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ISLAM a geographical perspective. Topics Symbolism Sacred places Origins and diffusion Impacts of colonialism.

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Presentation on theme: "ISLAM a geographical perspective. Topics Symbolism Sacred places Origins and diffusion Impacts of colonialism."— Presentation transcript:

1 ISLAM a geographical perspective

2 Topics Symbolism Sacred places Origins and diffusion Impacts of colonialism

3 Some flags of Islamic countries What seem to be the dominant colors and motifs?  Green was the color of Muhammad’s robe  The crescent moon was a symbol of Constantinople, “borrowed” when it was conquered in 1453 and renamed Istanbul  The five-pointed star represents the five pillars of Islam 1. Confession of faith in Allah and no other god as well as belief in the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad 2. Ritual worship of Allah 5 times a day 3. Charity and concern for the needy 4. Avoidance of food, drink and sex during daylight hours for the month of Ramadan 5. Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca once in one’s life)

4 Islam Islam means “submission” (to the will of Allah) Shares many roots with Judaism and Christianity including stories of Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus Islam’s sacred places  mosques  Mecca  Medina  Jerusalem

5 a mosque in Yemen

6 Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

7 a mosque in N.W. China

8 Jerusalem A sacred place for three religions A place of conflict the way of the cross (Christian) foreground  Mount of Olives, Jewish burials background  ruins of the city of David and west wall of the temple mount (believed by Jews to be the remaining wall of Solomon’s original temple, also called the “wailing wall”)  Dome of the rock (gold) believed by Muslims to be where Muhammad ascended to Heaven and by Jews to be where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac

9 Mecca Pilgrims circumambulate the Ka’ba, a cube encased in silk containing a black stone (meteorite?) (pre-Islamic sacred place?)

10 Origins of Islam Muhammad (570-632) sought end to feuding between nomadic Bedouins and merchant dynasties of cities replaced family-centered social order with a more harmonious society Qur’an: Muslims believe this is the word of Allah (unless translated from Arabic) revealed to Muhammad, while teachings of previous prophets (including Jesus) are corruptions of the word of God Worldview  dar al-Islam (means “house of submission”) parts of the world under Islamic control  dar al-Harb (means “house of war”) parts of the world controlled by non- believers/infidels

11 Diffusion Under Muhammad the western part of the Arabian peninsula (incl. Mecca and Medina) were brought under Islam) Under the Caliphs (his successors), Islam expanded very rapidly across the entire southern half of the Roman Empire’s territory, as well as areas under control of Sassanid Empire to the east. Combination of military conquest and tax policy. Those who did not surrender to Muslim forces were forced to pay rent on their land whereas those who surrendered maintained ownership of their land


13 Islam Today

14 “Things are looking better” Both the Roman Empire and the Sassanid Empire had losing their grip and had tried to maintain control by waging war and committing atrocities on local populations Both Empires had been extravagant and demanding The new Islamic rulers brought peace to people exhausted with conflict and exploitation

15 The Ottoman Empire (1300-1917) Note: Core in Anatolia (Turkey)  area of earliest control  hearth of Ottoman culture  Replacement of Orthodox Christianity in its core (Constantinople falls in 1453)

16 Islamic Influences in Europe Muslim components of the population in the Balkans: Bosnia & Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Albania Many Arabic words were carried into Spanish  e.g. wadi (Arabic for river) shows up in Guadalajara

17 The past lives Belgrade Red Star soccer fans (Serbians) at a game against a Czech team hold up the date of the Battle of Kosovo between Serbia and the Ottoman Empire, for reasons of inspiration rather than geography

18 Carving up the Ottoman Empire

19 Sykes-Picot Agreement (or “carving up the spoils”) British agitated for uprising against the Ottoman Empire, then broke promise to support local self-rule by fragments of that empire Secret agreement (1916) between the British and the French  Britain would control areas roughly comprising Jordan, Iraq and a small area around Haifa  France would control southeastern Turkey, Northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon  France & Great Britain were left free to draw state boundaries within these areas  International control (then later British control) over the area which later came to be called “Israel”: predominantly Muslim at the time Later expansion of the agreement  Russia: Armenia and parts of “Kurdistan”  Italy: certain Aegean islands and sphere of influence in southwest Anatolia Policies formalized in the Treaty of Sevres in 1920

20 Carving up the spoils

21 Conflict in Israel Dark Orange: territory designated as Jewish by the UN in 1947 Medium Orange: territory gained by Israel in war with Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Transjordan (Jordan) by 1949 Yellow: territory controlled by Israel since 1967 (Gaza largely released from Israeli control in 2005) Israel’s territorial gains seen by Arabs as a result of European and American assistance of Israel

22 SUMMARY Islam corresponds to a culture region  Its global distribution is mainly the result of a rapid 7 th century diffusion out of the Arabian peninsula aided by conquest and tax policy, then subsequent trading activities up to the 1600s  Ottoman Empire is historically and symbolically important Heart of the region is in Saudi Arabia (& more generally on the Arabian peninsula) Religious roots are the same as Judeo-Christian “world” Region is internally divided by sect (Sunni vs. Shiah) and by colonial presence of different countries The conflicts within the Islamic world have much to do with European colonialism and continuing external involvement

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