Monday, 27 May 2013

Spread Of Islam

Spread Of Islam History

Source( Spread of Islam began when prophet Muhammad (570 - 632) started preaching the revelation he claimed to have received from God at the age of 40. During his lifetime the Muslim ummah was established in Arabia by way of their conversion or allegiance to Islam. In the first centuries conversion to Islam followed the rapid growth of the Muslim world created by the conquests of the Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphs.
Muslim dynasties were soon established and 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 largest and most powerful in the world. The people of the Islamic world created numerous sophisticated centers of culture and science with far-reaching mercantile networks, travelers, scientists, hunters, mathematicians, doctors and philosophers, all of whom contributed to the Golden Age of Islam.
The activities of this quasi-political community of believers and nations, or ummah, resulted in the spread of Islam over the centuries, spreading outwards from Mecca to the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east. As of October 2009, there were 1.571 billion Muslims,[1] making Islam the second-largest religion in the world.[2]
Contents  [show]
Conversion [edit]
The conquests of the Arab Empire in the first centuries after the Islamic prophet Muhammad's death soon established Muslim dynasties in North Africa, West Africa, throughout the Middle East, Somalia and in Iran.
Phase I: The Early Caliphs and Umayyads (610-750 AD) [edit]
See also: Muslim conquests, Rashidun Caliphate, and Umayyad Caliphate

An Islamic Silver Dirham from the year 729.
This was the time of the life of Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his early successors, the four rightly guided Caliphs.
Within the first century of the establishment of Islam upon the Arabian peninsula and the subsequent rapid expansion of the Arab Empire during the Muslim conquests, resulted in the formation of one of the most significant empires in history.[3] For the subjects of this new empire, formerly subjects of the greatly reduced Byzantine, and obliterated Sassanid Empires, not much changed in practice. The objective of the conquests was more than anything of a practical nature, as fertile land and water were scarce in the Arabian peninsula. A real Islamization therefore only came about in the subsequent centuries.[4]
Ira Lapidus distinguishes between two separate strands of converts of the time: one is animists and polytheists of tribal societies of the Arabian peninsula and the Fertile crescent; the other one is the monotheistic populations of the Middle Eastern agrarian and urbanized societies.[5]
Islam was introduced in Somalia in the 7th century when the Muslim Arabs fled from the persuction of the Pagan Quraysh tribe. When the Muslims defeated the Pagans, some returned to Arabia, but many decided to stay there and established Muslim communities along the Somali coastline. The local Somalis adopted the Islamic faith well before the faith even took root in its place of origin.[6]
For the polytheistic and pagan societies, apart from the religious and spiritual reasons each individual may have had, conversion to Islam "represented the response of a tribal, pastoral population to the need for a larger framework for political and economic integration, a more stable state, and a more imaginative and encompassing moral vision to cope with the problems of a tumultuous society."[5] In contrast, for sedentary and often already monotheistic societies, "Islam was substituted for a Byzantine or Sassanian political identity and for a Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian religious affiliation."[5] Conversion initially was neither required nor necessarily wished for: "(The Arab conquerors) did not require the conversion as much as the subordination of non-Muslim peoples. At the outset, they were hostile to conversions because new Muslims diluted the economic and status advantages of the Arabs."[5]
Only in subsequent centuries, with the development of the religious doctrine of Islam and with that the understanding of the Muslim ummah, did mass conversion take place. The new understanding by the religious and political leadership in many cases led to a weakening or breakdown of the social and religious structures of parallel religious communities such as Christians and Jews.[5]
The caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty established the first schools inside the empire, called madrasas, which taught the Arabic language and Islamic studies. They furthermore began the ambitious project of building mosques across the empire, many of which remain today as the most magnificent mosques in the Islamic world, such as the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. At the end of the Umayyad period, less than 10% of the people in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia and Spain were Muslim. Only on the Arabian peninsula was the proportion of Muslims among the population higher than this.[7]
Phase II: The Abbasids (750-1258) [edit]
See also: Abbasid Caliphate

