inhabitants of the city turned him away and pelted rocks at him.

The Prophet knows that it is not safe for him or his followers in Makkah anymore.  He told his followers that they should go to Ethiopia, known as Habsha then.  In Ethiopia there was a Christian king who was right and just.

A small group of Muslims started moving to Ethiopia, this happened in the fifth year after the beginning of the revelation of the Quran.  The first group of Muslims that secretly left Makkah consisted of 11 men and five women, including the Prophet’s daughter Ruqayyah and her husband Uthman ibn Affan.  When the Makkans found out that they escaped they sent horse out to arrest them, but the Muslims were already gone.

A bigger group of Muslims escaped soon afterwards.  When the Makkans found out that another group escaped they decided to bribe Kind Negus, king of Ethiopia, to hand over the Prophet and the Muslims.  But the king refused after hearing the Prophet preach.  He knew that the Prophet was telling the truth and was a prophet like Prophet Jesus.

The Journey to Heaven

In 620 AD, Muhammad was 10 years into his prophethood had a very unique experience.  In the Quran it is referred to as al-Isra.  This incident took place after the death of Khadija, the Prophet’s first wife.

One night, the Prophet was sleeping and Angel Jibril and some other angels had come to the house and woke him up.  The angels took the Prophet to the well of Zamzam and washed him with the water.  Then they brought him a small animal that was similar to a mule, this creature is known as al-Buraq, it was white in color.  Al-Buraq flew up into the sky and brought the Prophet to Jerusalem.  The distance between Makkah and Jerusalem was 2,500 km.   The Prophet prayed at Al-Masjid al-Aqsa, which still stands today.   Angel Jibril then offered the Prophet two cups, one with milk and one with wine.  The Prophet accepted the one with milk, to which Angel Jibril said, “You preferred to be true to your nature. If you had taken the cup with wine, you would have gone against your own nature.”

Angel Jibril took the Prophet with him and flew towards the sky.  When they reached the First Sky, Angel Jibril called out to the angel that was there on duty.  The angel asked who was with Jibril and if that person was invited.  Angel Jibril said that the Prophet Muhammad was with him and that he was invited.  The angel opened a door and let them in.

The Prophet passed through all the skies meeting many prophets that came before him.  In the First Sky he met Prophet Adam.  In the Second Sky he met Prophet Isa (Jesus) and Prophet Yahya (John).  In the Third Sky he met Prophet Yusuf (Joseph).  In the Fourth Sky he met with Prophet Idris.  In the Fifth Sky he met Prophet Harun (Aaron).  In the Sixth Sky he met Prophet Musa (Moses).  In the Seventh Sky the Prophet met with Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham).

After going through all the skies the Prophet saw a splendid light.  This was the Light of Allah (God).  God revealed some important commandments at that moment.  These commandments were the five daily prayers Muslims must do, the last portion of the sura al-Baqarah, and verses 27-39 of sura al-Isra.

After this the Prophet returned to Earth and entered Jerusalem.  All the prophets were gathered.  It was already dawn which meant that it was time to pray Fajr.  The Prophet led all the other prophets in prayer.  This was symbolic, the line of Prophets started with Prophet Adam and will end with Prophet Muhammad.

The Prophet then woke up in the exact place he fell asleep that night.  He told the people of Makkah his experience but they did not believe him.  They needed proof and asked the Prophet what Jerusalem looks like.  The Prophet had forgotten and asked God for help.  Angel Jibril appeared and held a map (that was only visible to the Prophet) in front of Muhammad.  The Prophet answered all their questions, but they still did not believe him.

The Migration to Medina and the Last Ten Years of his Life

Eventually, Muhammad and the remaining Muslims in Mecca were forced to leave due to the resistance they were receiving.  They migrated to Yathrib in 622 AD.  There were Jewish tribes who had long ago settled in and around Yathrib.  Gradually, the Muslim nation expanded renaming it to Medina in honor of Muhammad’s prophethood.  Medina means “The Luminous City”.

The Jewish tribes started to feel threatened by the Muslims’ presence.  They started to fight with the Muslims which resulted in them being exiled.  The Jews then asked the Meccans to become their allies and help defeat Muhammad.  The Meccans agreed to help and fought with the Jews in the Battle of Badr, The Battle of the Trench, and the Siege of Medina.  Each time Muhammad won.

