Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, inspired the Arabs
to flare out for centuries of splendour - the climax of which was the
Islamic empire of the 9th century.
While European learning declined sharply
after the Barbarian invasion, Islamic civilization preserved and enhanced
the knowledge of antiquity.
The strength of Islam lay in its insistence of the equality before God of all believers, whatever their color, origin or status and the new religion spread until it became the second largest religious community in the world.