Prophet Mohammad was born in Mecca. He lived in 570-632 CE. Although he lived a difficult life following the loss of his two parents at his early age, Mohammad incredibly changed the social, political, and religious organizations of people across the world. At an early age, Mohammad revealed high qualities of being introspective.
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He could sometimes run away from the society he considered as being irreligious and materialistic to seek refuge in caves located at mount Hera. In the caves, he spent many hours meditating and looking for answers to various metaphysical questions, which preoccupied many of the highly thoughtful Arabs.
During one of such mediations, he received a call, which formed a turnaround of the religious history of the world. This call was a communication from heaven taking the form of a command. According to Shakir, the command was “Recite! In the name of your Lord, who created all things…who created man from a clot (of blood).
Recite! And your Lord is Most Bounteous Who teaches by the Pen, teaches man that which he would not have otherwise known” (Koran 96:1-5). In Arabic, recite or read means Qur’an. Collections of the revelations that were given to Prophet Mohammad are termed as Koran.
This paper discusses how the Muslims viewed the role of religion, politics, and military affairs following the revelation of the Quran to prophet Muhammad. Besides, it shows how this view played out in the territorial expansion of Islam.
How Muslims viewed the role of religion, politics, and military affairs following the revelation of Quran to the prophet Muhammad
In the context of birth and growth of Islam as a religion, the revelations of Quran to Prophet Mohammad altered the way people thought about religion. Mohammad inspired people who were his followers to come up with mechanisms of working tirelessly to enhance the betterment of a society, which was cohesively united through Islamic faith.
Religion ceased to be seen as a tool for displaying ones rightness to a means of uniting people into one society that was guided by the teachings of Allah. Allah is the only God with Prophet Mohammad as his massager.
The revelations of Quran to Mohammad resulted in a breakdown of tribal loyalties, which “were replaced by faith in the ‘one God’ who chose to speak to his people in their own language through a messenger who was also one of their own” (Cragg 79). In the Islamic faith, Mohammad was the last most important God’s massager.
The revelations of Quran made people view religion as having the ability to undergo changes because the revelations insisted on worshipping one God who is inseparable from the father and son as it had been taught previously over the preceding 600 years.
The revelations also present religion as having the ability to establish the position of humankind in the world by establishing guidance coupled with the freedom of choice. Viewing religion this way implies that giving the freedom of choice coupled with religious diversity often is taken for granted.
This reason makes Quran to “have principles regulating the dynamic coexistence among various communities’ faiths and cultures” (Cragg 82). Therefore, region began to be seen as prescribing certain rituals such as fasting, praying, pilgrimage, and restriction to taking certain types of foods.
It also prescribes certain social regulations including punishment, divorce inheritance, and marriages without negating setting of limits beyond which equality and rights of people cannot go beyond irrespective of their beliefs, gender, race, or culture (Godziher 61).
Through these principles, the revelation of Quran implied that region was an instrument for ensuring tight bonds between people who subscribe to it.
Religious affiliation of people influences the way people view politics. For Islam, following the revelation of Quran, people began to articulate their political positions to teaching that was integrated in the Islamic religion rules as revealed to Prophet Mohammad.
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Through the inspiration of Quran, Prophet Mohammad was considered as having the ability to take neutral positions in political conflicts. This case meant that Quran advocated for the centrality in political conflicts so that not any position between warring people would be preferred than the other.
In 622 CE, Prophet Mohammad was requested to rule Medina city at the time when Khazraj and Aus were in conflict. In this time, Prophet Mohammad introduced rules based on his Quran revelations. These rules came to be referred to as Sharia (Audi and Wolterstorff 87).
Sharia rules altered the way Islamic people perceived the role of the region in political topics. Islamic law or the Sharia formed the fundamentals for making Islamic political decisions such that any decision taken is consistent with the provisions of the regulation of conducts of Muslim faithful as provided for in the Sharia law.
Indeed, in the modern day, many Islamic sects are determined to impose the teachings of Sharia as revealed by Prophet Mohammad. The extremists’ form of Sharia law is highly opposed by democratic religions claiming that it erodes the fundamental human rights especially rights of women.
Many of the political groupings of Islam began to come up through inspirations of Quran after the demise of prophet Mohammad. The splitting of Muslims faithful, for instance the Shiites and Sunnis was attributed to political differences on matters of succession of caliphates (Cragg 89).
While Sunnis immensely believed that caliphates were supposed to be elected, the Shiites argued that caliphate was hereditary position following the line of Prophet Mohammad.
In this line of thought, it is arguable that the revelations of Quran to prophet Mohammad altered the manner in which people interpreted some political topics such as leadership and how people should be filled in the leadership positions.
Following the split of Shiites and Sunnis, the later group’s line of thought dominated the political thoughts of many Islamists to the extent that the modern Islamic nations political compositions is based on the Sunnis lines of thought. The only exception is the Islamic republic of Iran.
Given the respect accorded to Prophet Mohammad following the revelations of Quran, a belief was created that political power needs to be concentrated around a single person (Cragg 89).
Since the Quran housed all the rules that the Islamic society needed to follow to foster political harmony, when the roles of provisions of political guidance shifted from Prophet Mohammed to his successors, a conflict arose because political systems in the Arabic world tended to be more of authoritative as opposed to being democratic.
This case was because Quran made a requirement that people needed to obey both God and those in power.
The revelation of Quran to Prophet Mohammad introduced new rules in the handling of military affairs. For instance, the Quran criminalized any military actions or war against any person or a group of people for any other reason a part from self -defense.
