mmw3-lec7 - 4/14/2010 (Wed) Lecture SevenPre-Islamic Arabia...

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Lecture Seven—Pre-Islamic Arabia Key Questions: 1. 1) How did the historical and geographic setting in which Islam emerged shape its fundamental orientation? 2. 2) How should we understand one scholar’s claim that “Islam was born in the full light of history”? 1. a. Founding not shrouded in mystery, obscurity or controversy 2. b. Spiritual founder was also a full-fledged secular leader 3. c. Distinct historical identity as a new religious community - Islam born with full light of history; most other religion were pass thru orally & mythology - Muhammad: Full fledge secular leader(political matter) - Umma: religious communities (political identities) I) The Socio-political Landscape of Pre-Islamic Arabia a) The Geopolitical Setting i) Byzantine-Sassanid Conflict -2 immense empires - Byzantine: eastern roman empire; spread to Egypt - Sassanid in Persia (7 th century); Iraq & Iran - Rivalry for the territory (conflict) - History of pre-Islamic Arabia was connected to fluctuation of byzantine-Sassanid conflict - Fighting-> generally when Arabia became more prominent - Peace in the 5 th (1) 608-627—last major escalation of conflict under emperor Heraclius - Offensive toward Sassanid( push to the Iraq) - Byzantine dominated this time but exhausted both empires (resources & will to fight ; cost & tired) - Left both empires to the debilitative state 1. (2) Internal turmoil due to religious schisms - Played in both empires in early 7 th century - byzantine: religious schism ex) Syria = another group of Christians called monophaisites: divinity and humanity of Jesus came together in Jesus as individuals/ not separate Different Christian groups that Byzantine have to content with Religious different = difficulty in the governing - Sassanid had similar problem with religion Adopted astronism as their state religion Because of the territory, they had to cover Christianity and Jewish Eroded their authorities They also looked emperor as divine; Christians & Jews claimed it! - Not only conflict undermine the state power & religion also contributed to their decline of Byzantine & Sassanid-> lead to the rise of Islam(no challenge because 2 empires declined) ii) Effect on Arabia (1) Hijaz corridor - Important for trade
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mmw3-lec7 - 4/14/2010 (Wed) Lecture SevenPre-Islamic Arabia...

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