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Q: WHEN DID IT ALL START?
A: With the Hijra or Hegire – the migration of the Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina in 622.
This date marks the beginnings of Islam and the Muslim era.
Beginnings of Islam and Medina – “city of the Prophet”
After Muhammad’s revelations he began to preach with great zeal. This was still in the area of his home town, Mecca. Some 100 or so followers joined Muhammad, however, there was also great opposition to him. Unable to make any progress in Mecca, Muhammad decided to move to Yathrib, a city some 450 kilometers or 280 miles north of Mecca. The city was later named Medina meaning, “city of the Prophet”.
September 24, 622
This migration, called Hijra in Arabic, started on September 24, 622. This marks the beginning of Islam, and the Muslim calendar starts with this date.
Battles and Victories
During the second year in Medina, life became financially difficult. Muhammad started to raid caravans and divide the spoils among his men. He became very powerful and with just 350 armed men, Muhammad attached a caravan at Badr, defeating an army of one thousand men who had come from Mecca to protect the caravan. The victory at Badr had great importance for Muhammad as it assured him that Allah was with him.
The Importance of Mecca
Muhammad continued to grow in power and in the sixth year of Hijra, 628, a peace treaty was made between the Quraish in Mecca and Muhammad and his followers. Two years later Muhammad broke the treaty by attacking Mecca with an army of ten thousand men. He took control of the city and became the undisputed political and religious leader of Arabia. Mecca became the center of Islam.
Shiites and Sunnites
In the tenth year of Hijra, 632, Muhammad died. After his death a power struggle broke out among his followers. There was division and warfare and several different sects branched out within Islam. The Shia (or Shiites) and the Sunnites became the two major groups within Islam.