Keith Carson, Adjunct Professor, History & Humanities

Atlantic Cape Community College     c. December, 2003

Heritage of the Western World


Islamic History & Literature (610-950)


Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Mohammed ibn Abdallah (610)                                               Mohammed’s revelations would

rcvd.  vision from God (Allah)                                                later form basis of Qur’an


ummah moves from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina)                     hadith (sayings of the Prophet)


Jews of Medina refuse to accept Mohammed as                      sunnah (practice of the Prophet)



Battle of Badr (624) Muslims intercept Meccan



Mohammed commands Muslims to pray towards        Sources of Authority in Islam

Mecca rather than Jerusalem (624)

                                                                                    1. Qur’an: direct word of Allah as revealed

Jewish tribe of Qaynuqah  unsuccessfully revolt                     to Mohammed

Against Mohammed (625)

                                                                                    2. sunnah: example of the Prophet (includes

Battle of Uhud (625) Meccans (Quraysh) defeat                     hadith, or sayings of Mohammed


                                                                                    3. shariah: body of Islamic law as interpreted

Battle of the Trench (627) Muslims defeat Meccans    by theologians over the centuries (development

                                                                                    of Islamic jurisprudence ceased about 10th c.)

Mohammed and followers makes hajj to Mecca

(March, 628)                                                                4. ijma: consensus of Islamic scholars and

                                                                                    theologians on a particular issue

Mohammed marches on Mecca after Quraysh violate

Treaty (630)


Mohammed dies (632)


Rashidun (632-661)                                                    Sahih Bukhari , or Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Ismail                                                                                            bin Ibrahim bin al-Mughira al-Ja’fai, The Book of

Abu Bakr (632-34)                                                      Knowledge; collection of sayings (ahadith) of the Prophet

Umar ibn al-Khattab (634-44)                                    Muhammad; also known as the sunnah

Uthman ibn Affan (644-56)


wars of riddah (apostasy); various tribes                    

attempt to split from ummah


Battle of Qadisiyyah (637) Arabs defeat

Persian armies


Islamic History                                                                                   Islamic Literature


Battle of Yarmuk (636) in northern Palestine;

Muslims defeat Byzantines


Muslims conquer Jerusalem (638)


Muslims occupy Syria, Palestine, Egypt (by 641)


Umar assassinated (November, 644)                                       Abu Amr al-Dani (d.1053); wrote

                                                                                                down Qur’an which had been

Uthman assassinated (656)                                                      assembled during Uthman


fitnah (time of temptation); five year

civil war (656-661)


Ali ibn Abi Talid (656-661) Mohammed’s cousin,

son-in-law, and closest male relative, fourth caliph


Ali assassinated by a Kharajite extremist (661)

Muawiyyah (661-80) moved capital of his caliphate

from Medina to [Umayyad] Damascus, Syria


Umayyad Dynasty (661-750)


Umayyad troops occupy Medina (683)


Kharajite rebels establish independent state in                         Abu Hanifah (699-767) pioneer of

central Arabia (684)                                                                 fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence; study

                                                                                                and application of sacred Muslim law

Abd al-Malik (685-705) reasserts Umayyad rule


Dome of the Rock completed in Jerusalem (691)


Hasan al-Basri (d. 728) begins Muslim tradition of

disciplined interior life with opposition to government


Wasan ibn Ata (d. 748) student of Hasan establishes moderate

Mutazilites school with emphasis on justice of Allah

(rationalistic theology, or kalam)


Abu Hanifah (699-767) adherent of Murjites school of Islam;                 Abu Numas (c. 756-810)

Muslim convert who championed the new discipline of                           great Arab poet

jurisprudence (fiqh)






Islamic History                                                                                   Islamic Literature


Mohammed ibn Ishaq (d.767)                                                 ibn Ishaq “Biography of the

Muslim historian; started to collect ahadith                             Messenger of God”


