3The word Islam is an Arabic word that means “the act of submitting, or giving oneself over, to the will of God.” The Islamic faith was founded by an Arab merchant named Muhammad, who came to be known as the prophet of Allah (God). He called those who followed his faith Muslims, which means “followers of Islam.”The religion brought people from different races and continents.Mecca was an oasis town. It converted into a market town and a pilgrimage center. Muslims came to pray at the Kaaba, an ancient shrine believed to be created by the prophet Abraham.
4In 570, Muhammad was born to a widow in Makkah In 570, Muhammad was born to a widow in Makkah. At the age of 6, after his mother died, he went to live with an uncle. At the age of 25, he married a rich 40-year old widow named Khadija. They had 2 sons that died young, and 4 daughters.
5Muhammad was very successful in the caravan business; however, he was troubled by the drinking, gambling, and corruption in Mecca. He started spending much time alone in a cave outside the city. He concluded that there was one only one God, Allah, the same god as the God of the Jews and the Christians.
6At first, the rich people of Mecca laughed at Muhammad, but as he kept preaching, they feel threatened. They felt that if fewer people were coming to Mecca to worship, they would no longer run their business, so they started persecuting Muhammad and his followers.In 622, Muhammad left Mecca for Yathrib, a journey known as the hijra. The year became the first year of the Muslim calendar and the city of Yathrib was rename Medina, “the city of the prophet.” The people from Mecca attacked Medina several times to crush the newly established Muslim community. In 628, Muhammad signed a peace treaty with the people of Mecca, but in 630, they broke it!
7It was that year that Muhammad and his followers entered the city of Mecca without interference. Their conquest was peaceful. Muhammad destroyed the idols in the Kaaba and within two years, all the tribes of Arabia declared their faith in Islam and their loyalty to Muhammad. On June 8, 632 Muhammad died, but the faith continued to spread worldwide.
8The Quran is the sacred text of Islam, which teaches that God is all-powerful and compassionate. It also states that people are responsible for their actions. The Quran says that people should not eat pork, drink liquor, or gamble; it also gives advice on marriage, divorce, inheritance, and business. It is the final authority on all matters.The Quran describes the pillars of faith, or the five duties all Muslims must fulfill:The first duty is the confession of faith (“There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”The second pillar is daily prayer. Muslims have to pray five times a day facing Mecca each time. On Friday, they gather in houses of worship known as mosques.The prayers are said at dawn, noon, late afternoon, sunset, and evening. They can be said anywhere, except the Friday noon prayer
9The third duty has to do with the giving of zakah, or charity The third duty has to do with the giving of zakah, or charity. Muslims are to give 2.5% of his/her annual savings.The fourth pillar deals with fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.The fifth duty involves is the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. All Muslims who are able are expected to visit the Kaaba at least once in their lives.The Quran promises that all believers who fulfill their duties will go to Paradise, which has shade, fruit trees, beautiful gardens, cold springs, and singing birds. Hell is a flame-filled pit where drinking water comes from a salty well and where food is a strong-smelling plant that causes hunger.Some Muslims look on jihad, or effort in God’s service as another duty. It has mistakenly translated as “holy war”, but in fact include acts of charity, as well as any battle in defense of Islam
10The Quran teaches that Islam is God’s final and complete revelation, and that the Torah and Bible contain partial revelation from God. To Muslims, Jews and Christians are “People of the Book,” spiritually superior to polytheistic idol worshippers.The Quran is the direct, unchangeable word of God. Because the meaning of some words reside in Arabic, converts learn the language, which helps unite Muslims from many regions.
11Over time, Muslim scholars developed an immense body of law interpreting the Quran and applying its teachings to daily life. This Islamic system of law, called the Sharia, regulates moral conduct, family life, business practices, government, and other aspects of a Muslim community. The Sharia applies the Quran to all legal situations.Before Islam, most women under the control of a male guardian and could not inherit property. Some unwanted daughters were killed at birth. Islam affirmed the spiritual equality of women and men. The Quran prohibited the killing of daughters. The practice of veiling upper-class women and secluding them in a separate part of the home came from the Byzantines and Persians.
13When Muhammad died in 632, his followers needed a new leader When Muhammad died in 632, his followers needed a new leader. A group of Muslims chose a new leader whom they called caliph, which means successor.Under the first four caliphs, called the Rightly Guided Caliphs, Arab armies marched from victory to victory as they were sent to different areas (Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and North Africa) to carry Islam to other peoples. They were successful because their common faith held them together and they had efficient fighting methods.Muslim armies got as far as Spain, but in 732, they were defeated at the battle of Tours. Their advanced into Western Europe was halted. They didn’t conquered France.They were united in striving for a common goal which they considered holy – to carry Islam to other people. It helped them earn an eternal place in Paradise after death.
14Muslim leaders imposed a special tax to non-Muslims, but allowed Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians to practice their own faiths. Many people converted because the religion had no hierarchies and it emphasized the equality of all believers.The major areas of Islamic influence in Europe were Spain and Sicily. Spain flourished as a center of Muslim civilization. They eventually were pushed into southern Spain, but their culture included many great centers of learning and grand buildings, such as the Alhambra in Granada.In Sicily, Muslim ruled didn’t last long, but the Arabic culture remained. Many scholars enriched the Norman kings.
