With the death of Muhammad, the Muslim community was faced with the problem of succession. Even 'Uthman, whose policies had such a divisive effect, was essentially dedicated more to the concerns of the next world than of this. Because the circumstances of each revelation were thought necessary to correct interpretation, the community, early in the history of Islam, concluded that it was imperative to gather as many traditions as possible about the life and actions of the Prophet so that the Quran might be more fully understood. Although the religious authority of the 'Abbasid caliphate remained unchallenged, the next four centuries saw political power dispersed among a large number of independent states: Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids, Buwayhids, Ziyarids, and Ghaznavids in the east; Hamdanids in Syria and northern Mesopotamia; and Tulunids, Ikhshidids, and Fatimids in Egypt. Nizam-al-Mulk was the patron of the poet and astronomer 'Umar al-Khayyam (Omar Khayyam), whose verses, as translated by Edward FitzGerald in the nineteenth century, have become as familiar to English readers as the sonnets of Shakespeare. According to one tradition it was in this area that Satan urged Abraham to disobey God's command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Many also make the sa'y or running, a reenactment of a frantic search for water by Hagar when she and Abraham's son Ishmael were stranded in the valley of Mecca until the Angel Gabriel led them to water in the Well of Zamzam. Photo: A forest of eight hundred and fifty pillars connected by Moorish arches lines the great mosque of Cordoba. Six months later, when Britain withdrew and formation of the State of Israel was proclaimed, the Arabs went to war against the newly declared nation. One reason is that the cursive nature of the Arabic script and certain of its other peculiarities made its adaptation to printing difficult and delayed the introduction of the printing press, so that the Arab world continued for some centuries after the time of Gutenberg to rely on handwriting for the production of books (especially the Quran) and of legal and other documents. In addition to education, contact with the West led to improvements in medical care and the introduction of Western techniques in agriculture, commerce, and industry. Of much greater importance to Islam, however, was 'Uthman's compilation of the text of the Quran as revealed to the Prophet. On the side of Medina from which attack was expected they dug a trench too deep for the Meccan cavalry to clear without exposing itself to the archers posted behind earthworks on the Medina side. An important part of this framework was the millet system - essentially a division of the empire into a communal system based upon religious affiliation. Click on these beautiful images & start exploring the theme/value behind it. At the start of the Islamic era two types of script seem to have been in use - both derived from different forms of the Nabataean, alphabet. Still other intellectuals, such as the Egyptian Muhammad 'Abduh and his Syrian disciple Rashid Rida, undertook to reform the Muslim educational system and to restate Islamic values in terms of modern concepts - needs deeply felt by most Muslim thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the first half of the tenth century the 'Abbasid vizier Ibn Muqlah completed the development of kufic, established some of the rules of shape and proportion that have been followed by calligraphers since his time, and was first to develop what became the traditional classification of Arabic writing into the "six styles" of cursive script: naskhi (from which most present day printing types are derived), thuluth (a more cursive outgrowth of naskhi), rayhani (a more ornate version of thuluth), muhaqqaq (a bold script with sweeping diagonal flourishes), tawqi' (a somewhat compressed variety of thuluth in which all the letters are sometimes joined to each other), and ruq'ah (the style commonly used today for ordinary handwriting in most of the Arab world). Photo: Books of fables, often illustrated, served a dual purpose to instruct and to entertain. The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Bernard Lewis was the Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of many critially acclaimed and bestselling books, including two number one New York Times bestsellers: What Went Wrong? And what is after them, 650-900 (age of the Caliphate) Islamic world united as Caliphate: ca. When Europe found a new route to India - thus eliminating the traditional transshipment of goods through the Arab regions of the empire, revenues began to fall, triggering inflation, corruption, administrative inefficiency, and fragmentation of authority. history-info@mit.edu, Not offered regularly; consult department, Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa, Cities in the Middle East: History, Politics and Society, Minorities