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The hot, dry, Arabian Peninsula, an area about half the size of the United States, offered little to attract outsiders; it was simply a place for goods, carried by camels on caravans, to pass through on their way between Africa, Europe, and Asia.Arabia was a tribal society, divided between the nomadic Bedouins (BED-oo-unz) of the desert and the settled peoples of the coastal areas.His role as a conqueror is more clear: under his leadership, the Muslim Arabs established the foundations of an empire that would soon rule much of the world.At the time of Muhammad's birth, few would have suspected that Arabia would soon become the focal point of a great religion and empire.Because the command had come from on High, he ordered them all to assemble together and to unite in faith.Abandoning the reverence of vain things, they turned toward the living God, who had appeared to their father- Abraham.

Most Muslims view the collection of Bukhari to be the most authentic of these early efforts.The latter, according to the traditions of the Arabs, had been hurled to Earth by a god known as Allah.In addition to Allah were some 300 other gods and goddesses, whose statues filled the Kaaba; yet Allah was supreme, like the God worshiped by Jews and Christians.He is often regarded as the founder of Islam, or the Muslim religion, and as the author of its holy book, the Koran.Muslims, however, regard Muhammad as the last in a long line of prophets who brought the truth of Allah, or God, and in their view he did not write the Koran; rather, he received it from Allah.

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