Middle East History Q & A

  PreIslamic Arabia
  Transformation 571 AD
  Establishment of the Umma
  Rightly Guided Caliphs
  Imam Ali and Muaweyah
  The Ummayads
  Fall of the Ummayads
  The Abbasids
Other stuff

Write a panorama for the pre-Islamic ancient Arabia including: geographical structure, social life, economic conditions, political atmosphere, religious system, and the physical structure.

     The term Arab is the term referring to the people living, nowadays, in the vast area extending from the Persian gulf to the Atlantic ocean. The name Arab, etymologically, originated from a man called Yo’rob, the son of Kahtan, who was one of the descendants of Adam. The ancestors of the people who carry this title nowadays were the inhabitants of the pre-Islamic Arabia.
     The pre-Islamic Arabs were the people living in the Arabian peninsula. That peninsula, which is so-called Asia minor, is located to the North of the Indian ocean, to the East of Africa and the red sea, to the West of Persia (the rivers Tigris and Euphrates), and to south-east of Europe. The Arabian peninsula is vast area, full of deserts and mountains, but no rivers. On the red sea coast, there are Mihama mountains, to the middle there are the Hijaz mountains and the plateau of Najd, to the North there is the Syrian desert, and to the south-east there is the empty quarter, which is a vast empty area of deserts.
     The whole peninsula is, thus, a deserted land. From this we can imagine that the animals of this place should be the animals that can withstand the cruel weather. The dominant animal is the camel or, as the Arabs call it, the ship of the desert.
     The pre-Islamic Arabs were simple nomads(Bedouins) and shepherds, wandering for two things: water and grass for their sheep. In addition, some of them were professional traders and merchants, travelling to the Syria, Yemen, or Persia. The reason for these continuous travels (caravans) was to obtain pepper, as some Historians claimed, to preserve their foods.
     Those Arabs were centering in Mecca, the city of the holy shrine of the Kaaba. They were leading a very nomadic life before the revelation of Islam. Their social structure consisted of  major tribes, such as: Quraish, Kindah and Asad. Below these major tribes, we have minor clans. For example, below Quraish we had Bano Hashim and Bano Umayya. Each major tribe was the protector of the minor clans, and the arbitrator between them in case of problems.
     The pre-Islamic Arabs, politically, were not living under a central government. They had some neighboring forces, such as: the Persians to the East, the Romans to the North-West, the Ethiopians to the South, and to famous Emirates: Hira to the South, and the Ghassanids to the North. These neighboring forces were in continuous struggles, like the struggle between the Persians and the Romans.
     The pre-Islamic Arabs were masters in poetry insofar as it was said that: "The poetry is the Diwan (Divan) of the Arabs." They were used to holding to famous markets before Islam called Ookaz, and Dhu Magaz. These two markets were a realm for cultural competence. Seven Arab poets wrote seven famous poems, of thousand stanzas, called the seven suspended  poems (Muallaqat). Their clans were proud of them.
     The Arabs then were polytheistic pagans, worshipping about 366 idol. But at the same time there had been a group of people worshipping one Mighty God on the same method of the Great prophet Abraham, so-called the Hanifs. Along with the Hanifs, there had been groups of Christians and Jews (centering in Yathreb). That time was called the time of Jahiliyya (age of Ignorance), so called the days of the Arabs. The Arabs had some negative points, besides their paganism, such as: gambling and drinking. Along with that, their worst characteristic was the female infanticide. They were used to burying the newly born females alive to avoid the shame and poverty as they thought.
     At the same time, the Arabs had some good characteristics, such as: generosity, bravery, respect to older people, democracy (Shoura = consultation), and the strong bondage, which Ibn Khaldun called it the Tribal solidarity.

Q#2: Was Arabia prepared to a new transformation in the year 571 AD?

