The Rise of Islam And development of the Muslim Empires
• Beduins – nomadic herders who used camels to cross the desert in search of seasonal pasturelands and oasis towns – Mecca – market town at crossroads of two main caravan routes • Pilgrimage center – Arabs prayed to the Kaaba, the ancient shrine Muslims believe Abraham built, Kaaba also housed statues of local gods and goddesses
Muhammad• Born in Mecca ~570• Shepherd for the Bedouins• Caravanned across the desert, successful merchant• Married Khadija around 25• Visions at 40 – “Recite in the name of your God, the Creator, who created man from clots of blood”• Khadija encourages him, converts to Islam (which is Arabic for “submission”)• Muhammad devotes life to spreading Islam – Give up false gods and submit to Allah (Arabic word for God)
• People rejected Muhammad’s ideas – People worried about their business and the pilgrim trade• Afraid of being murdered, he left Mecca and traveled to Yathrib in 622 – Yathrib became Medina, meaning “city of the prophet” – 622 = turning point for Islam – becomes the first year on the Muslim calendar
• Medina welcomed him and many converted – Muhammad seen as a ruler and lawgiver – Thousands of Arabs convert and adopt Islam – Medina Muslims attack Meccan caravans and defeat them – Muhammad returned in triumph to Mecca in 630 and destroyed all the idols in the Kaaba – Works to unite the Arabs under Islam for next 2 years – Dies at 632
The Qur’an• Qur’an or Koran – sacred word of God as revealed to Muhammad – Final authority on all matters – Teaches about God – Provides guide to life – Emphasize honesty, generosity, and social justice – Harsh penalties for crimes like stealing and murder – Converts to Islam learn Arabic because they believe its original form is the direct unchangeable word of God – **shared language unites and binds Muslims
• Islam had no religious hierarchy or class of priests• Emphasize equality of all believers, regardless of race, sex, class, or wealth• So who is this going to appeal to?
Views of Others• Islam is God’s final and complete revelation• Jews and Christians are people of the book – spiritually superior to polytheistic idol worshipers• People of the Book enjoyed religious freedom in early Muslim societies
Five Pillars of Faith• 1. Declaration of Faith “There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of God”• 2. Pray 5 times a day, facing in the direction of Mecca• 3. Giving alms to the poor (charity)• 4. Fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan• 5. Taking a hajj to Mecca at least once during your lifetime
Islam Spreads• Caliph - Muslim ruler – directed religious and political affairs simultaneously• When Muhammad dies, a meeting is called to determine Muhammad’s successor – Ali – main candidate, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad • Passed over because he’s too young to assume such responsibility and power – Abu Bakr – caliph 632-634 • One of Muhammad’s earliest followers and closest friends • Well versed in genealogy of bedouin tribes
Abu Bakr• Didn’t receive any financial backing from Muslim community• Worked part time as a merchant while fulfilling his duties
Forces to be Reckoned With• Bedouin camel and horse cavalry band together and mount aggressive mobile offensives that overwhelm more traditional armies• Islam created common ground and unified many of the tribes into a unified state• Belief in Islam gave soldiers a feeling of certainty that they would reach paradise if they fell in a battle that carried the Arabs to victory
• Attacked Syria and Palestine, including Damascus and Jerusalem• Rapidly demolished Persian Empire – Many people in Mesopotamia welcomed reprieve from the Persian empire – Zoroastrians allowed to practice their faith but asked to pay a non-Muslim tax (same went to Christians and Jews)
•Swept across North Africa-Headed on up across Gibralter into Spain and ran forFrance-Battle of Tours – 732 -- Charles Martel gathers Germanictribes and defeats the Muslim charge -Halts Muslims advance into Western Europe
The Split• Divisions arise concerning rules of succession for the caliph• Sunni – caliph should be chosen by leaders of the Muslim community – Should be a pious Muslim – Caliph should be a leader, not a religious authority – Inspiration came from Muhammad’s example• Shiite – only true successors to the Prophet were descendants of Muhammad – Descendants of prophet were divinely inspired – Turn to Muhammad’s daughter and son-in-law Fatima and Ali
• Today – 90% of world is Sunni – Shiites are mainly in Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen • Shiite branch has split into several factions
Sufi• Muslim mystics – seek communion with Allah through meditation, fasting, and other rituals• Piety and miraculous powers• Spread Islam through missionary work
• Ali is appointed caliph but is assassinated in 661, his son is killed soon thereafter• Sunnis and Shiites battle for who will lead• Umayyad family sets up a • Grand Mosque of dynasty that rules the Umayyads, Damascus Islamic world until 750 – Damascus = capital – Atlantic to the Indus Valley
• Abbassids – take over after inviting Umayyad family to a banquet and killing all of them – Dominate until 1258 – End Arab dominance • Mawali (non-Arab Muslims) become more equal – Help make Islam a more universal religion – Move capital to Baghdad – Great urban expansion – Revival of Afro-Eurasian trading network • Trade with Tang and Song in• Abbasid Palace in China • Dhows – sailing vessels with Baghdad lateen sails
Islam• Plays a HUGE role in creating new, more intense international contacts• Trade of luxury products intensifies – Silk, spices, porcelain, etc• China, India, the Middle East, and the Byzantine Emperor, Europe and Africa• Examples of how trade influenced everyone – Arabs adopted the Indian numbering system • Europeans copied it from the Arabs (so the concept of 0 and 1-10 gets out) – Compass travels from China to the Middle East • Europe gets it from the Middle East • Same with China’s invention of paper
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