The Rise and Spread of Islam

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Transcript The Rise and Spread of Islam

The Rise and Spread of Islam

Why Important???

  Islam spread quickly to become one of the world’s most popular religions – Remains so to this day Muslim merchants played a crucial role in trade and cultural diffusion

Geography ws/942/663946.JPG

    Origins: Arabian Peninsula Mostly desert Cities on coasts or near an oasis, thrived on trade – Mecca and Medina most important Bedouin tribes controlled caravan routes between cities – Nomadic, clans based on kinship

Pre-Islamic Arabia

     Polytheistic religion, animistic – Some Jewish and Christian influence Strong familial ties Polygamy – Some allowed women multiple husbands (polyandry) Women enjoyed more freedom than those among neighboring cultures (Byzantine Empire and Persians) – Many Bedouin tribes were matrilineal – Women not secluded or veiled Poetry main form of artistic expression – No written language among Bedouin tribes

Rise of Islam

  By 500’s, Arabia was fragmented – Rivalry among Bedouin – Christianity and Judaism increased in influence  Religious disunity Prophets began to call for unity among the Arabs – Believed a common religion was needed


    Born around 570 – Grew up with father’s relatives Educated to be a merchant – Moved to Mecca as an adolescent  Heavily influenced by monotheistic religion (Judaism and Christianity) 610: received revelation from Allah – Believed his revelation was the final word of god Foundations of new religion: Islam – Beliefs and teachings recorded in the Qur’an


 Teachings unpopular in Mecca at first – Fled to Medina  became skilled politician and spiritual leader – Islamic community became known as umma  Muhammad’s teaching quickly spread – Unified the people of Arabia

Teaching of Muhammad Tenets of Islam

 Muslim: follower of Islam  5 Pillars of Islam – Acceptance of Allah as one true god and Muhammad as his prophet – Prayer 5 times daily in direction of Mecca – Fasting during day-light hours of Ramadan – Charity for the less fortunate – Hajj- pilgrimage to Holy Land

Beliefs of Islam

  Islam: – Is monotheistic – promotes equality of all believers in the eyes of God – Encourages charity for the poor – Belief in judgment in the afterlife (paradise or hell) Islam was an appealing religion that spread quickly


  632: death of Muhammad – Uncertainty about leadership in Muslim community – Some renounced faith due to lack of leadership Caliph: political and religious successor of Muhammad – Some wanted Ali (Muhammad’s first cousin) to take over – Others felt Abu Bakr (Muhammad’s father-in-law) would be better

Umayyad Caliphate

  Abu Bakr of the Umayyad clan became caliph (from 632-634) – Began to standardize the Islamic faith, oversee compilation of the Qur’an, reassert Muslim authority among the Arabs – Temporary peace 656: Civil War erupted after assassination of the 3 rd caliph (Uthman) – Those who supported Umayya clan won (661) – Conflict created a major division among the Muslim community

Sunni-Shi’a Split

   Sunni Muslims supported the Umayyad clan – Believed the first 3 caliphs had been accurately chosen Shi’a (Shi’ite) Muslims supported Ali to be caliph – Believed the first 3 caliphs were unfairly chosen The Sunni-Shi’ite conflict still continues to this day.

Umayyad Caliphate

  632-750, Umayyad ruled over an Arab Empire – Capital in Damascus, Syria Major Features – Arabic as official language – Use of gold & silver coins as currency – Muslims enjoyed highest social position  Only pay taxes for charity & received share of wealth from caravans – Most people were dhimmi (non-Muslim) – paid the bulk of taxes – Very little attempt to convert non-Muslims – Est. major area of influence in Jerusalem

Umayyad Caliphate

 Gender/Family under Umayyad – Muhammad taught respect for women, saw marriage as important social institution  Denounced adultery, forbade female infanticide  Saw men & women as equals in eyes of Allah – Under Umayyad, men allowed 4 wives  Women allowed only 1 husband – Veiling not practiced – Women involved in various occupations (law, commerce, scholars)

Abbasid Caliphate

 750-1258   750: Umayyad overthrown during rebellion – Abbas took over and established the Abbasid Caliphate Capital at Baghdad  Abbasid was a “Golden Age” for Islam – Court-life, literature, learning

Abbasid Caliphate

   Increase in converts during the Abbasid – Missionary work to promote conversion Urban expansion – Baghdad became a cultural center and economic hub Trade boomed – Trade routes across the Sahara and throughout the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean – Use of lateen (triangular) sails on ships known as dhows – Extensive trade increased wealth  Reinvested or used to build Mosques, public buildings, religious schools, hospitals (Muslims were unsurpassed in their medical expertise at the time)

Arabian Dhow trade ship

Lateen (triangular) sails

Abbasid Caliphate

 Cities were filled with artisan and craft shops – Unskilled labor performed by slaves   Slavery was not a hereditary condition Non-Muslims, usually captives from Africa – Qur’an forbids enslavement of Muslims, Jews, Christians, or Zoroastrians

Islamic Law: Shari’a

 Over time, Muslim scholars developed an Islamic law code  Shari’a – Legal stability and common moral code  Followed to varying degrees

Islamic Learning

   Muslim scholars preserved classical works from the Greek and Hellenistic period Adopted the Indian Numeral system & spread it – Made advances in algebra and trigonometry Architecture became a form of artistic expression – Mosques with elaborate mosaics inside – Elaborate palaces for entertaining the elite

Dome of Rock- Jerusalem

Declining Position of Women

  During the Abbasid, the position of women began to decline – Harems very popular  Legends of harems with thousands of concubines and eunuchs – Veiling and seclusion became popular  Only slave women allowed to appear in public unescorted However, women did have some rights – Own property, right to divorce and remarry, right to testify in court, and the right to go on hajj

Decline of Abbasid Caliphate

   By mid-800’s Abbasid began to lose power – Internal unrest (Sunni-Shi’ite conflict) – Courtly excess became a financial drain – Sunni-Shi’ite conflict – Revolts by non-Muslims and Turkish slaves (Mamluks) Abbasid also faced outside pressures – Seljuk Turks (nomadic group) seized territory to create the Seljuk Sultanate – Crusaders – Mongol Invasion Abbasid eventually fell in 1258

Muslim Conquests under the Umayyad and Abbasid

  Muslims began to engage in campaigns against neighboring empires – To gain wealth and glorify their religion Seized territory from Byzantine Empire  Territorial gains in: Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Spain, Algeria, Morocco – Iberian Peninsula became a hub of leaning and culture within Europe

Spread of Islam

 Islam spread quickly – Aided by trade  Expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa, the Swahili Coast of East Africa, parts of Europe and Asia  More on this later!!!