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Chapter 7. The Abbasid Empire at Its Peak  Abbasid empire weakened, 9th-13th centuries  peasant revolts  Shi’a un-reconciled  succession not.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7. The Abbasid Empire at Its Peak  Abbasid empire weakened, 9th-13th centuries  peasant revolts  Shi’a un-reconciled  succession not."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7


3 The Abbasid Empire at Its Peak


5  Abbasid empire weakened, 9th-13th centuries  peasant revolts  Shi’a un-reconciled  succession not secure  As early as the third Abbasid Caliph, al-Mahdi (775-785), issues related to the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate were apparent.  Caliph abandons frugal ways  Caliph does NOT establish clear pattern of succession  Wives/concubines became involved in the various palace intrigues associated with the succession crises.

6  Harun al-Rashid (786-809) ascended to the throne after the death of al-Mahdi  Harun al-Rashid enjoyed excess & sumptuous palace living  Emissaries sent in the 9 th century were dazzled with the splendor of Baghdad  Led to gradual disintegration of the Empire

7  Power of Royal Advisors grew throughout the rule of Harun al-Rashid.  Caliphs became pawns in the factional royal court battles  Upon al-Rashid’s death, full-scale civil war broke out amongst those vying for power.  While al-Ma’mum (813-833) was the victor he changed the Caliphate  He was convinced to conscript thousands of mostly Turkic-speaking slaves as his personal bodyguards  Numbers reached 70K slave regiment = power center  846, they murdered the reigning caliph, and in the coming decades would murder at least four more!

8  Caliphs struggle to control the Slave Regiments became civil wars  Some Caliphs want to move capital away from Baghdad’s turmoil  Increased spending drained the treasury  Then peasant revolts against new taxes  Spiraling taxation/pillaging, etc…  New irrigation, old irrigation and public works fall into disrepair  Slavery increased and the position of women eroded  Abandonment of some of the earlier provinces of the empire.

9  The Harem and the Veil are the twin emblems of women’s increasing subjugation to men and confinement  The Abbasid court created the concept of the Harem for the Caliphate  Not for pleasure, but for ensuring bloodlines

10  Three major invasions of Baghdad:  1 st capture of Baghdad in 945, Persian Buyids, Muslim Splinter group  Persian gradually replaced Arabic as the court language and literature  2 nd group that successfully captured Baghdad in 1055 was the Sunni, Seljuk Turks  3 rd and last group the captured Baghdad in 1258 was the Mongols Buyid flag Buyid Kingdom 970CE (light blue)

11  By 1055, the Buyid control over the Caliphate was broken  In 1055, Central Asian Nomadic warriors known as the Seljuk Turks ruled over the Abbasid lands.  Staunch Sunnis…forced Shi’a out of governmental positions  Resisted the Byzantines who were taking advantage of Muslim disunity  Defeat of the Byzantines in Asia Minor, later become the seat of the Ottoman Empire



14  Pope Urban II, in 1095, after calls for help from the Byzantines, rallied Catholic Europe to wrestle the Biblical Holy Lands from the Seljuk Turks  Knights from Western Europe launched crusades in 1096.  Muslim divisions and the element of surprise made the first Crusade a Christian success.  1099: Christian knights took Jerusalem.  Muslim, Jewish, & Christian inhabitants were massacred  Non-whites  For the next two centuries, Europeans would mount in excess of 8 crusades.  Varying degrees of success  When Muslim were united under powerful rule like Salah-ud- Din (Saladin) they re-conquer most of the lands they lost.


16  The Crusaders’ experiences in the Eastern Mediterranean intensified European “borrowing” from the Muslim world.  Through increased cultural contacts, Europeans began to recover much of the Greek learning lost during the waves of nomadic invasions after the fall of the Roman Empire  For the Muslim world, the Crusades did not change much of anything.  Islam continued to spread.

