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17. Understanding Islam

2.3. The Meccan Years

During these early years, the main message of Islam was essentially fear Allah and do good. There was little to no distinctively Islamic doctrine at this time, and in fact Mohammed’s beliefs were not dissimilar to the Judaeo-Christian beliefs of the area. While he did not harbour positive attitudes towards non-Muslims, neither was he hostile to them. He preached equality between Muslims (at least males). This message however did not appeal to Meccan society, firstly because Meccan tribes were on the whole rich and powerful and were very unwilling to equate themselves with those of lower status (including slaves, visiting traders and so on), and secondly because they made a tidy profit from hosting pilgrims who journeyed to Mecca.

However, despite the lack of acceptance of his message, Mohammed still enjoyed the protection of his clan thanks to the influence of his uncle, and so lived in Mecca in relative peace, gathering a small number of adherents to his new religion there (mainly slaves or poorer Arabs, with a few from the richer tribes).

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