|#1: Muhammad learned Monotheism from Christians.|
See also for more detail: Muhammad learned monotheism from Christians
The evangelism and preaching by Christians is the primary #1 cause of the rise of Islam. Arabs were "late bloomers" when it came to rejecting polytheism and adopting monotheism. While much of the world had rejected polytheism, Arabs, like late blooming adolescents finally gave up their eternal history of paganism.... thanks to the direct influence of Christians.
Muslims today believe the myth that Muhammad introduced monotheism to the area around Mecca and Arabia in general. The truth is that Muhammad got tired of the Christians constantly preaching monotheism to him fellow Arabs, knowing in his heart, that they were correct in their criticism of Arab paganism. There can be little doubt that Christians, in their evangelism of the are around Mecca, charged the Arabs with paganism and polytheism. Christians criticized those worshipping 260 pagan gods at the Kabah and offered Christianity as a far superior monotheistic religion. In his heart, Muhammad knew the Christians were right and had a better religion of monotheism. But some Muslims today, are totally ignorant of the fact that monotheism was widely preached before, during and after the rise of Muhammad, by the Christians. It was a well known theology and the Arabs were familiar with it. Amazingly, today Muslims criticize as polytheists, the very one's who taught Muhammad about monotheism!
- The Meccans had numerous contacts with Christians. (Muhammad's Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, Chapter 3: Religion In Pre-Islamic Arabia, p26-45)
- Meanwhile the seed of monotheism had been sown all along the Arabian Peninsula. ... The time was ripe for a religious revival. (Islam and the Arabs, Rom Landau, 1958 p 11-21)
- Muhammad was only one of several preachers of monotheism in the Arabia of his day. (Islam: Muhammad and His Religion, Arthur Jeffery, 1958, p 85)
- "the religious situation of Arabia, and particularly of Mecca, as it was at the end of the sixth century, there must have been many serious-minded men who were aware of a vacuum and eager to find something to satisfy their deepest needs." (Muhammad at Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, 1953, p 23-29)
- In brief, in the sixth century after Christ, the majority of the people of Arabia were still pagans, but monotheism was spreading steadily. The time was ripe for the Arabs to abandon their superstitions in favour of a more spiritual and monotheistic conception of God. (The Life and Times of Muhammad, John Bagot Glubb, 1970)
|#2: The Roman Catholic adoration, praying to Mary and calling her the "Mother of God".|
The false doctrine of the Roman Catholic church, which started in 606 AD, drove Muhammad away from Christianity. It is well known by anyone who has read the Bible that praying to Mary, adoration of Mary, the assumption of Mary into heaven, the perpetual virginity of Mary are not found in the Bible. Perhaps calling Mary "mother of God" was the single most repulsive and confusing thing Muhammad saw in what he thought was true Christianity. Muhammad evidently thought that the trinity consisted of the Father, the Son and Mary. Koran 5:116, represents Christians as worshipping Mary as the third member of the Trinity, when in fact the only ones worshiping Mary, based upon the record of history, were the pagan Arabs who worship her idol in the Kaba. But the confusion started with the Roman Catholic church who, although they didn't worship Mary at that time (they do today), they went around calling her "mother of God". Historically, no one before 300 AD ever referred to Mary as the "Mother of God".
- "The passage of the Qur'an which suggests that the Trinity consists of Father, Son, and Virgin Mary is doubtless a criticism of some nominally Christian Arabs who held this view." (Muhammad at Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, 1953, p 23-29)
- The strictness of Mohammed's monotheistic attitude became increasingly severe. He went much farther than Eastern Christianity, whose Christolatry and Mariolatry he regarded as idolatry. Not even Judaism withstood the test of his monotheistic zeal. He regarded the Jewish reverence for Ezra as on the same level as the Christian adoration of Jesus (9, 30). (Mohammed: The man and his faith, Tor Andrae, 1936, Translated by Theophil Menzel, 1960, p13-30)
|#3: The False Nestorian view of Christ having a split personality|
Nestorius died around 451 and is the father of Nestorianism. This false doctrine teaches that Christ was two separate persons, one divine and one human. The Bible teaches Jesus Christ was one person with two natures. The United Pentecostal Church International, for example, teaches that when Jesus prayed, he was praying to himself. This assaults the common sense more than it contradicts the Bible! Muhammad would likewise not be impressed with a religion that not only considers Mary "the mother of God", but that Jesus is a "schizo" split personality that goes around talking to himself. Between the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic church and the outrageous heresy of the banished Nestorians who were driven from civilization into Arabia, not much wonder Muhammad what he thought was Christianity! The devil always uses false doctrine to turn people away from the truth!
