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10-2 Notes

Muhammad did not leave a successor after his death. A group of prominent Muslims chose a new leader, a caliph.
The 1st four caliphs were elected for life (all relatives or close friends of Muhammad). Abu Bakr (Muhammads father-in-law) was the first. They were called the rightly guided caliphs for ruling like Muhammad. They ruled from Mecca and emphasized religion. The Rightly Guided Caliphs sought to protect and spread Islam. (They were also eager to acquire the wealth of the Byzantines and Persians.) By 650 AD they had taken Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia & Egypt. They were successful because 1. faith united them (common goal to spread Islam) 2. jihad is the struggle to take Islam to other land 3. warriors who died in a jihad immediately enter paradise 4. efficient fighting methods camel and horse cavalry aggressive and mobile offensives overwhelmed more traditional armies 5. Byzantine & Persian Empires were weakened from fighting each other 6. Muslims preached tolerance rather than persecution, viewed as liberators from harsh Byzantine or Persian rule; special tax for non-Muslims, but allowed to practice own faith [many converted Islam had no hierarchy, emphasized equality] Muawiyah was a powerful rival to the fourth caliph, Ali. He became the first caliph of the powerful Umayyad in 661 AD. They move the capital to Damascus. Followers of Ali never accepted Muawiyah and this produced a permanent split in Islam. The Shiite (Shia) are followers of Ali (the smaller group of Muslims Iran, Lebanon, Iraq & Yemen). They believe the caliph must be a descendant of Muhammad. The majority are the Sunni (90%). The caliph may be any devout Muslim. A third group emerged, Sufi, Muslim mystics. The Umayyad Dynasty made Arabic the official language, minted the first Arabic currency, built roads and established postal routes. 732 AD the Battle of Tours in France, marks the end of the Islamic invasion into Western Europe. Spain flourished as a center of Islamic civilization. 750 AD the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyad. They moved the capital to Baghdad on the Tigris River. The Abbasid Empire reached its height from 786 AD to 809 AD under Harun alRashid. Worked for equality among all the empires peoples. They ended Arab dominance and helped make Islam a universal religion.

They ruled until 1258 AD. Their wealth was based on caravans that traveled
through the region (silk, spices, etc.)