Religion Of Islam History
The history of Islam concerns the Islamic religion and its adherents, known as Muslims. "Muslim" is an Arabic word meaning "one who submits to God". Muslims and their religion have greatly impacted the political, economic, and military history of the Old World, especially the Middle East, where lies its roots. Though it is believed by non-Muslims to have originated in Mecca and Medina, Muslims believe that the religion of Islam has been present since the time of the prophet Adam. The Islamic world expanded to include people of the Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization. . A century after the death of last Islamic prophet Muhammad, the Islamic empire extended from Spain in the west to Indus in the east. The subsequent empires such as those of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljukids, Ajuuraan, Adal and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in India and Safavids in Persia and Ottomans were among the influential and distinguished powers in the world. The Islamic civilization gave rise to many centers of culture and science and produced notable scientists, astronomers, mathematicians, doctors, nurses and philosophers during the Golden Age of Islam. Technology flourished; there was investment in economic infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and canals; and the importance of reading the Qur'an produced a comparatively high level of literacy in the general populace.
In the later Middle Ages, destructive Mongol invasions from the East, and the loss of population in the Black Death, greatly weakened the traditional centre of the Islamic world, stretching from Persia to Egypt, and the Ottoman Empire was able to conquer most Arabic-speaking areas, creating an Islamic world power again, although one that was unable to master the challenges of the Early Modern period.
Later, in modern history (18th and 19th centuries), many Islamic regions fell under the influence of European Great powers. After the First World War, Ottoman territories (a Central Powers member) were partitioned into several nations under the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.
Although affected by ideologies such as socialism and secularism during much of the 20th century, the Islamic identity and the dominance of Islam on political issues intensified during the early 21st century. Global interests in Islamic regions, international conflicts and globalization changed the type of Islamic influence on the contemporary world. Modern interpretations of Islamic texts advocate the unification of religion and state.
Major periods 
Main article: Historiography of early Islam
The Islamic state and Muslim's system of government evolved through various stages. The precise dates of various periods in history are more or less arbitrary. The City-state period lasted from 620s to 630s. The Imperial period lasted from 630s to 750s. The Universal period lasted from 750s to around 900s. These correspond to the early period of the Middle Ages. The "Decentralization" period lasted from around 900s to the early 1500s. This correspond to the high period and late period of the Middle Ages. The "Fragmentation" period lasted from around 1500s to the late 1910s. The contemporary period, referred to as the National period, lasted from 1910s into the twenty-first century.
Islamic Origins 
Main articles: Quraysh (tribe), Banu Hashim, Muhammad, and Qu'ran
In pre-Islamic Arabia Arab people lived in the Arabian Plate. In the south of Hedjaz (principal religious and commercial centre of Middle Ages Arabia), the Arabic tribe of Quraysh (Adnani Arabs), to which Muhammad belonged, had been in existence. Near Mecca, the tribe was increasing in power. The Quraysh were the guardians of the Kaaba within the town of Mecca and was the dominant tribe of Mecca upon the appearance of Islam. The Kaaba, at the time, was used as an important pagan shrine. It brought revenues to Mecca because of the multitude of pilgrims that it attracted. Muhammad was born into the Banu Hashim tribe of the Quraysh clan, a branch of the Banu Kinanah tribe, descended from Khuzaimah and derived its inheritance from the Khuza'imah (House of Khuza'a).
Nakkaş Osman, Istanbul (1595)
(Ed., note artists began representing the veil-covered face of Muhammad from the 16th century onwards)
According to the traditional Islamic view, the Qur'an (Koran) began with revelations to Prophet Muhammad (when he was 40 years old) in 610. The history of the Qur'an began when its verses were revealed to the Sahabah during the Muhammad's life. The rise of Islam began around the time the Muslims took flight in the Hijra, moving to Medina. With Islam, blood feuds among the Arabs lessened. Compensation was paid in money rather than blood and only the culprit was executed.
In 628, the Makkah tribe of Quraish and the Muslim community in Medina signed a truce called the Treaty of Hudaybiyya beginning a ten-year period of peace. War returned when the Quraish and their allies, the tribe of 'Bakr', attacked the tribe of 'Khuza'ah', who were Muslim allies. In 630, Muslims conquered Mecca. Muhammad died in June 632. The Battle of Yamama was fought in December of the same year, between the forces of the first caliph Abu Bakr and Musailima.
City-states and Imperial period 
Main articles: Succession to Muhammad and Caliphate
After Muhammad died, a series of Caliphs governed the Islamic State: Abu Bakr (632-634), Umar ibn al-Khattab (Umar І, 634-644), Uthman ibn Affan, (644-656), and Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661). These leaders are known as the "Rashidun" or "rightly guided" Caliphs in Sunni Islam. They oversaw the initial phase of the Muslim conquests, advancing through Persia, Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa.
Umar improved the administration and built cities like Basra and canal and irrigation networks. To be close to the poor, Umar lived in a simple mud hut without doors and walked the streets every evening. After consulting with the poor, Umar established the first welfare state Bayt al-mal. The Bayt al-mal or the welfare state was for the Muslim and non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. The Bayt al-mal ran for hundreds of years under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century and continued through the Umayyad period and well into the Abbasid era. Umar also introduced Child Benefit and Pensions for the children and the elderly. The expansion of the state, was partially terminated between 638–639 during the years of great famine and plague in Arabia and Levant respectively. During Umars reign, within 10 years Levant, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan, Eastern Anatolia, almost the whole of Sassanid Persian Empire including Bactria, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus and Makran were incorporated into Islamic State. When Umar was assassinated in 644, the election of Uthman as successor was met with increasing opposition. The Qur'an was standardized during this time.
Local populations of Jews and indigenous Christians, persecuted as religious minorities and taxed heavily to finance the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars, often aided Muslims to take over their lands from the Byzantines and Persians, resulting in exceptionally speedy conquests. As new areas joining the Islamic State, they also benefited from free trade, while trading with other areas in the Islamic State, so as to encourage commerce, in Islam trade is not taxed, wealth is taxed. The Muslims paid Zakat on their wealth to the poor. Since the Constitution of Medina, was drafted by the Islamic prophet Muhammad the Jews and the Christians continued to use their own laws in the Islamic State and had their own judges. Therefore they only paid for policing for the protection of their property. To assist in the quick expansion of the state, the Byzantine and the Persian tax collection systems were maintained and the people paid a poll tax lower than the one imposed under the Byzantines and the Persians.
In 639, Muawiyah I was appointed as the governor of Syria after the previous governor Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah died in a plague along with 25,000 other people. To stop the Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab-Byzantine Wars, in 649 Muawiyah I set up a navy; manned by Monophysitise Christians, Copts and Jacobite Syrian Christians sailors and Muslim troops. This resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean.
When Umar was assassinated in 644, Uthman Ibn Affan became the next caliph. As it is well known that Arabic language is written without vowels, and when Qur'an reached the non-Arabic speakers, people began having different dielects and phonics which was changing the exact meaning of verses in the Qur'an. This was brought to the notice of Uthman Ibn Affan. Begun in the time of Uthman ibn Affan, the compilation of the Qur'an was finished sometime between 650 and 656, Uthman sent copies to the different centers of the expanding Islamic empire. From then on, thousands of Muslim scribes began copying the Qur'an.
The Qur'an and Muhammad talked about racial equality and justice as in the The Farewell Sermon. Tribal and nationalistic differences were discouraged. But after Muhammad's passing the old tribal differences between the Arabs started to resurface. Following the Roman–Persian Wars and the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars deep rooted differences between Iraq, formally under the Persian Sassanid Empire and Syria formally under the Byzantine Empire also existed. Each wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic State to be in their area. Previously, the second caliph Umar was very firm on the governors and his spies kept an eye on the governors. If he felt that a governor or a commander was becoming attracted to wealth or did not meet the required administrative standards, he had him removed from his position.