The Abbasids are known to have founded some of the worlds earliest educational institutions such as the House of Wisdom.
This was the time of the Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258), the second great dynasty with the rulers carrying the title of 'Caliph'.
Expansion ceased and the central disciplines of Islamic philosophy, theology, law and mysticism became more widespread and the gradual conversions of the populations within the empire occurred. Significant conversions also occurred beyond the extents of the empire such as that of the Turkic tribes in Central Asia and peoples living in regions south of the Sahara in Africa through contact with Muslim traders active in the area and sufi missionaries. In Africa it spread along three routes, across the Sahara via trading towns such as Timbuktu, up the Nile Valley through the Sudan up to Uganda and across the Red Sea and down East Africa through settlements such as Mombasa and Zanzibar. These initial conversions were of a flexible nature and only later were the societies forcibly purged of their traditional influences.[3]
The reasons why, by the end of the 10th century, a large part of the population had converted to Islam are diverse. One of the reasons may be that
"Islam had become more clearly defined, and the line between Muslims and non-Muslims more sharply drawn. Muslims now lived within an elaborated system of ritual, doctrine and law clearly different from those of non-Muslims. (...) The status of Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians was more precisely defined, and in some ways it was inferior. They were regarded as the 'People of the Book', those who possessed a revealed scripture, or 'People of the Covenant', with whom compacts of protection had been made. In general they were not forced to convert, but they suffered from restrictions. They paid a special tax; they were not supposed to wear certain colors; they could not marry Muslim women;."[7]
It should be pointed out that most of these laws were elaborations of basic laws concerning non-Muslims (dhimmis) in the Quran. The Quran does not give much detail about the right conduct with non-Muslims, in principle recognizing the religion of "People of the book" (Jews, Christians, and sometimes others as well) and securing a separate tax from them inlieu of the zakat imposed upon Muslim subjects.
American historian Ira Lapidus points towards "interwoven terms of political and economic benefits and of a sophisticated culture and religion" as appealing to the masses.[8] He writes that :
"The question of why people convert to Islam has always generated intense feeling. Earlier generations of European scholars believed that conversions to Islam were made at the point of the sword, and that conquered peoples were given the choice of conversion or death. It is now apparent that conversion by force, while not unknown in Muslim countries, was, in fact, rare. Muslim conquerors ordinarily wished to dominate rather than convert, and most conversions to Islam were voluntary. (...) In most cases worldly and spiritual motives for conversion blended together. Moreover, conversion to Islam did not necessarily imply a complete turning from an old to a totally new life. While it entailed the acceptance of new religious beliefs and membership in a new religious community, most converts retained a deep attachment to the cultures and communities from which they came."[8]
The result of this, he points out, can be seen in the diversity of Muslim societies today, with varying manifestations and practices of Islam.
Conversion to Islam also came about as a result of the breakdown of historically religiously organized societies: with the weakening of many churches, for example, and the favoring of Islam and the migration of substantial Muslim Turkish populations into the areas of Anatolia and the Balkans, the "social and cultural relevance of Islam" were enhanced and a large number of peoples were converted. This worked better in some areas (Anatolia) and less in others (e.g. the Balkans, where "the spread of Islam was limited by the vitality of the Christian churches.")[5]
Along with the religion of Islam, the Arabic language and Arab customs spread throughout the empire. A sense of unity grew among many though not all provinces, gradually forming the consciousness of a broadly Arab-Islamic population: something which was recognizably an Islamic world had emerged by the end of the 10th century.[9] Throughout this period, as well as in the following centuries, divisions occurred between Persians and Arabs, and Sunnis and Shiites, and unrest in provinces empowered local rulers at times.[7]
Conversion within the Empire: Umayyad Period vs. Abbasid Period
There are a number of historians who see the rule of the Umayyads as responsible for setting up the "dhimmah" to increase taxes from the dhimmis to benefit the Arab Muslim community financially and to discourage conversion.[10] Islam was initially associated with the ethnic identity of the Arabs and required formal association with an Arab tribe and the adoption of the client status of mawali.[10] Governors lodged complaints with the caliph when he enacted laws that made conversion easier, depriving the provinces of revenues.
During the following Abbasid period an enfranchisement was experienced by the mawali and a shift was made in the political conception from that of a primarily Arab empire to one of a Muslim empire[11] and c. 930 a law was enacted that required all bureaucrats of the empire to be Muslims.[10] Both periods were also marked by significant migrations of Arab tribes outwards from the Arabian Peninsula into the new territories.[11]
Conversion within the Empire: Conversion Curve
Richard Bulliet's "conversion curve" shows a relatively low rate of conversion of non-Arab subjects during the Arab centric Umayyad period of 10%, in contrast with estimates for the more politically multicultural Abbasid period which saw the Muslim population grow from approx. 40% in the mid-9th century to close to 100% by the end of the 11th century.[11] This theory does not explain the continuing existence of large minorities of Christians in the Abbasid Period. Other estimates suggest that Muslims were not a majority in Egypt until the mid-10th century and in the Fertile Crescent until 1100. Syria may have had a Christian majority within its modern borders until the Mongol Invasions of the 13th century.
Phase III: Dissolution of the Abbasids and the emergence of the Seljuks and Ottomans (950-1450) [edit]
The expansion of Islam continued in the wake of Turkic conquests of Asia Minor, the Balkans, and the Indian subcontinent.[3] The earlier period also saw the acceleration in the rate of conversions in the Muslim heartland while in the wake of the conquests the newly conquered regions retained significant non-Muslim populations in contrast to the regions where the boundaries of the Muslim world contracted, such as Sicily and Al Andalus, where Muslim populations were expelled or forced to Christianize in short order.[3] The latter period of this phase was marked by the Mongol invasion (particularly the siege of Baghdad in 1258) and after an initial period of persecution, the conversion of these conquerors to Islam.
Phase IV: Ottoman Empire: 13th Century - 1918 [edit]
See also: Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire defended its frontiers initially against threats from several sides: the Safavids on the Eastern side, the Byzantine Empire in the North which vanished with the fall of Constantinople 1453, and the great Catholic powers from the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and Venice with its eastern Mediterranean colonies.
Later, the Ottoman Empire set on to conquer territories from these rivals: Cyprus and other Greek islands (except Crete) were lost by Venice to the Ottomans, and the latter conquered territory up to the Danube basin as far as Hungary. Crete was conquered during the 17th century, but the Ottomans lost Hungary to the Holy Roman Empire, and other parts of Eastern Europe, ending with the Treaty of Carlowitz (1699).[12]
Phase V: (Post-Ottomans - present) [edit]
Islam has continued to spread through commerce, the activities of Sufi missionaries, and migrations; especially in Southeast Asia.[3]
By region [edit]

