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 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). The Arabs had little impact on their neighboring, and more powerful, civilizations. Islam 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 Because of its location and long-distance trade, Arabs were familiar with the larger world, including the monotheism of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. Islam The Arabs had no notion of an afterlife, resigning themselves to “fate” –an attitude essential to a society where the mortality rate and tribal violence was so high. By the time of Muhammad, most of the urban Arabs had acknowledged the preeminent position of al-Lah (Allah), the High God of the Arab pantheon (there were many gods, including Allah’s three daughters). Islam Many Arabs increasingly identified Allah with Judaism’s Yahweh, and regarded themselves also as the “children of Abraham.” al-Lah simply means “the God” in Arabic. Unlike their Christian, Jewish, or Zoroastrian neighbors, the Arabs were unhappily aware that al-Lah had never sent them a prophet (an Abraham, Moses, or Jesus) or a scripture in their own language even though there was a massive cube-like shrine in the heart of Mecca. Islam For Arabs involved in trade, there was a widespread sense of spiritual inferiority as Christians and Jews taunted them for being barbarians, a people not worthy of receiving a revelation from God. Judaism and Christianity had made little headway in Arabia even though the Arabs believed both faiths to be superior to their own. Islam Allah’s shrine in Mecca, known since antiquity as the Ka’aba, was the most important religious shrine in Arabia and a yearly destination for thousands of pilgrims. 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 others residing in the Ka’aba and in shrines across the peninsula were considered nothing more than “helpless and harmless idols.” Islam During this period, every pagan Arab tribe had its own 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, 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 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. Slavery was a common practice (seen as a sign of wealth and power). Female infanticide was also common, as daughters were considered an expensive liability. Islam Women, whether married or not, like slaves, were often considered personal property that could be sold or exchanged. Polygamy was a common practice. Changes were coming, as a result of Muhammad. 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). Both sons died in infancy (which will be important to the story later). Islam He 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 Muhammad would retreat into the mountains outside Mecca to pray and contemplate the meaning and purpose of existence (like Buddha and Jesus). 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). These revelations would continue over the next 23 years. 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 from Gabriel. 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 (i.e. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Jesus). Islam Islam Muhammad leads Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Isaiah, and Ezekiel in prayer (from a medieval Persian text). Islam The revelations from Gabriel to Muhammad, recorded in the Qur’an (or Koran) – means Recitation– 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 Qur’an, Muslims claim, when heard in its original Arabic, conveys nothing less than the very presence of the divine. Islam 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 Qur’an, 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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an 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 Qur’an, “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 the 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 the 15th century 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 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. 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 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 Arabs 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. 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. Islam 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, especially towards orphans and the poor. Muslims consider him to have restored the unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. 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 Abraham’s son Isaac while Islam traced itself to his 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 Moses and Jesus, 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. Islam 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. 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. Islam 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. Islam 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. Islam 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. From sun-up to sun-down, adult Muslims are not supposed to eat or drink anything (exceptions are soldiers, travelers, and the ill). Islam After sun-down Muslims usually eat a light meal filled with sweets and the evening is spent in spiritual reflection and prayer. In 2015, Ramadan ran from June 17 to July 17. The end of Ramadan is know as Eid alFitr, a day of joy and celebration. 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. Islam But Ramadan is much more than merely not eating or drinking during the day. Fasting is supposed to teach selfdiscipline, patience and spirituality. People are supposed to restrain themselves from any type of sinful activity, including backbiting (or being catty), gossip, looking at unlawful things and using obscene words. Islam 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. Islam The final pillar is at least one pilgrimage in each Muslim’s lifetime to Mecca –known as the Hajj to see the Ka’aba. This is one of the prerequisites for entering Heaven. Islam According to tradition, Abraham and Ishmael built a simple stone cubelike structure in what came to be the center of the city of Mecca (a large mosque has been built around the Ka’aba). Islam 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). Islam 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. Islam 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. Islam The Ka’aba was thought to be at the center of the world with the Gate of Heaven directly above it. Islam 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). Islam 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. Islam When performing the Salat (prayer 5 times a day), you are to face towards Mecca (because that’s where the Ka’aba is). Islam 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 - 13th days of this lunar month. In 2015, the Hajj is expected to occur between September 21-26th (depends on the waxing crescent moon). Islam 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. Islam Islam Over three million pilgrims attend the Hajj every year. Most stay in the “white tents at Mina” where they are arranged by nationality. Islam 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 /places/culture-places/beliefs-andtraditions/saudiarabia_mecca/ Islam 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. 