Religious History

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By John Joseph Saunders

Are not the phrases "Medieval Islam" a redundancy? whilst has Islam ever now not been "Medieval"? for instance, so one can examine the historical past of the "Dark Ages", you'll examine eighth and ninth century Europe, otherwise you may examine any Arab state this day that is guided through Islamic principles.

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They were known as hanifs. Amr, once encountered the young Muhammad on the road to Ta’if, and was offered by him some meat which had been sacrificed to idols. ’ The words sank deeply into Muhammad’s mind. ’ Tradition relates that the call of God came to Muhammad during solitary retreats he was in the habit of making in a cave on Mount Hira, a hill just outside Mecca. He had two dreams or visions of a mighty Being in the sky whom he first identified with God himself but later with the angel Gabriel and who commanded him to recite what all Muslims believe to be the oldest passage of the Koran, the one beginning: 23 THE PROPHET Recite, in the name of the Lord who created (Sura 96; verse 1) At first so terrified that he was driven almost to suicide, he became convinced, perhaps by the assurance and encouragement of his wife, that the experience was a genuine message from heaven, and the visions were followed by a series of auditory ‘revelations’ which continued at intervals until the end of his life.

Les religions arabes préislamiques, Louvain, 1951. , L’institution monarchique en Arabie Méridionale avant l’Islam, Louvain, 1951. , Arabian Sands, London, 1959. , Arabia Felix, London, 1932. A brilliant record of travel and exploration in South Arabia. DELLA, ‘Pre-Islamic Arabia,’ in The Arab Heritage, Princeton, 1946. Archaeological work in Arabia is still in its infancy. For some account of what has been done in the South in recent years, see Archaeological Discoveries in South Arabia, published by the American Foundation for the Study of Man, Baltimore, 1958.

His lot was cast in a period most fortunate for the realization of his hopes, and his success was assured by the social unrest of Mecca, the civil strife of Medina, the ruin of the Himyar kingdom of the south, the defeat of Abraha and the decay of the military strength of Axum, the familiarity of his countrymen with the idea of one God, the prostration of the Sassanid monarchy and the exhaustion of the Roman Empire, whose power was sapped by religious discord, the withdrawal of the Syrians and Egyptians from active loyalty to the imperial government, and the strains and losses of the Persian wars.

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