Age of the Caliphs
  Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632/A.H. 1-11
  Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632–661/A.H. 11-40
  Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750/A.H. 40-129
Arabia [edit]
At Makkah, prophet Muhammad is said to have received repeated embassies from Christian tribes.
Asia [edit]
Soon after the death of prophet Muhammad, all these provinces fell, one after the other, into the hands of the Muslims, who threatened, for a while, the entire extinction of Christianity in Western Asia. Due however to the tolerant attitude of the majority of the Umayyad, and the Abbasid caliphs of Damascus and Baghdad respectively, Christianity in the Muslim empire gradually began to experience a new and unprecedented level of revival and vigour. Nestorian and Jacobite theologians, philosophers, and men of letters soon became the teachers of the conquering Arabs, and the pioneers of Islamo-Arabic science, civilization, and learning. Nestorian physicians became the attending physicians of the court, and the Nestorian patriarch and his numerous bishops were regarded in Asia as second to none in power and authority.
Under the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs, Christianity enjoyed, with few exceptions, great freedom and respect throughout all the Muslim Empire, as can be seen from the facts and data collected by Assemani and Bar-Hebraeus, according to which many Nestorian and Jacobite patriarchs from the 7th to the 11th centuries received diplomas, or firmans, of some sort from prophet Muhammad himself, from Umar, Ali, Marwan, Al-Mansur, Harun al-Rashid, Abu Ja'far, and others. (Shedd, op. cit., 239-241; Assemani, De Catholicis Nestorianis, 41-433 sqq; Bar-Hebraeus, Chronicon Ecclesiasticum I, 309, 317, 319, 325; II, 465, 625; III, 307, 317, 229, 433, etc.; and Thomas of Marga, op. cit., II, 123, note:)

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