Islam Islam The word Islam comes from the Arabic words meaning “obedience and peace through submission to the one God.” Muslim means “one who submits to the will of Allah.” Islam Today there are over 1.3 billion Muslims throughout the world, concentrated in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Islam is the world’s second largest religion after Christianity and it is the fastest growing. Islam Arabia before Islam: Before the advent of Islam, the Arab civilization had little impact on neighboring Roman, Persian, or Abyssinian empires. Traditionally, the Arabs were two distinct peoples: one, the nomadic Bedouins who roamed the desert plains and were loosely held together by tribal codes; and two, the urban dwellers, whose tribal divisions were mostly social, not geographic. Islam In pre-Islamic Arabia, the life of the Bedouins was romanticized by the urban Arabs as pure, chivalrous, and unrestricted. They were considered to embody all the noble characteristics of the Arab peoples. Islam Children of Arab towns were often temporarily sent to live with the nomads to learn traditional Arab culture, such as desert living, camel rearing, goat herding, and pure Arabic language. Antar, a 6th century Arabian poet and warrior. Islam Arabia was on the periphery of two established and rival civilizations of the time—the Byzantine Empire (heir to Rome) and the Sassanid Empire (heir to the imperial traditions of Persia). Because of its location and long-distance trade, Arabs were familiar with the larger world, including the monotheism of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. Islam By the time of Muhammad, most of the urban Arabs had acknowledged the preeminent position of Allah, the supreme god of the Arab pantheon (there were many gods, including Allah’s three daughters). Many Arabs increasingly identified Allah with Judaism’s Yahweh, and regarded themselves also as the “children of Abraham.” Islam By 600 CE, many Arabs were religiously moving towards Judaism or that of Christianity, the most rapidly growing religion in western Asia. As many Arabs were beginning to explore the possibility that Allah/Yahweh was the only God, the many other gods residing in the Ka’aba and in shrines across the peninsula were considered nothing more than “helpless and harmless idols.” Islam Even though Arab cities were widely scattered, the city of Makkah (Mecca) had long been established as a trading center between Arabia and Africa to the west, Yemen and India to the south, and Egypt and Syria to the north. Islam Mecca was also important because it was the site of the Ka’aba, the most important religious shrine in Arabia and a destination for thousands of pilgrims. Islam During this period, every Arab tribe had its own (pagan) idol placed inside the Ka’aba (when Muhammad conquered Mecca in 630 CE, the city had over 360 idols, statues, and other pieces of devotion to various gods). Islam The leading tribe of Mecca were the Quraysh, whose bloodline stretched back to the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). However for most (but not all), the religion taught and practiced by Abraham had long since been replaced by polytheism and/or animism. The Quraysh controlled access to the Ka’aba and were able to grow extremely wealthy taxing pilgrims wishing to see it. Islam Superstitions [omens, amulets, astrology, and divination (by the casting of arrows)] were important in deciding serious matters like when to travel, marry, or go to war. In Islam, this pre-Islamic polytheistic period is known as jahiliyyah, or ‘the days of ignorance.’ Islam Social and tribal hierarchies also meant the pre-Islamic period was marked by oppression, tyranny, and conflict. There was constant strife and hostility between various tribes (wars between clans was a continuous problem). Slavery was a common practice (seen as a sign of wealth and power). Islam Female infanticide was also common, as daughters were considered an expensive liability. Women, whether married or not, like slaves, were often considered personal property that could be sold or exchanged. Polygamy was a common practice, and some tribes allowed women to have several husbands. Islam It is believed women had more freedom than their counterparts in most of the “civilized” world. Women did not wear veils and were not secluded. Some tribes traced ancestry through the mother (matrilineal), not the father. Changes were coming, as a result of Muhammad. Islam The Arab Oral tradition: From as early as the 5th century BCE, the Arabs, originally a largely illiterate people who were proud of their tribal genealogies and histories, developed an incredibly descriptive and rhythmic language. This was achieved mostly through the custom of memorizing oral narratives and poetry from generation to generation. Islam Here is the tradition of the birth of Islam: In the year 570 CE, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (which means “Praiseworthy”) was born in the city of Mecca. Islam Muhammad was born into a family of noble lineage that belonged to the Quraysh. Orphaned at a young age (6), he would be raised mostly by his uncle (his father’s younger brother). As a young man, he became a merchant. Being a merchant enabled him to travel throughout the Arabian Peninsula, where he would come into contact with several cultures and religions (including Judaism and Christianity). Islam He married Khadijah (known as the “Pure”), an older woman (15 years older), and had six children (2 boys/4 girls). But both sons died in infancy (which will be important later). Islam Muhammad lived the life of a wealthy merchant. But he was a highly reflective man who was constantly troubled with religious and moral issues, as he disapproved of the lawlessness of his countrymen and was troubled because many were polytheistic and superstitious. Islam Muhammad was a hanif (one who followed the monotheistic teachings of Ibrahim). As a hanif, he would spend weeks at a time in the caves in the mountains outside Mecca, fasting, praying, deep in contemplation, grieving over what he saw as social injustices; infant daughters buried alive; women traded and bartered like chattel; and slaves were treated no better than livestock. Islam So Muhammad would often retreat into the mountains outside Mecca to pray and contemplate the meaning and purpose of existence (Buddha and Jesus had similar experiences). Then in the year 610 CE (around his 40th birthday), while praying in a cave on Mount Hira, Muhammad believed that he began to receive revelations from the archangel Jibril (Gabriel). Islam Convinced after some initial self doubt that he was chosen to be a prophet, he committed his life to fulfilling the divine commands he thought he received. Islam Muhammad was told by Jibril (Gabriel) he was to be the Rasulillah (the Messenger of God), a prophet charged with delivering a message that would set straight misinterpretations of earlier revelations given through the Jewish or Christian prophets. These revelations would continue over the next 22 years. Islam The archangel Gabriel instructing Muhammad (Persian manuscript). Islam Here Muhammad leads Abraham, Moses, and Jesus in prayer (from a medieval Persian text). Islam The revelations from Gabriel to Muhammad, recorded in the Quran, became the sacred scriptures of Islam, which to this day Muslims everywhere regard as the very words of