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            Islamic civilization has been the last great world civilization to appear to date. The fundamental ideas and values of Islam have their roots in Muhammad's recitation of the Qur"an from the city of Mecca. Despite the simplicity of this single event, Islam spread far beyond its Arabian beginnings. As a result of the Arab conquests of the seventh century, many people were attracted to the unity of this Islamic society. The rise of Islam as an international tradition of religious, political, and social principles and institutions is one of the greatest revelations of all time.
             In the fifth century C.E. a merchant aristocrat called Muhammad from Mecca claimed to have received a divine prophecy from God's messenger, Angel Gabriel. This prophecy is known as the Qu"ran. Mecca was a thriving commercial town that was a pilgrimage site where Ka"ba stood and was the center of the caravan trade. Mecca also held the origins of Islam. Muhammad was motivated to begin this new religious tradition because he saw what materialism and idolatry was doing to the world. After Muhammad's proclamation of God's last call to the people, him and his followers fled to Medina in 622 due to the religious persecutions they had received. This flight is known as the hegira, which is also the beginning of the Islamic calendar. .
             In Medina, the organization of this new religious tradition began to develop. Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam, defined his followers as being Muslim, which is being submissive to God's will. Their beliefs were held in the Five Pillars of Islam: absolute obedience to one God, five daily prayers facing Mecca, charity, fasting during Ramadan, and a pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims were also to abstain from pork and alcohol and to have allegiance to their Islamic community. The message of the Qur"an was that the way to paradise lay in gratitude to God for forgiveness and guidance, worship of false gods would not be tolerated, and that immorality and injustice to the weak was wrong.

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