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History of Islam

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History of Islam

The history of Islam concerns the religion of Islam and its adherents, Muslims. "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "one who submits to God". Muslims and their religion have greatly impacted the political, economic, and military history of the Old World, especially the Middle East, where its roots lie. Because of the absence of historical and archaeological record non-Muslims understand Islam to have originated in Mecca and Medina. Beginning in the 7th century the Islamic world expanded to include people of the Islamic civilization, while consuming non-Muslims living in that civilization.

A century after the death of last Islamic prophet Muhammad, the Islamic empire extended from Al-Andalus (Spain) in the west to Indus in the east. The subsequent empires such as those of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljukids, Ajuuraan, Adal and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in India and Safavids in Persia and Ottomans were among the influential and distinguished powers in the world. The Islamic civilization gave rise to many centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors, nurses and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; and the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.

In the later Middle Ages, destructive Mongol invasions from the East, along with the loss of population in the Black Death, greatly weakened the traditional centre of the Islamic world, stretching from Persia to Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire was able to conquer most Arabic-speaking areas, creating an Islamic world power again, although one that was unable to master the challenges of the Early Modern period.

Later, in modern history (18th and 19th centuries), many Islamic regions fell under the influence of European Great Powers. After the First World War, Ottoman territories (a Central Powers member) were partitioned into several nations under the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.


  • Major periods 1
  • Early sources 2
  • Rise of Islam 3
  • Rashidun empire 4
  • Umayyad empire 5
  • Abbasid empire 6
    • High Abbasid caliphs 6.1
    • Middle Abbasid caliphs 6.2
    • Late Abbasid caliphs 6.3
  • Regional powers 7
  • Fatimid Empire 8
  • Almoravid empire 9
  • Seljuk empire 10
  • Cordoban empire 11
  • The Crusades 12
    • First Crusade 12.1
    • Second Crusade 12.2
    • Third Crusade 12.3
  • Ayyubid dynasty 13
    • Sultans of Egypt 13.1
    • Sultans and Amirs of Damascus 13.2
    • Emirs of Aleppo 13.3
  • Mongol invasions 14
  • The Mamluks 15
    • Bahri Sultans 15.1
    • Burji Sultans 15.2
  • Africa 16
    • Horn of Africa 16.1
    • Maghreb 16.2
    • Great Lakes 16.3
    • West Africa 16.4
  • Asia and the Far East 17
    • South Asia 17.1
    • China 17.2
    • Southeast Asia 17.3
  • Three Early Modern empires 18
    • Mughal Empire 18.1
    • Safavid Empire 18.2
    • Ottoman Empire 18.3
  • Fall of the Ottomans 19
  • See also 20
  • Notes 21
  • References 22
  • Further reading 23
  • External links 24

Major periods

The Islamic state and Muslims' system of government evolved through various stages.[1] The precise dates of various periods in history are more or less arbitrary. The City-state period lasted from 620s to 630s. The Imperial period lasted from 630s to 750s. The Universal period lasted from 750s to around 900s. These correspond to the early period of post-classical history. The "Decentralization" period lasted from around 900s to the early 1500s. This correspond to the high period and late period of post-classical history. The "Fragmentation" period lasted from around 1500s to the late 1910s. The contemporary period, referred to as the National period, lasted from 1910s into the twenty-first century.

Dates are approximate, consult particular articles for details.

Early sources

The study of the earliest periods in Islamic history is made difficult by a lack of sources.[2] For example, the most important historiographical source for the origins of Islam is the work of al-Tabari.[3] While al-Tabari was an excellent historian by the standards of his time and place, use of his work as a source is problematic for two reasons. For one, his style of historical writing nonetheless permitted liberal use of mythical, legendary, stereotyped, distorted, and polemical presentations of its subject matter. Second, al-Tabari's descriptions of the beginning of Islam post-date the events by a large amount of time, al-Tabari having died in 923 CE.[4][5]

Differing views about how to deal with the available sources has led to the development of four different approaches to the history of early Islam. All four methods have some level of support today.[6][7] The descriptive method uses the outlines of Islamic traditions, while being adjusted for the stories of miracles and faith-centred claims within those sources.[8] Edward Gibbon and Gustav Weil represent some of the first historians following the descriptive method. On the source critical method, a comparison of all the sources is sought in order to identify which informants to the sources are weak and thereby distinguish spurious material.[9] The work of William Montgomery Watt and that of Wilferd Madelung are two source critical examples. On the tradition critical method, the sources are believed to be based on oral traditions with unclear origins and transmission history, and so are treated very cautiously.[10] Ignaz Goldziher was the pioneer of the tradition critical method, and Uri Rubin gives a contemporary example. The skeptical method doubts nearly all of the material in the traditional sources, regarding any possible historical core as too difficult to decipher from distorted and fabricated material.[11] An early example of the skeptical method was the work of John Wansbrough.

Nowadays, the popularity of the different methods employed varies on the scope of the works under consideration. For overview treatments of the history of early Islam, the descriptive approach is more popular. For scholars who look at the beginnings of Islam in depth, the source critical and tradition critical methods are more often followed.[6]

After the 8th century CE, the quality of sources improves.[12] Those sources which treated earlier times with a large temporal and cultural gap now begin to give accounts which are more contemporaneous, the quality of genre of available historical accounts improves, and new documentary sources—such as official documents, correspondence and poetry—appear.[12] For the time prior to the beginning of Islam—in the 6th century CE—sources are superior as well, if still of mixed quality. In particular, the sources covering the Sasanian realm of influence in the 6th century CE are poor, while the sources for Byzantine areas at the time are of a respectable quality, and complemented by Syriac Christian sources for Syria and Iraq.[13]

Rise of Islam

Arabia united under Muhammad

Islam began within the context of Late Antiquity.[12] In pre-Islamic Arabia, Arab people lived on the Arabian Plate. In the south of Hedjaz (principal religious and commercial center of post-classical Arabia), the Arabic tribe of Quraysh (Adnani Arabs), to which Muhammad belonged, had been in existence. Near Mecca, the tribe was increasing in power. The Quraysh were the guardians of the Kaaba within the town of Mecca and was the dominant tribe of Mecca upon the appearance of Islam. The Kaaba, at the time, was used as an important pagan shrine. It brought revenues to Mecca because of the multitude of pilgrims that it attracted. Muhammad was born into the Banu Hashim tribe of the Quraysh clan,[14] a branch of the Banu Kinanah tribe, descended from Khuzaimah and derived its inheritance from the Khuza'imah (House of Khuza'a).

According to the traditional Islamic view, the Qur'an (Koran) began with revelations to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel in 610. The history of the Qur'an began when its verses were revealed to the Muhammad. The rise of Islam began around the time Muslims took flight in the Hijra, moving to Medina.

In 628, the Makkah tribe of Quraish and the Muslim community in Medina signed a truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyya beginning a ten-year period of peace. War returned when the Quraish and their allies, the tribe of 'Bakr', attacked the tribe of 'Khuza'ah', who were Muslim allies. In 630, Muslims conquered Mecca. Muhammad died in June 632. The Battle of Yamama was fought in December of the same year, between the forces of the first caliph Abu Bakr and Musailima.

Rashidun empire

The Rashidun caliphate

It is believed in Sunni Islam that after prophet Muhammad died, a series of Caliphs governed the Islamic state: Abu Bakr (632-634), Umar ibn al-Khattab (Umar І, 634-644), Uthman ibn Affan, (644-656), and Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661). These leaders are known as the "Rashidun" or "rightly guided" Caliphs in Sunni Islam. They oversaw the initial phase of the Muslim conquests, advancing through Persia, Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa.

Umar improved the administration and built cities like Basra and canal and irrigation networks. To be close to the poor, Umar lived in a simple mud hut without doors and walked the streets every evening. After consulting with the poor, Umar established the first welfare state Bayt al-mal.[15][16][17] The Bayt al-mal or the welfare state was for the Muslim and non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. The Bayt al-mal ran for hundreds of years under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century and continued through the Umayyad period and well into the Abbasid era. Umar also introduced child benefit for the children and pensions for the elderly.[18][19][20][21] The expansion of the state, was partially terminated between 638–639 during the years of great famine and plague in Arabia and Levant respectively. During Umars reign, within 10 years Levant, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan, Eastern Anatolia, almost the whole of Sassanid Persian Empire including Bactria, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus and Makran were incorporated into Islamic State. When Umar was assassinated in 644, the election of Uthman as successor was met with increasing opposition. The Qur'an was standardized during this time.

Local populations of Jews and indigenous Christians, lived as religious minorities and taxed (while Muslims payed "Zakat") to finance the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars, often aided Muslims to take over their lands from the Byzantines and Persians, resulting in exceptionally speedy conquests.[22][23] As new areas joining the Islamic state, they also benefited from free trade, while trading with other areas in the Islamic state, so as to encourage commerce, in Islam trade is not taxed, wealth is taxed.[24] The Muslims paid Zakat on their wealth to the poor. Since the Constitution of Medina, was drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad the Jews and the Christians continued to use their own laws in the Islamic State and had their own judges.[25][26][27] Therefore, they only paid for policing for the protection of their property. To assist in the quick expansion of the state, the Byzantine and the Persian tax collection systems were maintained and the people paid a poll tax lower than the one imposed under the Byzantines and the Persians.

In 639, Muawiyah I was appointed as the governor of Syria after the previous governor Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah died in a plague along with 25,000 other people.[28][29] To stop the Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab–Byzantine wars, in 649 Muawiyah I set up a navy; manned by Monophysitise Christians, Copts and Jacobite Syrian Christians sailors and Muslim troops. This resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean.[30][31][32][33]

When Umar was assassinated in 644, Uthman ibn Affan became the next caliph. As it is well known that Arabic language is written without vowels, and when Qur'an reached the non-Arabic speakers, people began having different dielects and phonics which was changing the exact meaning of verses in the Qur'an. This was brought to the notice of Uthman ibn Affan. Begun in the time of Uthman ibn Affan, the compilation of the Qur'an was finished sometime between 650 and 656, Uthman sent copies to the different centers of the expanding Islamic empire. From then on, thousands of Muslim scribes began copying the Qur'an.[34]

The Qur'an and Muhammad talked about racial equality and justice as in the Farewell Sermon.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41] Tribal and nationalistic differences were discouraged. But after Muhammad's passing the old tribal differences between the Arabs started to resurface. Following the Roman–Persian Wars and the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars deep rooted differences between Iraq, formally under the Persian Sassanid Empire and Syria formally under the Byzantine Empire also existed. Each wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic State to be in their area.[42] Previously, the second caliph, Umar, was very firm on the governors and his spies kept an eye on the governors. If he felt that a governor or a commander was becoming attracted to wealth or did not meet the required administrative standards, he had him removed from his position.[43]

Early Muslim armies stayed in encampments away from cities because Umar feared that they may get attracted to wealth and luxury. In the process, they may get away from the worship of God and become attracted to wealth and start accumulating wealth and establishing dynasties.[43][44][45][46] "Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope." Qur'an 18:46[47] "O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah . And whoever does that - then those are the losers." Qur'an 63:9[48] Staying in these encampments away from the cities also ensured that there was no stress on the population and also that the populations remained autonomous and kept their own judges and representatives. Some of these encampments later grew into cities themselves, like Basra and Kufa in Iraq and Fustat in Egypt.[49] Some cities also had agreements with the Muslims, such as during the Siege of Jerusalem in 637 CE.