God and the core of their faith. Intended to be recited rather than simply read for information, the Quran, Muslims claim, when heard in its original Arabic, conveys nothing less than the very presence of the divine. Islam In its Arabian setting, the Quran’s message, delivered through Muhammad, was revolutionary. Religiously, it was radically monotheistic, presenting Allah as the only God, the allpowerful Creator, good, just, and merciful; rejecting as utterly false and useless the many gods housed in the Ka’aba; and scorning the Christian notion of the Trinity. Islam Muhammad was not trying to create a new faith…he wanted to return to the old and pure religion of Abraham from which the Arabs, Jews, and Christians had deviated. According to the Quran, submission to Allah (Muslim means “one who submits”) wasn’t just an individual or spiritual act, it involved the creation of a whole new society. Islam Over and over the Quran denounced the prevailing social practices of Mecca; the hoarding of wealth, the exploitation of the poor, corrupt business deals, usury, abuse of women, and the neglect of widows and orphans. Like the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament, the Quran demanded social justice. Islam It sought to return to the older values of Arab tribal life—solidarity, equality, concern for the poor—which had been undermined in Mecca by its growing wealth and commercialism. The Quran also challenged the entire tribal and clan structure of Arab society, which was prone to feuding and violence. The just and moral society of Islam was the umma, the community of all believers, which replaced tribal, ethnic, or racial identities. Islam Such a society would be a “witness over the nations,” for according to the Quran, “You are the best community evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong.” In this community, women had an honored and spiritually equal place. The umma was to be a new and just community, bound by a common belief, rather than by territory, language, or tribe. Islam Muhammad began preaching to his fellow Meccans that there was no god but Allah, that they must submit to God’s will, and he pointed out their unjust and evil ways. Islam He warned them of the impending judgment of Allah (God). His early preaching called for social justice and equality and condemned the oppression of the poor by the wealthy and powerful (ideals also common in Judaism and Christianity). Islam At first, some of the people of Mecca were amused by Muhammad while others scorned him. Eventually many became interested in his words. As his popularity and power grew, the political leaders of Mecca began a hostile campaign against him (because his popularity threatened their power). Islam Muhammad’s message of absolute monotheism and social equality was against the Meccan establishment (of his own Quraysh clansmen). Fearing that their pagan beliefs and tribal social hierarchies were threatened by Islam, tribal elders began to persecute and torture Muslims and plotted Muhammad’s assassination (his arch enemy was one of his own uncles). Islam In 615, Muhammad sanctioned the migration of 80 Muslims to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) where they were welcomed and protected by the Christian king and his subjects. Islam The year 619 is known as the ‘Year of Grief’ for Muhammad. His uncle and protector, Abu Talib died, and a few months later, his beloved wife and spiritual companion, Khadijah, passed away. Adding to his humiliation, he visited a nearby village to invite its people to Islam and its people set their children upon him, chasing him from the city and pelting him with stones. Islam In 621, Muhammad came upon some pilgrims from the city of Medina. They had heard of Muhammad and were aware of the Judeo-Christian claims of a “promised prophet.” Muhammad explained Islam and these pilgrims converted. A year later, they invited Muhammad and his followers to settle in Medina (Al Madinah-which means “the city” in Arabic). Islam Still fearing for his life, in 622 he and several followers secretly fled from Mecca (he barely escaped assassination) to the safer haven of Medina about 200 miles north, where Muhammad established an Islamic community in the city. It is in Medina that Islam became the foundation for an entire way of life. Islam This moment, known as the Hijira (“migration”), was so important, it marks the starting date of the Muslim era, Year 1 on Islam’s calendar (meaning we’re now in 1392 of the Islamic calendar). Islam In the early seventh century Arab society was in social and cultural disarray, but Muhammad forcefully taught Allah’s lessons and began to transform his culture. He assumed full leadership of the city of Medina—reorganizing and reforming the city politically, religiously, and militarily. Muhammad became the Prophet-ruler of a virtual Islamic state within the heartlands of pagan Arabia. Islam He was so successful that Muslims look back to this time as the creation of the standard or model for Muslim society to follow. One of the key ideas was that of equality among Muslims (in the sight of Allah, there were no differences among believers). That meant in theory, no racism. In reality though, this only applied to Muslims. Others were considered inferior. Islam The ancient tradition of slavery continued, but one Muslim could not enslave another. In the Muslim world it was considered a good deed to free a slave, just not the slave (s) of a good friend or relative. Islam Muhammad was particularly successful in military affairs (followers believed he was led and protected by “the will of Allah”). He planned and led many successful military campaigns, and in 630 he led his followers to victory over Mecca. Islam Muhammad was a compassionate conqueror, granting mercy to all who submitted to Islam. He became known throughout the land as the Prophet of God. Muhammad provided such a powerful stimulus that Arab society was mobilized almost overnight. Islam Even though he died in 632 CE, his faith and fame spread like wildfire. Arab armies carrying the banner of Islam invaded, conquered, and converted wherever they went. By 715 CE, Islam reached far into North Africa, into Spain, through the Transcaucasia, and into most of Southwest Asia. By 1000 CE, Islam had penetrated Southern and Eastern Europe, Central Asia (even reaching China), West Africa, East Africa, and Southeast Asia. Islam By 1000 CE, Islam had become the world’s first truly global religion, stretching half way across the world (Iberia to Indonesia). Muslims hold that the only genuine explanation for the rapid Islamic conquest of the Middle East outward was Divine Providence, Allah’s help to those who worked/fought for the faith. Islam While the spiritual capital remained in Mecca, as the Arab-Islamic Empire expanded, the political/administrative capital went from its original location in Medina to Damascus (Syria) and then to Baghdad (Iraq). While the empire expanded, it matured and prospered. Islam In architecture, mathematics, medicine, and science the Arab/Islamic world far outpaced their European contemporaries. The Arabs established great universities and libraries in many cities, including Baghdad, Cairo, Timbuktu, and Toledo. Islam Cathedral of Seville. It used to be a mosque. The Alhambra Palace in Grenada. Islam The Umayyad Great Mosque of Damascus. Interior of the Great