Before Muhammad • Arab tribes not unified, divided by clan rivalry • Bedouins were nomadic, shunned civilization • oases few and far between in Hijaz, a few settled in Mecca and Medina • brigandage (razzia) was a way of life as they were situated along trade routes loaded with valuables • political control of Mecca was in hands of powerful tribe: Quraysh • flanked by European Byzantine Empire to the west and Persian Empire on the east
Before Muhammad • People of Mesopotamia (Iraq, Syria, Palestine) were not unified and subject to struggles between the rival Byzantines and the Sasanids • Marauding tribes and Bedouins swept through the area • the people yearned for tranquility • the cities of Jerusalem, Aleppo, Baghdad and Damascus were subject to frequent attack
The Ka’ba • 1,000 BC, the Arabs of Mecca saw a meteor fall from the heavens and regarded it holy • took black stone, hajar-al-aswad, and built cubic structure called Ka’ba • over the course of centuries, pagan Arabs of the peninsula began a yearly pilgrimage “Hajj” to worship the stone • Mecca grew as metropolis as result of the ritual of pilgrimage carried out by Arabs every year • Quraysh profited from the steady pilgrimage to their city, making them one of most powerful tribes in Arabia
The Ka’ba • Hajar-al-aswad(1), according to Muslims, was placed there by Ibrahim and Ismail, a stone from paradise sent by the angels to Ibrahim • The Ka’ba is, therefore, believed by Muslims to be more than a millennium older than the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, which is believed to have been finished in 1007 B.C.These dates remain consistent with the Muslim belief that the Ka’ba is the oldest mosque in history.
The Ka’ba • Muslims don’t consider kissing the stone an act of idolatry: • Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said, “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen God's Apostle kissing you, I would not have kissed you.” • Large crowds can make kissing the Stone impossible, so as pilgrims walk round the Ka’ba they point to the Stone on each pass
Muhammad • Muhammad was born in 570 AD to a family of the Quraysh engaged in the business of trade • both parents died when he was young and he was raised by a grand uncle and then his uncle Abu Talib • the Quraysh through their frequent business dealings with the Europeans and Persians were quite familiar with their cultures as well as their beliefs and could plat one against another • Muhammad at the age of 24 was hired as “manager” for wealthy widow of 40 y/o, Khadija, who acquired her late husband’s business • they were married and for 25 years, Muhammad enjoyed a happy and prosperous life • influential as member of Quarysh and under the protection of Abu Talib
610 AD The Messenger of Allah • Near the end of month of Ramadan, a time of fasting since pre-Islamic Arabia, Muhammad was resting in a cave and heard a voice and saw the angel Gabriel • “Recite in the name of the Lord who created, created man of a blood clot…arise and warn” • There was no question in his mind that he was chosen of Allah to be his messenger • although Arabs polytheistic, among the gods was known the name Allah, similar to El-loh of Jews
The Messenger of Allah • meditating alone in the cave of Hira near Mecca, Muslims hold the angel Gabriel dictated the Quran to Muhammad • Khadija was the first convert and the one who greatly encouraged him • In the streets of Mecca, he preached of Allah, the one god who had sent Muhammad to dissuade them of their idolatry and warn them of the Day of Judgment and resulting eternal punishment or reward in the afterlife • Not many followed: his cousin Ali, his servant Zayd, Abu Bakr, a man of great stature among the Quraysh and a number of slaves • for the most part the Quraysh opposed the message with hostility for fear of economic ruin as the message would destroy the pagan ritual of Ka’ba • were it not for the protection of Abu Talib, he would have been killed
Year of Suffering and Hijra • 619 AD was a year of profound sadness for Muhammad as both his beloved Khadija and uncle Abu Talib died. • When it looked as if Muhammad would be defeated, rival city Yathrib (Medina) approached him • they were familiar with and embraced Muhammad’s message • they saw in Muhammad not only a prophet, a man of leadership ability, familiar with the inner councils of Quraysh who could help them defeat Mecca • In 622 AD, Muhammad and his small following departed Mecca for Yathrib in Hijra(“the emigration”). • This date is set as year one of Muslim calendar