Ibn Ishaq wrote biography of the Prophet, Mohammed


al-Walid I  (705-17) caliph who ruled at the height of             Umayyad Poets

Umayyad power and success                                                   (661-750)

                                                                                                1. al-Farazdaq

Charles Martel defeats Muslims at Poitiers (732)

                                                                                                2. al-Akhtal

Umar II (717-20)

                                                                                                3. Jarir

Yazid II (720-24)


Hisham I (724-43)


Mansur II (    ) last Umayyad caliph


Abbasid Dynasty (750-935)                                                    Abbasid revolution

                                                                                                The “New Poets”

Abu al-Abbas al-Saffah (750-54) first Abbasid                                   (750-935)


                                                                                                1. Abu Nuwas

Abbasids muster support in Iranian provinces

(743)                                                                                        2. Abu al-Atahiyah (d.828)


Abbasids occupy Kufah (749)                                                 3. Dibil (d. 872)


Abu Jafar al-Mansur (754-75) murdered Shii

rulers considered enemies                                                        al-Jahiz (d.869) notable for

                                                                                                Arab prose; founder of adab

al-Mahdi (775-85) moved capital from                                                literature; rationalist school

Damascus to Kufah, and then to Baghdad


Harun al-Rashid (786-809) patron of arts & scholarship                     Abbasid Renaissance (literary

who inspired a cultural renaissance                                         criticism, poetry, philosophy,

                                                                                                medicine, mathematics, astronomy)

Ali Zayn al-Abidin (d. 714)

                                                                                                Abu Musa al-Ashari (875-935) The Elucidation

Mohammed al-Baqir (d. 735)                                                  of Islam









Islamic History                                                                                   Islamic Literature


Zayd ibn Ali (d. 740) political activist killed

in uprising against Umayyads


Jafar al-Sadiq (d. 765) reaffirmed and developed

the doctrine of nass (imam was a spiritual leader)


Malik ibn Anas (d. 795) inspired                                             Malik ibn Anas (d.795) founder

founding of Maliki school (madhhab) preserved                                 of Maliki school of Islamic

original sunnah of Prophet’s ummah; became                         jurisprudence

prevalent in Medina, Egypt, N. Africa


Mohammed Idris ibn al-Shafii (d.820) all jurisprudence                      Mohamed Idris ibn al-Shaffi (d.820)

should be based on the ahadith                                                           revolutionized study of fiqh by

                                                                                                establishing usul (principles)

civil war (809-13) between al-Rashid’s sons                           of Islamic law; founder of

                                                                                                Shafii school of Islamic law

al-Mamun (813-33)

                                                                                                Abu al-Atahiyah (d. 828)                                                                                                                                 Abbasid poet

Shii rebellion in Kufah and Basrah (814-15)

                                                                                                Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780-833)

Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 833) became folk hero after                hadith collector, legist, and

being imprisoned as a member of the populist group               leading figure of ahl al-hadith;           

ahl al-hadith                                                                            Hanbali school of Islamic


al-Mutasim (833-42) strengthened army by making

them his personal corps                                                                       Al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj  (d.922):

                                                                                                The Crucifixion of a Mystic; taught

                                                                                                path of mystical union with Allah;

                                                                                                embraced fana, or the extinction of

                                                                                                personal consciousness; executed in

                                                                                                Baghdad in 922; considered Sufi martyr


Abu al-Hasan al-Ashari (d. 935) attempted to reconcile                      Dibil (d. 872) Abbasid poet

Mutazilites and Hadith People

                                                                                                Yaqub ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (d. 870)

Al-Mutawakkil (847-61)                                                          Faylasuf, or philosopher


Abbasid decline (900-950)                                                      al-Mutannabbi (915-55) court poet

                                                                                                to governor of Damascus


                                                                                                Abu Nasr al-Farabi (d.950) philosopher

                                                                                                The Attainment of Happiness


Source: Karen Armstrong (2002/2000). A Short History of Islam. New York: The Modern Library,

                                Chapters 1 and 2; and, M.A.R. Habib, ed. (2003). Islamic History and Literature.

