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Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christians and Jews.Tradition places the year of Muhammad's birth as corresponding with the Year of the Elephant, which is named after the failed destruction of Mecca that year by the Abraha, Yemen's king, who supplemented his army with elephants.Nomadic survival also depended on raiding caravans or oases; nomads did not view this as a crime.In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones, springs and wells.To escape persecution, he sent some followers to Abyssinia before he and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622.This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri Calendar.Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between traditions touching legal matters and purely historical events.In the legal group, traditions could have been subject to invention while historic events, aside from exceptional cases, may have been only subject to "tendential shaping".

Three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters: Allāt, Manāt and al-'Uzzá.

In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina.

In December 629, after eight years of intermittent wars with Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Mecca.

According to Islamic tradition, soon after birth he was sent to live with a Bedouin family in the desert, as desert life was considered healthier for infants; some western scholars reject this tradition's historicity.

Muhammad stayed with his foster-mother, Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, and her husband until he was two years old.

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