A desert peninsula in 6th century was the cross roads of the world, the bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. Arabia was a vacant wasteland of desert, rarely seeing any life besides that of the trade caravans. City states dominated the political life and the only form of centralized government was in chaos. This was Arabia in the 6th century, this even though Christian was to become the staging ground for the growth of the 2nd largest religion that exists today. This is where the "Prophet" Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca.
In 570 Muhammad was born, son of Abdullah who had died just a few short weeks before. Nobody knew that in 53 years a journey was to start that would change the world for thousands of year. After being born with out a father Muhammad was taken under the care of a foster mother who lived with him and another foster child in the desert for many years (Hamidullah, par. 10). After returning from the desert Muhammad made a journey to his father's tomb with his biological mother and his uncle, unfortunately on the return trip his mother was suddenly killed. Muhammad has so much pain in his life after his mother died that the soon coming death of his grandmother was almost to much to bear and he was sent to live with his generous by poor uncle at the age of 8 years old (Pickthall, par. 2). Muhammad was forced to find a job and help support his family, he began sheparding for neighbors and when he was 10 and old enough he accompanied his uncle on a caravan that he was leading through the desert and is considered possible that he helped him with his enterprise as well.
Many years' passes and Muhammad grew up to be a very well respected man, at the age of 25 he was considered honest and admirable in his work and disposition (Hamidullah, par. 12). With his reputation preceding him he was taken under the employment of a very wealthy widow, Khadijah, Muhammad was asked to take her good to Syria for sale on consignment. Upon his return to Mecca Khadijah was very, very pleased with the large amount of money that had been taken in and offered him her hand in marriage and he began his work for the poor (Hamidullah, par. 13).
In the city of Mecca the leaders' decided to help the well being of the poor by making an organization called "Hilf-al-Fudul" (Hamidullah, par. 13). Muhammad became very involved in this organization in Mecca. The world at this point was very Christian and Muhammad worked closely with many charities to help the poor.
The majority of people on Arabia were either Christian or Jewish, Muhammad began getting revelations at the age of 40 years old and believed that he saw and angel in "The Mountain of Light" a cave where he, and his father before him, would go to fast for the month of Ramadan (Pickthall, par. 6). Well in the cave he heard a voice forcefully tell him to read, this is what he read;
"Read: In the name of thy Lord who createth.
"Createth man from a clot.