GeographyThe Arabian Peninsula was a desert land thatlacked water sources. The people who lived inthe peninsula were nomads, people whomoved constantly to find water and food fortheir animals because of the hostilesurroundings.As a result of the harsh surroundings, Arabsorganized themselves into tribes to help oneanother. Each tribe was ruled by a sheikh, whowas chosen from one of the leading families bya council of elders. The tribes wereindependent, but still connected to oneanother.
BackgroundThe Arabs lived as farmers and sheepherders on the oases and rain-fed areas ofthe Arabian Peninsula. After the camel was domesticated (around 100 BCE)the Arabs were able to populate more of the desert. They developed andexpanded caravan trades during this time period. They moved goods from theIndian Ocean to the Mediterranean Ocean, where the Silk Road ended. MostArabs were polytheistic, although they traced their ancestors to Abraham andhis son Ishmael, who they believed built Makkah (Mecca), a house of worshipwhose cornerstone was a sacred stone called the Black Stone. The Arabs recognized a supreme god named Allah, but also believed in tribal gods. The Arabian Peninsula took on new importance when political disorder in Mesopotamia and Egypt disrupted trade and travel. The Arabian trade route through Makkah to Yemen was a safer route, and the Arabians prospered.
Muhammad• Muhammad was born to a merchant family in Makkah in 570 CE. His parents died when he was 5 years old.• When he grew up he became a caravan manager and married Khadija, a rich widow.• Muhammad was troubled by the gap between the greedy and rich trading elites in the city and the honesty and generosity of most Makkans.• Like Buddha, he went into the mountains to meditate on the good and bad in people.• During his meditations, Muslims believe Muhammad received revelations from God. According to Islamic teachings, the angel Gabriel visited Muhammad• Muhammad believed God had revealed himself to Moses and Jesus, validating Jewish and Christian traditions• Muhammad believed he was receiving Allah’s final revelations
Muhammad• After receiving the revelations from the Angel, Muhammad returned home and reflected on his experience.• His wife became the first convert to Islam, after encouraging Muhammad to follow Gabriel’s message.• Muhammad set out to convince the people of Makkah of the truth of the revelations.• Makkans did not accept his teachings or his belief that he was a prophet; after three years he had only 30 followers• He left Makkah and moved north to Madina (Medina). The journey of Muhammad and his followers to Medina is known as the Hijrah. The journey happened in 622 CE, which became year 1 of the official calendar of Islam• Muhammad won support from followers in Medina and from Arabs in the desert, especially the Bedouins.
Teachings of Muhammad• Muslims saw NO separation between political and religious authority.• Submission to the will of god meant submission to the prophet Muhammad• Muhammad became both a religious and political leader; he was a good military leader• In 630 CE, Muhammad returned to Makkah with a force of 10,000 men. The city surrendered and most of the townspeople converted to Islam• After a visit to Kabba (the house of worship), Muhammad declared it a sacred shrine of Islam• Muhammad died two years after conquering Makkah• All Muslims are encouraged to make a pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in their lifetimes. This pilgrimage is called the Hajj.
Teachings of MuhammadThe Teachings of Muhammad: After receiving Allah’s revelations, the Muslims developed• Islam is monotheistic the Quran (Koran) which is the holy• Allah is all-powerful book Islam.• Islam emphasizes salvation and hope for an afterlife (those who wish for life The Quran contains the ethical after death must submit themselves to guidelines and laws by which the the will of Allah followers of Allah are to live. Those• Muhammad is considered a who practice the religion of Islam are prophet, similar to Moses; a man like called Muslims. other men• They do not believe that Jesus was divine (from god), instead they see him as a prophet• Islam stresses the need to obey the will of Allah• Muslims must practice acts of worship known as the Five Pillars of Islam• Islam is not just a religion, it is a way of life
Five Pillars of Islam After Muhammad’s death, Muslim scholars developed a law code known as Shari’ah. It provides believers with a set of laws to regulate their daily lives.