- "the Eastern [Nestorian] Christians believe in one God with three attributes, instead of three persons." (George M. Lamsa, The Short Koran, p15)
- Although most of the Arab tribes of the Syrian desert became nominal Christians, however, their new religion seems to have been little more than skin deep. It was doubtless difficult for a people who held such strong views on the honourable duty of revenge to absorb the spirit of a religion which commanded them to love their enemies and to turn the other cheek to aggressors. Unfortunately, in 420, a monk called Nestorius preached a new interpretation of the Incarnation, which was condemned as heretical by the Council of Ephesus in 431. As a result, the Nestorian Christians migrated in considerable numbers to Persia, where they established themselves chiefly in the Euphrates valley as far south as the head of the Persian Gulf. (The Life and Times of Muhammad, John Bagot Glubb, 1970)
- Under the dominion of Byzantium they achieved power and wealth in the role of a 'buffer state' and adopted the Christianity of their rulers. In A.D. 195, another branch, the lakhmids, established the kingdom of Hira near the ruins of ancient Babylonia. While serving as a 'buffer' for Persia, many of its people remained pagan under the non-proselytizing policy of Persian Zoroastrianism.' Nevertheless some important elements among the Lakhmids became Nestorian Christians. (Islam and the Arabs, Rom Landau, 1958 p 11-21)
- The influence of Christianity was brought to bear upon Arabia both from Syria in the northwest and from Mesopotamia in the northeast. In the sixth century A.D. the Arabic kingdoms of the Ghassanids in Syria and the Lakhmids in Mesopotamia were allied respectively with the Byzantine and the Persian empires and were strong centers respectively of Monophysite and of Nestorian Christianity. From these regions and in this time if not also earlier, Christian ideas spread on into the farther reaches of Arabia. A careful study of the relevant data particularly in the Qur'an shows that Muhammad had a very considerable store of knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, and that it was of the sort which he would have been most likely to obtain through oral channels and personal observation over a long period of time. He was specially impressed, it seems, with the fact that both the Jews and the Christians were People of a Book, and it was his desire likewise to provide his own people with a Book which would be to them what the Torah was to the Jews and the Bible to the Christians. (The Archeology Of World Religions, Jack Finegan, 1952, p482-485, 492)
|#4: Nationalistic Arab pride|
Historically, in 600 AD, the Arabs had felt like the little guys and underdogs in the world arena. For Muhammad to realize that his own pagan and polytheistic Arab culture offered nothing towards truth in religion, must have been a difficult and humiliating thing. So the "converted to monotheism" Muhammad had a choice. He could implement monotheism by going around telling his native pagan Arabs that everything they have been doing for 2500 years is vain, false and condemned. Or he could implement monotheism by telling his pagan Arabs that all of their pagan ritual (the Hajj or pilgrimage) was good, but they had to give up all their pagan gods for one God, Allah. Think about just how much more effective you could be in this second approach. Then think about how poorly the truth that all of pagan religious culture had to be thrown out and adopt the Christianity of the "big boys" in Rome. Too bad Muhammad allowed all the pagan practices of the Arabs to be adopted wholly into Islam because he was too proud to admit the non-Arab nations held the key to religious truth! This problem exists even today.
