Out of Mecca east to India west across North Africa and on into Spain
Muhammad became a caravan manager. Meeting people along trade routes, Muhammad probably heard the teachings of Judaism and Christianity. Muslims believe that one day Muhammad went to a cave to pray.There,
the angel Gabriel appeared. Gabriel told Muhammad he was to be the messenger of
Allah. Gabriel also told Muhammad that there was only one God. The angel said
that all people were equal. All people should share their wealth with the poor.
Muhammad started to teach this message. At first, few people listened. The
people of Mecca had many gods. They did not like hearing that there was only
one God. Merchants made money by selling idols, or statues of gods. They feared
they would lose money if people believed in only one God. Some people in Mecca
even wanted Muhammad killed. In 622 A.D. Muhammad left Mecca. He went to the
Arabian city of Medina, where people accepted him. This journey from Mecca to
Medina is called the hijarah, which means a “journey from danger.” It marks the
first year of the Christian calendar. The people of Medina were more open to
Muhammad’s message. In 630, he returned to Mecca with an army. After several
years of fighting, the people of Mecca accepted Islam. Muhammad went to the
Kaaba. This was a temple where many idols were stored. He destroyed the idols. Two years later, in 632, Muhammad died. Muhammad said that Muslims had a duty to spread Islam. After Muhammad's death, Muslims spread the religion throughout Arabia. Within a few years, Muslim armies conquered Palestine, Syria, Persia, and Egypt. Muslims spread across North Africa and into Spain. They also moved into India and central Asia.