Buddhism Hinduism Christianity

  1. Today we live together with people whose customs and ways are, at first glance, strange to us. One reason for this is because these people do not belong to Christendom, but were brought up in a religion strange to us.
  2. If we want to understand our Asian immigrants we first have to find out about their religion. In Pakistan and in large parts of the Orient, Islam is predominant; it was founded in the 6th century by a man called Mohammed.

II. Who was Mohammed?

  1. In 570 A.D., Mohammed was born in Mecca (in Arabia), the son of an esteemed family. At that time Mecca was a thriving city of trade upon the 'spice route' between Syria and India, and was therefore the centre-point for many different religious trends, e.g. Jews, Christians, and the Bedouinic religions. Mohammed, therefore, had the opportunity to get to know many different religions.
  2. Mohammed was of a very contemplative nature. He often went alone into the mountains and became absorbed with religious problems (=meditation). He was most impressed by the 'One God belief' of the Jews and Christians, in contrast to the belief in many gods of the Bedouins. One day, during these meditations, the archangel Gabriel supposedly appeared unto him, and told him to write down all these revelations. They are now written down in the Koran, the holy book of the Muslims.

Mohammed Starts to Preach

Encouraged by his wife Chadidscha, Mohammed soon started to announce the revelations of the archangel Gabriel in Mecca. He was soon to find disciples there.

But as Mohammed condemned idolatry which was common amongst traders, he was forced to flee to the city of Medina which was 35O kms away. This happened in the year 622 A.D. In Medina, Mohammed was soon accepted as a political and religious leader. The date of migration, July the 16th, 622 A.D. was declared the beginning of Islamic Chronology.

Mohammed's Fight For Acceptance

The disciples Mohammed found in Medina, organised themselves into a military group which marched back into Mecca with Mohammed. In 630 A.D. Mohammed finally entered Mecca triumphantly after a short battle. He destroyed the idols, but pronounced the Kaaba, which according to heathen legends fell from the heavens as a black meteorite, as his main relic. Mohammed increasingly developed from being just a prophet to a general and politician.

Mohammed died in 632 A.D. There was heavy fighting for his succession. The Kalif Abu Bekr became the victor of this struggle. From this time, Mohammed's successors have been called Kalifs (Arabic for successor).

The Teachings of Islam

  1. Islam stands for subjection, i.e. the Muslim believer is subject to Allah. Mohammed declared that Allah was the highest and the only God and that Mohammed's words were the last divine revelation to mankind. They were written down in the Koran to complement the Bible. According to Mohammed, the Bible also declares the revelations of God, but not completely. Mohammed sees himself as the last and greatest of the prophets. He also recognised Jesus, but only as one of many prophets and not as the Son of God.

Memories of perfect harmony  — Free Malaysia Today
We respected one another's values and beliefs, so much so that I filled my chest with teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism and so on, in addition to the compulsory Islamic classes for all Muslim girls.

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