Historical Introduction to Islam



Muhammad (SAWS),  in Arabic.


     Muhammad (SAWS), the prophet of Islam, was born in Makkah in the year 570 of the Common Era. His parents were members of a branch of the Quraish tribe who governed Makkah.

        His father died before his birth and his mother when he was 5 years old, and he then  became under the care of an uncle. Little is known of his life from there, except that he was known for his honesty and was called Al Amin, that means "the honest one".   


        At the age of 25 years old he married a rich widower called Khadija. At the age of 40  Muhammad (SAWS) felt that he was chosen by God to be the prophet of a true    religion.  "There is no God except Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah", became the basic declaration of the Islamic faith. 


              Rejected and persecuted for the citizens of Makkah, Muhammad (SAWS) left the city in September of 622 and ran away for Yathrib (today Madina. Those who followed and helped him during the escape became the leaders of the Islamic movement.

           Celebrated as the Hegira (meaning escape or immigration), this event marks the start  of the Islamic calendar. It is from this time the written Constitution, the first one of the  sort in the world, that determined the rights and duties of the citizens, the head and the State, besides establishing rules of external politics. 

       The new religious and mainly legal rules had abolished the tribal traditions, among them the vendetta, although keeping some pre-Islamic practices, under the concepts of the new rules. In this maintenance, we can see some aspects of the marriage and the private property.

The duties of the State are in four: executive, civil and military; the legislative one; judiciary  and the cultural one. The Executive, according to Muslim authors, has the sovereignty in the hands of God, the Qur’an, that is the source of the law. The Judiciary determines the equality  between men before the law and in case of conflicting rules special disposals decide the difficulty in the choice of the law to be executed. In the case of the form of government, for being considered divine in the application of the law, it accepted all elective as valid ones. 


     Text by Maria C.  Moreira & Márcia Vianna Gaspar.


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