Muhammad Strengthens Medina and Emerges as “Moses” of Islam • Muhammad was openly received in Yathrib, and the city wholly followed his leadership • the city changed to Medina “city of the Prophet” • now he was not only a prophet, but a head of state • Islam became a theocratic institution • his writings in Quran changed from gentle warning and beseeching (Mecca) to commanding and threatening (Medina) • much to his surprise, the Jews in Medina did not accept his anti-pagan, monotheistic message • Muhammad ostracized Jews, banished them from Medina • Although he allowed the validity of Judeo-Christian prophets, he claimed in Quran that Jews and Christians had disobeyed commandments of God and “garbled” the scriptures
Muhammad Establishes a Theocracy • After solidifying his position in Medina, he turned his attention to Mecca • he decided to establish the rule of Allah on earth with the laws (shari’a) handed down by Allah incorporated in the Quran, and this could be done only through diplomacy, war and conquest • from 622 to 632, Muhammad engaged in war every year • his initial victory over the Meccans at Badr in 624 AD “proved” he and his followers were fighting for Allah • This battle was a turning point: now Muslims believed that if they died, they had “witnessed” and would go to paradise; • in future Muslims would repeat the shahada going into battle with contempt for death.
The Brotherhood of Muslims • Islam is a theocratic institution in which religion and state are inseparable • all the commandments of Allah are indisputable regulations (shariah) of life in Muslim community • Muhammad told his followers that every Muslim is brother to every Muslim and abolished tribal loyalty • ties of faith replace ties of kinship • The modern Muslim is caught in the horns of dilemma: • as Muslim, one identifies one’s “nationality” with Islam • yet they want a society with the freedoms of secularism
The Quran • According to Muslims, the Old & New Testaments were given by God to Moses, other prophets and Jesus. The Quran is last revelation and supersedes all others. • Accordingly, Jews and Christians are ahl al-kitab • “people of the book” which are not to be forced to accept Islam and to be tolerated within domain of Islam • in fact, when Jews were persecuted in Europe, the went to live among Muslims in relative peace
Doctrines of Islam • Doctrine of Unity of God: la ilahaillallah= “there is absolutely no god save Allah” • Christian doctrine of Trinity is considered blasphemy • Doctrine of Prophethood • Muslims recognize the prophets of the OT/NT from Adam to Jesus • Abraham is not only prophet but also the first Muslim in that he “submitted” to God • Muhammad is the “seal”: the final prophet (the Shi’a sect also believes there are 12 imams who are both the temporal and spiritual successors of Muhammad) • Doctrine of Book, when God sent the prophets, he gave each one a Book • the Quran is the incarnate word of God, dictated to Muhammad by angel Gabriel.
Doctrines of Islam • Doctrine of Book, the Quran is in Arabic • It must be followed without reservation; no one may question its authority or study it critically • Vast majority of Muslims don’t speak Arabic but because their language uses Arabic alphabet, they can read the Quran even though they don’t understand it • Doctrine of the Final Judgment • only “those who repent and believe and are righteous in act” and those who are martyrs for the faith go to paradise. Muslims have similar views as Christians regarding heaven, hell, judgment & resurrection • Doctrine of Angels and Jinns • mentioned as populating heaven and earth. Angels are created to do God’s bidding. Jinnsare also created and some are believers but some have rebelled and turned into shaytans, lead by Iblis, who try to lead people astray and oppose the Prophet
Pillars of Islam • The Muslim is obligated to do very little although most sincere Muslims are very devout. The Quran specifies five or perhaps six “pillars of Islam” of practices of faith: • 1. Every Muslim must make a profession of faith (shahada): “There is no God except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” • 2. Submission in prayer (rak’ah) five times a day, if possible; prayers must be in Arabic and must be toward Mecca. • 3. Giving of alms. Zakah is an obligatory offering of about 2½% of one’s income and Sadaqa was voluntary alms giving. A poll tax was levied against “people of the book”. All these taxes were kept by the government in a religious endowment, the “waqf”.
