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The Beginning of Islam

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Once there was a man named Mohammad who
lived in the crowded city of Mecca. He did not
like living in Mecca with its dusty, crowded,
fetid streets. It was a big city, with people
always coming to trade, and worship at the Black
Stone. The poor of the city were often
mistreated, and the tribes which made up the
city battled constantly. Mohammad often
traveled to a vacant cave in the desert. In the
cave he was alone, and would sit for hours,
enjoying the peaceful calm and the silence. One
day, as he was sitting in the dark cave, he heard
beautiful music playing. Then as Mohammad sat
trembling, the angel Gabriel appeared in front of
him.
"Who are you?" Mohammad asked, "Why are
you here?"
But the only reply he received was "Read!"
The massive angel was holding out a scroll,
which Mohammad took. Even though he had
never learned to read or write, he instantly
understood. The angel Gabriel had come to tell
him that he was to be the messenger of Allah.
He hurried home to tell his wife what had
happened to him in the cave. The whole time he was walking home he was thinking, "It must
have been a strange dream. I can't be the
messenger of Allah." But his wife convinced
him that he was really a prophet. He anxiously
waited for years for a revelation to appear to him,
but none did. Finally, he was visited again by the
angel Gabriel, who told him to preach to the
people of Mecca. And so Mohammad followed
his orders, and told the people about Allah.
"Stop worshiping idols," he told the people of
the city, "Commit your life to serving Allah. If
you do so you shall be rewarded, if not you shall
be punished. One thing you should do is give
money to the poor."
The poor liked what Mohammad was saying
but the rich did not think it was very credible.
Eventually, the rich people of Mecca pursued
Mohammad and his followers out of the city.
Many people became enemies of Mohammad's
preaching. Soon after he began preaching, his
wife died and he was left to live with his one
good friend, Abu Bakr.
One night, as the friends sat eating their
dinner, they heard the footsteps of soldiers
approaching the house. Mohammad and Abu
Bakr fled from the house and into the desert.
Behind them they could hear the soldier's
pounding footsteps. They found a deserted cave,
and ran in. The friends sat trembling as they
listened to the footsteps coming closer.
Suddenly, just before the soldiers came to the
cave, a huge spider web appeared in the cave
entrance.
"They can't be hiding in here," came the
irritated voice of one of the soldiers, "Look at
that spider's web, it looks at least a few days old.
They couldn't have gotten in without breaking
it."
And so the soldiers headed off and
Mohammad and Abu Bakr were able to travel to
Medina, where they were safe.





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