The Expansive Realm of Islam

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.
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.
Authoritative foundation for Muslim doctrine and social
 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.
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
Muhammad is his prophet.
Necessity of praying to Allah daily while facing Mecca
Observation of a month of prayer and fasting during
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
 Sometimes extended into physical war (Modern
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
Crop rotation, fertilization, and irrigation
Rice, sugarcane, wheat, vegetables (spinach, artichokes,
Increased food supplies lead to increased Urban growth.
 Lead to textile industries
 Paper production!
 Leads to increase in written materials and education
 The formation of a Hemispheric Trading Zone
 Innovations in road construction and maritime travel
aided Islam economy
Used Triangular sail to travel quickly across the
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
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
 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
 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
 Islam and Cultural Traditions of Persia, India, and
 Just as these cultures adopted Muslim ideas, so too did
the Muslims adopt the ideas of these cultures.
India - Algebra, trigonometry, and geometry were developed
by Muslims using Hindi numerals.
Greece – Medicine and science based on Greek study of
anatomy and physiology.
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