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Mohammed and the Rise of Islam. 600’s A.D. loss of much of the Eastern Roman Empire to a new religious and political power Islam. Middle East, ca. 600 A.D. Islam. Bedouin Arab named Mohammed born ca. 570 A.D. Merchant family, Hasimites Qurayshis tribe, who dominate Mecca

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mohammed and the rise of islam
Mohammed and the Rise of Islam
  • 600’s A.D.
  • loss of much of the Eastern Roman Empire
  • to a new religious and political power
    • Islam
  • Bedouin Arab named Mohammed
  • born ca. 570 A.D.
  • Merchant family, Hasimites
  • Qurayshis tribe, who dominate Mecca
    • controlling much of the religious pilgrim trade
  • raised by relatives

-father and mother died by age six

-raised by an impoverished uncle

  • formal education ?? We don’t know
    • Normally only the Poets of the Tribes could read and write
  • commercial agent for a wealthy widow
    • Khadijah
    • supervising caravans from Mecca, north to Jerusalem
    • contact with both Jews and Christians
mohammed con t
Mohammed, con’t
  • He seems to have made an impression on his boss, because of his reputed honesty
    • married her and retired from commerce
    • to devote himself to religion
    • and to making society more fair and equitable
mohammed con t6
Mohammed, con’t
  • monogamous until his wife died
  • eventually married nine wives and had assorted concubines
  • last marriage at 53 to Aishah, daughter of a friend
  • wives: widows of friends or political marriages
      • Women alone is such a world were very vulnerable
origins of mohammed s teachings
Origins of Mohammed’s Teachings
  • periods of unconsciousness are indicated: explanations
    • revelations from Allah by holy trances, spoken to by Gabriel
    • epilepsy or a similar neurological disorder?
    • mental illness or hallucinations ?
  • Mohammed’s explanation:
    • revelations from God
    • Very unpleasant and painful for him
the quran
The Quran
  • Record of revelations received during visions
  • Committed to writing c. 650 CE, compiled (Muhammad dies 632)
    • Under the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan
  • Tradition of Muhammad’s life: hadith
nature of revelations
Nature of Revelations
  • diverse
  • social, agricultural, medical, military, astronomical, etc.
historical origins of his ideas
Historical Origins of His Ideas
  • Arab polytheism
  • Hanifism: a belief in one God traced to Abraham, by tradition
  • Judaism
  • Christianity: Orthodox, Nestorian, Arianism
  • Manichaeism: a mixture of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Judaism, and so forth
beginning of his ministry
Beginning of His Ministry
  • at about age 40, after a number of revelations
  • began to preach publicly
  • continued to receive revelations until death
    • usually related to current problems or concerns
    • Religious, political, social, economic
early religious career
Early religious career
  • not particularly successful
  • threatened the social, political, and religious structure, with his doctrine of social equity
  • threatened the economic basis of Mecca as a center of religious pilgrimage
  • particularly the Black Rock
    • sacred to the chief deity of the Arabs
  • run out of town, or at least encouraged to leave
    • Went to the desert with his family and lived for about a year
the hijra
The Hijra
  • flight from Mecca, to Yathrib (Medina)