- The remarkable expansion of Islam, especially in the Far East and tropical Africa, long after its initial political and military impetus had exhausted itself, was in no small measure due to the ease with which it absorbed local cults and then directed them towards the broader social and cosmological purpose of the monotheistic vision. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
- At the commencement of Muhammad's mission, It is remarkable that there is scarcely an allusion to the Ka'bah, and this fact, taken with the circumstance that the earliest Qiblah or direction for prayer, was Jerusalem, and not the Ka'bah, seems to imply that Muhammad's strong iconoclastic tendencies did so incline his sympathies to this ancient idol with its Superstitious ceremonies. Had the Jews favourably received the new as one who taught the religion of Abraham, to abrogation of that of Moses and Jesus, Jerusalem and not Makkah-would have been the sacred city, and the ancient Rock and not the Ka'bah would have the object of superstitious reverence. (A Dictionary Of Islam, Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1965, Kaba, p 256)
- And in this verse we find the Rock at Jerusalem spoken of as "the precinct of which We (God) have blessed, to show him (Muhammad) of our signs," proving that even then the Prophet of Arabia had his heart fixed on Mount Zion, and not on the Ka'bah. When Muhammad found himself established in al-Madinah, with a very good prospect of his obtaining possession of Makkah, and its historic associations, he seems to have withdrawn his thoughts from Jerusalem, and its Sacred Rock and to fix them on the house at Bakkah as the home founded for mankind,-. Blessed, and a guidance to all creatures. (Surah iii. 90} The Jews proving obdurate, and there being little chance of his succeeding in establishing his claim as their prophet spoken of by Moses, be changes the Qiblah, or direction for prayer, from Jerusalem to Makkah. The house at Makkah is made "a place of resort unto men and a sanctuary " (Surah ii. 119). The Qiblah is changed by an express command of the Almighty, and the whole passage is remarkable as exhibiting a decided concession on the part of Muhammad to the claims of the Ka'bah as a central object of adoration. (A Dictionary Of Islam, Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1965, Kaba, p 256)
- The Meccan revelations tell us nothing about these relations during this important period in the life of the Prophet. In any case he felt no enthusiasm for the Meccan sanctuary. During the first period after the Hidjra Muhammad was busy with very different problems. But when the expected good relations with Judaism and the Jews did not come about, a change set in. Henceforth - about a year and a half after the Hidjra - the Ka'ba and the Hadjdj are mentioned in the revelations. The change of attitude was first shown in the kibla edict: the faithful were no longer to turn towards Jerusalem in the salat but to the Ka'ba. ... From the dogmatic point of view this volte-face was justified by an appeal to the "religion of Abraham", which was specially invented for the occasion (Sura ii. 129, iii.. 89 etc.), as Snouck Hurgronje has shown in his Mekkaansche Feest. (First Encyclopedia of Islam, E.J. Brill, 1987, Islam, p. 587-591)
- This legendary story of the origin of the Ka'ba was easily brought into conformity with the cosmological views current among Christians and Jews in the East, the central point of which was the sanctuary itself. Muslim tradition at first adopted this cosmology completely, as is evident from the statements which are still wholly under the influence of the predominance of Jerusalem. They were however not content with this and transferred a considerable part of these sayings to Mecca. (First Encyclopedia of Islam, E.J. Brill, 1987, Islam, p. 587-591)
|#5: Rejection by the Jews:|
|#6: Muhammad adopted the pagan "religion of his parents" Muhammad's grandfather was the guardian of the Kabah.|
The influence of the religion of Muhammad's parents, is the second most important factor in the rise of Islam. It is well documented that people rarely drift far from the religion of their parents. Contrary to Muslim myth, Muhammad's family into which he was born, were pagan, and Muhammad himself worshipped all the idols at the Kabah. Islam, however retained almost all the pagan ritual associated with his father's pagan religion, but with a new monotheistic twist. So Muhammad, after wandering around trying to start his religion outside of Arabia, decided to make his home town the center of the planet.
- Muslim tradition insists that he had no dealing with the pagan cults of his native city. This seems unlikely, and there are clear indications in his later life to suggest that, like everyone else, he practised the religion of his fathers. We are told elsewhere that he sacrificed a sheep to the goddess al- 'Uzza. One little-known tradition has him offering meat which had been sacrificed to idols to a monotheist, who refused it and rebuked him. He is said to have belonged to the hums, a brotherhood which practised its own special rites at Meccan ceremonies and observed additional taboos. (Mohammed, Maxime Rodinson, 1961, translated by Anne Carter, 1971, p 38-49)
- The grandfather of Muhammad, 'Abdu 'l-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, became the custodian of the Sacred House; and during his time, the Ka'bah being considered too low in its structure, the Quraish wished to raise it; so they demolished it and then they rebuilt till the work reached the place of the black stone. Each tribe wishing to have the honour of raising the black stone into its place, they quarreled amongst themselves. But they at last agreed that the first man who should enter the gate of the enclosure should be umpire Muhammad was the first to enter, and be was appointed umpire. He thereupon ordered them to place the stone upon a cloth and each tribe by its representative to take hold of the cloth and lift it into its place. The dispute was thus ended, and when the stone had reached its proper place, Muhammad fixed it is its situation with his own hand. (A Dictionary Of Islam, Thomas Patrick Hughes, 1965, Kaba, p 256)
- The old Arabian paganism was at that time in a process of disintegration, but Judaism and Christianity were widely represented in the peninsula, and to a lesser extent Zoro-astrianism and certain Gnostic sects. Several preachers of monotheism had arisen and each had gained a following, but it was Muhammad who succeeded in syncretizing certain basic elements of Judaeo-Christian faith and practice with native Arabian beliefs and, by his own burning faith in his mission and indomitable courage in carrying out that mission, initiated what has become one of the world religions of our day. (Islam: Muhammad and His Religion, Arthur Jeffery, 1958, p xi-xiv)
|#7: Economic: Money, Money, Money|
Now don't get me wrong, Muhammad sincerely believed in his religion. But we must not overlook the key role Islam played in lining the pockets of the Meccans with lots of cash. Muhammad sure was a good businessman for he guaranteed forever, that those in charge of the Kabah would always be rich and that that the city of Mecca would always be a world tourist attraction that made the local residents rich.
