Today we will cover the religion of Islam! Cool! I didn’t know anything about Islam, Muhammad, or Muslims(up until now that is:). And now hopefully you will learn something. The order of this post will go as follows:
- Basics of Islam
- the Four Caliphates
- Islamic Sects
- Abbasid – Present time
There is another thing I need to say, that I would like to thank my teacher Mr. Fish, and that some of what I am saying was said by him. Now, on with the post!
First up: Muhammad
Muhammad Abdullah was born in Mecca close to the shrine of Ka’ba which is in modern-day Saudi Arabia just three years after the peace treaty was signed by Persia and Byzantium. His parents died when he was still quite young, so his uncle raised him. In his early 20’s he married a wealthy widow, and probably with some help from his wife, he became a prosperous merchant. In 610 AD at the age of 40 he had what some people call his First Revelation, this message was said to have told him that he was going to be the prophet of a new church and for him to go and prophesy. Unfortunately, he was not accepted in Mecca because the religion that they followed was polytheistic (meaning more then one god) and Muhammad’s new religion was monotheistic (one god) which was, I guess, strange to them. They persecuted him for his teachings, and so he fled from Mecca for safety, and went to Medina. When he got to Medina, they were in a time of civil war so when Muhammad taught them this new religion they, surprisingly, accepted the religion! The idea of a new way or religion or idea was appealing to them, he eventually became their leader. Muhammad led them in battle when they took the city of Mecca (somehow), and they declared it Muslim. But it didn’t happen all at once they actually fought a couple battles.
The first Islamic pilgrimage was led by Muhammad in the year 632 AD, they walked from Medina to Mecca to visit the Ka’ba shrine. During the end of the pilgrimage Muhammad gave his farewell or final sermon, little did he probably know that it really was his final one, because he got sick and died just a couple months later. He was around the age 61-62 years old.
Next: the Basics of Islam
- The Muslims god is called “Allah”which actually translates to “God”
- Muslims are generally monotheistic and presume God created the world.
Islam has quite a few holy books, but the most known and recognized ones are the Qu’ran and the Hadith, and I will give a brief description on what they are.
The Qu’ran is: the word of Allah.
The Hadith is: a tool for understanding and using the Qu’ran.
Next: the Five Pillars
The Five Pillars are a set of requirements that every devoted Muslim must do.
- Shahadah – The creed a Muslim must recite
- Salat – The prayers to be said 5 times a day at least.
- Zakat – The giving of alms
- Fast of Ramadan – A fast in the ninth month on the Islamic calendar, only eating when the sun has gone down or before the sun rises.
- Hajj – The Islamic pilgrimage to be done at least once during their lifetime.
Next up: the Four Caliphates or Rashidun Dynasty
The Four Caliphates are in order from the time of the death of Muhammad to the splitting of the parties/groups which we will talk about soon.
- Abu Bakr – Father-in-Law to Muhammad
- Umar -Had successful military campaigns and expanded the Empire’s territory
- Uthman – Expanded the territory of the Empire even further!
- Ali – Very first male convert to Islam
Also during this time, Muslims were trying to expand to where France and Spain are today. This is called the Battle of Tours, the Franks as thy were known back then were victorious in fighting off the Muslims, even to point where they were kicked out altogether!
Now it’s time for the: Islamic Sects
There were some who considered Ali to have been the better or best choice for Caliph the first time choosing instead of Abu Bakr and the other two preceding caliphs, so because of that they split into 3 different groups (but the first two are more well known than the third) sects/parties or what ever you prefer to call them.
- Sunni – The people who believe Abu Bakr was the right choice for Caliph.
- Shia – The people who believe Ali was the right choice for Caliph.
- The mysterious people known as the Sufis. They believe in self-examination and focus on coming closer to Allah through prayer.
This is where there are 5 key stages are coming into play soon, they are:
- The Umayyad Dynasty
- The Rise of the Abbasid Dynasty
- The Fall of the Abbasid Dynasty
- Ottoman Empire
- Present time
Time for the: Umayyad Dynasty
The Umayyads ruled the Empire at its largest or peak. Really BIG! It is the 5th largest in history!
The Abbasid Dynasty
They placed their the empire’s capital in modern-day Baghdad. During this time the Muslim population rose pretty fast from about 40% to almost universal. Although the Abbasids did last for about 500 years, they started declining because of lazy and neglectful leaders. It did take a little while for them to decline all the way, but while that was happening…
Ottoman Empire – Present time
They didn’t come right after the Abbasids, but they did eventually become, also, one of the strongest of the empires in the world. They did last a bit longer than the Abbasids, but they too fell apart during and due to World War 1.
We are now in the 5th stage over 900 words later! WOW! Muslims are still in the 5th stage and still developing!
I hope you found this post informative!
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