                                Camden, NJ: Rutgers University, Graduate School.





Islamic History & Literature (950-1500)


Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


inability to maintain a unified                                                 Faylasuf Abu Ali ibn Sina (980-1037),

Arabic Islamdom (935-1258)                                                  known as Avicenna in the West; disciple

                                                                                                of al-Farabi; believed that “…a prophet

by 10th c. (900s) it was clear that Islam                                  was the ideal philosopher, not merely a

could no longer effectively function as                                  purveyor of abstract rational truth for

a single political unit                                                               the masses;” prophet had insights not

                                                                                                dependent on discursive thought; ibn

caliph remained nominal head of the ummah                         Sina was interested in Sufism and saw

and retained symbolic, religious function; in                          mysticism as an experience of the divine;

reality the various regions of the empire were                        mysticism was a form of knowledge that

governed independently by amirs, war lords,                                    could not be attained through logic

shahs, sultans, and other rulers

                                                                                                Abu Jafar al-Tabari (d.923): Muslim

Ismaili Fatimids: break-away caliphate based in                    historian; made no attempt to synchronize

Egypt; controlled North Africa, Syria, much of                     competing versions of Muhammad’s life,

Arabia and Palestine                                                               but simply juxtaposed rival versions

                                                                                                giving them equal value


                                                                                                The Spanish Renaissance

                                                                                                ibn Hazam (994-1064) developed

Turkish army officers (amirs) ruled Iraq, Iran,                       simpler piety relying solely on ahabith

Central Asia; various amirs established dynasties                  and discarded complex fiqh and meta-

in what were actually independent states, but paid                physical philosophy; poet; Spanish

homage to the Abbasid caliph as the ultimate                        renaissance poetry resembled the French

ruler of the ummah                                                                 troubadour courtlt tradition


Seljuk Turks seize power in Baghdad  (1055)                        Faylasuf Abu al-Walid Ahmad ibn Rushd

                                                                                                (1126-1198): rationalist; influenced

Cairo, Egypt; Baghdad, Iraq; and, Cordova, Spain               Jewish/Christian as well as Muslim thinkers

become major centers of Islamic scholarship and                   (e.g. Thos. Aquinas, Maimonides, Albert

culture                                                                                     the Great); ibn Rushd was also a qadi (judge

                                                                                                of Shariah law) and a devout Muslim;

Cordova, Spain experiences a cultural renaissance                 known in West as Averroes); no contra-

despite the collapse of the Umayyad caliphate in                  diction between religion and philosophy,

Spain (1010); Spanish caliphate broke up into a                     but religion was for everybody while

number of rival, independent courts                                       philosophy should be reserved for the few


Abu Bakr al-Kalabadhi (d.990): native of

                                                                                                Bukhara and lawyer; disciple of one of al-

                                                                                                Hallaj’s friends; wrote The Doctrine of the



Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Seljuk Turks in Fertile Crescent were ruled by                       Ibn Hazam (994-1064): born in Cordova;

Persian vizier Nizamulmulk (r.1063-1092); wanted                family had converted from Christianity to

to use Turks to reunite and rebuild old Abbasid                    Islam; fled Cordova when Berbers invaded

empire; too late to revive Baghdad as its agriculture              leading life of seclusion and contemplation;

was in irreversible decline; new Seljuk empire that                later became vizier to the caliph in Valencia,

emerged was decentralized and power distributed                and served in the same capacity in Cordova;

among local amirs and ulama                                                 imprisoned several times for political reasons;

                                                                                                devoted last years of his life exclusively to

during the 10th century ulama established the first                scholarship and writing; The Dove’s Necklace

madrasahs (schools for the study of the                                and A Philosophy of Character and Conduct

Islamic sciences) throughout the Seljuk empire

                                                                                                Al-Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj (d.922):

