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Spread of Islam
Rightly Guided Caliphs
The death of Muhammad in 632 presented a challenge for the
Muslim community.
Muhammad’s Successors:
• Muhammad had not named successor
• No clear candidate
Abu Bakr, close companion, father-in-law, early convert,
chosen leader, called caliph, “successor”, political & religious
leader of Muslim community, but not a prophet, area governed,
Rightly Guided Caliphs
The death of Muhammad in 632 presented a challenge for the
Muslim community.
• Abu Bakr focused on reunifying
Bedouin tribes
• Built strong Arab fighting forces to
keep tribes under control
• Reunified Arabia, jihad directed
towards north
Rightly Guided Caliphs
The death of Muhammad in 632 presented a challenge for the
Muslim community.
Expansion of territory:
• Abu Bakr’s, successor Omar, expanded Muslim rule rapidly
• 637 early victory against Persian forces in Iraq
• 642 victory over Persian Empire complete
Rightly Guided Caliphs
The death of Muhammad in 632 presented a challenge for the
Muslim community.
Reasons for expansion of territory:
• Prolonged drought on Arabian peninsula
• Desire of leaders to channel energies of new converts
• Meccan ruling elites desire to extend trade routes, control
surplus producing areas
• Desert fighting style
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Rightly Guided Caliphs
•After Iraq, Persia, Arab army faced wealthy Byzantine Empire to
•Byzantines first lost Damascus, Syria, Jerusalem
•639, Byzantine province of Egypt fell; 642, rest of Nile Valley
under Arab rule
Rightly Guided Caliphs
•Only 10 years after Muhammad’s death, followers had created
•Conquests continued under later caliphs
•661, caliphate stretched from northern Africa in west to Persia in
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Umar ibn Elkhattab:
• spread Islam to Syria, Egypt, and Persia
• redesigned government
• paid soldiers, held a census, made taxes more fair,
built roads and canals, aided poor
• assassinated
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Internal Conflict and Division:
•Deep conflict within Muslim leadership, began with
choice of Abu Bakr, caliph
•Some had supported Muhammad’s cousin, Ali
•644, Ali lost again, to Uthman, supported by powerful
Mecca clan Umayyad
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Internal Conflict and Division:
• Muhammad's son-in-law; wealthy merchant
• Member of Umayyad clan
• First years of rule were peaceful, but later had
financial problems
• Ordered the compilation of a definitive Qur'an
• Accused of nepotism
• Murdered by Egyptian rebels
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Ali’s Troubles:
•Umayyads had been Muhammad’s enemies, converted
reluctantly, were unpopular
•Uthman killed by rebels
•Ali became caliph, but troubles had just begun
•Civil war broke out between Ali’s forces, Umayyad; Ali
killed, Umayyad retook control
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Sunnis and Shias:
•Most Muslims accepted Umayyad caliph, Mu’awiya
•Called Sunnis, “followers of the Sunna,” or “way of the
•Ali’s supporters refused to go along with Umayyads
•Became known as the Shia, “party of Ali”
Rightly Guided Caliphs
The Shia and Imams:
Shia believed God had specially blessed Ali’s descendants
• Ali’s descendants, Muhammad’s true heirs
• Shia called each of Ali’s successors imam
– Imam means “leader”
– For the Shia, only imams can interpret the
Rightly Guided Caliphs
•Conflict deepened between Sunni, Shia after deaths of
Mu’awiya, Ali– 14 Umayyad caliphs
•Many thought Yazid, Mu’awiya’s son, successor, not a
good Muslim
•Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn, led rebellion against
•Husayn, forces defeated in battle at Karbala, Iraq
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Further Division:
•Husayn killed while holding infant son, battle became
known as the martyrdom of Husayn; split between
Sunni, Shia has remained bitter
•Third group developed within Islam—the Sufis
•Sufis seek mystical, personal connection with God,
using range of practices including breath control and
meditation in rituals
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Basic Differences Between Muslims:
Sunni Beliefs:
Early Caliphs
First four caliphs were rightful rulers
Muslim ruler
Only a descendant of Muhammad and Ali
may be imam, or ruler
Sources of
Qur’an, Sunna and teaching of imams
Rightly Guided Caliphs
Basic Differences Between Muslims:
Shia Beliefs:
Early Caliphs
Only Ali, Muhammad’s son in law, was
Muslim ruler
Any Muslim who follows Muhammad’s
example can be ruler
Sources of
Qur’an and Sunna of Muhammad
Umayyad Dynasty
Ruled from A.D. 680 to 750
