From Islam's earliest times, Muslims have tried to bring order into the narrow picture of the historical development of humanity offered them by their religious view by marking the critical points of history, to delimit historical epochs and divide that development into periods. This chapter explains the word al-Jahiliyya as 'time of barbarism' because Muhammed wanted to contrast the Islam that he preached with barbarism. The periods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the three epochs which are differentiated as phases in the development of the history of the world, or rather of religions. The whole of the pagan, pre-Islamic time is al-Jahiliyya. Between these two periods there is the Nubuwwa, that is the time of Muhammed's appearance as prophet and of his missionary work. Following the general Muslim explanation tended to think of the 'Jahiliyya', in contrast to 'Islam', as 'the time of ignorance'.