     It was a moment for transformation. At this year many events happened. These events made the way trodden for this transformation. The first event was the attack led by Abraha, the king of Ethiopia, against the holy shrine of Kaaba to destroy it. Abraha was a Christian man, he built a formidable church, but the Kaaba remained as the only holy shrine in the old world. Abraha’s goal was not just to destroy the Kaaba, but to cut the roads of trade and caravans between the North and the South.
     He led a big army, with a battalion of elephants to Mecca. His army was defeated with a heavenly miracle. Very small heavenly birds came to save Allah’s holy shrine carrying in their feet's pieces of stone. The battle was over after a short time. Abraha’s army was defeated and the elephant did not destroy the holy shrine because Allah defended his house on earth.
     At the same time, another major event happened which was the battle of Dhu Qar between the Arabs and the Persians on the river of Euphrates. Mecca was a prosperous city, full of traders. This capitalistic atmosphere led to the feeling of  individualism among the traders. In the same place where the rich people were having fun, drinking and gambling, there had been many people were suffering from poverty, slavery or abuse. Many people began to think that the change should happen.
     In this year, in one of August nights, the 12th of the Arabian month Rabee Al-Awal, a boy was born in the clan of Hashim. The boy was the son of Abdullah, a Hashimi honest merchant who died three months ago. He was the grandson of Abdul-Muttalib, the chief of Hashim’s clan. He was Muhammad, the last Allah’s apostle, and the one whom Allah has chosen to change the route of this nation from dark to light.
     At the same moment of birth, a group of fire worshippers in Persia found their holy fire put out at once. In Constatinople, the throne of the Byzantine empire was trembling. It was, therefore a moment for transformation.
     Muhammad was on the same religion of the Prophet Abraham, the Hanif. In the year 610, while he was meditating in the cave of mount Hira, the holy Quran was reveled on him. It was a real moment of transformation from darkness to light, from paganism to monotheism, from slavery to freedom, from oppression to justice, to Islam.
       Thus this new religion was built on five main pillars:
1)Shehada: Testimony that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His apostle.
2)Praying: five times a day
3)Charity: Zakah, or money due for the poor
4)Fasting Ramadan
  5 )  Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medinah
Guided with the Quran and the Sunna (The prophet saying and acts)

Q#3: Describe the difficulties that faced the establishment of the Umma?
     Due to the violent torture of Quraish to the prophet and his fellows, Allah ordered Muhammad to emigrate to Medinah (Yathreb) to avoid the torture of the dis-believers. In addition, Yathreb had two big tribes called Aws and Khazraj. These two tribes had been struggling for a long time, so they needed a wise person like Muhammad to arbitrate between them to end the war. Thus Muhammad was welcomed to visit Yathreb or to emigrate to it. In the year 622 AD, prophet Muhammad ad his close fellow Abu-Bakr El-seddik emigrated to Yathreb (Medinah) after a lot of chases from the warriors of Quraish. They reached safely to Medinah, where the prophet started to establish a new society or Umma.
     This emigration was a loss for both the believers and the dis-believers: the Moslems left all their money to the people of Quraish, while the Quraishi people left Muhammad to escape from them; he was a threat for their authority.
      In the year 624, it was the first time for the Moslems to fight against the dis-believers. The Moslems in Medinah knew that Quraish has a caravan going to Mecca, so they decided to attack that caravan to make up for what they left in Medinah. However, the leader of that caravan was a cautious man called Abu-Sofian, the son of Harb. He escaped to Mecca, where he succeeded in gathering all the chiefs of the clans against Muhammad. So Quraish had an army of 1000 fighters, and they went to fight and to kill. The army of the Moslems was composed of only 314 fighter and they were very poor in horses and weapons, but Allah was with them. The battle took place near a place called Badr, which is a group of wells. The Moslems were fighting for one of two things: winning or martyrdom. It was for them a Jihad (holy war). The battle ended with a victory for the Moslems, and only 14 Moslems were martyred. That battle was called the battle of Al-Furqan, because it differentiated between Faith and  false.
      The second battle was in 625 AD, which was the battle of Uhud, near the mount of Uhud. The Moslems had an army of 1000 fighter while Quraish had an army of 10,000 fighter. The battle was at first was in the Moslems side, but at the end of the battle a group of archers disobeyed the Prophet’s instructions and they left their place, so a dis-believer battalion succeeded in killing 70 Moslem.
     Another battle was the battle of the Trench in 627 AD. The Moslems in the Medinah knew that Quraish was building a new big army, from all the clans, to fight against the Moslems. The Moslems were undecided whether to go out and attack or to wait inside Medinah. A Persian man called Soliman Al-Faresy suggested that the Moslems should dig a trench around Medinah and to build a wall as well. So the Moslems dug a wide deep trench and behind it a wall. When the army of Quraish arrived they were astonished, so they camped around the trench. A few days later a mighty storm came and destroyed their camp and they had to go back to Mecca, defeated by the help of Allah.
     In the year 628 AD, the Moslems and the dis-believers of Quraish signed a truce to stop the war between them. But in 630 AD, Quraish did not respect the truce, so the prophet Muhammad decided to restore Mecca from the hands of the dis-believers. He led an army of 10,000 fighter to Medinah. When the army arrived, the doors of the city were opened and the chiefs of Quraish came to him declaring their Islam. The conquest pr the restoration of Mecca is well known as the Great Conquest. It was a non-bloody conquest. It was the end of paganism: the prophet himself cleansed the holy shrine from the idols.
      In the year 631, the delegates from all the parts of the peninsula came to Medinah declaring their Islam. The Prophet sent letters to the leaders of the Persians and the Byzantine Emperor asking them to join the Islam. In the same year, the Moslems and the Arabs fight in one army against the Byzantine empire, under the leadership of the prophet.
     In the year 632 AD, the prophet Muhammad delivered his final speech to the Umma (the sermon of farewell). He asked the Moslems to remain as one body, and that he has delivered the heavenly message complete.
     In the same year, the prophet Muhammad died, ending a great saga in the world history.