and Majorities in the Middle East. The demands on trade also generated development of crafts. One of the main distinctions between the hajj and the 'umrah is that the 'umrah can be done at any time of the year, while the hajj must be performed on specified dates. The pilgrims may also, at this point, remove the ihram dress and bathe. Although the Suez Canal, for example, has been of immense value to Egypt, the profits for nearly a century went to European shareholders in the company that managed the canal. Photo: This tughra (monogram or insignia) of the Ottoman Sultan Abdu Hamid shows the three elongated vertical strokes which are characteristic of this style. The result was to wipe out much of the priceless cultural, scientific, and technological legacy that Muslim scholars had been preserving and enlarging for some five hundred years. At their peak they ruled North Africa, the Red Sea coast, Yemen, Palestine, and parts of Syria. A Quranic verse in the kufic script, for example, may be written so that it forms the picture of a mosque and minarets. Photo: Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock, built in 691-692. There were specific agencies charged with keeping pay records; others concerned themselves with the collection of taxes. In Lebanon missionaries from several countries founded a network of schools and universities. These messages and revelations culminated in Islam and in Muhammed as the last Prophet. It enshrines the duty of social responsibility by which well-to-do Muslims must concern themselves about those less fortunate. After the prophet Muhammad’s death in … This is exactly what happened. The standing is not the end of the hajj, but is the culmination of a Muslim's devotional life. Such rights were also given to some administrators or governors in place of, or in addition to, salaries, thus insuring a regular collection of revenues and reducing record keeping. As he could no longer rely on the loyalty of his army, al-Mu'tasim recruited an army of Turks from Transoxania and Turkestan. To cement social bonds further, Islam has instituted zakat al-fitr, an obligatory levy in the form of provisions or money for the poor, so that they can share in the joy of 'Id al-Fitr. By mid-century they had taken Russia, Central Europe, northern Iran, and the Caucuses, and in 1258, under Hulagu Khan, they invaded Baghdad and put an end to the remnants of the once-glorious 'Abbasid Empire. 'Abd al-Malik's organization of government agencies was also important; it established a model for the later elaborate bureaucracies of the 'Abbasids and their successor states. The Ghaznavids patronized al-Biruni, one of the greatest and most original scholars of medival Islam, and the Hamdanids, a purely Arab dynasty, patronized such poets as al-Mutanabbi and philosophers like the great al-Farabi, whose work kept the flame of Arab culture alive in a difficult period. During this period, from 750 to 950, the territory of the Muslim Empire encompassed present-day Iran, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, North Africa, Spain, and parts of Turkey and drew to Baghdad peoples of all those lands in an unparalleled cross-fertilization of once isolated intellectual traditions. To the west, they took North Africa, in a continuation of the campaign led by 'Uqbah ibn Nafi' who founded the city of Kairouan - in what is now Tunisia - and from there rode all the way to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This consists of two simple white seamless garments symbolizing a state of purity; in donning it pilgrims make a declaration of pilgrimage and pronounce a devotional utterance called the talbiyah: "Here I am, O God, at Thy Service" - in Arabic the joyous cry "Labbayk!" Islam in Middle Eastern Societies The Muslim populations of the Middle East make up only 44% of the total world Muslim population of the world (see “Muslim-Majority Countries of the Middle East” chart). More importantly, traditional values are still deeply cherished and promoted. The Constitution of Medina - under which the clans accepting Muhammad as the Prophet of God formed an alliance, or federation - dates from this period. Realizing that the original message from God might be inadvertently distorted by textual variants, he appointed a committee to collect the canonical verses and destroy the variant recensions. After the battle of al-Yamamah in 633, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, later to become the second caliph, suggested to Abu Bakr, the first caliph, that because of the grievous loss of life in that battle, there was a very real danger of losing the Quran, enshrined as it was in the memories of the faithful and in uncollated fragments. They collected and corrected previous astronomical data, built the world's first observatory, and developed the astrolabe, an instrument that was once called "a mathematical jewel." 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