Born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib. He later worked mostly as a merchant, as well as a shepherd, and was first married at age 25. Being in the habit of periodically retreating to a cave in the surrounding mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer, he later reported that it was there, at age 40, that he was visited by Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" to Him is the only way acceptable to God, and that he himself was a prophet and messenger of God, in the same vein as other Islamic prophets.
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