17  Even though the caliphate was steeped in political turmoil, the Muslim Empire still experienced growth and prosperity until late in the Abbasid era  Declining Revenue  Deteriorating conditions in the countryside/town life  Expansion of the professional classes  Muslim/Jewish/Christian entrepreneurs amass great fortunes supplying cities with staples (grain/barley), essentials (cotton, woolen textiles for clothing), and luxury items.  Long-Distance trade & new trade links thrive

18  Intellectual Creativity grew dramatically:  Expansion of professional Artisan classes  Mosques and palaces became more ornate.  Tapestries and rugs from Persia were in great demand from Europe to China (Persian Rugs)  Persian becomes the language of “high culture”  Arabic remains language of religion, law, and the advancement of the Sciences  they developed their own theories:  Major corrections to algebraic and geometric theories  Advances in trigonometry  Persian was language of literary expression, administration, and scholarship  Write on many subjects from love affairs, to statecraft, to incidents from everyday life.

19  Great advances in chemistry and astronomy.  Cairo: best hospitals in the world  Muslim traders introduce techniques like papermaking and silk-weaving that was developed in China.  Development of cartography

20  Orthodox religious scholars “ Ulama” stressed an increasingly restrictive conservatism within Islam, particularly with respect to scientific inquiry  Felt that the revival of Greco-Roman philosophical traditions would erode the absolute authority of the Qur’an  Sufi were wandering mystics who sought a personal union with Allah  Conservative interpretation of the law and religious texts  "a science whose objective is the reparation of the heart and turning it away from all else but God."  A reaction against the abstract divinity of the Qur’an  Sufis gain reputations as healers and miracle workers…gain sizeable followings= the spread of Islam  Some led militant bands that spread Islam to nonbelievers

21  Abbasid Caliphate was compromised by many different factions  In the early 13 th century, the Mongols, united under Genghis Khan became a powerful force in Asia, smashing through Turko- Persian kingdoms to the east of Baghdad by 1220 CE.  Hulegu Khan (Grandson of Genghis Khan) invaded Baghdad 1258 and kills last Caliph

22  The Mongol advance was stopped by the Mamluks, or Turkic Slaves who ruled Egypt  In 1401, Baghdad suffers from another capture and round of pillaging by the forces of Tamerlane (Timur) Muslim/Mongol  Baghdad’s glory becomes supplanted by Cairo to the west and Istanbul to the North



25  India through the Gupta Empire had been a crossroads of migration for Central Asian nomads seeking refuge  People were accepted, and assimilated into Indian Society.  Arrival of the Muslims in the 7 th Century CE, altered that.  Early interactions did little to add territory to the Muslim Empire, and in some cases, lost territory  BUT, in 962 CE, a Turkish slave dynasty seized power in Afghanistan.  Led by Mahmud of Ghazni, began two CENTURIES of Muslim raiding and conquest in Northern India  Throughout the 11 th century, Mahmud defeated one confederation of Hindu princes after another in the name of Islam.

26  The efforts of Mahmud of Ghazni were continued by Muhammad of Ghur  Assassinated in 1206  A slave lieutenant seizes power…Qutb-ud- din Aibak  Islam would spread into fringes of China

27 INDIA…HINDUISM  Open, tolerant, and inclusive of varying forms of religious devotion.  Search of union with spiritual source of all creation.  Social system structured on the caste system INDIA…ISLAM  Based on doctrines, practices (specific) and exclusive worship of a single god.  Highly egalitarian (Democratic/classless society) in the sight of God.  Religious practices are mandatory and obvious

28  Early centuries were characterized by violent conflict.  However, a good deal of trade and religious interchange.  In time, peaceful interactions became the norm  There were contacts via traders in the Indian Ocean Trade network as early as 711 CE  Indian overlords who took over land in South Asia brought little change to most inhabitants of the Indian Subcontinent.  Many people welcomed the Arabs because they promised lighter taxation and religious tolerance

29  Muslim leaders decided to treat Hindus and Buddhists as the dhimmi, or “people of the book” even though they had no connection to the Bible.  This meant that Hindus and Buddhists had to pay the tax on non-believers, they enjoyed the freedom to worship as they pleased.  Little effort was put towards conversion, so most people remained Hindu or Buddhist.

