Muhammad Brings Monotheism to the Arabs
Muhammad gave the Arabs a religion that was more suitable to the needs of the Semitic people. This achievement was done despite the hardship of his task and self-doubt.
Karen Armstrong states in her article "The Voice From the Mountain", U.S.News & World Report, Collector's Edition, that Muhammad had no intention of creating a new world religion.
This new religion that he was working on was strictly for the Arabs. Apparently, the Arabs did not want anything to do with the Christian idea of God which had become "colored with the rationalistic philosophy and ideas of ancient Greece."
Muhammad's Message did not Castigate Judaism or Christianity
According to Armstrong, there are several important points concerning Muhammad's message:
- The Quran did not say it was above all other religions;
- One religion and scripture was as valid as another;
- What was important was the quality of surrender to God; and
- People had no business to "desire another religion than God's."
Muhammad Understood a Fundamental Truth Better Than Most Leaders
Armstrong points out that Muhammad should receive high marks for his understanding that no religious vision can be discovered or original "because it claims to point to the fundamental, pre-existing reality." Muhammad was a messenger of Allah for the Arab people. What was important was the "quality of one's surrender to God, not to any mere human expression of His will."
Armstrong also points out that Muhammad's message was different from the messages of previous prophets:
- God had sent a messenger to the "Quraysh and a scripture in their own language;"
- Muhammad delivered his message even though he was illiterate; and
- His revelations came to him in visions and words.
Muhammad Experienced Despair, Inspiration, and Then Resolution
After he received a few revelations, it's said that there was a "dry period" of two years. Subsequently, he experienced severe depression and self-doubt. But then came "Sura 93-the Sura of the Morning."
This Inspiration, Sura 93, gave Muhammad the reassurance and confidence he needed to begin his mission of spreading the Word of Allah. Most vital to Muhammad, the "Sura of the Morning," gave him the feeling that the "Lord has neither forsaken thee nor hates thee and the Last shall be better for thee than the First. Thy Lord shall give thee, and thou shall be satisfied."
With Muhammad's re-energized inspiration and confidence, he was ready to begin his mission, "There is no god but thou." Most significantly, he decided to accept the idea that he was the Prophet of the Quraysh. Muhammad began very slowly to spread the word. He feared people would ridicule him and accuse him of impiety to the traditional religions that existed. This mission eventually led him to events that he never dreamed possible.
U.S.News & World Report, Collector's Edition, "The Voice From the Mountain," by Karen Armstrong.
A Biography of the Prophet, by Karen Armstrong.