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Teacher’s name: ___________________ Date of Lesson/Class/Period _____________
Subject: ____________________ Topic: ___________________________________
Concepts: Jihad, Mamluk, Caliph, Maghreb
General Objective[s]:
The student will demonstrate knowledge of Islamic civilization from
about 600 to 1000 a.d. by
...describing the origin, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of
...assessing the influence of geography on Islamic economic, social,
VA.HIST.WH.8.B and political development, including the impact of conquest and
...identifying historical turning points that affected the spread and
VA.HIST.WH.8.C influence of Islamic civilization, with emphasis on the Sunni-Shi’a
division and the Battle of Tours;
...citing cultural and scientific contributions and achievements of
Islamic civilization.
NCSS III: People, Places, & Environments
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of
people, places, and environments, so that the learner can:
a) refine mental maps of locales, regions, and the world that demonstrate
understanding of relative location, direction, size, and shape;
e) describe, differentiate, and explain the relationships among various regional
and global patterns of geographic phenomena such as landforms, soils, climate,
vegetation, natural resources, and population;
h) examine, interpret, and analyze physical and cultural patterns and their
interactions, such as land use, settlement patterns, cultural transmission of
customs and ideas, and ecosystem changes;
i) describe and assess ways that historical events have been influenced by, and
have influenced, physical and human geographic factors in local, regional,
national, and global settings
Learning Outcomes:
SWBAT (Identify) land area occupied by the different caliphates by shading in a
SWBAT (analyze) actions taken by the caliphate, by completing a chart of pros
and cons on key issues
SWBAT (Analyze) cultural and social changes resulting from conquest,
expansion, and assimilation
SWBAT (analyze) the Battle of Tours
SWBAT (analyze) the meaning of the word jihad, as presented to them in
multiple definitions.
Content Outline:
Jihad – holy war, struggle
Mamluk – slave soldier
Caliph – head of Muslim community
Maghreb – “the West,” referring to NW Africa in Muslim world
A map should be provided of the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The
students will observe the map on the screen in front of the room, and shade in the
area occupied by the Abbasid caliphate.
Need big sheets of paper, markers. Divide students into groups of 4. Give the
following definitions of the word Jihad, along with the historical explanation. Have
each group use markers, crayons, and paper to illustrate the definition. The
definition must also be written on the paper. 15 MINS
The Arabic word, jihad, is usually translated as "holy war" in English, but that is a
limited definition of the word, since the word does not always have a military
connotation. It is derived from an Arabic verb that means to strive, struggle, and work
hard, and in Islamic theology it is applied to the particular struggle that all Muslims must
undertake to protect and honour the Islamic faith. There are five types of jihad:
1. Jihad against oneself - the daily struggle against evil and temptation in life.
2. Jihad with knowledge - the struggle to use knowledge, particularly from the
Qur'an, to fight ignorance and to gain converts to Islam not through battle, but
through the power of Qur'anic knowledge.
3. Jihad with wealth - the struggle to give up material wealth for the benefit of
Islam, through charitable donations.
4. Jihad with the sword - the physical struggle to defend Islam against harm from
unbelievers. Muslims believe that if they give their lives in this military jihad they
will be rewarded with eternal paradise.
5. Jihad through righteousness - the struggle to continuously undertake good deeds
to please God and benefit humanity.
When the word, jihad, is used in a military context, as it often was in these early years of
Muslim conquest of non-Muslim lands, it refers to the fourth type of jihad, in which
Muslims take to the sword to defend Islam against unbelievers.
Students divide themselves into groups of four, then number themselves off. I will ask
questions taken from the Battle of Tours Document, and call on a number. That number
from each group will give their team's answer. The questions are attached electronically
The 'Abassid caliphate (758-1258) was founded on two disenfranchised Islamic
populations, non-Arabic Muslims and Shi'ites. The apparent secularism of the Umayyads
fueled the ascendancy of the Abbasids. The Umayyads had always been outsiders—as a
wealthy clan in Mecca, they had opposed Muhammad—and the secularism and sometime
degeneracy that accompanied their caliphate weakened the legitimacy of their rule for
many devout Muslims.
The Abassids took their name from al-'Abbas, a paternal uncle of Muhammad and early
supporter of the Prophet. As early as 718 AD, during the reign of Umar II, Muhammad
ibn 'Ali, a great-grandson of al-'Abbas, began to proselytize in Persia to rally support for
returning the caliphate to the family of the Prophet, the Hashimites.
What made the 'Abassid seizure of the caliphate unique was the heavy reliance on client
Muslims, or mawali. The mawali were foreigners who had converted to Islam; because,
however, they were foreigners they could not be incorporated into the kinship-based
society of Arabs. They had to be voluntarily included into the protection of a clan, that is,
they had to become "clients" of the clan (which is what the word mawali means). For the
most part, they were second-class citizens even though they were Muslims.