As Uthman ibn Affan became very old, Marwan I a relative of Muawiyah I slipped into the vacuum and became his secretary and slowly assumed more control and relaxed some of these restrictions. Marwan I had previously been excluded from positions of responsibility. In 656, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr the son of Abu Bakr and the adopted son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the great grandfather of Ja'far al-Sadiq showed some Egyptians, the house of Uthman ibn Affan. Later the Egyptians ended up killing Uthman ibn al-Affan.[50] Ali then assumed the position of caliph and moved the capital to Kufa in Iraq. Muawiyah I the governor of Syria, a relative of Uthman ibn al-Affan and Marwan I wanted the culprits arrested. Marwan I manipulated every one and created conflict. This later resulted in the first civil war (the "First Fitna"), Ali was assassinated by Kharijites in 661. Six months later in 661, in the interest of peace, Hasan ibn Ali, highly regarded for his wisdom and as a peacemaker, the Second Imam for the Shias and the grandson of Muhammad, made a peace treaty with Muawiyah I. In the Hasan–Muawiya treaty, Hasan ibn Ali handed over power to Muawiya on the condition that he be just to the people and keep them safe and secure and after his death he does not establish a dynasty.[51][52] This brought to an end the era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs for the Sunnis and Hasan ibn Ali was also the last Imam for the Shias to be a Caliph. Following this, Muawiyah broke the conditions of the agreement and began the Umayyad dynasty, with its capital in Damascus.[53] After Mu'awiyah's death in 680, conflict over succession broke out again in a civil war known as the "Second Fitna". After making every one else fight,[54] the Umayyad dynasty later fell into the hands of Marwan I who was also an Umayyad. The Umayyads conquered the Maghrib, the Iberian Peninsula, Narbonnese Gaul and Sindh.[55]

After the peace treaty with Ali's son, Hasan ibn Ali, and the suppression of the revolt of the Kharijites,[56] Muawiyah I proclaimed himself Caliph in 661 and began consolidating power.[57] In 663, a new Kharijite revolt resulted in the death of their chief.[57] In 664, Muawiyah and Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan reached an agreement: the Caliph recognised Ziyad as a brother and appointed him governor at Basra. Ziyad took the name ibn Abi Sufyan. Muawiyah arranged for his son Yazid I to be appointed caliph on his death, which came in 680. Husayn ibn Ali, by then Muhammad's only living grandson, refused to swear allegiance to Yazid. He was killed in the Battle of Karbala the same year, an event still mourned by Shia on the Day of Ashura. Unrest continued in the Second Fitna, but Muslim rule was extended under Muawiyah to Rhodes, Crete, Kabul, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and expanded in North Africa. In 664, Arab armies conquered Kabul,[58] and in 665 pushed into the Maghreb.[59]

Umayyad empire

The Umayyad caliphate

The Umayyad dynasty (or Ommiads), whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph, ruled from 661 to 750. Although the Umayyad family came from the city of Mecca, Damascus was the capital. After the death of Abdu'l-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr in 666,[60][61] Muawiyah I consolidated his power. Muawiyah I moved his capital to Damascus from Medina, which led to profound changes in the empire. In the same way, at a later date, the transfer of the Caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad marked the accession of a new family to power.

As the state grew, the state expenses increased. Additionally the Bayt al-mal and the Welfare State expenses to assist the Muslim and the non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled, increased, the Umayyads asked the new converts (mawali) to continue paying the poll tax. The Umayyad rule, with its wealth and luxury also seemed at odds with the Islamic message preached by Muhammad.[62][63][64] All this increased discontent.[65][66] The descendants of Muhammad's uncle Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib rallied discontented mawali, poor Arabs, and some Shi'a against the Umayyads and overthrew them with the help of the general Abu Muslim, inaugurating the Abbasid dynasty in 750, which moved the capital to Baghdad.[67] A branch of the Ummayad family fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted until 1031 before falling due to the Fitna of al-Andalus. The Bayt al-mal, the Welfare State then continued under the Abbasids.

At its largest extent, the Umayyad dynasty covered more than 5,000,000 square miles (13,000,000 km2) making it one of the largest empires the world had yet seen,[68] and the fifth largest contiguous empire ever. After the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate, they fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted until 1031 with the Fitna of al-Andalus.

The Mosque of Uqba (Great Mosque of Kairouan), founded by the Umayyad general Uqba Ibn Nafi in 670 AD, is the oldest and most prestigious mosque in the Muslim West; its present form dates from the 9th century, Kairouan, Tunisia.

Muawiyah beautified Damascus, and developed a court to rival that of Constantinople. He expanded the frontiers of the empire, reaching the edge of Constantinople at one point, though the Byzantines drove him back and he was unable to hold any territory in Anatolia. Sunni Muslims credit him with saving the fledgling Muslim nation from post-civil war anarchy. However, Shia Muslims accuse him of instigating the war, weakening the Muslim nation by dividing the Ummah, fabricating self-aggrandizing heresies[69] slandering the Prophet's family[70] and even selling his Muslim critics into slavery in the Byzantine empire.[71] One of Muawiyah's most controversial and enduring legacies was his decision to designate his son Yazid as his successor. According to Shi'a doctrine, this was a clear violation of the treaty he made with Hasan ibn Ali.

In 682 AD Yazid restored Uqba ibn Nafi as the governor of North Africa. Uqba won battles against the Berbers and Byzantines.[72] From there Uqba marched thousands of miles westward towards Tangier, where he reached the Atlantic coast, and then marched eastwards through the Atlas Mountains.[73] With about 300 cavalrymen, he proceeded towards Biskra where he was ambushed by a Berber force under Kaisala. Uqba and all his men died fighting. The Berbers attacked and drove Muslims from north Africa for a period.[74] Weakened by the civil wars the Umayyad lost supremacy at sea, and had to abandon the islands of Rhodes and Crete. Under the rule of Yazid I, some Muslims in Kufa began to think that if Husayn ibn Ali the descendent of Muhammad was their ruler, he would have been more just. He was invited to Kufa but was later betrayed and killed. Imam Husain's son Imam Ali ibn Husain was prisoned along with Husain's sister and other ladies left in Karbala war. Due to opposition by public they were later released and allowed to go to their native place Medina. One Imam after another continued in the generation of Imam Husain but they were opposed by the Caliphs of the day as their rivals till Imam Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah came in power as first Caliph of Fatimid in North Africa when Caliphate and Imamate came to same person again after Imam Ali. These Imams were recognized by Shia Islam taking Imam Ali as first Caliph/ Imam and the same is institutionalised by the Safavids and many similar institutions named now as Ismaili, Twelver etc.

Dome of the Rock
The Mosque of Omar, on Ash-Haram Al-Sharif (the Temple Mount), built by Abd al-Malik; completed at the end of the Second Fitna.

The period under postal service.

Al-Walid I began the next stage of Islamic conquests. Under him the early Islamic empire reached its farthest extent. He reconquered parts of Egypt from the Byzantine Empire and moved on into Carthage and across to the west of North Africa. Muslim armies under Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and began to conquer Spain using North African Berber armies. The Visigoths of Spain were defeated when the Umayyad conquered Lisbon. Spain was the farthest extent of Islamic control of Europe (they were stopped at the Battle of Tours). In the east, Islamic armies under Muhammad bin Qasim made it as far as the Indus Valley. Under Al-Walid, the caliphate empire stretched from Spain to India. Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf played a crucial role in the organization and selection of military commanders. Al-Walid paid great attention to the expansion of an organized military, building the strongest navy in the Umayyad era., This tactic was crucial for the expansion to Spain. His reign is considered to be the apex of Islamic power.

Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik was hailed as caliph the day al-Walid died. He appointed Yazid ibn al-Muhallab governor of Mesopotamia. Sulayman ordered the arrest and execution of the family of al-Hajjaj, one of two prominent leaders (the other was Qutayba ibn Muslim) who had supported the succession of al-Walid's son Yazid, rather than Sulayman. Al-Hajjaj had predeceased al-Walid, so he posed no threat. Qutaibah renounced allegiance to Sulayman, though his troops rejected his appeal to revolt. They killed him and sent his head to Sulayman. Sulayman did not move to Damascus on becoming Caliph, remaining in Ramla. Sulayman sent Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik to attack the Byzantine capital (siege of Constantinople). The intervention of Bulgaria on the Byzantine side proved decisive. The Muslims sustained heavy losses. Sulayman died suddenly in 717.

Yazid II came to power on the death of Umar II. Yazid fought the Kharijites, with whom Umar had been negotiating, and killed the Kharijite leader Shawdhab. In Yazid's reign, civil wars began in different parts of the empire.[75] Yazid expanded the Caliphate's territory into the Caucasus, before dying in 724. Inheriting the caliphate from his brother, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik ruled an empire with many problems. He was effective in addressing these problems, and in allowing the Umayyad empire to continue as an entity. His long rule was an effective one, and renewed reforms introduced by Umar II. Under Hisham's rule, regular raids against the Byzantines continued. In North Africa, Kharijite teachings combined with local restlessness to produce the Berber Revolt. He was also faced with a revolt by Zayd ibn Ali. Hisham suppressed both revolts. The Abbasids continued to gain power in Khurasan and Iraq. However, they were not strong enough to make a move yet. Some were caught and punished or executed by eastern governors. The Battle of Akroinon, a decisive Byzantine victory, was during the final campaign of the Umayyad dynasty.[76] Hisham died in 743.

Al-Walid II saw political intrigue during his reign. Yazid III spoke out against his cousin Walid's "immorality" which included discrimination on behalf of the Banu Qays Arabs against Yemenis and non-Arab Muslims, and Yazid received further support from the Qadariya and Murji'iya (believers in human free will).[77] Walid was shortly thereafter deposed in a coup.[78] Yazid disbursed funds from the treasury and acceded to the Caliph. He explained that he had rebelled on behalf of the Book of Allah and the Sunna. Yazid reigned for only six months, while various groups refused allegiance and dissident movements arose, after which he died. Ibrahim ibn al-Walid, named heir apparent by his brother Yazid III, ruled for a short time in 744, before he abdicated. Marwan II ruled from 744 until he was killed in 750. He was the last Umayyad ruler to rule from Damascus. Marwan named his two sons Ubaydallah and Abdallah heirs. He appointed governors and asserted his authority by force. Anti-Umayyad feeling was very prevalent, especially in Iran and Iraq. The Abbasids had gained much support. Marwan's reign as caliph was almost entirely devoted to trying to keep the Umayyad empire together. His death signalled the end of Umayyad rule in the East, and was followed by the massacre of Umayyads by the Abbasids. Almost the entire Umayyad dynasty was killed, except for the talented prince Abd al-Rahman who escaped to Spain and founded a dynasty there.

Abbasid empire

The Abbasid dynasty rose to power in 750, consolidating the gains of the earlier Caliphates. Initially, they conquered Mediterranean islands including the Balearics and, after, in 827 the Sicily.[79] The ruling party had come to power on the wave of dissatisfaction with the Umayyads, cultivated by the Abbasid revolutionary Abu Muslim.[80][81] Under the Abbasids Islamic civilization flourished. Most notable was the development of Arabic prose and poetry, termed by The Cambridge History of Islam as its "golden age".[82] Commerce and industry (considered a Muslim Agricultural Revolution) and the arts and sciences (considered a Muslim Scientific Revolution) also prospered under Abbasid caliphs al-Mansur (ruled 754 — 775), Harun al-Rashid (ruled 786 — 809), al-Ma'mun (ruled 809 — 813) and their immediate successors.[83]

Islamic States
Universal Golden period

Eastern hemisphere's States and Empires (820)

Decentralized territory
Regions are approximate, consult particular articles for details.


The capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, due to the importance placed by the Abbasids upon eastern affairs in Persia and Transoxania.[83] At this time the caliphate showed signs of fracture amid the rise of regional dynasties. Although the Umayyad family had been killed by the revolting Abbasids, one family member, Abd ar-Rahman I, escaped to Spain and established an independent caliphate there in 756. In the Maghreb, Harun al-Rashid appointed the Arab Aghlabids as virtually autonomous rulers, although they continued to recognise central authority. Aghlabid rule was short-lived, and they were deposed by the Shiite Fatimid dynasty in 909. By around 960, the Fatimids had conquered Abbasid Egypt, building a capital there in 973 called "al-Qahirah" (meaning "the planet of victory", known today as Cairo). In Persia the Turkic Ghaznavids snatched power from the Abbasids.[84][85] Abbasid influence had been consumed by the Great Seljuq Empire (a Muslim Turkish clan which had migrated into mainland Persia) by 1055.[83]

Expansion continued, sometimes by force, sometimes by peaceful proselytising.[79] The first stage in the conquest of India began just before the year 1000. By some 200 (from 1193 — 1209) years later, the area up to the Ganges river had fallen. In sub-Saharan West Africa, Islam was established just after the year 1000. Muslim rulers were in Kanem starting from sometime between 1081 to 1097, with reports of a Muslim prince at the head of Gao as early as 1009. The Islamic kingdoms associated with Mali reached prominence in the 13th century.[86]

The Abbasids developed initiatives aimed at greater Islamic unity. Different sects of the Islamic faith and mosques, separated by doctrine, history, and practice, were pushed to cooperate. The Abbasids also distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking the Umayyads' moral character and administration. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported largely by Arabs, mainly the aggrieved settlers of Marw with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali".[87] The Abbasids also appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Islamic ecumenism, promoted by the Abbasids, refers to the idea of unity of the Ummah in the literal meaning: that there was a single faith. Islamic philosophy developed as the Shariah was codified, and the four Madhabs were established. This era also saw the rise of classical Sufism. Religious achievements included completion of the canonical collections of Hadith of Sahih Bukhari and others.[88] Islam recognized to a certain extent the validity of the Abrahamic religions, the Qur'an identifying Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and "Sabi'un" or "baptists" (usually taken as a reference to the Mandeans and related Mesopotamian groups) as "people of the book". Toward the beginning of the high Middle Ages, the doctrines of the Sunni and Shia, two major denominations of Islam, solidified and the divisions of the world theologically would form. These trends would continue into the Fatimid and Ayyubid periods.