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 (the Islamic community) from threats of infidel aggressors. Today, many see jihad to mean either “holy war” or “spiritual struggle against the adversaries of Islam.” 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 (similar to other faiths). 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…(Muhammad had 9), although it spoke of the virtues of monogamy. Mosques (Muslim houses of worship and community) 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 (from a fever at age 62). Islam Who should be his legitimate successor? Who would become the spiritual and political leader of the umma, the protector and defender of the faith? The Qur’an (the holy scriptures of Islam) dictated a democratic system for choosing the successor (known as the caliph). Muslims were free to debate, have differences about successors, and elect a new leader. Islam No one could have predicted the consequences of this would lead to the most serious divide in the Islamic community. A few believed that the caliph should be a blood relative of the prophet (Muhammad) who led Islam. Others felt that any truly devout (male) follower of Muhammad was qualified to lead the faithful. Islam The first four caliphs , known among Muslims as The Rightly Guided Caliphs (623662 CE) were close “companions of the Prophet,” selected by the Muslim elders in Medina. Almost immediately tribal divisions surfaced causing the first caliph, Abu Bakr, to suppress them forcibly. Islam The first chosen successor (caliph) was a Muhammad’s closest friend and the father of one of Muhammad’s four wives (and thus not a blood relative). Bakr died after serving only 27 months as caliph. Islam The next two caliphs, Umar, who ruled 10 years until 644 CE, and Uthman, who ruled 12 years until 656 CE, were close friends and associates of Muhammad, but also not relatives. Islam Initially under Abu Bakr, but also Umar and Uthman, Muslim military commanders raided into areas north of Arabia as far as present-day Iraq and Syria and westward into Egypt. These raids showed the weakness and vulnerability of the post-Classical Byzantine and Sassanid (Persian) Empires. With victories came the problem of how to divide the spoils of conquest among the tribes. Islam Umar was assassinated by a rival clan coming home from a Hajj. Uthman, the first caliph of the Umayyad clan, was 84 and unpopular when he was assassinated by rebels from a rival clan, run through with a sword while in prayer at home. Less than 25 years after Muhammad’s death, a civil war between the Umayyad clans and those that supported Muhammad’s cousin Ali erupted. Islam The first three caliphs didn’t satisfy a faction of Muslims who wanted to see Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law (married to his daughter Fatima), named caliph. Tradition states that Ali was the second person who converted to Islam. Ali had been previously passed over because the tribes didn’t think he was old or experienced enough to lead the faithful. Islam When Ali’s turn came on the death of Uthman (and he became the fourth caliph 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. Islam Shi’ites believed that Ali should have been the first caliph and that the caliphate should pass down only to direct descendants of Mohammed via Ali and Fatima. 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. Islam 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. Even though he was a skilled soldier, Ali lost the backing of powerful clans and a new Umayyad chieftain, named Mu’awiya was proclaimed caliph in Jerusalem. Islam 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. However when the time came, neither man backed down and the stand-off continued. Islam 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. Islam The “Holy Family” of Shia: Muhammad (center), Fatima (veiled), Ali, and grandsons Hassan (green) and Husayn (red). Islam His eldest son, Hassan, agreed to Umayyad demands not to become the caliph in return for his life and a pension. He died less than a year later, allegedly poisoned. Those who backed Mu’awiya and the Umayyads against Ali and the Shi’ites were known as the Sunni (“the Way” or “the Path of Muhammad”). Islam In 680, Ali’s younger son, Hussein (or Husayn), led an army of followers against the man who proclaimed himself the caliph (Mu’awiya’s son Yazid). Hopelessly outnumbered, Hussein’s army was slaughtered at the Battle of Karbala (in today’s southern Iraq). Islam The Battle of Karbala (680 CE). Islam The division between those who were Shi’ites and those who were Sunnis was set, and has been in place for 1300 years. Hussein’s death is commemorated annually (known as the Day of Ashura) with intense processions during which the marchers beat themselves bloody with chains and cut themselves with sharp metal instruments. Islam The Day of Ashura commeration: Islam The Sunni’s did not see a blood relationship as necessary for succession…rightful religious, political, and military leaders could be selected by the Islamic community. Shi’ites felt the caliphs should come through the line of Ali and Hussein, blood relatives of Muhammad, both of whom died at the hands of their political or religious enemies. Islam From the beginning of this disagreement, the vast majority of Muslims took the Sunni position. 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 For most of Islamic history, Shi’ites saw themselves as the oppressed minority…that the faith had taken a wrong turn and that they were “the defenders of the weak, the critics and opponents of privilege and power.” To Shi’ites, Sunnis were the advocates of established order. These deep divisions exist even today. Islam The first four caliphs after Muhammad’s death were elected, but after the political turmoil surrounding Ali’s death, the caliphates (Islamic empires) became hereditary, even though new caliphs were still formally elected. There were two Islamic dynasties during the post-Classical period: the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750) and the Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258). 