Background introduction to early islam
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Background Introduction to Early Islam. Geographic Context - 6 th C Middle East. Close-up - Arabia c. 600 CE. Situation in Arabia, c. 600. Semi-civilized, semi-nomad peripheral area to more advanced urban Byzantine & Persian civilizations

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Geographic context 6 th c middle east l.jpg
Geographic Context - 6th C Middle East



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Situation in Arabia, c. 600

  • Semi-civilized, semi-nomad peripheral area to more advanced urban Byzantine & Persian civilizations

  • Traditional Arabia culture: male-led, clan-centered, polytheist

  • Clans = excellent camel-mounted warriors & traders; good contact with border civilizations’ ideas, technologies


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Muhammad’s Arabian Origins

  • Born c. 570, to parents from minor clan of Quraysh tribe that dominates Mecca, runs desert caravans

  • Raised by grandfather & then uncle because father died before his birth – both men strong in disappearing desert codes of behavior

  • Became caravan trader; travels took him to Syrian cities (sees Christianity & Judaism)

  • At about age 25 married Khadija, a wealthy, greatly respected Mecca widow

  • Khadija & Muhammad have children but only girls survived


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Muhammad’s 1st Revelation

  • 610 Muhammad has 1st vision

  • Angel Gabriel tells Muhammad he is God’s Final Messenger, given final, correct version of earlier, now flawed, revelations (including Jewish & Christian)

  • Crux of Message: Allah (God) is all powerful; there is a heaven & hell, Allah wants humankind to worship him and live ethical, moral lives

Persian Miniature: Muhammad & Gabriel




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Islam 632 from GodDon’t click again to advance another slide until automatic advance shows 1000 CE


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Islam 634 from God


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Islam 661 from God


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Islam 661 - 750 from God



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Islam 935 from God


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Islam c. 1000 from GodStart clicking again to advance rest of presentation’s slides





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Islamic Learning Flourishes Regional Vitality

  • Preserves, builds on Greek, Roman learning & ideas

  • Develops mathematics, science, medicine (building on Indian numerals, Central Asian and other astronomy, etc)


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Islamic Regional Vitalitylearning

“Arabic” numbers

Madrasah

(“University”)

Ibn Rushd

Great Philosopher

Astronomy teacher


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