Politically, the Abbasid Caliphate evolved into an Islamic monarchy (unitary system of government.) The regional Sultanate and Emirate governors' existence, validity, or legality were acknowledged for unity of the state.[89] In the early Islamic philosophy of the Iberian Umayyads, Averroes presented an argument in The Decisive Treatise, providing a justification for the emancipation of science and philosophy from official Ash'ari theology; thus, Averroism has been considered a precursor to modern secularism.[90][91]

High Abbasid caliphs

Early Middle Ages

According to Arab sources in the year 750, Al-Saffah, the founder of the Abbasid Caliphate, launched a massive rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate from the province of Khurasan near Talas. After eliminating the entire Umayyad family and achieving victory at the Battle of the Zab, Al-Saffah and his forces marched into Damascus and founded a new dynasty. His forces confronted many regional powers and consolidated the realm of the Abbasid Caliphate.[92]

In Al-Mansur's time, Persian scholarship emerged. Many non-Arabs converted to Islam. The Umayyads actively discouraged conversion in order to continue the collection of the jizya, or the tax on non-Muslims. Islam nearly doubled within its territory from 8% of residents in 750 to 15% by the end of Al-Mansur's reign. Al-Mahdi, whose name means "Rightly-guided" or "Redeemer", was proclaimed caliph when his father was on his deathbed. Baghdad blossomed during Al-Mahdi's reign, becoming the world's largest city. It attracted immigrants from Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Persia and as far away as India and Spain. Baghdad was home to Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Zoroastrians, in addition to the growing Muslim population. Like his father, Al-Hadi[93] was open to his people and allowed citizens to address him in the palace at Baghdad. He was considered an "enlightened ruler", and continued the policies of his Abbasid predecessors. His short rule was plagued by military conflicts and internal intrigue.

An Arabic manuscript written under the second half of the Abbasid Era.

The military conflicts subsided as Harun al-Rashid ruled.[94] His reign was marked by scientific, cultural and religious prosperity. He established the library Bayt al-Hikma ("House of Wisdom"), and the arts and music flourished during his reign. The Barmakid family played a decisive advisorial role in establishing the Caliphate, but declined during Rashid's rule.[95]

According to signed pledges during a pilgrimage to Mecca, Al-Amin received the Caliphate from his father Harun Al-Rashid. Al-Amin faced internal rebellions. General Tahir ibn Husayn rebelled and besieged Baghdad. Tahir led reinforcements to regain positions lost by another officer. When Tahir pushed into the city, Al-Amin sought to negotiate safe passage. Tahir agreed on the condition Al-Amin turn over his sceptre, seal and other signs that he was caliph. Al-Amin tried to leave on a boat and rejected warnings that he wait. Tahir's forces attacked the boat and Al-Amin was thrown into the water. He swam to shore where he was captured and executed. His head was placed on the Al Anbar Gate.[96]

Middle Abbasid caliphs

Early Middle Ages

Upon Al-Amin's death, Al-Ma'mun became Caliph. Al-Ma'mun extended the Abbasid empire's territory during his reign and dealt with rebellions.[97] Al-Ma'mun had been named governor of Khurasan by Harun, and after his ascension to power, the caliph named Tahir as governor of his military services in order to assure his loyalty. Tahir and his family became entrenched in Iranian politics and became powerful, frustrating Al-Ma'mun's desire to centralize and strengthen Caliphal power. The rising power of the Tahirid dynasty became a threat as Al-Ma'mun's own policies alienated them and other opponents.

Al-Ma'mun worked to centralize power and ensure a smooth succession. Al-Mahdi proclaimed that the caliph was the protector of Islam against heresy, and also claimed the ability to declare orthodoxy. Religious scholars averred that Al-Ma'mun was overstepping his bounds in the Mihna, the Abbasid inquisition which he introduced in 833 four months before he died.[98] The Ulama emerged as a force in Islamic politics during Al-Ma'mun's reign for opposing the inquisitions. The Ulema and the major Islamic law schools took shape in the period of Al-Ma'mun. In parallel, Sunnism became defined as a religion of laws. Doctrinal differences between Sunni and Shi'a Islam became more pronounced.

During the Al-Ma'mun regime, border wars increased. Al-Ma'mun made preparations for a major campaign, but died while leading an expedition in Sardis. Al-Ma'mun gathered scholars of many religions at Baghdad, whom he treated well and with tolerance. He sent an emissary to the Byzantine Empire to collect the most famous manuscripts there, and had them translated into Arabic.[99] His scientists originated alchemy. Shortly before his death, during a visit to Egypt in 832, the caliph ordered the breaching of the Great Pyramid of Giza to search for knowledge and treasure. Workers tunneled in near where tradition located the original entrance. Al-Ma'mun later died near Tarsus under questionable circumstances and was succeeded by his half-brother, Al-Mu'tasim, rather than his son, Al-Abbas ibn Al-Ma'mun.

As Caliph, Al-Mu'tasim promptly ordered the dismantling of al-Ma'mun's military base at Tyana. He faced Khurramite revolts. One of the most difficult problems facing this Caliph was the ongoing uprising of Babak Khorramdin. Al-Mu'tasim overcame the rebels and secured a significant victory. Byzantine emperor Theophilus launched an attack against Abbasid fortresses. Al-Mu'tasim sent Al-Afshin, who met and defeated Theophilus' forces at the Battle of Anzen. On his return he became aware of a serious military conspiracy which forced him and his successors to rely upon Turkish commanders and ghilman slave-soldiers (foreshadowing the Mamluk system). The Khurramiyyah were never fully suppressed, although they slowly declined during the reigns of succeeding Caliphs. Near the end of al-Mu'tasim's life there was an uprising in Palestine, but he defeated the rebels.

During Al-Mu'tasim's reign, the Tahirid dynasty continued to grow in power. The Tahirids were exempted from many tribute and oversight functions. Their independence contributed to Abbasid decline in the east. Ideologically, al-Mu'tasim followed his half-brother al-Ma'mun. He continued his predecessor's support for the Islamic Mu'tazila sect, applying brutal torture against the opposition. Arab mathematician Al-Kindi was employed by Al-Mu'tasim and tutored the Caliph's son. Al-Kindi had served at the House of Wisdom and continued his studies in Greek geometry and algebra under the caliph's patronage.[100]

Al-Wathiq succeeded his father. Al-Wathiq dealt with opposition in Arabia, Syria, Palestine and in Baghdad. Using a famous sword he personally joined the execution of the Baghdad rebels. The revolts were the result of an increasingly large gap between Arab populations and the Turkish armies. The revolts were put down, but antagonism between the two groups grew, as Turkish forces gained power. He also secured a captive exchange with the Byzantines. Al-Wathiq was a patron of scholars, as well as artists. He personally had musical talent and is reputed to have composed over one hundred songs.[101]

When Al-Wathiq died of high fever, Al-Mutawakkil succeeded him. Al-Mutawakkil's reign is remembered for many reforms and is viewed as a golden age. He was the last great Abbasid caliph; after his death the dynasty fell into decline. Al-Mutawakkil ended the Mihna. Al-Mutawakkil built the Great Mosque of Samarra[102] as part of an extension of Samarra eastwards. During his reign, Al-Mutawakkil met famous Byzantine theologian Constantine the Philosopher, who was sent to strengthen diplomatic relations between the Empire and the Caliphate by Emperor Michael III. Al-Mutawakkil involved himself in religious debates, as reflected in his actions against minorities. The Shīʻi faced repression embodied in the destruction of the shrine of Hussayn ibn ʻAlī, an action that was ostensibly carried out to stop pilgrimages. Al-Mutawakkil continued to rely on Turkish statesmen and slave soldiers to put down rebellions and lead battles against foreign empires, notably capturing Sicily from the Byzantines. Al-Mutawakkil was assassinated by a Turkish soldier.

Al-Muntasir succeeded to the Caliphate on the same day with the support of the Turkish faction, though he was implicated in the murder. The Turkish party had al-Muntasir remove his brothers from the line of succession, fearing revenge for the murder of their father. Both brothers wrote statements of abdication. During his reign, Al-Muntasir removed the ban on pilgrimage to the tombs of Hassan and Hussayn and sent Wasif to raid the Byzantines. Al-Muntasir died of unknown causes. The Turkish chiefs held a council to select his successor, electing Al-Musta'in. The Arabs and western troops from Baghdad were displeased at the choice and attacked. However, the Caliphate no longer depended on Arabian choice, but depended on Turkish support. After the failed Muslim campaign against the Christians, people blamed the Turks for bringing disaster on the faith and murdering their Caliphs. After the Turks besieged Baghdad, Al-Musta'in planned to abdicate to Al-Mu'tazz but was put to death by his order. Al-Mu'tazz was enthroned by the Turks, becoming the youngest Abbasaid Caliph to assume power.

High Abbasids
Four constructions of Islamite law
Early Abbasids
Literature and Science

Al-Mu'tazz proved too apt a pupil of his Turkish masters, but was surrounded by parties jealous of each other. At Samarra, the Turks were having problems with the "Westerns" (Berbers and Moors), while the Arabs and Persians at Baghdad, who had supported al-Musta'in, regarded both with equal hatred. Al-Mu'tazz put his brothers Al-Mu'eiyyad and Abu Ahmed to death. The ruler spent recklessly, causing a revolt of Turks, Africans, and Persians for their pay. Al-Mu'tazz was brutally deposed shortly thereafter. Al-Muhtadi became the next Caliph. He was firm and virtuous compared to the earlier Caliphs, though the Turks held the power. The Turks killed him soon after his ascension. Al-Mu'tamid followed, holding on for 23 years, though he was largely a ruler in name only. After the Zanj Rebellion, Al-Mu'tamid summoned al-Muwaffak to help him. Thereafter, Al-Muwaffaq ruled in all but name. The Hamdanid dynasty was founded by Hamdan ibn Hamdun when he was appointed governor of Mardin in Anatolia by the Caliphs in 890. Al-Mu'tamid later transferred authority to his son, al-Mu'tadid, and never regained power. The Tulunids became the first independent state in Islamic Egypt, when they broke away during this time.

Al-Mu'tadid ably administered the Caliphate. Egypt returned to allegiance and Mesopotamia was restored to order. He was tolerant towards Shi'i, but toward the Umayyad community he was not so just. Al-Mu'tadid was cruel in his punishments, some of which are not surpassed by those of his predecessors. For example, the Kharijite leader at Mosul was paraded about Baghdad clothed in a robe of silk, of which Kharijites denounced as sinful, and then crucified. Upon Al-Mu'tadid's death, his son by a Turkish slave-girl, Al-Muktafi, succeeded to the throne.

Al-Muktafi became a favorite of the people for his generosity, and for abolishing his father's secret prisons, the terror of Baghdad. During his reign, the Caliphate overcame threats such as the Carmathians. Upon Al-Muktafi's death, the vazir next chose Al-Muqtadir. Al-Muqtadir's reign was a constant succession of thirteen Vazirs, one rising on the fall or assassination of another. His long reign brought the Empire to its lowest ebb. Africa was lost, and Egypt nearly. Mosul threw off its dependence, and the Greeks raided across the undefended border. The East continued to formally recognise the Caliphate, including those who virtually claimed independence.

At the end of the Early Baghdad Abbasids period, Empress Zoe Karbonopsina pressed for an armistice with Al-Muqtadir and arranged for the ransom of the Muslim prisoner[103] while the Byzantine frontier was threatened by Bulgarians. This only added to Baghdad's disorder. Though despised by the people, Al-Muqtadir was again placed in power after upheavals. Al-Muqtadir was eventually slain outside the city gates, whereupon courtiers chose his brother al-Qahir. He was even worse. Refusing to abdicate, he was blinded and cast into prison.

His son Ar-Radi took over only to experience a cascade of misfortune. Praised for his piety, he became the tool of the de facto ruling Minister, Ibn Raik (amir al-umara; 'Amir of the Amirs'). Ibn Raik held the reins of government and his name was joined with the Caliph's in public prayers. Around this period, the Hanbalis, supported by popular sentiment, set up in fact a kind of 'Sunni inquisition'. Ar-Radi is commonly regarded as the last of the real Caliphs: the last to deliver orations at the Friday service, to hold assemblies, to commune with philosophers, to discuss the questions of the day, to take counsel on the affairs of State; to distribute alms, or to temper the severity of cruel officers. Thus ended the Early Baghdad Abbasids.