In 629 AD, Muhammad led his people back to Mecca, for Hajj (pilgrimage).   The Meccans did not allow them that year, but signed a 10-year treaty with Muhammad to allow him to come the following year.  A year later (630 AD), the Meccans broke the treaty.  By this time Muhammad had all the manpower he needed and made the Meccans surrender to him.

The Muslims then took over Mecca and destroyed all the idols in and around the Kaaba.  Muhammad forgave all Meccans who conspired against him and other Muslims, and included them as equals in the Ummah (the Muslim community).

Muhammad gave his last sermon in March 632 AD during that year’s Hajj.  In June 632 AD, the Prophet died at the age of 61 in Medina after 23 years of preaching Islam.

Conclusion

The Prophet’s mission on Earth was to spread the message of the Oneness of God as had previous prophets like Jesus, Moses, Abraham, Solomon, David, etc.  The Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet God sent down to us.  He left a guide in the form of the Quran and a model of himself.  After him, us humans would have to figure out the rest ourselves until the return of Jesus.

History 7 – The Islamic Story of Jesus

The Islamic story of Jesus (Isa in Arabic) starts with Maryam’s mother, Elizabeth, in Judea.  Judea was part of the Roman Empire at that time.  When Elizabeth became pregnant with Maryam, she promised this child to serve God.  When Maryam was born, Elizabeth was surprised that it was a girl.  Girls at that time did not go into priesthood (Rabbis).  She didn’t think that a girl could do much for God.  Because of her promise to God, she turned Maryam over to be taken care of by the Rabbis.

The men were left with the decision of who would take the role of caretaker of Maryam.  None of them knew who should take Maryam, so they decided to draw lots.  Everyone put pens, which were known to be theirs, into a bag.  Whoever’s pen got pulled would get Maryam.  Zachariah’s (or Zachary’s) pen was pulled, making him Maryam’s guardian, but the people weren’t happy with that and wanted to do it again.   This time they put their pens in the river, and whoever’s pen went against the current would claim Maryam.  It was Zachariah’s pen again that went against the current.  The people still not happy with this said they wanted to do it once more.  Whoever’s pen flowed with the current would claim Maryam.   Again, it was Zachariah’s pen.  Now there was no mistake, Zachariah was the official caretaker of Maryam.

Since Maryam was promised to serve God, He always provided supplement for her.  When Zachariah would visit Maryam in her chambers, she would always have some type of fruit that was out of season at the time.  In the summer she would have a winter fruit, and in the winter she would have a summer fruit.

When Maryam became pregnant with Prophet Jesus she hid it from everyone for as long as she could. The exact age of when Maryam became pregnant is unknown.  We just assume that it was between the ages of ten and fifteen.  At that time women could get betrothed at that age.

When the time came for Maryam to give birth, she left the household and went away to a secluded area.  The people realized that Maryam was gone and knew that she gave birth.  They hunted her down until they found her. They accused her of sinning (committing adultery).  When Maryam denied, they asked her how did Jesus ended up inside of her.  Maryam became flustered and nervous.  She didn’t know how to answer and pointed to baby Jesus.  The people thought that she was mocking them.  They knew that newborn babies couldn’t talk.  Prophet Jesus wasn’t a normal newborn.  He spoke from the cradle, and told the people that he was created without a father and that he is a Messenger of God.  The people were amazed and knew from that moment on that Jesus was special.

Jesus was born about 1,300 years after Prophet Moses.  By this time the original Torah was non-existent.  The Torah that the people followed was tainted.  But when Jesus was born, being the Word of God, he knew the entire Torah, the original one, inside and out, word for word.  The Rabbis who guarded the Torah at the time didn’t like Jesus’s preachings.  They knew that if the people listened to Jesus there would be riots, and they would lose their influence over the people.  The Rabbis tried to turn the people against Jesus, and while it worked, some didn’t follow the Rabbis.  The people who didn’t follow the Rabbis were known as The Disciples of Jesus.  The Disciples were supposed to be people devoted to God, who followed His laws.  One of The Disciples told the opposers of Jesus where he was.  They came and tried him before in the Roman court, who didn’t see a problem with Jesus.  Not wanting to tarnish his name, he told the people to punish him in whatever why they wanted.  It was decided to crucify Jesus.

We know that Jesus went to the cross, and died.  The Qur’an says that God made it appear that Jesus  died, but we don’t know what that means.  Does it mean that Jesus was never on the cross?  Or does it mean something else?  All we know for certain is that Jesus never really died.  After his crucifixion, the people put his body in a cave and closed the entrance with a rock, and went home for Sabbath.