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). Islam Mu’awiya moved the political capital from Medina to Damascus (Syria) where it was more centrally located in the growing empire. From Damascus, the Umayyads built a bureaucracy to govern their vast lands (which would become the largest empire since the Romans). Mu’awiya made sure that his son was made his successor before he died. Islam 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. This was quite different from the simple lifestyles of Muhammad and his early successors. Islam 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. Islam 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.” Islam Under the Umayyads, Islamic armies conquered as far east as Afghanistan and as far west as northern Africa, Christian Spain, and well into central France (before being turned back at the Battle of Tours in 732). Islam From Damascus, the Umayyads built a bureaucracy to govern their vast lands (the largest empire since the Romans). 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. 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) Islam The Umayyads tried to keep interactions between the Arab Muslims and subject peoples to a minimum to prevent the loss of tax revenue. Non-Arab Muslim converts received few social or financial benefits, so conversions were not very common, yet. They still had to pay property taxes and special head taxes, and they were not considered to be a part of the umma. Islam The “People of the Book,” as Jews and Christians were known, were considerably better treated, even though they had to pay the same taxes as other subject peoples. However, Jews and Christians were allowed to worship as they pleased and their communities and legal systems remained intact. Islam 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. Islam 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 Umayyad 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 the Abbasid Dynasty in 750. The Abbasid Dynasty, which took its name from an uncle of Muhammad (al-Abbas), were originally supported by the Shi’ites but became increasingly receptive to the Sunni too. 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 750, Umayyad forces met Abbasid forces at the Battle of the River Zab (northern Iraq) and the Abbasids were victorious. The Abbasid Caliphate To eliminate the possibility of future Umayyad challenges, most of the Umayyad were invited to a “reconciliation” banquet where they were massacred. Those Umayyad not attending the banquet were hunted down and killed. One member of the family escaped to Spain, where he established the Caliphate of Cordoba. 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, the Abbasids abandoned the Umayyad capital of Damascus, and built themselves a new capital in Baghdad. The tower of the Great Mosque of Samarra (built 847). The Abbasid Caliphate In Baghdad 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 learning of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Persians was preserved. Greek logic, especially that of Aristotle, permeated Muslim intellectualism. The Abbasid Caliphate In mathematics, the fields of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry were developed or further refined. The astrolabe, which measured the position of the stars, was improved. The Abbasid Caliphate The study of astronomy produced accurate 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. Some of the world’s first universities and largest libraries were built in Cairo, Baghdad, Timbuktu, and Cordoba. The Abbasid Caliphate In the arts, calligraphy and designs called arabesques adorned writing and pottery. 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 mosques. 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 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. 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 Qur’an urges modesty in both men and women, but no particular cultural dress was stipulated. From the time of Muhammad onward, Muslim men, following the example set in the Qur’an, were allowed to 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. Women, by contrast, could have only one husband. 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 Islamic women could initiate divorce and could remarry if divorced by their husband. But the legal privileges enjoyed by women were eventually counterbalanced by their seclusion from public life to prevent the gaze of men (in some cultures, women weren’t even supposed to go to the market if men were there). The Role of Women Women of the Qur’an include Eve (representing domestic harmony and bliss…the other half of Adam; and not solely responsible for the couple’s removal from Eden), and Mary. The Role of Women Mary (the mother of Jesus) is the figure many Muslim women aspire to be like; she was 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 Qur’an). Only Abraham, Moses, and Noah are mentioned in the Qur’an more than Mary. The Role of Women Mary and the baby Jesus from an early Islamic (Persian) manuscript. 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. The Qur’an 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 Qur’an (or Koran). The Qur’an The Qur’an is a book about the same length as the New Testament and is one of the most remarkable scriptures in history for it has molded the lives of millions of people and given birth to a powerful and enduring faith. The Qur’an 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. The Qur’an 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. The Qur’an In the Qur’an, 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. Islam Besides the Qur’an are the Hadiths (literally means “speech” or “saying”). The Hadiths refer to anything Muhammad was thought to have said; remembered and recorded and passed down by his early followers. Islam Besides the Qur’an, 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). Islam 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. Islam 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. Islam 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. Islam Throughout the world there will be widespread moral decadence, oppressive rulers, sexual immorality, greed and avariciousness, and killing. Islam 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. Islam According to Islamic tradition, Jesus will then marry, have children, die a natural death, and be buried next to Muhammad in Medina. It is after the second coming of Jesus that life on earth as we know it will end, and God’s final judgment will take place.