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Ch. 6 & 7 Discussion Questions

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1 Ch. 6 & 7 Discussion Questions
AP World History

2 1. Identify how Islam Addressed the fundamental problems in Arabian society.
Islam gave them a form of monotheism that belonged to no single tribe and transcended clan and class distinctions. It provided a religion that was distinctly Arab in origin and yet equal to the monotheistic faiths held by Christians and Jews who lived among them. So it stopped the feuding between the tribes and undermined their attempts to overthrow the neighboring empires. It gave them the unity necessary to conquer North Africa, parts of Europe, and Persia.

3 2. Trace the succession dispute over the office of caliph.
Muhammad left no clear successor. The position fell to Abu Bakr (Muhammad’s close friend). After the execution of the third caliph, Ali (Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law) tried to become the caliph, but the Umayyad rejected his claims because he failed to punish the assassin. They went to war and would have won but he accepted pleas for mediation, which caused some of his most loyal supporters to renounce him. The Umayyad appointed someone else as caliph and Ali was assassinated. His son was pressured by the Umayyad to reject his claim to caliphate. After Ali’s second son was killed the wars continued. The decision still remains the biggest difference in Islam today.

4 3. Compare the Abbasid Empire to the Umayyad Empire.
Umayyad – Capital was Damascus. Empire was built on conquest. Small Arab population ruled as an aristocracy (made up bulk of army and received booty). Abandoned frugal living and became addicted to luxury and soft living. Not interested in conversion and number of actual conversions was low. Expanded into North Africa, Europe, and Persia. Only Arabs were considered first class Muslims. Recognized Dhimmis. Abbasid – Capital was Baghdad. There were disputes over succession. Too much money was spent on slave/mercenary armies, rebellions, and lavish living. Fully embraced converts and accepted them as first class Muslims. Empire became too large. Caliph became a puppet of the Persian or Turkish sultans. Became less tolerant of Shi’a sects. Had to deal with invasions by Buyids, Turks, and Mongols. Zenith of Islamic culture.

5 4. Compare the initial spread of Islam throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East with the Islamic incursions into India and southeast Asia. Most of the first expansion in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East was by Arabian tribesman. The government under the Umayyads retained the initial concept of rule by a small Arab elite; full citizenship for the Mawali was denied. The Abbasid gave full citizenship to non-Arabs. The second stage of Islamic expansion was led by non-Arabs. The presence of Sufi missionaries made for a more peaceful expansion and to less restrictive forms of Islam. Converts, as in the Delhi sultanate, retained many of their previous Hindu beliefs and social systems.

6 5. Describe the political, cultural, and economic characteristics of the Abassid Empire.
In political organization, the Abassids suffered from a loss of central authority and a growth of regional dynasties. There were many revolts by Shi’a, mercenary armies, and peasants. The dynasty crumbled from the incursions of the Buyids, Seljuk Turks, and Mongols. The Abbasid economy depended on agriculture and trade. Agriculture required irrigation and this failed under the later dynasty. Cities grew and prospered, long distance trade reached into India and southeast Asia. In culture, the Abassids were the zenith of Islamic civilization, with advances in science, mathematics, and philosophy.

7 6. Evaluate the weakness of the Abassid Empire and describe the position of women in the Abassid Empire. Rebellious governors and new dynasties wanted to challenge the Abassid rulers. The empire couldn’t be held together. It was very diverse. Women were separated from men. Their social status declined. Some were married at age nine and remained housewives pretty much their entire lives.

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