Islam as a religion that originated in the Middle East is a continuation of religious thought shaped by Zoroastrianism, being also part of the  Jewish and Christian heritage. In the words of its prophet, Islam restored that thought “to its proper sense and carried it to its ultimate formulation”.

The origin of Islam is the seed of Abraham, a character that appears in the Old Testament. It is though with his prophet Mohammed that Islam raised to be the Middle East main religion and was established as dominant world religion during the VIII and IX century AD. This religion spread in a bit more than 100 years all over the world, arriving to far away places such as Spain and Pakistan. The history of Islam and its dominance over such a huge territory started with Mohammed. The prophet life and biography exist only on a book by Mohammed Ibn Ishaq, written 100 years after the prophet died, and this book is only preserved in two later writings: The Compendium of Ibn Hisham from 840 AD and The Chronicle of Tabiri from 932 AD.

The prophet was born on a rich family, but on his early years he lost both of his parents, entering another rich family of Khadijah. He lived with this family for a long time. After some years of being living with them, he was sent for commercial aims and he ended up marrying with a female member of this Khadijah family, giving birth two sons, who both died, and several daughters.

The prophet received the first revelations when he was on his forties, being the first revelation the Sura 96. This first revelation told the prophet about the pen and of how to use it to teach about god to the world. The sanctified book, which men were to read, study, recite and treasure in their souls, was to be written by the prophet for all his followers and for the world. In between 610-613 AD, The prophet met his first group of friends. Between them, there was Ali, known as a lion-hearted, Abu Bakr, who was sincere and true-hearted, a man of wealth and influence, and then Zaid, the freedman. In The Mecca, you could then find the hut or Kaaba, the “Cube”, containing an image of the patron god, Hubal, a stone given to Abraham by Gabriel. Already at that time, it was believed that there was a time when people all over came to visit the Kaaba.

Fragment Sura 96

During the years 613-622 AD, it is when the second revelation, the Sura 73, was given to the prophet inside a cave. This second revelation was told with the prophet “folded in garments” (Muzzamil). This is a physical state, when the prophet was in his arduous moments of trance-ecstasy, when, he would lie or sit, wrapped in a blanket, uttering divine verses while copiously perspiring. On the mystic plane, by the mantle we may understand the outward wrappings of phenomenality, which are essential to existence, but are presently to be outgrown, where upon one’s inner nature is to proclaim itself with all boldness.

There were then in Mecca enough followers to respond to the prophet implementation of the law of god in the region. The prophet moved to Medina between 622-632 AD. His migration to this city supposed the pass from the law of Islam from theory to practice and to its manifestation to the world of history. From the year 630, Mohammed became successful in gaining followers and obtaining oligarchy support and resources to enter the Mecca. It was believed then that the Kaaba was white but that became black by the kisses of sinful lips. The story goes on with conquests, with the death of the prophet, and with many other subjects matters related to the establishment and spread of Islam, but I will skip this to focus a bit on Islam as a religion itself.

The mask of God Allah is a product of the same desert from which the mask of Yahweh originated. In fact, the word Yahweh is of Semitic origin, therefore of arabic source. Allah, as a Semitic god, is not immanent in nature but transcendent, just as Yahweh and the Christian god are. Nature does not contain these gods, they are not part of the natural order but creators of it. It is important to understand that within Semitic tribes, the Chief God is the protector and law giver of the local group. God is made known in the local laws and customs. In these ethnic groups, it is not tendency to recognise one’s own divinities in alien cults, in the worship of tribal gods there has always been exclusivism, separatism and intolerance. At primitive level, it existed monolatry, which means that each group had their local gods. That was the case in Canaan, and Yahweh came to be one tribal god conceived as being more powerful than the rest. Afterwards, this tribal god Yahweh became identified with the God-creator of the Universe.

The cosmic order as understood by the priests of those high bronze age civilisations had been of a marvellously mathematical regularity, ever revolving, ever rising into being and declining into chaos, according to fixed laws of which the priestly watchers of the stars were the first to know. The ultimate ground of this rhythm of being had not been represented as a wilful personality: such a god, for example Yahweh. On the contrary: personality, will, mercy and wrath had in these systems been only secondary to an absolutely impersonal, ever-grinding order, of which gods – all gods – were the mere agents. In the other hand, the Semitic desert people complex held to their own tribal patrons when they entered the higher culture field, and although accepting roughly, the idea of cosmic order, instead of submitting their god to it, they made him its originator and support, but in no sense its immanent being, for he was always an entity apart. A Semitic god was personal, anthropomorphic and to be known only by its tribal social laws of his still sole favoured group.

In all those churches of the Levant where the doctrine of free will did indeed play a part, its only virtue laid in submission to the consensus – which is to say to whatever law of god constituted the local, socially maintained system of sentiments. Disobedience, the exercise of individual judgement and freedom of decision, was exactly Satan’s crime.

Of course that this does not mean that the Old Testament and the Koran are the same. There are clear differences such as for example that the Jewish Old testament is addressed only to its tribe, while the Koran is addressed to the world. In terms of the laws of god, the Jewish gained them by following modes of an actual society in being while in Islam the laws of god are gained by a series of utterances emitted in a state of trance by a single individual in the course of 23 years. There are many other differences between Islam and Jewish religions, but it is a fact that both came from an original Old Testament myth story.

Images taken from: //