600 ce – 1450 ce the Life of Muhammad


Particularly popular with Hindu lower classes (equality in faith for Muslims)



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Particularly popular with Hindu lower classes (equality in faith for Muslims)

  • Spread to Southeast Asia through merchants

  • More converts in the islands than on the mainland

    • Africa:

      • jihad: Islamic holy war to spread Islam, brought Islam into Africa by the 8th century

      • spread along caravan routes

      • 10th century: Egypt became Muslim, under control of Muslim rulers

      • easily adopted by Sub-Saharan rulers in West Africa: Ghana, Mali; largely adopted by only ruling/elite classes, commoners tended to remain polytheistic or blended Islamic teachings with their indigenous beliefs

      • East Africa (coastal areas): brought by traders

      • not much success in the interior of Africa

      • many women resistant to conversion because they had more freedoms with indigenous belief systems




            • Role of women: lots of change from 630 – 15th century

              • early days: women did not have to wear veil, not secluded, considered as equal in faith

              • after contact with Middle Eastern cultures: harem from Abbasid court (men could have up to four wives, women could only have one husband)

              • killing female children was illegal

              • women could own property before and after marriage (her possessions did not automatically become her husbands after marriage

              • patriarchy established by Quran and shariah

              • women had some legal rights, but these rights were countered by the fact that they became increasingly secluded from the public

                • Social structure: Muslims could not enslave other Muslims (except for prisoners of war), but could own slaves; slavery not hereditary; Muslims could free their slaves (especially after conversion to Islam)

                • Dar al-Islam: the house of Islam, referring to all Muslims lands

                • Significance: last world religion to develop; quickly spread to many lands through trade and conquest; largest theocracy; Muslims preserved advancements made during the Hellenistic Age; unified many people across the Eastern Hemisphere; competition between Muslims and Christians for economic influence in both hemispheres led to intense confrontations (Crusades); friction between Christians and Muslims (and Muslims and Jews, for that matter) persists today; Islam, like Christianity, is a monotheistic religion that shares beliefs with Judaism





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