The hajj was not only solemn observance, but it was also an occasion for joy and celebration. The word Islam means “Submission,” which means obedience to the rule of Allah. If somebody accepts the Islamic faith it means that he/she is a Muslim. Even though this belief started with one man, by the end of the eighth century Islam stood alongside the Byzantine Empire. A Prophet and his World: Islam appeared in the Arabian Peninsula, and this religion reflected the cultural conditions of it’s homeland. Living in Arabia has always been hard because of the bad agriculture and the harsh climates.
However people have been able to survive for a long time and they built a strong empire that was based upon family and submission. Arabia figured out the trading opportunities and took advantage of them. Arabia became an important trading center for India china and the Mediterranean. Plus they started receiving commodities. With the awake of classical empires, trade routes became insecure. Merchants abandoned the overland routes and they started using sea routes that passed through the Arabian Peninsula. This greatly influenced the economy of the city of Mecca.
Muhammad and His Message: The prophet Muhammad was son of nomadic Bedouin herders and merchants. He was born in 570 C. E. and he was son of an honorable merchant family. He had an education, and they cared for him. However, when he was young he worked for a wealthy widow that later became his wife. He got some power in the Mecca society, but he didn’t get a high position. By the age 30 Muhammad had established himself as a merchant and he lived a comfortable life. He lived and knew about many other different religions and he knew the cultures of other peoples.
According to the stories Muhammad received some messages from the Angel Gabriel which told him to convert his family and the world and to give them the message of god. Muhammad presented oral lessons that he passed to his students and the people. However when he dies, his students compiled his teachings in a book called the Quran. Most important after the Quran itself are traditions known as hadith, which include sayings attributed to Muhammad. Muhammad’s Migration to Medina: He first began for converting his family and then the community.
Muhammad became popular and that brought him problems with the ruling elites of Mecca. Muhammad insisted that Allah was the only god and that there shouldn’t be any other deities to which we pray. The elite also saw him a treat because he said that Allah was going to punish greed. Because of all the danger in Mecca, Muhammad had to fled. He fled and joined a group of his followers in Yathrib, a rival trading city. Muslims called their new city Medina which also means the city of the prophet. In Medina he organized his followers into a community and he provides it with laws and a social code.
He looked after the economic welfare of his community; he did this by trading or by launching expedition. Muhammad started to call himself the final prophet because he was going to at last reveal the message of god to the people. He teach that the Christian god and all the other major gods were the same. All of them were Allah and he also accepted the Jewish and Christian prophets. The Establishment of Islam in Arabia: Even thought they succeeded in Medina, Muhammad and his followers planned on returning to Mecca.
In 630 he and his followers attacked Mecca and they conquered the city. They forced the rich to take Allah as their main god and they imposed a government dedicated to Allah. They also destroyed the shrines of other deities and they built mosques. In 632 Muhammad made the first pilgrimage to the Ka’ba. The foundations of Islamic faith as elaborated by Muhammad consist of obligations known as the Five Pillars. Added to the Five Pillars the Islamic people must follow the holy law known as the sharia. Through the Sharia, Islam became more than a religious doctrine.
It became a way of life that people must strictly follow. Expansion of Islam: After Muhammad’s dead the religion faced a period of instability because he left no predecessor. Some people that had barely been conquered, broke from Islam, took back their independence and they became free again. However, within a short time, the Islamic community built a strong army that expanded its power and conquered many lands that converted into Islamic. These conquests lead the foundation of the rapid growth of Islamic society. The Early Caliphs and the Umayyad Dynasty:
Since Muhammad said that he was the last prophet when he died, there could not be another prophet to lead the Islamic society. However, they decided to chose Abu Bakr as deputy. He was the closest of Muhammad’s friends and he was one of the most devoted disciples that he had. He was a religious leader, but he was also the Military commander. During the century after Muhammad’s dead they expanded beyond the boundaries of Arabia, carrying with them their religion and their authority. Durig this period of time they conquered Persia and Africa.
Because of this rapid expansion, the government had problems with governing and administration. It was just too many people to control. Disagreements over the succession lead to the emergence of the Shia sect, which wanted Ali and his successors to caliphs. The Shia survived because they created different rituals and they appointed different holydays. The Shia Muslims also made changes in the Quran in order to support the party’s views. The Abbasid Dynasty: Rebellion in Persia brought the Umayyad dynasty to an end. The chief leader of the rebellion was Abu, he was a descendant of Muhammad’s uncle.
Even though he was a Sunni Muslim, he allied himself with other Muslims in order to convert people from the Mediterranean. The Umayyad didn’t want to surrender to the Abu. One day Abu invited the rich, influential men to a banquet to make peace. However, during the banquet they were arrested and murdered. After they were killed Abu founded the Abbasid dynasty. This dynasty was more cosmopolitan than the previous dynasty. Instead of conquering new lands, the Abbasids largely contented themselves with administering the empire they inherited.
The high point of the Abbasid dynasty came during the reign of Harun. This king provided with liberal support for artists and writer, and he distributed money and wealth to the poor people. After the death of the emperor, the Abbasid Empire declined. This was due to the conflicts of succession. At the end the Mongols extinguished the already weakened empire in 1258. Economy and Society of the Early Islamic World: As in other agricultural societies the farmers worked in the land while the merchants stayed at the city and feed themselves with the food that the farmers produced.
