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The Islamic World, 600-1500 CE
Overview, Key Understandings & Questions

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Relatability and promise of a better life in religious traditions attract converts and followers
  • Geography and previous cultural traditions impacted the spread of Islam
  • The relationship between religion and government can impact empirical stability, growth, and success
  • Dynastic rule can bring personal strife into governmental affairs
  • Religious division or fragmentation occurs as religion spreads geographically and there are various interpretations of leadership, key text, and doctrines
  • The relationship between religion and science changes over time
  • Preservation of Greek, Roman, and Indian academic achievements is significant to the continuation and advancement of knowledge
  • The religious identity of Spain impacts its empirical alignment and alliances throughout history
  • Religious text and interpretation of religious text can lead to differences in the practice of the religion across time and space
  • Strong bureaucratic systems positively impact the effectiveness of both civilizations and empires
  • Religious conflict negatively impacts the rule of the governmental system in place
  • Social stratification can lead to both stability and conflict

Key Questions

The Rise of Islam

  • How was the new religion of Islam different from the traditional religious beliefs found in Arabia? What kinds of responses did Muhammad receive when he first introduced Islam?
  • What role did the city of Mecca play in Islam's early history? How has it remained important in Islam?
  • How did Islam spread so quickly during its early years? How did Islam's sacred texts guide the beliefs and actions of new converts?

Islamic Empire

  • How did Islamic armies gain so many new territories and converts during the seventh century?
  • How did the caliphate become a powerful institution? How did different ideas about the caliphate affect the Muslim community?
  • Why did civil warfare break out between Muslims in the mid-seventh century? What were the lasting effects of the rivalry between the Sunni and Shia sects?

Islamic Science and Medicine

  • How did Muslim scholars help preserve the texts of ancient Greece and Rome? How did they build on the knowledge they found in Greek and Roman works?
  • Why was scholarship in science and medicine able to thrive in the Islamic world? Why did that eventually change?
  • What was the legacy of Islamic scholarship for Europe's Renaissance?

The Expansion of Islam

  • How did the spread of Islam into Iran and India influence the cultures there? What kinds of conditions in Iran and India aided the Muslim armies' conquests?
  • Why is Umayyad rule in Spain seen as a highpoint of cultural development? How might the Umayyads' religious tolerance have played a role in cultural growth?
  • How did Spanish Christians respond to Muslim rule? Why do you think the Christian Reconquest of Spain lasted for centuries?
  • What role does Islamic law play in the lives of Muslims? How is Islamic law determined and interpreted?

The Rise of the Ottomans

  • How were the Ottomans able to build an empire so rapidly? What role did Islam play in the Ottomans' expansion?
  • Why do you think the Janissaries were such an effective military organization? How did they contribute to the functioning of the Ottoman Empire?
  • What made Bayezid I such an influential Ottoman ruler?
  • Why was the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans such a critical event? How did the city's fall affect the Islamic world? How did it affect the Christian world?

From Constantinople to Istanbul

  • Why was Mehmet II so effective in transforming Constantinople into an Islamic city? How did Mehmet's changes emphasize the role of Islam in the life of Istanbul?
  • Why did the Mosque of Suleiman hold such an important place in Istanbul? Why did the Ottomans put so much attention on the construction of public buildings and facilities in Istanbul?
  • How did the millet system aid in the administration of Istanbul? Why did the Ottomans grant certain privileges to Jews and Christians under their rule?

MLA Citation

"The Islamic World, 600-1500 Ce." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2158286. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2158286

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