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Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, born approximately in 570 AD in the Arabian city of Mecca. He was orphaned at an early age; raised under the care of a paternal uncle, Abu Talib; following childhood, he primarily worked as a merchant.
Muhammad would retreat to a cave in the mountains for several days at a time, for seclusion and prayer; at age 40, he said it was at this cave, he was visited by the Angel, Gabriel, and received his first revelation from Allāh. Three years later, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that “Allāh is One,” that complete “surrender” to Him is the only way acceptable to Allāh, and that he (Muhammad) was a prophet and messenger of Allāh.
The next few years were years of upheaval and doubt; years of subjection, fighting, killing . . . and of conversions. After eight years of being at odds with the Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts.
In 632, Muhammad fell ill and died. Before his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam, and Arabia had united into a single Muslim religious state.
The revelations, which Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the verses of the Qur’an, regarded by Muslims as the “Word of Allāh” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Qur’an, Muhammad’s teachings and practices, found in the Hadith literature, are also upheld by Muslims and used as sources of Islamic law (Shari’a).