The Spread of Islam

• Student will demonstrate
knowledge of Islamic
civilization from about
600 to 1000 C.E. by
• Assessing the influence of
geography on Islamic
economic, social, and
political development,
including the impact of
conquest and trade
• Identifying historical turning
points that affected the
spread and influence of
Islamic civilization
• Essential Questions
• How did geography
influence the rapid
expansion of territory
under Muslim rule?
• How did political and
cultural geography
facilitate trade and cultural
activity in the early Islamic
• What were some turning
points that marked the
spread of and influence of
Islamic civilization?
 Islam swept across Arabian
Peninsula in 10 years
between the Hijrah and
Muhammad’s death
 Spread along trade routes
from Mecca and Medina
 Expanded great distances
despite geographical barriers
 Appeal
 Clear and straightforward
requirements for human
 Firm promises of heavenly
 All Muslims spoke Arabic
 Conversion
 Non-violent
 Toleration of Christian, Jews
 Violent
 After Muhammad’s death
 Caliphs urged jihads “holy wars”
to spread Islam
• In 632 C.E., the prophet
Muhammad passed away
without naming a successor
• The Muslim community elected
Abu-Bakr as their new leader
• Became the first caliph
• Reasons for military success
• Faith of the Muslims soldiers
• Armies were well-disciplined and
expertly commanded
• Weakness of the Byzantine and
Persian empires
• Persecution of Byzantine and Persian
• Saw Muslims as liberators
• The first four elected caliphs
used the Qur’an and
• Treatment of conquered peoples
Muhammad’s leadership to guide
• Many conquered people converted
to Islam
• called the rightly guided caliphs
• Used military force to assert
• Conquered the fertile crescent, parts
of the Byzantine and Persian empires
• By 750 C.E. empire over 6,000 miles
• Appeal, didn’t have to pay a poll tax
• Allowed others to retain religion
• 700s
• Use of “Greek Fire” by
• Prevented Muslim army from
conquering Constantinople
until 1453 C.E.
• 732 C.E.
• Battle of Tours
• Charles Martel
• Stopped Muslim expansion
into Europe
• Later Expansion
• The Crusades
• Jerusalem
• Damascus
• In 656 the third caliph
Uthman was murdered and
triggered a civil war
• Ali, Muhammad’s cousin
and son-in-law became the
4th caliph
• His rule was challenged
• Ali was murdered in 661 C.E.
• A family known as the
Umayyads came to power
• Set up a hereditary system of
• Moved capital to Damascus,
• Some Arab Muslims were
angry that the Umayyad's
abandoned the simple life
and surrounded themselves
with wealth and ceremony
• Led to a division in Muslim
• A minority group resisted • A third group called the
Sufi pursued a life of
Umayyad rule
• This group called the Shi’a
• Believed the caliph needed to
be a relative of Muhammad
• Those who followed the
rule of the Umayyad
became known as the
• Followers of Muhammad’s
poverty and devotion to a
spiritual path
• Tried to achieve direct
contact with God through
mystical means
• Similar to Christian or
Buddhist monks
• caliph should be chosen by
leaders of the Muslim
• viewed caliphs as leaders,
not religious authorities
• believed that the only true
successor to Muhammad
were descendants of
Muhammad’s daughter
and son-in-law (Fatima
and Ali)
• comprise 90% of Islam
• believed descendants
were divinely inspired
• most are located in Iran,
Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen
• 750 C.E.
• Shiites revolted against
Umayyaads created own
dynasty called
“Abbassid” dynasty
• Murdered remaining members
of Umayyad family
• One escaped and set up a
dynasty in Spain, merged with
Berber armies
• Moved new capital to
Baghdad in 762 C.E.
• Location on a key trade route
• Abbasid Dynasty
• Built strong bureaucracy
• Sent diplomats throughout the
• Caliphate would last from
750 C.E. to 1258 C.E.
• Baghdad fell to the Mongols
• Independent Muslim
states continued to spring
up in smaller regions
• Fatimid Dynasty
• Named after Muhammad’s
daughter Fatima
• Began in North Africa and
spread from Red Sea to
western Arabia and Syria
• Two major trading sea
trading zones
• Mediterranean Sea
• Indian Ocean
• Land network connected to
the silk road
• Contacts from China to Europe
and Africa
• Unification of Muslim world
• Single language- Arabic
• Currency- Abbasid dinar
• To encourage flow of trade,
Muslims set up banks
throughout the empire
• Early forms of credit and

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