Muhammad’s Successors

After Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, there to be conflicts among his followers as to who would end up being his successor, which produced a break-up in Islam in between the Sunni and Shi’a sects.

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Key Takeaways

Key PointsAfter Muhammad ‘s death in 632 CE, his friend Abu Bakr was named caliph and ruler the the Islamic community, or Ummah.Sunni Muslims believe that Abu Bakr was the proper successor, if Shi’a Muslims believe that Ali should have actually succeed Muhammad as caliph.After Muhammad’s death and also the rebellion of numerous tribes, Abu Bakr initiated several military campaigns to bring Arabia under Islam and into the caliphate.The Rashidun Caliphate (632–661) was led by Abu Bakr, climate by Umar ibn Khattab together the 2nd caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan together the third caliph, and Ali together the fourth caliph.Muslim armies conquered most of Arabia by 633, followed by north Africa, Mesopotamia, and Persia, substantially shaping the history of the human being through the spread out of Islam.Key TermsSunni: The branch the Islam the believes that a caliph have to be chosen by Muslims or their representatives and that Abu Bakr to be the an initial caliph.Ummah: one Arabic word an interpretation “nation” or “community;” usually refers to the cumulative community the Islamic peoples.Shi’a: The decimal Islamic branch the believes Muhammad appointed his cousin Ali as his follower and the the caliph need to be decided based upon this household lineage.caliph: The head of state in a caliphate, and also the title because that the leader of the Islamic Ummah; a successor of Muhammad.

Succession after Muhammad’s Death

Muhammad unified the tribes of Arabia into a single Arab Muslim religious polity in the last years of his life. He created a new unified Arabian Peninsula, which caused the Rashidun and also Umayyad Caliphates and the rapid expansion of Muslim power over the following century.

With Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, disagreement damaged out amongst his pendant over deciding his successor. Muhammad’s significant companion Umar ibn al-Khattab nominated Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s friend and collaborator. With additional support, Abu Bakr was confirmed as the first caliph (religious follower to Muhammad) that same year. This an option was questioned by few of Muhammad’s companions, who organized that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and also son-in-law, had been designated the follower by Muhammad at Ghadir Khumm. Ali to be Muhammad’s an initial cousin and closest living male relative, as well as his son-in-law, having married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah. Ali would certainly eventually come to be the 4th Sunni caliph. These disagreements over Muhammad’s true successor led to a significant split in Islam between what ended up being the Sunni and also Shi’a denominations, a division that quiet holds to this day.

Sunni Muslims believe and also confirm that Abu Bakr was preferred by the community and also that this was the appropriate procedure. Sunnis additional argue the a caliph have to ideally be preferred by election or community consensus. Shi’a Muslims think that just as God alone appoints a prophet, only God has actually the exclusive rights to choose the follower to his prophet. They think God made decision Ali to it is in Muhammad’s successor and the very first caliph that Islam.

Rise the the Caliphates

After Muhammad’s death, countless Arabian tribes rejected Islam or withheld the alms tax established by Muhammad. Many tribes declared that they had submitted come Muhammad and that v Muhammad’s death, your allegiance had ended. Caliph Abu Bakr insisted the they had actually not just submitted to a leader, but joined the Islamic neighborhood of Ummah.

To retain the cohesion the the Islamic state, Abu Bakr split his Muslim military to pressure the Arabian tribes into submission. After ~ a collection of successful campaigns, Abu Bakr’s general Khalid ibn Walid beat a competing prophet and also the Arabian peninsula was unified under the caliphate in Medina. Once the rebellions had been quelled, Abu Bakr started a war of conquest. In simply a couple of short decades, his campaigns led to one of the largest realms in history. Muslim militaries conquered many of Arabia by 633, complied with by north Africa, Mesopotamia, and Persia, significantly shaping the history of the people through the spread out of Islam.

Rashidun Caliphate (632–661)

Abu Bakr nominated Umar as his successor on his deathbed. Umar ibn Khattab, the second caliph, was killed by a Persian called Piruz Nahavandi. Umar’s successor, Uthman Ibn Affan, was chosen by a council of electors (Majlis). Uthman was eliminated by members of a disaffected group. Ali climate took control, yet was not universally accepted as caliph by the governors that Egypt, and also later by some of his own guard. He challenged two major rebellions and also was assassinated by Abdl-alRahman, a Kharijite. Ali’s tumultuous rule lasted only 5 years. This period is well-known as the Fitna, or the an initial Islamic polite war.

