Arabic, Arabs, and Islamic Timelines

W. Terry Varner
December 16, 2012

We live in perilous times when we consider the problems of sin, immorality, corruption, terrorism, especially the terrorism promoted by the Muslim or Islamic faith. It is of benefit for us to consider what is meant by Arabic, Arabs, and Islam.

Arabic is the first language of over 221 million people (National Geographic, July 2012, 60) and serves as the main language of millions in the Muslim world. In 1973 Arabic was tne sixth official language of the United Nations along with English, French, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese {Trinitarian Quarterly, October-December 2012, 22). Arabic is related to the family of Semitic language which includes Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, and the Ethiopian languages of Amharic and Tigrinya.

Arabs, Biblically and briefly, Arabs are the descendants of Ishmael, the son born to Abraham and Hagar, Sara's handmaid (Genesis 16:1-4, 15). Islam was born among the Arabian tribes who claim descent from Ishmael. It is an error to consider all Arabs are Muslims. Most Arabs are Muslims and Islam is the dominate faith among them. It is estimated that 10-15% are nominal Christians and Catholics. There are Arabs who are New Testament Christians. Today, an Arab is considered any person "whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic-speaking country, and who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic-speaking peoples" (Beirut institute 43).

Islamic Timeline. Moving fast-forward to the time of Mohammed, we establish the following timeline.

AD 570—This is the given date of the birth of Mohammed, who was orphaned at the age of six. In his mid-twenties, he married a wealthy business woman named Khadijah, who was a widow and 20 years his senior. She died after 15 years of marriage. Mohammed married a younger wife named, Aishah.

AD 610—At the age of 40 and in a cave outside his hometown of Mecca, Mohammed, a member of the Quraysh tribe, claims that Allah [god] appeared to him in a dream and spoke to him through the angel Gabriel. Gabriel said, "Recite thou in the Lord, who created man from clots of blood" (Koran, Sura 96). Genesis 2:7 states that God Jehovah created man from the dust of the ground. F9r the next 22 years, Mohammed claimed Allah gave him several revelations for recitation all of which he committed to memory.

AD 622—Mohammed and his followers, the Muslims, migrated from Mecca to Yathrib, which he renamed Medina. Historically, from this point, "Arab" and Muslim" are generally, if inaccurately, synonymous.

AD 630—Mohammed leaves Medina and conquers Mecca. Here he established the first religious dictatorship in the world. He decreed, by Allah's revelation, that all other gods are to be banned.

AD 632—Mohammed died. The Muslim Shiites claim that AH was to succeed Mohammed, since Ali was a blood relative. The Sunnites, which composed the council of the elderly, rejected Ali and preferred Abu Bakr as the first Muslim Caliph. Caliph means successor to the prophet. The terms Shiites and Sunnites are familiar to us from the struggle in present-day Iraq. They are still fighting as in AD 632.

AD 636—Muslims attacked and captured Jerusalem under the leadership of the Muslim Omar the Caliph. He entered the city of Jerusalem and captured it without bloodshed,

AD 642—Muslims conquered the nation of Egypt. At this time Egypt was consider Monophysite Christianity. Monophysite Christianity held the unity of the two natures of Jesus were one, rather than two distinct natures; i.e. fully human and fully divine. They destroyed the famous library of Alexandria and erected the first mosque in the continent of Africa at Cairo.

AD 655—Twenty-five years or so after Mohammed's death on June 8, AD 632, his revelations, which had been recited by memory to this time, were codified or written in what is now known as the Qur 'an or Koran. This is their sacred book.

AD 656—Ali, who was the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed and the first “Imam” of Shiah, moved the Muslim capital from Medina to Kufa.

AD 695—The Muslims built the Dome over the Rock in Jerusalem. The rock is where Abraham offered Isaac in Genesis 22.

Unfortunately, Christians and Muslims do not always mean the same thing when talking about God and Jesus. There is no reconciliation between Christianity and Islam. One of the other is false, or both are false, both cannot be true.