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					ISLAM


  THE FIRST TRANS-
REGIONAL CIVILIZATION
CURRENT MUSLIM WORLD
          PRE-ISLAMIC ARABIA
• The Arabian peninsula
   – Largely deserts with mountains, oases
   – Fertile areas in the southern mountains around Yemen
   – Nomadic Bedouin
      •   Lived in the desert-covered peninsula for millennia
      •   Kept herds of sheep, goats, and camels
      •   Organized in family and clan groups
      •   Importance of kinship and loyalty to the clan
      •   Many tribes seem to have been matrilineal with some rights for women
• Post-classical Arabia
   – Romans (Byzantines) and Persians had client kingdoms in area
   – Active in long-distance over land trade
      •   Trade from Damascus to Mecca/Medina to Yemen
      •   Trade across desert to Persian Gulf and along coast
      •   Part of Red Sea trade system; links between Yemen and Abyssinia
      •   Trade includes gold, frankincense and myrrh
   – Religion was polytheist
   – Groups of Jews in Arabia; Monophysite Christians in cities
6TH CENTURY ARABIA
PHYSICAL MAP OF ARABIA
    MUHAMMAD’S EARLY LIFE
• Muhammad ibn Abdullah
   –   Born in a Mecca merchant family, 570 C.E.
   –   Difficult early life: orphaned, lived with uncle
   –   Married a wealthy widow, Khadija, in 595
   –   Became a merchant at age 30, exposed to various faiths
• Muhammad's spiritual transformation
   – At age 40, he experienced visions
        •   There was only one true god, Allah ("the god")
        •   Allah would soon bring judgment on the world
        •   The archangel Gabriel delivered these revelations to Muhammad
        •   Did not intend to found a new religion, but his message became appealing
• The Quran
   –   Followers compiled Muhammad's actual revelations after his death
   –   Quran ("recitation"), became the holy book of Islam
   –   Suras are chapters; organized from longest to shortest
   –   A work of magnificent poetry
• The Hadith
   – Sayings attributed to Muhammad; not included in Quran
   – Three levels from most accurate/likely to highly suspect
         THE HIJRA (FLIGHT)
•       Conflict at Mecca
    –         His teachings offended others, especially ruling elite of Mecca
    –         Attacks on greed offended wealthy merchants
    –         Attacks on idolatry threatened shrines, especially the Kaa'ba
•       The hijra
    –         Under persecution, Muhammad, followers fled to Medina, 622 C.E.
    –         The move, known as hijra, was starting point of Islamic calendar
•       The umma
    –         Organized a cohesive community called umma in Medina
    –         Led commercial adventure
    –         Sometimes launched raids against Mecca caravans
    –         Helped the poor and needy
•       The "seal of the prophets"
    –         Referred himself as "seal of the prophets," - final prophet of Allah
    –         Held Hebrew scriptures and New Testament in high esteem
          •      Referred to followers as “Peoples of the Book”
          •      If they did not threaten umma, were to be protected
    –         Determined to spread Allah's wish to all humankind
       CONQUEST OF ARABIA
• Muhammad's return to Mecca
   – Conquered Mecca, 630
   – Imposed a theocratic government dedicated to Allah
   – Destroyed pagan shrines and built mosques
• The Kaa'ba
   – The Kaa'ba shrine was not destroyed
   – In 632, Muhammad led the first Islamic pilgrimage to the Ka'ba
• The Five Pillars of Islam
   – Obligations taught by Muhammad, known as the Five Pillars
   – The Five Pillars bound the umma into a cohesive community of faith
   – Profession of faith, prayer, tithing, pilgrimage, fasting at Ramadan
• Islamic law: the sharia
   –   Emerged during the centuries after Muhammad
   –   Detailed guidance on proper behavior in almost every aspect of life
   –   Drew laws, precepts from the Quran
   –   Drew traditions from Arabic culture, Hadith
   –   Through the sharia, Islam became a religion and a way of life
SYMBOLS OF ISLAM
         EXPANSION OF ISLAM
• The caliph
   – Upon Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr served as caliph ("deputy")
   – Became head of state, chief judge, religious leader, military commander
   – First four called Orthodox caliphs because they were original followers
• The expansion of Islam
   –   633-637, seized Byzantine Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia
   –   640's, conquered Egypt and north Africa
   –   651, toppled Sassanid dynasty
   –   711, conquered the Hindu kingdom of Sind
   –   711-718, conquered northwest Africa, most of Iberia
   –   Success due to weakness of enemies, vigor of Islam
   –   Referred to Islamic world as Dar al Islam
• The Shia and Sunnis
   – The Shia sect supported Ali (last caliph and son in law of Muhammad)
        • A refuge for non-Arab converts, poor; followers in Irag, Iran
        • Felt caliphs should be directly related to Muhammad
   – The Sunnis ("traditionalists") accepted legitimacy of early caliphs
        • Were Arab as opposed to Islamic
        • Did not feel caliphs had to be related to Muhammad
   – Two sects struggled over succession; produced a civil war, murder
SPREAD OF ISLAM
      UMAYYAD DYNASTY
• The Umayyad dynasty (661-750 C.E.)
