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Muhammad and the Spread of Islam
Guide: The Expansion of Islam

The Muslim conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries CE brought about a diffusion of culture and knowledge. This collection of resources explores the influence of Islamic customs and religion on the societies that were absorbed within the newly founded Islamic empire. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

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

  • 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?

Resources

  1. Overview: The Expansion of Islam
  2. Outline: Outline
  3. Transcript: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Islam in Iran and India
  6. Lesson: 2-Islam in Spain
  7. Lesson: 3-Political Islam
  8. Lesson: Closing
  9. Glossary Terms: sharia
  10. Photos & Illustrations: Christian baptistry within Umayyad mosque
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Islam: mufti counsels a Muslim family
  12. Reference Articles: Muslim Conquests
  13. Reference Articles: Reconquest of Spain
  14. Reference Articles: Umayyad Dynasty
  15. Cultural Documents: al-Baladhuri: special laws governing Mecca
  16. Letters & Narratives: al-Baladhuri: on the Battle of the Yarmuk River (ninth century)
  17. Letters & Narratives: al-Biruni: on Indian astrology (ca. 1030 CE)
  18. Maps: Islam, Spread of, 632–750 CE

MLA Citation

"The Expansion of Islam." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2158364. Accessed 17 Feb. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2158364

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