The people buried Jesus in the cave Friday night, before the Sabbath started.  Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the cave to find it empty.  Jesus’s body was gone.

Christians believe the Jesus came back on Sunday.  The Muslims believe that Jesus will come back in the future.  The Qur’an and the Hadith (says of the Muslim Prophet) have shared signs of when Jesus will return to Earth.

Jesus’s purpose in life was to deliver the Gospel, also known as The Good News.  Unlike other prophets, Jesus left Earth without having physically died.  But that was not the end of his life.  Jesus will come back once again.  When he does, he will fight and defeat the Anti-Christ (known as the Dajjal in Arabic), and he will rule the world according to God’s Law.

 

History 7 – The Islamic Story of Abraham

The Islamic story of Abraham says that he was born in Ur, Chaldea, which is now located in modern day Iraq. When Abraham became a young man, God revealed to Abraham that he was His messenger, and that he needed to convince his people to worship the One True God.

The first person Abraham tried to convince was his father, Azar (aka. Tarikh), who worshipped idols.  Abraham tried multiple times to convince his father, but Azar refused.  When he realized that his father would not convert, making him God’s enemy,  he disassociated himself from his father and migrated to Syria to try and convert the people there, who also worshiped idols.

Abraham tried to convert the Syrians the traditional way first by talking to them.  He shared that their idols could not help them, and that only God, the Creator, could actually help them.  The people did not listen and continued to worship their idols.

So Abraham had to use an non-traditional way to convert them.  When all the people were away at a festival, Abraham destroyed all of their idols except the biggest one to prove his point.  When the people came back, they were enraged that their “gods” had been “killed”. They blamed Abraham.  He claimed that he did not do it, and that he was sleeping.  He told them to ask the biggest idol who must have seen what had happened!  The people were furious knowing that the idol could not talk, and they had been proven wrong. They were angry at Abraham’s preaching and were upset that he proved them wrong.

They decided to get rid of Abraham for good, and decided to incinerate him.  They put him in the middle of a stake and lit him on fire.  But God told the fire to be cool and burn nothing but the ropes that bound Abraham.  The people were terrified now.  They couldn’t get rid of him!

God told Abraham to leave Syria and to go to Babylon to try to convert the king, Nimrod.  Nimrod insisted that he was God, that he could give life and death to his subjects, hence making him god.  To prove his wrong, Abraham challenged Nimrod to raise the sun from the West instead of the East.  But, Nimrod couldn’t do that, proving him a liar.

Abraham then migrated to the land of Sham (where the descendants of Sam, one of Noah’s sons, lived), which consisted of modern day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine.  During this time Abraham married a woman name Hagar and had his first son Ishmael.  God told Abraham to leave them alone in the desert where nothing grew, and promised to take care of them.

Abraham, being a true believer left them there and let God take care of them.  Abraham left Hagar and Ishmael in modern day Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  At the time Ishmael was only a little baby, and when Hagar ran out of food and water, and couldn’t bear the heat or thirst for very long and started crying.  Hagar searched for water by running between and over two hills.  In the meantime, Ishmael started rubbing his heels against the ground, and a river of water started flowing.  That is know as Zam Zam water well.  It is said to be the sweetest water in the world.

Ishmael grew up in this area.  A tribe of people came to this area and decided to live there.  They taught and raised Ishmael.  When he became of marriageable age, they gave him one of their daughters.  Abraham came to back to visit Ishmael twice after Ishmael was got married.  Both times there were unable to meet.  The first time Abraham came to visit Ishmael, and he wasn’t home, Abraham talked to his wife instead.  From asking her a few questions, he concluded that she was ungrateful and unhappy with what God had given them.  Abraham told Ishmael’s wife to tell Ishmael to change his threshold.  When Ishmael came back, his wife shared that an elderly man came and relayed his message.  Ishmael knew it was his father and understood that his father meant to divorce his wife.

Ishmael found another wife and married her.  Abraham came back again and was not able to see Ishmael again.  So Abraham asked the same questions to Ishmael’s new wife.  Abraham concluded that she was grateful and happy with what God has given her.  He told her to tell Ishmael to keep his threshold.  When Ishmael came home, his wife told him that an elderly man came and asked about him.  She relayed the message to keep his threshold.  Ishmael understood that it meant to keep his current wife.  Abraham came back to visit Ishmael once more, and this time Ishmael was home.  Father and son finally reunited.