Pillars of Islam • 4. During the month Ramadan, fasting is performed during daylight hours from dawn to dusk. • 5. Perform Hajj or “the pilgrimage” to the Ka’ba in Mecca at least once in lifetime, if possible. • 6. Jihad, some (but not all) Muslims have elevated Holy War as the sixth pillar of Islam. There are numerous references in the Quran to war and the Muslim’s duty to fight. • Shari’a is the law of Islam derived from the Quran. It dealt largely with family matters and simple interpersonal relationships.
Islamic Law • There is no hierarchy in Islam. Every Muslim is a potential teacher, leader, soldier, etc. • some scholars of Islamic law (ulama) have become authorities and judges • the Mosque is both the place of religious worship and court of law • Islam makes no distinction between the state and the realm of believers and thus there does not appear in the history of Islam, the “doctrine of two swords” distinguishing a secular government from a religious leadership.
Islamic Law • To the modern Muslim this presents certain problems • First no matter how fervently Muhammad’s followers adhered to the Quran, they needed some more direct and personal counsel for the regulation of the personal lives and that of Islamic Society. • Much of this is found in theHadith(or “Traditions”) of the Prophet’s life. Although no Muslim considers Muhammad anything more than a man, they consider his life exemplary • thus Hadith is an important source of moral guidance (Hadith = what would Muhammad do? or “WWMD?”).
Mecca Taken • Muhammad could not succeed in unifying the Arabian Peninsula without Mecca or the Quraysh • he continued a war of attrition against Mecca’s caravans • His shift of the direction of prayer to Mecca and incorporation of pilgrimage to Ka’ba into the new religion convinced the Meccans that they had no reason to continue the war • in 628, they entered into a peace agreement with Muhammad at Hudaybiyah • 2 years later, Muhammad came peaceably with his army to Mecca after two of their able generals Khalid ibn-al-Walid and Amribn-al-As submitted to Islam.
Purification of Ka’ba • Muhammad entered his native city, destroyed all idols around Ka’ba and proclaimed it as forbidden to pagans • Quraysh were delighted as their economic position was enhanced by veneration of Ka’ba • Muhammad was magnanimous to his fellow tribesmen, making Mecca the religious capital of Islam. He showed respect to his followers from Medina, by keeping Medina as his political capital
632 AD • He was far from finished in his goal to unify Arabia, he continued wars of conquest • soon tribes from other parts of Peninsula came to accept Islam: Oman, Hadramut and Yemen • the ceremony was simple: verbal confession en masse and payment of Zakah (alms) • whether this was sincere conviction or expediency is uncertain • 10 years after Hijra, Muhammad made his last pilgrimage to Mecca, made a “Farewell Address” as lord of Arabia. In another 3 months, he was died in the arms of his favorite wife Ayisha.
The Problem of Succession • Muhammad left to the Arab a religious identity which unified previously warring factions but there is no evidence that he ever intended his message to go beyond Arabia. • He made no claim to infallibility: “I am a man like you” • yet his inspiring personality invoked his followers to study every detail of his conduct and wisdom for years to come • Although he left behind clear doctrine and goals he had no heir. Both his male children died. • The first successor (Caliph) was chosen by the leading members of the Islamic community in Medina. • as the elders of Medina were about to name a successor, the Quraysh showed up. There was a scuffle and the one selected lay dead. “God killed him” excaimed one of the Quraysh • Muhammad’s aging father-in-law, Abu Bakr, was selected, the elders gladly agreed • As the oldest Muslim and a leader of the Quraysh, he was the natural choice to succeed the Prophet
Abu Bakr • Muhammad preferred Abu Bakr to lead the Muslims in prayer while he was ill. • Upon Muhammad's death, it was Abu Bakr who demonstrated sagacity to keep the ranks of the Muslims together. Muhammad had not left behind a clear will on who would succeed him. • There was dissension between the two original tribes of Medina, regarding who would become the ruler over the Muslims after Muhammad. This even led to drawing of swords between them. Abu Bakr rushed to the spot where the dispute almost turned bloody, and delivered his famous speech to show the path of unity between the Muslims and declared that Umar should become the first caliph. • In turn, Umar declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr saying that there is no better man amongst the Muslims after Muhammad.
