A Prophet and His World
Muhammad and His Message
The Arabian peninsula
Nomadic Bedouin lived in the desert-covered peninsula for millennia 1.
Kept herds of sheep, goats, and camels
Organized in family and clan groups
Importance of kinship and loyalty to the clan
Post-classical Arabia, active in long-distance trade
An important link between India/China and Persia/Byzantium 2.
Muhammad's early life
Muhammad ibn Abdullah born in a Mecca merchant family, 570 C.E. b.
Difficult early life, married a wealthy widow, Khadija, in 595 c.
Became a merchant at age 30, exposed to various faiths
Muhammad's spiritual transformation
At age 40, he experienced visions
There was only one true god, Allah ("the god")
Allah would soon bring judgment on the world
The archangel Gabriel delivered these revelations to Muhammad b.
Did not intend to found a new religion, but his message became appealing 4.
Followers compiled Muhammad's revelations
Quran ("recitation"), became the holy book of Islam
A work of magnificent poetry
Muhammad's Migration to Medina
Conflict at Mecca
His teachings offended other believers, especially the ruling elite of Mecca b.
Attacks on greed offended wealthy merchants
Attacks on idolatry threatened shrines, especially the black rock at Ka'ba 2.
Under persecution, Muhammad and followers fled to Medina, 622 C.E. b.
The move, known as hijra, was the starting point of the Islamic calendar 3.
Organized a cohesive community called umma in Medina
Led commercial adventure, sometimes launched raids against Mecca caravans c.
Helped the poor and needy
The "seal of the prophets"
Referred himself as the "seal of the prophets," - the final prophet of Allah b.
Held Hebrew scriptures and New Testament in high esteem
Determined to spread Allah's wish to all humankind
The Establishment of Islam in Arabia
Muhammad's return to Mecca
He and his followers conquered Mecca, 630
Imposed a government dedicated to Allah
Destroyed pagan shrines and built mosques
The Ka'ba shrine was not destroyed
In 632, Muhammad led the first Islamic pilgrimage to the Ka'ba 3.
The Five Pillars of Islam
Obligations taught by Muhammad, known as the Five Pillars b.
The Five Pillars bound the umma into a cohesive community of faith 4.
Islamic law: the sharia
Emerged during the centuries after Muhammad
Detailed guidance on proper behavior in almost every aspect of life c.
Drew inspiration especially from the Quran
Through the sharia, Islam became more than a religion, but also a way of life II.
The Expansion of Islam
The Early Caliphs and the Umayyad Dynasty
Upon Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr served as caliph ("deputy") b.
Became head of the state, chief judge, religious leader, military commander 2.
The expansion of Islam
Between 633-637, seized Byzantine Syria, Palestine, and most of Mesopotamia b.
By 640's, conquered Egypt and north Africa
In 651, toppled Sasanid dynasty
In 711, conquered the Hindu kingdom of Sind
Between 711-718, conquered northwest Africa, most of Iberian peninsula 3.
The Shia and Sunnis
The Shia sect, originally supported Ali, served as a refuge b.
The Sunnis ("traditionalists"), accepted legitimacy of early caliphs c.
Two sects struggled over succession
The Umayyad dynasty (661-750 C.E.)
The dynasty temporarily solved problem of succession
Established capital city at Damascus in Syria
Ruled the dar al-Islam for the interests of Arabian military aristocracy 5.
Policy toward conquered peoples
Levied jizya (head tax) on those who did not convert to Islam b.
Even the converts did not enjoy wealth and position of authority 6.
Caliphs became alienated even from other Arabs from the early 8th century b.
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