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Muslim Cities

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Rosalie Xu
2013530256
AP World History
David McKenzie
Oct 27th, 2014
Document Based Question
Muslim Cities of the Post-Classical Age
During the Post-Classical Age, Muslim cities played multiple important roles, which were residences and centers of people of religion, intellect and learning, crucial hearts of economy, especially trades, and centers of political powers and thrones, for multiple Muslim societies and more importantly, the wider Muslim world. Muslim cities in the Post-Classical Age played important roles as centers of Muslim culture because they were highly honored as Muslim Holy Cities and heart of Islam religious power, and produced science and poetry that attracted people of intellect and learning resided there. Spanish Muslim traveler and geographer Ibn Jubayr’s (Doc #1) description of Damascus as a highly honored, blessed, and heavenly city of Allah where Jesus and Mary took refuge in reflects the city’s importance in Islam culture as a religious sacred site, which shows that Muslim cities during the Post-Classical Age strengthened Islam by attributing its current prosperity to the blessings of Allah and the alleged arrival of saints. While Damascus wasn’t strictly a Holy City of Islam, the map of “Muslim Holy Cities” (Doc #8) shows thirteen discrete Holy Cities, and most of them were under Muslim rule. Because Holy Cities were destinations of pilgrimages made by Muslims, these cities served great roles in Islam as being popular religious sites for Muslims all over the Muslim world to come for veneration, which strengthened Islam as well. Also, Muslim cities then were the center of religious powers of Islam and the core of Muslim science and literature. Iberian Muslim of Arab origin historian Andalusian’s (Doc #2) writings about the situation and roles played by the city of Cordoba after Muslim conquest mentions that Cordoba was “the copula of Islam, and home of the inam (religious leader)” and the residence of learned nobility, great...
Rosalie Xu
2013530256
AP World History
David McKenzie
Oct 27th, 2014
Document Based Question
Muslim Cities of the Post-Classical Age
During the Post-Classical Age, Muslim cities played multiple important roles, which were residences
and centers of people of religion, intellect and learning, crucial hearts of economy, especially trades,
and centers of political powers and thrones, for multiple Muslim societies and more importantly, the
wider Muslim world.
Muslim cities in the Post-Classical Age played important roles as centers of Muslim culture because
they were highly honored as Muslim Holy Cities and heart of Islam religious power, and produced
science and poetry that attracted people of intellect and learning resided there. Spanish Muslim
traveler and geographer Ibn Jubayr’s (Doc #1) description of Damascus as a highly honored,
blessed, and heavenly city of Allah where Jesus and Mary took refuge in reflects the city’s
importance in Islam culture as a religious sacred site, which shows that Muslim cities during the Post-
Classical Age strengthened Islam by attributing its current prosperity to the blessings of Allah and
the alleged arrival of saints. While Damascus wasn’t strictly a Holy City of Islam, the map of
“Muslim Holy Cities” (Doc #8) shows thirteen discrete Holy Cities, and most of them were under
Muslim rule. Because Holy Cities were destinations of pilgrimages made by Muslims, these cities
served great roles in Islam as being popular religious sites for Muslims all over the Muslim world to
come for veneration, which strengthened Islam as well. Also, Muslim cities then were the center of
religious powers of Islam and the core of Muslim science and literature. Iberian Muslim of Arab
origin historian Andalusian’s (Doc #2) writings about the situation and roles played by the city of
Cordoba after Muslim conquest mentions that Cordoba was “the copula of Islam, and home of the
inam (religious leader)” and the residence of learned nobility, great writers, scientists and
researchers. Because Muslim cities during the Post-Classical Age like Cordoba were famous for its
cultural advances, Muslims, near and far, came to those cities for cultural experiences and sought
education, and thus these cities played as residences and centers of people of religion, intellect and
learning and had great cultural influence throughout the Muslim world. But it’s also important to
notice that although Andalusian was a resident of Cordoba, he was also of Arab origin, which makes
him tend to speak higher of Cordoba under Muslim reign and make it seem better than it actually
was, so it would be nice to have a document from a resident of Cordoba who was of Iberian origin
and experienced both non-Muslim and Muslim rule describing the change of the city after the Arab
conquest of Iberian Peninsula for he had a different view, so when these two perspectives add up
the whole accurate picture of the city will appear. In short, Muslim cities played important roles as
crucial centers of culture for they were honored as blessed heaven, resided by religious leaders,
regarded as religious Holy Cities and considered advanced in science and literature.
Other than playing important roles in cultural aspect, Muslim cities during the Post-Classical Age
were also crucial hearts of economy, especially trades in the Muslim world. Persian Muslim traveler
and Ismaili spy Nasier Khusraw’s (Doc #3) report on Cairo depicts a vivid prosperous image of the
Muslim city of Cairo as an active trading city, with all the services like caravansaries for caravan
traders and the two thousand ships belonged to the Sultan, shows that Muslim cities at that time
period were on the trade routes and were important in keeping trades going. Italian merchant Marco
Polo’s (Doc #5) picture of another prosperous city on the trade route, Tabriz, focuses more on the
trading activities happening in the city, and from his perspective, commerce and manufactures made
the merchants who probably came from all over the inside and outside of Muslim world in the city
wealthy. But he also mentions that the inhabitants of Tabriz, in general, were poor, and that’s where
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