Think of a group of people that are relied upon by Americans, however, don’t
always fit neatly and easily into American society. Write down your answer and
your reasoning, then share with a partner. Answers: Immigrants / non-English
speakers, elderly, minorities.
What does the concept of MAWALI tell you about Arab society?
LECTURE: 5 MINS. TOPICS: Muslim Multi-culturalism
The overwhelming majority of foreigners who rallied to the Hashimite cause were
Iranian. When the Abassids took power, the center of Islamic culture shifted from the
Semitic world in Arabia and Syria to the Iranian or Persian world in Baghdad, Iraq. By
shifting the capital from Damascus to Baghdad, the Abassids brought about a dynamic
fusion of Persian and Semitic culture.
As with Umayyads, they separated themselves from the general Islamic populace, but
they surrounded themselves with foreigners rather than Arabs, particularly in the military.
This bred bitter resentment, particularly among Arabs.
The Umayyads, however, did not take being removed from power lying down. In 756,
the Umayyads established a rival empire in Cordoba, Spain. They were aided in their
seizing of power by North Africans and, in particular, Berbers, who became known as
Moors. The Umayyad caliphate flourished in Spain for the next three centuries and the
Islamic culture that grew here, the Spanish/African Moorish culture, was dramatically
different from the Iranian-Semitic desert culture that grew up around the 'Abbasid
DISCUSSION: Roughly 10 Minutes
What are some risks when two have equally strong capitals differ greatly in
geography and culture?
Answers: Ethnic/racial tension, political and social division, economic weakness,
lack of unity
The 'Abassids only came to power with the help of diverse and disaffected minority
populations, not those associated with traditional Arab culture. Their control over the
world of Islam unravelled quickly with the first threat came with the establishment of
Umayyad rule in Spain. Because of its distance, any military reconquest of the area was
infeasible. Soon after, rival Islamic states were set up by Berber Kharjites in North
Africa in 801.
Another issue facing the Abassids can be summed up with the phrase, “Don’t bite the
hand that feeds you.”
The Shi'ites were a particular thorn in 'Abassid rule; the 'Abassids had come to power by
using both Shi'ite help and rhetoric. The Shi'ites, however, were not a single, unitary
group, and the 'Abassids abandoned their ties to the Shi'a beliefs. Efforts were made to
make peace with moderate Shi'ites, but these soon broke down. An uprising in Mecca in
786 led to a massacre of Shi'ite 'Alids—the survivors, however, fled to the western region
of Africa, or the Maghreb, and established a new and independent kingdom, the Idrisid
By the beginning of the ninth century, the caliph's control over the Islamic world was
beginning to crumble. It was into this increasingly bleak picture that al-Mamun suddenly
Abd Allah, or al-Ma'mun, had not been named as a successor to the caliphate—this
instead fell to his brother, Muhammad, called al-Amin. The brothers soon fell out,
however, and al-Mamun seized the caliphate in 813. With most of his time trying to
pacify both internal and external conflict involving Shi'ites, he seems to have just held the
caliphate together. There are, however, two great innovations that irrevocably changed
the course of Islamic history.
The first was a military revolution begun by his brother, al-Mu'tasim. The constant
revolutions and the deep division in Islamic society convinced al-Ma'mun that he needed
a military force whose only loyalty was to him. So his brother, who would later become
caliph (833-842 / 218-27), assembled a military force of slaves, called Mamluks. Many
of the Mamluks were Turkish, who were famous for the horsemanship, but the Mamluk
military also consisted of Slavs and some Berbers. By the middle of al-Wathiq's reign,
the Mamluk army had completely displaced the Arabian and Persian army under the
caliph. This army, caused bitter resentment among Muslims.
More importantly, al-Ma'mun energetically patronized Greek, Sanskrit and Arabic
learning and so altered the cultural and intellectual face of Islam.
DIRECTED QUESTION: What are some direct results of conquest and
assimilation on Islamic society and culture?
ANSWERS: Multi-cultural learning, new ethnic groups, new military techniques, a
general parting from strictly Arab culture.
It was here that Hellenistic and Indian works made their way into Islamic culture
through a series of translations. Islam incorporated into its culture and belief the
philosophical method of inquiry of the Hellenist world—it is for this reason that
philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle were passed on to succeeding generations. This
incorporation led to a new Islamic intellectual practice, faylasafa, or philosophy, based
on principles of rational inquiry and to some extent empiricism.