Nizamulmulk creates Nizamiyyah madrasah                         controversial figure in early Sufism;

in Baghdad (est. 1067)                                                           developed a form of mysticism focusing on

  1. promoted standardization and homogenous               fana, or the extinction of personal

Muslim lifestyle; and,                                                       consciousness, and other attempts to bridge

  1. fostered uniform shariah courts and legal system      the abyss between Allah and the individual;

to some he appeared blasphemous because

after the demise of the Abbasid caliphate the empire                        of his emphasis of the mystical union with

became more Islamic; Muslims began to view them- Allah; spent many years traveling and

selves as part of an international Islamic community,            teaching before being arrested, imprisoned,

represented by the ulama, and coextensive with the              and executed in Baghdad for his unorthodox

whole of Dar al-Islam (lands controlled by Muslims)            beliefs


at first, the ulama adapted the shariah to changing               Al-Kalabadhi: disciple of one of Al-Hallaj’s

temporal circumstances; religion is always conditioned         friends; native of Bukhara; authored a work

by the culture in which it appears; as issues arose they          considered an important and popular collection

were reconciled with:                                                              of Sufi theory and lore

  1. Qur’an
  2. sunnah (practice of the Prophet)                                 al-Ghazzali (1058-1111): wrote a definitive,
  3. hadith (sayings of the Prophet)                                   voluminous work on Sufism
  4. qiyas (analogy)                                                           
  5. istislah (public interest)                                              
  6. ijtihad (consensus of individual reasoning)                 ibn al-Arabi (1165-1240)

Spanish theologian and mystic;

Islamic law was closed by the 10th century; closing            The Bezels of Wisdom

of the door of ijtihad


                                                                                                al-Maarri (973-1057): poet and

                                                                                                man of letters; al-Maarri is often viewed

                                                                                                as skeptical, negative, pessimistic, even

                                                                                                unholy; perhaps he is better interpreted as

                                                                                                world-weary, longing for union with Allah

Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Shariah, or Islamic law, from sharii literally meaning            during Muhammad’s life he acted as

the path” or “the way”; decided matters related to:             supreme judge and interpreter of legal

  1. ethical/moral questions; issues of right conduct         and doctrinal issues as Prophet of
  2. religious doctrines and duties                                     Allah
  3. marriage and other social relations
  4. criminal law                                                                 Schools of Islamic Jurisprudence
  5. property and inheritance                                             1. Malik (750-95): orthodoxy; emphasized

interests of the community and practice of

by the early 10th century all four schools of Islamic               ummah in Medina

law were consolidated                                                                        2. Hanifah (699-767): rationalist school;

                                                                                                relies on ijtihad, or individual reasoning

Two Branches of Islam                                                         3. al-Shafii (d.820): first jurist to systematize

  1. liberal tradition: primarily the Islamic literary and      sources of Islamic law

philosophical tradition; more lenient (e.g. Sufism)           4. Hanbal (d.833): most orthodox, Sunni

  1. conservative tradition: orthodox Islam especially      school of law; systematic analogical method;

as embodied in the shariah, or legal tradition                  finding Qur’anic analogies; reason by

                                                                                          extension; qiyas (analogies)

Umayyad caliphs claimed sole authority to interpret

law which put them at odds with the ulama


Kalam, or discussion, based on Islamic assumptions,

of theological questions; often used to describe the

tradition of Muslim scholastic theology; basic Islamic

usul (principles) were settled by the 9th century

  1. absolute unity of Allah; Qur’an was created, and

did not exist externally

  1. for Allah to be just/righteous, humans must have


  1. Allah rewards the righteous and punishes evil
  2. someone who is a sinner is neither a believer nor

an unbeliever

  1. commanding right (promoting justice) and opposing

 the wicked












Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Islamic Sects

1.Sunni: Muslim majority who revere the four rashidun and             ibn Tufayl (b.1110) Alone on a

validate the existing political order; based on the sunnah, or             Desert Island