In the late mid-930s, the Ikhshidids of Egypt carried the Arabic title "Wali" reflecting their position as governors on behalf of the Abbasids, The first governor (Muhammad bin Tughj Al-Ikhshid) was installed by the Abbasid Caliph. They gave him and his descendants the Wilayah for 30 years. The last name Ikhshid is Soghdian for "prince".

Also in the 930s,

  • Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar: Crash Course World History #13 - YouTube
  • Chronological history of Islam and Muslims up to current time
  • Islam: 662AD - Present
  • Internet Islamic History Sourcebook
  • A history of Islam in America
  • Ethiopian Muslims History The Haven of the First Hijra (Migration): an African nation is the Muslims’ first refuge
  • Brief history of Islam
  • Chronological history of Islam
  • A history of Islamic culture
  • Islamic Civilization
  • Mohammedan History, 1920

External links

  • Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History 4. Berkshire Publishing Group. 2005.  
  • The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Incorporated; Rev Ed edition. 2005.  
  • Baynes, T. S. (1888). The Encyclopædia Britannica: A dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature. New York, N.Y: H.G. Allen. Page 545 - 606.
  • In Pace, E. A. (1922). The Catholic encyclopedia: An international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine, discipline and history of the Catholic Church. New York: Encyclopedia Press. "Mohammed and Mohammedanism.". Pg. 424–428


  • Bloom; Blair (2000). Islam:A Thousand Years of Faith and Power. 
  • Donner, Fred M. (2010). "Modern approaches to early Islamic history". In Robinson, Chase F. The New Cambridge History of Islam. Volume 1: The Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge University Press. pp. 625–647.  
  • Hart, Michael (1978). The 100:Ranking of the most influential persons in history. New York: Carol Publishing Group.  
  • Holt, P. M.;  
  • Holt, P. M.; Ann K. S. Lambton,  
  • Hughes, Aaron W. (2013). Muslim Identities : an Introduction to Islam. New York: Columbia University Press.  
  • Khaddūrī, Majīd (2002). The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani's Siyar. JHU Press. pp. 19–20.  
  • Koprulu, Mehmed Fuad; Leiser, Gary (1992). The Origins of the. SUNY Press.  
  • Lapidus, Ira M. (2002). A History of Islamic societes. Cambridge University Press.  
  • Lewis, B. (1993). The Arabs in History. Oxford University Press.  
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (2003). Islam:Religion, History and Civilization. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.  
  • Rahman, F. (1982). Islam & Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition. University of Chicago Press.  
  • Rahman, H. U. (1999). A Chronology of Islamic History. Ta-Ha.  
  • Robinson, Chase F. (2010). "Introduction". In Robinson, Chase F. The New Cambridge History of Islam. Volume 1: The Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–15.  
  • Sonn, Tamara (2004). A Brief History of Islam. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.  
  • Ankerl, Guy (2000). Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. INUPress.  
  • Hourani, Albert (2002). A History of the Arab Peoples. Faber & Faber.  
  • al-Balādhurī, A. Y.; Hitti, P. K. (1916). The origins of the Islamic state: Being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations, geographic and historic notes of the Kitâbfutûḥ al-buldân of al-Imâm abu l'Abbâs Aḥmad ibn-Jâbir al-Balâdhuri. New York. 
  • Williams, H. S., ed. (1904). The historians' history of the world: Parthians, Sassanids, and Arabs. The crusades and the papacy. New York: The Outlook Company. 
  • Le, S. G. (1900). Baghdad during the Abbasid caliphate: From contemporary Arabic and Persian sources. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 
  • Bentley, Jerry H.; Ziegler, Herbert F. (2006). Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. New York:  
  • Zaydān, J.; Margoliouth, D. S. (1907). "Being the fourth part of Jurjí Zaydán's history of Islamic civilization.". Umayyads and ʻAbbásids. Leyden: E.J. Brill, imprimerie orientale. 
  • "Islam Aflame with Revolt". The World's work. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co. 1900. 
  • Muir, Sir William (1877). The life of Mahomet: from original sources. Smith, Elder, & Co. 
  • Irving, W. (1868). Mahomet and his successors. New York: Putnam. 
  • Sale, G.; Psalmanazar, G.; Bower, A.; Shelvocke, G.; Campbell, J.; Swinton, J. (779). A universal history: From the earliest accounts to the present time. 21. London: C. Bathurst. 
  • Rosenthal, Franz (1968). A history of mMslim historiography. Brill Archive. 

Books, articles, and journals

Further reading

  1. ^ Khaddūrī 2002, pp. 19–20
  2. ^ Donner 2010, p. 628.
  3. ^ Robinson 2010, p. 6.
  4. ^ Robinson 2010, p. 2.
  5. ^ Hughes 2013, p. 56.
  6. ^ a b Donner 2010, p. 633.
  7. ^ See also Hughes 2013, pp. 6 & 7, who links the practice of source and tradition (or form) criticism as one approach.
  8. ^ Donner 2010, pp. 629 & 633.
  9. ^ Donner 2010, p. 630.
  10. ^ Donner 2010, p. 631.
  11. ^ Donner 2010, p. 632.
  12. ^ a b c Robinson 2010, p. 9.
  13. ^ Robinson 2010, pp. 4 & 5.
  14. ^ Mecca: a literary history of the Muslim Holy Land By Francis E. Peters
  15. ^ Abdul Basit Ahmad. Umar bin Al Khattab - The Second Caliph of Islam. Darussalam. p. 43.  
  16. ^ Khalid Muhammad Khalid; Muhammad Khali Khalid (2005). Men Around the Messenger. The Other Press. pp. 20–.  
  17. ^ Maulana Muhammad Ali (8 August 2011). The Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad. pp. 132–.  
  18. ^ Muhammad Al-Buraey (1985). Administrative Development: An Islamic Perspective. KPI. pp. 254–.  
  19. ^ The challenge of Islamic renaissance by Syed Abdul Quddus
  20. ^ Muhammad Al-Buraey (1985). Administrative Development: An Islamic Perspective. KPI. pp. 252–.  
  21. ^ Ahmed Akgündüz; Said Öztürk (1 January 2011). Ottoman History: Misperceptions and Truths. IUR Press. pp. 539–.  
  22. ^ Esposito (2000, p. 38)
  23. ^ Hofmann (2007), p. 86
  24. ^ Islam: An Illustrated History by Greville Stewart Parker Freeman-Grenville, Stuart Christopher Munro-Hay Page 40
  25. ^ R. B. Serjeant (1978). "Sunnah Jami'ah, pacts with the Yathrib Jews, and the Tahrim of Yathrib: analysis and translation of the documents comprised in the so-called 'Constitution of Medina'". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 41: 1–42.  
  26. ^ R. B. Serjeant (1964). "The Constitution of Medina". Islamic Quarterly 8: 4. 
  27. ^ Constitution of Medina.
  28. ^ Wilferd Madelung (15 October 1998). The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. p. 61.  
  29. ^ Rahman (1999, p. 40)
  30. ^ Archibald Ross Lewis (1985). European Naval and Maritime History, 300-1500. Indiana University Press. pp. 24–.  
  31. ^ Leonard Michael Kroll (2005). History of the Jihad: Islam Versus Civilization. AuthorHouse. pp. 123–.  
  32. ^ Timothy E. Gregory (26 August 2011). A History of Byzantium. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 183–.  
  33. ^ Mark Weston (28 July 2008). Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 61–.  
  34. ^ Schimmel, Annemarie; Barbar Rivolta (Summer, 1992). "Islamic Calligraphy". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series 50 (1): 3.
  35. ^ The Spread of Islam: The Contributing Factors by Abu al-Fazl Izzati, A. Ezzati Page 301
  36. ^ Islam For Dummies by Malcolm Clark Page
  37. ^ Spiritual Clarity by Jackie Wellman Page 51
  38. ^ The Koran For Dummies by Sohaib Sultan Page
  39. ^ Qur'an: The Surah Al-Nisa, Ch4:v2
  40. ^ Qur'an: Surat Al-Hujurat [49:13]
  41. ^ Qur'an: Surat An-Nisa' [4:1]
  42. ^ Iraq a Complicated State: Iraq's Freedom War by Karim M. S. Al-Zubaidi Page 32
  43. ^ a b Sami Ayad Hanna; George H. Gardner (1969). Arab Socialism. [al-Ishtirakīyah Al-ʻArabīyah]: A Documentary Survey. Brill Archive. pp. 271–. GGKEY:EDBBNXAKPQ2. 
  44. ^ Khalid Muhammad Khalid; Muhammad Khali Khalid (February 2005). Men Around the Messenger. The Other Press. pp. 117–.  
  45. ^ P. M. Holt; Peter Malcolm Holt; Ann K. S. Lambton; Bernard Lewis (1977). The Cambridge History of Islam:. Cambridge University Press. pp. 605–.  
  46. ^ Maulana Muhammad Ali (9 August 2011). The Early Caliphate. pp. 101–.  
  47. ^ [3]
  48. ^ [4]
  49. ^ Rahman (1999, p. 37)
  50. ^ Rahman (1999, p. 53)
  51. ^ Wilferd Madelung (1998). The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. p. 232.  
  52. ^ Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 3, Book 49 (Peacemaking), Number 867
  53. ^ Holt (1977a, pp. 67–72)
  54. ^ Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 352
  55. ^ Donald Puchala, ‘’Theory and History in International Relations,’’ page 137. Routledge, 2003.
  56. ^ W. Montgomery Watt. "Khārijite thought in the Umayyad Period". Der Islam. Volume 36, Issue 3, Pages 215–231, ISSN (online) 1613-0928, ISSN (print) 0021-1818, doi:10.1515/islm.1961.36.3.215, //1961
  57. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica by Hugh Chisholm. Page 28
  58. ^ Roberts, J: History of the World. Penguin, 1994.
  59. ^ Dermenghem, E. (1958). Muhammad and the Islamic tradition. New York: Harper Brothers. Page 183.
  60. ^ The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate by Wilferd Madelung. Page 340.
  61. ^ Encyclopaedic ethnography of Middle-East and Central Asia: A-I, Volume 1 edited by R. Khanam. Page 543
  62. ^ Islam and Politics John L. Esposito - 1998 Page 16
  63. ^ Islamic Imperial Law: Harun-Al-Rashid's Codification Project by Benjamin Jokisch - 2007 - Page 404
  64. ^ The Byzantine And Early Islamic Near East Hugh N. Kennedy - 2006 - Page 197
  65. ^ A Chronology of Islamic History by H. U. Rahman Page 106, 129
  66. ^ Voyages in World History by Josef W. Meri - Page 248
  67. ^ Lapidus (2002, p. 56); Lewis (1993, pp. 71–83)
  68. ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994). The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads. State University of New York Press. p. 37.  
  69. ^ ch 8.
  70. ^ ch 7.
  71. ^ Kokab wa Rifi Fazal-e-Ali Karam Allah Wajhu, Page 484, by Syed Mohammed Subh-e-Kashaf AlTirmidhi, Urdu translation by Syed Sharif Hussein Sherwani Sabzawari, Published by Aloom AlMuhammed, number B12 Shadbagh, Lahore, 1 January 1963. Page 484.
  72. ^ History of the Arab by Philip K Hitti
  73. ^ History of Islam by prof.Masudul Hasan
  74. ^ The Empire of the Arabs by sir John Glubb
  75. ^ In the Al-Andalus (the Iberian Peninsula), North Africa and in the east populations revolted. In A.H. 102 (720-721) in Ifriqiyah, the harsh governor Yazid ibn Muslim was overthrown and Muhammad ibn Yazid, the former governor, restored to power. The caliph accepted this and confirmed Muhammad ibn Yazid as governor of Ifriqiyah.
  76. ^ *Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 BC. to the Present. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-24913-1 p. 3.
  77. ^ von Ess, "Kadar", Encyclopedia of Islam 2nd Ed.
  78. ^ Theophilus. Quoted Robert Hoyland, Seeing Islam as Others Saw It (Darwin Press, 1998), 660
  79. ^ a b J. Jomier. Islam: Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. accessdate=2007-05-02
  80. ^ Lewis 1993, p. 84
  81. ^ Holt 1977a, p. 105
  82. ^ Holt 1977b, pp. 661–663
  83. ^ a b c "Abbasid Dynasty", The New Encyclopædia Britannica (2005)
  84. ^ "Islam", The New Encyclopædia Britannica (2005)
  85. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Applied History Research Group. "The Islamic World to 1600". University of Calagary. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  86. ^ "Islam". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online
  87. ^ Lapidus 2002, p. 54
  88. ^ Nasr 2003, p. 121
  89. ^ Khaddūrī 2002, pp. 21–22
  90. ^ Abdel Wahab El Messeri. Episode 21: Ibn Rushd, Everything you wanted to know about Islam but was afraid to Ask, Philosophia Islamica.
  91. ^ Fauzi M. Najjar (Spring, 1996). The debate on Islam and secularism in Egypt, Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ).
  92. ^ for more, see As-Saffah's_Caliphate
  93. ^ An universal history: from the earliest accounts to the present time, Volume 2 By George Sale, George Psalmanazar, Archibald Bower, George Shelvocke, John Campbell, John Swinton. Page 319
  94. ^ Chamber's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge, Volume 5. W. & R. Chambers, 1890. Page 567.
  95. ^ Johannes P. Schadé (ed.). Encyclopedia of World Religions.
  96. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari History volume xxxi, "The War Between Brothers," transl. Michael Fishbein, SUNY, Albany, 1992
  97. ^ Hindu rebellions in Sindh were put down, and most of Afghanistan was absorbed with the surrender of the leader of Kabul. Mountainous regions of Iran were brought under a tighter grip of the central Abbasid government, as were areas of Turkestan. There were disturbances in Iraq during the first several years of Al-Ma'mun's reign. Egypt continued to be unquiet. Sindh was rebellious, but Ghassan ibn Abbad subdued it. An ongoing problem for Al-Ma'mun was the uprising headed by Babak Khorramdin. In 214 Babak routed a Caliphate army, killing its commander Muhammad ibn Humayd.
  98. ^ The Mihna subjected traditionalist scholars with social influence and intellectual quality to imprisonment, religious tests, and loyalty oaths. Al-Ma'mun introduced the Mihna with the intention to centralize religious power in the caliphal institution and test the loyalty of his subjects. The Mihna had to be undergone by elites, scholars, judges and other government officials, and consisted of a series of questions relating to theology and faith. The central question was about the state of the creation of the Qur'an: if the person interrogated stated he believed the Qur'an to be created, he was free to leave and continue his profession.
  99. ^ Had he been victorious over the Byzantine Emperor, Al-Ma'mun would have made a condition of peace be that the emperor hand over of a copy of the "Almagest".
  100. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, History v. 32 "The Reunification of the Abbasid Caliphate," SUNY, Albany, 1987; v. 33 "Storm and Stress along the Northern frontiers of the Abbasid Caliphate," transl. C.E. Bosworth, SUNY, Albany, 1991
  101. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari History v. 34 "Incipient Decline," transl. Joel L. Kramer, SUNY, Albany, 1989. ISBN 0-88706-875-8, ISBN 978-0-88706-875-1
  102. ^ Its minarets were spiraling cones 55 metres (180 ft) high with a spiral ramp, and it had 17 aisles with walls paneled with mosaics of dark blue glass.
  103. ^ A sum of 120,000 golden pieces was paid for the freedom of the captives.
  104. ^ Examples of the former include the loss of Mosul in 990, and the loss of Ṭabaristān and Gurgān in 997. An example of the latter is the Kakūyid dynasty of Isfahān, whose fortunes rose with the decline of the Būyids of northern Iran.
  105. ^ Bowen, Harold (1928). The Life and Times of ʿAlí Ibn ʿÍsà: The Good Vizier. Cambridge University Press. p. 385. 
  106. ^ R. N. Frye (1975). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume Four: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. ISBN 0-521-20093-8
  107. ^ Hanne, Eric, J. (2007). Putting the Caliph in His Place: Power, Authority, and the Late Abbasid Caliphate. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. p. 55.  
  108. ^ William Muir. The Caliphate: Its Rise, Decline, and Fall.
  109. ^ Jonathan Riley-Smith, The Oxford History of the Crusades, (Oxford University Press, 2002), 213.
  110. ^ Nasr 2003, pp. 121–122
  111. ^ Lapidus 1988, p. 129
  112. ^ Thomas Spencer Baynes (1878). The Encyclopaedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature. A. and C. Black. pp. 578–. 
  113. ^ Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr. A Concise History of the Middle East.
  114. ^ a b Mahmoud A. El-Gamal (2006). Islamic Finance: Law, Economics, and Practice. Cambridge University Press. pp. 122–.  
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  123. ^ Michael Hamilton Morgan. Lost History: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Scientists, Thinkers, and Artists . National Geographic Books, 2008.
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  130. ^ Peter Lock (2013). The Routledge Companion to the Crusades. Routledge. pp. 180–.  
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See also