Q#4: Who were the rightly guided caliphs? Write all what you know

     The four rightly guided caliphs were the successors of the prophet Muhammad. They were called the rightly guided because they were rightly guided with the Quran and the Sunna. They ruled from 632-660 AD. The first rightly guided caliph was Abu-Bakr Al-Seddik. He was one of the first believers and the companion of the prophet in the emigration. His real name is Abu-Bakr, the son of Abu-Kuhafa, the chief of Taym. He was born in 572 AD, and he was a friend of the prophet since their childhood because they did not mix with Quraish in its traditions. He was given the caliphate after the prophet’s death because he was his companion in the emigration, he was the one whom the prophet chose to deliver Friday’s speech when the prophet was ill, he was the carrier of the Moslem’s flag in the battle of Tabuk, he was the father of the prophet’s wife Sayyeda Aisha, and he was elected o the principal of Shoura. The Muhajereen (emigrants of Mecca) and the Ansar (supporters of Yathreb) elected him as the successor.
      Abu-Bakr’s first mission was the wars of Riddah (Apostasy or relapse). After the death of the prophet, some people refused to pay the poor due, they rebelled against him and they stopped worshipping Allah, some people claimed that they were prophet like Mosaylama, Talha and sajah, and they returned back to Jahiliyya. That movement started in the outskirts of Arabia. Abu-Bakr tried to convince them peacefully, but they did not. As a result, he sent an army under the leadership of Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed (the drawn sword of Allah). After the Riddah, Abu-Bakr began to expand the Islamic Empire to the east, where they defeated the Persians in the battle of Hira (633AD), and to west to Agnadin (Byzantine). From his important doings the collection of Quran. He died in 634 AD after a two years short caliphate, but an important one.
     The second Caliph was Omar Ibn Al-Khattab. He ruled (634-644AD).
He was elected on the principle of Shoura. He was strong, just, faithful and fair. In the Jahiliyya, he was one of the strong enemies of Islam. The prophet Muhammad wished that Allah makes him a Moslem, and it was. He gave the Moslems a dose of confidence and the feel that somebody strong can defend them. All the public used to fear him before Islam, but after Islam, it was the fear of respect and honor.
     Omar started organizing the Islamic empire, he formed divans for running the government, such as: the divan of Soldiers, and the divan of  Zakah and taxes (Kharaj). He made the first census in Islam. He constructed the Islamic calendar, starting his dating with the migration of the prophet Muhammad.  He asked the historians to write the life story of the prophet Muhammad.
     Under his rule, the largest rate of expansion happened. From the famous battles: Yarmook, a small river in Syria against the Byzantine 636AD, conquest of Jerusalem 637 AD, and Egypt, the battle of Babylion 640 AD. Against the Persians, in Kadisiyah 635 AD, and Nahawind 642 AD. By the end of his rule, the Islamic empire included Nubia, Egypt, North Africa, Asia Minor, Syria to the North Asia.
     He was killed by a Persian man called Abu-Loaloa, the fire worshipper, killed him in the dawn prayer.
     The third caliph was Othman Ibn Affan. He ruled from 644 to 656 AD. He was called Dhu Alnorain because he married two of the prophet’s daughters. He was elected on the principle of Shoura. He was a rich Quraishi man, from the clan of Bano Umayya. He supported Islam several times with his money. He contributed remarkably to Islam. He copied the first authoritative versions of the Quran, with the right methods of reading and pronunciation and punctuation , and he sent  one to each governor of the provinces.
     Othman’s problem was that he was biased in choosing the governors of the provinces; they were, mostly, Umayyads. The expansion of the empire reached to: North Africa, Azerbijan, Nubia, Cyprus, and the battle of Dhat Al-Sawary against the Byzantine. Then the wars slowed down and the soldiers felt lazy and unhappy because there was no more plunder of war. The scene was set up to Dissension (Fitna). The Umma divided into four sections: the soldiers, the Umayyads, the Hashimites and the early companions of the prophet.
     A two wicked groups, centering in Egypt and Iraq in Kufa, from the Soldiers attacked the house of the Caliph and killed him because they thought that he was favoring the Umayyads.
     Muaweyah,  Othman's cousin who was in Damascus,  heard the sad news, so he came back to Mecca. He put Othman’s blood stained clothes on the mosque to encourage people to revenge.

