Chapter 11 The Rise of Islam A New Faith 11-1 Arab Life
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A. The Arabian Peninsula, a wedge of land between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, is made up of two distinct regions: the southwestern area, with well-watered valleys, and the rest of the peninsula, consisting of arid plains and deserts.
C. In A.D. 613 Muhammad preached to the people of Makkah that there was only one God and that people everywhere must worship and obey him; he told the people of Makkah to live their lives in preparation for the day of judgment.
E. Muhammad persisted in his preaching until threats against his life forced him to seek help outside the city; he found refuge in the small town of Yathrib to the north in A.D. 622, the first year of the Muslim calendar.
C. The Arab armies were successful for several reasons: they were united in the belief that they had a religious duty to spread Islam, continual warfare had weakened the other empires, and members of persecuted religions in the empires welcomed the more benevolent Muslim rule.
D. When Ali, the fourth caliph, was murdered in A.D. 661, the Syrian governor Mu’awiyah became the first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty; Ali’s son Husayn fought against Umayyad rule and was killed in battle in A.D 680.
E. The murders of Ali and Husayn led to a significant division in the Islamic world: the Sunni believed that the caliph was a leader, not a religious authority, while the Shiite (followers of Ali and Husayn) believed that the caliphate was a spiritual position to be reserved for descendants of Muhammad.
E. Umayyad rule caused dissatisfaction among non-Arab Muslims, particularly in Iraq and Persia; in A.D. 747 the anti-Umayyad Arabs and the non-Arab Muslims in Iraq and Persia joined forces and overwhelmed the Umayyads; the resulting Abbasid dynasty built a new city, Baghdad.
A. Although most Arabs lived in rural or desert places, the state leadership came from the cities; Muslim cities, which often began as trading centers or military towns, were divided into distinct business and residential districts.
C. Growing food was difficult in many areas of the Islamic state because of the dry climate and scarcity of water sources; most productive land was held by large landowners who received grants from the government.
C. Astronomers described solar eclipses, proved that the moon affects the oceans, and improved on a Greek device that indicated the positions of the stars; geographers accurately measured the size and circumference of the earth and produced the first accurate maps of the Eastern Hemisphere.