The origin of Islam can be traced back to Saudi Arabia of the 7th century. Islam is thus the youngest of the great world religions. The Prophet Muhammad (about 570-632 AD) introduced Islam in 610 AD after claiming to have received a visit from an angel. Mohammed dictated the Koran, the holy book of Islam. Muslims believe that the Koran contains the original, perfect words of Allah.
The origin of Islam – According to Islam
The origin of Islam is generally attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, but for the devoted Muslim, Islam began long before Muhammad ever walked the earth. Although the Qur’an was dictated by Muhammad, the Qur’an does not claim to have originated from Muhammad himself: the book would have been given by God to the Prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel.
“Truly, this Book is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds, the Holy Spirit (Gabriel) has brought it down to your heart so that you may be the warner, in plain Arabic language” (Sura 26: 192-195).
“Say: ‘Whoever is an enemy of Gabriel’ – for verily, he revealed it at God’s command to your heart, fulfilling that which came before, being a guide and a merry one for the believers.” (Sura 2:97)
The origin of Islam – The “previous scriptures”
The origin of Islam is controversial. The “earlier scriptures” mentioned above are the Jewish Torah, the Psalms of David and the Gospels of Jesus Christ (Sura 4: 163; 5: 44-48). The Koran accepts these books as God-inspired texts and even encourages us to test the claims of these “previous Scriptures”. “And if ye doubt that which We have sent down to you, ask those who have read the Book before you” (Surah 10:94). But this is where we run into a problem. The problem is that the Koran thoroughly contradicts the Bible, the Psalms and the Gospels. For example, the Quran explicitly denies the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (Sura 4: 157-158), while all four of the Gospels make it clear that Jesus Christ was crucified and then rose again from the dead.
One particular contradiction has in particular created great friction between Muslims and ethnic Jews and is seen as the cause (and still as the motive) of much unrest and bloodshed in the Middle East. According to the Jewish Torah, God made a covenant with a man called Abraham. God promised Abraham that He would give Abraham a son through which He would fulfill this covenant (“the child of the promise”, Genesis 15). Abraham was already old and had no children at that time. His wife Sarah was barren.
This of course made the promise very special for Abraham. But nothing less than a miracle would be required. Sara, who was aware of her situation, decided to lend a hand to God. She gave her servant Hagar to Abraham in the hope that Hagar would become pregnant and bring forth the child of the promise. Abraham agreed and took Hagar as a concubine. Hagar conceived and bore Ishmael (Genesis 16). God allowed Ishmael to be born, but Ishmael was not the child of the promise that God had in mind (Genesis 17). God had promised a child through Sarah, not Hagar (Genesis 17-18), and God eventually kept his word.
“The LORD looked to Sarah as he had promised, he gave her what he had promised: Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time that God had called him.” Abraham called the son whom he and that Sarah had borne him, Isaac “(Genesis 21: 1-3). Isaac was the child of the promise. Isaac later had a son himself: Jacob, the forefather of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Messiah, Jesus Christ, finally came into the world through the people of Israel and with this the promise of the covenant between God and Abraham was fulfilled. God also promised that He would give the land of Canaan (Palestine) to the descendants of Isaac, and this is the land of present-day Israel (Genesis 12: 4-7; 13: 12-18; 15: 1-21; 1-22; 21: 1-14; 25: 19-26; 26: 1-6; 35: 9-12).
The problem is that the Quran teaches that not Isaac, but Ishmael was the child of the promise (Sura 19:54, also compare Sura 37: 83-109 with Genesis 22: 1-19). Muslims believe that the promises of God’s covenant were meant for Ishmael’s descendants. Muhammad was a descendant of Ishmael and therefore Muslims want to claim the promise of the Abramite covenant, namely the territory of Palestine. Since the United Nations in 1948 approved the return of Israel to Palestine, there is a great hostility between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Major armed conflicts took place in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973-74 and 1982. The present existence of Israel is in itself a miracle.