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Islamic History - Essay Example

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The history of foundation of Islam is clothed with the veils of legend and obscured by multiple conflicting accounts that make its true outline all but impossible to discern with any clarity.But it is incontrovertible that Northern-Arabia prior to Muhammad was a predominantly tribal environment, structured by exigencies of camel herding…
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Download file to see previous pages The history of foundation of Islam is clothed with the veils of legend and obscured by multiple conflicting accounts that make its true outline all but impossible to discern with any clarity. But it is incontrovertible that Northern-Arabia prior to Muhammad was a predominantly tribal environment, structured by exigencies of camel herding, trading, feuding, and raiding. The ‘civilized’ area of Arabia was not in the heartland where Islam was born, but rather had long been located in the coastal south and along the gulf. Inland, the only possible location for development of any sort of state was in the impoverished and remote region dominated by Mecca and the Quraysh clan, where ancient pilgrimage centers protected markets in perfume, leather, and other trade goods. But no such development occurred until the advent of Muhammad, who was born around 570, received his first revelations at the age of forty, undertook his momentous journey to Medina (the hijra) in 622 (year one in the Muslim calendar) and died in 632, having led his people in the conquest of the whole Arab peninsula, and having initiated their great and ultimately successful war against the surrounding Sasanid and Byzantine empires.The religion of Islam is from the Muslim point of view, “the religion of Abraham and Ishmael” the forefathers of the Muslims. According to Ibn al-Kalbi, who conveys also the belief of his predecessors, Ishmael settled in Mecca where he became the father of many children who supplanted the Amalekites of Mecca; to him is ascribed the origin of the Arabs.

Arabs. The Qur'an states that Abraham and Ishmael "raised the foundation of the House"

and established a "proper worship". The rites of the pilgrimage, the circumambulation,

the visitation of the lesser pilgrimage, the vigil of Arafat, the sacrifice of the she-camels

and the acclamation of the name of the deity "came down from the time of Abraham and
Ishmael", according to Ibn al-kalbi, and they constitute a part of the religion.(Tamara)

Islam had come upon the world scene in the seventh century in connection with the

explosion of Arabic-speaking, horse mounted warriors out of the Arabian desert under

the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad and his successors. The period of hemispheric

history from 1000 to 1500 A.D., what we will call the Islamic Middle Period, witnessed a

steady and remarkable expansion of Islam, not only as religious faith but as a coherent,

universalist model of civilized life. The spread of Islam into new areas of the hemisphere

during the Middle Period was given impetus by two major forces. One of these was the

advance of Turkish-speaking of Muslim herding people from central Asia into the Middle

East, a movement that began on a large scale with the conquests of the Seljuk Turks in

the eleventh century. The second force was the gradual but persistent movement of

Muslim merchants into the lands rimming the Indian ocean, that is, East Africa, India,

Southeast Asia and China, as well as into Central Asia and West Africa south of the

Sahara. A close look at the patterns of travel and migration in the post-Abbasid centuries

reveals a quiet but persistent dispersion of legal scholars, theologians, Sufi divines, belle-

lettrists, scribes and architects outward from the older centers of Islam to these new

frontiers of Muslim military and commercial activity. (Spencer)

The Islamic world in Ibn Battuta's time was divided politically into numerous kingdoms

and principalities. Muslims on the move regarded the jurisdictions of states as a necessary

imposition and gave them as little attention as possible. Their primary allegiance was to

the Dar al-Islam as a whole. The terrible Mongol conquests of Persia and Syria that

occurred between 1219 and 1258 appeared to Muslims to threaten the very existence of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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