Mosque of Cordoba. Islam How do Muslims regard Muhammad? Muslims believe Muhammad was singled out for his natural virtue and integrity to fulfill the role as the final intermediary of divine communication. Islam As a human (he was never considered divine), Muhammad naturally had his faults, but Muslims regard him as the finest our species has produced, the ideal family man and leader of humanity. Throughout his married life with Khadijah, Muhammad stayed away from adultery, drinking alcohol, gambling, and the rivalries which plagued pre-Islamic Mecca. He was known for his compassion and care towards orphans and the poor. Islam So what is Islam? The precepts of Islam in many ways are a revision and embellishment of Judaic and Christian beliefs and traditions. All three faiths trace their origins to Abraham (in Hebrew Abraham means ‘Father of Nations’ ). Islam The Judaic/Christian faiths followed his son Isaac while Islam traced itself to Abraham’s first son Ishmael. Islam All three faiths believe in the same God, who occasionally communicated to humankind through prophets. Islam believes that God spoke to humankind beginning with Adam and continued through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, (and several others), but considered Muhammad as “the seal,” the final and greatest of the prophets. Muslims believe Muhammad’s mission was to bring God’s final revelation to humankind. The Five Pillars What are some of the fundamental beliefs? Islam brought to the Arab world not only a unifying religious faith it had lacked but also a new set of values, a new way of life, a new individual and collective dignity. The core message of the Quran—following the law of God—was summarized as a set of requirements for believers, known as the Pillars of Islam. The Five Pillars Islam dictated the observance of what became known as the Five Pillars…they are how the beliefs of Islam are to be put into action every day. Shahadah The first pillar is the confession of faith— the repeated expression of the basic creed (belief in one God and the prophet hood of Muhammad)—known as the Shahadah. Salat The second pillar is the daily prayer –five times a day facing Mecca –known as the Salat. Prayer times are dawn, just after noon, mid-afternoon, just after sunset, and after dark. Ramadan The third pillar is daytime fasting called Sawm. This occurs during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar (lunar not solar) which is called Ramadan (it is considered the holiest month of the Islamic year). In 2014, Ramadan was June 28 to July 28. From sun-up to sun-down, Muslims are not supposed to eat or drink anything. Ramadan After sun-down Muslims usually eat a light meal filled with sweets. The evening is spent in spiritual reflection and prayer. This daily sacrifice shows equality with the poor and it reminds Muslims that the good things in life are to be enjoyed but not to be overindulged in. Ramadan ends with the three day holiday known as Eid-al-Fitr (Festival of FastBreaking) Zakat The fourth pillar is the giving of alms (charity) to the poor—known as Zakat. If you can afford it, you are to give 2.5% of your savings to the poor every year. The Hajj The final pillar is at least one pilgrimage in each Muslim’s lifetime to Mecca –known as the Hajj to see the Ka’aba (Ka’ba, Ka’abah). This is one of the prerequisites for entering Heaven. The Ka’aba According to tradition, Abraham and Ishmael built a simple cube-like structure in what came to be the center of the city of Mecca (a large mosque has been built around the Ka’aba). The Ka’aba In Muhammad’s time, the Ka’aba was about 15 feet tall with a black stone about the size of a bowling ball in one corner (believed to be a meteor of divine origin from the time of Adam and Eve). The Ka’aba This miniature (c. 1315) shows Muhammad rededicating the stone at the Ka’aba. The meteor is framed in silver, and pilgrims attempt to kiss it like Muhammad supposedly did. The Ka’aba Since this isn’t always possible because of the crowds, you are to point to the stone and bow every time you make a circuit around the Ka’aba. You are to make seven circuits. The Ka’aba The Ka’aba was thought to be at the center of the world with the Gate of Heaven directly above it. The Ka’aba The Ka’aba marked the location where the divine world intersected with the mortal. The embedded Black Stone was a symbol of this intersection (as a meteorite that had fallen from the sky, it linked heaven and earth). The Ka’aba Today the Ka’aba is about 43 feet high and about 40 feet wide. Its holiness as a divine presence comes mainly from its association with the lives of Abraham and Muhammad. It is covered by a black silk curtain made in Egypt, decorated with gold-embroidered calligraphy. This cloth is known as the kiswah; and it is replaced yearly. The Hajj When performing the Salat (prayer 5 times a day), you are to face towards Mecca (because that’s where the Ka’aba is). The Hajj Since Islam teaches that all people are equal before God, Muslims are required to shed any symbols of their social status when making the Hajj. The same ihram (Hajj clothing) is worn by all: men wear two white, unsewn pieces of cloth (which represents the shroud); Women wear any plain, simple clothing that covers them fully. No jewelry or perfume is to be worn. The Hajj Ihram clothing: The Hajj The Hajj occurs during the last month of the Islamic year (known as the Month of the Hajj). The pilgrimage rites occur during a 5-day period, between the 8th - 12th days of this lunar month. In 2014, the Hajj was between October 2nd-7th. The Hajj Over three million pilgrims attend the Hajj every year. Most stay in the “white tents at Mina” where they are arranged by nationality. The Hajj Muslims believe that performing the Hajj purifies them from sin, and when they return home, there are usually great celebrations of their “sinless” status. The majority of Muslims do not manage to perform the Hajj, so during the Hajj period, they fast and pray at home. http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video /saudiarabia_mecca Jihad To the five pillars, many Muslims would add a sixth, jihad, which means a person’s inner struggle to live a good life. Muhammad believed jihad to be the personal effort each devout Muslim must make against greed and selfishness, a spiritual striving toward living a “Godconscious” life. Jihad Today, many see jihad to mean either “holy war” or “spiritual struggle against the adversaries of Islam.” In its lesser form, the “jihad of the sword” was to mean the armed struggle against the forces of evil and defending the umma from threats of infidel aggressors. Islam Like the Judeo/Christian heritage, Islam believes in angels (several are the same), the devil, and a Judgment Day for all humanity. Islam Those who have been faithful and have done Allah’s will, will be rewarded in Paradise (Heaven). For Muslims, death is not seen as the end but merely as a transition from one state of being into another as the soul journeys back to the creator. But those who have rejected faith and commit sins and grave injustices are condemned to the fires of Hell. Islam Islam Muslims, like many Christians and Jews, also believe in predestination…that your life is predetermined and that God controls everything that happens. Muslims, like Christians and Jews, also have a code of behavior that stresses correct social