Umayyad vs Abbasid Dynasties

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  • Topic: Iraq, Al-Andalus, Abbasid Caliphate
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  • Published : February 20, 2012
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Umayyad vs. Abbasid Dynasties
In the rise and spreading of the Islam religion, there were many dynasties that were similar and different in their own way. The Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties can be compared: culturally, through religious tolerations and cultural blending; politically, through bureaucracy and misuse of government powers; and economically, through trade and advancements of technology.

Culturally through religious toleration and cultural blending, the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties can be compared. Umayyad practiced a fair degree of religious tolerance and they hired Christians and Jews that belonged to the Levant to high ranks, but they weren’t as open minded when it came to race, and their leaders and officials of the Empire were Arabs. But the Abbasids gave the most important jobs to non-Arab administrators, merchants, and scholars. Although both dynasties tolerated the “people of the book” they charged higher taxes, convincing even more people by themselves to convert to their religion. The “people of the book” knew that in order to succeed, they had to convert even though both these dynasties accepted them. During the early years of the dynasty the Abbasid rulers encouraged intellectual expansion, which was basically cultural blending. The Abbasids absorbed ideas from Byzantium and India and ancient Greek philosophers were translated into Arabic. The Abbasids adopted Indian mathematical ideas such as a system of numerals and the concept of zero. The Umayyad also wrought many changes in Islamic government. The most significant of these was the adoption of Byzantine administrative and financial systems. These intellectual improvements made the Islamic community a center of cultural and intellectual growth.

Politically, through bureaucracy and the misuse of government power, Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties can be compared. Many Abbasid caliphs were relegated to a more ceremonial role than under the Umayyad, as the leaders began to exert greater...
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