practice of the prophet

2. Shii: belong to the Shiah i-Ali, or Partisans of Ali; they believe

that Ali ibn Abi Talib, the Prophet’s closest male relative, should

have ruled in place of the rashidun; revere a number of imams

who are the direct male descendants of Ali and his wife, Fatimah,

the Prophet’s daughter; their difference from the Sunni majority is

purely political

3.Sufi: mystical tradition of Sunni Islam; ultimate goal of Sufism is

unification with Allah; annihilation of self to achieve unification with

the divine; can only be achieved through direct experience and not

through language



Decline of Abbasid Empire                                                  Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazzali (d.1111)

Samanids (819-1005)                                                              protégé of vizier Nizamamulmulk, lecturer at

Hamanids (905-1004)                                                             Nizamiyyah madrasah in Baghdad, expert in

Fatimid Caliphate (907-1171)                                                 Islamic law (shariah) suffers nervous break-

Buyids (932-1062)                                                                  down in 1095; diagnosed by physician with

Shaddadis (950-1174)                                                                        deep-seated emotional conflicts; Ghazzali

                                                                                                was profoundly distressed because although

radical Ismailis, dissatisfied with the Fatimid Empire,           he knew a great deal about Allah, he did not

begin guerilla raids (jihad) in 1090, seizing Seljuk Turk         know Allah himself; al-Ghazzali retreats to

strongholds                                                                             Jerusalem to practice Sufi exercises; returns

                                                                                                to Iraq 10 yrs later and writes his masterpiece,

radical Ismailis (hashishin, or “assassins”) in full-scale          Iyah alum al-Din (The Revival of the Religious

revolt by 1092; establish state around Alamut (c.1092-         Sciences)in which he states that only ritual

1242)                                                                                       and prayer could give humans direct                                                                                                              knowledge of Allah; theology (kalam) and Sufism    becomes popular movement; no longer                       Falsafah could not give us certainty about confined to the elite; pirs (group leaders) led                         the divine; Iyah recast shariah rules (re: eat-Muslims in dhikr(chanting of Divine Names);               ing, sleeping, washing, hygiene, and prayer)

pirs lived in khanqah(convents)and instructed                       as devotional exercises and ethical    

the people in the town mosque or in a madrasah                   imperatives that enabled Muslims to achieve

                                                                                                interior islam and cultivate a perpetual

Seljuk Turks capture large regions of Near East                     consciousness of the divine as advocated in

including Anatolia (Byzantine province) in the 11th                    the Qur’an

century bringing Islam with them 






Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


new Sufi orders (tariqahs) formed that                                  Yahya Suhrawardi (d.1191) establishes a

transcended particular regions with branches                         School of illumination (al-ishraq) at

throughout Dar al-Islam                                                          Aleppo; true philosophy was marriage

                                                                                                of Falsafah (philosophy) and interior

tariqahs were a source of Islamic unity in                              transformation through Sufism; reason

a decentralized empire; tariqahs served as                             and mysticism must go hand-in-hand;

a model for brotherhoods and artisan guilds                          developed doctrine of alam al-mithal,

(futuwwahs) both of which were influenced                          or “the world of pure images;” a trance or

by Sufi ideology                                                                     dream-like hypnogogic state


death of Turkish sultan (1092) and subsequent                      Spanish theosopher, Muid ad-Din ibn

collapse of Seljuk empire reduces pressure on                        al-Arabi (d.1240) also urged Muslims

Byzantium; Byzantine Emperor, Alexius, appeals                  to discover their alam al-mithal, and

to western Christians to assist in re-capturing                        taught that the way to Allah was through

Anatolia                                                                                  the creative imagination; believed anyone

                                                                                                could be a Sufi; all Muslims should look

from mid-11th century to mid-12th century western                for the hidden, symbolic meaning of