Caliphal capital moved to Damascus, in prosperous province
of Syria
14 caliphs succeeded Mu'awiya
Umayyad Dynasty
Continued Expansion:
•Umayyads strengthened rule after death of Husayn
–Established Arabic as official language
–Made coinage uniform throughout empire
–Began first great work of Islamic architecture, Dome of
the Rock in Jerusalem
Umayyad Dynasty
Administrative Reforms:
-Caliph appointed governors to rule far-flung provinces
-Governors ruled from strong garrison towns
-Spoils from victories helped finance Umayyad government
Umayyad Dynasty
Military conquests:
•Armies conquered territory to borders of China, Indus River
Valley, to east
•Took northern Africa, most of Spain, to west
•Conquests spread Muslim faith, while allowing religious
freedom for People of the Book; some restrictions, taxes for
Non-Muslims however
Umayyad Dynasty
Ruling the Empire:
•Umayyads strengthened central government as caliphate
grew in size
•Arab Muslims became ruling class, with power, privilege
unavailable to those they conquered
•Creation of privileged class conflicted with strong Muslim
ideal of equality
•Wars over succession also upsetting to many faithful,
unhappy with emphasis on political ambition
Umayyad Dynasty
Ruling the Empire:
Instituted a three-level tax system:
1) Muslims: paid zakat
2) Muslim converts, considered mawali, paid higher tax than
3) Non-Muslims paid highest tax, jizya (security tax)
Umayyad Dynasty
End of Umayyad Dynasty:
• Displeasure with Umayyads widespread
• Shia continued opposition
• Also unrest among conquered people, some Arab tribes
• Many devout Muslims opposed extravagant lifestyles of
Umayyad rulers
• Persians resented secondary status in Umayyad empire
• Umayyads weakened by discontent, time ripe for rebellion
Umayyad Dynasty
•Abbasids, led by descendant of Muhammad’s uncle, united
many Umayyad opponents by appearing to support their
•Abbasids wiped out Umayyads in series of battles, late 740s
•Caliphate entered Abbasid dynasty
Abbasid Dynasty
•Abbasids relocated capital of caliphate; rulers lived in
•Chose Baghdad, on Tigris River, in present-day Iraq
Persian Influence
•Move to Baghdad beginning of end of Arab domination of
Muslim world
•Abbasids adopted Persian style of government
Abbasid Dynasty
•Rulers cut off from people
•Caliph hidden behind screen in throne room, could not be
•Used Persian officials; vizier, deputy, oversaw affairs of
Abbasid Dynasty
Change in Islam
•Nature of Islam changed
•Abbasids invited all to join in, turned Islam into universal
religion, attracted people of many cultures
Abbasid Dynasty
Importance of Trade
•Islam spread through trade
•Muslim traders journeyed from end to end of caliphate,
exchanging goods and information
•Exchange brought Islam to West Africa, Southeast Asia
•Trade helped fund cultural achievement
Abbasid Dynasty
•Most prominent Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid, helped
bring culture to great heights, 786 to 809
•Support of scholarship helped produce lasting
achievements of Islamic arts, sciences
Abbasid Dynasty
End of Unity
•As early as the 800s, Abbasid political power weakened. By
the 900s, a number of small, independent states broke away
from the caliphate.
Abbasid Dynasty
Challenges from Europe
•European Christians weakened Muslim rule
•Christian armies began to drive Muslims out of Spain,
•European Christians began Crusades
–Wanted to make Holy Land Christian, won at first
–Muslims eventually retook Jerusalem
Abbasid Dynasty
Problems from Egypt
•969, serious threat, Fatimid dynasty established in Egypt
•Claimed descent from Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah
•From Egypt, controlled Mediterranean, Red Sea
•Disrupted Abbasid trade
•Fatamids soon richer, more powerful than Abbasids
Abbasid Dynasty
Problems from Egypt
•969, serious threat, Fatimid dynasty established in Egypt
•Claimed descent from Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah
•From Egypt, controlled Mediterranean, Red Sea
•Disrupted Abbasid trade
•Fatamids soon richer, more powerful than Abbasids
Abbasid Dynasty
Seljuk Turks and others:
Seljuk Turks
•Many non-Arabs among peoples of caliphate, including
•1055, Turkish Seljuks rose to power, took control of
•Seljuks were Sunni Muslims, supported Abbasid caliph
Abbasid Dynasty
War Against Byzantine Empire
•Seljuks defended Abbasids against Fatimids, went to war
against Byzantine Empire, defeated Byzantines at Battle of
•Seljuks would go on to create own empire
Abbasid Dynasty
Mamlukes and Mongols
•1200s, Mamluks took power in Egypt, Syria
•1258, Mongols destroyed Baghdad, killed Abbasid caliph;
caliphate finished
•Islam still a vital force, spread to India, Central and
Southeast Asia
Abbasid Dynasty