behavior like respecting your parents, your neighbors, and your community; and being honest, trustworthy, and patient. Islam Islam forbids alcohol, smoking, eating pork , and gambling. It tolerated polygamy (you could have up to 4 wives because Muhammad had 4), although it spoke of the virtues of monogamy. Mosques (Muslim churches) were not only for prayer, but they became social gathering centers which knit the Arab religious community (umma) closer together. Islam Mecca became the spiritual center for a divided, widely dispersed people for whom a collective focus was something new. Yet for all its vigor and success, Islam still fragmented into two theological sects. The earliest and most consequential division came about after the death of Muhammad (632 CE). Islam Who should be his legitimate successor? The Quran dictated a democratic system for choosing the successor (or caliph). Muslims were free to debate, have differences about successors, and elect a new leader. No one could have predicted the consequences of this would lead to the most serious divide in the Islamic community. Successors A few believed that it should be a blood relative of the prophet who led Islam. Others felt that any truly devout follower of Muhammad was qualified to lead the faithful. The first chosen successor (known as the caliph) was a Muhammad’s closest friend (since childhood) and the father of one of Muhammad’s four wives (and thus not a blood relative). His name was Abu Bakr. Successors Abu Bakr was also a merchant and from the Quraysh tribe. He was the fourth person to convert to Islam, and the first outside Muhammad’s own family. Successors His principal achievement was consolidating power and spreading Muslim control over the entire Arabian Peninsula. His forces put down several rebel uprisings in what were known as the Ridda wars, where rebel leaders declared themselves prophets to rival Muhammad. Successors Under Bakr, Muslims won their first victories over the Persians and Byzantines in what is today Iraq and Syria. These raids showed the weakness and vulnerability of the post-Classical Byzantine and Sassanid (Persian) Empires. Bakr fell ill and died after serving only 27 months as caliph (August 624 CE). Before he died, he appointed Umar ibn alKhattab to succeed him as caliph. Successors The next two caliphs, Umar, who ruled 10 years until 644 CE, and Uthman, who ruled 12 years until 656 CE, were also close friends and associates of Muhammad, but not relatives. Successors Umar’s Arab armies attacked the Byzantines in Syria and captured Damascus in 635. Further south, they captured Jerusalem from the Byzantines in 638. They also moved against the Byzantines in Egypt, capturing Alexandria. In 637, Umar’s forces captured the Persian capital of Ctesiphon, forcing the Sassanid king to flee (they eventually killed him several years later, ending the Sassanid dynasty). Successors Ctesiphon (about 20 miles SE of Baghdad) had been a major city for over 700 years when it was captured by Arab troops in 637 under Umar. This was the imperial palace. Successors With victories came the problem of how to divide the spoils of conquest among the tribes. In 644, Umar was assassinated by a slave from rival clan in the mosque of Medina. He had just returned from a Hajj. Since he hadn’t chosen a successor, a council of elders chose the third caliph, Uthman ibn-Affan. Successors Uthman, the first caliph of the Umayyad clan, ruled for 12 years. He was an unpopular choice when made caliph and was eventually assassinated by rebels from a rival clan, run through with a sword while in prayer at home (at the age of 84). His death sparked a civil war between the Umayyad clans and those that supported Muhammad’s son-in-law and cousin, Ali. Successors These three caliphs didn’t satisfy a faction of Muslims who wanted to see Ali, a blood relative and married to Muhammad’s daughter Fatima, named caliph. Tradition states that Ali was the first person who converted to Islam. Ali had been previously passed over because the tribes didn’t think he was old enough or experienced enough to lead the faithful. Successors When Uthman died, Ali assumed the position of caliph (and he became the fourth one 24 years after Muhammad’s death). His followers, known as the Shiat Ali (the followers of Ali) or the Shi’ites, proclaimed that Muhammad finally had a legitimate successor. The Shi’ites believed that Ali should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Muhammad via Ali and Fatima. The “Holy Family” of Shia: Muhammad (center), Fatima (veiled), Ali, and grandsons Hassan (green) and Husayn (red). Shi’ites Shi’ites Entirely rejecting the authority of the first three caliphs, the Shiah Muslims regarded Ali as the first in a line of infallible religious leaders called imams. But Ali moved the capital of the Islamic community from Medina to Kufa (now in Iraq) where he had more support. This made him unpopular and many Muslims refused to accept his authority. Shi’ites Even though he was a skilled soldier, Ali lost the backing of powerful clans and a new Umayyad chieftain, named Mu’awiyah was proclaimed caliph in Jerusalem. This directly challenged Ali’s position and in 657, both men led armies into a three day battle to decide who was the legitimate caliph. The battle was inconclusive and both agreed to a six-month truce and arbitration. Shi’ites However when the time came, neither man backed down and the stand-off continued. Some Muslims hatched a plot to end what they saw as a damaging conflict: on the 19th day of Ramadan in 661, both men were stabbed with poisoned swords while at prayers. Mu’awiyah recovered, but Ali died two days later. Shi’ites Ali’s eldest son, Hassan, agreed to Umayyad demands not to make a claim on the caliphate in return for his life and a pension. He died less than a year later (allegedly poisoned). Those who backed Mu’awiyah and the Umayyads against Ali and the Shi’ites were known as the Sunni (which means “the path” or “example shown by Muhammad”). Shi’ites Mu’awiyah ruled as caliph with no further challenges until his death in 680. He governed from Damascus, and his rule was notable for his liberal and tolerant policies towards Christians and Jews, who came to occupy many prominent government positions. Shi’ites In 680 when Mu’awiyah died, Muhammad’s grandson Hussain claimed the caliphate. He and his army of 72 men were marching from Mecca to his father Ali’s power base in Kufa (Iraq) when they were intercepted by Mu’awiyah’s son Yazid (who also claimed to be caliph). Yazid had a force of over 40,000 (so at 550 to 1 odds, take a guess who won the battle). Hopelessly outnumbered, Hussein’s army was slaughtered at the Battle of Karbala. The only survivor was Hussain’s son Ali, who was too sick to fight. He was taken prisoner and sent to Damascus, where he was freed several years later. He became the fourth imam of Shia. Shi’ites Shi’ites The Battle of Karbala (680 CE). Shi’ites Hussein’s head was sent to Yazid in Damascus. The division between those who were Shi’ites and those who were Sunnis was set. Hussein’s death (or martyrdom) is commemorated annually with intense processions during which the marchers beat themselves bloody with chains (flagellation) and cut themselves with sharp metal instruments. This is known as the day of Ashura. Shi’ites Ashura for Shi’ites: Sunni The date of Ashura is also said to