Islam is the youngest of the world’s major religions and because it is so young we know a lot of details about its founder Muhammad. We know that he was born in 570 A.D., in the Arabian city of Mecca. His father died before he was born, and he lost his mother at age six. Orphaned, Muhammad found himself being raised by his uncle, ahu-Talib, chief of the Quaraysh tribe. He was raised without a formal education, and never learned to read or write. His followers believe that this made God's or Allah's revelation of the Quran even more miraculous. Muhammad had few opportunities growing up. The only occupation available to him was caravan worker. However, all of the travel provided him with another type of education. During his travels throughout the Middle East he met people from all types of cultures and religious backgrounds. He met Jews, Christians, and even Zoroastrians. All of these religions had several things in common, they all believed in only one God, they all had a scripture that was the word of God, and they all preached that the world would end one day and that the good people would be rewarded and the bad would be punished.
After a few years as a camel driver, Muhammad married the owner of the caravan Khadija. She was a wealthy widow. He was 25 years old and she was forty, but age didn't matter. Muhammad could of had more than one wife, but he stayed loyal and they had six children. He and Khadija were married 25 years. Khadjia wealth provided him the stability that he had never had. She was a strong supporter of his religious pursuits, and would eventually become his first convert. Muhammad would venture into the hills surrounding Mecca to consider religious theology. He was especially concerned about his people and the worshiping of Idolatry. On one of these visits the angel Gabriel appeared. The same Gabriel that is mentioned in both the Christian and Jewish bibles. Gabriel brought with him the first of many commands from Allah. These revelations would occur throughout Muhammad's life in the same fashion, and eventually they would become the religious text called the Quran. Eventually, Muhammad became convinced that there was only one God, and that other religions called him by other names, but he would be called Allah by his people. Muhammad also believed that he was the last and greatest of a series of prophets, which included Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
At first, Muhammad preached on the streets of Mecca, but found few followers. Then, in 620, a group of men arrived in Mecca and they asked Muhammad if he would come to their town of Medina and become their judge. It was here that he told his converts to pray towards Mecca. The journey from Mecca to Medina is called Hijrah. Before long, there was a series of conflicts between the Jewish tribes and the Muslims, and the Meccans and the Muslims. In 627, 10,000 Meccans attacked Medina. The next year Muhammad attempted to go to Mecca for a pilgrimage and the Meccans stopped him. However, by 630, Muhammad was unstoppable as he entered Mecca with a force of 10,000. He was now sole leader of the Arabian people. He died in 632.