Explain how Muslim leadership developed after the death of Muhammad and why the nature of Muslim leadership became an issue with the first civil war
Explain the development of the ulama and their role in Muslim society
Explain why the absorption and status of non-Arab converts became a central issue in the development of the umma
Describe the conflicting notions of the Muslim vision of society and nature of the umma
Explain the development of the schism between the Shi’ites and the Sunnis or centrists
The High Caliphate
Why did the caliphal empire decline?
Discuss the nature of the “high caliphate” and explain why it is considered a “golden age”
Discuss how the Abbasid state differed from that of the Umayyads
Describe society under Abbasid rule
Discuss the decline of the caliphal empire and explain the role of Persia and the Shi’ites in that decline
Islamic Culture in the Classical Era
What were the main achievements of “classical” Islamic culture?
Explain what made possible the rich cultural legacy of the Abbasid court
Describe the intellectual traditions upon which Muslims drew during the classical era
Discuss how Arabic language and literature developed in the expanded cultural sphere of the new empire
KEY POINTS AND VITAL CONCEPTS
The Message of the Qur’an: As revealed by God through his Prophet Muhammad, the Qur’an warns people against idolatrous worship of false gods, immorality, and injustice to the weak and less fortunate, the poor, orphans, widows, and women in general. A judgment day at the end of time will see everyone face either punishment in hellfire or eternal joy in paradise according to how one has lived. The way to paradise is through obedient worship and submission (Islam) to God’s will, thus becoming Muslim (submissive). There is but one God (Allah) and Muhammad is his prophet. Yet he was only the last in a long line of prophets chosen to reveal God’s message. Others included Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muhammad was chosen to give one final reiteration of God’s message.
The Course and Success of Islamic Conquest: In the course of the seventh century, Arab Islamic armies burst out of the peninsula and conquered the Byzantine and Sassanid territories by 640, Egypt by 642, and Iran by 643. Succeeding decades saw conquests of the Berbers, Morocco, and much of Spain. Islamic armies were finally checked by the Frank, Charles Martel, at Tours in 732. A combination of factors resulted in this success: (1) Islamic vision of society united Arabs and attracted others as well; (2) religious zeal, especially as time went on, maintained commitment, although too much has been made of Muslim desire for martyrdom in the jihad; (3) leadership of the first caliphs and field generals; and (4) liberal ruling policies that were a relief from Byzantine or Persian oppression. These included no military obligations, maintenance of local legal systems, adjustment of unequal taxation, and relatively little bloodshed or destruction of property.
The New Islamic Order: The Islamic community required a period of political and religious organization after the death of Muhammad. His first successors were chosen on the basis of their superior personal qualities and leadership within their tribes. Their titles were caliph (“successor”) or imam (“leader”), which underscored their political and religious authority. This dual authority was difficult to maintain and the caliphate became a titular office representing political and military unity. Religious leadership devolved upon scholars known as ulama (“persons of right knowledge”) whose opinions on legal issues and theological doctrine established a general basis of religious order and a workable legal-moral system.
Islamic Civilization in Global Perspective: The rise of Islam as a world religious tradition and international civilization is one of the great events of world history. As different as they were, only China compared favorably with or surpassed the Islamic world in terms of political and military power, cultural unity, and creativity. Still, the Islamic empire was culturally heterogeneous and more widely dispersed. The Islamic empire was agrarian based, but the overall conditions for food production (owing to a general lack of water) were not as favorable as those in China or western Europe. The Islamic achievement was different primarily in that it was consciously an effort to build something new rather than to recapture previous traditions of religion, society, or government.
PRIMARY SOURCE: DOCUMENTS IN WORLD HISTORY DVD-ROM
Excerpts from the Qur’an
Pre-Islamic Arabic Poetry: “The Poem of Antar”
A selection from Muhammad’s “Orations”
Baghdad: City of Wonders
Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya, “Brothers, my peace is in my aloneness”
How did Islam become an enduring part of Indian civilization?
