The religion of Islam originated in Mecca about 610 A.D. A native of Mecca, Muhammad, began to preach publicly, claiming that he had received revelations from God and that God had sent him to the Meccans to call them to worship Him and to warn them of the penalties which sooner or later fell upon the disobedient. A few of his fellow-citizens acknowledged him as prophet and performed special rites of worship along with him, but the majority of the Meccans, including the leading men of the city, rejected his message and made life difficult for Muhammad and his followers. In 622 a favourable opportunity presented itself for Muhammad to migrate to Medina, over two hundred miles to the north, along with seventy of his followers. He was here acknowledged as prophet by most of the inhabitants, and was also accepted as arbiter between warring factions whose strife had been making life in Medina unbearable. By his sagacity and statesmanship he built up his prestige and political power, so that by his death in 632 he was not merely undisputed ruler of Medina, Mecca and the surrounding territory, but was accepted as suzerain by many tribes throughout Arabia. Moreover, within ten years of his death the state which he created was able to meet in battle and defeat the armies of the two great empires of the Middle East, the Byzantine and Persian, and within a short time to overrun the latter completely. A hundred years after his death the empire of his successors extended from France to India.