The Arab Empire of the Umayyads - Mrs. Booth`s Social Studies

The Arab Empire of the
Mrs. Booth
• Unlike the Umayyad Empire, The Abbasid
• A) practiced absolutism
• B) admitted Mawali as full members of the
Islamic community
• C) freed all slaves
• D) persecuted the Shi’a
• E) imposed austerity on the caliph
Muhammad Dies
• 632 CE- Muhammad dies
• Muslim community still hold
• Old adversaries, Umayyad
seize leadership of the Muslim
• Begin conquests throughout
Middle East and North Africa
Arab Conquest
• Muslim military conquests mount beyond the
• The courage, military prowess, and religious zeal
of the warriors of Islam and the weaknesses of
the empires that border Arabia, resulted in
stunning conquests in Mesopotamia, north
Africa, and Persia
• Empire built from this conquest is Arab rather
than Islamic because most was ruled by small
Arab warrior elite controlled by the Umayyad
Division in Islamic Community
• Muhammad had not appointed a successor
before his death in 632
• He had not even established a procedure by
which to appoint/elect/pass leadership.
• Opinion in Muslim community is deeply divided
as to who shall lead next
• The leader who would succeed him would be
known as the caliph, OR, the political and
religious successor to Muhammad.
• Ali- son in law and cousin of Muhammad (yikes)
– passed over because he is considered too
• Abu Bakr- one of Muhammad’s earliest followers
and closest friends
• Caliph from 632-634
Motives for Arab Conquest
• Unity provided by Islamic faith gave new sense
of common strength
• Now they could stand up against non-Arab
rulers who had previously played clans against
one another
• Above all, Bedouins are drawn to Arab
expansion and conquest by the promise of a
share of the rich conquered farmland.
Problem of Succession and the SunniShi’a Split
• Stunning success of Muslim armies and growing
Arab empire temporarily diverted attention from
the divisions and arguments going on within the
Muslim community.
• Began to boil over with the issue of how the
booty should be divided up among the tribal
groups that made up the Islamic community
(conquered land)
Growing Tensions lead to Violence
• Spark of violence: Murder of the 3rd caliph,
Uthman, by warriors returning from Egypt
• His death was the signal for the supporters of
Ali, to proclaim him as caliph
• Uthman had not been popular among many
tribes, especially the early followers, because he
was the first caliph chosen from the Umayyad
• Umayyad reject Ali’s claims – warfare errupts
between factions
• Famous warrior now
• Gains upper hand after victory at Battle of Camel
in 656
• Just as Ali is about to defeat Umayyad forces at
Battle of Siffin in 657, he accepts a plea for
mediation with Umayyad.
• This is HEAVILY criticized, and many of his
followers turn their back on Ali
660- proclaimed leader (caliph) in Jerusalem
Directly challenges Ali’s position
661- Ali assassinated
From this point on Sunnis- back the Umayyad
and Shi’a- supporters of Ali/anti-Umayyad
• Mecca remains Holy City, but political center if
of Umayyads is moved to Damascus in Syria
Family and Gender Roles in the
Umayyad Age
• Islam greatly strengthened position of women
• Seclusion and subordination of women common
among other societies within the Middle East at
this time
• Qur’an forbides multiple marriages if the
husband cannot take care of multiple wives or
treat them all equally
• Women could not have more than one husband
Umayyad Decline and Fall
• Ummayyad caliph’s growing addiction to luxury
and wealth
• Abandon simple life promoted by Muhammad
and his earliest Caliphs, and now have pleasure
gardens and marble palaces
Rise of the Abbasid
• 50,000 warrior settlers are angered by lack of
booty from previous expansions and defense of
frontiers (angry with Umayyad)
• March under the banner of Abbasid party- trace
their descent from Muhammad’s uncle al-Abbas
• Abu-al-Abbas, great grandson of al Abbas leads
Umayyad Fall
• Abbasid forces gain strength due to the help of
the Shi’a, mawali (non Arab converts to Islam)
• Wanting to eliminate Umayyad family
altogether, Abu al-Abbas invited many Umayyad
leaders to a “reconciliation banquet” where he
had them killed
• Grandson of a former Caliph does flee to Spain
and founds “caliphate of Cordoba”
Abbasid Empire
• Under Abbasids, Islam becomes a universal
religion that spreads across much of North
Africa and Euro-Asia.
• Abbasid Capital was Baghdad
• Great time of urban expansion that was linked to
a revival of the Afro-Eurasian trade work that
had declined with the fall of the Han dynasty
and the slow collapse of the Roman Empire
• Abbasid domain in West and Tang and Song in
East revive commercial system
• Arab dhows, sailing vessels with lateen or
triangular sails, carry goods and people
(religious people) from place to place
• These ultimately influence European ship design
• Slaves were a major part of this society
• They could work up enough money or power to
buy back freedom or be released
• Great mosques are built during this time
• Focus on math and science
• Never before had a civilization spanned so many
different cultures and combined such a
patchwork of linguistic groups, religions, and
ethnic types
Thesis Practice
• Analyze the similarities and differences in the
rise of the Umayyads and the Abbasids.
SPRITE Chart Practice
• Fill out a sprite chart on both empires with
SPRITE facts that would contribute to your
thesis and a powerful comparative essay.
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