be the day Noah left the Ark and the Israelites began their Exodus from Egypt. Sunni’s also commemorate Ashura, but it is a solemn occasion…a day of Atonement. Tradition states that Muhammad observed Jews fasting for two days on their day of atonement and he followed that practice. Sunni The Sunni’s did not see a blood relationship as necessary for succession. From the beginning of this disagreement, the vast majority of Muslims took the Sunni position. The Sunni’s believed all the early caliphs (including Ali) were legitimate. Islam There were two Islamic dynasties during the post-Classical period: the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750) and the Abbasid Dynasty (7501258). The great expansion of Islam was propelled by Sunnis; the Shi’ites survived as a small minority scattered throughout the empire (today mainly in Iran and Iraq). Today, about 85-90% of Muslims are Sunnis. Islam Since Ali’s last descendent died in the 9th century (and thus the blood line of Muhammad), Shi’ites created a council of 12 scholars called the ulema to elect a Supreme Imam. Shi’ites believe their Supreme Imam is a fully spiritual guide, and the sole source of true knowledge, inheriting some of Muhammad's inspiration. Islam The Shia Imam has come to be imbued with Pope-like infallibility and the Shia religious hierarchy is not dissimilar in structure and religious power to that of the Catholic Church. Sunnis and Shi’ites agree on the fundamentals of Islam, like the Five Pillars, and they recognize each other as Muslims, but they have some deep divisions (like in Christianity). Umayyads Mu’awiya moved the political capital from Medina to Damascus (Syria) where it was more centrally located in the growing empire. Umayyads From Damascus, the Umayyads built a bureaucracy to govern their vast lands (which would become the largest empire since the Romans). The caliphs were more secular than religious and they differed from the simple lifestyle of Muhammad and his early successors. Umayyads The caliph became more powerful and imperial, living in lavish desert palaces and conducting court against an exotic background of wild birds and beasts and dancing girls. Umayyads Under the Umayyads, a distinctive Islamic culture began to take shape, influenced largely by their Arab background. Arabic became the official language of the administration, replacing Greek and Persian, which had been used in the conquered territories. An extensive communications system was established, with horseback postal routes and staging points for official use. Umayyads The first currency—gold dinars and silver dirhams bearing Quranic texts—were minted to replace standard Byzantine or Persian coins stamped with the images of emperors. Umayyads The core of the caliph’s government and army officers were Arabs who lived in the urban centers and shared in the rewards of conquest. Towards the end of his reign, Mu’awiya made sure that his son Yazid was made his successor, setting the precedence for the next 13 caliphs. Umayyads The Umayyads were talented military leaders, and under their rule Islam’s second great wave of conquests took place (early Eighth Century). The Muslim banner was carried from Central Asia to the Indus River (today’s Afghanistan and Pakistan), west through North Africa and into Spain/Portugal. Umayyads Umayyads For seven years, the Islamic armies of the Umayyads battled for the Iberian Peninsula. Landing at Gibraltar in 711, a Muslim leader had his boats burned, then told his men “The sea is behind you and the enemy is in front of you. By God, there is no escape for you save in valor and determination.” Umayyads The Umayyads were pressing northward when they were finally turned back in central France at the Battle of Tours (732 CE). The Franks were led by Charles Martel (known as the “hammer.”) Umayyads Rural areas held mostly non-Arab subject peoples, who paid taxes to support the government (unlike Arab Muslims who were only taxed for Zakat—charity). The Umayyads tried to keep interactions between the Arab Muslims and subject peoples to a minimum to prevent the loss of badly needed tax revenue. Umayyads Non Muslim converts (known as the mawali) received few social or financial benefits, so conversions were not very common, yet. The Arabs denied them equality, considering them inferior; to marry a non-Arab convert was considered social suicide. Even though many of these newcomers to Islam fought in its armies, they usually had to fight as foot soldiers rather than in the elite cavalry, and they received less pay. Umayyads They still had to pay land taxes and special head taxes, and they were not considered to be a part of the umma. Often non-Muslims were discouraged from converting so that they would have to continue to pay higher taxes. Realizing the explosiveness of these inequalities, the Umayyads repeatedly tried to institute new reforms. The most famous reformer was Umar II. Umayyads During his reign (717-720), Umar II called for an end to all foreign campaigns and devoted himself to tax reform. He revived the rule of exempting all Muslims from all taxes except the compulsory religious tax. However well intentioned, this had a disastrous effect on Islam’s economy. Umayyads The “People of the Book,” as Jews and Christians were known, were considerably better treated than most subject peoples, even though they had to pay the same taxes. However, Jews and Christians were allowed to worship as they pleased and their communities and legal systems remained intact. Umayyads The name Jews and Christians were given, the dhimmis (or “People of the Book”) explains why: Muslims respected Jews and Christians because they were also governed by holy scriptures and they had shared beliefs and common roots. Jews and Christians had received “part” (but not all) of God’s revelations. Umayyads The Umayyad exclusion of non-Arab Muslims (mawali) proved to be problematic as Arab administrative centers became increasingly far-flung. In the 740’s, rebel mawali forces demanded social and religious equality with Arab Muslims and eventually brought down the Umayyad Dynasty. Islam Recapping the early expansion of Islam: Shortly after the death of Muhammad, Islam began a rapid drive for expansion. Unlike Buddhism or Christianity, which expanded through missionary or commercial activity, Islam initially extended its influence by military conquest. Islam spread quickly throughout portions of Africa and Eurasia. Islam Within a year of Muhammad’s death, most of the Arabian Peninsula was united under Islam. Persia was conquered in 651 when the Sassanid Dynasty was overthrown. By the end of the seventh century, Islam had reached Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt. Islam Also by the end of the seventh century Islam extended into Central Asia east of the Caspian Sea, where it competed with Buddhism. During the eighth century, Muslim armies reached present-day Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco; Hindu-dominated northwest India; and the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). The earliest Muslim conquerors were less concerned with spreading religion and more concerned with the extension of Arab power. The Umayyad Caliphate Under the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750): The office of caliph united both secular and religious authority in the person of one leader. After