Early Muslim armies stayed in encampments away from cities because Umar feared that they may get attracted to wealth and luxury. In the process, they may get away from the worship of God and become attracted to wealth and start accumulating wealth and establishing dynasties. "Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one's] hope." Qur'an 18:46  "O you who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah . And whoever does that - then those are the losers." Qur'an 63:9  Staying in these encampments away from the cities also ensured that there was no stress on the population and also that the populations remained autonomous and kept their own judges and representatives. Some of these encampments later grew into cities themselves, like Basra and Kufa in Iraq and Fustat in Egypt. Some cities also had agreements with the Muslims, such as during the Siege of Jerusalem in 637 CE.
As Uthman ibn al-Affan became very old, Marwan I a relative of Muawiyah I slipped into the vacuum and became his secretary and slowly assumed more control and relaxed some of these restrictions. Marwan I had previously been excluded from positions of responsibility. In 656, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr the son of Abu Bakr and the adopted son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the great grandfather of Ja'far al-Sadiq showed some Egyptians, the house of Uthman ibn al-Affan. Later the Egyptians ended up killing Uthman ibn al-Affan. Ali then assumed the position of caliph and moved the capital to Kufa in Iraq. Muawiyah I the governor of Syria, a relative of Uthman ibn al-Affan and Marwan I wanted the culprils arrested. Marwan I manipulated every one and created conflict. This later resulted in the first civil war (the "First Fitna"), Ali was assassinated by Kharijites in 661. Six months later in 661, in the interest of peace, Hasan ibn Ali, highly regarded for his wisdom and as a peacemaker, the fifth Rightly Guided Caliphs for the Sunnis and the Second Imam for the Shias and the grandson of Muhammad, made a peace treaty with Muawiyah I. In the Hasan-Muawiya treaty, Hasan ibn Ali handed over power to Muawiya on the condition that he be just to the people and keep them safe and secure and after his death he does not establish a dynasty. This brought to an end the era of the Rightly Guided Caliphs for the Sunnis and Hasan ibn Ali was also the last Imam for the Shias to be a Caliph. Following this, Mu'awiyah broke the conditions of the agreement and began the Umayyad dynasty, with its capital in Damascus. After Mu'awiyah's death in 680, conflict over succession broke out again in a civil war known as the "Second Fitna". After making every one else fight, the Umayyad dynasty later fell into the hands of Marwan I who was also an Umayyad. The Umayyads conquered the Maghrib, the Iberian Peninsula, Narbonnese Gaul and Sindh.
After the peace treaty with Ali's son, Hassan ibn Ali, and the suppression of the revolt of the Kharijites, Muawiyah I proclaimed himself Caliph in 661 and began consolidating power. In 663, a new Kharijite revolt resulted in the death of their chief. In 664, Muawiyah and Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan reached an agreement: the Caliph recognised Ziyad as a brother and appointed him governor at Basra. Ziyad took the name ibn Abi Sufyan. Muawiyah arranged for his son Yazid I to be appointed caliph on his death, which came in 680. Husain ibn Ali, by then Muhammad's only living grandson, refused to swear allegiance to Yazid. He was killed in the Battle of Karbala the same year, an event still mourned by Muslims on the Day of Ashura. Unrest continued in the Second Fitna, but Muslim rule was extended under Muawiyah to Rhodes, Crete, Kabul, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and expanded in North Africa. In 664, Arab armies conquered Kabul, and in 665 pushed into the Maghreb.
Succession and Umayyad accession
Consult particular article for details
The Umayyad dynasty (or Ommiads), whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph, ruled from 661 to 750. Although the Umayyad family came from the city of Mecca, Damascus was the capital. After the death of Abdu'l-Rahman ibn Abu Bakr in 666, Muawiyah I consolidated his power. Muawiyah I moved his capital to Damascus from Medina, which led to profound changes in the empire. In the same way, at a later date, the transfer of the Caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad marked the accession of a new family to power.
As the state grew and the state expenses increased. Additionally the Bayt al-mal, the Welfare State expenses to assist the Muslim and the non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled increased, the Umayyads asked the new converts (mawali) to continue paying the poll tax. The Umayyad rule, with its wealth and luxury also seemed at odds with the Islamic message preached by Muhammad. All this increased discontent. The descendants of Muhammad's uncle Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib rallied discontented mawali, poor Arabs, and some Shi'a against the Umayyads and overthrew them with the help of the general Abu Muslim, inaugurating the Abbasid dynasty in 750, which moved the capital to Baghdad. A branch of the Ummayad family fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted until 1031 before falling due to the Fitna of al-Ándalus. The Bayt al-mal, the Welfare State then continued under the Abbasids.
At its largest extent, the Umayyad dynasty covered more than 5,000,000 square miles (13,000,000 km2) making it one of the largest empires the world had yet seen, and the fifth largest contiguous empire ever. After the Umayyads were overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate, they fled across North Africa to Al-Andalus, where they established the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted until 1031 with the Fitna of al-Ándalus.
The Mosque of Uqba (Great Mosque of Kairouan), founded by the Umayyad general Uqba Ibn Nafi in 670 AD, is the oldest and most prestigious mosque in the Muslim West; its present form dates from the 9th century, Kairouan, Tunisia.
Muawiyah beautified Damascus, and developed a court to rival that of Constantinople. He expanded the frontiers of the empire, reaching the edge of Constantinople at one point, though the Byzantines drove him back and he was unable to hold any territory in Anatolia. Sunni Muslims credit him with saving the fledgling Muslim nation from post-civil war anarchy. However, Shia Muslims accuse him of instigating the war, weakening the Muslim nation by dividing the Ummah, fabricating self-aggrandizing heresies slandering the Prophet's family and even selling his Muslim critics into slavery in the Byzantine empire. One of Muawiyah's most controversial and enduring legacies was his decision to designate his son Yazid as his successor. According to Shi'a doctrine, this was a clear violation of the treaty he made with Hasan ibn Ali.
In 682 AD Yazid restored Uqba ibn Nafi as the governor of North Africa. Uqba won battles against the Berbers and Byzantines. From there Uqba marched thousands of miles westward towards Tangier, where he reached the Atlantic coast, and then marched eastwards through the Atlas Mountains. With about 300 cavalrymen, he proceeded towards Biskra where he was ambushed by a Berber force under Kaisala. Uqba and all his men died fighting. The Berbers attacked and drove Muslims from north Africa for a period. Weakened by the civil wars the Umayyad lost supremacy at sea, and had to abandon the islands of Rhodes and Crete. Under the rule of Yazid I, some Muslims in Kufa began to think that if Hussein ibn Ali the descendent of Muhammad was their ruler, he would have been more just. He was invited to Kufa but was later betrayed and killed. Later this concept was taken one step further and they started thinking, what if history took a different course and Ali was the first caliph and these ideas were later odopted by some Shia and institutionalised by the Safavids.
Dome of the Rock
The Mosque of Omar, on Ash-Haram Al-Sharif (the Temple Mount), built by Abd al-Malik; completed at the end of the Second Fitna.
