The Facts on Islam (Harvest House, rev. 1998), p. 8
How did Islam begin?
Islam began with the supernatural visions and revelations that Muhammad claimed he received from Allah through the angel Gabriel beginning in 610 A.D. Because Muhammad was uneducated and could neither read nor write, these revelations were first memorized and then later written down by his followers. The authoritative Cambridge History of Islam discusses these revelations by noting that, “Either in the course of the visions or shortly afterwards, Muhammad began to receive ‘messages’ or ‘revelations’ from God…. He believed that he could easily distinguish between his own thinking and these revelations.… Muhammad continued to receive the messages at intervals until his death.”*
In addition to the revelations, the personality of Muhammad played an important role in the success of Islam. His character was both complex and contradictory. Sir Norman Anderson… describes the temperament of Muhammad: “the adult Muhammad soon showed signs of a markedly religious disposition. He would retire to caves for seclusion and meditation; he frequently practiced fasting; and he was prone to [revelationary] dreams…. He was generous, resolute, genial and astute: a shrewd judge and a born leader of men. He could, however, be cruel and vindictive to his enemies: he could stoop to assassination; and he was undeniably sensual.”*…
In conclusion, Islam began as a consequence of supernatural revelations received by Muhammad. Whatever Islam has accomplished historically, whatever it is today, it results largely from these supernatural revelations received by Muhammad some 1,400 years ago.
*For documentation, see The Facts on Islam.