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The impact of Islam

Religion and Empire

Tribal divisions Polytheistic Relied heavily on trade 7th C Arabia divide b/w the sedentary people vs. the nomads
Urban dwellers had a range of lifestyles Nomads Bedouins


Located in Mecca Houses Black Stone Shrine attracted many different faiths

Made Mecca popular pilgrim destination

Muhammad (ca. 570 632)

Humble origins Life of trade, but soon turned to religion Heavily influenced by other religions Islam submission to God Quran recitation
Served as Allahs prophet Became basis of history, prophecy as well as legal and moral code for Muslims

There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet monotheism Prayer 5x a day Alms-giving zakt Ritual fasting Pilgrimage to Mecca - Hajj

Influence of Muhammad

Initially slow progress in gaining converts Moved to Medina Hijrah (622) Much more successful in the north Came into conflict with Medina

Spread the faith through the military before his death

Interactions with other faiths

Muhammad Christianity and Judaism had common roots

No clergy for Muslims

Denied the divinity of Christ Initially wanted all others to become Muslims
Expelled or executed Jews and Christians that resisted His successors were often more tolerant

People of the Book [Christians], do not transgress the bounds of our religion. Speak nothing but the truth about God. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than Gods apostle and His Word which He cat to Mary: a sprit from Him. So believe in God and His apostles and do not say: Three. Forbear, and it shall be better for you. God is but one God. God forbid that He should have a son!

Succession debates

Muhammad died without an heir

No division b/w civil and religious authority

Claimed to act for the good of the community More tolerant Eventually won Promoted Ali as Muhammads successor More hard core followers Minority group



Reasons for the spread of Islam

Muhammads charisma Mobility of the Bedouins Fighting between Byzantium and the Persians Ummah unite the various tribes Initially, often not a religious crusade
Allowed non-Muslims to practice their faith However, conquest of Spain did see Christians targeted

Battle of Tours (732)

Under Muhammads successors, Islam spread Alarmed the west Frankish kingdom under Charles Martel defeated Muslim forces in 732

Halted expansion into Europe

Von Steubens Battle of Tours

Influence of Muslim world

Conquered some of the most advanced societies in the east Took over classical learning

Surpassed the west in many ways

Constructed massive and ornate mosques More egalitarian than western society

Women were often excluded

Al-Khwarizmi (d. 830)

Muslim mathematician Borrowed from Hindu system Largely responsible for Algebra

Use of math applied to other fields as well physics and astronomy