.    EARLY ISLAM    .






Muslims do not show the face of Muhammad- instead, they use this symbol to represent him



This map shows Islam's central position in the religious map of the Eastern Hemisphere- in 750 and in 2004



The early bedouins live on in Arabia as merchants and traders as seen here




Early mosque (700's) from Damascus, Syria-- like the church, the mosque was the center of town



The Mosque of Baghdad, Iraq, the first city built as an Islamic capital



The mosque of Najaf in Iraq, holy site for Shi'ite Muslims

The Muslim world is split into two groups: Shi'ite and Sunni, with sunni being the majority



Egypt was conquered in the 700's and is still a Muslim country today- this is the famous mosque of Cairo



Islam expanded east to Lahore in India (now Pakistan)- where this famous mosque was built




Close up of Israel's most famous mosque, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem- where Allah brought Mohammad into heaven



The 2nd most famous mosque is in Medina, where Mohammad the Prophet fled to and where Islam began



The Medina mosque is also a place of pilgrimage for Muslims in Arabia



The Great Mosque of Mecca, Arabia is the most famous in the world



People making pilgrimage to the Great Mosque, with the Ka'aba at the center right-->




Conquered in 1453 by the Turks, the Church of Holy Wisdom was converted into a Muslim Mosque- its style was

used in building new ones as well...



The 'blue mosque' of Turkey, (notice the reflection), was modeled after it



Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent in Turkey



Around the time of the conquest of Constantinople (1400's), the Spanish forced Islam out of Spain

and built this church at Cordoba, in commeration of that event, called the reconquista



A mosque in Kazan,  Russia, this city has a large non-Russian Muslim population



Islam spread to the far east (Indonesia) and today that country has 200 Million Muslims




The UAE's most famous mosque, with the modern downtown in the background



The oil rich UAE has this modern mosque in front of a tall building, symbolizing the unity of faith and business



The mosque of Brunei, a small oil rich country in SouthEast Asia attests to the great energy of Islamic faith



Minarets are used to call the faithful to prayer 5 times a day



Pakistan's new capital city, Islamabad, has a mosque built in the modern style



Central Asia's most famous mosque, in Turkmenistan- compare it with the one in Toledo, USA




With more Muslims coming to the USA, our country is seeing more mosques built- like this one in New York



Many new mosques have been built in the USA, over 100 since 2000- like this one in Chicago



Architectually, this mosque in Toledo, Ohio is also done in a traditional way



Detroit has America's largest Muslim community, and this traditional style mosque

Detroit is the first city to play the Islamic call to prayer over public loudspeakers, which has caused some .controversy



Islam is very successful, and is the fastest growing religion in the world.

This Mosque is outside of London, England- where today, more people attend a mosque at least once

a week, than a church (980,000 in mosques vs. 915,000 in churches in 2005)- and today there are nearly a thousand mosques in England




Founder of Islam




Muslim Caliph




Muslim Caliph




Emperor of Sassanid Persia




Muslim Caliph




Muslim Caliph




Muslim Caliph




Persian Mathematician




Sultan of Islamic Persia




Ruler of the Seljuk Turks, Conquerer of Persia









Persian Sufi



ISLAMIC CONQUESTS IN CH. 13                                       Name _________________________


***Raid of Nakhla***

Sides: Muslims vs. Banu Quaraysh

Time: 624

Place: Mecca, Arabia

Action: When Muhammad preached Islam to his tribe, the Banu Quaraysh, and family in Mecca, they rejected it. He fled to Medina (Hijra) after learning he may be arrested. After gaining followers in Medina, he led them for two years in desert raids upon Meccan merchants as they camped along the Mecca-Palestine trade route he himself used to work. Muhammad’s order is recorded as: “Go forth against this caravan; it may be that Allah will grant you plunder.” The Batn Rabigh raid, the Kharar raid, the Invasion of Waddan, Invasion of Buwat, Invasion of Dul Ashir and the Nakhla raid all took place against the Quaraysh. They were failures until the Nakhla raid, in which Muhammad broke a cardinal rule in Arabia and attacked during Ramadan, a holy month even before Islam. He obtained a revelation from Allah that allowed this, and the surprise worked. Much booty was captured, of which Muhammad reserved 1/5 for himself and Allah.

Casualties: Few.

