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AP World History POD #7 – Golden Age of Islam. Baghdad Caliphate. Class Discussion Questions. Bulliet et. al – “Islamic Civilization” pp, 243-251. Spread of Islam.

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class discussion questions

Class Discussion Questions

Bulliet et. al –

“Islamic Civilization”

pp, 243-251

spread of islam
Spread of Islam
  • “Though increasingly unsettled in its political dimension and subject to economic disruptions caused by war, the ever-expanding Islamic world underwent a fruitful evolution in law, social structure, and religious expression. Religious conversion and urbanization reinforced each other to create a distinct Islamic civilization. The immense geographical and human diversity of the Muslim lands allowed many “small traditions” to coexist with the developing “great tradition” of Islam.” (Bulliet, p. 243)
islamic law
Islamic Law
  • Shari’a – the law of Islam
  • Islam had no legal system in the time of Muhammad – only Arab custom and the Prophet’s own authority offered guidance
  • As the shari’a evolved it envisioned a society in which all people practiced the same values and political and ethnic distinctions lost importance
  • Every Muslim ruler was expected to abide by and enforce the religious law
  • Shari’a established an important basis for an urban lifestyle that varied surprisingly little from Morocco to India
after the death of muhammad
After the death of Muhammad…
  • Shi’ites - many followers felt that the reasoned considerations of a mature man offered the best resolution of issues not covered by Quranic revelation - accept 4 books of hadith
  • Sunnia – many others believed that sunna or the traditions of the Prophet provided the best guide – accept 6 books of hadith
sunna hadith
Sunna & Hadith
  • Sunna – tradition
  • Hadith – reports conveying the precise words or deeds of Muhammad
  • It became customary to precede each hadith with a chain of oral authorities leading back to the person who had direct acquaintance with the Prophet
  • Many hadith dealt with ritual matters such as how to wash before prayer, while others provided answers to legal questions
  • By the 11th most legal thinkers had accepted the idea that Muhammad’s personal behavior provided the best role model and that the hadith constituted the most authoritative basis for law after the Quran itself.
  • The hadith posed a problem because the tens of thousands of anecdotes included both genuine and invented reports – thousands were discredited.
muslims those who submit
Muslims “Those Who Submit”
  • Conversion to Islam tended to be more about acceptance of the beliefs and practices, not so much about escaping the tax on the infidels as previously believed
  • To convert one must only profess this statement in the presence of a Muslim “There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God”
  • There was no priesthood and therefore converts had to spend time with fellow Muslims learning the customs and practices, as well as the Arabic language as most coverts could not read the Quran
  • Conversion to Islam often led to discrimination in Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian communities leading many to migrate to Arab urban centers to take advantage of the economic opportunities created by the tax revenue flowing into these lands
science technology
Science & Technology
  • Islamic urban centers and communities built on the earlier Hellenistic traditions along with their own observations and experiences to drive scientific and technological innovation
  • Ibn al Haytham determined that the Milky Way constellation lay far beyond the earth’s atmosphere, proved that light traveled from a source to the eye, and explained why the sun and moon appear bigger on the horizon as compared to overhead
  • House of Wisdom – the Abbasids built this structure in Baghdad as a site for Arab and non-Arab scholars translate and gathered all the world’s knowledge into Arabic
  • Islamic physicians and scholars developed a large and complex medical literature exploring and synthesizing the theory and practice of medicine.
women islam
Women & Islam
  • Women seldom traveled although the pilgrimage was allowed
  • Women in the countryside worked in the fields and tended to the animals
  • Women in the city (especially the merchant elite class) lived in seclusion and did not leave the house without covering themselves and with a male family escort
  • Only slave women could perform before unrelated men as musicians and dancers etc.
  • Men could marry as many as four wives
  • The legal status of women in Islamic areas was better than that of Christian or Jewish women
  • Islamic law guaranteed daughters a share in the inheritance equal to half that of a son
  • Women’s property was theirs alone to keep or sell
  • Muslim law placed the financial burden on supporting the family exclusively on the husband who could not force his wife to help out
  • Women could remarry if divorced and received a cash payment upon divorce (they could initiate divorce under certain circumstances)
  • Women could testify in court but their testimony was only given half the status as that of a man
muhammad s wife a isha
Muhammad’s Wife A’isha
  • Daughter of Abu Bakr, she lived for 50 years after the death of the Prophet – portrayed as the favorite of Muhammad event though his first wife Khadija and his daughter Fatima (Ali’s wife) are accepted as the ideal Islamic woman
  • Knowledge of the events of her life provide the greatest insight into the life of Islamic women
  • She was his favorite wife and the only wife to see the angel Gabriel (as reported by her)
  • She was an abundant source of hadith
  • She was separated from a caravan in the desert, found and returned by another man – as a result she is accused of being unfaithful to the Prophet, but a revelation from God proved her innocence.
  • She participated in the Battle of the Camel, fought to derail the caliphate of Ali
  • These two hadith epitomize what Muslim men feared most about women: sexual infidelity and meddling in politics
  • Islam allowed slavery but forbade Muslims from enslaving other Muslims or so-called People of the Book – Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, who revered holy books respected by the Muslims.
  • No hereditary slave society ever emerged – slaves were prisoners of war and women captured in the camps of the defeated – or were brought in from Africa and Central Asia
  • Usually slaves converted to Islam and were freed by their masters as an act of piety
  • The children of Muslim men and slave women were born free
  • A type of religious college originally popular in Iran starting in the 10th century
  • Became popular outside of Iran and appear throughout the Islamic world
sufi brotherhood
Sufi Brotherhood
  • 12th & 13th century mystic groups
  • Sufi doctrines varied but a quest for a sense of union with God through rituals and training was a common denominator
  • Early Sufis had been saintly individuals given to ecstatic and poetic utterances and wonder working
  • The early Sufis attracted disciples but did not try to organize these followers
  • Most Muslim men (especially in cities) belonged to at least one brotherhood