Mondern Mecca by Night

Mondern Mecca by Night


Origins & History

The Arabic word Islam means “submission to the will of God”. Muslims believe that the fullest and final expression of God’s will was revealed to Muhammad (570-632 CE). Born in Mecca (now in Saudi Arabia), Muhammad began to receive revelations from God in 610. He attracted so many followers that by 622 he was perceived as a threat by the local rulers, and fled with his followers to Medina. This flight is known as the Hijrah and marks Year 1 of the Islamic Calendar (2007 CE = 1428 AH). But a few years later, Muhammad and his followers returned to Mecca and took control of the city; Muhammad led the Muslim community until his death in 632.

In due course Islam spread widely through North Africa and the Middle East, becoming a thriving culture during the Dark Ages of Christian Europe. For some centuries southern Spain was under Islamic rule. Today there are estimated to be more than 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, with more than 100 million Muslims in each of Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

Significant numbers of Muslims began to arrive in the UK during the nineteenth century, and Britain’s first known mosque was open in Cardiff in 1860. These numbers were greatly increased in the late 20th century by immigration mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh. 1.6 million UK residents identified themselves as Muslims in the 2001 census, of which 22,000 lived in Wales.


The Chaplaincy to the University of Glamorgan provides the following information from its own researchers. Each page has been checked by the chaplaincy advisor from the relevant faith group. Within every major religion, there are differences of opinion between leaders, and between leaders and followers. We only aim to provide an overview.