Arabian Jews claimed that when Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon (Bukht Nassar) destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BCE, the Jews scattered throughout the world, and it was at this time that several of their tribes settled in north Arabia, notably in the Wadi Qura, Tayma, and in and around Yathrib (al-Madina).
Later some of the Babylonian Jews freed by Cyrus returned to Judea to renew Judaic life and rebuild their sacred Temple. Most of the Jews stayed behind in Babylonia and became important traders and contributed to the so-called "Silk Route" to the Far East from the fifth century B.C.E. going through the Arabian trade road of east Arabia down to Aden and navigating from there towards china
Christianity in Arabia In the south: through Ethiopia An Egyptian monk Faymiyyun The story of Njran and Ethiopian help Abraha’s attack on the Ka’ba In the north: Ghassanid and the Lakhmid
The Christians of Arabia According to Ibn Ishaq and other sources, Christianity was said to have originally come to Najran in southern Arabia (the Yemen) through the preaching of ascetic monks, notably Faymiyyun and his disciple Salih. The following is the legendary story of this monk: Faymiyyun was captured by the Arabs and sold as a slave in Najran, where it did not take him long to convert his master to Christianity. Faymiyyun’s reputation as a healer and a man who could not be killed by snake-bite, soon led to the conversion of the ruler of Najran (Abdullah b. Thamir) and most of his people
Malkite Christianity Not so much is known about this early missions but it is known to us that Emperor Constantine in 356 CE sent a mission to south Arabia led by Theophilus Indus. The motive of this mission was most probably political, however, Theophilus succeeded to build a church at Aden the famous harbour state. He also built another two churches in the district of the Humyarites. Najran became Christian a bit later by the above mentioned story of Faymiyun
Jews fighting Christian in Yemen With the crowning of the Humayrite king Dhu Nuwas (ruled between 517-525) and who was a conservative fanatic Jew and psychologically unstable, violence broke out between Christian and Jews. Dhu Nuwas announced his anger against all Christian in his kingdom and massacred many Christians and turned also towards Christian of Najran. Christian of Najran were monphysite who were protected by the monophysite Abyssinian Christian Emperor across the sea.
Abraha took this chance to make an important expedition to Mecca in which he probably came with his army riding an elephant. This story is known to the Arab historian as the year of the elephant and identified with 570 AD, the year of the birth of the prophet Muhammad. According to different inscription Abraha died in the year 553 and whether he really attacked Mecca is not clearly documented.
Who is Ibn Ishaq? Born in Madina 704 CE, (d. 767CE) from a slave family of ‘Ayn al-Tamr in Iraq His father Ishaq Ibn Yassar was a collector of Hadith Studied in Egypt and finally settled in Baghdad
The Sira of MuhammadSira became a type of literature which most historians used when writing about Muhammad. In itself also became the guiding line for writing history through a transmitted report which has to come from at least two sources.
Description of the Sira Describing the situation of the Arabs on the time of the advent of Islam Giving an account of a number of individuals who were seeking the right religion before the mission of Muhammad Giving an count of the early life of Muhammad, his first marriage and early mission in Mecca
The difficulties with the Maccians and the first immigration to Ethiopia The period of Madina: the encounter with the Jews and the pact of Madina The starting of war with Mecca The conflict with the Jews The war against the Jews The conflict with the Christians and the Najran community The victory of the Muslim, entering Mecca and the death of Muhammad
The search for a new religion The story of Salman, Zayd Ibn ‘Amr, Warqa Ibn Nufal
The story of Muhammad Messianic concept and infallibility: annunciation of his birth (to his mother and to some Jewish rabbis), prophecies from the Bible The meeting with Bahira The sign of last prophet
Muhammad’s mission The seclusion of Hira’ Warqa Ibn Nufal the cousin of Khadija and Muhammad
Muhammad and Ethiopian Christians Postive experience: Christian from Ethiopia come to know about Islam. They cried when they heard the Qur’an
Judaism in Madina and Mecca The pact of Madina: this agreement demonstrates the number of Jewish tribes in Madina, although Benu Qurayza and Benu Qayqna’ are the two famous and authoritative rich tribes, it seems that there were also many other small Jewish tribes
The beginning of the conflict with the Jews Jews challenging Muhammad’s knowledge: they said to Quraysh to ask him three questions To tell the story of young men who disappeared To tell the story of a man who travelled all over the world (al-Khider) To give the truth about the soul The problem of Rajm stoning
Who is Abraham: Christian, Jews ora Muslim Then the Jewish rabbis disputed with the Christians of Najran saying, Abraham was no other than a Jew. And the Christians from Najran said, Abraham was no other than a Christian’.
Then Allah revealed the verse, Why do you quarrel about Abraham, when the Torah and the gospel were not sent down until after his time. You have disputed about things you know , why then do you dispute about things you know not? Allah knoweth, but you know not. Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian. He was an orthodox Muslim, and he was no idolater.
The changing of the Qibla Muhammad! What has turned you away from the qibla you used to face? You allege that you follow the religion of Abraham; return, then, to the qibla of the religion of Abraham, But they slyly intended thus to turn him away from his religion. Then Allah revealed the words: Foolish men say "What hath turned them away from the qibla to which they prayed?" Reply, "Allahs is the east and the west, He leads whom He will to the straight path." And Allah said, Turn thy face to the holy mosque [the Kaba at Mecca ; and wherever you are, turn thy face to that.
A deputation of Christians from Najran, consisting of sixty riders, arrived on a visit tothe apostle; among them were fourteen of their most respected men, three of whomwere entrusted with the management of their affairs. The leader of the people, thechief councillor whose advice they always followed, was Abdul-Masih. Theiradministrator was al-Ayham. Their bishop, scholar, religious leader and master oftheir schools, was Abu Haritha, who was respected among them and a renownedstudent with an extensive knowledge of their religion; the Christian princes ofByzantium had honoured him with gifts of goods and servants, built churches for him,and venerated him for his learning and religious zeal. On the way to visit the apostle,
Abu Haritha said to his brother, This is the prophet whom we were expecting. His brother rejoined, Then what hinders you from acknowledging him? Abu Haritha replied, Those who have paid us respect, given us titles and shown us favours, are opposed to him; if I acknowledge him, they will deprive us of all we enjoy.
Divine worship of Jesus Then a Christian asked Muhammad, Do you want to worship Him as we worship Jesus, son of Mary? The apostle replied, Allah forbid that I should worship anyone besides Him, or command any other besides Him to be worshipped. Allah has not sent me to do that."