the assassination of Ali in 661, the Umayyad family came to power. Establishing their political capital in Damascus, the Umayyad were noted for the following: The Umayyad Caliphate An empire that emphasized Arab ethnicity over adherence to Islam. Thousands of non-Arab converts (mawali) seethed at discriminatory taxes and mistreatment. Respect for Jews and Christians as “People of the Book.” Even though required to pay taxes on property and for charity, Jews and Christians were allowed freedom of worship and self-rule within their communities. The Umayyad Caliphate They created a unified state, a vigorous commerce, and a resolute military based upon Arab tribes. But by 740 Umayyad policies had severely polarized their subjects and generated widespread hostility to their authority. Arab armies on the frontiers resented their low pay, constant campaigning, and the privileges of more favored tribes. The Abbasid Caliphate The Umayyad ruling family lived lives of luxury, which prompted riots and instability among the general population. These riots led to the overthrow of the Umayyad Dynasty by a group known as the Abbasids in 750. The Abbasids were formed by a ruthless Muslim named Abbas, a descendant of an uncle of Muhammad (named al-Abbas). This blood relationship carried favor with the Shi’ites. The Abbasid Caliphate The center of the Abbasid movement was in Persia where there was much resentment against the Umayyads. The Persians considered themselves heirs to a higher culture than their Arab conquerors who treated them as inferiors. The Abbasid Caliphate To undermine the Umayyads, the Abbasids waged an effective propaganda campaign proclaiming the Umayyads were not true caliphs, that they lived worldly and decedent lives, and promised that they, the Abbasids, would again make Islam a true theocracy in the tradition of the “rightly guided” caliphs. The Abbasid Caliphate The mawali also supported the Abbasids (they never liked the Umayyads) because they hoped the Abbasids would accept them as members of the Islamic community of believers (the umma). In 749, Abbas was acclaimed caliph by his followers. In 750, Umayyad forces met Abbasid forces at the Battle of the Great Zab (northern Iraq) and the Abbasids were victorious. The Abbasid Caliphate Led by a brilliant Persian general named Abu Muslim, the Abbasid victory ended the Umayyad Empire. The Abbasid Caliphate The deposed caliph (Marwan II) fled to Egypt but was caught there and killed, his head sent to the new caliph (Abbas) as a present. Settling into power, the new rulers of Islam began wiping out the rest of the Umayyads with systematic thoroughness to eliminate the possibility of future Umayyad challenges. The Abbasid Caliphate At one epic slaughter, a Persian general named Abdullah invited 80 of the remaining members of the Umayyad clan to a banquet of “reconciliation.” At the height of the festivities he had all of them murdered, then ordered the bodies covered while he and his aides resumed their meal. The Abbasid Caliphate Those Umayyad not attending the banquet were hunted down and killed. Only one of the Umayyads escaped the banquet, Abd al-Rahman, known as the “Falcon of the Quraysh.” He managed to flee across Africa and escaped to Spain, where he established the Caliphate of Cordoba, a dynasty that flourished for 300 years. The Abbasid Caliphate The Abbasids carried their revenge even to Umayyad caliphs who were already dead, exhuming their corpses and desecrating their graves. Only one tomb was not violated—that of Umar II, considered the only pious caliph among the Umayyads. The Abbasid Caliphate In an effort to assure a stable government, the Abbasids tried to eliminate all dissidents who might undermine their rule—even those who had supported them. The Shi’ites were quickly betrayed. The new rulers even ruthlessly executed the men who helped them gain office. General Abu Muslim was hacked to pieces while meeting with the Caliph, and his head was thrown to his followers who waited outside the palace gates (the rest of him was tossed into the Tigris). The Abbasid Caliphate General Abdullah was imprisoned for seven years—then taken from prison and led with great pomp to a house especially built for him. But the dwelling, unknown to him, had foundations of salt, which gradually dissolved. At last the house crashed down on the unsuspecting general, becoming his tomb. The Abbasid Caliphate The establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate was a true revolution, not just a change of administrations. They ended the ethnic and economic discrimination against non-Arab Muslims (mawali) and they established the fundamental principle that all Muslims were equal before the state as well as before God. Freed of Umayyad elitism, Islam experienced a dramatic surge in conversions. The Abbasid Caliphate To dramatize the newness and purity of their government, Abbas abandoned the Umayyad capital of Damascus and moved his capital to Hashimiya, Iraq (where Abbas received his early support). When he died in 754 after only four years in office (from smallpox), he was succeeded by his brother Mansur. The Abbasid Caliphate Mansur realized Hashimiya had two major drawbacks: it was not strategically located, and the area around it had long been a center of rebellion. He wanted to establish a new capital that would be a magnificent symbol of Abbasid power, so he journeyed throughout Iraq looking for a suitable location. Baghdad He chose an ancient village named Baghdad, about 20 miles northwest of the former Persian capital of Ctesiphon. Baghdad is situated on the west bank of the Tigris, in the midst of a fertile plain, with a canal linking the Tigris with the Euphrates. The site was excellently situated to serve commerce, dominating the crossroads of the great trade routes, both land and water, that went from the Far East to the Mediterranean. Baghdad To Mansur, the new city that would rise in this “island” between the Tigris and Euphrates would be a “market place for the world.” Mansur said, “Praise be to God who preserved it for me and caused all those who came before me to neglect it. By God I shall build it. Then I shall dwell in it as long as I live and my descendents after me. It will surely be the most flourishing city in the world.” Besides Baghdad’s agricultural, commercial, and military advantages, Mansur was impressed by its cool nights and freedom from mosquitoes. Baghdad Mansur named his capital city Madinat alSalam (“The City of Peace”), but everyone still called it Baghdad. The first stones of the new buildings were laid in August 762, the time picked by a court astrologer as auspicious to begin construction (Mansur was the first caliph who kept an astrologer at court). Baghdad Baghdad was built in the form of a circle nearly two miles across (it was known as the “round city.”) Baghdad At the very center of the round city was the caliph’s palace, a magnificent edifice built of marble and stone said to have carried from the old Persian capital of Ctesiphon. The palace had two striking features: a golden gate and a green dome that rose to 120 feet over the caliph’s main audience hall. Baghdad The round city was divided into four pieshaped quadrants by two highways that cut across it at right angles, linking the gates and running through them. By the Tenth Century, it is estimated the capital had over 1.5 million