600 CE – 1450 CE
Unit 2: 600 CE – 1450 CE
– Older belief systems, such as Christianity, Hinduism,
Confucianism, and Buddhism came to become more
important than political organizations in defining many
areas of the world
– Two nomadic groups, the Bedouins and the Mongols,
had a huge impact on the course of history during this
era, not to mention the influence of others such as the
– A new religion - Islam - began in the 7th century and
spread rapidly throughout the Middle East, Northern
Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia
Unit 2: 600 CE – 1450 CE
– Whereas Europe was not a major
civilization area before 600 CE, by 1450
it was transformed economically,
socially, and politically
• some of its kingdoms were beginning to
assert world power.
– Major empires developed in both South
America (the Inca) and Mesoamerica
(the Maya and Aztec.)
Unit 2: 600 CE – 1450 CE
– China grew to have cultural and political
hegemony over many other areas of Asia as it
reunified and experienced a commercial
revolution that helped it become one of the
largest and most prosperous empires of the
– Long distance trade continued to develop
along previous routes, but the amount and
complexity of trade and contact increased
Rise of Islam
The Rise of Islam
– followers called Muslims: “one who surrenders”
• Islams?
– God transmitted words through Muhammad
– Recorded words in Qur’an/Koran
– Salvation: through submission to God’s will via 5
1. confession of faith
2. prayer fives times/day
3. charity to the needy
4. fasting during the month of Ramadan
5. pilgrimage to Mecca once in lifetime
– Hajj
Rise of Islam
– Common heritage with Judaism and
• God, Allah, Yahweh
• Shared prophets
– Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, etc.
– Key difference from Judaism/Christianity: Jesus
considered a prophet, not son of God.
• Early on split into two sects: Shia and Sunni
– disagreement on who should succeed Muhammad
Life of Muhammad
• Allah Be Praised: Islam Takes hold
– 570 CE Muhammad born in Mecca
• Exposed to lots of religions growing up
– 610 at age of 40 has “visions” and visitations
• His preaching lead to conflict with leadership of
– Hijra
» flees to Medina in 622
– 630 returned to Mecca
• destroyed pagan shrines except Ka’ba (Kaaba)
– 632 Muhammad dies
Chapter 11: Rise of Islam
• Women and Islam: For Better, for Worse
– historically:
• women in Arabia low status
– Qur’an, 651-652, changed this
• women remained subservient but got some rights
– women considered equal before Allah like men
– man divorces woman, dowry goes back to woman’s family
– infanticide strictly forbidden
• still a man’s world
– men permitted to have as many as four wives
– women had to be faithful to one man
» protect line of descent; no question of paternity
– women’s testimony only given half weight to man’s
– women veiled in public (not in Qur’an … from Persia)
• Over time became more and more patriarchal
– Qur’an helped to preserve some basic rights
Chapter 11: Rise of Islam
• Arabic became the official language
• gold and silver coins official money unit
• conquered subject “encouraged” to convert or pay
• Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem
• time marked by growing question of succession
– Shia (Shi’ite):
» all leaders should come from line of Ali, M’s son in
– Sunni:
» all leaders should be drawn from a broad base of
Chapter 11: Rise of Islam
• The Fall of the Islamic Empire: The Mongol
– Internal struggles and pressure
• civil war, etc.
– Externally pressure
• Persians, Europeans, and Byzantines
– Most distant enemy does them in:
• The Mongols
– 1258 overrun Baghdad and destroy it.
» Remember Hulagu?
» An estimated 1 million slaughtered
» Baghdad doesn’t recover until 20th century … why?
Chapter 11: Rise of Islam
– ASSESS the key events and/or processes in the
development of Islam from the time of Muhammad
through to the fall of Baghdad in 1258.
• Construct a timeline and plot 5-10 events to represent this.
– COMPARE Islam (including its treatment of women)
to Christianity (1), Buddhism (2), Confucianism (3),
and Hinduism (4)
• First row compares Christianity with Islam, etc.
– CLASS DISCUSSION: Islam spread more rapidly
than any other major world religion. Why do you think
this was? What aspects of the religion made it
appealing? How was the cultural climate conducive to
the rapid expansion of Islam?