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Chapter 7

Abbasid Decline and the Spread of Islamic Civilization to South and Southeast Asia I) The Islamic Heartlands in Middle and late Abbasid eras II) The Age of Learning and Artistic Refinements III) The Coming of Islam to South Asia IV) The Spread of Islam to Southeast Asia. Chapter 7.

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Chapter 7

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  1. Abbasid Decline and the Spread of Islamic Civilization to South and Southeast Asia I) The Islamic Heartlands in Middle and late Abbasid eras II) The Age of Learning and Artistic Refinements III) The Coming of Islam to South Asia IV) The Spread of Islam to Southeast Asia Chapter 7

  2. Abbasids losing control of empire by mid 9th century Shi’a dissenters, slave and peasant uprisings Mongol invaders ended empire by 13th century Despite political decline, Islamic civilization widely expanded and reached new cultural heights. Chapter 7 Introduction

  3. I) The Islamic Heartlands in Middle and Late Abbasid Era • Despite artist and intellectual creativity of era, peasant revolts and slavery increased, women's role decline • The 3rd Abbassid Caliph al-Mahdi (775-785) failed to reconcile moderate Shia to Abbasid rule, and surrounded his court with luxury • Didn’t establish succession system, leaving lasting problems to future rulers. • Although full scale civil war was avoided after al-Mahdi’s death, within a year his eldest son and successor was poisoned which cleared the way for one of the most famous and enduring of the Abbasid caliphs, Harun al-Rashid.

  4. a) Imperial Extravagance and Succession Disputes • Harun al-Rashid became one of the most famous caliphs, his court’s extravagance shown in The Thousand and One Nights. • Became dependant on Persian advisors, and his death led to civil war over succession • Armies became power center, removing and selecting caliphs.

  5. b) Imperial Breakdown and Agrarian Disorder • Civil violence drained treasury, as well as costly new imperial centers for caliphs • Tax burden on peasants, who rebelled and agricultural villages fell into disrepair • Bandits and vagabonds everywhere

  6. c) The Declining Position of Women in the Family and Society • Abbasid society male dominated, need to be segregated to prevent lust • The veil and harem symbolize subjugation to men • Large demand for concubines and male slaves from neighboring non-Muslim lands • Women married at puberty and spent lives in domestic management and childbearing

  7. d) Nomadic Incursions and the Eclipse of Caliphal Power • Former provinces began to challenge Abbasid rule by mid-tenth century. • In 945 the armies of one of the regional dynasties the Buyids, of Persia, invaded the heartland of the Abbasid Empire and captured Baghdad. • From that point on, Caliphs were powerless, controlled by sultans • In just over a century the Buyids control was broken, and the Seljuk Turks took over and ruled the remnants of the Abbasid empire for two centuries • Seljuk were staunch Sunni who purged the Shi’a, and restored power of caliphate • When the Egyptians and Byzantines were defeated, provided an opening to settle Anatolia, nucleus of later Ottoman Empire

  8. e) The Effect of the Christian Crusades • Christian Knights from Western Europe invaded Holy Land. • The element of surprise and Muslim political division made the first of the eight crusades the most successful, and much of the Holy Land was captured (1099) and divided into Christian kingdoms. • Small rival kingdoms not a threat to powerful Muslim leaders. • Muslim leaders recapture holy land and unite under Saladin • Crusades had effect on Christian world by intensifying European borrowing of technology, architecture, medicine, science, mathematics and culture of Muslim civilization • Europeans recovered much Greek learning lost after the fall of Rome • Muslim people little interested in European civilization.

  9. II) An Age of Learning and Artistic Refinements • Ibn Khaldun was one of the greatest historians and social commentators of all time, and served as political advisors at several of the courts of Muslim rulers in his native North Africa. • He wrote a universal history in the Muqadimah where he discussed the causes for the rise and fall of dynasties • Despite political and social turmoil Muslim thinkers produced one of the great ages in human creativity • Prosperity associated with rapid urban growth, employment for skilled individuals abundant • Merchant amassed fortunes by supplying needs on trade routes • Artisans created mosques, palaces, tapestries, rugs, bronzes and ceramics

  10. a) The Full Flowering of Persian Literature • Persian replaced Arabic as primary written language of Abbasid court used for literacy expression. Administration and scholarship • Calligraphy made Literature an art form • Firdawisepic poem Shah-Nama ( Book of Kings) was a history of Persia from creation to Islamic conquest • Arabic still used for religion, law and natural sciences

  11. b) Achievement in the Sciences • For several centuries, Muslim society surpassed all others • In math, used Greek ideas • In chemistry al-Razi classified all material into animal, vegetable and mineral. • Improved Astrolabe was used for mapping the heavens • In medicine, improved hospitals • Craftsmen introduce machines and techniques for papermaking, silk weaving and ceramic firing • Scholars made excellent maps

  12. c) Religious Trends and the New Push for Expansion • Ulama (religious scholars) became suspicious of non-Muslim thought • Insisted Quran was all embracing source of knowledge • Greta Theologian al-Ghazali struggled to fuse Greek and Quranic traditions, but was often opposed by conservatives • The Sufis were most innovative, gained reputation as healers, sought personal relationship with Allah.