The followers of Ali later became the Shi’a decimal sect that Islam, i m sorry rejects the legitimacy of the first three caliphs. The followers of all 4 Rashidun caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali) came to be the bulk Sunni sect. Under the Rashidun, each an ar (Sultanate) of the caliphate had actually its own governor (Sultan). Muawiyah, a relative of Uthman and governor (Wali) of Syria, came to be one of Ali’s challengers, and also after Ali’s assassination managed to get over the various other claimants come the caliphate. Muawiyah changed the caliphate right into a hereditary office, thus starting the Umayyad dynasty. In locations that were formerly under Sassanid Persian or oriental rule, the caliphs lower taxes, detailed greater neighborhood autonomy (to their delegated governors), granted greater spiritual freedom because that Jews and some native Christians, and brought peace to peoples demoralized and also disaffected through the casualties and also heavy taxes that resulted from the years of Byzantine-Persian warfare.

Expansion Under the Umayyad Caliphates

The Umayyad Caliphate, the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad, increased the are of the Islamic state to one of the largest empires in history.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Umayyad Caliphate, which arised after the Rashidun Caliphate collapsed, was characterized by hereditary elections and also territory expansion.The Umayyad Caliphate came to be one the the biggest unitary claims in history and among the few states to ever extend direct rule over 3 continents.When the Abbasid empire revolted against the Umayyads and also killed numerous of their ruling family members members, a few Umayyads escaped come the Iberian peninsula and also founded the Cordoba Caliphate, identified by serene diplomacy, religious tolerance, and cultural flourishing.Key TermsAl-Andalus: likewise known together Muslim Spain or Islamic Iberia, a medieval Muslim territory and social domain occupying in ~ its peak most of modern-day Spain and Portugal.Dome of the Rock: A shrine situated on the holy place Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.Umayyad Caliphate: The second of the four major Arab caliphates developed after the death of Muhammad.

Umayyad Caliphate (661–750)

The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four significant Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. This caliphate was centered on the Umayyad dynasty, hailing from Mecca. The Umayyad family had very first come to strength under the 3rd caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644–656), however the Umayyad regime was established by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time branch of Syria, ~ the finish of the an initial Muslim Civil war in 661 CE. Syria stayed the Umayyads’ main power basic thereafter, and Damascus was your capital.

Under the Umayyads, the caliphate territory thrived rapidly. The Islamic Caliphate became one the the largest unitary states in history, and one the the few states to ever before extend direct rule over three continents (Africa, Europe, and also Asia). The Umayyads included the Caucasus, Transoxiana, Sindh, the Maghreb, and also the Iberian Peninsula ( Al-Andalus ) into the Muslim world. In ~ its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 5.79 million square miles and included 62 million human being (29% of the world’s population), making it the fifth largest realm in background in both area and proportion the the world’s population. Although the Umayyad Caliphate did no rule all of the Sahara, nomadic Berber people paid homage come the caliph. However, return these substantial areas may have actually recognized the dominance of the caliph, de facto power remained in the hand of regional sultans and emirs.

Expansion that the caliphate: This map shows the extension of Islamic rule under Muhammad, the Rashidun Caliphate, and the Umayyad Caliphate

The Umayyad dynasty was not universally sustained within the Muslim ar for a range of reasons, including their hereditary election and also suggestions the impious behavior. Part Muslims felt that only members the Muhammad’s Banu Hashim clan or those the his own lineage, such together the descendants of Ali, should rule. Some Muslims assumed that Umayyad taxation and also administrative techniques were unjust. While the non-Muslim populace had autonomy, their judicial problem were faced in accordance v their own laws and by your own religious heads or their appointees. Non-Muslims paid a poll taxes for policing to the main state. Muhammad had proclaimed explicitly throughout his lifetime that each religious minority need to be allowed to exercise its own religion and also govern itself, and also the policy had actually on the whole continued.

There were countless rebellions against the Umayyads, and also splits within the Umayyad ranks, which notably consisted of the rivalry between Yaman and Qays. Allegedly, The Sunnis eliminated Ali’s boy Hussein and his family members at the battle of Karbala in 680, solidifying the Shi’a-Sunni split. Eventually, supporters of the Banu Hashim and also the supporters of the lineage of Ali unified to carry down the Umayyads in 750. However, the Shiʻat ʻAlī, “the Party the Ali,” to be again disappointed as soon as the Abbasid dynasty took power, as the Abbasids were descended from Muhammad’s uncle `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, and not from Ali.

The Abbasid victors desecrated the burial places of the Umayyads in Syria, sparing only that that Umar II, and most that the remaining members of the Umayyad family were tracked down and killed. As soon as Abbasids declared amnesty because that members of the Umayyad family, eighty gathered to get pardons, and also all to be massacred. One nephew of Hisham, Abd al-Rahman I, survived and established a kingdom in Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia), proclaiming his household to be the Umayyad Caliphate revived.

