The significant spread of Islam in early Arabia begins in 622 CE. in Medina. The Prophet Muhammad and his followers were bitterly persecuted by the Arabs in Makkah and subsequently migrated to Medina. There, with the help of the local Jews and Christians the first Islamic State was established.
Legend on map:
Ottoman Empire 1923
Ottoman Empire 1683
Safavid Empire mid-6th C.
Safavid & Uzbeks mid-16th C.
Rightly Guided Caliphs 632-661
Umayyad expansion 661-750
Abbasid expansion 750-1258
Mughal Empire mid-16th C.
Islamic Golden Age from 622 – 1700’s.
Islam, as a political system, was established as a Government where Jews, Christians, Muslims and pagans lived together under alliances that afforded peace and tolerance. The Prophet made many political alliances that allowed communities of peoples from other faiths and political systems to play an active role in the Islamic Government.
During Abu Bakr’s term, the Islamic Government in Arabia was surrounded by two super-powers, the Great Roman Empire and the Persian Empire. Both Empires were very cruel and oppressive of their people. With the help of key players (Christians) within those empires, Abu Bakr liberated considerable portions of both Empires, which made valuable additions to the State and established a sound system of justice.
While Europe was going through the Dark Age, the Islamic State began to blossom into a Golden Age, offering freedom and opportunity for people of all ethnicities and faiths. During the first 115 years of the Abbasid Caliphate, (from 750 to 1258 CE) the State saw a record growth in the fields of the arts of literature and music, the sciences (especially astronomy), philosophy, mathematics, medicine, culture, commerce, and industry. Arabic, the language of the Qur’an became the language of international scholarship. In addition to the capital, Baghdad, many provincial centers competed with each other in intellectual attainment. Modern cultural practices such as the use of napkins and dessert after meals originated from the Islamic State.
In 751 CE, with the help of a few Chinese prisoners, the Abbasid governor of Samarqand founded the paper industry. In 800 CE paper mills were established in Baghdad and Damascus. In 900 CE one was established in Cairo. By 1150 CE several were established in Morocco and Spain. As a result, Islamic learning spread rapidly into Europe and much of today’s western learning is based from this Islamic Golden Age.
In 756 CE, Amir Abd ar-Rahman came to power in Spain. His term also contributed to the Islamic Golden Age. He organized a system of law and justice and was very fond of knowledge and learning. Great architecture advancements came from his term as he built magnificent Masjids and other buildings. Countries from all over Europe sought the knowledge and learning from Spain during his term. Islamic Universities were the only educational institutions free of charge.
In 830 CE the seventh Abbasid Caliph, al-Mamun, established the famous House of Wisdom in Bagdad. The Greek language gave way to Arabic as a form of expression of scientific and philosophical ideas. Classical Greek literature was translated into Arabic and Arabic speaking scholars wrote a number of renowned commentaries.
At the awakening of Medieval Western Europe, the scholars first turned to Arabic translations of Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy and many others. In order to enrich Christian Europe in scientific, medical and philosophical studies, these works had to be retranslated into Latin. This was mainly done in Muslim Spain and Sicily and these books served as textbooks in universities for centuries.
-Article by BrJimC © 2003