residents (potentially making it the world’s largest city). Under the Abbasids, the empire retained the religion and language of the Arabs, but in most other areas, it was not dominated by them. Baghdad In Baghdad, the Abbasid state took on an international character it had never known before. With the end of their wars of conquest, the Arab aristocracy lost their monopoly on high offices and Arab warriors were replaced by Persian soldiers. Baghdad Officials and administrators were drawn from the many peoples making up the empire; they achieved social position by their ability and the caliph’s favor rather than by fortune of birth, as in the past. Persian and other non-Arab influences entered Islam through intermarriage within the Abbasid family; although the family was originally Arabian, of the 37 caliphs in the dynasty, only a few had Arab mothers. Baghdad Abbasid caliphs were autocratic rulers who had absolute power like the Persian kings of antiquity. To emphasize the idea of their omnipotence, Abbasid caliphs sequestered themselves behind the walls of their palace in the heart of Baghdad, living in awesome splendor. Mansur commanded that his family was never to be seen in public unless they were dressed in costly silks and luxuriously perfumed. Baghdad The caliph himself was inaccessible to all but a privileged few, who had to make their way past a multitude of guards and chamberlains to reach his presence. Upon at last reaching the caliph’s throne, concealed by a resplendent curtain, one had to prostrate oneself and kiss the floor—a custom alien to the rude democracy of Arabia. Baghdad A more grisly reminder of the caliph’s absolute power was a leather carpet spread out from in front of the caliph’s throne for the use of the executioner (who stood behind the caliph, sword drawn, ready to lop off the head from any luckless person who displeased his emperor). The Abbasid Caliphate Here the Abbasid court welcomed Muslims of all ethnic backgrounds, laying the foundations of an intellectual, philosophical, and scientific renaissance. The Abbasid Caliphate Under the Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258): The mawali (converts) experienced new opportunities for advancement in education, government, and the military. Trade became increasingly important and routes stretched from the western Mediterranean to China. The Abbasid Caliphate The learning of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians was preserved. Between the 9th-14th centuries, Abbasid chemists, mathematicians, geographers, physicians, and astronomers not only extended ancient knowledge, Greek logic, especially that of Aristotle, permeated Muslim intellectualism. The Abbasid Caliphate Scholars were drawn to Baghdad, where the Caliph Ma’mun (r. 813-833) created the “House of Wisdom.” According to legend, Ma’mun was worried about applying reason to God’s universe until one night when he had a dream where he was visited by the ghost of Aristotle. Aristotle assured him that there was no conflict between reason and religion and the next day the ordered the “House” to be built. The Abbasid Caliphate Within 75 years, the greatest works of the Western tradition had been translated into Arabic (Aristotle, Plato, Ptolemy, Euclid, Archimedes, Hippocrates, Galen among them)…important Persian and Indian scientific works were also housed here. The Abbasid Caliphate In mathematics, the fields of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry were further refined. The astrolabe, which measured the position of the stars, was improved. The Abbasid Caliphate The study of astronomy produced maps of the stars. Optic surgery became a specialty, and human anatomy was studied in detail. Muslim cartographers produced the world’s most detailed maps (including the maps that guided Columbus). Some of the world’s first universities and largest libraries were built in Cairo, Baghdad, Timbuktu, and Cordoba. Calligraphy In the arts, calligraphy and designs called arabesques adorned writing, pottery, and architecture. Calligraphy The art of calligraphy was so important, Islamic calligraphers enjoyed a more exalted status than visual artists until the late Middle Ages. Elaborate calligraphy owed much to the religion because early on, literacy was scarce. The written word assumed a mysterious, almost magical aura. So elaborate scripts were created to beautify the sacred word. Calligraphy However it was forbidden to draw, engrave, or paint any animate object (humans, animals, birds, etc) because according to Muhammad, only Allah can “breathe life” into such beings. The only way around this rule was to draw/paint etc without complete features (eyes, nose, etc). That way the artist wasn’t imitating Allah. Calligraphy The Abbasid Caliphate In architecture, new styles were developed. Buildings were commonly centered around a patio area. Minarets, towers from which the faithful were called to prayer, topped or surrounded mosques. The Abbasid Caliphate This is the minaret tower of the Great Mosque of Samarra (Iraq), built 847-851. It is 164 feet high. Samarra is 75 miles north of Baghdad and was for a short time the center of the caliphate. The mosque was the world’s largest until destroyed by the Mongols in 1278. The Abbasid Caliphate Great pieces of poetry and literature, including The Arabian Nights and the Rubaiyat, enriched Muslim culture. “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou besides me singing in the Wilderness…” The Abbasid Caliphate The Persians introduced to the Abbasids (i.e. Islam) pastimes such as polo, backgammon, and chess. From the Far East they brought paper and porcelain; their cooks created exotic new dishes and served them on tables—an innovation to Arabs accustomed to eating cross-legged on the floor. The Abbasid Caliphate Baghdad’s tailors popularized trousers, in place of the traditional Arab robe. Persia also introduced several household items: mattresses and cushions, kitchen utensils like frying pans and ovens; even silks and linens. The Abbasid Caliphate Because of all the international trade in Baghdad (and within the empire), a new profession—banking, emerged and would be well established by the Abbasids more than 300 years before reaching the West. The modern word “check” came from the Abbasid Arabic word sakk. They had central banks with branch offices…it was possible for a check written on a bank in one part of the empire to be cashed in a distant city. The Abbasid Caliphate Although responsible for much of the advancement of Islamic culture, the Abbasids found their vast empire increasingly hard to manage and effectively govern. The dynasty failed to address the problem of succession, and high taxes made the leaders less and less popular. A Man’s World Muslim society was a man’s world. While his women stayed behind closed doors, the man of the house spent most of his non-working hours on the town—gossiping, bathing, playing chess (which the Arabs introduced to the Europeans), meeting at a local tavern. A Man’s World Although Muhammad had forbidden the consumption of wine, the Prophet himself drank nabidh, a mild fermented beverage made of raisins or dates mixed with water an allowed to sit in earthenware jugs. Legal nabidh was two days old; illegal nabidh was a good deal older and stronger. A gentleman always held an embroidered napkin in one hand while he drank in public. Domestic