The period under Muawiya II was marked by civil wars (Second Fitna). This would ease in the reign of Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, a well-educated and capable ruler. Despite the many political problems that impeded his rule, all important records were translated into Arabic. In his reign, a currency for the Muslim world was minted. This led to war with the Byzantine Empire under Justinian II (Battle of Sebastopolis) in 692 in Asia Minor. The Byzantines were decisively defeated by the Caliph after the defection of a large contingent of Slavs. The Islamic currency was then made the exclusive currency in the Muslim world. He reformed agriculture and commerce. Abd al-Malik consolidated Muslim rule and extended it, made Arabic the state language, and organized a regular postal service.
Al-Walid I began the next stage of Islamic conquests. Under him the early Islamic empire reached its farthest extent. He reconquered parts of Egypt from the Byzantine Empire and moved on into Carthage and across to the west of North Africa. Muslim armies under Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and began to conquer Spain using North African Berber armies. The Visigoths of Spain were defeated when the Umayyad conquered Lisbon. Spain was the farthest extent of Islamic control of Europe (they were stopped at the Battle of Tours). In the east, Islamic armies under Muhammad bin Qasim made it as far as the Indus Valley. Under Al-Walid, the caliphate empire stretched from Spain to India. Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef played a crucial role in the organization and selection of military commanders. Al-Walid paid great attention to the expansion of an organized military, building the strongest navy in the Umayyad era., This tactic was crucial for the expansion to Spain. His reign is considered to be the apex of Islamic power.
Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik was hailed as caliph the day al-Walid died. He appointed Yazid ibn al-Muhallab governor of Mesopotamia. Sulayman ordered the arrest and execution of the family of al-Hajjaj, one of two prominent leaders (the other was Qutaibah bin Muslim) who had supported the succession of al-Walid's son Yazid, rather than Sulayman. Al-Hajjaj had predeceased al-Walid, so he posed no threat. Qutaibah renounced allegiance to Sulayman, though his troops rejected his appeal to revolt. They killed him and sent his head to Sulayman. Sulayman did not move to Damascus on becoming Caliph, remaining in Ramla. Sulayman sent Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik to attack the Byzantine capital (siege of Constantinople). The intervention of Bulgaria on the Byzantine side proved decisive. The Muslims sustained heavy losses. Sulayman died suddenly in 717.
Yazid II came to power on the death of Umar II. Yazid fought the Kharijites, with whom Umar had been negotiating, and killed the Kharijite leader Shawdhab. In Yazid's reign, civil wars began in different parts of the empire. Yazid expanded the Caliphate's territory into the Caucasus, before dying in 724. Inheriting the caliphate from his brother, Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik ruled an empire with many problems. He was effective in addressing these problems, and in allowing the Umayyad empire to continue as an entity. His long rule was an effective one, and renewed reforms introduced by Umar II. Under Hisham's rule, regular raids against the Byzantines continued. In North Africa, Kharijite teachings combined with local restlessness to produce a significant Berber revolt. He was also faced with a revolt by Zayd bin Ali. Hisham suppressed both revolts. The Abbasids continued to gain power in Khurasan and Iraq. However, they were not strong enough to make a move yet. Some were caught and punished or executed by eastern governors. The Battle of Akroinon, a decisive Byzantine victory, was during the final campaign of the Umayyad dynasty. Hisham died in 743.
Al-Walid II saw political intrigue during his reign. Yazid III spoke out against his cousin Walid's "immorality" which included discrimination on behalf of the Banu Qays Arabs against Yemenis and non-Arab Muslims, and Yazid received further support from the Qadariya and Murji'iya (believers in human free will). Walid was shortly thereafter deposed in a coup. Yazid disbursed funds from the treasury and acceded to the Caliph. He explained that he had rebelled on behalf of the Book of Allah and the Sunna. Yazid reigned for only six months, while various groups refused allegiance and dissident movements arose, after which he died. Ibrahim ibn al-Walid, named heir apparent by his brother Yazid III, ruled for a short time in 744, before he abdicated. Marwan II ruled from 744 until he was killed in 750. He was the last Umayyad ruler to rule from Damascus. Marwan named his two sons Ubaydallah and Abdallah heirs. He appointed governors and asserted his authority by force. Anti-Umayyad feeling was very prevalent, especially in Iran and Iraq. The Abbasids had gained much support. Marwan's reign as caliph was almost entirely devoted to trying to keep the Umayyad empire together. His death signalled the end of Umayyad rule in the East, and was followed by the massacre of Umayyads by the Abbasids. Almost the entire Umayyad dynasty was killed, except for the talented prince Abd ar-Rahman who escaped to Spain and founded a dynasty there.
Universal period and decentralization 
Islamic Golden Age 
Main articles: Abbasid and Islamic Golden Age
The Abbasid dynasty rose to power in 750, consolidating the gains of the earlier Caliphates. Initially, they conquered Mediterranean islands including the Balearics and Sicily. The ruling party had come to power on the wave of dissatisfaction with the Umayyads, cultivated by the Abbasid revolutionary Abu Muslim. Under the Abbasids Islamic civilization flourished. Most notable was the development of Arabic prose and poetry, termed by The Cambridge History of Islam as its "golden age". Commerce and industry (considered a Muslim Agricultural Revolution) and the arts and sciences (considered a Muslim Scientific Revolution) also prospered under Abbasid caliphs al-Mansur (ruled 754 — 775), Harun al-Rashid (ruled 786 — 809), al-Ma'mun (ruled 809 — 813) and their immediate successors.
Universal Golden period
Eastern hemisphere's States and Empires (820)
Sultans of Sindh
Rustamid (Ibādiyya of Tahirid)
Aghlabids (Emirate of Ifriqiya)
Samanids (Greater Khorasan)
Regions are approximate, consult particular article for details.
The capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, due to the importance placed by the Abbasids upon eastern affairs in Persia and Transoxania. At this time the caliphate showed signs of fracture amid the rise of regional dynasties. Although the Umayyad family had been killed by the revolting Abbasids, one family member, Abd ar-Rahman I, escaped to Spain and established an independent caliphate there in 756. In the Maghreb, Harun al-Rashid appointed the Arab Aghlabids as virtually autonomous rulers, although they continued to recognise central authority. Aghlabid rule was short-lived, and they were deposed by the Shiite Fatimid dynasty in 909. By around 960, the Fatimids had conquered Abbasid Egypt, building a capital there in 973 called "al-Qahirah" (meaning "the planet of victory", known today as Cairo). In Persia the Turkic Ghaznavids snatched power from the Abbasids. Abbasid influence had been consumed by the Great Seljuq Empire (a Muslim Turkish clan which had migrated into mainland Persia) by 1055.
Expansion continued, sometimes by force, sometimes by peaceful proselytising. The first stage in the conquest of India began just before the year 1000. By some 200 (from 1193 — 1209) years later, the area up to the Ganges river had fallen. In sub-Saharan West Africa, Islam was established just after the year 1000. Muslim rulers were in Kanem starting from sometime between 1081 to 1097, with reports of a Muslim prince at the head of Gao as early as 1009. The Islamic kingdoms associated with Mali reached prominence in the 13th century.
The Abbasids developed initiatives aimed at greater Islamic unity. Different sects of the Islamic faith and mosques, separated by doctrine, history, and practice, were pushed to cooperate. The Abbasids also distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by attacking the Umayyads' moral character and administration. According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported largely by Arabs, mainly the aggrieved settlers of Marw with the addition of the Yemeni faction and their Mawali". The Abbasids also appealed to non-Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class within the Umayyad empire. Islamic ecumenism, promoted by the Abbasids, refers to the idea of unity of the Ummah in the literal meaning: that there was a single faith. Islamic philosophy developed as the Shariah was codified, and the four Madhabs were established. This era also saw the rise of classical Sufism. Religious achievements included completion of the canonical collections of Hadith of Sahih Bukhari and others. Islam recognized to a certain extent the validity of the Abrahamic religions, the Qur'an identifying Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, and "Sabi'un" or "baptists" (usually taken as a reference to the Mandeans and related Mesopotamian groups) as "people of the book". Toward the beginning of the high Middle Ages, the doctrines of the Sunni and Shia, two major denominations of Islam, solidified and the divisions of the world theologically would form. These trends would continue into the Fatimid and Ayyubid periods.