Abraham received an order from God to build the Kaabah with Ishmael.  The Kaabah is called God’s House.  It is a mosque where Muslims are required to make a pilgrimage to it at least once in their lifetime, if they can.

After the Kaabah was built, two angels came to Abraham’s house with a special message for him from God.  When the angels arrived, Abraham saw them as humans, and did not know that they were angels and prepared a grand feast for them.  But the angels did not eat (angels can’t eat!).  Abraham was scared that they were some creatures come to harm him.  The angels told Abraham to not worry, and that they were God’s servants.  They told him that Sarah, who was supposed to be barren, was going to have a son.  His name would be Issac.  Abraham was overjoyed that he was going to have a son in his old age and that he would finally have a child from his first wife.

Sarah died at the age of 127 and was buried in Hebron (located in modern day Palestine,  south of Jerusalem).  When Abraham died, his sons buried him next to Sarah.

Before Abraham died, he asked God to bless his descendants with protection, guidance and prophethood.  God granted Abraham’s prayer but warned him that He would not protect the wrongdoers from among his descendants., only those who believed and worshipped the one and only God.

For his belief and piety, Abraham is considered to be Walli-Allah, the Friend of God.  He is the father of the three monotheistic religions.

My next essay will be the Islamic Story of Moses.

History 7 – The Islamic Story of Noah

The Islamic story of Noah says that he was born into a tribe of people who worshiped idols. God sent Noah into this tribe to show the people that what they were doing was wrong.

Noah proclaimed to the people that he was Muslim and tried hard, for a very long time to convert the people to Islam. He tried enticing the people, saying that if they pray to God, He will give them wealth and fertility. He tried threatening the people, saying that God will punish them if they don’t convert. A few people converted, but the majority of the people didn’t and stayed stubborn. Noah tried for 1,000 years, but he wasn’t successful.

When Noah prayed to God for help, God told him to plant a tree and let it grow for 100 years. After 100 years God told Noah to cut down the tree and build a big ship for his family, his believers, and a pair of every animal in the world.

The day the flood came Noah, his wife, three of Noah’s sons and their wives, all of Noah’s believers, and a male and female of every species boarded the ark.

After the flood the ark supposedly landed on Mont Judi (aka Mount Cudi) or Mount Ararat. We’re not sure which but the ark could be in that area since both mountains are part of the Zagros mountain range. Mount Judi is located in Turkey and Mount Ararat is in Armenia, though technically it’s part of Turkey.

After that we’re really not sure what happened. We do know that Noah’s three sons, Sam, Ham, and Yafuth, branched off into different parts of the world.

Sam’s descendants are the Arabs, Persians, and Romans.  Yafuth’ s descendants are the Turks, Slavs, people of Central and Easter Europe, and the people of Gog and Magog (people who live in between the Black and Caspian seas, these people don’t follow the laws of God).  And Ham’s descendants are the Copts, Sudanese, Berbers, and people who live in Africa.

Everybody on Earth can be traced back to one of Noah’s son. All of us are descendants of Noah.

History 7 – The Islamic Story of Adam and Eve

The Islamic story of Adam says that he was made from smooth black mud, and his wife, Eve, was made from his rib, in Paradise (Heaven).

After God finished making Adam He ordered all the angels prostrate to Adam. All of the angels prostrated to him. But Iblees (Satan) refused. Satan thought that he was superior to the humans. God banished Satan from Heaven and vowed to misguide “God’s precious humans”.

God then told Adam and Eve to enjoy their life in Heaven, to eat and drink whatever they’d like. But they weren’t allowed to eat from a certain tree, the Forbidden Tree.

Satan convinced Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the tree, disobeying God. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit they felt something change inside of them and went to beg God for forgiveness.  God forgave them, but sent them to Earth as a test. They will live there until they die

Adam and Eve lived quite peacefully, but their two sons, Cain and Abel, didn’t live like that. The two brothers got into a fight, Adam told them to offer a sacrifice to God to settle the disagreement. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not Cain’s.

Cain was enraged that he lost and threatened Abel. When Abel responded calmly, Cain got infuriated and killed Abel.

After Abel’s death Adam and Eve were devastated. Abel was always the calm and kind brother. In replace of Abel, God gave Adam and Eve a third son, Sheeth. Sheeth was lke Abel, kind, calm, and compassionate.

Adam died around the age of 1,000 or maybe he lived a little longer. He lived to see many of his grandchildren.