Life For every Muslim male, marriage was not only a custom but a duty. Usually a man took his first wife at age 20, and was permitted to take three more—but only if he could provide each wife with her own quarters, her own conveniences for cooking and sleeping, and her own household slaves. Domestic Life A number of formalities preceded a Muslim marriage, but the girl was never a direct party to these, nor did the marriage need her consent. The preliminary arrangements were made by the respective mothers; then the suitor approached the girl’s father. Finally a contract was drawn up, affirming the girl’s age (usually 12 to 20) and her virginity, as well as the purchase price that the man paid to his bride (which remained hers in the event of a divorce). Death When a Muslim gentleman died, his funeral followed a carefully prescribed ritual that included the lamentations of women and readings from the Quran. Washed and wrapped in a seamless white shroud, his body was laid to rest on its side, facing the holy city of Mecca. The Role of Women The role of women in Islam went through several changes from the time of Muhammad through the Abbasids. In the early days of Islam, women were not required to wear the veil and were not secluded from public. These customs were adopted by Islam after later contact with Middle Eastern women. The Role of Women The Quran urges modesty in both men and women, no particular cultural dress was stipulated. Men could have up to four wives, provided they could afford to treat them equally (an exception was made for Muhammad who actually had nine wives after Khadija’s death). The Role of Women Most of Muhammad’s marriages were motivated by political or humane reasons; some of his wives were the widows of his lieutenants killed fighting for Islam, while others were the daughters of important Arab leaders. One of them was A’isha, the daughter of Abu Bakr (Muhammad’s dearest friend and closest advisor). The Role of Women Muhammad’s wives lived in separate rooms around the courtyard of his house, and he took turns staying with them. The Qur’an gave husbands the right to chastise “unruly” wives, but Muhammad was said to be a very kind and indulgent husband. The Role of Women Women, by contrast, could have only one husband. But Islamic women could initiate divorce and could remarry if divorced by their husband. To be divorced, a man only had to repeat three times: “I dismiss thee.” The Role of Women Women in Islam, in many ways, had more privileges than women in other societies at the time: Both men and women were equal before Allah. Female infanticide was forbidden. Women could own property both before and after marriage. The Role of Women But the legal privileges enjoyed by women were eventually counterbalanced by their seclusion from public life to prevent the gaze of men (women weren’t even supposed to go to the market if men were there—in larger cities, separate markets just for women developed). The Role of Women Women of the Quran include Eve (who represented domestic harmony and bliss; the other half of Adam; and not solely responsible for the couple’s descent from Heaven), and Mary. The Role of Women Mary (the mother of Jesus) is the figure many Muslim women aspire to be like; she is pious, sincere in her worship of God, and innocent—the perfect image of femininity and tenderness (there is even a chapter devoted to her in the Quran). The Role of Women Only Abraham, Moses, and Noah are mentioned in the Qur’an more than Mary. Muhammad once declared that his daughter Fatima would have the highest place in Heaven after the Virgin Mary. Slavery Islamic law forbade enslaving other Muslims, except in the case of prisoners of war. Slavery was not hereditary…children of a slave woman and a Muslim man were considered free. Muslims were frequently known to free their slaves, especially if they converted to Islam during their servitude. Slavery Within the Abbasid social system, most unskilled labor was performed by slaves (usually, but not always, as domestic servants). Slaves also served as soldiers, clerks, and concubines. These slaves lived both in urban and rural areas of the empire. Quran/Koran The revelations and teachings of Muhammad were not compiled into a single document until several years after his death. Islamic holy scriptures (the messages Muhammad received that are believed to be God’s final revelations to humankind) are contained in the Quran. Quran/Koran Unlike the holy scriptures of the Jews and Christians, which are religious narratives, laws, poems, proverbs, prophecies and prayers dating from different time periods and written by different men, every word of the Qur’an was delivered to the world from the lips of a single man (Muhammad) over a 22 year period in the Seventh Century. Quran/Koran Some of the Qur’an’s chapters, or suras, are short fiery warnings of doom, proclaiming a Day of Judgment and demanding the worship of one God. Others discuss the Biblical prophets and the lessons of their lives; others lay down detailed regulations concerning the family, property, and justice. Quran/Koran In the Quran, everything in life is regulated, going from absolutely forbidden to what’s absolutely required to lead a good, peaceful, and moral life and create a harmonious society. Hadiths Besides the Quran is the Hadith (literally means “speech” or “saying”). The Hadith refers to anything Muhammad is thought to have said; remembered and recorded and passed down by his early followers. Sharia Besides the Quran, Islam is held together by very strict moral laws (called the Sharia (or Shariah)—which in Arabic means “the clear, straight path”). Over centuries, the Sharia became very rigid, and by 1200 C.E. it was thought to be perfect (which meant there was little room for interpretation). Sharia Having sacred laws created a strong bond among Muslims (which was important since they lived in so many areas). From India to North Africa, despite different cultures and languages, people had common threads of faith (in Islam) which united much of the world. The End Belief in the hereafter is fundamental to Islam, and according to the Hadiths, the afterlife will be preceded by the Day of Judgment, a final reckoning of all souls, who will collectively stand before God. Islamic tradition believes that this last day will follow a series of apocalyptic events that will center around two main figures in Hadith literature: the Mahdi (a descendant of Muhammad) and Jesus. The End According to the Hadiths, preceding the end of days the sun will rise in the West, devastating earthquakes will happen more frequently, time will pass more quickly, and terrible afflictions will come from the East. Dijjal, the Antichrist, will come to power in Medina. The End Throughout the world there will be widespread moral decadence, oppressive rulers, sexual immorality, greed and avariciousness, and killing. The End At this dire point, the Mahdi (means “the guided one”) will appear followed by Jesus, and together through them, the final battle of good versus evil will take place. The Mahdi and Jesus will vanquish the Antichrist, and Islam and peace will be reestablished on earth. The End Jesus will marry, have children, die a natural death, and be buried in Medina next to Muhammad. After this “second coming,” life as we know it will end, and God’s final judgment of humanity will take place.