The Islamic World Syllabus
1. Arabs were nomads who were moving constantly in the harsh Arabian desert. Arabs were organized into tribes. Each tribe was ruled by a sheikh, who was chosen from one of the leading families by a council of elders. Arabs started out supporting themselves by sheepherding or raiding the trading caravans that passed through the desert. But after the camel was domesticated they started to take part in the caravan trade. Early Arabs were polytheistic. There was, however, a supreme god named Allah who ruled over the other gods. All members of the tribe were involved in the practice of the faith. Each tribe worshiped a bib black meteorite, the Black Stone, which had been placed in a central shrine called the Ka’bah.
2. Shortly after Muhammad’s death, some of his closest followers chose Abu Bakr, a wealthy merchant and Muhammad’s father-in-law. He was named caliph, the secular leader of the Islamic community. The caliph was a political and religious leader. Under Abu Bakr the Islamic movement began to grow. The caliph had the Arabs more unified. Through conquest the “rightly guided” caliphs were able to spread Islam.
3. During the 600-1400 time period, Islam emerged in the Umayyad Dynasty and expanded greatly into the Abbasid Dynasty. While the Umayyads and Abbasid have some similarities, such as their faith in Islam, they have many differences, for instance the Umayyad dynasty favored Arabs but the Abbasid didn’t favor anyone. Another difference is the Abbasids don’t expand the empire and are content on what they inherited unlike the Umayyads. All in all the Umayyads spread farther had more regional diversity, and a larger bureaucracy than the Abbasids.
4. After Muhammad died Muslim scholars drew up a law code known as the Shari’ah. It is a set of practical laws to regulate their daily lives. Much of it was taken from the Quran. The Shari’ah is different than other religious codes in a few...
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