15Soon after Muhammad death, divisions arose within Islam. The Sunni felt that the caliph, whom they saw as a political leader, should be elected by leaders of the Muslim community. Today, about 90 percent of Muslims are Sunni.The Shiites argued that the only true successors to the Prophet were descendants of Muhammad’s daughter and son-in-law, Ali, who was the fourth caliph. Shiites grew to admire those who died as a demonstration of their faith.The Sufis were Muslim mystics who sought communion through meditation, fasting, and other rituals. They spread Islam through missionary work.
16After the death of the fourth caliph, Ali, the Umayyad family set up a dynasty that lasted till 750. From that time on, the title of caliph was hereditary. They ruled more like kings than religious leaders. Muslims disliked the dynasty and after a while, war broke out between the Umayyads and a group of Muslims called Abbassids. In 750, they defeated the old dynasty and created a new one, which lasted until The Abbassid dynasty ended Arab dominance and made Islam a universal religion. The caliph al-Mansur chose Baghdad as the new capital; poets, scholars, and philosophers from all over the Muslim world flocked to the Abbassid court.
17Baghdad received the title of “City of Peace, Gift of God, Paradise on Earth.” There were many gardens, and above the streets there were domes and minarets (slender towers of mosques), which were used by a mosque official called a muezzin to climb to the top of the minaret and call the faithful to prayer. The palace of caliph echoed with the music of flutes and tambourines, along with the voices of female singers.The city of Baghdad reached its peak under the reign of caliph Harun al-Rashid, who ruled from 786 to 809. He was admired as a model ruler in Europe and the Muslim world. He was viewed as a symbol of wealth and splendor.
18Starting about 850, the Abbassid control over the Arab empire fragmented. In the 900s, the Seljuk Turks migrated into the Middle East from Central Asia; they adopted Islam and built an empire along the Fertile Crescent. The Seljuk sultan, or authority, controlled the city, but the caliph was a figurehead.The Seljuk threatened the Byzantine empire and started the First Crusade, which had a greater impact on Europe than on the Muslim world.As the 1200s drew to a close, the Arab empire had fragmented, but Islam continued to link diverse people across an area called the Dar al-Islam, “Abode of Islam.”
20SOCIETY & ECONOMYMuslim society was more open than that of medieval Christian Europe. People enjoyed a certain degree of social mobility, meaning they could move up in social class through religious, scholarly, or military achievements.Slavery was a common institution in the cities. Slaves were brought from conquered lands in Spain, Greece, Africa, and Central Asia. They could convert to Islam. Muslims could not be enslaved. Islamic law encouraged the freeing of slaves. Many slaves bought their freedom, often with the help of charitable donations.
21Honored merchants built a vast trading network across the Islamic world that spread Islam, products, and technologies. Extensive and successful trade led Muslims to pioneer new ways of doing business, such as partnerships, bought and sold on credit and formed banks to change currency.Across the Muslim world, artisans produced a wealth of fine goods: steel swords from Damascus, leather goods from Cordoba, cotton textiles from Egypt, and carpets from Persia.
22ISLAMIC ART & ARCHITECTURE Because the Quran banned the worship of idols, artists used abstract and geometric patterns. The arabesque, an intricate designed composed of curves lines that suggest floral shapes, appeared in rugs, textiles, and glassware. Muslim artists perfected skills in calligraphy.Muslim architects adapted the domes and arches of Byzantine buildings to new uses. Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem, typifies Muslim architecture.
23LITERATUREArabic poetry, emphasizing chivalry and the romance of nomadic life, came to influence medieval European literature and music. Omar Khayyam was a famous scholar, astronomer, and poet, best known for The Rubaiyat, a collection of four-line poems about fate and the fleeting nature of life.Arab writers prized the art of storytelling. The best-known collection of Arab tales is The Thousand and One Nights, which include romances, adventures, and humorous anecdotes. Later versions were renamed “Aladdin and His Magic Lamp” or “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”
24WORLD OF LEARNINGBoth boys and girls were provided elementary education. This training emphasized reading and writing, especially the study of the Quran. Scholars translated Greek works and tried to harmonize them with Muslim religious teachings. In Cordoba, the philosopher Ibn Rushd, known as Averroes, put all knowledge except the Quran to the test of reason.The mathematician al-Khwarizmi pionered the study of algebra. His algebra text became the standard mathematics textbook in Europe.Astronomers studied eclipses, observed the Earth’s rotation, and calculated its circumference to within a few thousand feet.
25MUSLIM MEDICINEMuslims made remarkable advances in medicine and public health. In comparison to medicine in Europe, Muslim medicine was far more advanced. The government set up hospitals, pharmacists and physicians had to pass a test before they could practice their profession.Muhammad al-Razi, head physician at Baghdad’s main hospital, wrote many books on medicine, including a pioneering study of measles and smallpox. He advised young doctors to treat the mind as well as the body.The Persian physician Ibn Sina, known in Europe as Avicenna, wrote an encyclopedia about the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
26Over time, Muslim scholars helped move knowledge into Christian Europe through Spain and Sicily. European physicians began attending Muslim universities in Spain and to translate Arabic medical texts.