Abu Bakr, the First Caliph • Abu Bakr was in his seventies when he became the first Caliph (successor) • During his short reign of two years, the Meccans waged war on the rest of Arabia. • Abu Bakr had a brilliant general Khalid ibn-Walidthat subdued the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula by the time Abu Bakr was on his death bed. • Abu Bakr named his closest advisor Umar as his successor so that there would be no struggle after his death. • Umar was young (43), energetic and, as the St. Paul of Islam, eager to spread the faith. General Khalid had already advanced into Syria when Umar became the caliph and the combination was unstoppable.
Abu Bakr’s Legacy • Though the period of his caliphate covers only two years, two months and fifteen days, it included successful invasions of the two most powerful empires of the time: the Sassanid Empire and Byzantine Empire. • Abu Bakr had the distinction of being the first Caliph in the history of Islam and also the first Caliph to nominate a successor. • He was the only Caliph in the history of Islam who refunded to the state treasury at the time of his death the entire amount of the allowance that he had drawn during the period of his caliphate
Under Umar, Second Caliph • Without Islam, there was no cohesion between the various Arab tribes and Umar supplied the same charisma of faith that the Prophet exhibited. • In the mind of every Arab Muslim from the top commander down to the lowest soldier was Allah, Muhammad, the glory of war, booty, tribute, martyrdom and paradise all in one indivisible package! • It was under military leadership of Khalid ibn al-Walidthat Arabia, for the first time in history, was united under a single political entity, the Caliphate. • He was victorious in over a hundred battles, against the numerically superior forces of the Byzantine-Roman Empire, Sassanid-Persian Empire, and their allies, in addition to other Arab tribes.
Establishing the Empire of Islam • Arabia lay sandwiched between two ancient empires: the Byzantine (Orthodox Christian) to the west and Sasanid (Persian) to the east • The capitol of Byzantium was in Constantinople of Asia Minor and of the SasanidShah in Ctesiphon (Ezra 8:17) • Upon these two war-weary empires fell the invigorated and seasoned armies of Islam • In four short years, Khalid had succeeded in taking all the cities of Mesopotamia, including Damascus and Jerusalem, forcing the Byzantine emperor to leave all of Syria and Palestine in the hands of the Muslims. • by 642, the Muslims had taken Alexandria and all of Egypt
Establishing the Empire of Islam • To the people of Mesopotamia, after centuries of intolerance and oppression from their shifting masters, the theologically uncomplicated belief in Allah was like a breath of fresh air. • Inhabitants of what is present day Syria, Palestine and Egypt were subdued and willingly became Muslims. Here empires come and go: Assyrian, Babylonian, Jewish, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine • They took on the Arabic language and this they remember with pride for the victory of Islam in their people’s history.
Establishing the Empire of Islam • Not so with the Persians: having been masters, they became resentful servants • The Muslim Arab general, Sa’dibnWaqqas pushed into Persia with some 6,000 troops. • At Qadesiya in 635 AD, the Persians were defeated and soon the treasure-capital at Ctesiphon was under siege. • When the city fell in 637, the Arabs plundered all world-famed wealth of it. Thus ended 4 centuries of rule by the shahs of the Sasanid dynasty. • To this day, the people of Persia (now Iran) remember with bitterness the battle of Qadesiya and refused to speak the Arabic language. Their language is Farsi • Persians became Muslims but would later embrace a sect that would set them apart from Arab Muslims (Shi’a) • Persians never forgave Umar; In Iran, until recently, it was customary to burn an effigy of Umar every year.