30  Muslims inherit the Indian scientific learning, which rivaled the Greeks as the most advanced in the world.  Arabic numerals originated in India  Indian learning was transferred to Baghdad in the age of the Abbasids.  Indian doctors, scientists, etc.  Muslims adopt Indian styles of dress, food, and ride on elephants as the Hindu rajas (kings) did.  Muslims also adopt and infuse Indian architectural styles

31  A new Muslim empire was proclaimed with the capital at Delhi, along the Jumna river on the Gengetic Plain.  For the next 300 years, a succession of dynasties known as the Delhi Sultante (literally, princes of the heartland) ruled North and Central India

32  This was a period of clashing control between the sultanate princes themselves, as well as Mongol and Turkic invaders.

33  Carriers of the new faith on the subcontinent were often merchants and Sufi mystics  Sufis shared many characteristics with Indian gurus and wandering ascetics.  Belief in magical healing powers  Accepted lower-caste and outcaste groups into Islamic faith  Most Muslims were NOT from the Indo-Gangetic centers of the Delhi Sultanate, indicating low forced conversions

34  Most conversions came from low-caste or Buddhist groups.  Buddhism became largely debased as a result of corrupt practices  Buddhist temples and monasteries became lucrative targets for raids, etc.  Many lower-caste, untouchables, animistic tribes, and Buddhists were attracted to the egalitarian nature of Islam

35  Hindus were convinced that Muslims would soon be absorbed by the superior religions and more sophisticated cultures of India  Many things pointed that way!  Muslim princes adopted regal styles  Muslim rulers claim divine descent  Muslim rulers mint coins with Hindu images  Muslim communities also became socially divided along caste lines  Violation of the original tenets of Islam!

36  Attempts to fuse Hinduism and Islam soon were recognized as impossible.  Brahmans soon denounce Muslim leaders, etc.  Muslims respond by strengthening their unity within the Indian Muslim community  After centuries of political domination though, South Asia remained one of the least converted and integrated of all the areas Islam reached.



39  Southeast Asia was CRITICAL to the connection of trade from Chinese ports to Indian vessels along the Indian Ocean Trade network


41  Aromatic woods from rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra  Spices: cloves, nutmeg from Indonesia  From 8 th Century onward, coastal trade in India became dominated by Muslims

42  As a result, elements of Islam began to filter into the southeast Asian region  The collapse of the Shrivijaya trading empire (Buddhist) in the 13 th century opened the door for the widespread introduction of Islam

43  Trading contacts paved the way for conversion  NOT conquest and force  Muslim ships also carry Sufis to the various parts of SE Asia  Conversion begins in Sumatra, then across the Strait of Malacca to Malaya

44  Muslims impressed SE Asians by telling them how much of the world had already been converted

45  Mainland conversion was centered on Malacca, a powerful trading city  Spreads to east Sumatra and to DEMAK on the north coast of Java  From there, spread to the Celebes and then the Spice Islands, then to Mindanao and Southern Philippines


47  Trading was the key to conversion.  Regulation of commonality in Muslim laws was good to regulate business.  Conversion linked centers culturally, and economically to Indian merchants and ports in India, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean

48  Some areas (like Central Java) saw conversion take longer than others  Hindu-Buddhist dynasties contested its spread  Mainland Southeast Asia did NOT see wholesale conversion, and remained largely Buddhist  Because it was spread primarily by Sufis, SE Asian Islam was more dynamic than orthodox Islam  Infused with mythical strains  Tolerated animist, Hindu, and Buddhist beliefs and rituals.  Magical powers

49  Women retained a strong position in the family and the community  Trading in local and regional markets was dominated by small-scale female merchants  As in Western Sumatra, lineage and inheritance was traced through female lines  Many cultural elements were blended from SE Asian Culture with Muslim Culture.

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