The two hundred year phase of cultural, linguistic, religious, and governmental
hegemony that began with Muhammed came to a halt by the end of the Abbasid
caliphate. This force, with spread throughout Iran, Arabia, North Africa, and some of the
Hellenistic and European worlds, began to break down as early as the latter Umayyad
caliphs. This came due in part to the assimilation of different cultures, and the resulting
distance between Islamic rulers and Semitic origins. One example of this is the
implementation of Mamluk armies. By the end of the Abbasid caliphate, the cultural and
political world of Islam was shattered and fragmented into a plethora of disunified
The unit exam is coming up. As the beginning of the review, each student is to formulate
5 hypothetical multiple choice questions for the exam. They are to be turned in at the end
of class.
Student and Teacher Activities with Estimated Time Blocks:
Attendance – the
teacher should use
this time to take
attendance and
address any
Offering Assistance Facilitating
Discussion – the
teacher will facilitate
the discussion by
supplementing the
question with
additional ones.
Offering Assistance –
the teacher should
patrol the classroom,
offering assistance
where needed and
answering questions
that may arise.
Shading in Map – students will shade in
the map of the Middle East, following the
provided directions. This should take
them a decent amount of time.
Instructional Strategy – students will
divide themselves into groups of 4 and
complete the Battle of Tours documents.
They will read the excerpts and each
member will answer a question. The
students will reconvene and discuss
each answer.
Group discussion – students will be given
the question and will discuss their
Notetaking – students will listen
attentively to the lecture and take notes.
Generating exam questions – using their
own paper, students will generate 5
hypothetical exam questions. They will
turn them in as an EXIT PASS
Materials Needed for the Lesson:
 Handouts of the Map
 Copies of Tours Documents (2)
Methods of Evaluating Student Progress/Performance:
Students will formulate several hypothetical exam questions, revealing to the
teacher what the students perceive as important. Also, the discussion, document
analysis questions, and maps provide evidence of understanding.
Differention for Special Needs:
None for this lesson
Subject Matter Integration/Extension:
This period of Islamic Civilization is one of decentralization, fragmentation, and
decline. It will be built upon in future course lessons because this Muslim
disunity plays a role in the emergence of European superpowers.
Reflections/PPT’s in Lesson:
This lesson presents information in a variety of ways, providing multiple avenues
of comprehension. It includes direct lecture, multi-media, guided notes, and
graphic organizers. It has room for differentiation based on student readiness.
Finally, it allows students to draw their own conclusions.
Medieval Sourcebook:
Arabs, Franks, and the Battle of Tours, 732: Three Accounts
[Davis Introduction]
The following opinion was expressed about the Franks by the emir who conquered Spain,
and who---had he not been recalled---might have commanded at Tours. It shows what the
Arab leaders thought of the men of the North up to the moment of their great
disillusionment by "The Hammer."
From an Arabian Chronicler
Musa being returned to Damascus, the Caliph Abd-el Melek asked of him about his
conquests, saying "Now tell me about these Franks---what is their nature?"
"They," replied Musa, "are a folk right numerous, and full of might: brave and impetuous
in the attack, but cowardly and craven in event of defeat."
"And how has passed the war betwixt them and thyself? Favorably or the reverse?"
"The reverse? No, by Allah and the prophet!" spoke Musa. "Never has a company from
my army been beaten. And never have the Moslems hesitated to follow me when I have
led them; though they were twoscore to fourscore."
Isidore of Beja's Chronicle
[Davis Introduction]
The defeat of the Saracen invaders of Frankish lands at Tours (more properly Poitiers) in
732 A.D. was a turning point in history. It is not likely the Muslims, if victorious, would
have penetrated, at least at once, far into the north, but they would surely have seized
South Gaul, and thence readily have crushed the weak Christian powers of Italy. It is
very unfortunate that we do not possess scientific accounts of Charles Martel's great
victory, instead of the interesting but insufficient stories of the old Christian chroniclers.
Then Abderrahman, [the Muslim emir] seeing the land filled with the multitude of his
army, crossed the Pyrenees, and traversed the defiles [in the mountains] and the plains, so
that he penetrated ravaging and slaying clear into the lands of the Franks. He gave battle
to Duke Eudes (of Aquitaine) beyond the Garonne and the Dordogne, and put him to
flight---so utterly [was he beaten] that God alone knew the number of the slain and
wounded. Whereupon Abderrahman set in pursuit of Eudes; he destroyed palaces, burned
churches, and imagined he could pillage the basilica of St. Martin of Tours. It is then that
he found himself face to face with the lord of Austrasia, Charles, a mighty warrior from
his youth, and trained in all the occasions of arms.