Remains of Imperial Palace of Ctesiphon (vault of throne room is 110ft high)
Uthman, the Third Caliph • A Persian assassinated Umar on November 23, 644 • While he was dying of fatal wounds, Umar managed to appoint a committee of 6 to select his successor • Both Uthman and Ali were sons-in-law of the Prophet and members of the committee • to the disappointment of Ali, Uthman was selected. • Uthman was in his 70’s and a member of the Umayyad clan of the Quraysh that had rejected Muhammad • It was only by the grace of the Prophet that the Umayyads were spared when the Muslims took Mecca
Uthman was incompetent and it was the Umayyad clan rather than the bumbling Caliph who held the reins of Islam • Corruption was rampant as Uthman appointed Umayyad relatives to administrators and governors • Despite this, military was still on the roll, pushing into North Africa as far as Tripoli and Carthage in the West, captured Cypress to the north, took Azerbaijan and Armenia and advanced as far as Kabul, Afghanistan to the east. • Ironically the event that drove Muslims to act against him was the canonization of the Quran. He was accused of tampering with the Quran to protect the Umayyads
Uthman Assassinated • As the caliph’s unpopularity increased, there was uprising in Egypt, the governor of Kufa was unable to control • Egyptians sent 1,000 to Medina with intent to assassinate Uthman and seize the government • the people of Medina were neutral preferring to watch the outcome • a small number of Umayyad defended the caliph’s house • a stalemate ensued which resulted in weeks long seige • rebels broke in unawares and murdered the caliph
Ali, the Fourth Caliph • A week later, Ali, a man of valor and piety and son-in-law to the Prophet, was made caliph in 656 AD. • By now the problem of succession was widely disputed. One group held that the Prophet’s successors must be from the blood line of the Quraysh tribe. Since all members of Quraysh were eligible for the caliphate, there was a good deal of rivalry among the different families. This sect became the Sunni. • Another group, the “legitimists” believed that the caliphate was a divine office requiring divine appointment. They believed that as Ali was son-in-law, cousin and adopted son of the Prophet, who could be more divinely appointed? • Ali was the legitimate successor and that all subsequent caliphs would be chosen from his descendents. • The legitimists were known as Shi’at Ali (partisans of Ali) or simply, Shi’a.
Ali, Man of Integrity • Ali initially modestly refused to become the next caliph, but the people begged him • he finally acquiesced • his companions Talha and Zubayr conspired against him, fearing that he would establish his own bloodline as the future Caliphs at the exclusion of Umayyads • Ali ruled well, dismissing all the corrupt governors and officials of Uthman and inaugurated reforms which returned to the simplicity of the Prophet. • this infuriated the established Umayyads • As long as they had hope that Ali would appoint them governors, they kept quiet. But as soon as they lost that hope, they broke their pledge, and rose in rebellion. • Umayyads refused allegiance to Ali and fled to Levant under protection of Governor of Syria, Muawiyah • Ayisha, the youngest wife of the Prophet, held personal hatred for Ali, heard the news of Uthman’s murder returning from Hijj to Medina • saw opportunity to depose Ali, alleging his involvement in Uthman’s murder • formed coalition of Umayyad forces with Talha & Zubayr in Mecca • the coalition force moved to Basra with 3,000 in order to secure the Levant • They executed some 600 in the city thought oppose their cause and took over Basra.
Kufa (Iraq) • provincial capital of Mesopotamia captured from the Sassanid Persians • chosen by Ali as new headquarters: frontiers of conquest became too far removed from Medina • enjoyed the splendors of the ancient Persians
First Fitna(Civil War) • The rift in Islam came to blows outside of Bosra (in Iraq) on December 9, 656 • Forces of Umayyads under Ayisha met forces of Ali • Umayyads accused Ali of being an accomplice but this was a ruse, as Ayisha had political objectives • Ali tried to reason with the rebels, reluctant to shed Muslim blood • the Battle of the Camel took place outside Bosra • despite being badly beaten, Ayisha continued to rally her people on camel back: 13,000 were killed of the rebels • Ali lost 5,000 men, ordered the camel slain and battle ended. Ayisha was captured unharmed after 110 days of fighting • Ali was magnanimous and sent Ayisha under escort back to Medina with the admonition never to dabble in politics again