Christians systematically suppress and forcibly exile Qur’anic scripture

Muslims from North Africa, Tunis, Italy, Sicily, and

Spain causing a Muslim diaspora


Seljuk Turks conquer and captrure Syria from                       al-Hariri (1054-1122): greatest writer in

Fatamids (1070)                                                                      maqamah form, a fusion of folk literature

                                                                                                and more sophisticated adab form;

Seljuk Turks devastate Byzantines at the Battle of                Encounters in Oriental Cities

Manzikurt (Anatolia) in 1071


The Crusades


Council of Clermont, France in 1095; Pope Urban II                        ibn Jubayr: left post in Valencia in 1183

exaggerates Muslim threat against eastern Christianity;         on pilgrimage to Mecca in repentence

calls crusade, or “just or holy war,” against Seljuk Turks       for drunkenness; wrote a journal called:

whom he accuses of defiling and destroying Christian          A Pilgrimage to Mecca

churches; several weeks later Urban II expands objective

of crusade to include the conquest and capture of


                                                                                                Firdausi (c.941-1020) Persian epic poet;

First Crusade (1096-1099) Christian forces capture               The Epic of the Kings

Jerusalem and parts of Palestine and Syria


Imad ad-Din Zangi, amir of Mosul and Aleppo, drive Christians

out of Armenia


Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Second Crusade (1147-1149) troops of Louis VII of France                        Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

and Conrad II of Holy Roman Empire set out to quell rebellion       (d.1123)

of Muslims in Syrian province of Edessa; Christians are

crushed by Seljuk Turks and only a fraction of the original force

even reaches its objective


Kurdish general, Yusuf ibn Ayyub Salah ad-Din                               Farid ud-Din Attar (1119-1229):

retakes Jerusalem from the Crusaders (1187)                                     The Conference of the Birds


Third Crusade (1189-1192) some of Europe’s most powerful rulers

(e.g. Richard the Lion Hearted; Philippe Augustus of France, and

Frederick Barbarossa) embark on a mission to reconquer Jerusalem

after its capture by the Muslims; Christians conquer Acre and Jaffa,

but Jerusalem remains in Muslim control


Children’s Crusade (1212)                                                                  Jalan al-Din Rumi (1207-1273):

                                                                                                            Sufi mystic; although victimized by

Impact of Crusades on West:                                                             the Mongols, he expressed the 

  1. may have contributed to decline of feudalism                       boundless energy of the Mongol

because of large number of European monarchs and                         warriors; Rumi’s spirituality was

other nobles who were killed in battle or who squandered                suffused by a cosmic sense of

 large sums of money on thecrusades                                                 homelessness and separation from

  1. fostered re-emergence of trade between east and                  Allah; the pain of separation drives

west, although trade revival would have occurred anyway               humans to the search for Allah;

  1. inspired idealism and heroism among Christians                    by divesting oneself of egotism
  2. corrupted Christian spirit and released religious                     and selfishness, we find Allah for

intolerance                                                                                           that is all that remains; Rumi was

  1. soured relations between Muslims and Christians                  known as “the drunken Sufi;” he
  2. precursor of future expansionist, imperialist, and                   sought ecstasy in dancing, music,

aggressive policies by the West towards the East                              poetry, and song; Rumi founded

                                                                                                            the Sufi order of Mawlanah, also

Zangid Principality (1127-1185)                                                         called the Whirling Dervishes;

                                                                                                            Rumi summoned Muslims to

Impact of Crusades on East:                                                               live beyond themselves, and to

  1. devastated the Muslims of the Near East                               transcend the routines of daily life;
  2. for vast majority of Muslims in Iraq, Iran, Central Asia,

Malaya, Afghanistan, and India, the Crusades were remote border


  1. demonstrated the growing weaknesses of the Abbasid empire

and the Seljuk Turks


Mongol chieftain Genghis Khan building a world empire (1220-1500)



Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Mongol general, Hulegu, pursues Muhammad,                     