-tradition: invited by the Jews of Medina

  • 622 A.D.
  • beginning of the Islamic calendar
  • forms the umma (community)
  • welcomed, then resisted
  • Mohammed becomes an absolute theocrat
muhammad s return to mecca
Muhammad’s Return to Mecca
  • Attack on Mecca, 630 -- jihad
  • Conversion of Mecca to Islam
  • Destruction of pagan sites, replaced with mosques
    • Ka’aba preserved in honor of importance of Mecca
    • Approved as pilgrimage site
  • holy war against Mecca
  • ten year blockade
  • a deal was made
the deal
The Deal
  • Mecca preserved as a holy city and place of pilgrimage
    • to preserve the economic prosperity
  • the Ka’aba preserved as the central shrine
    • idols and icons destroyed
    • story of its origins emphasized the role of Abraham in its placement
    • pilgrimage as an act of faith, at least once in your life
the religion the koran qu ran
The Religion: the Koran (Qu’ran)
  • the Koran (Qu’ran): contains much of Mohammed recounting of Allah’s teachings
  • written down by his followers after his death
    • from notes and memories, on “stones and parchments”
  • Short: 114 chapters
    • arranged from longest to the shortest
    • not by subject or chronologically
    • length is the criterion of order for the text
the koran con t
The Koran, con’t
  • some “Old” and “New” Testaments stories
    • but sometimes the story seems a bit different to Jews and Christians
  • parables and fables
  • political polemic and prophecy
  • “non-religious” subjects
    • not dissimilar to Jewish and Christian scriptures in some ways
five pillars of islam
Five Pillars of Islam
  • uniqueness of God
    • ‘There is no god, but God….’
  • prayer five times a day
  • observe the month of Ramadan
  • give alms to the poor
  • pilgrimage to Mecca
    • If possible, once in your life
additional teachings
Additional teachings
  • dietary laws
  • no gambling or drinking
  • no sexual irregularities, as defined by tradition and custom
  • no faulty weights or usury
  • no infanticide
  • elaborate rules concerning inheritance and property
  • improvement in the status of women and children
changing status of women
Changing Status of Women
  • Qu’ran improves status of women
    • Outlawed female infanticide
    • Brides, not husbands, claim dowries
  • Yet male dominance preserved
    • Patrilineal descent
    • Polygamy permitted, Polyandry forbidden
    • Veil adopted from ancient Mesopotamian practice
similarities to judaism and christianity
Similarities to Judaism and Christianity
  • monotheism (defined a bit differently)
  • insistence on the responsibility of human beings
  • final judgment and rewards
  • angels and spirits
  • practice of virtues: truthfulness, compassion, etc.
  • an emphasis on compassion and mercy
  • alms giving moderate
  • heaven conceived a bit differently
  • no priests or sacramental system
  • easy conversion: the Shahadah
    • ‘There is no God by Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.’
islamic law the sharia
Islamic Law: The Sharia
  • Codification of Islamic law
  • Based on Quran, hadith, logical schools of analysis
  • Extends beyond ritual law to all areas of human activity
    • This is the basis the idea of an “Islamic republic” for instance
expansion of islam
Expansion of Islam
  • early victories
  • backsliders (tribes) punished
    • Apostasy = treason = death
  • assaults on:
    • the Byzantine (Roman) empire
    • the Persian empire

Dome of the Rock,

Temple Mount Jerusalem

  • Syria: 635 A.D.
  • Palestine: 636 A.D.
  • Persia: captured in one battle
    • expansion into India
    • expansion to the borders of China
  • Egypt: help by local Christians
  • North Africa: the Berbers
expansion con t
Expansion, con’t
  • Spain 711-720 A.D.
  • Battle of Tours: October 732 A.D.
    • Charles Martel
  • Siege of Constantinople: 717-718 A.D.
    • Leo III
    • Greek fire
  • beginnings of Christian reconquest of former Roman/Christian territory
reasons for success
Reasons for success
  • exhaustion of Rome and Persia
    • End of a 400 year war
  • nationalist sentiments in Egypt and Syria
  • arguments among Christian factions
  • speed and size of Moslem armies
  • simplicity and uncomplicated nature of Islam
  • acceptance of the Old and New Testament
    • People of the Book
consequences of expansion
Consequences of Expansion
  • loss of the oldest and most central lands of Christendom
  • aided the ascendancy of the bishop of Rome
  • virtual collapse of Zoroastrianism as a major religion
  • radically altered the balance of power between the Roman Empire and the East
  • disruption of the Mediterranean economic community
early problems
Early Problems
  • Succession ?
    • Mohammed had no surviving male children
    • Daughter: Fatima
    • Son-in-law: Ali, child of his uncle
  • generated a permanent split in the Islamic community
    • Sunnis
    • Shi’as
  • considered themselves the “orthodox” followers of Mohammed
  • consider the Shi’as to be “dissenters”
  • issue: who leads after Mohammed ??
  • the Caliph (or “leader”)
  • went successively to followers

