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Islam: Its Origin and Early Expansion - Assignment Example

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In the paper “Islam: Its Origin and Early Expansion” the author analyzes Islam, which unified the tribal groups of Arabia and its sphere of influence increased with more and more people being drawn to the new religion. By the beginning of the eighth century, Islam had spread from India in the east to Spain in the west…
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Islam: Its Origin and Early Expansion
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Download file to see previous pages This change was mainly brought about by the new religion of Islam. "Islam exploded upon the world with the sudden force of a desert whirlwind."1(Hyslop 1991,18) 
It is indubitable that Islam brought many different peoples together because of its emphasis on charity. Arabia was peopled by the nomadic Bedouin tribes as well as the traders and merchants who lived a settled life. The Bedouins were poor and had a hard life, while the traders and merchants lived a settled life of comfort. Trade routes from many countries crossed in South Arabia. Luxury goods like silk, spices, and precious stones were brought from India and China by the Arab dhows, which then were transported by land, in caravans to the empires of the Mediterranean and Europe. The Arab traders who controlled the trade from India and China to the Mediterranean and European countries became very rich. The greed of the rich was increasing while the poor people suffered untold hardships. In 613 A.D, when Mohammad first started preaching his new religion, with its emphasis on charity to the poor, it appealed to the rich and poor alike. Many people converted to the new religion.
Another reason for the rapid rise of Islam was that religion was not separate from politics in Islam. According to Goldschmidt, "Religion was a corporate experience, a community of believers bound together by adherence to a common set of laws and beliefs, rather than a private and personal relationship between each person and his maker. Religion and politics were inextricably intertwined."2 (Goldschmidt 2005, 106) At the time, the Byzantine Empire with its capital at Constantinople, and the Sassanian Empire, had both become impoverished by constant wars. The weakened conditions of the formidable empires made it easy for the Islamic warriors to conquer new lands. "The fierce efficiency of the desert warriors and their fervor under Islam contributed to the explosive campaign of conquest."3 (Hyslop 1991, 40)
The appeal of the new religion was very great- it attracted people from all walks of life. The basic rules required to be followed by the followers of Islam, who were called Muslims, were only five, and they were very simple. The first rule was, acknowledging that there is only one God who is called Allah and that Mohammad was his prophet. The second rule was to pray five times a day facing Mecca. The third rule was to fast during the month of Ramzan. The fourth rule was to pay zakat, a kind of charity, and the fifth rule was to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a Muslim's lifetime. The rewards for observing these simple rules were quite attractive for the Arabs.  ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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