Shah of the Kwarazmian Turks (1200-1220),                         by the 14th century observance

and his son, Jalal al-Din, from 1219 to 1229                          of the shariah was the only form

across Iran, through Azerbaijan and into Syria                       of piety accepted by all Muslims:

                                                                                                Shii, Sunni, and Sufi

in 1231, Mongols begin a series of raids on Muslim

cities: Baghdad, Alamut, Bukhara, Seljuk dynasty                ibn al-Athir (d.1233) wrote Great History;

of Rum                                                                                    witnessed Mongol invasion


in 1250, Mamluk (Turkish slave corps) amirs lead                  in the 14th century the ulama began

successful coup d’etat against the Ayyubid state,                  to represent the shariah as having been in

establishing an empire in the Near East                                  place from the very beginning of Islamic

                                                                                                history; hence, they were content that the

Mamluk Empire (1250-1517)                                                  “gates of ijtihad” were closed; the ulama

                                                                                                of the 14th century transformed the

Baibars, sultan of Egyptian state, defeats Mongols               pluralism of the Qur’an into a hardline

at Ain Jalut in 1260                                                                 communalism

                                                                                                1. non-Muslims forbidden from entering

Mongols create four large states in Islamdom owing             Medina and Mecca

allegiance to Kublai Khan in China; greatest political            2. making offensive remarks about the

upheaval in the Middle East since Arab invasions of the       Prophet Muhammad became a capital

7th century                                                                               crime

  1. Il-Khans (descendants of Hulegu): Tigris-Euphrates 3. foreigners (i.e. non-Muslims) were

river valley and highlands in Iran; Khanate of the Il-Khans  suspect and viewed as dangerous to

(1255-1353)                                                                            Islamic orthodoxy

  1. Chaghatay Mongols established a state in Syr-Oxus basin;

Khanate of Chaghatay (1227-1370)

  1. White Mongol Horde was established in the Irtysh region;
  2. Golden Horde was around the Volga River (1226-1502)


Mongols become chief Muslim power in central Islamdom;              emergence of mujdadids (reformers)

two main political objectives:                                                             conservative reformers who attempted

  1. world hegemony; and,                                                                        to renew the faith to meet changing
  2. perpetuation of the ruling dynasty                                          circumstances


Mongol political ideology was militaristic and imperial; similar

to old absolutist polities of the Middle East; although in sharp

contrast with the egalitarianism of Islam, by the end of the 13th

and beginning of the 14th centuries all four Mongol empires had

 been converted to Islam





Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


militarization of Islamic society affected the                                     Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328):

perception and practice of the shariah;                                  great reformer of the post-Mongol

Mongol rulers forbade ulama from ijtihad , or “indepen-       world; hailed from an old family of

dent reasoning,” closing the gates of ijtihad; shariah            ulama who belonged to Hanbali

becomes in principle a closed system of established           madhhab and wanted to reinforce

rules so as not to jeopardize the dynastic law of the          the shariah; he declared that the

 ruling house; Muslims were obliged, therefore, to               Mongol converts to Islam were infidels

conform to the rulings of past authorities with no                  and apostates because they did not

immediate hope of a more liberal, organic interpretation       promulgate the shariah; he attacked

of the shariah; this led to an orthodoxy and conservative     Islamic developments and history

fundamentalism with respect to the shariah                           after the death of the Prophet Muhammad

                                                                                                and the rashidun as inauthentic (Shii, Sunni,

Muslims were exposed to Mongol political ideals that           Sufi); he wanted to revise the shariah to fit

were often recast in Islamic terms:                                         current times even if that meant discarding

  1. world conquest                                                           the fiqh that had developed over the
  2. system of imperialism                                                 centuries; Taymiyyah  advocated a return
  3. universal rule                                                               to Qur’anic fundamentals and sunnah, but
  4. mass destruction                                                         proved reactionary in his rejection of the

rich spirituality and philosophy of Islam;

lack of educational dialectic under Mongol rule;                   Taymiyyah was imprisoned for his views

rote learning in madrasahs                                                      and died in jail