Consequence: The Banu Quaraysh and others planned to return the favor.


***Battle of Badr***

Sides: Muslims vs. Banu Quaraysh

Time: 624

Place: Mecca, Arabia

Action: Things came to a head in the Battle of Badr, in which the Muslims set upon a Meccan caravan returning from Syria. The attack came after Muhammad heard the main army of the Quaraysh, 800 strong, was moving toward the Badr wells. They stood opposing them with 300 Muslims, and champions came forth to fight hand to hand. Three Muslims fought three Quaraysh and killed them. Muhammad’s attack against the superior foe was successful, and they pulled back. He interpreted it as a miracle, killing 40 and losing 14.

Casualties: Less than 100.

Consequence: Muhammad became a military leader to challenge, in the minds of naysayers, the authority of the Quaraysh. Individuals and local tribes converted to Islam and followed him. A combination of divine justification and making good on the promise of booty seemed to make his followers more loyal. Anyone who fell in battle against the unbeliever was promised immediate Paradise. It was unprecedented, after all, to attack, capture and kill one’s own kin in 7th century Arabia, and al-Nadr, a Quaraysh captured by the Muslims, appealed for the lives of the captured. He reminded Muhammad that had it been the Quaraysh that had taken the Muslims prisoner, they would not execute them, but Muhammad set a pattern by ordering Ali to behead al-Nadr and the others.


***Expulsion of Banu Qaynuqa***

Sides: Muslims vs. Banu Qaynuqa

Time: 624

Place: Medina, Arabia

Action: Revelations soon came to Muhammad from Allah describing unbelievers as “the worst animals.” Killing, or in the case of Jews and Christians, enslaving and robbing them, was divinely mandated. This inspired raids to continue across Arabia. At home in Medina, the options were reduced to conversion, expulsion or death. Increasing religious conflict in Medina led to a Muslim killing a Jew, and vice-versa, and the more numerous Muslims expelled the Banu Quaynuqa to the desert, after which Muhammad confiscated their property. Eight men of the Banu Ukl converted in front of Muhammad but then became sick. Muhammad told them to go into the desert and drink of camel’s blood and urine, which they did. But they were fed up with the place and with Islam, so they stole some camels and fled. They were captured and Muhammad declared them apostates, the first such incident of its kind. Their punishment would serve as a warning to other possible apostates: “Their hands and feet were cut off, their eyes pulled out, and they were left to die in the sun.”

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Other invasions and expulsions took place in the years to come, against various ‘banu’ of both Arab and Jewish descent that would not convert to Islam. At Uhud, Muhammad was injured in battle, and at the Second Battle of Badr, in which the Meccans sought to avenge their losses at the first one “to see which- the Muslims or the polytheists- were worthy of survival,” Muhammad scored another victory. Following the battle, another Jewish tribe, the Banu Nadir, were expelled violently after Muhammad said the Angel Gabriel came and told him they were planning to assassinate him.


***Battle of The Trench***

Sides: Muslims vs. Meccan Coalition

Time: 627

Place: Medina

Action: The Arab Quaraysh formed a 10,000-man alliance with the Jewish Quynuqa and the Nadir to lay siege to Medina, within which was Muhammad has his 3,000 defenders. Before they arrived, however, Muhammad had them dig a trench to delay the enemy use of their camels and horses. The defense was strong and the weather was bad for the besieging force, so they gambled on getting one of the Muslim allies, the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayaza, with their 1,500 swords, 2,000 lances and 500 shields, to switch sides. Representatives from Banu Nadir visited them to discuss it, but the Quarayza hesitated because they had a pact with Muhammad. But the Nadir assured them the battle would be won by the coalition. A Muslim representative reminded the Quarayza how Muhammad treated the Quynuqa and the Nadir, warning them they would be treated with equal harshness if they betrayed them, but the Quarayza decided to go to the coaliton anyway. Muhammad had his people in Medina pray and chant especially loudly each night to make it seem like there were more of them in the town. He also had the confidence of Nuyam, a respected Arab leader who secretly converted to Islam. Nuyam sowed discord between the Quarayza and the coalition, getting each to distrust the other more and more, and to top it off, the coalition’s food had run out and their camels were getting diseases. Also, winds blew out their fires at night and it was cold. They abandoned the siege.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: When the siege was lifted, Muhammad took revenge on the Banu Quarayza. His forces laid siege to their stronghold for a month until they surrendered, then Muhammad ordered all the tribe’s 900 men slain and the women raped. Survivors and children were taken by the Muslims as slaves, and Muhammad chose one young lady from among them, Rayhana, for himself. She had just seen her father and brother decapitated at Muhammad’s order hours earlier, but he offered to raise her from slave to wife if she converted to Islam. She refused. A few months later Muhammad led a raid against the Banu Mulstaliq, taking 200 families hostage and declaring his soldiers that they could rape any of the women they wanted. The chief’s 20-year-old daughter Juwayriya bint al-Harith was among the captives, and she offered herself as a wife to Muhammad, 58 at the time, in exchange for her family to be set free along with some others without molestation. Muhammad accepted this offer provided she convert to Islam, and unlike Rayhana, she did. The following year (628) the Muslims and Meccans made a 10-year non-aggression pact called the Treaty of Hudayibyyah.