Some Muslim countries, such as Turkey and Egypt, sought to separate Islam from the secular government. In other cases, such as Saudi Arabia, the government brought out religious expression in the re-emergence of the puritanical form of Sunni Islam known to its detractors as Wahabism, which found its way into the Saudi royal family.

Many Muslim countries sought to adopt European political organization and nationalism began to emerge in the Muslim world. Countries like Egypt, Syria and Turkey organized their governments and sought to develop national pride among their citizens. Other places, like Iraq, were not as successful due to a lack of unity and an inability to resolve age-old prejudices between Muslim sects and against non-Muslims.

Following World War I, the vast majority of former Ottoman territory outside of Asia Minor was handed over to the victorious European powers as protectorates. During the war the Allies had promised the subject peoples independence in exchange for their assistance fighting the Turkish powers. To their dismay, they found that this system of "protectorates" was a smoke-screen for their continued subjugation by the British and the French. The struggles for independence from their Turkish overlords and the cooperation of partisan forces with the British were romanticized in the stories of British secret intelligence agent T. E. Lawrence—later known as "Lawrence of Arabia."[171] Ottoman successor states include today's Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Lebanon, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Balkan states, North Africa and the north shore of the Black Sea.[172]

By the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman empire had declined. The decision to back Germany in World War I meant they shared the Central Powers' defeat in that war. The defeat led to the overthrow of the Ottomans by Turkish nationalists led by the victorious general of the Battle of Gallipoli: Mustafa Kemal, who became known to his people as Atatürk, "Father of the Turks." Atatürk was credited with renegotiating the treaty of Sèvres (1920) which ended Turkey's involvement in the war and establishing the modern Republic of Turkey, which was recognized by the Allies in the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). Atatürk went on to implement an ambitious program of modernization that emphasized economic development and secularization. He transformed Turkish culture to reflect European laws, adopted Hindu-Arabic numerals, the Latin script, separated the religious establishment from the state, and emancipated woman—even giving them the right to vote in parallel with women's suffrage in the west.[170]

Muslim Bosniak resistance during the battle of Sarajevo in 1878 against the Austro-Hungarian occupation.

Fall of the Ottomans

In the early 16th century, the Shi'ite Safavid dynasty assumed control in Persia under the leadership of Shah Ismail I, defeating the ruling Turcoman federation Aq Qoyunlu (also called the "White Sheep Turkomans") in 1501. The Ottoman sultan Selim I sought to repel Safavid expansion, challenging and defeating them at the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514. Selim I also deposed the ruling Mamluks in Egypt, absorbing their territories in 1517. Suleiman I (also known as Suleiman the Magnificent), Selim I's successor, took advantage of the diversion of Safavid focus to the Uzbeks on the eastern frontier and recaptured Baghdad, which had fallen under Safavid control. Despite this, Safavid power remained substantial, rivalling the Ottomans. Suleiman I advanced deep into Hungary following the Battle of Mohács in 1526 — reaching as far as the gates of Vienna thereafter, and signed a Franco-Ottoman alliance with Francis I of France against Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire 10 years later. Suleiman I's rule (1520 — 1566) was the apex of the Ottoman Empire. The rapid European industrialization thereafter sent it into a relative decline.[85][169] It was recognized as a superpower, even at the time of its decline and eventual demise after World War I.

The Suleiman Mosque (Süleymaniye Camii) in Istanbul was built on the order of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent by the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in 1557

Around this time the Ottoman naval fleet developed, such that they were able to challenge Venice, a naval power. They also attempted to reconquer the Balkans. By the time of Mehmed I's grandson, Mehmed II (ruled 1444 — 1446; 1451 — 1481), the Ottomans could lay siege to Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium. A factor in this siege was the use of muskets and large cannons introduced by the Ottomans. The Byzantine fortress succumbed in 1453, after 54 days of siege. Without its capital the Byzantine Empire disintegrated.[85] The future successes of the Ottomans and later empires would depend upon the exploitation of gunpowder.[159]

Growth halted when Mongol warlord Timur (also known as "Tamerlane") captured Bayezid I in the Battle of Ankara in 1402, beginning the Ottoman Interregnum. This episode was characterized by the division of the Ottoman territory amongst Bayezid I's sons, who submitted to Timurid authority. When a number of Ottoman territories regained independent status, ruin for the Empire loomed. However, the empire recovered, as the youngest son of Bayezid I, Mehmed I, waged offensive campaigns against his ruling brothers, thereby reuniting Asia Minor and declaring himself sultan in 1413.[85]

The Seljuq Turks declined in the second half of the 13th century, after the Mongol invasion.[165] This resulted in the establishment of multiple Turkish principalities, known as beyliks. Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty, assumed leadership of one of these principalities (Söğüt) in 1281, succeeding his father Ertuğrul. Declaring an independent Ottoman emirate in 1299, Osman I afterwards led it in a series of battles with the Byzantine Empire.[166] By 1331, the Ottomans had captured Nicaea, the former Byzantine capital, under the leadership of Osman's son and successor, Orhan I.[167] Victory at the Battle of Kosovo against the Serbs in 1389 then facilitated their expansion into Europe. The Ottomans were established in the Balkans and Anatolia by the time Bayezid I ascended to power in the same year, now at the helm of a growing empire.[168]

The Battle of Vienna in 1683 broke the advance of the Ottoman Turks into Europe

Ottoman Empire

The Safavid Dynasty was toppled in 1722 by the Hotaki dynasty, which ended their forceful conversion of Sunni areas to Shiaism.

Tahmasp's grandson, Shah Abbas I, restored the shrine of the eighth Twelver Shi'a Imam, Ali al-Ridha at Mashhad, and restored the dynastic shrine at Ardabil. Both shrines received jewelry, fine manuscripts and Chinese porcelains. Abbas moved the capital to Isfahan, revived old ports, and established thriving trade with Europeans. Amongst Abbas's most visible cultural achievements was the construction of Naqsh-e Jahan Square ("Design of the World"). The plaza, located near a Friday mosque, covered 20 acres (81,000 m2).[164]

In 1524, Tahmasp I acceded to the throne, initiating a revival of the arts. Carpetmaking became a major industry. The tradition of Persian miniature painting in manuscripts reached its peak, until Tahmasp turned to strict religious observance in middle age, prohibiting the consumption of alcohol and hashish and removing casinos, taverns and brothels. Tahmasp's nephew Ibrahim Mirza continued to patronize a last flowering of the arts until he was murdered, after which many artists were recruited by the Mughal dynasty.

Although claiming to be the descendants of Ali ibn Abu Talib, the Safavids were Sunni (the name "Safavid" comes from a Sufi order called Safavi). Their origins go back to Firuz Shah Zarrinkolah, a local dignitary from the north. During their rule, the Safavids recognized Twelver Shi'a Islam as the State religion, thus giving the region a separate identity from its Sunni neighbours.

The Safavids dynasty from Azarbaijan ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Twelver Shi'a Islam as the region's official religion and united its provinces under a single sovereignty, thereby reigniting the Persian identity.

Georgian figures with their names at the top left.

