EI+08+ME+NAfrica+1453-1914

Shia muslims believe that the position of successor

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Unformatted text preview: across North Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Shi’a Muslims believe that the position of Successor to the Prophet should pass by inheritance to direct descendants of Muhammad. Shi’a Islam is the majority religion only in Iran and Iraq. (It originated in Iraq, and its most holy places are there). Shi’a Islam thinks of itself as the purest form of Islam—that it has not been corrupted by local practices. Spiritual leaders—and not representatives of the wealthy and powerful—are given the greatest respect. It is typical that it was not a military or political leader who led the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but rather a charismatic imam (prayer leader) Ayatollah Khomeini. Muslim Empires before 1453 Umayyad Empire Muhammad taught peace among all members of the Muslim community, but Muslim Arabs had no compunction against making war on their neighbors. Arab armies expanded throughout the Middle East like many other nomad invaders before them. The first Muslim Arab (Umayyad) Empire was the largest land empire up to that time. It included all the Middle East, North Africa, and what is now Spain. After a century (651-751), the government was overthrown and replaced by another ruling family, the Abbasids. The Abbasids controlled the Middle East and North Africa, while the Umayyads continued to rule Spain until 1492. Abbasid Emire The Abbasid Empire (751-1258) was a center of world trade and a synthesizer of Eurasian civilization. Abbasid merchants imported silk and porcelain from China; ivory, gems, and spices from India and Southeast Asia; gold and ivory from Africa; glass, linen, and pottery from Byzantium; horses and hides from the Steppe; and furs, wax, honey, and amber from the northern Eurasian forests. Arab and Persian artisans produced textiles, carpets, tiles, and paper. The Great Silk Road brought ideas as well as goods. From China came knowledge of astronomy and historical method, from India came mathematics, and from Greece came natural science, medicine, and philosophy. Muslim scholars made original contributions to all these fields, and they particularly excelled in algebra, chemistry, and medicine. The Abbasid Empire had a great impact on Europe. During the dark ages between the fall of Rome and the rise of Medieval Europe, Europeans lost knowledge of the science and philosophy of ancient Greece. Arabs translated Greek classics into Arabic and then into Latin. It was only after Europeans gained access to this knowledge that Medieval Civilization blossomed. After about 950 the Abbasid Empire began to decline, and it was unable to keep out migrations of Turkic nomads from Central Asia. In 1055 a nomadic federation known as the Seljuk Turks invaded and conquered the Middle East. However, they only seized political control, and left the Abbasid Caliph as the head of the Islamic community. The leader of the Seljuks was called the Sultan (“holder of power”), supposedly administering the empire on behalf of the Abbasids. The Abbasid dynasty and Caliphate was fi...
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This document was uploaded on 03/10/2014 for the course HISTORY 1020 at Wisc Platteville.

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