From their number arose a charismatic leader of brigands and cutthroats who proclaimed himself the infallible prophet of a religion of his own devising, centered on a book he himself had authored. When he was weak, he made treaties; when he was strong he broke them. When covetousness struck him – for his neighbors’ lands, herds, women, whatever – he would announce a new “revelation” from his god providing sanction for his crimes. Stealing, murdering, conquering, enslaving, and while he was at it, marrying a six-year-old, Mohammed propelled his tribe first to subdue their neighbors, and then, by the time of his death in AD 632, the western half of Arabia, from the Gulf of Aqaba to Yemen.
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