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Abbasid Decline and the Spread of Islam in India & Southeast Asia

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Presentation on theme: "Abbasid Decline and the Spread of Islam in India & Southeast Asia"— Presentation transcript:

1 Abbasid Decline and the Spread of Islam in India & Southeast Asia

2 Spread of Islam: Early History

3 Spread of Islam: Abbasid Dynasty

4 The Late Abbasid Era As early as the third Abbasid Caliph, al-Mahdi ( ), issues related to the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate were apparent. Somewhat typical pattern: Caliph abandons frugal ways of predecessors Caliph does NOT establish clear pattern of succession

5 The Late Abbasid Era Harun al-Rashid ( ) ascended to the throne after the death of al-Mahdi (and the poisoning of his eldest son) Harun al-Rashid enjoyed the sumptuous palace living like his dad. Charlemagne’s emissaries sent in the 9th century were dazzled with the splendor of Baghdad

6 Harun al-Rashid Power of Royal Advisors grew throughout the rule of Harun al-Rashid. Upon al-Rashid’s death, full-scale civil war broke out amongst those vying for power. While al-Ma’mum ( ) was the victor…what he did next truly changed the nature of the Caliphate…

7 Slave Armies Al-Ma’mum was convinced to conscript thousands of mostly Turkic-speaking slaves as his personal bodyguards. As the number eclipsed 70,000 the slave regiment became a power center, in its own right. By 846, they had murdered the reigning caliph, and in the coming decades would murder at least four more

8 Abbasid Decline Caliphs struggle to control the Slave Regiments
Some Caliphs want to move capital away from Baghdad turmoil Increased spending Public works fall into disrepair Spiraling taxation/pillaging, etc…

9 Late Abbasid Decline…women
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.

10 Further Abbasid Decline
Egypt and Syria break away from Abbasid rule In once-provincial areas of the Islamic Caliphate, independent kingdoms had arose to challenge the Abbasids In 945, the Buyids of Persia invade and capture Baghdad. Caliphs became puppets controlled by families, like the Buyids. Buyid leaders took the title of “sultan” meaning “victorious” in Arabic, which will designate Muslim rulers.

11 The Seljuks 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…kick Shia’s out of governmental positions

12 Seljuk Turks Defeat of the Byzantines led to the settlement of Asia Minor which would eventually become the seat of the Ottoman Empire

13 The Crusades

14 The Crusades Knights from Western Europe launched crusades to capture portions of the Islamic world that made up the Holy Land of Biblical times. Muslim divisions and the element of surprise made the first Crusade a Christian success. 1099: Christian knights took Jerusalem. Muslim and Jewish inhabitants were massacred

15 First Crusade

16 The Crusades For the next two centuries, Europeans would mount 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. The last crusader kingdom fell in Acre in 1291

17 Impact of Crusades 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

18 Age of Muslim Learning and Refinement
Ironically, even though the caliphate was steeped in political turmoil, the Muslim Empire still experienced growth and prosperity until late in the Abbasid era. 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 flourishes

19 Age of Muslim Learning and Refinement
Artists and Artisans benefit Mosques and palaces became more ornate. Tapestries and rugs from Persia were in great demand from Europe to China. Persian becomes the language of “high culture.” Arabic remains language of religion, law, and natural sciences Persian was language of literary expression, administration, and scholarship.

20 Age of Muslim Learning and Refinement
Not only did Muslims revive Greco-Roman scientific traditions…they developed their own theories as well! Major corrections to algebraic and geometric theories Advances in trigonometry

21 Age of Muslim Learning and Refinement
Cairo: best hospitals in the world Muslim traders introduce techniques like papermaking and silk-weaving that was developed in China.

22 Age of Muslim Learning and Refinement
Contradictory trends in Islamic Civilization Social strife and political divisions Vs Expanded trading links and intellectual creativity This was felt in the religious world, as well… A resurgence of mysticism Vs Orthodox religious scholars become wary of non-Islamic ideas and scientific thinking (crusades)

23 Religious contradictions
Orthodox religious scholars felt that the revival of Greco-Roman philosophical traditions would erode the absolute authority of the Qur’an Sufi movement… Sufis are wandering mystics who sought a personal union with Allah A reaction against the abstract divinity of the Qur’an Sufis gain reputations as healers and miracle workers…gain sizeable followings

24 The End of the Caliphate
By the 10th and 11th centuries, the Abbasid Caliphate was compromised by many different factions In the early 13th century, the Mongols, united under Chinggis Khan became a powerful force in Asia, smashing through Turko-Persian kingdoms to the east of Baghdad by 1220 CE.

25 The End of the Caliphate
Genghis dies before conquest of the Islamic Heartlands, but his grandson, renewed the assault on the Islamic lands in the 1250s. By 1258, the Abbasid capital of Baghdad was taken by the Mongols

26 The End of the Caliphate
The 37th and last Abbasid Caliph was put to death by the Mongols. 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. Baghdad’s glory becomes supplanted by Cairo to the west and Istanbul to the North

27 The Spread of Islam

28 Islam’s arrival in South Asia
India through the Gupta Empire had been a crossroads of migration for Central Asian nomads seeking refuge Generally, those people were accepted, and assimilated into Indian Society. The arrival of the Muslims in the 7th Century CE, will alter that.

29 The Hindu/Islam mix India…Hinduism India…Islam
Open, tolerant, and inclusive of varying forms of religious devotion. Search of union with spiritual source of all creation. Social hierarchy structured on the caste system Based on doctrines, practices (specific) and exclusive worship of a single god. Highly egalitarian in the sight of god. Religious practices are mandatory and obvious

30 The Hindu/Islam mix 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

31 Early Muslim encounters in India
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, but they enjoyed the freedom to worship as they pleased. Little effort was put towards conversion, so most people remained Hindu or Buddhist.

32 Indian/Muslim cultural diffusion
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


34 Move towards Empire… 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. Their third ruler, Mahmud of Ghazni, began two CENTURIES of Muslim raiding and conquest in Northern India Throughout the 11th century, Mahmud defeated one confederation of Hindu princes after another in the name of Islam.

35 The efforts of Mahmud of Ghazni were continued by Muhammad of Ghur
Assassinated in 1206 A slave lieutenant seizes power…Qutb-ud-din Aibak

36 The Delhi Sultanate A new Muslim empire was proclaimed with the capital at Delhi, 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

37 The Delhi Sultanate This was a period of clashing control between the sultanate princes themselves, as well as Mongol and Turkic invaders. MAPS OF DELHI SULTANATE OVER TIME

38 Conversion 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

39 Conversion 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

40 Accommodation 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!

41 Islam in South Asia at the end of the Sultanate
Attempts to fuse Hinduism and Islam soon were recognized as impossible. Brahmans soon denounce Muslim leaders, etc. Bhakti Movement After centuries of political domination though, South Asia remained one of the least converted and integrated of all the areas Islam reached.

42 Southeast Asia

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


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

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

47 SE ASIA 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

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

49 Malacca 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

50 The Spice Island(s)

51 Conversion 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

52 SE Asian Islam 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.

53 Women in SE Asian Islamic Society
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. Adas, M., Gilbert, M.J., Schwartz, S.B., & Stearns, P.N. (2007). World civilizations: The global experience. (5th ed.). New York: Pearson Education. Neater, B. (2009).

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