History 7, Morals from the Seafaring Beggar and Other Tales

In the book of tales that I have been reading each story/poem has a moral. There are two stories that really stuck out to me, and in this essay I’m going to talk about them.

Hakim and His Special Letter

In this story a young mountain boy comes down from his village in the mountains for the first time to obtain a great treasure; the Qur’an. The Qur’an was the only treasure of his village and it brought joy to all the villagers. When the Sheikh’s tent burned down the Qur’an went up in flames as well. Hakim asked the Sheikh’s wife to write a special letter requesting a Qur’an from whomever Hakim met.

Hakim left in the night so his parents wouldn’t know and try to stop him. As he went down the mountain he heard someone coming and hid. Hakim had heard the elders of his village tell about dangerous bandits on the mountain. The person turned out to be a man pulling his donkey up the mountain. Hakim called out to him. The man told him to come closer; all of a sudden the man pulled out a knife and started threatening Hakim. He told Hakim to turn out his pockets; all Hakim had was the letter. Hakim read the letter to the bandit. When Hakim finished the bandit started crying; when he finally calmed down he explained why he was crying.

The bandit’s father always read the Qur’an to him when he got into trouble. His father was always patient and was always kind. At his father’s death bed he asked his son to give him his Qur’an, the one thing that gave him joy. The bandit never gave his father’s Qur’an to him before he died. The bandit took his father’s Qur’an to remember him by and to make up for not giving the thing one thing that gave him joy.

The bandit gave Hakim his father’s Qur’an, this is how he’s going to repay his mistake.

Moral: Allah will always forgive you, and will give you a chance to be forgiven.

 

The Seafaring Beggar

In this story a trader, Ma Liang, gets robbed, causing him to not have any money to pay for his ship. He becomes homeless and poor. One day he decides to go to the port to ask for money. He sees a foreigner that just landed at the port. He went over asking for money. Maybe the foreigner will be sympathetic to him.  When Ma Liang approached him asking for some money the foreigner started asking for Ma Liang’s arms, legs, hands, feet, and eyes! Each time offering $1000 for each body part. Ma Liang getting mad asked the man why are you asking me for my body parts. The foreigner replied: “Allah has given you all of these body parts. You’re in perfect condition to work. All your body parts can give you thousands of dollars altogether!”

Ma Liang understood what the foreigner meant.  The foreigner asked him what his profession was; Ma Liang said that he was a sailor. The foreigner needed a new captain for his ship and offered Ma Liang the job. Ma Liang accepted; since then  he converted to Islam and got a ship bigger than the one that he had before, and abundance flooded into his life.

Moral: Allah gives you abundance, since the day you were born. Just because something bad happens doesn’t mean that your life is over. Everything that happens to you is part of Allah’s plan. You have control of your life, but Allah gives you the opportunities.

 

As you can see, this storybook has a lot of good stories and morals. These morals can apply to your everyday life. You just need to watch out for them. Thanks for reading!

 

History 7, The Basic Beliefs of Islam

In Islam we believe in many things. In this essay I’m going to list the basic beliefs of Islam.

In Islam we believe that there is only one God, that He has no parents or children, and that He is our creator, and that he has 99 names all describing his magnificence. We also believe in angels, another one of God’s creations who are always busy carrying out His commands. We believe in the prophets, people God has sent to us to remind us of Him and renew our loyalty to Him. We believe that whatever comes to you, good or bad, is from God and that it’s all part of His plan; we also believe in life after death.

We believe in God’s books, the Scrolls given to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), the Psalms given to Prophet Dawud (David), the Torah given to Prophet Musa (Moses), the Gospel (better known as the Bible now days) given to Prophet Isa (Jesus), and the Qur’an given to Prophet Muhammad.

But the Muslims only follow the Qur’an since the Scrolls were lost by the people, and the books of Prophets Abraham, David, and Jesus were changed by the people. The Qur’an is the only book of God that remains known and untainted.

Islam is all about faith. But it’s not just believing, it’s also action; showing your faith to God. All of that was just the faith part of Islam. Islam consists of faith and action; this is the action part of Islam, what we do.

We follow the Five Pillars of Islam, which is the structure of Islam. The five pillars of Islam are Shahada ( declaring faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (money for the poor and needy), Sawm (fasting), and Hajj (pilgrimage).

These are the beliefs of Islam.  We believe in one God and following the Books of God, what God wants us to do or wants us to be. I hope this has given you a good idea of the beliefs of Islam. Thanks for reading!