“Muslim fundamentalists” today correspond to                     Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun (1332-1406):

the old pattern set by the mujdadids                                       saw successive dynasties fail in Maghrib

                                                                                                (western Islamdom); witnessed sickness

Timur (1336-1405): Turk from Syr Valley who                      and death of the plague; nomadic invasions

grew up in the Chaghaytay Mongol state in                           from Egypt into North Africa caused

Samarkand; known as Timur Lenk (Timur the                       massive devastation and destroyed

Lame) because of a pronounced limp, and                             traditional Berber society and culture;

as Timburlaine in the West, he seized power              Christian reconquista of Muslim Spain;

in the declining Chaghaytay empire and in the                      probably last great Spanish Faylasufs;

late 14th century conquered lands from Iran                           ibn Kahldun’s great innovation was

to Russia before finally being killed in                                   applying philosophic principles (rationalism)

China in 1405; Timur’s main preoccupation                           to the study of Islamic history; he believed

was the restoration of order and his rule                                that under the flux of historical contigencies

produced a brand of Islam that was bigoted,                         lay universal laws that governed the course

cruel, and violent                                                                    of civilizations; asibiyyah (group solidarity)

                                                                                                enabled people to survive during times of

Christians conquer Muslim Cordova, Spain                           socio-economic and cultural crises;

in 1236                                                                                    developed a cyclical historiography based

                                                                                                in socio-economic class and temporal flux;

Christians drive Muslims from Seville, Spain             ibn Kahldun’s masterpiece was

in 1248                                                                                    Maqaddimah: An Introduction to History


Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Sultanate of Dehli established during 13th                                       Urdu Poetry

century and by the early 14th century Islam                            Early Period of Urdu Poetry

was firmly rooted in the Ganges basin as far                          (1200-1700)

as Bengal; most Hindus accepted Muslim                              began to develop as literary language

supremacy                                                                               in Deccan area of south India where it

                                                                                                was used alongside Persian (official

Osmanlis, or Ottomans, conquer Bursa in 1326                     language under Mughal rule); early

                                                                                                form of Urdu poetry known as Dakhini;

Ottomans seize Iznik in 1329                                                 last great poet to make substantial use

                                                                                                of Dakhini was Vali (c.1668-1707)

Ottomans conquered the greater part of the                           whose verse marks origin of Urdu poetry

Byzantine Empire by 1372 establishing their                         proper

capital at Edirne (Adrianople) and reducing

the Byzantine emperor to a dependent ally


Murad I (1360-1389): Ottoman sultan attacks

Bulgaria and Serbia in the Balkans in 1372 using

yeni-cheri, or Janissary (“new troop,” slave corps)


Timur subjugates all the Iranian mountainous

regions and the Mesopotamian plains by 1387


Ottomans defeat Serbian army at Kosovo Field in

1389; although Murad I is killed during the battle,

the Serbian Prince Hrebeljanovic Lazar is captured

and executed (Lazar is considered a martyr by Serbians

even today; his execution instilled a deep hatred of Muslims

among the Serbians)


Timur conquers the old Golden Horde in Russia

in 1395


Timur invades India in 1398; massacred

thousands of Hindu prisoners and devastated



Muslims construct the Alhambra palace at

Granada in mid-14th century


Timur defeats Ottomans at Angora in 1402






Islamic History                                                                       Islamic Literature


Mehmed II (1451-1481): Ottoman                                         Kritovoulus the Greek; History of

ruler conquers Constantinople in 1453                                   Mehmed the Conqueror


Christians defeat Muslims in  city-state of

Granada in 1492



Sources: Karen Armstrong (2002). A Short History of Islam. New York: The Modern Library;

M.A.R. Habib, ed. (2003). Islamic History & Literature. Camden, NJ: Rutgers University; and, William H. McNeill and Marily Robinson Waldman, eds. (1973). The Islamic World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press