• The birthplace of Islam.
• The largest peninsula in the world.
• It is a hilly, arid land dotted with occasional oasis or fertile
areas with enough water to support trees and plants.
The Founding of Islam
• Muhammad was born in Mecca about 570 C.E.
• He married Khadija at the age of 25.
Muhammad returned to Mecca and captured the city. He went directly
There is but one
God, and Allah is
Muhammad died in 632 C.E.. After, his death, his followers carried the
message of Islam in many directions.
Teaching of Islam
• The word Islam means “submission.”
• Islam prays slow or assembles at a mosque, the Muslim temple.
• An Imam leads the worshippers in prayer.
• Muslims rely on the Koran, their holy book, for guidance in all
matters. It is written in Arabic.
Five Pillars of Islam
Belief in one God
Praying 5 times a day
Fasting during Ramadan
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Between 622 and 732 C. E. Islam spread with amazing speed. Arabs
carried their religion to the people of Palestine and Syria and across
North Africa into Spain.
By 732 C.E. Muslim forces had crossed the Pyrenes Mountains and
advanced into France, until they were stopped by Charles Martel at
the Battle of Tours.
When Muhammad died, he left no heir to lead Islam. Abu Bakr, a
friend of Muhammad was elected caliph. A caliph means successor to
The Umayyad Dynasty
• In 661 C.E. a leading family of Mecca established the Umayyad
• The Umayyad made Damascus in Syria the capital of the Islamic
• Mecca remained as the spiritual center of Islam.
Problems appeared within the Islamic Empire. Some of the people
who have been absorbed into the empire began to assert their
independence. And at the same time, two competing branches
developed within Islam.
The two branches differed over who was the rightful successor to
The Shiites were
loyal to the
who traced his
family back to Ali-
soon in law.
In 750 C.E. violence erupted. A new dynasty overthrew the Umayyads.
The Abbasids Dynasty
The early Abbasid rulers were strong leaders. They build a splendid
new capital in Baghdad.
Around the year 700 under Harun Al-Rashid, the Islamic Empire
enjoyed the Golden Age. Later, Abbasid rulers left the rule of the
government to corrupt officials; and after 100 C.E., the empire
The Seljuk Turks invaded the Islamic Empire. Although they were
converted to Islam, their traditions differed from those of the Arabs.
In 1258, the Mongols destroy Baghdad and ended the Abbasid’s rule.
Eventually, the Ottoman Turks reunited Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Arabia
into an Islamic State that lasted until 1918.
The Muslim set up a system of medical training which included
qualifying exams for Doctors and Pharmacists. Arab Doctors informed
the world about their scientific discoveries by publishing their findings.
Poets held an honored place in the world. Romantic themes often
Muslim used the magnetic needle, which was invented by the Chinese,
to produced their own version of the Mariner’s Compass.
Cities and commerce prospered the Islamic world at a time when
people in Western Europe lived on small isolated manors. The Islamic
empire, from its center in the Middle East, headed the trade routes of
Islam brought new life to many fields of learning. Muhammad taught
that the “ink of the scholar is holier that the blood of the martyr.”
Encouraged by his idea, scholars flocked to the center of learning that
grew up in the cities of the Islamic Empire.
Outside the Mosque, architects designed slender towers called
Minarets, from which the people were called to pray.
Muslim mathematicians studied the works of ancient scholars such as
Euclid. They also adopted the decimal system and system of numerals
from India. In fact the word Algebra is based on Arabic term.