This resulted in the Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam. Zaydis, the largest group amongst the Shia before the Safavid Dynasty were also forced to convert to the Twelver Shia. The Zaydis at that time used the Hanafi Fiqh, as did most Sunnis and there were good relations between them. Abu Hanifah and Zayd ibn Ali were also very good friends.[114][115][116]

The Safavid dynasty rose to power in Tabriz in 1501 and later conquered the rest of Iran. The Safavids were originally Sufi and Iran was Sunni.[162] After their defeat at the hands of the Sunni Ottomans at the Battle of Chaldiran, to unite the Persians behind him Ismail I made conversion mandatory for the largely Sunni population to Twelver Shia so that he could get them to fight the Sunni Ottomans.[163]

Safavid Empire

The empire ruled most of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan for several centuries. Its decline in the early 18th century allowed India to be divided into smaller kingdoms and states. The Mughal dynasty was dissolved by the British Empire after the Indian rebellion of 1857.[85][161] It left a lasting legacy on Indian culture and architecture. Famous buildings built by the Mughals, include: the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, the Badshahi Mosque, the Lahore Fort, the Shalimar Gardens and the Agra Fort. During the empire's reign, Muslim communities flourished all over India, in Gujarat, Bengal and Hyderabad. Various Sufi orders from Afghanistan and Persia were active throughout the region. More than a quarter of the population converted to Islam.[161]

The Mughal Empire was a product of various Central Asian invasions into the Indian subcontinent. It was founded by the Timurid prince Babur in 1526 with the destruction of the Delhi sultanate, placing its capital in Agra. Babur's death some years later and the indecisive rule of his son, Humayun, brought instability to Mughal rule. The resistance of the Afghani Sher Shah, who administered a string of defeats to Humayun, weakened the empire. A year before his death, however, Humayun managed to recover much of the lost territories, leaving a substantial legacy for his son, the 13-year-old Akbar (later known as Akbar the Great), in 1556. Under Akbar, consolidation of the Mughal Empire occurred through both expansion and administrative reforms. After Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan came to power. Subsequently, Aurangazeb ruled vast areas including Afghanisthan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.[85][161]

Humayun's Tomb in Delhi, India.

Mughal Empire

Dar al-'Ahd (House of truce) began to develop in the Ottoman Empire's relationship with its tributary states. In the contemporary National period, the term referred to non-Muslim governments that had armistice or peace agreements with Muslim governments. Today, the actual status of the non-Muslim country in question may vary from acknowledged equality to tributary states.[160]

In the 15th and 16th centuries three major Muslim empires formed: the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, the Balkans and Northern Africa; the Safavid Empire in Greater Iran; and the Mughal Empire in South Asia. These imperial powers were made possible by the discovery and exploitation of gunpowder and more efficient administration.[159] By the end of the 19th century, all three had declined, and by the early 20th century, with the Ottomans' defeat in World War I, the last Muslim empire collapsed.

Three Early Modern empires

Portuguese forces captured Malacca in 1511 under naval general Afonso de Albuquerque. With Malacca subdued, the Aceh Sultanate and Bruneian Empire established themselves as centres of Islam in Southeast Asia. The Sultanate's territory, although vastly diminished, remains intact to this day as the modern state of Brunei Darussalam.[85]

As Islam spread, societal changes developed from the individual conversions, and five centuries later it emerged as a dominant cultural and political power in the region. Three main Muslim political powers emerged. The Aceh Sultanate was the most important, controlling much of the area between Southeast Asia and India from its centre in northern Sumatra. The Sultanate also attracted Sufi poets. The second Muslim power was the Sultanate of Malacca on the Malay Peninsula. The Sultanate of Demak on Java was the third power, where the emerging Muslim forces defeated the local Majapahit kingdom in the early 16th century.[158] Although the sultanate managed to expand its territory somewhat, its rule remained brief.[85]

Through trade and commerce, Islam then spread to Borneo and Java. By the late 15th century, Islam had been introduced to the Philippines via the southern island of Mindanao.[157] The foremost socio-cultural Muslim entities that resulted form this are the present-day Sultanate of Sulu and Sultanate of Maguindanao; Islamised kingdoms in the northern Luzon island, such as the Kingdom of Maynila and the Kingdom of Tondo, were later conquered and Christianised with the majority of the archipelago by Spanish colonisers beginning in the 16th century.

Soon, many Sufi missionaries translated classical Sufi literature from Arabic and Persian into Malay; a tangible product of this is the Jawi script. Coupled with the composing of original Islamic literature in Malay, this led the way to the transformation of Malay into an Islamic language.[156] By 1292, when Marco Polo visited Sumatra, most of the inhabitants had converted to Islam. The Sultanate of Malacca was founded on the Malay Peninsula by Parameswara, a Srivijayan Prince.

According to T.W. Arnold in The Preaching of Islam, by the 2nd century of the Islamic Calendar, Arab traders had been trading with the inhabitants of Ceylon. The same argument has been told by Dr. B.H. Burger and Dr. Mr. Prajudi in Sedjarah Ekonomis Sosiologis Indonesia (History of Socio Economic of Indonesia)[154] According to the atlas by geographer Al Biruni (973 - 1048), the Indian or Indonesia Ocean used to be called the Persian Ocean. After the Western Imperialist ruled, it is replaced Persian Ocean to be Indian Ocean.[155]

Islam first reached Maritime Southeast Asia through traders from Mecca in the 7th century CE,[85] particularly via the western part of what is now Indonesia. Arab traders from Yeman already had a presence in Asia through trading and sea travelling by sea, serving as intermediary traders to and from Europe and Africa. They traded not only Arabian goods but also from Africa, India, and so on including ivory, fragrances, spices, and gold.[153]

Southeast Asia

In China, four Sahabas (Sa'ad ibn abi Waqqas, Wahb Abu Kabcha, Jafar ibn Abu Talib and Jahsh) preached in 616/17 and onwards after following the ChittagongKamrupManipur route after sailing from Abyssinia in 615/16. After conquering Persia in 636, Sa'ad ibn abi Waqqas went with Sa'id ibn Zaid, Qais ibn Sa'd and Hassan ibn Thabit to China in 637 taking the complete Quran. Sa'ad ibn abi Waqqas headed for China for the third time in 650-51 after Caliph Uthman asked him to lead an embassy to China, which the Chinese emperor received.[152]


In the 14th century, Alauddin Khilji extended Muslim rule south to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Deccan. Various other Muslim dynasties also formed and ruled across India from the 13th to the 18th century such as the Qutb Shahi and the Bahmani, but none rivalled the power and extensive reach of the Mughal Empire at its peak.[151]

Islamic rule came to India in the 8th century, when Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh. Muslim conquests expanded under Mahmud and the Ghaznavids until the late 12th century, when the Ghurids overran the Ghaznavids and extended the conquests in Northern India. Qutb-ud-din Aybak conquered Delhi in 1206 and began the reign of the Delhi Sultanates.[150]

On the Indian subcontinent, Islam first appeared in the southwestern tip of the peninsula, in today's Kerala state. Arabs traded with Malabar even before the birth of Muhammad. Native legends say that a group of Sahaba, under Malik Ibn Deenar, arrived on the Malabar Coast and preached Islam. According to that legend, the first mosque of India was built by Second Chera King Cheraman Perumal, who accepted Islam and received the name Tajudheen. He traveled to Arabia to meet Muhammad and died on the trip back, somewhere in today's Oman. Historical records suggest that the Cheraman Perumal Mosque was built in around 629.[149]

The Taj Mahal

South Asia

Asia and the Far East

Much later, Usman dan Fodio after the Fulani War, found himself in command of the largest state in Africa, the Fulani Empire. Dan Fodio worked to establish an efficient government grounded in Islamic laws. Already aged at the beginning of the war, he retired in 1815 passing the title of Sultan of Sokoto to his son Muhammed Bello.

West Africa

Local Islamic governments centered in Tanzania (then Zanzibar). The people of Zayd were Muslims that immigrated to the Great Lakes region. In the pre-colonial period, the structure of Islamic authority here was held up through the Ulema (wanawyuonis, in Swahili language). These leaders had some degree of authority over most of the Muslims in South East Africa before territorial boundaries were established. The chief Qadi there was recognized for having the final religious authority.[148]

Islam came to the Great Lakes region of South Eastern Africa along existing trade routes.[147] They learned from them the manners of the Muslims and this led to their conversion by the Muslim Arabs.

Great Lakes

The Almohad Dynasty or "the Unitarians", were a Berber Muslim religious power which founded the fifth Moorish dynasty in the 12th century, and conquered all Northern Africa as far as Egypt, together with Al-Andalus.[146]

The Almoravid dynasty was a Berber dynasty from the Sahara flourished over a wide area of North-Western Africa and the Iberian Peninsula during the 11th century. Under this dynasty the Moorish empire was extended over present-day Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Gibraltar, Tlemcen (in Algeria) and a part of what is now Senegal and Mali in the south, and Spain and Portugal in the north.[145]

This part of Islamic territory has had independent governments during most of Islamic history. The Idrisid were the first Arab rulers in the western Maghreb (Morocco), ruling from 788 to 985. The dynasty is named after its first sultan Idris I.[144]

Kairouan in Tunisia was the first city founded by Muslims in the Maghreb. Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi erected the city (in 670) and, in the same time, the Great Mosque of Kairouan[142] considered as the oldest and most prestigious sanctuary in the western Islamic world.[143]

The Great Mosque of Kairouan also known as the Mosque of Uqba was established in 670 by the Arab general and conqueror Uqba ibn Nafi, it is the oldest mosque in the Maghreb, situated in the city of Kairouan, Tunisia.


Early Islamic disciples fled to the port city of Zeila in modern-day northern Somalia to seek protection from the Quraysh at the court of the Aksumite Emperor in present-day Somalia. Some of the Muslims that were granted protection are said to have then settled in several parts of the Horn region to promote the religion. The victory of the Muslims over the Quraysh in the 7th century had a significant impact on local merchants and sailors, as their trading partners in Arabia had by then all adopted Islam, and the major trading routes in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea came under the sway of the Muslim Caliphs. Instability in the Arabian peninsula saw further migrations of early Muslim families to the Somali seaboard. These clans came to serve as catalysts, forwarding the faith to large parts of the Horn region.[141]

The history of Islam in the Horn of Africa is almost as old as the faith itself. Through extensive trade and social interactions with their converted Muslim trading partners on the other side of the Red Sea, in the Arabian peninsula, merchants and sailors in the Horn region gradually came under the influence of the new religion.[141]

Horn of Africa

The Umayyad conquest of North Africa continued the century of rapid Muslim military expansion following the death of Muhammad in 632. By 640 the Arabs controlled Mesopotamia, had invaded Armenia, and were concluding their conquest of Byzantine Syria. Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad caliphate. By the end of 641 all of Egypt was in Arab hands.


The global Muslim population had reached about 8 per cent of the world total as against the Christian population of 14 per cent by 1400.

See also: Islamic Egypt governors, Mamluks Era
Eastern Mediterranean 1450

Burji Sultans

A former Mamluk slave who was born a prince, Aybak (known as Lion of Ain Jaloot) replaced the Mamluks in 1250. Aybak, by then a general, married Shajar al-Durr, the widow of Ayyubid caliph al-Salih Ayyub. Military prestige was at the center of Mamluk society, and it played a key role in the confrontations with the Mongol forces. After Aybak's assassination and the accession of Qutuz in 1259, the Mamluks challenged and routed the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in late 1260. The Mongols were again defeated by the Mamluks at the Battle of Hims a few months later, and then driven out of Syria altogether.[85] With this, the Mamluks were able to concentrate their forces and to conquer the last of the crusader territories in the Levant.

Bahri Sultans

As part of their chosen role as defenders of Islamic orthodoxy, the Mamluks sponsored many religious buildings, including mosques, madrasas and khanqahs. Though some construction took place in the provinces, the vast bulk of these projects expanded the capital. Many Mamluk buildings in Cairo have survived to this day, particularly in Old Cairo.[140]

In 1250, the Ayyubid Egyptian dynasty was overthrown by slave regiments, and the Mamluk Sultanate was born. In the 1260s, the Mongols sacked and controlled the Islamic Near East territories. The Mamluks, who were Turkic, forced out the Mongols (see Battle of Ain Jalut) after the final destruction of the Ayyubid dynasty. Thus they united Syria and Egypt for the longest interval between the Abbasid and Ottoman empires (1250–1517).[138] The Mamluks experienced a continual state of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the "Muslim territory" (Dar al-Islam) and "non-Muslim territory" (Dar al-Harb).[139]

The Mamluks

Ultimately, the Ilkhanate, Golden Horde, and the Chagatai Khanate - three of the four principal Mongol khanates - embraced Islam.[133][134][135] In power in Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia and further east, over the rest of the 13th century gradually all converted to Islam. Most Ilkhanid rulers were replaced by the new Mongol power founded by Timur (himself a Muslim), who conquered Persia in the 1360s, and moved against the Delhi Sultanate in India and the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia. His invasions were equally destructive, sacking Bagdhad, Damascus, Delhi and many other cities, with enormous loss of life. Timur had attacked areas still recovering from the Black Death, which may have killed one third of the population of the Middle East. The plague began in China, and reached Alexandria in Egypt in 1347, spreading over the following years to most Islamic areas. The combination of the plague and the wars left the Middle Eastern Islamic world in a seriously weakened position. The Timurid dynasty would found many branches of Islam, including the Mughals of India.[136][137]

With the election of Khan Mongke in 1251, Mongol targeted the Abbasid capital, Baghdad. Mongke's brother, Hulegu, was made leader of the Mongol Army assigned to the task of subduing Baghdad. The fall of Bagdhad in 1258 destroyed what had been the largest city in Islam. The last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta'sim, was captured and killed; and Baghdad was ransacked and destroyed. The cities of Damascus and Aleppo fell in 1260. Plans for the conquest of Egypt were delayed due to the death of Mongke at around the same time. The Abbasid army lost to the superior Mongol army, but the invaders were finally stopped by Egyptian Mamluks north of Jerusalem in 1260 at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut.[132]

After the Crusades the Mongols invaded in the 13th century, marking the end of the Islamic Golden Age. Some historians assert that the eastern Islamic world never fully recovered. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, The Mongols put an end to the Abbasid era. The Mongol invasion of Central Asia began in 1219 at a huge cost in civilian life and economic devastation. The Mongols spread throughout Central Asia and Persia: the Persian city of Isfahan had fallen to them by 1237.[131]

The Mongol ruler, Ghazan, studying the Quran.

