Warning: the article contains high volume of truth and blasphemy. Risk of your bubble of illusion popping.
Islam is considered to be a monotheistic religion, so pure and divine, which has guided mankind to perfection through Muhammad and his kin (for Shias), Quran and natural signs. Allah, the omnipotent and omnipresent entity, has taught mankind of divine purity and rightousness. Islam is believed to be the ultimate universal version of a premordial faith that was revealed many times before through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Noah. Now, let’s talk about this.
Before emergence of Islam, religions of Arabia included polytheism, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroasterianism. Having polytheism as their dominant religion, people used to go to shrines to worship their 360 gods. One of these shrines was Kaaba. A cube in the middle of Mecca, believed to have been built by Abraham. Kaaba was the main shrine of worship which included 5 high gods. Hubal, Al-Lat, Al-Uza, Mannat which all were represented by idols, and Al-Lah which was not represented by any idol. Kaaba was in control of Quraysh, one of the wealthiest tribes of Mecca. People from all over Arabia used to go Mecca to worship the gods and offer gifts in the ceremoniam Hajj, making it the most lucrative business in barren Mecca. So up to here, we can see that pre-Islamic Arabia and post-Islamic Arabia are not much different in terms of Al-Lah or Allah, Kaaba and Hajj.
During the holy month of Ramadan (holy for pre-Islamic polytheists), people used to find solitude and pray to purge their souls, just like holy month of Ramadan now for Muslims. In 610 CE, polytheistic Muhammad who was more leaned towards worshiping Al-Lah as the prime god, had an epiphany and started reciting words. Muhammad had long worried about the situation of Arabia where tribes fought eachother over their differences and how outsiders inlcuding Jews, Christians and Persians had been considered as more civilized and sophisticated over their monotheistic beliefs. Believing the words he recited could save Arabia, he kept quiet for two years and shared the new words with his wife and cousin who all believed the words were revelations from Al-Lah. After two years, when he started preaching, poors who were fed up with Quraysh and other wealthy tribes’ dominance over the wealth and economy sided with him, believing that Al-Lah, the one all-powerful god, who didn’t have an idol in Kaaba and was more sophisticated than the idols, can save them.
Muhammad did not intend to invent a new religion, he was just bringing back the old faith in the one God. He did not need to teach people anything new. People had already believed that Al-Lah had created the world and there was a Judgment day and an afterlife of heaven and hell. He did not invent any new rituals or beliefs. He basically mould it out of paganism by saying that only Allah is the true god to unify the people of Arabia. Hajj, Namaaz, Ramadan, Allah, Judgement Day, and all other things had already existed before Islam. Lastly, Muhammad was a genius. Although schizophrenic, he was a smart businessman and a leader. He unified the Arabia, asserted his dominance and made a lucrative business. The whole Kaaba business was now under the control of Muhammad. I will write more thoroughly about this in another article.
To conclude, Islam is a pagan religion, so are Christianity and Judaism. They are all ideologies created by humans.