Umayyad empire in Cordoba, Spain

The revival of the Umayyad Caliphate in Al-Andalus (what would certainly become modern-day Spain) was referred to as the Caliphate that Córdoba, i m sorry lasted till 1031. The duration was characterized by an growth of trade and also culture, and also saw the construction of masterpieces the al-Andalus architecture.

The caliphate took pleasure in increased prosperity throughout the 10th century. Abd-ar-Rahman III united al-Andalus and brought the Christian kingdoms that the north under regulate through force and also diplomacy. Abd-ar-Rahman stopped the Fatimid development into caliphate soil in Morocco and also al-Andalus. This period of prosperity was significant by raising diplomatic relations with Berber people in phibìc Africa, Christian queens from the north, and France, Germany, and also Constantinople.

Córdoba to be the social and intellectual center of al-Andalus. Mosques, such as the an excellent Mosque, to be the emphasis of many caliphs’ attention. The caliph’s palace, Medina Azahara, to be on the suburbs of the city, and also had countless rooms filled with riches from the East. The library the Al-Ḥakam II was among the biggest libraries in the world, real estate at the very least 400,000 volumes, and Córdoba own translations of ancient Greek texts into Arabic, Latin and Hebrew. Throughout the Umayyad Caliphate period, relations in between Jews and also Arabs to be cordial; Jewish stonemasons helped construct the columns that the an excellent Mosque. Al-Andalus was topic to eastern social influences together well. The musician Ziryab is credited with bringing hair and clothing styles, toothpaste, and also deodorant indigenous Baghdad to the Iberian peninsula. Advances in science, history, geography, philosophy, and language occurred during the Umayyad Caliphate together well.


Mosque: internal of the Mezquita (Mosque), one of the ideal examples that Umayyad design in Spain.

Legacy that the Umayyad Caliphate

The Umayyad caliphate was marked both by territorial expansion and by the bureaucratic and cultural problems that such growth created. Despite some remarkable exceptions, the Umayyads often tended to donate the civil liberties of the old Arab families, and also in details their own, over those of recently converted Muslims (mawali). Therefore, they organized to a less universalist conception the Islam 보다 did many of your rivals.

During the period of the Umayyads, Arabic came to be the administrative language, in i m sorry state documents and currency were issued. Mass conversions brought a huge influx of Muslims come the caliphate. The Umayyads additionally constructed famous buildings such as the Dome of the rock at Jerusalem and also the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus.

According come one common view, the Umayyads transformed the caliphate from a religious institution (during the Rashidun) to a dynastic one. However, the Umayyad caliphs execute seem come have understood themselves together the to represent of God ~ above Earth.

The Umayyads have met with a largely an adverse reception from later Islamic historians, who have accused castle of fostering a kingship (mulk, a term with connotations that tyranny) instead of a true caliphate (khilafa). In this respect that is remarkable that the Umayyad caliphs described themselves not as khalifat rasul Allah (“successor of the messenger that God,” the title desired by the tradition), but rather as khalifat Allah (“deputy of God”).

Many Muslims criticize the Umayyads for having too many non-Muslim, former Roman administrators in their government. St. Man of Damascus was also a high administrator in the Umayyad administration. As the Muslims took end cities, they left the people’s politics representatives and also the Roman taxation collectors and also administrators. The people’s political representatives calculated and negotiated taxes. The central government and the regional governments got paid respectively for the services they provided. Countless Christian cities used some of the taxes to keep their churches and also run their own organizations. Later, the Umayyads were criticized by some Muslims for not reducing the counting of the human being who converted to Islam.

Spread that Islam

In the years adhering to the Prophet Muhammad’s death, the expansion of Islam was brought out by his successor caliphates, who boosted the region of the Islamic state and sought converts indigenous both polytheistic and also monotheistic religions.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the spread of Islam and identify exactly how the caliphs kept authority over dominated territories.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe expansion of the Arab empire in the years following the Prophet Muhammad ‘s death led come the creation of caliphates, who inhabited a substantial geographical area and also sought converts come Islamic faith.The human being of the Islamic human being created numerous innovative centers of society and scientific research with far-reaching mercantile networks, travelers, scientists, hunters, mathematicians, doctors, and also philosophers.Historians distinguish between two different strands of switch of the time. One is animists and also polytheists the tribal societies of the Arabian Peninsula and also the productive crescent; the other is the monotheistic populations of the middle Eastern agrarian and urbanized societies.The Arab conquerors generally respected the timeless middle-Eastern pattern of religious pluralism through regard come the dominated populations, respecting the practice of various other faiths in Arab territory, although extensive conversions come Islam came around as a result of the breakdown of in history religiously arranged societies.Key TermsZoroastrianism: an ancient Iranian religious beliefs and religious philosophy that occurred in the eastern ancient Persian Empire, once the spiritual philosopher Zoroaster streamlined the pantheon of early on Iranian gods right into two the opposite forces.Imam: one Islamic management position, most typically in the context of a prayer leader of a mosque and Sunni Muslim community.


