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Middle East 600-1450. Unit 3 Section 2. Origins of Islam. Islam, the youngest of the monotheistic religions, began on the Arabian Peninsula Founder/ Prophet – Muhammad was born in the trading town of Mecca in 570

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middle east 600 1450

Middle East 600-1450

Unit 3 Section 2

origins of islam
Origins of Islam
  • Islam, the youngest of the monotheistic religions, began on the Arabian Peninsula
  • Founder/ Prophet – Muhammad was born in the trading town of Mecca in 570
    • Mecca was important in pre-Islamic history not only as an economic center but also as a holy site
      • Pilgrims went to Mecca to visit the Ka’ba, a shrine believed to have build by the patriarch Abraham
  • Muhammad was raised as an orphan by his uncle, chief of his clan, and grew up to be a successful trading merchant
  • About 610, Muhammad began to meditate and had visions in which he came to believe that God-Allah, was revealing himself (through the angel Gabriel)
  • Sharing his revelations, he began to gather a following that embraced his belief that there is only on true god, who was responsible for all of creation, and that people must submit to the authority of God (Islam=submission, Muslim=one who submits to Allah)
five pillars of faith
Five Pillars of Faith:
  • Faith “shahadah” ‘there is no god but Allah, and Mohammad is his messenger’ – this must be stated and repeated 5 times by followers
  • Prayer “salah” – Required to pray 5 times daily – dawn, midday, afternoon, evening and night. Hands, face and feet must be washed before prayer.
  • Tithing“zakah” – must pay a percentage of annual income to the mosque which is used for aiding the poor and the sick
  • Fasting “sawn” – during the month of Ramadan, believers are to refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual activities from dawn to sunset
  • Pilgrimage “hajj” – Believers are required to go to Mecca at least once in their life if they are able
basic beliefs and practices
Basic Beliefs and Practices
  • Modesty is expected for the dress of both men and women (though this is up for interpretation)
    • Men often have a beard and wear a skull cap
    • Women often dress in loose attire and may cover hair (hijab) in more strict environments they are mandated to cover more.
  • Houses of worship
  • Calls to prayer are made from the minaret or minarets of the building
  • Separate entrances for men and women
  • Women have special rules in the mosque as well as a separate area for observation. They are also not to enter the Mosque while menstruating.
  • People are to remove shoes before entrance or before walking on carpeted areas
life and death of muhammad
Life and Death of Muhammad
  • The tribal leaders in Mecca came to fear that Muhammad’s belief in one god threatened their power and security as well the polytheistic traditions of their communities
  • Muhammad was therefore forced to flee to Medina in 622, a journey that is known as the Hijra, meaning the migration or flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina
    • This date marks the beginning of the Islamic faith and thus the Muslim calendar
  • It was in Medina that the Islamic community, or Umma, solidified and ultimately was able to win over Mecca in 630.
  • After completing a pilgrimage to the Ka’ba, a tradition that lives on as the hajj, Muhammad returned to Medina to manage both the political and religious affairs of this reinvigorated city-state, until his death 2 years later, in 632
the schism of islam
The Schism of Islam
  • Muhammad’s death immediately raised the question of who would be Muhammad’s successor, or caliph, which provoked the first major split in the Islamic Umma.
  • This split ultimately divided Muslims into 2 major sects, the Sunnis and the Shi’ites
    • Shi’ite Muslims believe that succession should be traced through the bloodline of Muhammad
      • Therefore Muhammad’s cousin Ali should have been the caliph and only Ali’s descendents should be imams or religious leaders of the Muslim community as a whole
      • To Shi’ites, the caliph is more of a secular leader
    • Sunni Muslims, believing that the caliph is to be chosen by the community, regard the 1st three caliphs who succeeded Muhammad as properly selected
      • Sunnis see the caliph as a secular and religious leader
      • Therefore the caliph is an imam as well
  • While the concept of the caliphate was a unifying factor, in reality the caliphate was quite fragmented by the late 9th Century
the origins of the qur an
The Origins of the Qur’an
  • One of the first tasks of Abu Bakr, the 1st caliph, was to collect and organize Muhammad’s revelations into a book – Qur’an
    • Muslims, like Jews and Christians, are considered the people of the book
    • Unlike the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the Qur’an is believed by Muslims to be the literal words of God as given to Muhammad – not a collection of writings by many authors over a long period of time
    • The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, is written in Arabic & is to be read in Arabic
  • As the Muslim world grew to non-Arabic-speaking regions, the need to read the Qur’an in Arabic encouraged the growth of schools to teach the language & to interpret the Qur’an
  • Qur’an (also spelled Koran)
    • Is the revealed word of god (Allah) to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel.
    • Is organized in Suras (like long poems or sonnets) that are all in Arabic, it has a musical quality and is meant to be recited