***Siege of Khaybar***

Sides: Muslims vs. Khaybar

Time: 629

Place: Khaybar Oasis, Northern Arabia

Action: Muslim forces pursued remnants of the Banu Nadir 100 miles north of Medina to the oasis, where the Jews barricaded themselves in a fort. After a siege the Nadir surrendered on the condition they would be spared and could remain in the remote oasis town. Muhammad leveled a jizya on them, agreeing to their request provided they paid ½ of their produce each year to the Muslims.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: This set the precedent by which non-Muslims could pay a tax instead of convert. Confiscated land belonging to non-Muslims likewise became part of the Muslim community. The next example of Jizya occurred soon after, when Muhammad sent a representative to the Jewish oasis of Fadak, and threatened them with attack if they did not surrender half their land and goods to Muhammad directly (because there were no soldiers involved), which they agreed to. Another two-day siege, this time of Wadi al-Qura, extracted the same concession from the Jews there.


***Conquest of Mecca***

Sides: Muslims vs. Meccans

Time: 630

Place: Mecca, Arabia

Action: During Ramadan in 630, Muhammad broke the 10-year peace pact and led a Muslim attack on his old hometown of Mecca. The pretext was that when Muslim ally Banu Bakr scuffled with Quaraysh ally Banu Kuzahah, killing was done in spots designated as sacred, so Muhammad found it a good time to attack. An army 10,000 strong moved in, by night, and Muhammad ordered every soldier to hold a fire up so it looked like an even larger force. The four passes through the mountains into Mecca were assaulted by four ‘generals,’ namely Muhammad himself, his cousin Az Zabayr, his nephew Ali, and Khalid ibn al-Walid. This was coordinated to force the Quaraysh to fight four separate battles. Khalid’s force met resistance by bow and arrow, but the other three entered without resistance, and soon Khalid accepted the surrender of the Meccans.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Muhammad accepted the chief’s conversion to Islam, and declared Mecca a holy city in which there may never be fighting or uprooting of plants or trees. The Muslims went to the Kaaba and destroyed the idols there, and instead of harming the Meccans, he set most free, except 11 who were given death sentences.


***Battle of Hunayn***

Sides: Muslims vs. Bedouins

Time: 630

Place: Near Mecca, Arabia

Action: Many banu who chose not to convert to Islam were stunned that the comparatively rich and powerful Quaraysh fell and converted en masse. They were displeased, according to Washington Irving, that the new religion was being spread by the sword, so a coalition of 6 mountain tribes formed. They met a Muslim force of 12,000, the largest army Arabia had seen to that point, outside Mecca. Abu Bakr was confident of victory, however the coalition raked and peppered the Muslim camp with arrows, until many fled. Muhammad threw soil at some of their faces as they tried to run away telling them they should be ashamed and that he was the Messenger of Allah. He inspired his followers, and soon the numbers did their work. The coalition was on the run, and it split up. The Muslims gained huge spoils after this battle, because the coalition brought a lot of its animal stock and wealth. They captured 6,000 coalition women and children, and 24,000 camels.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Muhammad chased one group and ran them down, while the other group took refuge in a fort, which Muslims besieged, unsuccessfully for a time, but later they returned. The banu chose to make a deal whereby they could avoid conversion for 3 years, granted that after that period had elapsed, they would permit the Muslims to enter and destroy their temples. This is the last historical battle Muhammad took part in personally. He died of fever not long after the battle.