Politically, the Abbasid Caliphate evolved into an Islamic monarchy (unitary system of government.) The regional Sultanate and Emirate governors' existence, validity, or legality were acknowledged for unity of the state. In the early Islamic philosophy of the Iberian Umayyads, Averroes presented an argument in The Decisive Treatise, providing a justification for the emancipation of science and philosophy from official Ash'ari theology; thus, Averroism has been considered a precursor to modern secularism.
Golden Baghdad Abbasids 
Early Middle Ages
Consult particular article for details
According to Arab sources in the year 750, Al-Saffah, the founder of the Abbasid Caliphate, launched a massive rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate from the province of Khurasan near Talas. After eliminating the entire Umayyad family and achieving victory at the Battle of the Zab, Al-Saffah and his forces marched into Damascus and founded a new dynasty. His forces confronted many regional powers and consolidated the realm of the Abbasid Caliphate.
In Al-Mansur's time, Persian scholarship emerged. Many non-Arabs converted to Islam. The Umayyads actively discouraged conversion in order to continue the collection of the jizya, or the tax on non-Muslims. Islam nearly doubled within its territory from 8% of residents in 750 to 15% by the end of Al-Mansur's reign. Al-Mahdi, whose name means "Rightly-guided" or "Redeemer", was proclaimed caliph when his father was on his deathbed. Baghdad blossomed during Al-Mahdi's reign, becoming the world's largest city. It attracted immigrants from Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Persia and as far away as India and Spain. Baghdad was home to Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Zoroastrians, in addition to the growing Muslim population. Like his father Al-Hadi was very open to his people and allowed citizens to address him in the palace at Baghdad. He was considered an "enlightened ruler", and continued the progressive policies of his Abbasid predecessors. His short rule was plagued by military conflicts.
An Arabic manuscript written under the second half of the Abbasid Era.
The military conflicts subsided as Harun al-Rashid ruled. His reign was marked by scientific, cultural and religious prosperity. He established the library Bayt al-Hikma ("House of Wisdom"), and the arts and music flourished during his reign. The Barmakid family played a decisive role in establishing the Caliphate, but declined during his rule.
According to signed pledges during a pilgrimage to Mecca, Al-Amin received the Caliphate from his father Harun Al-Rashid. Al-Amin faced internal rebellions. General Tahir ibn Husayn rebelled and besieged Baghdad. Tahir led reinforcements to regain positions lost by another officer. When Tahir pushed into the city, Al-Amin sought to negotiate safe passage. Tahir agreed on the condition Al-Amin turn over his sceptre, seal and other signs that he was caliph. Al-Amin tried to leave on a boat and rejected warnings that he wait. Tahir's forces attacked the boat and Al-Amin was thrown into the water. He swam to shore where he was captured and executed. His head was placed on the Al Anbar Gate.
Regional powers 
The Abbasids soon became caught in a three-way rivalry among Coptic Arabs, Indo-Persians, and immigrant Turks. In addition, the cost of running a large empire became too great. The Turks, Egyptians, and Arabs adhered to the Sunnite sect; the Persians, a great portion of the Turkic groups, and several of the princes in India were Shia. The political unity of Islam began to disintegrate. Under the influence of the Abbasid caliphs, independent dynasties appeared in the Muslim world and the caliphs recognized such dynasties as legitimately Muslim. The first was the Tahirid dynasty in Khorasan, which was founded during the caliph Al-Ma'mun's reign. Similar dynasties included the Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids and Seljuqs. During this time, advancements were made in the areas of astronomy, poetry, philosophy, science, and mathematics.
High Baghdad Abbasids 
Early Middle Ages
Consult particular article for details
Upon Al-Amin's death, Al-Ma'mun became Caliph. Al-Ma'mun extended the Abbasid empire's territory during his reign and dealt with rebellions. Al-Ma'mun had been named governor of Khurasan by Harun, and after his ascension to power, the caliph named Tahir as governor of his military services in order to assure his loyalty. Tahir and his family became entrenched in Iranian politics and became powerful, frustrating Al-Ma'mun's desire to centralize and strengthen Caliphal power. The rising power of the Tahirid dynasty became a threat as Al-Ma'mun's own policies alienated them and other opponents.
Al-Ma'mun worked to centralize power and ensure a smooth succession. Al-Mahdi proclaimed that the caliph was the protector of Islam against heresy, and also claimed the ability to declare orthodoxy. Religious scholars averred that Al-Ma'mun was overstepping his bounds in the Mihna, the Abbasid inquisition which he introduced in 833 four months before he died. The Ulama emerged as a force in Islamic politics during Al-Ma'mun's reign for opposing the inquisitions. The Ulema and the major Islamic law schools took shape in the period of Al-Ma'mun. In parallel, Sunnism became defined as a religion of laws. Doctrinal differences between Sunni and Shi'a Islam became more pronounced.
During the Al-Ma'mun regime, border wars increased. Al-Ma'mun made preparations for a major campaign, but died while leading an expedition in Sardis. Al-Ma'mun gathered scholars of many religions at Baghdad, whom he treated well and with tolerance. He sent an emissary to the Byzantine Empire to collect the most famous manuscripts there, and had them translated into Arabic. His scientists originated alchemy. Shortly before his death, during a visit to Egypt in 832, the caliph ordered the breaching of the Great Pyramid of Giza to search for knowledge and treasure. Workers tunneled in near where tradition located the original entrance. Al-Ma'mun later died near Tarsus under questionable circumstances and was succeeded by his half-brother, Al-Mu'tasim, rather than his son, Al-Abbas ibn Al-Ma'mun.
As Caliph, Al-Mu'tasim promptly ordered the dismantling of al-Ma'mun's military base at Tyana. He faced Khurramite revolts. One of the most difficult problems facing this Caliph was the ongoing uprising of Babak Khorramdin. Al-Mu'tasim overcame the rebels and secured a significant victory. Byzantine emperor Theophilus launched an attack against Abbasid fortresses. Al-Mu'tasim sent Al-Afshin, who met and defeated Theophilus' forces at the Battle of Anzen. On his return he became aware of a serious military conspiracy which forced him and his successors to rely upon Turkish commanders and ghilman slave-soldiers (foreshadowing the Mamluk system). The Khurramiyyah were never fully suppressed, although they slowly declined during the reigns of succeeding Caliphs. Near the end of al-Mu'tasim's life there was an uprising in Palestine, but he defeated the rebels.
During Al-Mu'tasim's reign, the Tahirid dynasty continued to grow in power. The Tahirids were exempted from many tribute and oversight functions. Their independence contributed to Abbasid decline in the east. Ideologically, al-Mu'tasim followed his half-brother al-Ma'mun. He continued his predecessor's support for the Islamic Mu'tazila sect, applying brutal torture against the opposition. Arab mathematician Al-Kindi was employed by Al-Mu'tasim and tutored the Caliph's son. Al-Kindi had served at the House of Wisdom and continued his studies in Greek geometry and algebra under the caliph's patronage.