Arab Empire• Muhammad left no male successor, so his followers chose Muhammad’s father-in-law, Abu Bakr, to be their leader. He was named a caliph, or a successor to Muhammad in 632 CE.• Under Bakr’s leadership, the Islamic movement grew rapidly.• The Muslims believed defensive warfare known as jihad could be used to expand Islam with the help of the military.• By 636 CE, the Muslim army defeated the Byzantine army; four years later they took the Byzantine province of Syria.• By 642 CE, Egypt and most of Northern Africa was controlled by the Arab empire.• The Arabs defeated the entire Persian army by 650 CE.
Arab Rule & the UmayyadsThe Arab empire was ruled by caliphs, who were considered the successors toMuhammad. After Abu Bakr’s death, there were no clear successors, and thefirst two caliph’s were assassinated. In 656 CE, Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-lawwas chosen to be caliph, but he was assassinated in 661 CE.The Arabs ruled their empire like the Romans. They allowed some territories tohave local rule, and were tolerant of other religions. If a territory or the peoplein it chose not to convert, they were required to by loyal to Muslim rule andpay taxes.In 661, the generalMu’awiyah becamecaliph. He made thecaliph hereditary andestablished theUmayyad dynasty. Hemoved the capital ofthe empire toDamascus, in Syria.
Muslim ExpansionThe Umayyad’s armies conquered the Berbers of Northern Africa and thencrossed the Strait of Gibraltar and conquered southern Spain around 710 CE.Cordoba became the Muslim center of Spain.In 732, Arab forces were defeated at the Battle of Tours in France, whichstopped the Arab expansion into Europe.The Muslim army also tried to defeat the Byzantine empire inConstantinople, but their fleet was destroyed. This stopped Muslimexpansion into eastern Europe.
Split in Islam Internal struggles threatened the Arab empire’s stability. Many non-Arab Muslims were upset over favoritism shown to Arabs. A revolt occurred in present-day Iraq, led by Hussein, who was Muhammad’s grandson. Hussein died fighting the Umayyad soldiers.The Shiite Muslims accept only descendants ofAli (Muhammad’s son-in-law) as the true rulers of This led to a split of IslamIslam. The Sunni Muslims accepted Umayyads as into two groups, the Shiiterulers; the Sunnis are a majority in the Muslim and the Sunni.world, but Iraq and Iran are generally led byShiites.
Abbasid DynastyIn 750, Abu al-Abbas, a descendant of Muhammad’s uncle, overthrew theUmayyad dynasty and set up the Abbasid Dynasty.In 762, the Abbasids built a new capital in Baghdad, on the Tigris River (modernday Iraq).Persian influence was strong in Abbasid empire. Judges, Merchants andgovernment officials were heroes instead of warriors.All Muslims (regardless of ethnic background) were allowed to hold civil andmilitary positions, and were allowed to intermarry with conquered peoples.Gold age of Caliphate came under Harun al-Rashid, who was known for charityand his support of artists and writers. It was a period of growth and prosperityfor Arab empire.The Abbasids started a council headed by a prime minister, or vizier, who advisedthe caliph.The dynasty declined when there were issues with succession to the caliphate andfinancial corruption.
Successors to Arab EmpireThe Seljuk Turks: strong army created by theFatimid dynasty in Egypt. They were fromcentral Asia, successful under Abbasidcaliphate.1055 - Turks captured Baghdad, leader namedhimself Sultan.1071 – Sultan conquered Byzantine empire. The Mongols:The Crusades: From China, Genghis Khan beganByzantine emperor asked for help with Seljuk in Northern China.Turks. Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad1187 Saladin invaded Jerusalem. brought to an end. • Series of Holy Wars in which European Christians tried to retake the Holy Land Kublai Kahn destroyed of Jerusalem (1099-1261) everything, even Mosques • Pope offered salvation to any Christian (Muslims place of worship) fighting in Crusades Mongols converted to Islam.