Islam and the Islamic Empires
IslamAn Abrahamic Religion
 Muslims are strict monotheists.
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They believe in the JudeoChristian God, which they call
Allah.
Muslims believe that the Torah
and the Bible, like the Qur’an,
is the word of God.
Peoples of the Book
The Prophetic Tradition
Adam
Noah
Abraham
Moses
Jesus
Muhammad
Some Definitions
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ISLAM: The “Yoke” or submission to the will of
God
MUHAMMAD: The prophet of Islam
MUSLIM: A follower if Islam
ARAB: An ethnic/linguistic group centered on the
Arabian peninsula, with members throughout
the Middle East and North Africa. Majority are
Muslim, minority are Christian.
ARABIC: The language of Arabs and of the
Qur'an
Arabia in the Sixth Century
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Most Arabs were
Bedouins – nomadic
people of the desert
A tribal society – constant
wars between clans
Mecca was a major
caravan city
The majority of Arabs
were polytheists
Idols of gods contained in
the Ka’aba
The Prophet Muhammad 570-632
• Born in Mecca , orphaned at an
early age
• Raised by his uncle
• Worked for a camel caravan
company
• Married his boss—Khadija
• At age 39, in the year 609, he
received a revelation from Allah
(God) during the month of
Ramadan
• His mission to reveal the Qur’an
to the people created tension
between Muhammad’s
monotheism and the polytheism
of the people of Mecca
The Birth of Islam
 Muhammad received his first revelation from
the angel Gabriel in the Cave of Hira in 609.
The rest were revealed over the next 23 years,
and compiled after his death as the Qur’an
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622  Hegira (flight)  Muhammad
flees Mecca for Medina.
* The beginning of the
Muslim calendar
After a long and bloody war, Muhammad
defeats the Meccans, purifies the Ka’aba and
establishes Islam as the major religion of
Arabia
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The Qur’an
 Muslims believe it contains the
word of God.
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114 suras (chapters).
In the name of Allah,
the compassionate,
the merciful.
Written
in Arabic.
1. The Shahada
 The testimony.
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The declaration of faith:
There is no god worthy of
worship except God, and
Muhammad is His
Messenger [or Prophet].
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2. The Salat
 The mandatory prayers
performed 5 times a day:
* dawn
* noon
* late afternoon
* sunset
* before going to bed
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Wash before praying.
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Face Mecca and use a prayer rug.
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2. The Salat
 The call to prayer by the
muezzin in the minaret.
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Pray in the mosque on Friday.
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3. The Zakat
 Almsgiving (charitable
donations).
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Muslims believe that all things
belong to God.
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Zakat means both “purification”
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About 2.5% of your income.
and “growth.”
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4. The Sawm
 Fasting during the holy month
of Ramadan.
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Considered a method of selfpurification.
No eating or drinking from
sunrise to sunset during
Ramadan.
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5. The Hajj
 The pilgrimage to Mecca.
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Must be done at least once in a
Muslim’s lifetime.
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2-3 million Muslims make the
pilgrimage
every
year.
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5. The Hajj
 Those who complete the
pilgrimage can add the title
hajji to their name.
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Other Islamic Religious Practices and
Traditions
 Up to four wives allowed at once.
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No alcohol or pork.
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No gambling.
The Hadith (traditions) account of the
deeds and sayings of Muhammad
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Sharia  body of Islamic law to
regulate daily living.
Three holiest cities in Islam:
* Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem.
Death of
the
Prophet
• Muhammad died in 632 and rose into heaven
from a holy rock (where Jews believe
Abraham prepared the sacrifice of his son)
in Jerusalem. On the site Muslims built a
mosque called the Dome of the Rock.
DOME OF THE ROCK, Jerusalem
The Dar al-Islam
The World
of Islam
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Essential Question:
Why was Islam
able to spread so
quickly and convert
so many to the
new religion?
The Spread of Islam
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Easy to learn and practice.
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No priesthood.
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Teaches equality.
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Non-Muslims, who were “Peoples of
the Book,” were allowed religious
freedom, but paid additional taxes.
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Easily “portable”  nomads & trade
routes.
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Jihad (“Holy War”) against pagans
and other non-believers (“infidels”).
Countries with the Largest Muslim
Population
1. Indonesia
183,000,000
6. Iran
62,000,000
2. Pakistan
134,000,000
7. Egypt
59,000,000
3. India
121,000,000
8. Nigeria
53,000,000
4. Bangladesh
114,000,000
9. Algeria
31,000,000
10. Morocco
29,000,000
5. Turkey
66,000,000
* Arabs make up only 20% of the total
Muslim population of the world.
Spread of Islam
The Islamic Caliphate
• After the death of Muhammad, caliphs (leaders) controlled the Muslim world.
• Most famous caliphates: the Umayyad dynasty and the Abbasid dynasty.
• Umayyad capital city: Damascus (in Syria). Abbasid capital: Baghdad (in Iraq).
Battle of Tours, 732 ce
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Muslims expand across
North Africa, into Spain
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Islam threatens to take over
Christian Europe!!!
Battle of Tours, 732 ce
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Charles Martel, king of the
Franks, defeats the Muslims,
which stops their expansion
into Europe
Sunnis vs. Shi’ites
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Sunnis
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The caliph may be elected from the Muslim community.
Shi’ites (Shia)
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The caliph must be a descendant of the family of Muhammad
Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali is assassinated in 651
The Shia Ali (partisans of Ali) have never accepted the rule of
the succeeding Sunni caliphs
The Shia are a minority in the Muslim world(10-15% worldwide,
but 39% in Middle East); a majority only in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain
and Azerbaijan
The Rise of Islamic Empires in the
Middle East, Europe, and India
The Rise of The Ottoman
Empire
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The
Rise
of
the
Ottoman
Turks
Under Osman Bey (12581326) the Ottomans, a seminomadic Turkic people
created an empire that would
expand rapidly and survive
until 1923.