The development of the Arab realm in the years complying with the Prophet Muhammad’s death led come the creation of caliphates occupying a substantial geographical area. Conversion come Islam was enhanced by missionary activities, particularly those of Imams, who quickly intermingled with neighborhood populace to propagate spiritual teachings. These early on caliphates, coupled v Muslim economics and also trading and also the later development of the footrest Empire, resulted in Islam’s spread out outwards from Mecca in the direction of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and also the production of the Muslim world. Trade played vital role in the spread out of Islam in several components of the world, significantly southeast Asia.

Muslim dynasties were quickly established and also subsequent empires such as those the the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljukids, and Ajurans, Adal and Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in India, Safavids in Persia, and also Ottomans in Anatolia were amongst the largest and most powerful in the world. The people of the Islamic civilization created numerous advanced centers of culture and science with significant mercantile networks, travelers, scientists, hunters, mathematicians, doctors, and philosophers, every contributing to the golden e of Islam. Islamic expansion in South and East Asia cultivated cosmopolitan and eclectic Muslim societies in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.

Within the an initial century that the establishment of Islam top top the Arabian Peninsula and the succeeding rapid growth of the Arab Empire during the Muslim conquests, one of the most far-ranging empires in world background was formed. For the topics of this brand-new empire, previously subjects that the greatly diminished Byzantine and also obliterated Sassanid empires, no much changed in practice. The objective of the occupations was of a helpful nature an ext than noþeles else, as productive land and also water were scarce in the Arabian Peninsula. A real Islamization therefore only came around in the succeeding centuries.

Conversions to Islam

Historians distinguish in between two different strands of switch of the time. One is animists and polytheists the tribal cultures of the Arabian Peninsula and the fertile crescent; the other is the monotheistic populations of the middle Eastern agrarian and also urbanized societies.

For the polytheistic and also pagan societies, apart from the religious and spiritual factors each individual may have had, conversion to Islam “represented the solution of a tribal, pastoral populace to the need for a larger framework for political and economic integration, a an ext stable state, and also a an ext imaginative and also encompassing ethical vision to cope v the problems of a tumultuous society.” In contrast, because that sedentary and also often currently monotheistic societies, “Islam was substituted because that a oriental or Sassanian politics identity and also for a Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian spiritual affiliation.” Initially, conversion to be neither forced nor have to wished for: “ walk not call for the counter as lot as the subordination that non-Muslim peoples. At the outset, castle were enemy to conversions because new Muslims diluted the economic and status benefits of the Arabs.”

Only in succeeding centuries, through the breakthrough of the religious doctrine the Islam and with the the understanding of the Muslim Ummah, walk mass conversion take place. The brand-new understanding by the religious and political management led in many instances to a weakening or breakdown of the social and religious structures of parallel religious communities such together Christians and Jews. Through the weakening of plenty of churches, because that example, and also with the donate of Islam and the migrate of considerable Muslim Turkish populations right into the locations of Anatolia and the Balkans, the “social and social relevance the Islam” were magnified and a big number of individuals were converted.

During the Abbasid Caliphate, growth ceased and also the central disciplines that Islamic philosophy, theology, law, and also mysticism became much more widespread, and the gradual conversions of the populaces within the empire occurred. Significant conversions also occurred beyond the extents of the empire, such as that of the Turkic people in central Asia and also peoples living in regions south that the Sahara in Africa through contact with Muslim traders energetic in the area and Sufi orders. In Africa it spread out along three routes—across the Sahara via trading towns such together Timbuktu, up the Nile Valley with the Sudan approximately Uganda, and across the Red Sea and also down eastern Africa through settlements such together Mombasa and Zanzibar. These initial conversions were of a versatile nature.

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The Arab-Muslim occupations followed a general pattern of nomadic occupations of settled regions, by which conquering peoples ended up being the new military elite and also reached a compromise with the old elites by enabling them come retain neighborhood political, religious, and also financial authority. Peasants, workers, and also merchants payment taxes, when members the the old and new elites gathered them.