  – New caliph won civil war; murdered Ali; established dynasty
  – Established capital city at Damascus in Syria
  – Ruled for the interests of Arabian military aristocracy
• Policy toward conquered peoples
  – Dhimmis were the conquered Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians
  – Levied jizya (head tax) on those who did not convert to Islam
  – Even the converts did not enjoy wealth, position of authority
• Umayyad decline
  –   Caliphs became alienated from Arabs by early 8th century
  –   By the mid-century, faced strong resistance of the Shia faction
  –   The discontent of conquered peoples also increased
  –   Umayyad family slaughtered; only one son escaped to Spain
  –   Formed breakaway Umayyad Dynasty in Spain
           ABBASID DYNASTY
•       Abu al-Abbas
    –      A descendant of Muhammad's uncle; allied with Shias and non-Arab Muslims
    –      Seized control of Persia and Mesopotamia during 740's
    –      Shattered Umayyad forces at a battle in 750; annihilated the Umayyad clan
•       The Abbasid dynasty (750-1258 C.E.)
    –      Showed no special favor to Arab military aristocracy
    –      Empire still growing, but not initiated by the central government
•       Abbasid administration
    –      Relied heavily on Persians, Persian techniques of statecraft
    –      Central authority ruled from the court at Baghdad, newly built city
    –      Governors ruled provinces; Ulama, qadis (judges) ruled local areas
•       Harun al-Rashid (786-809 C.E.)
    –      Represented the high point of the dynasty
    –      Baghdad became metropolis, center for commerce, industry, and culture
•       Abbasid decline
    –      Struggle for succession between Harun's sons led to civil war
    –      Governors built their own power bases, regional dynasties
    –      Local military commanders took title of Sultan
    –      Popular uprisings and peasant rebellions weakened the dynasty
    –      A Persian noble seized control of Baghdad in 945
    –      Later, the Seljuk Turks controlled the imperial family
    AN URBAN CIVILIZATION
• Arab Urban History
   – Pre-Islamic Arabs were both urban, bedouin
       •   Mecca, Medina, Yemeni cities, cities of Palmyra, Arab Petropolis
       •   Center of the city was a market place often shared with religious center
       •   Cities designed with human-environment interaction in mind
       •   Nomads came to city to trade, city often settled by whole tribes
       •   Arabs had settled in cities in Syria, Iraq, Jordan
   – Arabic cities linked to wider world through merchants, trade
   – Arab cities exposed to Jews, Persians, Monophysites, Sabeans
• Arabic Empire and Urban Growth
   – Islam as a culture requires mosque, merchant: very urban in outlook
       • Capital moved from Mecca to Damascus by Umayyads
       • Arabs founded military cities on edges of desert to rule empire
   – As empire grew, needed something more permanent
       • Abbasids moved capital from Damascus, Kufa to Baghdad
       • Other designed for purpose cities include Fez, Cairo, Tunis
   – Increasing agricultural production contributed to growth of cities
       • Cities: centers for administration, industry, trade, education, faith
       • Many different ethnic minorities settled in Muslim cities (quarters)
       • Mosque at center surrounded by suk, square, in decreasing social order
       CHANGED ECONOMICS
• Merchants, pilgrims, travelers exchanged foods across empire
• The exchange and spread of food and industrial crops
   –   Indian plants traveled to other lands of the empire
   –   Staple crops: sugarcane, rice, new varieties of sorghum and wheat
   –   Vegetables: spinach, artichokes, eggplants
   –   Fruits: oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, coconuts, watermelons, mangoes
   –   Industrial crops: cotton, indigo, henna
• Effects of new crops
   – Increased varieties and quantities of food
   – Industrial crops became the basis for a thriving textile industry
   – Foodstuffs increased health, populations of cities
• Agricultural experimentation
   – Numerous agricultural manuals
   – Agricultural methods and techniques improved
   – Improved irrigation
       A VAST TRADE ZONE
• Camels and caravans
   – Overland desert trade traveled mostly by camel caravan
   – Caravanserais (motel, corrals) in Islamic cities
   – Trading goods usually luxury in nature
• Maritime trade based on technological borrowing
   – Arab, Persian mariners borrowed
       • Compass from the Chinese
