Feb 23, 2016
SunniShia SplitBasic Differences Between Sunnis and Shia MuslimsSunniShia Believe that the first four caliphs were rightly guidedBelieve that Ali, the Prophets son-in-law, should have succeeded Muhammad Believe that Muslim rulersshould follow the Sunna, orMuhammads exampleBelieve that all Muslim rulers should be descended from Muhammad do not recognizethe authority of the SunnaClaim that the Shia havedistorted the meaning ofvarious passages in the QuranClaim that the Sunni havedistorted the meaning ofvarious passages in the Quran
The Sufi Sought direct personal contact with God through mystical meansmeditation and chanting. Similar to Christian and Buddhist monks. Kept Muslims focused on the Quran and tradition. Active as missionaries
Changing Status of WomenQuran improves status of womenOutlawed female infanticideBrides, not husbands, claim dowriesWomen given control over their own propertyWomen were granted rights of inheritance, half the rate of malesMarriage was considered a contract between consenting partiesWomen could sue for divorce - Yet male dominance preservedPatrilineal descentPolygamy permitted, Polyandry forbiddenVeil adopted from ancient Mesopotamian practicehonor killingsNegative images of women emerged
Formation of an Islamic Cultural TraditionIslamic valuesUniformity of Islamic law in dar al-IslamEstablishment of madrasasImportance of the HajjSufi missionariesAsceticism, mysticismSome tension with orthodox Islamic theologiansWide popularityDar al-Islam as a World SystemDar al-Islam or the Abode of IslamNot based on economic activity which is traditionally used to define a world systemBuilt on the shared traditions of all Muslimsthe Five Pillarsthe QuranHadiths and the ShariaArabic language
Factors that eased trade in the Muslim worldArabic as a common languageMuslim spread technology One-humped camel, saddleDhow: ship with lanteen (triangular shaped) sailCartography Hajj affected trade positively Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus cooperated in trade togetherCoins produced by governments made trade easier 5 pillars: hospitality to travelers, annual hajj created regular trade routesMuslim government protected trade and property for merchants.
The Islamic Civilization & Cultural EncountersEven after the Arab Empire fell apart, the Islamic civilization continued to growMajor areas of Muslim expansion: India, Anatolia, West Africa, and Spain
IndiaIslam brought to India by Muslim Turks from Central AsiaViolent invasions destruction of Hindu and Buddhist templesTheir conquests led to a series of Muslim-led governments in India
IndiaIslam never became the dominant faith in India like it did in the Middle East, North Africa, and PersiaVery sharp cultural divide between Islam and Hinduism prevented mass conversion
Islam vs. HinduismMonotheisticNo representation of AllahEquality of all believersSexual modestyPolytheisticEndless statues and images of the divineCaste systemSexual opennessDisillusioned Buddhists as well as low-caste Hindus and untouchables found the more egalitarian Islam attractive.
But in India, never more than 20 to 25 percent of the total population affiliated with Islam -Perhaps due to the sharpness of the cultural divide between Islam and Hinduism -Islam was radically monotheistic while Hinduism was surely polytheistic -Islams equality of all believers contrasted with the Hindu caste systemBut in the early sixteenth century, a new and distinct religious tradition emerged in India, known as Sikhism -It blended elements of Islam, such as devotion to one universal God, with Hindu concepts, such as Karma and rebirth
SikhismBlended Islam and HinduismDevotion to one GodHindu concepts = karma and rebirthGuru Nanak (1469-1539), the founder of Sikhism, declared, There is no Hindu and no Muslim. All are children of God.
Guru NankFounder of Sikhism
AnatoliaModern-day TurkeyWas governed by Byzantine Empire at the timeFilled with Christian & Greek-speaking peopleInvaded by the TurksResult = huge cultural transformationBy 1500 = 90% of the population was Muslim and Turkic-speaking
Conversion of AnatoliaSmall population of about 8 million people = easy to convertExtensive disruption of Anatolian society when the Byzantine Empire weakenedEnslavement, famine, massacres, church properties destroyed, many discriminationsMany Christians came to believe that these disasters were proof that Islam was the true religionConversion of AnatoliaCultural barriers to conversion were less severe in Anatolia than in IndiaMost people in Anatolia already monotheistic (Christian)Muslim respect for Jesus and the Christian scripturesDivide between Islam and Christianity not as major as the one between Islam and HinduismSufi missionaries also built: schools, mills, orchards, hospices, and rest places for travelersBut in Anatolia, the population by 1500 was 90% Muslim and largely Turkic-speakingAnatolia was the heartland of the powerful Turkish Ottoman Empire that had overrun Christian Byzantium -But Anatolias population was significantly smaller than Indias -The disruption of Anatolian society was more extensive as the Byzantine state had been fatally weakened -Even though Christians were seldom forced to convert, they suffered many discriminations such as being forbidden to ride saddled horses or carry swords -Some Christians came to believe that these disasters represented proof that Islam was the true religion (shared a common monotheism, too!)
The Turkish rulers of Anatolia built a new society that welcomed converts and granted them material rewards and opportunity for high office.