***Battle of Yarmuk***

Sides: Byzantines vs. Arabs

Time: 636

Place: Sea of Galilee, Palestine

Action: Having formed an Islamic State in Arabia, Arabs now undertook the Jihad, Holy War, and erupted from the peninsula, attacking the Byzantine Empire. They took Damascus but then Heraclius rallied the Byzantines and they took it back. Now, at the Yarmuk River under the Sea of Galilee, however a dust storm arose behind the Arab line, which blinded the Byzantines. They were slaughtered.

Casualties: 70,000 Byzantines, unknown Arabs

Consequence: Two years later Jerusalem was taken by the Arabs as well, and would be held for nearly 500 years until the Crusaders arrived in 1099.


***Battle of Quadissya***

Sides: Arabs vs. Sassanid Persians

Time: 637

Place: Ctesiphon, near Baghdad, Iraq

Action: The Byzantines and Sassanian empires had worn each other down, and the Arabs moved in on both of them simultaneously. A year after Yarmuk, they assaulted the Persian capital, Ctesiphon, meeting the Persian defenders on a canal (qadi) of the Euphrates River. In the battle which followed, they destroyed the Persians, crossed the Tigris, and entered unopposed and in triumph into Ctesiphon.

Casualties: Persians 50,000, Arabs 30,000

Consequence: Scattered tatters of the Persian forces regrouped to fight again four years later at Nahavand, but they were smashed. These last remnants were all that remained of the once great Persian army, ‘immortal’ no more. Persia was converted to Islam.


***Siege of Constantinople #1***

Sides: Arabs vs. Byzantines

Time: 678

Place: Constantinople

Action: The Arab attack laid siege to the Byzantine capital, but the walls held.

Casualties: unknown.

Consequence: This was the first of five unsuccessful sieges by Islamic forces. Only the last, in 1453, would be successful. But one would prove to be enough.


***Battle of Karbala***

Sides: Umayyad Caliphate vs. Husayn

Time: 680

Place: Karbala, Iraq

Action: When Muhammad’s son in law Ali was assassinated, the Umayyad family claimed the caliphate. But some (Shi’a) resented this and broke with the rest (Sunni). Husayn was Ali’s son, and went out to lead the Shi’a minority. Departing from Mecca, he was set upon by Umayyad forces. His head was severed and presented to the Umayyad caliph.

Casualties: 70 Husayn’s retinue

Consequence: This made a martyr out of Husayn and solidified the Sunni-Shi’a split.


***Conquest of Hispania***

Sides: Arabs vs. Visigothic Spain

Time: 711

Place: Spain

Action: Islamic forces conquered all of North Africa, from Alexandria to Fez, all the former Roman provinces of Aegypt, Africa (Libya), Numidia (Tunisia), and Mauritania (Morocco) by 710. Muslim commander Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed Gibraltar with an army of 1,700 Berbers, Moors and Arabs. They did battle with Visigothic King Roderic, defeating him at Guadelete in 712. More Muslims appeared, on the order of 15,000, and many Christians in Spain ran for the hills, because they believed the Muslims were raiding and not staying, but they were mistaken. When Roderic was killed, the Visigoths went into disarray. Catalonian towns surrendered, and the Arabs had free run over the land except in the north. Umayyad troops took Pamplona, and while Visigoth Count Theudimer tried to rally the Christian forces, they could not stop the advance.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Spain became Al-Andalus under the Umayyad Caliphs. Spain would be ruled by Muslims for the next 500 years, until the time of Ferdinand and Isabella.


***Siege of Constantinople #2***

Sides: Arabs vs. Byzantines

Time: 717

Place: Constantinople

Action: The Arabs returned after 40 years to try their hand again at the Byzantine capital. 80,000 soldiers and 1,800 wars galleys attacked the city amphibiously. Emperor Leo III ordered the Byzantine navy against the Arab ships, and they unleashed “Greek Fire,” essentially flamethrower cartridges with a mix of napalm inside. It worked; the Arabs could not penetrate the Bosporus by sea, and this was key because the city was fed with grain provisions from around the Black Sea. Nor were the walls penetrated by land, and the Arabs withdrew, having been reduced to eating their donkeys and camels, and catching diseases.