For almost seven days the two armies watched one another, waiting anxiously the
moment for joining the struggle. Finally they made ready for combat. And in the shock of
the battle the men of the North seemed like North a sea that cannot be moved. Firmly
they stood, one close to another, forming as it were a bulwark of ice; and with great
blows of their swords they hewed down the Arabs. Drawn up in a band around their
chief, the people of the Austrasians carried all before them. Their tireless hands drove
their swords down to the breasts [of the foe].
At last night sundered the combatants. The Franks with misgivings lowered their blades,
and beholding the numberless tents of the Arabs, prepared themselves for another battle
the next day. Very early, when they issued from their retreat, the men of Europe saw the
Arab tents ranged still in order, in the same place where they had set up their camp.
Unaware that they were utterly empty, and fearful lest within the phalanxes of the
Saracens were drawn up for combat, they sent out spies to ascertain the facts. These spies
discovered that all the squadrons of the "Ishmaelites" had vanished. In fact, during the
night they had fled with the greatest silence, seeking with all speed their home land. The
Europeans, uncertain and fearful, lest they were merely hidden in order to come back [to
fall upon them] by ambushments, sent scouting parties everywhere, but to their great
amazement found nothing. Then without troubling to pursue the fugitives, they contented
themselves with sharing the spoils and returned right gladly to their own country.
Chronicle of St. Denis
The Muslims planned to go to Tours to destroy the Church of St. Martin, the city, and the
whole country. Then came against them the glorious Prince Charles, at the head of his
whole force. He drew up his host, and he fought as fiercely as the hungry wolf falls upon
the stag. By the grace of Our Lord, he wrought a great slaughter upon the enemies of
Christian faith, so that---as history bears witness---he slew in that battle 300,000 men,
likewise their king by name Abderrahman. Then was he [Charles] first called "Martel,"
for as a hammer of iron, of steel, and of every other metal, even so he dashed: and smote
in the battle all his enemies. And what was the greatest marvel of all, he only lost in that
battle 1500 men. The tents and harness [of the enemy] were taken; and whatever else they
possessed became a prey to him and his followers. Eudes, Duke of Aquitaine, being now
reconciled with Prince Charles Martel, later slew as many of the Saracens as he could
find who had escaped from the battle.
From: William Stearns Davis, ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from
the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13), Vol. II: Rome and the West,
pp. 362-364.
The Battle of Tours:
October 10, 732 AD marks the conclusion of
the Battle of Tours, arguably one of the most
decisive battles in all of history.
A Moslem army, in a crusading search for
land and the end of Christianity, after the
conquest of Syria, Egypt, and North Africa,
began to invade Western Europe under the
leadership of Abd-er Rahman, governor of
Spain. Abd-er Rahman led an infantry of
60,000 to 400,000 soldiers across the
Western Pyrenees and toward the Loire
River, but they were met just outside the city
of Tours by Charles Martel, known as the
Hammer, and the Frankish Army.
Back to the "Beginnings of Germanic
Christianity" Chronology
Back to "Omayyad Dynasty" Chronology
Martel gathered his forces directly in the path of the oncoming Moslem army and prepared
to defend themselves by using a phalanx style of combat. The invading Moslems rushed
forward, relying on the slashing tactics and overwhelming number of horsemen that had
brought them victories in the past. However, the French Army, composed of foot soldiers
armed only with swords, shields, axes, javelins, and daggers, was well trained. Despite the
effectiveness of the Moslem army in previous battles, the terrain caused them a
disadvantage. Their strength lied within their cavalry, armed with large swords and lances,
which along with their baggage mules, limited their mobility. The French army displayed
great ardency in withstanding the ferocious attack. It was one of the rare times in the Middle
Ages when infantry held its ground against a mounted attack. The exact length of the battle
is undetermined; Arab sources claim that it was a two day battle whereas Christian sources
hold that the fighting clamored on for seven days. In either case, the battle ended when the
French captured and killed Abd-er Rahman. The Moslem army withdrew peacefully
overnight and even though Martel expected a surprise retaliation, there was none. For the
Moslems, the death of their leader caused a sharp setback and they had no choice but to
retreat back across the Pyrenees, never to return again.
Not only did this prove to be an extremely decisive battle for the Christians, but the Battle of
Tours is considered the high water mark of the Moslem invasion of Western Europe.
A Dictionary of Battles, Eggenberger, David. Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1967
Battlefields of Europe, Edited by David Chandler. Hugh Evelyn Ltd,1965
The Cambridge Medival History Volume IV, Planned by J.B. Bory, M.A., F.B.A., edited by
J.R.Tanner, Litt.D., C.W. Previte-Orton, M.A., Z.N. Brooke, M.A. New York The MacMillan
Company, 1923