       • Lateen sail from southeast Asian, Indian mariners
       • Astrolabe from the Hellenistic mariners
   – Organization and dominance of trade
       •   In North Africa across Sahara, down Nile, SW Asia, to India
       •   Eastern Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Arabia Gulf down coasts
       •   Many cities grew rich from trade
       •   Entrepreneurs often pooled their resources in group investments
       •   Different kinds of joint endeavors
• Banks
   – Operated on large scale and provided extensive services
   – Letters of credit, or sakk, functioned as bank checks
• Exchange of Ideas included Islam, technology, culture
ISLAMIC TRADE
 OTHER ISLAMIC REGIONS
• Al-Andalus
   –   Islamic Spain, conquered by Muslim Berbers
   –   Claimed independence from the Abbasid dynasty
   –   Participated in commercial life of the larger Islamic world
   –   Products of al-Andalus enjoyed a reputation for excellence
   –   Cordoba was a center of learning, commerce, architecture
   –   After death of Abd al Rahman III broke up into petty kingdoms
   –   A unique blended culture
        • Arab, Latin, German, Islamic, Christian, Jewish
        • Very tolerant and integrated society
   – Warred for 700 years with Christian kingdoms in north
• North Africa
   – Strong followers of Shia, broke with Abbassids
   – Berbers followed many puritanical Shia like movements
   – Eventually Fatimids conquered Egypt, formed rival caliphate
• Central Asia
   – Largely Turkish, Persian and Islamic but not Arabic
   – Tended to be distant from Baghdad and more tolerant
   – Integrated into trans-Eurasian trade network
MUSLIM SPAIN
MUSLIM CENTRAL ASIA
WOMEN’S CHANGING STATUS
• Pre-Islamic Arab Women
  – Arabs as nomads allowed women many rights
  – Women often poets, tribe leaders
  – Some evidence of matrilineal tribes
• The Quran and women
  – Quran enhanced rights, security of women
  – Forced husbands to honor contracts, love women
  – Allowed women to own property, protected from exploitation
• What produced the change
  – Foreign Contacts changed the perspective
     • Adopted veiling from Mesopotamia, Persia
     • Isolation from India through purdah, harem
  – Muslim rights for women
     •   Often weaken through Hadith, traditions
     •   Often reduced, ignored
     •   Patriarch beliefs reinforced by conquest
     •   Yet Quran, sharia also reinforced male domination
     •   Role of Hadith, Arab traditions reinforced male domination
IMAGE OF WOMEN
    ISLAMIC CULTURAL TRADITION
•       Quran, sharia were main sources to formulate moral guidelines
•       Constant struggle between what is Arabic and what is Islamic
    –      Use of Arabic script as only language of Islam strengthened trend
    –      Persians, Turks, Indians, and Africans struggled for acceptance
•       Promotion of Islamic values
    –      Ulama, qadis, and missionaries were main agents
    –      Education also promoted Islamic values
•       Sufis
    –      Islamic mystics, effective missionaries
    –      Encouraged devotion by singing, dancing
    –      Led ascetic, holy lives, won respect
    –      Encouraged followers to revere Allah in own ways
    –      Tolerated those who associated Allah with other beliefs
•       The hajj
    –      The Kaa'ba became the symbol of Islamic cultural unity
    –      Pilgrims helped to spread Islamic beliefs and values
  ISLAM & OTHER CONTACTS
• Persian influence on Islam
   – After Arabs most prominent of Muslims, resisted Arabization
       • Cultural traditions often borrowed heavily by Islam
       • Became early followers of Shia
   – Government and regionalism
       • Many advisors (vizer is Persian word) to Caliphs were Persian
       • Cultured, diplomatic language of Abbassid court became Persian
   – Literary achievements
       • Omar Khayyam was greatest of Medieval Muslim poets
       • The Arabian Nights largely in a Persian style
• Turkish influences
   – Central Asian nomads converted to Islam, developed literary culture
   – Invaded SW Asia and made caliphate dependent on Turkish nomads
   – Formed military might, leadership of late Abbassid state
• Indian Influences
   – Purdah and harem borrowed from Hindus
   – "Hindi numerals," which Europeans called "Arabic numerals"
• Greek Influences
   – Muslims philosophers especially liked Plato and Aristotle; Greek math
   – Effort of harmonizing two traditions met resistance from Sufis

				
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posted:11/26/2011
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