At that time the Arabs followed a form of idolatry, each tribe keeping its own idols at the Ka'bah, the cubical structure built originally by Nabi Ibrahim (Prophet Abraham) to celebrate the Glory of One Allah. But the monotheistic message of Nabi Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had long become forgotten among the general population of the Arabian peninsula. The young Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace and blessings be upon him), however was a believer in the One and Only Allah all of his life and never participated in the idolitrous practices of his tribe.
When forty years old, during one of the retreats which he made habitually in a cave on top of a mountain outside Makkah, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace be upon him) first saw the archangel Jibreel (Gabriel, peace be upon him) who revealed the Word of Allah to him, the Holy Qur'an, and announced that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. For the next thriteen years he preached the Word of Allah to the Mekkans, inviting them to abandon idolatry and eccept the religion of Oneness. A few accepted his call but most Mekkans, especially those of his own tribe, opposed him violently, seeing in the new religion a grave danger to their economic as well as social domination based upon thier control of the Ka'bah. But the Holy and Last Messenger continued to call the people to Islam and gradually a larger number of men and women began to accept the faith and submit themselves to its teachings. As a result, persecution of Muslims increased until Rasool Allah (The Holy and Last Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him) was forced to send some of his companions to Abyssinia where they were protected by the Christian King.
The Makkan period was also one of intense spiritual experience for Rasool Allah (peace be upon him) and the noble companions who formed the nucleus of the new religios community which was soon to spread worldwide. It was during this period that Allah (Glorified be His Splendour) ordered the direction of prayers to be changed from Jerusalem to Makkah. To this day Jerusalem remains along with Makkah and Madinah one of the Holiest cities of Islam.
In 622 A.D. Rasool Allah
(peace be upon him) was ordered by Allah to migrate to Yathrib, a city
north of Makkah. He followed the Divine Command and left with his followers
for that city which henceforth was known as "The City of the Prophet"
(Madinat al-Nabi) or simply Madinah.
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