Home >> Collier's New Encyclopedia, Volume 6 >> Medici to New Jersey >> Mohammed

Mohammed

mecca, prophet, abu and medina

MOHAMMED (m5-ham'ed), or MA HOMET (ma-hom'et;),the Arabian proph et, and the founder of Islam; born in Mecca, Arabia, A. D. 570 or 571. He was the only son of Abdallah and Amina, being of the family of Hashem, the most illustrious in the noble tribe of Koreish, princes of Mecca, and guard fans of the Caaba. Left an orphan in in fancy, he was brought up by his uncle, Abu Taleb, who trained him to com merce. The theory of his high cultiva tion is now exploded. When 25 years of age Mohammed married Khadija, a rich and noble widow of Mecca, and the fol lowing 15 years of his life were passed in domestic quietness. From his youth the future prophet had shown a fond ness for seclusion and serious medita tion. He began, at 40 years of age, to announce himself as an apostle, and to proclaim the doctrine of Islam (salva tion), that "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his Prophet." After three years, he made a more public an nouncement of his doctrine, especially in sisting on the unity of God, and de nouncing all kinds of idolatry; but his followers were very few for years, the opposition of the elders and people of Mecca growing more and more bitter. In A. D. 621, Mohammed lost his faith ful and beloved Khadija, and soon after, the Koreishites, headed by Abu Sophian, resolved to put the prophet to death. He

fled from Mecca, and with his only com panion, Abu-bekr, withdrew to Medina (then called Yatreb). He made a pub lie entry into Yatreb and at once as sumed the offices of king and priest. He also there married his second wife, the beautiful Ayesha, daughter of Abu-bekr, who long survived him. He had, how ever, many other wives. Persuasion, long tried with little success, at length gave place to force and war, and in the battle of Beder he defeated Abu So phian and the Koreish (A. D. 623). He was defeated by them in A. D. 625; they unsuccessfully besieged Medina, and a truce for 10 years was agreed on. Wars with Jewish tribes followed; many Ara bian tribes submitted themselves; and in 630 the conquering prophet marched to Mecca, received the keys of the city, and was acknowledged as prince and prophet. He destroyed its 360 idols, and decreed that no infidel should enter the holy city. The whole of Arabia was soon after conquered. War with the Roman empire was begun; an expedition for the conquest of Syria was prepared; when Mohammed, believed to be immortal by some of his disciples, fell into a fever and died in Medina, Arabia, June 7, 632.

See KORAN: MOHAMMEDANISM.