(Mahomet; Mahomed; Moham[m]ed; 570632). Founder of Islam*; b. Mecca, Arab.; acc. to tradition, a caravan conductor; m. a rich widow merchant 595; engaged in religious contemplation; moved by alleged divine call, began reform movement in Mecca ca. 610; first taught openly ca. 613; opposed by Meccan leaders; fled 622 to Yathrib, later called Medina (the City, i. e., of the prophet); this flight, called Hegira (from Arab. hijrah, flight), came to be regarded as the beginning of the Muhammadan era; Muhammad organized a military force; gained control of Mecca 628630, which became the religious capital of Islam, with Medina the pol. capital. See also abu-Bakr; World Community of Al-Islam, The.
W. M. Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Stateaman (London, 1961).
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