  13. d) New Waves of Nomadic Invasions and the End of the Caliphate • The Mongols threatened Islamic lands in the early 13th century • Chinggis Khan destroyed Turkic-Persian kingdoms east of Baghdad. • Chinggis died before the heartland of the Muslim world were invaded, but his grandson Hulegu renewed the assaults and the Abbasid capital of Baghdad was sacked and taken by the Mongols in 1258. • After the last Abbasid ruler was killed, Baghdad became an unimportant backwater in the Muslim world. • The Monguls continued westward until they were finally defeated by the Mamluks, or Turkic slaves, who ruled Epypt.

  14. III) The Coming of Islam to South Asia • Muslim invaders (711) added complexity to Indian civilization • Hindu religion tolerant, polytheistic, based on caste system whereas Islam was evangelistic, egalitarian and monotheistic • Early period many conflicts, but although tensions persisted, peaceful commercial and religious exchange occurred with Muslim rulers and Hindu subjects

  15. Political Divisions and 1st Muslim Invasions • Umayyad general Muhammad ibn Qasim conquered and annexed Sind • Many Indians welcomed the new rulers because they were treated as “people of the book” and offered religious tolerance and lower taxes • Minimal conversion efforts did not change existing beliefs

  16. b) Indian Influences on Islamic Culture • While Islam's effect on India was minimal, Islamic civilization was enriched by Indian culture • Indian achievements in science, math, medicine, music, and astronomy passed to Arabs • Indian numerals were accepted, later to pass to Europe as “Arabic numerals” • India became staging point for later Islamic expansion to Southeast Asia

  17. c) From Booty to Empire: The 2nd Wave of Muslim Invasions • Internal Muslim divisions allowed Hindu reconquest • Turk Mahmud of Ghazni began two centuries of Islamic incursions into India • Persian Muhammad of Ghur created an Islamic state in the Indus Valley in the 12th century. • After Muhammad was assassinated in 1206, one of his slave lieutenants, Qutb-ud-din-Aibak seized power. • Delhi Sultanate (1206) rule a dynasty of military states in north central India for the next 300 years

  18. d) Patterns of Conversion • Although Muslims came to India as conquerors, most exchanges with Indians was peaceful • Low and outcast Hindus were welcomed at Mosques and schools • Buddhists were the most numerous converts, often to escape taxes or intermarry • Many Muslims also fled to India to escape Mongol incursions.

  19. e) Patterns of Accommodation • High caste Hindus did not accept invaders as equals, had little effect on community • Hindus thought Muslims would be absorbed by Hindu society • Muslims accepted Hindu social hierarchies, foods and attitudes toward women. • Muslim communities became socially divided along caste lines, and Muslims also adopted Indian foods and style of dress. • The Muslim influx had unfortunate consequences for women in both Hindu and Muslim communities. • The invaders increasingly adopted the Hindu practice of marrying women at earlier ages, and some upper class Muslim groups even preformed sati, the ritual of burning widows on the same funeral pyres as their deceased husbands.

  20. f) Islamic Challenge and Hindu Revival • Despite Hindu influences, Muslims held to tenants of Islam. • Hindu response was devotional cults open to all castes, stressing emotional bond to gods, Shiva, Vishnu, and Kali. • Membership in these bhaktic cults was open to all, including women and untouchables. • Mira Bai, a low-caste woman, and Kabir, a weaver, wrote poems and songs in local languages accessible to common people • Movement helped stem the conversion to Islam

  21. g) Stand-Off: The Muslim Presence in India at the End of the Sultanate Period • Similarities in message led to attempts to bridge gaps between Islam and Hinduism, which orthodox of each faith opposed • Brahamas called Muslim temple destroyers • Ulama stressed incompatibility of beliefs • By end of Sultanate period there were two distinct religious communities • South Asia remained least converted area to Islam, great majority still Hindu

  22. IV) The Spread of Islam to Southeast Asia • Muslims by the 8th century had gained control of Indian commerce • Southeast Asian sailors from the Chinese trading complex met the Indian Ocean zone • Islamic culture reached Southeast Asia (1290) • When trading empire of Buddhist ruled Shrivijaya collapsed in 13th century, peaceful large scale Muslim entry was possible

  23. Trading Contacts and Conversions Peaceful contacts and conversion were more important than conquest in the spread of Islam Trading contacts prepared way, with process forwarded by Sufis Coastal cities most receptive to Islam, linked to trade ports on Indian Ocean. The powerful trading city of Malacca replaced Shrivijaya, and Islam spread along the coasts of Malaya to east Sumatra to the trading center of Demak on the north coast of Java. Buddhist dynasties in region were limited to elite, opening mass of population to Sufis

  24. b) Sufi Mystics and the Nature of Southeast Asian Islam • Sufis often tolerant of Buddhist and Hindu beliefs, converts retained pre-Islamic practices, especially regulating social interaction • Islamic law ruled, women held stronger position than in Middle East or India • Many pre-Muslim beliefs were incorporated into Islamic ceremonies, such as Javanese puppet shadow plays

  25. In Depth: Conversion and Accommodation in the Spread of Religions • Great civilizations and religions have been closely associated throughout history • Religions need strong core set of beliefs appeal to potential converts • Core beliefs maintain sense of identity, but flexibility to allow retention of important aspects of local culture • Capacity of Accommodation allowed Islam and later Christianity to spread to many differing communities.

  26. Global Connections: Islam a Bridge Between Worlds • Despite political instability of Abbasids, Islam’s position in global history was solidified • Muslim world linked civilizations through trade and conquest, civilized nomadic people in Asia and Africa • Cultural contributions diffused widely, yet intellectual rigidity of the ulama caused Muslims to become less receptive to outside influences, unlike the transforming European world

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