Casualties: Arabs 160k, Byzantines unknown

Consequence: The second siege failed disastrously for the Arabs, who would not return. Later it would be others who would besiege the walls- the Bulgars, Russians and finally the Turks.


***Battle of Covaduga***

Sides: Muslims vs. Visigoths

Time: 718

Place: Asturias, Spain

Action: With the Visigothic leaders dead, only the northern province of Asturias refused to submit to Islamic rule. Pelagius, the local chieftain, maintained there Christian Spanish kingdom, the Kingdom of Asturias, which would later become the core of the Kingdom of Castile. At Covaduga his forces met the Moors, and while his victory may be considered minor by Arab standards, it became legend as the only successful repulse of the powerful Islamic force.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The victory of Covaduga has taken on a religious status, as the first step in the Spanish Reconquista, which took another 700 years to complete.


***Battle of Talas***

Sides: Arabs vs. Chinese

Time: 751

Place: Kyrgyzstan

Action: With Islamic forces moving east after subduing Persia and encountering the Turkic peoples, many Turkic groups were steadily becoming warriors for Allah. The Abbasids had replaced the Umayyads, and were anxious to expand the caliphate east. They used Turkic ‘slave armies’ to do it, even battling a Chinese outpost army at their furthest point. Interestingly, Turks also made up the cavalry of the Chinese army, but many defected, which left the Chinese infantry exposed. The Chinese were cut down.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Chinese influence west of the Pamir and Tian Sian Mountains evaporated, and the area became fully under Islamic influence, which it is still today.


***Siege of Palermo***

Sides: Muslims vs. Byzantines

Time: 831

Place: Sicily

Action: After 150 years of Byzantine rule on Sicily, Arab raiders attacked the island. They terrorized the population and burned the cities, and 70 ships and 10k men took Palermo. It became the seat of a new emirate.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Sicily became a jumping off point for attacks on Italy until 1071 when the Normans took the island.


Traditional Muslim


The Koran

The Koran (Qu'ran) is the holy text of Islam. Here are the revelations that Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad had in a cave outside of Mecca in Arabia. For modern Americans interested in what is really written in the Koran about issues like terrorism against infidels, the social status of women, slavery, the will of Allah and the freewill of human beings, will find in the Koran the source of the real information to get a better perspective. One of the most famous and popular books in the world, a billion Muslims take the teachings contained in this book as the guide to life, as Christians do the Bible.



Traditional Arabian


1001 Arabian Nights

A collection of stories from the height of Islamic civilization, the Thousand and One Arabian Nights is full of fantasy, adventure, fun, danger and magic. Here we find the famous stories of Ali Baba, Alladin (the original- which was the basis for the Disney movie), and Sinbad. The book opens with the lovely Scheherazade telling a-story-a-night to her 'kind of out of it' sultan husband who had killed each of his wives at the end of their wedding night. Scheherazade is different though, she is an accomplished storyteller- and satiates the Sultan with 1001 nights of stories before her life is spared! Moral lesson and insights into Islamic culture are an added benefit to these stories.



Traditional Jewish


The Kabbalah

The Kabbala is a Jewish work comprising the Zohar as its central book. It has more mystery associated with it than perhaps any other book in the last thousand years. Rabbis may meditate on the Kabbalah and find a new course in life- regular people may try to meditate on it as well, to see if the name of God will be revealed to them, or if God has something in store for them. The Kabbala has become a new popular book in Hollywood, where some movie stars are newly interested in spiritual meditation and fulfillment. Of knowing the answers to life. This book was written by Jews in diaspora. Do it right: read the book at night by candlelight.

Spain /

North Africa




For the Confused


Moses Maimonidies is a towering figure in Jewish scholarship for his masterpiece, sometimes translated as 'For the Perplexed.' He tells us not to use positive attributes to describe God because God is infinitly beyond the realm (and the need) for humans to tell Him what and 'how' He is. He dismissed the Islamic scholarship of the time showing that the 'new religion' it has not studied enough of the original Jewish roots... finally he tells of the perfect way to worship God, the nature of evil and Biblical prophecy. Remember, this book is meant to help people understand the complexities of true Judaism.

North Africa




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