Al-Wathiq succeeded his father. Al-Wathiq dealt with opposition in Arabia, Syria, Palestine and in Baghdad. Using a famous sword he personally joined the execution of the Baghdad rebels. The revolts were the result of an increasingly large gap between Arab populations and the Turkish armies. The revolts were put down, but antagonism between the two groups grew, as Turkish forces gained power. He also secured a captive exchange with the Byzantines. Al-Wathiq was a patron of scholars, as well as artists. He personally had musical talent and is reputed to have composed over one hundred songs.
Minaret at the Great Mosque of Samarra.
When Al-Wathiq died of high fever, Al-Mutawakkil succeeded him. Al-Mutawakkil's reign is remembered for many reforms and is viewed as a golden age. He was the last great Abbasid caliph; after his death the dynasty fell into decline. Al-Mutawakkil ended the Mihna. Al-Mutawakkil built the Great Mosque of Samarra as part of an extension of Samarra eastwards. During his reign, Al-Mutawakkil met famous Byzantine theologian Constantine the Philosopher, who was sent to strengthen diplomatic relations between the Empire and the Caliphate by Emperor Michael III. Al-Mutawakkil involved himself in religious debates, as reflected in his actions against minorities. The Shīʻi faced repression embodied in the destruction of the shrine of Hussayn ibn ʻAlī, an action that was ostensibly carried out to stop pilgrimages. Al-Mutawakkil continued to rely on Turkish statesmen and slave soldiers to put down rebellions and lead battles against foreign empires, notably capturing Sicily from the Byzantines. Al-Mutawakkil was assassinated by a Turkish soldier.
Al-Muntasir succeeded to the Caliphate on the same day with the support of the Turkish faction, though he was implicated in the murder. The Turkish party had al-Muntasir remove his brothers from the line of succession, fearing revenge for the murder of their father. Both brothers wrote statements of abdication. During his reign, Al-Muntasir removed the ban on pilgrimage to the tombs of Hassan and Hussayn and sent Wasif to raid the Byzantines. Al-Muntasir died of unknown causes. The Turkish chiefs held a council to select his successor, electing Al-Musta'in. The Arabs and western troops from Baghdad were displeased at the choice and attacked. However, the Caliphate no longer depended on Arabian choice, but depended on Turkish support. After the failed Muslim campaign against the Christians, people blamed the Turks for bringing disaster on the faith and murdering their Caliphs. After the Turks besieged Baghdad, Al-Musta'in planned to abdicate to Al-Mu'tazz but was put to death by his order. Al-Mu'tazz was enthroned by the Turks, becoming the youngest Abbasaid Caliph to assume power.
Four constructions of Islamite law
Abu Hanifa (Iraq teacher)
Malik bin Anas (Medina Imam)
Muhammad ibn Idris ash-Shafi`i (Egyptian Iman)
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Baghdad teacher)
Literature and Science
Hunayn ibn Ishaq, physician, Greek translator;
Ibn Fadlan, explorer;
Al Battani, astronomer;
Tabari, historian and theologian;
Al-Razi, philosopher, medic, chemist;
Al-Farabi, chemist and philosopher;
Abu Nasr Mansur, mathematician;
Al-Biruni, mathematician, astronomer, physicist;
Omar Khayyám, poet, mathematician, and astronomer;
Mansur Al-Hallaj, Sufism mystic, writer and teacher
Al-Mu'tazz proved too apt a pupil of his Turkish masters, but was surrounded by parties jealous of each other. At Samarra, the Turks were having problems with the "Westerns" (Berbers and Moors), while the Arabs and Persians at Baghdad, who had supported al-Musta'in, regarded both with equal hatred. Al-Mu'tazz put his brothers Al-Mu'eiyyad and Abu Ahmed to death. The ruler spent recklessly, causing a revolt of Turks, Africans, and Persians for their pay. Al-Mu'tazz was brutally deposed shortly thereafter. Al-Muhtadi became the next Caliph. He was firm and virtuous compared to the earlier Caliphs, though the Turks held the power. The Turks killed him soon after his ascension. Al-Mu'tamid followed, holding on for 23 years, though he was largely a ruler in name only. After the Zanj Rebellion, Al-Mu'tamid summoned al-Muwaffak to help him. Thereafter, Al-Muwaffaq ruled in all but name. The Hamdanid dynasty was founded by Hamdan ibn Hamdun when he was appointed governor of Mardin in Anatolia by the Caliphs in 890. Al-Mu'tamid later transferred authority to his son, al-Mu'tadid, and never regained power. The Tulunids became the first independent state in Islamic Egypt, when they broke away during this time.
Al-Mu'tadid ably administered the Caliphate. Egypt returned to allegiance and Mesopotamia was restored to order. He was tolerant towards Shi'i, but toward the Umayyad community he was not so just. Al-Mu'tadid was cruel in his punishments, some of which are not surpassed by those of his predecessors. For example, the Kharijite leader at Mosul was paraded about Baghdad clothed in a robe of silk, of which Kharijites denounced as sinful, and then crucified. Upon Al-Mu'tadid's death, his son by a Turkish slave-girl, Al-Muktafi, succeeded to the throne.
Al-Muktafi became a favorite of the people for his generosity, and for abolishing his father's secret prisons, the terror of Baghdad. During his reign, the Caliphate overcame threats such as the Carmathians. Upon Al-Muktafi's death, the vazir next chose Al-Muqtadir. Al-Muqtadir's reign was a constant succession of thirteen Vazirs, one rising on the fall or assassination of another. His long reign brought the Empire to its lowest ebb. Africa was lost, and Egypt nearly. Mosul threw off its dependence, and the Greeks raided across the undefended border. The East continued to formally recognise the Caliphate, including those who virtually claimed independence.
At the end of the Early Baghdad Abbasids period, Empress Zoe Karbonopsina pressed for an armistice with Al-Muqtadir and arranged for the ransom of the Muslim prisoner while the Byzantine frontier was threatened by Bulgarians. This only added to Baghdad's disorder. Though despised by the people, Al-Muqtadir was again placed in power after upheavals. Al-Muqtadir was eventually slain outside the city gates, whereupon courtiers chose his brother al-Qahir. He was even worse. Refusing to abdicate, he was blinded and cast into prison.
His son Ar-Radi took over only to experience a cascade of misfortune. Praised for his piety, he became the tool of the de facto ruling Minister, Ibn Raik (amir al-umara; 'Amir of the Amirs'). Ibn Raik held the reins of government and his name was joined with the Caliph's in public prayers. Around this period, the Hanbalis, supported by popular sentiment, set up in fact a kind of 'Sunni inquisition'. Ar-Radi is commonly regarded as the last of the real Caliphs: the last to deliver orations at the Friday service, to hold assemblies, to commune with philosophers, to discuss the questions of the day, to take counsel on the affairs of State; to distribute alms, or to temper the severity of cruel officers. Thus ended the Early Baghdad Abbasids.
In the late mid-930s, the Ikhshidids of Egypt carried the Arabic title "Wali" reflecting their position as governors on behalf of the Abbasids, The first governor (Muhammad bin Tughj Al-Ikhshid) was installed by the Abbasid Caliph. They gave him and his descendants the Wilayah for 30 years. The last name Ikhshid is Soghdian for "prince".
Also in the 930s, ‘Alī ibn Būyah and his two younger brothers, al-Hassan and Aḥmad founded the Būyid confederation. Originally a soldier in the service of the Ziyārīds of Ṭabaristān, ‘Alī was able to recruit an army to defeat a Turkish general from Baghdad named Yāqūt in 934. Over the next nine years the three brothers gained control of the remainder of the caliphate, while accepting the titular authority of the caliph in Baghdad. The Būyids made large territorial gains. Fars and Jibal were conquered. Central Iraq submitted in 945, before the Būyids took Kermān (967), Oman (967), the Jazīra (979), Ṭabaristān (980), and Gorgan (981). After this the Būyids went into slow decline, with pieces of the confederation gradually breaking off and local dynasties under their rule becoming de facto independent.
