One of the most remarkable stories in all of human history is the rise of Islam.
Coming virtually out of nowhere, Muhammad shaped the desert communities of Arabia into the center and vehicle of a new world view.
While the Islamic revolution found its roots in the minor economic boom which the Arabs experienced during the late sixth century CE, more is owed to the middle-aged Muhammad's visions of Allah and his subsequent assertion of that god as the only divine presence in the universe.
Outlasting the resistance of the ruling aristocracy in Mecca, Muhammad triumphed over adversity in a "holy war" and established himself as the prophet of Allah, only to die soon thereafter.
After that followed a long line of caliphs, literally "successors (of the prophet)," who carried Muhammad's new religion forward, guiding the growing power of Islam across the known world and producing one of the finest civilizations ever seen, the age of the "Arabian Nights" (700-1000 CE).
Though all too often disrupted by strife and ill-will, the cultural traffic between the Islamic world and Western civilization has advanced both immeasurably.
Attribution:to Mark L. Damen
Professor of History and Classics
Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-0710
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