But Islamization did not completely eliminate the influence of Turkish culture -The tradition of a freer, more gender-equal life for women, common among pastoral people, persisted after the conversion to IslamIn West Africa, Islam accompanied Muslim traders across the Sahara rather than being brought by invading Arab or Turkic armiesIslams acceptance was largely peaceful and voluntary, lacking the incentives associated elsewhere with foreign conquestFor African merchant communities, Islam provided an important link to Muslim trading partners, much as Buddhism had done in Southeast Asia
West AfricaIslam spread by Muslim traders across the SaharaPeaceful and voluntary acceptance of IslamMainly in urban centers of West African empires Ghana, Songhay, Mali, etc.
West AfricaMany West African cities became major centers of Islamic religious and intellectual lifeEspecially TimbuktuMore than 150 Quranic schoolsSeveral major centers of higher educationLibraries with tens of thousands of textsConstruction of huge mosquesAdopted Arabic as the language of religion, education, administration, and tradeBy the sixteenth century, a number of West African cities had become major centers of Islamic religious and intellectual life, attracting scholars from throughout the Muslim world. Timbuktu had more than 150 lower-level Quranic schools and several major centers of higher education with thousands of students from all over West Africa.
SpainConquered by Arab and Berber forces in the early 700sEarly Muslim Spain:Vibrant civilizationAstronomy, medicine, the arts, architecture, and literature flourishedHarmony and tolerance between Muslim rulers and Christian and Jewish subjectsFreedom of worship
Spain10th and 11th centuries = end of the era of tolerationWarfare with remaining Christian states in northern Spain picked upMore rigid forms of Islam entered Spain from North Africa
Muslim Mosque ofCordoba, SpainSpain: New IntoleranceMuslims avoided contact with ChristiansChristian homes built lower than Muslim homesPriests forbidden to carry crosses or Bibles
SpainChristians started to regain Spain after 1200Many Muslims forced outNo more: call to prayer, public practice of Muslim faith, pilgrimagesChristians officially reconquered Spain in 1492ALL Muslims (and Jews!) expelled from Spain
The chief site of Islamic encounter with Catholic Europe occurred in Spain (called al-Andalus by Muslims). Spain had been conquered by Arab and Berber forces in the early eighth century but Islam did not overwhelm Christianity in Spain. Early toleration between Muslims and Christians gave way to increasing religious intolerance. That intolerance was perpetuated as Muslims were forced out of Spain during the Reconquest and in 1492, all Jews were likewise expelled.
West Africa did not experience the massive migration of Arab peoples that had promoted Arabization of North Africa and the Middle EastMoreover, in contrast to India and Anatolia, Sufi holy men played little role until at least the eighteenth centuryScholars, merchants, and rulers, rather than mystic preachers, initially established Islam in West AfricaIbn Battuta, a fourteenth-century Arab traveler, was appalled that practicing Muslims in Mali permitted their women to appear in public almost naked and to mingle freely with unrelated menAnd Sonni Ali, a fifteenth-century ruler of Songhay, observed Ramadan and built mosques but consulted traditional diviners
Islam as a New CivilizationEven after the fall of the Arab Empire: Islamic beliefs and practices preserved and transmitted by the ulama (Muslim scholars)Passed on core teachings of the faith in their homes, mosques, shrines, and Quranic schoolsMadrasas = formal colleges set up in the 11th century = offered more advanced instruction in the Quran
Islamic CivilizationIslamic Civilization = not only a network of faith, but also a network of exchangeExchange of: goods, technologies, food products, and ideas
Trade and the BazaarMuslims traded spices, carpets, glass & textilesTraded for silk (China); rubies (India); ivory and slaves (Africa)Goods were sold in city bazaars = marketplaces
At the core of Islamic civilization was a common commitment to IslamBeginning in the eleventh century, formal colleges called madrassas offered more advanced instruction in the Quran and the sayings of Muhammad as well as lawThe ulama were an international elite, and the system of education they created served to bind together an immense and diverse civilizationParalleling the educational network of the ulama were the emerging religious orders of the Sufis -By the tenth century, particular Sufi shayks, or teachers, began to attract groups of disciples who were eager to learn their unique devotional practices and ways of achieving union with Allah
The world of Islamic civilization was a network of faith but also a network of trade -In part, due to its central location in the Afro-Eurasian world -Commerce was valued by the Prophet Muhammad who himself had been a trader -The pilgrimage to Mecca also fostered commerce -The extraordinary spurt of urbanization that accompanied the growth of Islamic civilization also promoted tradeTechnology also diffused widely within the Islamic worldPhilosophical texts, especially from ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world, were translated into Arabic
The blending of Islamic civilization and other civilizations led to new contributions to learning. Using Indian numerical notations, Arab scholars developed algebra. They also undertook original work in astronomy and optics. They furthered developments in medicine and pharmacology. The first hospitals, traveling clinics, and examinations for physicians and pharmacologists also were developed within the Islamic world. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, this enormous body of Arab medical scholarship entered Europe via Spain.
QuestionsHow did the rise of Islam change the lives of women? What similarities and differences can you identify in the spread of Islam to India, Anatolia, West Africa, and Spain? Why was Anatolia so much more thoroughly Islamized than India? What makes it possible to speak of the Islamic world as a distinct and coherent civilization? In what ways was the world of Islam a "cosmopolitan civilization"?