-Abu Bakr, then Oman

-then Uthman and

the shia
The Shia
  • Disagreements over selection of caliphs
  • Ali passed over for Abu Bakr
  • Served as caliph 656-661 CE, then assassinated along with most of his followers
  • Remaining followers organize separate party called “Shia”
    • Traditionalists: Sunni
abu bakr
Abu Bakr
  • not particularly popular with the Muslim community
  • allowed raid, then invasions of Byzantine and Persian territory
  • subjugated any dissident elements or tribes
  • disposed of any “new prophets”
success strain
Success = strain
  • success introduced luxury and change
    • From original caliphs to the Umayyad caliphs
  • new ideas and new ethnic groups
    • with their own customs and heritage, to try to assimilate
  • rise of a sort of “revivalist element”
    • Islam had strayed from its original path and purity
    • Muslims were being led back to paganism
    • caliphs were becoming idle, corrupt, tyrants
uthman the third caliph
Uthman: the third Caliph
  • murdered: warfare broke out
  • Ali: cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed
  • originally passed over as too young
  • contested the succession
  • Uthman supported by the Umayyad clan
    • early enemies of Mohammed
    • refused to accept Ali’s claims
  • successful in the war
  • Ali assassinated in 661 A.D.
    • by the Kharijites
  • beginning of the Umayyed dynasty
policy toward conquered peoples
Policy toward Conquered Peoples
  • Favoritism of Arab military rulers causes discontent
  • Limited social mobility for non-Arab Muslims
  • Head tax (jizya) on non-Muslims
  • Umayyad luxurious living causes further decline in moral authority
  • accepted the legitimacy of early caliphs
  • “Sunni” : from an Arabic word
    • “usage” or “custom”
    • implies: “precedent”
shi as
  • accepted Ali
  • word means: “party”, “faction”, “following”
  • Sunni and Shi’as dominant
  • originally political
    • Eventually the differences became dogmatic in emphasis
  • Shi’as become a party of religious dissent
  • Sunni: conservative, in favor of the “status quo”
    • consensus is the guiding principle
  • Shi’as: defenders of the oppressed, critics of privilege and power
    • obedience is required only as long as it can be forced, and no longer
umayyed empire
Umayyed empire
  • Atlantic Ocean to India
  • Syria: center of the Islamic World
  • eventually displaced by the Abbasids
    • an Arab family claiming decent from Mohammed
the abbasid dynasty 750 1258 ce
The Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258 CE)
  • Abu al-Abbas Sunni Arab, allied with Shia, non-Arab Muslims
  • Seizes control of Persia and Mesopotamia
  • Defeats Umayyad army in 750
    • Invited Umayyads to banquet, then massacred them
    • Only Spain remains Umayyad
    • North Africa is disputed territory, ultimately Fatamid
nature of the abbasid dynasty
Nature of the Abbasid Dynasty
  • Diverse nature of administration (i.e. not exclusively Arab)
  • Militarily competent, but not bent on imperial expansion
  • Dar al-Islam
  • Growth through military activity of autonomous Islamic forces
nature of the abbasid dynasty48
Nature of the Abbasid Dynasty
  • Diverse nature of administration (i.e. not exclusively Arab)
  • Militarily competent, but not bent on imperial expansion
  • Dar al-Islam
  • Growth through military activity of autonomous Islamic forces
caliph harun al rashid 786 809 ce
Caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809 CE)
  • High point of Abbasid dynasty
  • Baghdad center of commerce
  • Great cultural activity
abbasid decline
Abbasid Decline
  • Civil war between sons of Harun al-Rashid
  • Provincial governers assert regional independence
  • Dissenting sects, heretical movements
  • Abbasid caliphs become puppets of Persian nobility
  • Later, Saljuq Turks influence, Sultan real power behind the throne
formation of an islamic cultural tradition
Formation of an Islamic Cultural Tradition
  • Islamic values
    • Uniformity of Islamic law in dar al-Islam
    • Establishment of madrasas
    • Importance of the Hajj
  • Sufi missionaries
    • Asceticism, mysticism
    • Some tension with orthodox Islamic theologians
    • Wide popularity
cultural influences on islam
Cultural influences on Islam
  • Persia
    • Adminstration and governance
    • literature
  • India
    • Mathematics, science, medicine
      • “Hindi” numbers
  • Greece
    • Philosophy, esp. Aristotle
    • Greek medicine
cultural importance of islam
Cultural Importance of Islam
  • Development of these received influences
  • Distribution throughout the Muslim world
  • Introduction and reintroduction of these ideas to medieval Europe
    • Through Spain
    • Spanish Jews