Middle Baghdad Abbasids 
Early High Middle Ages
Consult particular article for details
and the States of the Crusades
Regional States, ca. 1180.
Kingdom of Sicily
Sm. Turkic states
Kingdom of Hungary
At the beginning of the Middle Baghdad Abbasids, the Caliphate had become of little importance. The amir al-umara Bajkam contented himself with dispatching his secretary to Baghdad to assemble local dignitaries to elect a successor. The choice fell on Al-Muttaqi. Bajkam was killed on a hunting party by marauding Kurds. In the ensuing anarchy in Baghdad, Ibn Raik persuaded the Caliph to flee to Mosul where he was welcomed by the Hamdanids. They assassinated Ibn Raik. Hamdanid Nasir al-Dawla advanced on Baghdad, where mercenaries and well-organised Turks repelled them. Turkish general Tuzun became amir al-umara. The Turks were staunch Sunnis. A fresh conspiracy placed the Caliph in danger. Hamdanid troops helped ad-Daula escape to Mosul and then to Nasibin. Tuzun and the Hamdanid were stalemated. Al-Muttaqi was at Ar Raqqah, moving to Tuzun where he was deposed. Tuzun installed the blinded Caliph's cousin as successor, with the title of Al-Mustakfi. With the new Caliph, Tuzun attacked the Buwayhid dynasty and the Hamdanids. Soon after, Tuzun died, and was succeeded by one of his generals, Abu Ja'far. The Buwayhids then attacked Baghdad, and Abu Ja'far fled into hiding with the Caliph. Buwayhid Sultan Muiz ud-Daula assumed command forcing the Caliph into abject submission to the Amir. Eventually, Al-Mustakfi was blinded and deposed. The city fell into chaos, and the Caliph's palace was looted.
Significant Middle Abbasid Muslims
Ibn Rushd (Averoes), philosopher;
al-Farabi, Persian (Soghdian) philosopher;
Al-Mutanebbi, Arabic poet;
Abu Ali Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (Avicenna), physician, philosopher, and scientist
Once the Buwayhids controlled Baghdad, Al-Muti became caliph. The office was shorn of real power and Shi'a observances were established. The Buwayhids held on Baghdad for over a century. Throughout the Buwayhid reign the Caliphate was at its lowest ebb, but was recognized religiously, except in Iberia. Buwayhid Sultan Mu'izz al-Dawla was prevented from raising a Shi'a Caliph to the throne by fear for his own safety, and fear of rebellion, in the capital and beyond.
The next Caliph, Al-Ta'i, reigned over factional strife in Syria among the Fatimids, Turks, and Carmathians. The Hideaway dynasyty also fractured. The Abbasid borders were the defended only by small border states. Baha' al-Dawla, the Buyid amir of Iraq, deposed al-Ta'i in 991 and proclaimed al-Qadir the new caliph.
During al-Qadir's Caliphate, Mahmud of Ghazni looked after the empire. The great Mahmud of Ghazni, of Eastern fame, was friendly towards the Caliphs, and his victories in the Indian Empire were accordingly announced from the pulpits of Baghdad in grateful and glowing terms. Al-Qadir fostered the Sunni struggle against Shiʿism and outlawed heresies such as the Baghdad Manifesto and the doctrine that the Qu'ran was created. He outlawed the Muʿtazila, bringing an end to the development of rationalist Muslim philosophy. During this and the next period, Islamic literature, especially Persian literature, flourished under the patronage of the Buwayhids. By 1000 the global Muslim population had climbed to about 4 per cent of the world total compared to the Christian population of 10 per cent.
During Al-Qa'im's reign, the Buwayhid ruler often fled the capital and the Seljuq dynasty gained power. Toghrül overran Syria and Armenia. He then made his way into the Capital, where he was well-received both by chiefs and people. In Bahrain, the Qarmatian state collapsed in Al-Hasa. Arabia recovered from the Fatimids and again acknowledged the spiritual jurisdiction of the Abbasids. Al-Muqtadi was honored by the Seljuq Sultan Malik-Shah I, during whose reign the Caliphate was recognized throughout the extending range of Seljuq conquest. The Sultan was critical of the Caliph's interference in affairs of state, but died before deposing the last of the Middle Baghdad Abbasids.
Late Baghdad Abbasids 
Late High Middle Ages
Consult particular article for details
Plan of Al-Aqsa Mosque, year 985
Dome of Al Aqsa Mousque
The Late Baghdad Abbasids reigned from the beginning of the Crusades to the Seventh Crusade. The first Caliph was Al-Mustazhir. He was politically irrelevant, despite civil strife at home and the First Crusade in Syria. Raymond IV of Toulouse attempted to attack Baghdad, losing at the Battle of Manzikert. The global Muslim population climbed to about 5 per cent as against the Christian population of 11 per cent by 1100. Jerusalem was captured by crusaders who massacred its inhabitants. Preachers travelled throughout the caliphate proclaiming the tragedy and rousing men to recover the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Franks (European Crusaders). Crowds of exiles rallied for war against the infidel. Neither the Sultan nor the Caliph sent an army west.
Al-Mustarshid achieved more independence while the sultan Mahmud II of Great Seljuq was engaged in war in the East. The Banu Mazyad (Mazyadid State) general, Dubays ibn Sadaqa (emir of Al-Hilla), plundered Bosra and attacked Baghdad together with a young brother of the sultan, Ghiyath ad-Din Mas'ud. Dubays was crushed by a Seljuq army under Zengi, founder of the Zengid dynasty. Mahmud's death was followed by a civil war between his son Dawud, his nephew Mas'ud and the atabeg Toghrul II. Zengi was recalled to the East, stimulated by the Caliph and Dubays, where he was beaten. The Caliph then laid siege to Mosul for three months without success, resisted by Mas'ud and Zengi. It was nonetheless a milestone in the caliphate's military revival.
After the siege of Damascus (1134), Zengi undertook operations in Syria. Al-Mustarshid attacked sultan Mas'ud of western Seljuq and was taken prisoner. He was later found murdered. His son, Al-Rashid failed to gain independence from Seljuq Turks. Zengi, because of the murder of Dubays, set up a rival Sultanate. Mas'ud attacked; the Caliph and Zengi, hopeless of success, escaped to Mosul. The Sultan regained power, a council was held, the Caliph was deposed, and his uncle, son of Al-Muqtafi, appointed as the new Caliph. Ar-Rashid fled to Isfahan and was killed by Hashshashins.
Continued disunion and contests between Seljuq Turks allowe4d al-Muqtafi to maintain control in Baghdad and to extend it throughout Iraq. In 1139, al-Muqtafi granted protection to the Nestorian patriarch Abdisho III. While the Crusade raged, the Caliph successfully defended Baghdad against Muhammad II of Seljuq in the Siege of Baghdad (1157). The Sultan and the Caliph dispatched men in response to Zengi's appeal, but neither the Seljuqs, nor the Caliph, nor their Amirs, dared resist the Crusaders.
The next caliph, Al-Mustanjid, saw Saladin extinguish the Fatimid dynasty after 260 years, and thus the Abbasids again prevailed. Al-Mustadi reigned when Saladin become the sultan of Egypt and declared allegiance to the Abbasids.