According to Shakir, this argument is evidenced by the Quran verse, “You shall not kill any person- for God has made life sacred – except in the course of justice” (Koran 17: 33). In this sense, the revelation of Quran to Prophet Mohammad meant alteration of the reasons for justification of military action against other people.
For instance, George Braswel argues, “Quran justifies wars for self-defense to protect Islamic communities against internal or external aggression by non-Islamic populations, and wars waged against those who ‘violate their oaths’ by breaking a treaty” (Braswel 37). This argument means that military action was justifiable if it seeks to protect the Islamic faith and its teachings
Jihad is another crucial aspect of Islam that has attracted the attention of the many critics in terms of how the revelation of Quran to prophet Mohammad influenced Muslims’ perceptions of military affairs. In this context, George Braswel argues, “the Quran asserts an idea of Jihad to deal with “a sphere of disobedience, ignorance, and war” (Braswel 38).
However, this places an extremist’s position of the roles of revelations of Quran on the military affairs of the Muslims. People engage in war for different reasons among them being deterioration or interference with their political, economic, and even faith and cultural articulations.
Indeed, continued existence of Islam calls for protection of Islamic institutions. Consequently, the incorporation of the concept of jihad on the revelations of Quran are consistent with the need to protect Islam coupled with its expansion.
How view the of the role of religion, politics, and military affairs following the revelation of Quran facilitated territorial expansion of Islam
As argued before, upon revelation of Quran to Prophet Mohammad, people altered the way they viewed the roles of the religion, politics, and military affairs in the society. People started to relate every aspect of their life and actions to Quran’s teachings.
This achievement helped to foster territorial expansion of Islam. For instance, the teachings of Quran bring people together through insisting on the necessity of having a united Islamic society so that they are able to fight for a common goal in the society.
In the due process, Islam became possible to expand beyond the territorial boundaries. In this line of thought, Braswel argues, “Qur’an also maintains that all individuals are responsible for their actions for which they will be judged by God, and so it provides guidelines for proper behavior within the framework of a just and equitable society” (45).
By articulating the need to engage in military conflicts for self-defense and protection of one’s true religious beliefs, people who believe that their rights are eroded or interfered with find common reasons to confront their common enemies who erode their rights
In the early Arabic world, perceptions of erosion of people’s rights bonded people together. When such perceptions are provided for in the religious doctrines, people who are not faithful to the doctrine based on the perception that their rights are eroded would find themselves being faithful to it if provided with justifications for their actions seeking to liberate themselves.
Therefore, the view that Quran provides the rule defining the relationships between God and his people and that these rules needed protection helped to foster territorial expansions of Islam.
This move was particularly significant when Islam reached new places in which people saw the existing regimes as being oppressive. Through seeking solace to the holy teachings of Quran, Islam was able to spread beyond Mecca.
Based on political views, the Caliphs who took after Prophet Mohammad expanded their territories to include places like Jerusalem, Damascus, and Ctesiphon. They also sent their armies to places like Sindh (Makdisi 179). This army took with it the teachings of Islam so that people who were conquered often found themselves becoming Muslims.
The perception of concentration of political powers around a single person who is the leader of an Islamic community made leaders seek more powers and expansions of their territories. Within the new territories, Islam was introduced as a religion that presented the last revelations of God to his people through angel Gabriel.
In fact, according to Shakir, Quran 4 verse 59 says, “O believers! Obey God and obey the Apostle and those who have been given authority among you (Koran 4:59). Obedience means adherence to the rule of laws advocated for by the rulers.
In case of Caliphs, the rule of law was inspired by the revelations of Quran to Prophet Mohammad. Strict obedience to Sharia formed strong Islamic religious views that were deeply ingrained within the revelations of Quran, which people spread across the border of Mecca.
In the context of military affairs, struggle for making people understand Allah and how He wants His people to live justified the military’s operation against people who are perceived to be the enemies of Allah particularly when they attack Allah’s people.
In such a situation, the war would be a jihad war (holy war). This view led to making Arab conquering armies to transfer Sharia rules and laws coupled with courts in cities and military camps. In this process, new people joined Islam. Through situations involving military operations, mosques were built in many cities that were conquered.
Madrasahs were also introduced to teach and train Muslim youths. This strategy led to the establishment of classical scholars who were guided by the teaching of Quran (ulema). These people later served as madrasah teachers, Qadis, and imams thus fostering successful territorial expansion of Islam.
Before the revelations of Quran to prophet Mohammad, He criticized the society within which He lived as irreligious and materialistic. The revelations of Quran led to the unification of people on common religious beliefs based on the teachings of Allah as revealed to Prophet Mohammad through angel Gabriel.
These revelations altered the way people viewed military affairs, politics, and religions. Religion became guided by set out principles and rules whose breach amounted to punishment by Allah. Politics was based on the principle of compliance to Quran teachings, which insisted on obedience to both Allah and those people who are in power.
Military operations became justified based on self-defense. During military conquering, the paper argued that the territorial expansion of Islam becomes possible.
Additionally, the paper held that politics and religious views of people following the revelation of Quran to prophet Mohammad had overall effects of altering the views of people towards the topics of religion and politics so that Islam became highly embraced by people.
Again, this strategy fostered its territorial expansion to the extent that, today, Islam is the second largest religion in the world.
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Braswel, George. What you need to know about Islam & Muslims. Nashville, Tenn: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000. Print.
Cragg, Kenneth. “A Tale of Two Cities: Helping the heirs of Mecca to transform Medina.” Mission Frontiers 3.1(2001): 78-91. Print.
Godziher, Ignaz. Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1981. Print.
Makdisi, George. “Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 109.2 (2001): 175–182. Print.
Shakir, Mohammad. The Qur’an. New York, NY: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc., 1999. Print.