The creation of empires had dramatic implications and results. For instance, the Abbasid Empire created a zone of trade, exchange of ideas, and a communicating route. New Crops, Agricultural Experimentation, and Urban Growth: As the soldiers, merchants, administrators and the population traveled to other parts of the world, they encounter different animals, plants and cultures. Then they brought those ideas and teach them to the people of their empire. The introduction of new crops to the west had many positive effects for the economy.
New food crops led to a richer and more varied diet. They also increased quantities of food and some plants, such as cotton, were used to make a profit. Travel and communication in the dar al-Islam also encouraged experimentation with agricultural methods. The cultivators copied systems of irrigation and techniques that would help them produce more food. The increase of agricultural production contributed to the rapid growth of the empire. Paper manufacture appeared in the Islamic cities during the Abbasid era. Chinese people made paper since the first century B.
C. however with the diffusion, the paper techniques spread to Islamic world around 751 B. C. The Formation of a Hemispheric trading Zone: From its earliest days Islamic society drew much of its prosperity from commerce. Muhammad was a merchant, and he held merchants in high stem. According to early accounts of his life Muhammad said that merchants would stand alongside martyrs to the faith on the Day of Judgment. By the time of the Abbasid Empire, trade networks linked all the regions of the Islamic world and joined it to a larger hemispheric economy.
Arab and Persian mariner borrowed the compass from its Chinese inventors and used it to guide them on the high seas. From Southeast Asian and Indian mariners, they borrowed the lateen sail, a triangular sail that increased a ship’s mobility. They established multiple branches that honored letters of credit known as Sakk drawn on the parent bank. Trade benefited also from techniques of business organization. As a result of improved transportation, expanded banking services, and refined techniques of business organization, long-distance trade surged in the early Islamic world.
They brought many things such as silk and spices form far away. The Changing Status of Women: There was a patriarchal society even before Muhammad’s time. However, Arab women enjoyed right that women in other parts could never dream of. For instance, they could legally inherit property, divorce husbands, and engage in business ventures. However, in some respects the Quran enhanced the security of women in Arabian society. It portrayed women equal to men in the eyes of Allah. However, the Quran and later the Sharia reinforced male dominance. They recognized descend trough the male line.
Even though they teach that women should be treated with delicacy and respect, it allowed men to have up to four wives, whereas women could only have one husband. The veiling of women was not originally a tradition of the Muslims. This tradition came from the Byzantine and Sasanid Empires. At the beginning women had many rights stated in the Quran, however as time passed, the scholars modified the Quran and they took away the rights of women. Islamic Values and cultural Exchanges: The Quran has served as the cornerstone of the Islamic society.
The Quran established a flexible and powerful medium of communication. Even today the Muslims believe that the Quran is the only reliable scripture, translations as not as powerful as the original one. Muslims missionaries spread Goad’s message, but they allowed the people to still practice their old religions or beliefs. The foundation of an Islamic Cultural Tradition: The Muslims scholars studied the Quran and stories about Muhammad in order to create moral guidelines appropriate for their society. Formal institutions helped promote Islamic values.
Many mosques maintained schools that provided elementary education and religious instruction, and wealthy Muslims sometimes established schools and provided endowments for their support. By the tenth century institutions of higher education known as Madrasas appeared. Muslim rulers supported the Madrasas because they had interest in recruiting literate and learned students with an advanced education in Islamic theology and law for administrative position. Sufis also appeared. Sufis were especially effective as missionaries because they emphasized devotion to Allah above mastery of doctrine.
Islam and the Cultural Traditions of Persia and the Cultural Traditions of Persia, India, and Greece: As the Islamic community expanded, the people started interacting with people from other societies, especially with Persia, India, and Greece. Persian traditions quickly found a place in Islamic society, since the culturally rich land of Persia fell under Islamic rule. Persian Influence was as noticeable in literary works from the Abbasid dynasty. While Arabic served as the language of religion, theology, philosophy, and law, Persian was the principal language of literature, poetry, history, and political reflection.
Chapter Summary (taken from AP textbook) The religion of Islam emerged on the Arabian Peninsula in the seventh century C. E. as a result of the vision and the teachings of Muhammad. His message attracted a rapidly expanding circle of devout believers, known as Muslims. After Muhammad's death, Arab conquerors spread the word of Islam throughout a vast territory extending from the Indus River to the Iberian Peninsula within one century. This rapid expansion of Islam contributed to the development of a massive trade and communication network in which goods and ideas spread freely.
The realm of Islam became one of the most prosperous and cosmopolitan societies of the postclassical world. This new society was characterized by, strong commitment to the monotheistic belief system, resting on the Five Pillars of Islam, first articulated by Muhammad and later elaborated on by scholars and mystics. Also, the development of overland and maritime trade and communication routes that facilitated the spread of new crops, trade goods, and ideas, from improved techniques in agriculture to the writings of the classical Greek philosophers.
Engagement with and sometimes adoption of various cultural traditions encountered by the far-flung realm and its trade contacts, helped the country. Hence elements of Persian, Indian, Christian, and Greek cultures found their place into Islamic society and thought. Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to love and serve God. Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets.
They maintain that previous messages and revelations have been partially changed or corrupted over time, but consider the Qur'an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to warfare and the environment.
The Pillars of Islam are five basic acts in Islam, considered obligatory for all believers. The Quran presents them as a framework for worship and a sign of commitment to the faith. They are (1) the shahadah (creed), (2) daily prayers (salat), (3) almsgiving (zakah), (4) fasting during Ramadan and (5) the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime. The Shia and Sunni sects both agree on the essential details for the performance of these acts.