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Arab Imperialism. Carl Ernst Reli 180, Intro to Islamic civilization. A note on revisionist historians. Egger, page 32: Patricia Crone, John Wansborough, etc. Questions speculating about traditional Muslim sources, the geographical location of Islam, and the codification of the Qur’an.

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arab imperialism

Arab Imperialism

Carl Ernst

Reli 180, Intro to Islamic civilization

a note on revisionist historians
A note on revisionist historians

Egger, page 32: Patricia Crone, John Wansborough, etc.

Questions speculating about traditional Muslim sources, the geographical location of Islam, and the codification of the Qur’an.

Debate cannot be dismissed, but documentary evidence is lacking for these theories

arab imperialism overview
Arab Imperialism -- overview
  • Conquest of Persian and much of Byzantine Empire
  • Two empires exhausted
    • Battle over relic of “True Cross”
  • Conquered territories as a cash cow for exploitation rather than expansion of Islamic society
    • Amazingly swift conquests
    • Administration of Muslims and non-Muslims
arab conquests arabia and fertile crescent
Arab conquests: Arabia and Fertile Crescent
  • Factions emerge to contest leadership
    • Muslim emigrants to Medina (Muhajirun)
    • Muslims in Medina (Ansar)
    • Last-minute Muslim converts in Mecca
  • Wars of Apostasy (ridda) afte Muhammad’s death, two major transitions
    • Subduing rebellious tribes, then all Arab communities
    • Conquering Arabian Peninsula, then invading Byzantine and Persian empires
factors aiding the conquest
Factors aiding the conquest
  • Expansion of Arabs’ geopolitical motives beyond securing borders
  • Inspiration of religion combined with the promise of loot
  • Nomadic reliance on raiding settlements, channeled outwards as Arabia is unified

Problem of handling new military recruits, need for further conquests

byzantine weakness in syria
Byzantine weakness in Syria
  • Large Arab population
  • Defensive tactics
  • Byzantine troops were two thirds Arab
  • Monophysite Christians and Jews disliked Byzantine oppression

Damascus captured 636, becomes military and political center of caliphate

conquest of iraq and egypt
Conquest of Iraq and Egypt

Arab armies defeat Sasanian forces in North and South Iraq by 638

`Amr ibn al-`As conquers Egypt, 636-641, welcomed by Coptic Christians

Garrison cities (Kufah, Basrah; Fustat [Cairo]) established for Arab armies, keeping them separate from the locals

slide9
Iran

Conquest proceeds despite death of 2nd Caliph, `Umar (644)

Fars (Persian heartland) subjugated by 650, Khorasan (NE) by 654

Distractions of civil war after assassination of `3rd Caliph, `Uthman (656): 4th Caliph, `Ali, fights Mu`awiya ( Damascus) up to his murder in 661

other regions rapid conquests learned about much after the fact
Other regions (rapid conquests learned about much after the fact)

North Africa: integration of Berber nomads into conquering army

Spain (711, at the request of Visigoths), Muslims welcomed by Jewish population

50,000 Arabs sent to colonize Central Asia (Merv, 671)

Non-Muslim Syrians and Iranians join army

Indus valley conquered in 711

umayyad administration the caliphate
Umayyad administration: the caliphate

Election of Abu Bakr as 1st Caliph ( 632-634), tribal form of succession and allegiance oath

Earliest title: khalifat Allah, “deputy of God” (up to Abbasids)—theological

Later changed to khalifat rasul Allah, “successor of the messenger of God”

Finally “Commander of the Faithful”, military and prayer leader

umayyad administration administration of non muslims
Umayyad administration: administration of non-Muslims

Correction to Egger (47): while chronicles suggest violent campaigns, ceramic archaeological evidence indicates slower peaceful penetration of Arabs (Prof. Jodi Magness)

Arabs adopt Sasanian policy of recognizing other religious groups and leaders, rather than Byzantine orthodoxy model

Tax (jizya) on non-Muslims

umayyad administration administration of muslims
Umayyad administration: administration of Muslims

Controlling armies by settlement in garrison towns

Shift from loot to regular pay for soldiers, land revenue

Non-Arab converts adopted as clients of Arab tribes

Inequality and tension with non-Arab Muslims

Tax incentive to conversion

umayyad administration administration of muslims 2
Umayyad administration: administration of Muslims (2)
  • Gender and regulation of women’s roles
    • Social rules of women in Arabia
    • Debated verses from Qur’an on polygamy, inheritance, dowry, divorce, modesty
    • Debated origins of veiling and seclusion – Sasanian and Byzantine upper-class women
  • Continuation of previous empires’ tax collectors, languages, coins
  • Imposition of Arabic as state language, construction of Dome of the Rock ( 691)
dome of the rock
Dome of the Rock

Interior view

dome of the rock1
Dome of the Rock

Qur’an inscriptions the earliest dated version of the text; mostly about Qur’anic doctrine of Jesus as human prophet

dome of the rock2
Dome of the Rock

Royal motifs of crown and jewels, suggesting imperial tribute

to side of throne
To side of throne

Salutations from the kings of the world, in Greek and Arabic

dissolution of arab empire
Dissolution of Arab Empire

Limits of conquest machine

Garrison cities fail to segregate Arabs from locals – ethnic and cultural mixing (Arabs learn Persian, non-Muslims Arabized)

Problem of maintaining Arab armies, limits of plunder as source of revenue

Rebellions among Iranians, also Berbers (740)

Instability, overthrow Umayyads in 750

conclusion
Conclusion

Umayyad Empire based on constant conquests, “the exploitation of non-Arabs for the benefit of Arabs”

Islamic and Arabic identity now spread beyond the Arabs through religion and language, tied to empire

Important cultural and administrative continuity with previous empires

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