They expanded the empire
into the Balkans, where
young Christian boys became
slaves of the Sultan and
served as Janissaries.
In 1453 Under Sultan
Mehmet II,(1451-1481) they
besieged and conquered
Constantinople, (renamed
Istanbul) which ended the
Christian Byzantine Empire.
Constantinople becomes
Instanbul
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Churches like Haghia
Sophia were
transformed into
mosques, though
many Christian
features remain.
Ottoman rule
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In the conquered territories,
the Turks faced hostile
populations of Jews,
Catholics, Orthodox
Christians and even Muslims.
The Turks allowed everyone
to practice whatever religion
they wanted as long as they
paid taxes.
They managed a vast,
culturally diverse empire
through the Janissary Army
and Civil Service.
Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566)
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Empire at its peak,
included the Balkans,
Greece, Syria, Egypt and
Iraq.
In 1529 he attacked
Vienna, the capital of the
Habsburg Empire
He had many challenges
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Mostly from the Safavid
Empire (the Shi’ite
Persians)
How Did Ottomans Exercise
Power?
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Center of Power – in Istanbul—the
Topkapi Saray
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A fortress, sanctuary, and shrine
Laid out by Mehmed II
Outer walls and inner walls with
Inner palace in deep interior—
palace housed treasury, a library,
and the sultan’s pavillion
Inner court closed to all but state
officials – visitors confined to
outer court
Around the edges, secret
hideaway spots for the Sultan’s
harem
Ottoman Power
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Topkapi Palace housed 10 mosques, 14
bathhouses, 2 hospitals, 2,000 women
and 4,000 horses
Sultan housed in sacred spaces with
relics of the prophet Muhammad –
controlled the institutions and sacred
places related to Sunni Islam
Externally—law code, tolerance, military
power, still profited from spice trade,
tribute from Europeans
Internally—palace often ruled by
eunuchs and concubines, as well as
sultan’s mother, but more rational than
many Europeans believed
Safavid Empire
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Created by the young Shah
Ismail (1501-1524).
Ismail established “Twelver
Shiism” as the state religion
(belief that twelfth imam
would be the leader of all
Islam.
Defeated by the Ottomans at
the battle of Chaldiran in 1514
Like Ottomans, benefitted from
trade across Eurasia
Ruled through a hereditary
class of fighters – the Qizilbash
Shah Abbas
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Expanded the Safavid Empire
from 1588-1629
Created capital at Isfahan
Won gains in the caucuses
and central Asia, expelled the
Portuguese from Hormuz
Insisted that everyone
practice Shi’ite version of
Islam – left no room for
religious pluralism – even
though most people they
governed were not originally
Shi’ites
The Mughal Empire
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Babur, claiming descent from
Chinggis Khan, started to
conquer India in 1523 and
took Delhi in 1526.
He founded a ruling dynasty
known as the Mughal, the
Persian word for Mongols
Early Mughal Rulers – Babur (1483-1530)
Early Mughal Rulers – Humayun – Babur’s Son
Legacy of Humayun (1508-1556)
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Faced many obstaclesmostly from brothers
Consolidated Rule
Interested in Science
and Astrology
Died falling down
stairs from library
carrying books
Picture—Humayun
with Babur
Akbar – Humayun’s Son (15561605)
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Created a centralized
state
He encouraged art and
architecture.
Continued to expand the
Empire into Gujarat and
Bengal
encouraged toleration of
Hindus
Akbar’s Palace – Fatehpur Sikri
Jahangir (1569-1627
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Ruled from 1605-1627 after
father-Akbar-died
Very well educated, spoke 4
languages
He had little interest in
India
Emphasized Sunni Islam
He married a Persian – Nur
Jahan and let her run the
country – she had been a
widow in his court
More interested in drinking
and smoking opium than
ruling
Nur Jahan – Power Behind the
Throne
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Persian – gave positions in
government to all her male
relatives
Tough ruler
Good businesswoman–
encouraged trade and
industry-manufactured
perfume, cosmetics
Owned ships she used for
commercial endeavors
Wrote poetry under the
name Makhifi
Shah Jahan
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Jahangir’s son
Basically imprisoned Nur
Jahan until she died
(she had backed his
brother)
He ruled from 16281657.
Built the Peacock throne
and the Taj Majal.
Built the Taj Majal as a
monument to his wife
when she died in
childbirth in 1631.
Peacock Throne
Taj Majal
Rebellion of Aurangzeb
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Defeats Father - Shah
Jahan in 1658 and
becomes emperor.
Ruled until 1707.
He actively tries to
conquer all of India
and got most of it
except the South.
Rule of Aurangzib
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Aurangzib (1659-1707) was
an ardent Muslim and he
prohibited the Hindu religion
and destroyed the Hindu
temples.
In 1679 he imposed a special
tax on non-Muslims and
created an Islamic moral
police that tried to enforce
orthodoxy.
He also required all women
to marry
By his death there was much
turmoil.
The Islamic empires
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Though these were powerful empires why did
they decline?
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One reason was they spent a lot of money fighting
wars
Spent enormous sums on monumental architecture to
display power
Power – Superficially external visible – Real power
Hidden in inner quarters
Worked well when tolerant – mostly not
Resisted new developments in western technology
and science
Saw trade very differently from Europeans.
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Islam and the Islamic Empires