A Prophet and His World
 The Arabian Peninsula was a crossroads of trade
between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Basin.
 Meant that any religious ideas developed there would
spread quickly to the rest of the world.
A Prophet and His World
 Muhammad and His Message
 Muhammad – Born into an important merchant family
around 570 CE.
 Became successful Merchant interacting with Jews and
Arab converts frequently.
 610 CE Muhammad had a spiritual transformation that
caused him to reject polytheism and affirm his faith in
one god who he called ALLAH.
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Said Allah would reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
Said he received instructions from the archangel Gabriel tell
instructing him to spread his faith to others.
A Prophet and His World
 650s – Revelations of Muhammad had been received
and voiced and written down by his followers.
 They were compiled in
 The Quran – Compilation of Muhammad’s teachings
which reveal a powerful, poetic message of faith and
understanding of Allah’s wishes for the world.
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Authoritative foundation for Muslim doctrine and social
organization.
 Hadith – Muhammad’s own sayings
 Sharia – Islamic Law
 Combined to help people better understand the Muslim faith.
A Prophet and His World
 Muhammad’s Migration to Medina
 Mecca elite became nervous when Muhammad began
preaching against excessive wealth and polytheism, and
preaching in favor of service to the poor and charity.
 Forced out of Mecca with his followers (the umma) to
Medina in 622 CE which marked the beginning of the
Islamic calendar.
 As his community increased, Muhammad began to be
recognized as the final prophet.
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He recognized Jesus as a prophet and acknowledged the
Jewish Yahweh and Christian God as the same god as Allah!
Islam in Arabia
 630 CE – Followers of Islam attacked and conquered
Mecca and forced inhabitants to adopt Islam.
 Built Mosques
 Established the Five Pillars of Islam
 Acknowledgement that there is one god (Allah) and
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Muhammad is his prophet.
Necessity of praying to Allah daily while facing Mecca
Observation of a month of prayer and fasting during
Ramadan
Almsgiving to the poor and destitute
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Islam in Arabia
 Jihad
 Some later followers of Islam took this on as an
additional sign of faithfulness.
 Jihad means “struggle” and is usually interpreted as a
personal spiritual and moral fight against evil and
unbelief.
 Sometimes extended into physical war (Modern
Terrorism???)
The Expansion of Islam
 Caliph – Deputies of Islam that follow Muhammad
after he died and served as the leaders of Islam.
 Expanded beyond Arabia into Byzantine and Persian
Empires and eventually into India, North Africa, and
Iran and Iraq.
The Expansion of Islam
 The Abbasid Dynasty
 Dynasty that took control of the caliphate and ruled
Islam from headquarters in Baghdad.
 Like the Persian, Roman, and Han empires they had an
excellent road system that allow for effective
communication and administration
 Fell to the Mongols in 1258 CE
Economy and Society of the Early
Islamic World
 Economy
 New crops grown throughout the region using new
methods
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Crop rotation, fertilization, and irrigation
Rice, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables (spinach, artichokes,
eggplants)
Increased food supplies lead to increased Urban growth.
 Lead to textile industries
 Paper production!
 Leads to increase in written materials and education
Economy
 The formation of a Hemispheric Trading Zone
 Innovations in road construction and maritime travel
aided Islam economy
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Used Triangular sail to travel quickly across the
Mediterranean
Complex banking system allowed for long-distance trade.
 Use of loans and checks.
Economy and Society
 The Changing Status of Women
 Women had some Freedoms
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Inherit property, divorce husbands, engage in business
 However they were still subordinate to men.
 Male family members in charge of women’s social and sexual
lives
 Men could have as many as 4 wives
 Veiling of Women and household seclusion
 Comes from Mesopotamian and Persian traditions
 As Islam spread to other regions it picked up more patriarchal
traditions and different interpretations of the Quran which
lead to more restrictions in women’s rights.
Islamic Values and Cultural
Exchanges
 The Arabic language holds a privileged position as the
only true language of the Quran.
 Nevertheless, as Muslim missionaries spread the word
of Islam through the teachings of the Quran.
 They allowed many pre-Islamic traditions to be retained
by the affected cultures.
The Formation of an Islamic
Cultural Tradition
 Sharia – Body of civil and criminal law in Islam
 Madrassas – Schools that promoted unity in education
and understanding of Muslim law and theology.
 As Islam spread to other regions many of those regions
maintained hold of own cultural traditions and
blended them with Muslim traditions.
Islamic Values and Cultural
Traditions
 Islam and Cultural Traditions of Persia, India, and
Greece
 Just as these cultures adopted Muslim ideas, so too did
the Muslims adopt the ideas of these cultures.
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India - Algebra, trigonometry, and geometry were developed
by Muslims using Hindi numerals.
Greece – Medicine and science based on Greek study of
anatomy and physiology.