It is believed that the Jews introduced the culture of the date-palm into the peninsula. They formed the artisan class, and many of them rose to wealth and power as gold and silversmiths and as manufacturers of arms. Their religion, to which they clung to with great devotion through every trial, was another factor which raised them above the natives, who worshipped the heavenly hosts and who were prey to every desert superstition. The Arabs wondered at the facility with which the Jews could read and write and their respect for the queer people of the Book was almost a fear.”Novelist” writes the biographer of Mohammed’s attitude was if not normal, at any rate, was common among the pagans of Arabia who had come in contact with Jews and Christians,
The founder of Mohammedanism was born in Mecca in 570 when Arabia was suffering mostly from its ignorance and disunity. His family boasted of a noble lineage, but materially it had evidently seen its best days. On the early death of Mohammad’s father and mother, the young orphan was cast upon the world with nothing but a sturdy constitution which enabled him to bear his many privations. All his life he was prey to melancholy and given to strange fits. He often alarmed his intimates when his trance rendered him virtually unconscious and left him thoroughly exhausted.
He had very little education and could not read or write. But he has seldom been surpassed as a man of practical affairs. Quickness substituted for learning and organizing genius for genuine spiritual fervor. As a camel-driver, he traveled considerably and was able to assimilate scraps of information which intrigued him. He was at the mercy of circumstances, however, he learned nothing well. The biblical phraseology which he gleaned from the Jews and Christians was fragmentary and inaccurate. almost to the end of his life, he did not distinguish between the sister of Moses and the mother of Jesus. Naturally, he imbibed many of the superstitions of his day and trusted in charms and incantations to drive away evil. Until the prime of his life, he lived from hand to mouth. His enemies never forgot his humble beginnings. One stated that he was a ” palm sprung from a dung-hill.” Then suddenly his privations ended.