An-Nasir, "The Victor for the Religion of God", attempted to restore the Caliphate to its ancient dominant role. He consistently held Iraq from Tikrit to the Gulf without interruption. His forty-seven year reign was chiefly marked by ambitious and corrupt dealings with the Tartar chiefs, and by his hazardous invocation of the Mongols, which ended his dynasty. His son, Az-Zahir, was Caliph for a short period before his death and An-Nasir's grandson, Al-Mustansir, was made caliph.
Al-Mustansir founded the Mustansiriya Madrasah. In 1236 Ögedei Khan commanded to raise up Khorassan and populated Herat. The Mongol military governors mostly made their camp in Mughan plain, Azerbaijan. The rulers of Mosul and Cilician Armenia surrendered. Chormaqan divided the Transcaucasia region into three districts based on military hierarchy. In Georgia, the population were temporarily divided into eight tumens. By 1237 the Mongol Empire had subjugated most of Persia, excluding Abbasid Iraq and Ismaili strongholds, and all of Afghanistan and Kashmir.
Al-Musta'sim was the last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad and is noted for his opposition to the rise of Shajar al-Durr to the Egyptian throne during the Seventh Crusade. To the east, Mongol forces under Hulagu Khan swept through the Transoxiana and Khorasan. Baghdad was sacked and the caliph deposed soon afterwards. The Mamluk sultans and Syria later appointed a powerless Abbasid Caliph in Cairo.
Cairo Abbasid Caliphs 
Abbasid "shadow" caliph of Cairo
Late Middle Ages
Consult particular article for details
The Abbasid "shadow" caliph of Cairo reigned under the tutelage of the Mamluk sultans and nominal rulers used to legitimize the actual rule of the Mamluk sultans. All the Cairene Abbasid caliphs who preceded or succeeded Al-Musta'in were spiritual heads lacking any temporal power. Al-Musta'in was the only Cairo-based Abbasid caliph to even briefly hold political power. Al-Mutawakkil III was the last "shadow" caliph. In 1517, Ottoman sultan Selim I defeated the Mamluk Sultanate, and made Egypt part of the Ottoman Empire.
Fatimid Empire 
Main article: Fatimids
The Al-Hakim Mosque
Cairo, Egypt; south of Bab Al-Futuh
"Islamic Cairo" building was named after Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, built by Fatimid vizier Gawhar Al-Siqilli, and extended by Badr al-Jamali.
The Fatimids originated in Ifriqiya (modern-day Tunisia and eastern Algeria). The dynasty was founded in 909 by ʻAbdullāh al-Mahdī Billah, who legitimised his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter Fātima as-Zahra and her husband ʻAlī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shīʻa Imām, hence the name al-Fātimiyyūn "Fatimid".. The Fatamids and the Zaydis at the time, used the Hanafi jurisprudence, as did most Sunnis.
Abdullāh al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia, his capital in Tunisia.
The Fatimids entered Egypt in the late 10th century, conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty and founding a capital at al-Qāhira(Cairo) in 969. The name was a reference to the planet Mars, "The Subduer", which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria and even crossed the Mediterranean into Sicily and southern Italy.
Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz. Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages.
Unlike other governments in the area, Fatimid advancement in state offices was based more on merit than heredity. Members of other branches of Islam, including Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance covered non-Muslims such as Christians and Jews; they took high levels in government based on ability. There were, however, exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, notably Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.
The Fatimid palace was in two parts. It was in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bin El-Quasryn street.
Fatimid caliphs 
Early and High Middle Ages
Consult particular article for details
Also see: Cairo Abbasid Caliphs (above)
During the beginning of the Middle Baghdad Abbasids, the Fatimid Caliphs claimed spiritual supremacy not only in Egypt, but also contested the religious leadership of Syria. At the beginning of the Abbasid realm in Baghdad, the Alids faced severe persecution by the ruling party as they were a direct threat to the Caliphate. Owing to the Abbasid inquisitions, the forefathers opted for concealment of the Dawa's existence. Subsequently, they traveled towards the Iranian Plateau and distanced themselves from the epicenter of the political world. Al Mahdi's father, Al Husain al Mastoor returned to control the Dawa's affairs. He sent two Dai's to Yemen and Western Africa. Al Husain died soon after the birth of his son, Al Mahdi. A system of information gatherers helped update Al Mahdi on each development which took place in North Africa.
Al Mahdi established the first Imam of the Fatimid dynasty. He claimed genealogic origins dating as far back as Fatimah through Husayn and Ismail. Al Mahdi established his headquarters at Salamiyah and moved towards north-western Africa, under Aghlabid rule. His success of laying claim to being the precursor to the Mahdi was instrumental among the Berber tribes of North Africa, specifically the Kutamah tribe. Al Mahdi established himself at the former Aghlabid residence at Raqqadah, a suburb of Al-Qayrawan in Tunisia. At the time of his death he had extended his reign to Morocco of the Idrisids, as well as Egypt itself. In 920, Al Mahdi took up residence at the newly established capital of the empire, Al-Mahdiyyah. After his death, Al Mahdi was succeeded by his son, Abu Al-Qasim Muhammad Al-Qaim, who continued his expansionist policy.
Berbers and Iberian Umayyads 
The interiors of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain decorated with arabesque designs.
Main articles: Umayyad conquest of Hispania, Al-Andalus, and Taifa
The Arabs, under the command of the Berber General Tarik ibn Ziyad, first began their conquest of southern Spain or al-Andalus in 711. A raiding party led by Tarik was sent to intervene in a civil war in the Visigothic kingdom in Hispania. Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar (named after the General), it won a decisive victory in the summer of 711 when the Visigothic king Roderic was defeated and killed on July 19 at the Battle of Guadalete. Tariq's commander, Musa bin Nusair crossed with substantial reinforcements, and by 718 the Muslims dominated most of the peninsula. Some later Arabic and Christian sources present an earlier raid by a certain Ṭārif in 710 and also, the Ad Sebastianum recension of the Chronicle of Alfonso III, refers to an Arab attack incited by Erwig during the reign of Wamba (672–80). The two large armies may have been in the south for a year before the decisive battle was fought.
The rulers of Al-Andalus were granted the rank of Emir by the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I in Damascus. After the Abbasids came to power, some Umayyads fled to Muslim Spain to establish themselves there. By the end of the 10th century, the ruler Abd al-Rahman III took over the title of Emir of Córdoba(912-961). Soon after, the Umayyads went on developing a strengthened state with its capital as Córdoba. Al-Hakam II succeeded to the Caliphate after the death of his father Abd ar-Rahman III in 961. He secured peace with the Christian kingdoms of northern Iberia, and made use of the stability to develop agriculture through the construction of irrigation works. Economical development was also encouraged through the widening of streets and the building of markets. The rule of the Caliphate is known as the heyday of Muslim presence in the peninsula.
The Umayyad Caliphate collapsed in 1031 due to political divisions and civil unrest during the rule of Hicham II who was ousted because of his indolence. Al-Andalus then broke up into a number of states called taifa kingdoms (Arabic, Muluk al-ṭawā'if; English, Petty kingdoms). The decomposition of the Caliphate into those petty kingdoms weakened the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula vis-à-vis the Christian kingdoms of the north. Some of the taifas, such as that of Seville, were forced to enter into alliances with Christian princes and pay tributes in money to Castille.
