The religion of Islam came into the world through a man named Muhammed, known to Muslims as the Prophet Muhammed and the messenger of God. Therefore, Islam can be considered to have started with Muhammed, and in this understanding, the religion of Islam is considered to have begun with Muhammed in the year 610, when Muhammed was forty years old. The question of where Islam started is therefore connected to the facts about where Muhammed was living at this time. At this time, he was living in Mecca with his wife and family. Mecca was a city in the Arabian peninsula, and it was the city in which he had been born. In the year 610, he was on a spiritual retreat alone in the cavernous mountains when he describes being visited by the angel Gabriel, who informed him that he, Muhammed, was the messenger of God. At this time, Mecca was known for its bustling merchants and municipal way of life. Soon, Muhammed began to receive more visions, and finally he was told it was time to begin sharing the word of God. This is one way to answer the question of where did Islam start, by thinking about the geographical location of Muhammed when he began to share his faith and visions from God.
The start of Islam, however, might be dated to other events. Some Muslims will explain that Islam is as old as the creation of the world, as it represents the uncorrupted and true word of God, and the intended religion at the founding of the world. While Islam recognizes earlier messengers of God, including Abraham and Jesus, they consider Muhammed to be the final prophet, and his word to be the pure word of God. What this means is that whereas earlier prophets might have preached corrupted teachings, which had elements of truth or had their teachings become corrupted, the word of the Quran is the final, full and perfected truth. Islam in this understanding is as old as the world, and started with the creation of the universe. This is one theological way to answer the question of where did Islam start.
The world that Muhammed lived in was full of very diverse traditions. There were Jews, Christians, and many powerful tribes which practiced local religious practices built on animism and polytheistic beliefs. While there was a notion of Allah, or a God, this notion was often considered in the context of many gods, where Allah was one of the highest gods among many. Tribal religions often incorporated idols and shrines into their worship, and such worship and local gods played an important role in the commercial life of Mecca.
Muhammed began to gain followers in Mecca, and soon word of his teachings spread across Arabia. In 622, he left Mecca and traveled to Medina, in a journey known as the Hijra, and which marked the beginning of the Islamic calendar. This is the city where Muhammed died, in the year 632, when he was around sixty years old. Today, both Mecca and Medina are in modern Saudi Arabia.
In the decades and centuries after his death, Islam spread to many different areas of the world.
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