The Library of Original Sources, Vol 4


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Mohammed and the Qur’an

Mohammed was born at Mecca in Arabia, 570 A. D., of the powerful tribe of the Koreish. In early life he was a camel driver noted for his faithfulness, and while acting as business manager of the wealthy widow Khadijah for a year, won her love and they were married in Mohammed’s twenty-sixth year.

The religion of the Arabs was at this time mostly a degraded fetischism, but Mohammed was accustomed to spend long periods on Mt. Hira in fasting and prayer. About this time he began to see visions, and to suffer attacks of convulsions. We believe these visions and convulsions to have unquestionably been due to his own weakness, long fasts and over-exertion: the ascetics of the desert of Egypt, and, in fact, all such ascetics have been subject to similar delusions, while even over-worked bicycle racers today have fancies not unlike them in real nature. Mohammed thought the Angel Gabriel revealed to him in succession some of the earliest chapters of the Koran, and began preaching, first for three years in secret, then nine years in public, but with few converts.

In 620 A. D. he converted six men of the town of Yatreb, and two years later the whole town swore allegiance to the new faith. His followers at Mecca emigrated to Yatreb and later he escaped from Mecca and joined them. Henceforth Yatreb was called Medina (City of the Prophet). War arose between the Koreish and Medina. Mohammed was at first successful, then defeated, and glad to sign a trucethat was soon broken by the Koreish. He thereupon marched against them with ten thousand men and they surrendered without a battle.

His faith spread rapidly and at his death in 632 A. D. was the religion of Arabia and had begun to encroach on the Greek and Persian empires.

The results of Mohammedism have been greatly underestimated. In the century after Mohammed’s death it wrested Asia Minor, Africa, and Spain from Christianity, more than half of the civilized world, and established a civilization, the highest in the world during the dark ages. It brought the Arabian race to their highest development, raised the position of woman in the East, though it retained polygamy, was intensely monotheistic, and until the Turks gained control for the most part encouraged progress.

The most significant parts of the Koran (Qur’an) follow.


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Chicago: "Mohammed and the Qur’an," The Library of Original Sources, Vol 4 in The Library of Original Sources, ed. Oliver J. Thatcher (Milwaukee, Wisconsin: University Research Extension Co., 1907), 241. Original Sources, accessed December 3, 2022,

MLA: . "Mohammed and the Qur’an." The Library of Original Sources, Vol 4, in The Library of Original Sources, edited by Oliver J. Thatcher, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, University Research Extension Co., 1907, page 241. Original Sources. 3 Dec. 2022.

Harvard: , 'Mohammed and the Qur’an' in The Library of Original Sources, Vol 4. cited in 1907, The Library of Original Sources, ed. , University Research Extension Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, pp.241. Original Sources, retrieved 3 December 2022, from