Mongol invasions

Emirs of Aleppo

Sultans and Amirs of Damascus

Sultans of Egypt

The Ayyubid dynasty was founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt. In 1174, Saladin proclaimed himself Sultan and conquered the Near East region. The Ayyubids ruled much of the Middle East during the 12th and 13th centuries, controlling Egypt, Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and the North African coast up to the borders of modern-day Tunisia. After Saladin, his sons contested control over the sultanate, but Saladin's brother al-Adil eventually established himself in 1200. In the 1230s, Syria's Ayyubid rulers attempted to win independence from Egypt and remained divided until Egyptian Sultan as-Salih Ayyub restored Ayyubid unity by taking over most of Syria, excluding Aleppo, by 1247. In 1250, the dynasty in the Egyptian region was overthrown by slave regiments. A number of attempts to recover it failed, led by an-Nasir Yusuf of Aleppo. In 1260, the Mongols sacked Aleppo and wrested control of what remained of the Ayyubid territories soon after.[130]

Ayyubid dynasty

In September 1191, Saladin's army attacked and captured Jaffa. Saladin lost control of his army because of their anger over Richard's attrocities in Acre. They started massacring the Christian people. Richard fled from the city by ship. Another battle was fought on August 5, Where Saladin completely routed out Richard's army. On September 2, 1192, Richard surrendered and signed a treaty with Saladin that left Jerusalem under Muslim control. But Saladin allowed unarmed Christian pilgrims to visit the city. Richard started back to Europe on October 9. Thus Saladin protected the holy land from the Christians. And the Third Crusade was over.

Disturbed by Saladin having taken back Jerusalem, western Europe organized another crusade. England's King Richard the Lion-hearted arrived in June, 1191. A large fleet of English ships arrived at Acre with reinforcements. On August 20, after deciding that Saladin was not going to agree to the terms they wanted in a treaty, Richard had some his Muslim prisoners executed. It was in full view of Saladin's camp just outside the city. Richard's move proved unproductive as Saladin was outraged at this. He retaliated by executing all his Christian prisoners of war.

The victory at Hattin was followed by the reconquest of various Crusader towns. Saladin besieged Jerusalem and offered it his terms of surrender. The Christians accepted it and handed over Jerujalem to Saladin. Every Christian man, woman and child was to pay a ransom for his freedom. On 2 October 1187 Saladin took possession of the city.

In 1182, Saladin began his move against the Crusaders. His motives have been described as both his devotion to Islam and as dynastic aggrandizement. On July 4, 1887 his force, estimated as 30,000 including 12,000 cavalry, met a Crusader force out of Jerusalem consisting of something like 15,000 infantry and 1,200 knights. This was the Battle of Hattin (in what today is northeastern Israel), won by Saladin. Saladin ordered some of the captives to be treated humanely. Some of the captives were beheaded, including all 200 of the Knights Templar and Hospitaller military orders.

Third Crusade

Shirkuh's nephew and successor,and prime minister of Egypt, Saladin, eventually rejected Nur ad-Din's control. Nur ad-Din was preparing to invade Egypt to bring Saladin under control when he unexpectedly died in 1174. His son and successor As-Salih Ismail al-Malik was only a child, and was forced to flee to Aleppo, which he ruled until 1181, when he was murdered and replaced by his relation, the Atabeg of Mosul. Saladin conquered Aleppo two years later, ending Zengid rule in Syria.

Now ruling from Damascus, Nur ad-Din's success continued. Another Prince of Antioch, Raynald of Châtillon was captured, and the territories of that Principality greatly reduced. Nur ad-Din had other ideas in his mind as well. He dreamt of conquering Egypt. For that purpose he sent his general Shirkuh. But he failed to defeat Egypt completely. But he manage to force the Fatimid emperor to appoint Shirkuh as the prime mi ister of Egypt. And the Syrian army stayed there.

On Zengi's death, his territories were divided, with Mosul and his lands in Iraq going to his eldest son ]Saif ad-Din Ghazi I, and Aleppo and Edessa falling to his second son, Nur ad-Din Mahmud. Nur ad-Din proved to be as competent as his father. In 1149 he defeated Prince Raymond of Antioch at the Battle of Inab, and the next year conquered the remnants of the County of Edessa west of the Euphrates River. In 1154 he capped off these successes by his capture of Damascus from the Burid Emirs who ruled it.

The Zengid empire empire of Syria emerged as the leading force of the Muslim world in the second phase of the Crusade. The empire was founded by Imad ad-Din Zengi (or Zangi), who became th Atabeg (governor) of Mosul in 1127. He quickly became the chief Turkish potentate in Northern Syria and Iraq, taking Aleppo from the squabbling Artuqid in 1128, and capturing the County of Edessa from the Crusaders in 1144. This latter feat made Zengi a hero in the Muslim world, but he was assassinated by a slave two years later, in 1146.

Second Crusade

At that time Emir Kerbogha, ruler of Mosul, Northern Iraq, arrives in Jerusalem with an army of 75,000 men and and Joined Duqaq to lay a siege to the Christians who had just captured Jerusalem. But they failed as well. The disunity and intrafighting among the Muslims became responsible for their demise. The Muslims failed to put up a combined resistence.As a result finally they lost the city.

Duqaq of Damascus, raises an army to relieve the besieged city of Jerusalem which was under his control. He divided his army in some small groups and invited the Christians to attack. The Christian army got scattered all over the place and got heavily jeopardised. But they quickly regrouped and relaid the seize on Jerusalem. This time it becomes very hard for Duqaq to stop the Crusaders. And finally they managed to capture Jerusalem.

Crusaders approaching Aleppo were constantly running short of food. Not only that they were facing Turkish raids from the neighbouring regions. One of the largest of these raids consists of a force of 20,000 men under Ridwan. Ridwan advanced to destroy Robert of Flanders. To his terror Robert found himself surrounded by the Muslims. But Bohemond of Antioch comes up quickly for his resque. Ridwan inflicted heavy casualties on the Crusaders and they were forced to withdraw.

In early 1095 a Crusader army from western Europe and a Byzantine army from Constantinople marched into Syria for liberatig Jerusalem.During this time Syria was plunged into civil war as Duqaq and Ridwan the two Seljuk brothers were fighting for the throne . Ridwan was the ruler of Aleppo and Duqaq was the ruler of Damascus. Because of their infighting the Muslims failed to put up an organized resistance against the Christians.

First Crusade

The trigger for the Crusade was Emperor Alexius's appeal to Pope Urban II for mercenaries to help him resist Muslim advances into territory of the Byzantine Empire. In the Byzantine homelands the Eastern Emperor's weakness was revealed by the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in the hand of the Seljuks , which reduced the Empire's Asian territory to a region in western Anatolia and around Constantinople. A sure sign of Byzantine desperation was the appeal of Alexius I Comnenus to his enemy the Pope for aid. But pope Gregory was occupied with the Investiture Controversy and could not call on the German emperor and the crusade never took shape. For pope Gregory's more visionary successor Urban II a crusade would serve to reunite Christendom, bolster the Papacy, and perhaps bring the East under his control. So in 1095 pope urban summoned all the kings of Europe for a Crusade against the Muslims. The two civilizations collided for the supremacy of the holy land.

Saladin and Guy of Lusignan after the Battle of Hattin---- List of Crusades
Early period
· First Crusade 1095–1099
· Second Crusade 1147–1149
· Third Crusade 1187–1192
Low Period
· Fourth Crusade 1202–1204
· Fifth Crusade 1217–1221
· Sixth Crusade 1228–1229
Late period
· Seventh Crusade 1248–1254
· Eighth Crusade 1270
· Ninth Crusade 1271–1272

The Crusades

Umawi showed no reluctance to dispose of those he viewed as a threat. His government was marked by continuous wars between Arabs, Berbers and Muladi. His power as emir was confined to the area of Córdoba, while the rest had been seized by rebel families. The son he had designated as successor was killed by one of Umawi's brothers. The latter was in turn executed by Umawi's father, who named as successor Abd ar-Rahman III, son of the killed son of Umawi.[127][128][129]

Muhammad I's reign was marked by the movements of the Muladi (ethnic Iberian Muslims) and Mozarabs (Muslim-Iberia Christians). Muhammad I was succeeded by his son Mundhir I. During the reign of his father, Mundhir I commanded military operations against the neighbouring Christian kingdoms and the Muladi rebellions. At his father's death, he inherited the throne. During his two-year reign, Mundhir I fought against Umar ibn Hafsun. He died in 888 at Bobastro, succeeded by his brother Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Umawi.

Abd ar-Rahman II succeeded his father and engaged in nearly continuous warfare against Alfonso II of Asturias, whose southward advance he halted. Rahman II repulsed an assault by Vikings who had disembarked in Cadiz, conquered Seville (with the exception of its citadel) and attacked Córdoba. Thereafter he constructed a fleet and naval arsenal at Seville to repel future raids. He responded to William of Septimania's requests of assistance in his struggle against Charles the Bald's nominations.[126]

Rahman I's successor was his son Hisham I. Born in Córdoba, he built many mosques and completed the Mezquita. He called for a jihad that resulted in a campaign against the Kingdom of Asturias and the County of Toulouse; in this second campaign he was defeated at Orange by William of Gellone, first cousin to Charlemagne. His successor Al-Hakam I came to power and was challenged by his uncles, other sons of Rahman I. One, Abdallah, went to the court of Charlemagne in Aix-la-Chapelle to negotiate for aid. In the mean time Córdoba was attacked, but was defended. Hakam I spent much of his reign suppressing rebellions in Toledo, Saragossa and Mérida.[125]

The exterior of the Mezquita.

In Baghdad, the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur had planned to depose the emir. Rahman I and his army confronted the Abbasids, killing most of the Abbasid army. The main Abbasid leaders were decapitated, their heads preserved in salt, with identifying tags pinned to their ears. The heads were bundled in a gruesome package and sent to the Abbasid caliph who was on pilgrimage at Mecca. Rahman I quelled repeated rebellions in al-Andalus. He began the building of the great mosque [cordova], and formed ship-yards along the coast; he is moreover said to have been the first to transplant the palm and the pomegranate into the congenial climate of Spain: and he encouraged science and literature in his states. This good king died on the 29th of September, 788, after a reign of thirty-four years and one month.[124]

During his brief time in Málaga, he quickly amassed local support. News of the prince's arrival spread throughout the peninsula. In order to help speed his ascension to power, he took advantage of the feuds and dissensions. However, before anything could be done, trouble broke out in northern al-Andalus. Abd al-Rahman and his followers were able to control Zaragoza. Rahman I fought to rule al-Andalus in a battle at the Guadalquivir river, just outside of Córdoba on the plains of Musarah (Battle of Musarah). Rahman I was victorious, chasing his enemies from the field with parts of their army. Rahman I marched into the capital, Córdoba, fighting off a counterattack, but negotiations ended the confrontation. After Rahman I consolidated power, he proclaimed himself the al-Andalus emir. Rahman I did not claim the Muslim caliph, though.[122] The last step was to have al-Fihri's general, al-Sumayl, garroted in Córdoba's jail. Al-Andalus was a safe haven for the house of Umayya that managed to evade the Abbasids.[123]

Abd al-Rahman I and Bedr (a former Greek slave) escaped with their lives after the popular revolt known as the Abbasid Revolution. Rahman I continued south through Palestine, the Sinai, and then into Egypt. Rahman I was one of several surviving Umayyad family members to make a perilous trek to Ifriqiya at this time. Rahman I and Bedr reached modern day Morocco near Ceuta. Next step would be to cross to sea to al-Andalus, where Rahman I could not have been sure whether he would be welcome. Following the Berber Revolt (740s), the province was in a state of confusion, with the Ummah torn by tribal dissensions among the Arabs and racial tensions between the Arabs and Berbers. Bedr lined up three Syrian commanders – Obeid Allah ibn Uthman and Abd Allah ibn Khalid, both originally of Damascus, and Yusuf ibn Bukht of Qinnasrin and contacted al-Sumayl (then in Zaragoza) to get his consent, but al-Sumayl refused, fearing Rahman I would try to make himself emir. After discussion with Yemenite commanders, Rahman I was told to go to al-Andalus. Shortly thereafter, he set off with Bedr and a small group of followers for Europe. Abd al-Rahman landed at Almuñécar in al-Andalus, to the east of Málaga.