See also: Reconquista and Timeline of the Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula
Emirs of Córdoba 
Main article: Emirs of Córdoba
Consult particular article for details
Abd al-Rahman I and Bedr (a former Greek slave) escaped with their lives after the popular revolt known as the Abbasid Revolution. Rahman I continued south through Palestine, the Sinai, and then into Egypt. Rahman I was one of several surviving Umayyad family members to make a perilous trek to Ifriqiya at this time. Rahman I and Bedr reached modern day Morocco near Ceuta. Next step would be to cross to sea to al-Andalus, where Rahman I could not have been sure whether he would be welcome. Following the Berber Revolt (740s), the province was in a state of confusion, with the Ummah torn by tribal dissensions among the Arabs and racial tensions between the Arabs and Berbers. Bedr lined up three Syrian commanders – Obeid Allah ibn Uthman and Abd Allah ibn Khalid, both originally of Damascus, and Yusuf ibn Bukht of Qinnasrin and contacted al-Sumayl (then in Zaragoza) to get his consent, but al-Sumayl refused, fearing Rahman I would try to make himself emir. After discussion with Yemenite commanders, Rahman I was told to go to al-Andalus. Shortly thereafter, he set off with Bedr and a small group of followers for Europe. Abd al-Rahman landed at Almuñécar in al-Andalus, to the east of Málaga.
During his brief time in Málaga, he quickly amassed local support. News of the prince's arrival spread throughout the peninsula. In order to help speed his ascension to power, he took advantage of the feuds and dissensions. However, before anything could be done, trouble broke out in northern al-Andalus. Abd al-Rahman and his followers were able to control Zaragoza. Rahman I fought to rule al-Andalus in a battle at the Guadalquivir river, just outside of Córdoba on the plains of Musarah (Battle of Musarah). Rahman I was victorious, chasing his enemies from the field with parts of their army. Rahman I marched into the capital, Córdoba, fighting off a counterattack, but negotiations ended the confrontation. After Rahman I consolidated power, he proclaimed himself the al-Andalus emir. Rahman I did not claim the Muslim caliph, though. The last step was to have al-Fihri's general, al-Sumayl, garroted in Córdoba's jail. Al-Andalus was a safe haven for the house of Umayya that managed to evade the Abbasids.
In Baghdad, the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur had planned to depose the emir. Rahman I and his army confronted the Abbasids, killing most of the Abbasid army. The main Abbasid leaders were decapitated, their heads preserved in salt, with identifying tags pinned to their ears. The heads were bundled in a gruesome package and sent to the Abbasid caliph who was on pilgrimage at Mecca. Rahman I quelled repeated rebellions in al-Andalus. Near the end of his life, it is said that Abd al-Rahman became increasingly paranoid and sequestered himself in his palaces.
The exterior of the Mezquita.
Rahman I's successor was his son Hisham I. Born in Córdoba, he built many mosques and completed the Mezquita. He called for a jihad that resulted in a campaign against the Kingdom of Asturias and the County of Toulouse; in this second campaign he was defeated at Orange by William of Gellone, first cousin to Charlemagne. His successor Al-Hakam I came to power and was challenged by his uncles, other sons of Rahman I. One, Abdallah, went to the court of Charlemagne in Aix-la-Chapelle to negotiate for aid. In the mean time Córdoba was attacked, but was defended. Hakam I spent much of his reign suppressing rebellions in Toledo, Saragossa and Mérida.
Abd ar-Rahman II succeeded his father and engaged in nearly continuous warfare against Alfonso II of Asturias, whose southward advance he halted. Rahman III repulsed an assault by Vikings who had disembarked in Cadiz, conquered Seville (with the exception of its citadel) and attacked Córdoba. Thereafter he constructed a fleet and naval arsenal at Seville to repel future raids. He responded to William of Septimania's requests of assistance in his struggle against Charles the Bald's nominations.
Muhammad I's reign was marked by the movements of the Muladi (ethnic Iberian Muslims) and Mozarabs (Muslim-Iberia Christians). Muhammad I was succeeded by his son Mundhir I. During the reign of his father, Mundhir I commanded military operations against the neighbouring Christian kingdoms and the Muladi rebellions. At his father's death, he inherited the throne. During his two-year reign, Mundhir I fought against Umar ibn Hafsun. He died in 888 at Bobastro, succeeded by his brother Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Umawi.
Umawi showed no reluctance to dispose of those he viewed as a threat. His government was marked by continuous wars between Arabs, Berbers and Muladi. His power as emir was confined to the area of Córdoba, while the rest had been seized by rebel families. The son he had designated as successor was killed by one of Umawi's brothers. The latter was in turn executed by Umawi's father, who named as successor Abd ar-Rahman III, son of the killed son of Umawi.
Caliphs at Córdoba 
Main article: Caliphate of Córdoba
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Rahman III to help in his fight against the invasion by the Fatimids claimed the Caliphate in opposition to the generally recognized Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad.
Almoravid Ifriqiyah and Iberia 
Main article: Almoravid dynasty
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Almohad caliphs 
Main article: Almohad dynasty
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The Crusades 
Main article: The Crusades
Saladin and Guy of Lusignan after the Battle of Hattin
List of Crusades
· First Crusade 1095–1099
· Second Crusade 1147–1149
· Third Crusade 1187–1192
· Fourth Crusade 1202–1204
· Fifth Crusade 1217–1221
· Sixth Crusade 1228–1229
· Seventh Crusade 1248–1254
· Eighth Crusade 1270
· Ninth Crusade 1271–1272
Beginning in the 8th century, the Iberian Christian kingdoms had begun the Reconquista aimed at retaking Al-Andalus from the Moors. In 1095, Pope Urban II, inspired by the conquests in Spain by Christian forces and implored by the eastern Roman emperor to help defend Christianity in the East, called for the First Crusade from Western Europe which captured Odessa, Antioch, County of Tripoli and Jerusalem.
In the early period of the Crusades, the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem emerged and for a time controlled Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Jerusalem and other smaller Crusader kingdoms over the next 90 years formed part of the complicated politics of the Levant, but did not in threaten the Islamic Caliphate nor other powers in the region. After Shirkuh ended Fatimid rule in 1169, uniting it with Syria, the Crusader kingdoms were faced with a threat, and his nephew Saladin reconquered most of the area in 1187, leaving the Crusaders holding a few ports.
In the Third Crusade armies from Europe failed to recapture Jerusalem, though Crusader states lingered for several decades, and other crusades followed. The Christian Reconquista continued in Al-Andalus, and was eventually completed with the fall of Granada in 1492. During the low period of the Crusades, the Fourth Crusade was diverted from the Levant and instead took Constantinople, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire (now the Byzantine Empire) further weakened in their long struggle against the Turkish peoples to the east. However, the crusaders did manage to damage Islamic caliphates; preventing them from further expansion into Christendom and targets of the Mamluks and the Mongols.
See also: High Middle Ages, Frankokratia, and Crusader states
Ayyubid dynasty 
Main article: Ayyubid dynasty
The Ayyubid dynasty was founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt. In 1174, Saladin proclaimed himself Sultan and conquered the Near East region. The Ayyubids ruled much of the Middle East during the 12th and 13th centuries, controlling Egypt, Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Hejaz, Yemen, and the North African coast up to the borders of modern-day Tunisia. After Saladin, his sons contested control over the sultanate, but Saladin's brother al-Adil eventually established himself in 1200. In the 1230s, Syria's Ayyubid rulers attempted to win independence from Egypt and remained divided until Egyptian Sultan as-Salih Ayyub restored Ayyubid unity by taking over most of Syria, excluding Aleppo, by 1247. In 1250, the dynasty in the Egyptian region was overthrown by slave regiments. A number of attempts to recover it failed, led by an-Nasir Yusuf of Aleppo. In 1260, the Mongols sacked Aleppo and wrested control of what remained of the Ayyubid territories soon after.
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