Islamic Conquests And civil war: the Sunni/Shiite division
Conquest paradox • "Early Islamic conquests were not accompanied by some fanatical desire to convert the world. The Muslim conquests have to be understood in terms of religious motivation but not in terms of a determination to wipe out Judaism and Christianity." – Paul Freedman • Rapid Islamic expansion not accompanied by mandatory conversions. • Motivation to conquer not equitable to desire to spread religion.
650-750, more on the paradox • Internal division manifest • Nature of religion not decided • Conquest not equal to conversion
Successor to Mohammed? • Seal of the prophets • Military, religious, civil • Abu Bakr elected Caliph • Ali, husband of Fatima, disputes • Ridea/apostasy – rejection of Abu Bakr • Will become Shiite • Systematic conquest of apostasy turns to conquest of outsiders • Military energy turns from internal to external
Factors for quick conquest • Romans and Persians worn out • Razziturn into territorial gains • Vikings of the desert? • Minority religions: Monophysites and Zoroastrians • Jihad, struggle, against other religions or internecine. Religious motivation but not justification.
Conquest of Persia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt under Omar • Fall of Damascus, 634 • Invasion of Spain, 711
Arab Conquests • No rule on how this works • Alexandria surrenders, people allowed to keep things as they were • Plunder readily available from the state and church, so populations left alone • Taxes assessed double to non-Muslims • Land tax • Imperial bureaucracies maintained, official languages • Daily life maintains basically the same
Tolerance • No interest in conversion to Islam, keep higher tax bracket • Respect for people of the book • Confidence in Islam itself • Until 750, no mass conversions to Islam in conquered territories
Umayyad Dynasty, Shiite Division • 644, Murder of Omar • Ali defeated again in election, by Uthman • Meccan establishment returns to power to the great chagrin of Ali
Uthman continues conquests • Battle of the Masts, islands fall • Armenia • Dislike for Uthman, monarch rather than caliph • Murder of Uthman, 656
Ali proclaimed Caliph • By the assassins of Uthman • Umayyads oppose Ali • First civil war started by the Umayyad Mu'awiya the governor of Damascus • Gives rise to third party against both groups. Messy civil war • Capital from Medina to Damascus
Mu'awiya • Moves capital to Damascus • Cosmopolitan move away from Arabia • Transforms caliphate into monarchy • Ummayad
Shiites emerge • Minority emerge against Sunni and Umayyads • Permanent dissidents • Reject caliph, because of dynastic question also because he is monarchical, shiites call it tyranny • Egalitarian yet violent opposition emerges • Shiites call for imam, a spiritual savior who is inspired. • 11 imams are all there
12th imam • Period of occultation • Idea he will come and set things right • Shia tends towards Arabian values, purity, apocalypse, etc discontents • Sunnis towards established authority, more cosmopolitian • Mawali (mawal singular) are non-Arab Muslims and not the Shia preference