Cordoban empire

In 1131, the last Seljuk sultan took power. Sultan Sanjar suffered revolts from the Karakhanids of what is now Uzbekistan, the Ghorids in Afghanistan, and the Karluks in what is now Kyrgyzstan. In 1141, Sanjar lost the pivotal Battle of Qatwan to the Kara-Khitai; the defeat stripped the Seljuk Empire of its eastern provinces, and fatally undermined Sanjar's authority. In 1153, during the Oghuz Revolts, his fellow Oghuz Turks rose up and imprisoned Sultan Sanjar. He died four years later, and the Seljuk Empire collapsed.

Throughout its history, the Seljuk Empire was bedeviled by succession problems. As early as the 1090s, before it was even properly established, the empire fractured into separate states when The Second Crusade different rulers within the Seljuk Empire actually allied themselves with the Crusaders in order to fight their brothers or cousins for control of territory.

Seljuk rulers established an army based on mamluks, or warrior-slaves. They also hired Persian viziers to help advise them on ruling the settled peoples of Asia Minor and the Middle East.

Many Christian subjects objected to being ruled by Muslim Turks. However, the Seljuks brought many benefits to the formerly Byzantine lands, including lower taxes, a network of hospitals, and widespread educational opportunities through a series of local schools and universities.

The Seljuks quickly seized much of the rest of Asia Minor, leaving the Byzantines clinging to a strip of land along the Aegean and the Black Sea coast. Iznik (formerly Nicaea) became the Seljuk capital in 1078, and by 1104 Seljuk power had stabilized. The formerly Greek and Orthodox Christian lands of Asia Minor now belonged to Sunni Muslim Turks from Central Asia.

Under Tughral Beg's nephew Alp Arslan, the Seljuk Empire expanded both to the west and the east. Alp Arslan seized control of Herat, now in Afghanistan, and in 1067 also pushed into Anatolia, the heartland of the moribund Byzantine Empire. In 1071, the Byzantine army met with the Seljuks in the decisive battle of Manzikert despite hiring a number of mercenaries, including other Turks, the Byzantines were defeated by the Seljuks. This victory signaled the rise of Turkish power over what is now called Turkey, and the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

The Sunni caliphate's power had been eroding for decades by this point; the Shi'a Fatimids had seized control of Egypt, cutting off North Africa from Baghdad's control. In the end, the intercession of the Sunni Seljuks may have prevented Shi'ism from moving into the Arabian Peninsula proper and becoming the more dominant sect within the Islamic world.

Around 1000 a new and formidable power emerged in the theatre of the Muslim civilizations. This was the Seljuk tribe one of the twenty-four branches of the Oghuz Turks, a nomadic and warlike tribe from the Central Asian desert near the Aral Sea. The Turks moved west, and adopted the name Seljuk after one of their founding ancestors. By the 1040s, the Turks had taken control of northern Persia, and began working their way south. Under their great leader Tughril Beg, they took control of Baghdad in 1055. At the time, Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, and thus the center of the Muslim world. The caliph accepted the Turks' claim to rule over his lands; in return, he was allowed to marry Tughral Beg's niece.

Seljuk empire

Opposition to the Almoravid Empire had already taken root in North Africa by the time of Yusuf’s death. The Almoravid caliph Ali’s use of Christian mercenaries and foreign Turkish slave-soldiers raised the ire of a militant fundamentalist Berber movement, the Almohads, led by Muhammad ibn Tumart, a member of the Hargha tribe of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The Almohads opposed the influence of the Almoravids’ Maliki jurists, who Ibn Tumart argued had corrupted Sunni Islamic orthodoxy. In Morocco, the Almoravid heartland, the increasing influence of the Almohads continued to loom, even after the death of Ibn Tumart in 1133. The successor to the Almohad throne, Abd al-Mu’min, supervised the final destruction of the Almoravid Empire, which finally collapsed in 1147 after the fall of its capital city of Marrakesh.

Although the Almoravid leadership did not favor the secular arts, such as nonreligious poetry and music, other forms of art and architecture continued to receive government support.In 1106 Yusuf died of old age and was succeeded as Almoravid caliph by Ali ibn Yusuf. During the reign of Yusuf and Ali Maliki jurists served as paid participants in the government, and the influence of a strict version of Sunni Islam was increased.

In 1056 the Almoravids, who had developed into a strong and fanatical military movement, began to advance northward into Morocco, where they subjugated other Berber tribes and preached a strict version of Sunni Islam. Three years later, during a fierce war against the Barghawata Berber tribe, Abdullah was killed. After the death of Abdullah, leadership of the Almoravid movement passed to Yusuf ibn Tashfin. In 1062 the city of Marrakesh was founded in southern Morocco, where it would serve as the Almoravid capital, followed in 1069 by the establishment of Fez. Under Yusuf , the Almoravid Empire expanded eastward into Algeria by the early 1080s. The conquest of Morocco was completed by 1084, and by 1075 Almoravid forces had expanded into the West African kingdom of Ghana. While the Almoravids continued to expand their realm in North Africa, Christian states in Iberia began to chip away at the Iberian Muslim states. Under the leadership of Alfonso VI, the duke of Castile, Spanish Christian forces forced the Islamic city-states in the south, including Seville and Granada, to pay him tribute. In the late 1070s Iberian Muslims sent messengers to the Almoravids, requesting support against the Christians. However, it was not until 1086 that Yusuf crossed the Mediterranean into Iberia, where he defeated Alfonso VI’s army in the battle of Sagrajas. Between 1090 and 1092 Yusuf established Almoravid authority over the Muslim states in southern Iberia, forming a strong line of defense against further Christian expansion.

in the 11th century a great political-military movement began to emerge in Mauritania. It was dominated by a Berber race called the Almoravids. This revolutionary movement was founded and led by Abdallah ibn Yasin , a fundamentalist Sunni preacher of the Maliki school who had been trained at Dar al-Murabitun, a desert religious school in the Sahara. Abdullah had begun his career as a preacher by teaching the Berber Lamatunah tribes in the Sahara, who had converted to Islam but remained ignorant of its intricacies, orthodox Sunni Islam. The origins of the Almoravid movement lay in the foundation by Abdullah of a small, militant sect that abided by a strict interpretation of Maliki Islamic law. To join Abdullah’s movement, new members were flogged for past sins, and infractions of Islamic law were severely punished. The community was guided by the religious legal opinions of Abdullah and later by the legal rulings of Maliki jurists, who were paid for their services.

Almoravid empire

The Fatimid palace was in two parts. It was in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bin El-Quasryn street.[121]

Unlike other governments in the area, Fatimid advancement in state offices was based more on merit than heredity. Members of other branches of Islam, including Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance covered non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews; they took high levels in government based on ability.[120] There were, however, exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, notably Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.

Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz.[119] Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song dynasty, which determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages.

The Fatimids entered Egypt in the late 10th century, conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty and founding a capital at al-Qāhira(Cairo) in 969.[118] The name was a reference to the planet Mars, "The Subduer", which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria and even crossed the Mediterranean into Sicily and southern Italy.

Abdullāh al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia, his capital in Tunisia.[117]

The Fatimids originated in Ifriqiya (modern-day Tunisia and eastern Algeria). The dynasty was founded in 909 by ʻAbdullāh al-Mahdī Billah, who legitimised his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter Fātima as-Zahra and her husband ʻAlī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shīʻa Imām, hence the name al-Fātimiyyūn "Fatimid".[113] The Fatamids and the Zaydis at the time, used the Hanafi jurisprudence, as did most Sunnis.[114][115][116]

The Al-Hakim Mosque
Cairo, Egypt; south of Bab Al-Futuh
"Islamic Cairo" building was named after Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, built by Fatimid vizier Gawhar Al-Siqilli, and extended by Badr al-Jamali.

Fatimid Empire

The Abbasids soon became caught in a three-way rivalry among Coptic Arabs, Indo-Persians, and immigrant Turks.[110] In addition, the cost of running a large empire became too great.[111] The Turks, Egyptians, and Arabs adhered to the Sunnite sect; the Persians, a great portion of the Turkic groups, and several of the princes in India were Shia. The political unity of Islam began to disintegrate. After the fall of the Abbasid empire independent dynasties appeared in the Muslim world. They were like the Buyids in Persia, Qarmatians in Saudi Arabia, Idrisids in Morocco and Fatimids in Egypt. Though the regional powers have been born out of the fragmantation of the Abbasid empire but they kept on flourishing in culture and civilization in their own way. They were highly advanced in all the sectors like literature, philosophy, science and mathematics.[112]

Regional powers

During Al-Qa'im's reign, the Buwayhid ruler often fled the capital and the Seljuq dynasty gained power. Toghrül overran Syria and Armenia. He then made his way into the Capital, where he was well-received both by chiefs and people. In Bahrain, the Qarmatian state collapsed in Al-Hasa. Arabia recovered from the Fatimids and again acknowledged the spiritual jurisdiction of the Abbasids. Al-Muqtadi was honored by the Seljuq Sultan Malik-Shah I, during whose reign the Caliphate was recognized throughout the extending range of Seljuq conquest. The Sultan was critical of the Caliph's interference in affairs of state, but died before deposing the last of the Middle Baghdad Abbasids.[109]

During al-Qadir's Caliphate, Mahmud of Ghazni looked after the empire. The great Mahmud of Ghazni, of Eastern fame, was friendly towards the Caliphs, and his victories in the Indian Empire were accordingly announced from the pulpits of Baghdad in grateful and glowing terms. Al-Qadir fostered the Sunni struggle against Shiʿism and outlawed heresies such as the Baghdad Manifesto and the doctrine that the Qu'ran was created. He outlawed the Muʿtazila, bringing an end to the development of rationalist Muslim philosophy. During this and the next period, Islamic literature, especially Persian literature, flourished under the patronage of the Buwayhids.[108] By 1000 the global Muslim population had climbed to about 4 per cent of the world total compared to the Christian population of 10 per cent.

The next Caliph, Al-Ta'i, reigned over factional strife in Syria among the Fatimids, Turks, and Carmathians. The Hideaway dynasyty also fractured. The Abbasid borders were the defended only by small border states. Baha' al-Dawla, the Buyid amir of Iraq, deposed al-Ta'i in 991 and proclaimed al-Qadir the new caliph.[107]

Once the Buwayhids controlled Baghdad, Al-Muti became caliph. The office was shorn of real power and Shi'a observances were established. The Buwayhids held on Baghdad for over a century. Throughout the Buwayhid reign the Caliphate was at its lowest ebb, but was recognized religiously, except in Iberia. Buwayhid Sultan Mu'izz al-Dawla was prevented from raising a Shi'a Caliph to the throne by fear for his own safety, and fear of rebellion, in the capital and beyond.[106]

Significant Middle Abbasid Muslims

After the Middle Baghdad Abbasids, the Caliphate had become of little importance. The amir al-umara Tuzun became amir al-umara. The Turks were staunch Sunnis. A fresh conspiracy placed the Caliph in danger. Hamdanid troops helped ad-Daula escape to Mosul and then to Nasibin. Tuzun and the Hamdanid were stalemated. Al-Muttaqi was at Ar Raqqah, moving to Tuzun where he was deposed. Tuzun installed the blinded Caliph's cousin as successor, with the title of Al-Mustakfi. With the new Caliph, Tuzun attacked the Buwayhid dynasty and the Hamdanids. Soon after, Tuzun died, and was succeeded by one of his generals, Abu Ja'far. The Buwayhids then attacked Baghdad, and Abu Ja'far fled into hiding with the Caliph. Buwayhid Sultan Muiz ud-Daula assumed command forcing the Caliph into abject submission to the Amir. Eventually, Al-Mustakfi was blinded and deposed. The city fell into chaos, and the Caliph's palace was looted.[105]

Early High Middle Ages

Late Abbasid caliphs


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