According to Mohammed, the one true religion was revealed to five great prophets before him - Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. But each time their message was ignored and people chose to worship false gods instead. As the last and greatest prophet
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of the one and only God, it was his task to abolish all idolatry. For many years his mission seemed hopeless. As long as he
remained in Mecca, he made few converts and had to endure dangers and persecution. But when the city of Medina offered him sanctuary, his small band of followers rapidly multiplied. Mohammed now led his armies out to do battle in the desert, spreading
his religion at the point of the sword. This later part of his life, as told by Washington Irving, is as much about military conquest as
spiritual teaching. For us today, the consequences are still unfolding: reason to reflect on the
extraordinary career of one individual who joined conviction, resoluteness, courage and self-mastery in the pursuit of a religious vision.