  • Hadith
    • Teachings, sayings, and life of the prophet Muhammad
  • Shariah
    • Known as the Islamic Law, it is a code of conduct for proper Islamic behavior
umayyad caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
  • As the dominant sect, Sunni Muslims established the Umayyad caliphate in 661, with its capital in Damascus, Syria
  • The peoples living under the control of the Umayyad caliph were predominately Arab
  • By 732 Arab Muslims had conquered Syria, Palestine and North Africa
    • They gained control of a part of southern Spain – referred to as al Andalus– in the early 8th Century
  • Under Muslim rule Spanish cities like Seville and Cordoba flourished as centers of government, where Muslims, Christians and Jews created a unique culture known for its literature, art, architecture, & agricultural accomplishments
abbasid caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
  • After a period of increasing conflict, the Abbasid caliphate was established in 750 and ruled until 1258 from its capital in Baghdad
    • Effective rule over such a large empire proved challenging for the Abbasids, particularly in terms of holding territory
    • The empire also became more diverse as more non-Arabs converted to Islam
  • Baghdad, the capital, became a thriving center for learning, culture, and technological advancements despite the political and territorial fragmentation of the 9th Century and, later, the Crusades.
    • Islam continued to spread despite territorial loss
retention expansion of knowledge
Retention & Expansion of Knowledge
  • Scholars from all over Eurasia came to Baghdad to learn about Islam and exchange information
  • Thanks to the transmission of papermaking from China, literature and books were much more available in the Middle East than in Europe
    • Unlike Christianity at this time, in particular the Catholic Church, Islam looked to many different sources for knowledge.
    • Much of the great knowledge of antiquity, including the Greek classics, which would prove so important for the European Renaissance, as well as works from Persia & India, had been copied into Arabic, allowing the ideas to be shred across the Muslim world
    • Many of the works from the Hellenistic past helped Muslims to excel in science and technology. Astronomical observations, medicinal studies, and mathematics from the Greek past were reexamined, and Muslim scholars build on these studies
new converts
New Converts
  • Cities like Baghdad and Cordoba were essential for the Muslim empire, both as ways of spreading the faith and as governing centers.
  • New converts, many of whom were not Arab, could count on the cities as places to learn the language and traditions of their new faith free of discrimination.
  • The mosque, the Muslim house of worship, became a central architectural landmark that newcomers of the faith could recognize because of its distinctive features
  • One social group that rose in cities was the ulama, an Arabic word for people with religious knowledge.
  • As the Muslim empire grew in cultural diversity under the Abbasid caliphate, the ulama sought to preserve central teachings and tenets of the faith
    • Example: (originating with the Iranians) the madrasa or the religious college
    • Example: (originating with the Iranians) Sufi brotherhoods – mystic religious groups
cities and the silk road
Cities and the Silk Road
  • Cities were essential as places of trade
    • Since the time of the Umayyad caliphate, a coinage system allowed for both local and long-distance trade that linked the more isolated portions of the Islamic empire and encouraged the burgeoning textile industry as well as other crafts
  • The Islamic world stood at the western end of the Silk Road, the most important overland trade route of the period 600-1450
    • The Islamic faith spread through Muslim merchants who traveled along the Silk Road, allowing the region to spread from Spain to China
women in islam
Women in Islam
  • Women in the Islamic world had greater legal freedoms than Jewish or Christian women
    • Although seclusion of women and veiling practices that are believed by many to have originated with Islam, they actually date to Byzantine and Sassanid times and later came to be a part of the Islamic tradition
  • Although Muslim women were not considered the equals of men, which also true in the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe, they were influential in family life, could own and inherit property, divorce, remarry and testify in court
  • By the middle of the 9th century several provinces had broken away and established their own caliphates, such as the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt
    • Another example was the Samanid caliphate, an Iranian dynasty that brought many Persian influences to the art and literature of the Islamic world.
  • Because of territorial fragmentation, the Abbasid leaders came to rely on the mamluks, Turkish slaves from central Asia with exceptional skill in warfare
    • They became a powerful military presence in the Middle East during Islamic rule, & by the 11th Century, Turkish groups had significantly diminished the territory & political power of the Abbasid caliphate
      • Example: in the early 11th Century the Seljuk Turks created a Turkish Muslim state that controlled territory from Baghdad up through Syria and into Anatolia & Byzantine areas.
    • Christians viewed the Seljuk Turks as a tremendous threat, & they set out to take the Holy Land back from Turkish Muslims

