Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Lived from 570-632 A.D.
A great number of people in Asia and Africa and much of those in Turkey in Europe
profess the Mohammedan (Mo-ham'-me-dan) religion. They are called Mohammedans,
Mussulmans (Mus'-sul-mans) or Moslems; and the proper name for their religion is
"Islam," which means obedience, or submission.
The founder of this religion was a man named Mohammed (Mo-ham'-med), or Mahomet
(Ma-hom'-et). He was born in the year 570, in Mecca, a city of Arabia. His parents were
poor people, though, it is said, they were descended from Arabian princes. They died
when Mohammed was a child, and his uncle, a kind-hearted man named AbuTalib (A'-
bu-Ta-lib'), took him home and brought him up.
When the boy grew old enough he took care of his uncle's sheep and camels. Sometimes
he went on journeys with his uncle to different parts of Arabia, to help him in his
business as a trader. On these journeys Mohammed used to ride on a camel, and he soon
became a skillful camel-driver.
Mohammed was very faithful and honest in all his work. He always spoke the truth and
never broke a promise. "I have given my promise," he would say, "and I must keep it."
He became so well known in Mecca for being truthful and trustworthy that people gave
him the name of El Amin, which means "the truthful."
At this time he was only sixteen years of age; but the rich traders had so much confidence
in him that they gave him important business to attend to, and trusted him with large
sums of money. He often went with caravans to a port on the shore of the Red Sea, sixty-
five miles from Mecca, and sold there the goods carried by the camels. Then he guided
the long line of camels back to Mecca, and faithfully paid over to the owners of the goods
the money he had received.
Mohammed had no school education. He could neither read nor write. But he was not
ignorant. He knew well how to do the work intrusted to him, and was a first-rate man of
One day, when Mohammed was about twenty-five years old, he was walking through the
bazaar or market-place, of Mecca when he met the chief camel-driver of a wealthy
woman named Khadijah (Kha-di'-jah). This woman was a widow, who was carrying on