Explain how the Delhi sultans provided a basic political and social framework within which Islam could take root in the Indian subcontinent
Discuss the emergence of Urdu-Hindi and what it tells us about the syncretism between Hindu and Muslim culture and language that resulted from the establishment of Islam in India
Explain the reciprocal influence of Muslims and Hindus in India, especially in popular culture
Hindu and Other Indian Traditions
What were some characteristics of Hindu culture in this period?
Explain why the period from 1000 to 1500 was important to other religious traditions in India besides the Muslims
Describe the developments in Hindu religion and culture between 1000 and 1500
KEY POINTS AND VITAL CONCEPTS
The Development of Islamic Religious Sects: The notable developments of this period for the shape of Islamic society were the consolidation and institutionalization of Sufi mystical piety, Sunni legal and religious norms, and Shi’ite sectarianism. Sufi piety stressed simplicity, the ascetic avoidance of temptations, and loving devotion of God. Socially, this piety merged such popular practices as saint veneration, shrine pilgrimage, ecstatic worship, and seasonal festivals. Sufi disciples formed brotherhoods, which proved to be the chief instruments for the further spread of the Muslim faith. Shi’ite traditions crystallized between the tenth and twelfth centuries, yet the differences between the diverse Shi’ite groups precluded a unified Shi’ism. Only the strongest state of the Fatimids was able to establish an empire in Egypt. And only in Iran, Iraq, and the lower Indus did a substantial Shi’ite populace develop. Two Shi’ite groups emerged as the most influential: the “Seveners” or Isma’ilis, who drew on esoteric Gnostic and Neo-Platonic philosophy, and the “Twelvers” who focused on the martyrdom of the twelve imams and looked for their intercession on the Day of Judgment. By the eleventh century, most Shi’ites had accepted the latter sect and it has flourished in Iraq, the home of Shi’ite thought. The last major Islamic sect, the Sunnis, melded their traditions by 1000 into a conservative theology reflected by the Hanbalites, who stressed reliance on a literal reading of the Qu’ran and the Hadith.
Mongol and Turk Invasions: These invasions in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries shattered the unity of the Muslim community. The Mongols, however, did not convert Muslim subject populations to their own faith. Instead, their native paganism and Buddhist and Christian followers often yielded to Muslim faith and practice. Still, religious tolerance remained the norm under Mongol control. The destructive nature of the conquerors, reflected in the sacking of Delhi and Baghdad, required decades of recovery. The lasting legacy of the Mongol invasions was to divide northern India Transoxiania from areas west of Egypt. Muslim culture, however, remained dominant throughout.
The Islamic Heartlands and India (1000–1500) in Global Perspective: The spread of Islam to India and Africa constitutes only a portion of the history of these particular regions. Yet Islam became truly an international tradition of religious, political, and social values and institutions. It did so by being highly adaptable to diverse cultures. Indian traditional culture was not missionary and expansionistic as was that of Islam. Yet Buddhism expanded across much of central and east Asia even while dwindling in its Indian homeland. Christianity, by contrast, was not rapidly expanding, but by 1500 it stood on the brink of internal revolution and international proselytism that began with the voyages of discovery. Most of Africa developed during this period without interference from abroad; European Christian penetration was just beginning around 1500. In 1000, Europe was almost a backwater of culture and power in comparison with major Islamic and Hindu states, let alone those of China and Japan. At this period’s close, however, European civilization was riding the crest of a cultural renaissance. Over the next five hundred years, western European changes in basic ideas and institutions were much more radical than in other world civilizations.
PRIMARY SOURCE: DOCUMENTS IN WORLD HISTORY DVD-ROM
Winada Prapanca, Nagara Kertagama
Selection from Narrative of the Journey of Abd-er Razzak
Al-Ghazzali, “On the Separation of Mathematics and Religion”