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weMhSSYoRi4 – Crusades Video (music)

  • The Crusades were a series of battles initiated by one monotheistic faith, Christianity, against another monotheistic faith, Islam.
    • By the 11th Century, Muslim leaders were in control of many cities that were considered sacred by Christians, among them Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria.
    • Christians had been allowed to make pilgrimage to these places, but as Muslims continued to eat away at the Byzantine Empire and conquer more territory deemed precious to Christendom, a campaign against the Muslims began to form in both western Europe and the Byzantine Empire
jerusalem saladin
Jerusalem & Saladin
  • Jerusalem, a city of particular significance to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, was in the hands of the Seljuk Turks, who at the time of the 1st Crusade were going through a period of internal dispute
    • Even though Christian crusaders had wrested Jerusalem from the Seljuk Turks in 1099, Islamic military forces under the dynamic leader Saladin were able to take back the city in 1187
  • The Islamic world in the Middle East continued to thrive despite the Crusaders’ unsuccessful attempt to take land permanently, and the Crusades had very little long-term effects on Muslim territory
impact of the crusades
Impact of the Crusades
  • The greatest impact of the Crusades was therefore not on the Muslims themselves.
  • Instead, European life, which was far less sophisticated than Muslims’, was dramatically improved
    • The incredible amount of information, ideas, goods, and resources that the Crusaders were exposed to in their encounter with the Muslim world was remarkable
      • Over time, the Crusaders brought back paper and sugar, and they learned how to make many of the goods they previously could only import
      • The establishment of trading ports in Italian cities like Venice & Genoa helped to open Europe to the diverse Muslim world of the Middle East.
      • Demand for goods from the Middle East stimulated the markets of late medieval Europe and also encouraged trade between the Muslim world, western Europe & the Byzantine Empire
  • Muslims also made enormous intellectual contributions to Europe in 2 ways:
    • Their Arabic translations of works by ancient Greek scientists & philosophers such as Aristotle allowed for the restoration of ideas that had long been buries during the Middle Ages.
    • Arabs & Iranians, building on the work of the ancient philosophers, had added their own insights to give rise to new and innovative ideas
  • Migrating from the central Asian steppes as nomadic group, the Mongols were able to do what Europeans had failed to in the Crusades:
    • They shattered what had once been the heart of the Muslim Empire
  • The weakened & fragmented Abbasid Caliphate was destroyed when Baghdad was sacked in 1258
  • This event appalled the Islamic world, which did not expect a catastrophe of this magnitude.
  • Rather than destroy all that Islam had contributed to the world, however, the Mongols became ardent patrons of Islamic culture, including art, literature, and architecture.
    • Many of the Mongol leaders known as khans, eventually converted to Islam and came to appreciate the urban infrastructure of the Islamic world.
  • Still, tensions between the Mongols & Muslims continued much of it because of differences in cultural practices
il khan
  • The Mongols set up 4 khanates in Eurasia
    • The Il-khan Empire in the Middle East was established in 1256 by the grandson of Genghis
  • Mongol nobles were placed in positions of power
    • Borrowing from an earlier Middle Eastern economic practice, the Mongols used tax farming – giving out private contracts to merchants to collect taxes by whatever means served them best
    • To foster the collection of as much money as possible, these merchants were allowed to keep any money above what was due to the government
      • Although this method was initially successful, tax farming coupled with an experiment using paper money from China eventually brought about an economic depression that outlived the Il-khan Empire
silk road scholars
Silk Road & Scholars
  • The Islamic world had served as a major conduit for ideas & goods in its position at the western end of the Silk Road, and that continued under Mongol rule
    • Fine products from the East such as silk and porcelain flowed into the Middle east and from there to Europe
    • Scholars, merchants, and missionaries traveled to the courts of the Mongols and recorded what they saw there
    • In addition, scholars such as Rashid al-Din were patronized by the Il-Khans and wrote histories describing the greatness of the world controlled by the Mongols as well histories of such faraway places as China & Europe
math science the plague
Math, Science & the Plague
  • The Mongols were also fascinated by the scientific & mathematical innovations of the Muslim world.
    • Algebra & trigonometry, as well as astronomical work that would one day be used by Europeans such as Copernicus, were all preserved & supplemented under both the Il-khans and their successors, the Timurids
    • This knowledge spread across the world of the Mongols & Turks and eventually through translation reached Europe
  • In addition, trade also brought disease, specifically the bubonic plague, which made its way through the Middle East and into Europe during Mongol rule
    • Far more than any attack or conquest, the plague would be the Mongols’ most devastating impact
shifting empires
Shifting Empires
  • By the 14th Century, the Middle East was in the control of Turkish sultans & the Mongol khans
  • The Seljuk Turks still had a small kingdom that stood between the Byzantine Empire and the Mongols
  • The Mamluk Sultanate controlled Egypt & had successfully resisted a Mongol takeover to become a major player in shifting alliances with various khans to keep both Il-khan power at bay and the Crusaders from gaining any ground
  • Il-Khan Empire, which controlled territory from Syria to the Indus River, gave way to the Timurid Empire when the Central Asian Turkic leader Timur rose to take much of the Middle East before his death in 1405
decline of timurid rise of ottoman
Decline of Timurid/Rise of Ottoman
  • The Timurid Empire was short-lived
    • The Ottoman Empire would be the next great Turkish presence in the Middle East
    • Like the Seljuk Turks and the mamluks, the Ottomans were exceptionally skilled in warfare and conquest
    • As Mongol power began to decline, the Ottomans tightened their political organization and began their political ascent, establishing Turkic principalities in western Anatolia
    • Despite a defeat by Timur in 1402, the Ottoman sultans would take over the Byzantine Empire in 1453 and create a Muslim empire that would endure until the 20th Century.