- The Islamic tradition furnishes several clues about the possible anthro-pological origins of the Ka'ba. Like several other shrines in Arabia, it was part of a haram, or sacred area, where intertribal fighting was forbidden in order to facilitate trade. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)
- The development of Mecca as a commercial centre was partly due to its geographical position about the middle of the caravan route up the west coast of Arabia from the Yemen, and at the beginning of a route to Iraq. It was also facilitated by the existence of the sanctuary, since in the sacred territory blood feuds were in abeyance and there was therefore some security for men to come together at trade fairs. Certain months were also regarded as sacred, and it was during these that the fairs took place. One verse indicates the dependence of Meccan prosperity on the sanctuary: "Have we not established for them a sanctuary secure to which the fruits of everything are brought, as a provision from us?" (28.57) (Muhammad's Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, Chapter 3: Religion In Pre-Islamic Arabia, p26-53)
- The American scholar C. C. Torrey made a careful study of all the commercial metaphors used in the Qur'an, and came to the conclusion that in some cases they were not used incidentally or by way of illustration, but expressed some of the central theological teaching of the Qur'an. [The Commercial-Theological Terms in the Koran, Leiden 1892. Tor Andrae, Mohammed, 86, suggests that the theological terms are borrowed from Syrian Christianity; but even if some conceptions came from this source, the appropriateness to the thinking of the Meccan merchants was also an important factor.] This is precisely what we should expect in a commercial centre. The points made by Torrey have been well summarized: "The number of commercial terms transferred to the religious sphere is noteworthy ... The deeds of men are recorded in a book; the judgement is the reckoning; each person receives his account; the balance is set up and men's deeds are weighed; each soul is held in pledge for the deeds committed; if a man's actions are approved, he receives his reward, or his hire; to support the Prophet's cause is to lend to (God)." [Bell, Introduction, 79; Watt, Bell's Introduction, 4.] (Muhammad's Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, Chapter 3: Religion In Pre-Islamic Arabia, p26-53)
- What seems to be clear is that the bedouin came into the towns to worship at the fixed shrines of the gods there. The incentive may have been principally commercial-fairs are a consistent feature of such urban shrines-and there was undoubtedly conscious policy at work: the movement of the effigy of a popular god into a town shrine meant that its worshipers would eventually follow, if certain conditions could be guaranteed. The chief of those was security. Bedouin were ill at ease in very close quarters: a vividly remembered network of tribal vendettas and blood feuds incurred from earlier collisions on the steppe made any tribal encounter potentially dangerous. The solution was the usual one of the "truce of God," sacred months when hands and weapons were restrained by divine injunction. Under such security, tribes came together, worshipped, and traded, and then returned to their more normal ways. Sacred shrine, sacred truce, worship, and trade is a combination with a venerable history. Small wonder, since it worked to everyone's advantage, and not least to that of the guardians of the shrine-the Quraysh at Mecca, for example. (The Hajj, F. E. Peters, p 3-41, 1994)
- For in that fractious world of Arabian tribalism, where warlike energies were fruitlessly dissipated in internecine strife, the new solidarity brought by the Prophet and welded into a universal brotherhood at 'Arafat was the prelude to the jihad, or holy war. (Islam in the World, Malise Ruthven, 1984, p 28-48)