Life Of Prophet Muhammad

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I. A Prophet and His World A. Muhammad and His Message 1. The Arabian peninsula a. Nomadic Bedouin lived in the desert-covered peninsula for millennia 1. Kept herds of sheep, goats, and camels 2. Organized in family and clan groups 3. Importance of kinship and loyalty to the clan b. Post-classical Arabia, active in long-distance trade c. An important link between India/China and Persia/Byzantium 2. Muhammad’s early life a. Muhammad ibn Abdullah born in a Mecca merchant family, 570 C. E. b. Difficult early life, married a wealthy widow, Khadija, in 595 c. Became a merchant at age 30, exposed to various faiths . Muhammad’s spiritual transformation a. At age 40, he experienced visions 1. There was only one true god, Allah (“the god”) 2. Allah would soon bring judgment on the world 3. The archangel Gabriel delivered these revelations to Muhammad b. Did not intend to found a new religion, but his message became appealing 4. The Quran a. Followers compiled Muhammad’s revelations b. Quran (“recitation”), became the holy book of Islam c. A work of magnificent poetry B. Muhammad’s Migration to Medina 1. Conflict at Mecca a. His teachings offended other believers, especially the ruling elite of Mecca b. Attacks on greed offended wealthy merchants c. Attacks on idolatry threatened shrines, especially the black rock at Ka’ba 2. The hijra a. Under persecution, Muhammad and followers fled to Medina, 622 C. E. b. The move, known as hijra, was the starting point of the Islamic calendar 3. The umma a. Organized a cohesive community called umma in Medina b. Led commercial adventure, sometimes launched raids against Mecca caravans c. Helped the poor and needy 4. The “seal of the prophets” a. Referred himself as the “seal of the prophets,” – the final prophet of Allah b. Held Hebrew scriptures and New Testament in high esteem . Determined to spread Allah’s wish to all humankind C. The Establishment of Islam in Arabia 1. Muhammad’s return to Mecca a. He and his followers conquered Mecca, 630 b. Imposed a government dedicated to Allah c. Destroyed pagan shrines and built mosques 2. The Ka’ba a. The Ka’ba shrine was not destroyed b. In 632, Muhammad led the first Islamic pilgrimage to the Ka’ba 3. The Five Pillars of Islam a. Obligations taught by Muhammad, known as the Five Pillars b. The Five Pillars bound the umma into a cohesive community of faith 4. Islamic law: the sharia a. Emerged during the centuries after Muhammad b. Detailed guidance on proper behavior in almost every aspect of life c. Drew inspiration especially from the Quran d. Through the sharia, Islam became more than a religion, but also a way of life II. The Expansion of Islam A. The Early Caliphs and the Umayyad Dynasty 1. The caliph a. Upon Muhammad’s death, Abu Bakr served as caliph (“deputy”) b. Became head of the state, chief judge, religious leader, military commander 2. The expansion of Islam a. Between 633-637, seized Byzantine Syria, Palestine, and most of Mesopotamia b. By 640’s, conquered Egypt and north Africa c. In 651, toppled Sasanid dynasty d. In 711, conquered the Hindu kingdom of Sind e. Between 711-718, conquered northwest Africa, most of Iberian peninsula 3. The Shia and Sunnis a. The Shia sect, originally supported Ali, served as a refuge b. The Sunnis (“traditionalists”), accepted legitimacy of early caliphs c. Two sects struggled over succession 4. The Umayyad dynasty (661-750 C. E. ) a. The dynasty temporarily solved problem of succession b. Established capital city at Damascus in Syria c. Ruled the dar al-Islam for the interests of Arabian military aristocracy 5. Policy toward conquered peoples a. Levied jizya (head tax) on those who did not convert to Islam b. Even the converts did not enjoy wealth and position of authority 6. Umayyad decline a. Caliphs became alienated even from other Arabs from the early 8th century b. By the mid-century, faced strong resistance of the Shia faction c. The discontent of conquered peoples also increased B. The Abbasid Dynasty 1. Abu al-Abbas a. A descendant of Muhammad’s uncle b. Allied with Shias and non-Arab Muslims c. Seized control of Persia and Mesopotamia during 740’s d. Shattered Umayyad forces at a battle in 750 e. Soon after, trapped and annihilated the Umayyad clan 2. The Abbasid dynasty (750-1258 C. E. ) a. Showed no special favor to Arab military aristocracy b. No longer a conquering empire c. Empire still growing, but not initiated by the central government 3. Abbasid administration a. Relied heavily on Persian techniques of statecraft b. Central authority ruled from the court at Baghdad c. Appointed governors to rule provinces d. Ulama and qadis ruled local communities 4. Harun al-Rashid (786-809 C. E. ) a. Represented the high point of the dynasty b. Baghdad became metropolis, center for commerce, industry, and culture 5. Abbasid decline a. Struggle for succession between Harun’s sons led to civil war b. Governors built their own power bases c. Popular uprisings and peasant rebellions weakened the dynasty d. A Persian noble seized control of Baghdad in 945 e. Later, the Saljuq Turks controlled the imperial family III. Economy and Society of the Early Islamic World A. New Crops, Agricultural Experimentation, and Urban Growth 1. The spread of food and industrial crops a. Indian plants traveled to other lands of the empire b. Staple crops: sugarcane, rice, new varieties of sorghum and wheat c. Vegetables: spinach, artichokes, eggplants d. Fruits: oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, coconuts, watermelons, mangoes e. Industrial crops: cotton, indigo, henna 2. Effects of new crops a. Increased varieties and quantities of food b. Industrial crops became the basis for a thriving textile industry 3. Agricultural experimentation a. Numerous agricultural manuals b. Agricultural methods and techniques improved 4. Urban Growth a. Increasing agricultural production contributed to the rapid growth of cities b. A new industry: paper manufacture B. The Formation of a Hemispheric Trading Zone 1. Camels and caravans a. Overland trade traveled mostly by camel caravan b. Caravanserais in Islamic cities 2. Maritime trade . Arab and Persian mariners borrowed the compass from the Chinese b. Borrowed the lateen sail from southeast Asian and Indian mariners c. Borrowed astrolabe from the Hellenistic mariners d. The story of Ramisht, a wealthy Persian merchant of the 12th century 3. Banks a. Operated on large scale and provided extensive services b. Letters of credit, or sakk, functioned as bank checks 4. The organization of trade a. Entrepreneurs often pooled their resources in group investments b. Different kinds of joint endeavors c. Traders even went to West Africa, Russia, Scandinavia 5. Al-Andalus a. Referring to Islamic Spain, conquered by Muslim Berbers b. Claimed independence from the Abbasid dynasty c. Participated actively in the commercial life of the larger Islamic world d. The example of the merchant-scholar al-Marwani e. Products of al-Andalus enjoyed a reputation for excellence f. The prosperity of the capital city, Cordoba C. The Changing Status of Women 1. The Quran and women a. The Quran enhanced security of women b. The Quran and sharia also reinforced male domination 2. Veiling of women a. Adopted veiling of women from Mesopotamia and Persia b. Women’s rights provided by the Quran were often reduced IV. Islamic Values and Cultural Exchanges A. The Formation of an Islamic Cultural Tradition 1. The Quran and sharia were main sources to formulate moral guidelines 2. Promotion of Islamic values a. Ulama, qadis, and missionaries were main agents b. Education also promoted Islamic values 3. Sufis a. Islamic mystics, also most effective missionaries b. Encouraged devotion to Allah by passionate singing or dancing c. Al-Ghazali: Human reason was too frail and confusing d. Sufis led ascetic and holy lives, won respect of the people e. Encouraged followers to revere Allah in their own ways f. Tolerated those who associated Allah with other beliefs 4. The hajj a. The Ka’ba became the symbol of Islamic cultural unity b. Pilgrims helped to spread Islamic beliefs and values B. Islam and the Cultural Traditions of Persia, India, and Greece 1. Persian influence on Islam a. Most notable in literary works b. The verses of Omar Khayyam and The Arabian Nights were widely known 2. Indian Influences – adopted “Hindi numerals,” which Europeans later called “Arabic numerals” 3. Greek Influences a. Muslims philosophers especially liked Plato and Aristotle b. Effort of harmonizing the two traditions met resistance from Sufis

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