Q#5: Discuss the conflict between Imam Ali and Muaweyah and the tragedy of the arbitration

     Imam Ali was the fourth and the last rightly guided caliph. He got married to the prophet’s daughter Fatima Al-Zahraa. He was the prophet’s cousin. He accepted to sleep in the prophet’s bed in the night of the emigration. He became a Moslem when he was only 10 years. He was eloquent and very religious.
     After becoming the caliph, some people tried to force him to take revenge from the killers of Othman, but , in my interpretation, he did not want to start his rule with blood  or to cause a new Fitna and because the killers were from many tribes and clans. Two of the old companions Talha and Zubeir, together with Sayyeda Aisha, prepared an army to fight against Ali because he did not punish the killers. The battle took place near Basra. Ali won that battle, and the two companions were killed, while Sayyeda Aisha returned back safely on a camel, thus the battle is called the battle of the camel 656 AD.
     Muaweyah, Othman’s cousin, prepared another army. His army and Imam Ali’s army met in a place called Siffin 657AD, near Euphrates. At the beginning, Ali was going to win, but the malicious Muaweyah ordered his soldiers to carry their holy books, requesting arbitration using the Shariaa of Allah. The soldiers of Ali divided into two sections: the first was asking to continue the battle, while the other was asking for accepting the offer.
     Ali accepted that request, so his adviser Abu-Moussa and Muaweyah’s adviser Amr Ibn Al-Ass met to arbitrate between them. The malicious Amr tricked Abu-Moussa and he claimed that Ali did not deserve the caliphate. Ali did not accept that result.
     At that time the two groups that appeared in Siffin responded to this result. Those who asked Ali to fight became called the Kharajites or the seceders, and the other group became the Shiites.
     Imam Ali built a new capital in Kufa, where he had to fight the seceders. But he was killed by one of them in 661 AD.

 Q#6: What were the characteristics of the Umayyad dynasty? Write notes about their kings

     The Umayyad dynasty is the name of an Arab family which took over the rule in the Islamic and the Arab world after the rightly guided caliphate. The name Umayya originated from the name of the grandfather of that dynasty, who was also the name of a Quraishi clan. It took over from 661AD to 750 AD. The founder was Muaweyah Ibn Abu-Sofian.
     Muaweyah became Moslem in the conquest of Mecca. He, in my interpretation, became Moslem because he knew that the Moslems were going to win anyway. In addition, he knew that the prophet Muhammad Swore after the battle of Uhud to kill 10 dis-believers in punishment  to their killing the prophet’s uncle Hamza and cutting his body, which was done by Muaweyah’s mother. He did not know that Allah ordered Muhammad to forget this oath in the Quran. Muaweyah expected that he might be from that list. Thus, he found himself forced to utter the testimony and so did his father.
     He fought in the wars of apostasy. He was appointed as the governor of a part of Syria in Omar’s caliphate, then the governor of whole Syria in the time of Othman, who was from his clan.  He rebelled against Imam Ali, asking for Othman’s revenge. (The tragedy of Arbitration: previous question).
     Muaweyah was a good fighter, leader and diplomat. He made his capital Damascus. He was acting like a king, not like a caliph. He deserted the simple life led by the rightly guided caliphs. The Umayyads copied this from the Byzantines, thus the ruler became distanced from the people. In addition, they did not rule using the Shoura system = consultation.
     Muaweyah ruled for 20 years. He was a good administrator. He built a navy, he established a mail service, and a divan for correspondence.
     As expected, Muaweyah faced some opposition from the Shiites , the Seceders, and the conservatives of Hijaz. Therefore, his strong cruel half brother Xiad was his iron hand against the Shiites.
     The Umayyads were exclusively in the favor of the Arabs: they did not allow the Mawalis  to marry Arabs or to reach to high ranks in the army, or even to be governors.
     Before his death, Muaweyah appointed his son Yazid as his successor, despite his well-known weakness. Yazid ruled (680-683AD). From the most important events in Yazid’s caliphate was Al-Hussein’s reaction. Al-Hussein, the son of Imam Ali, rebelled because Yazid was so frivolous to rule the Islamic empire. Al-Hussein moved from Medinah to Kufa, where he can get the support of his father’s supporters (Shiites). He declared himself an Anti-caliph in Kufa. Yazid sent an army to Al-Hussein, and Al-Hussein was defeated. Some of Al-Hussein’s supporters left him after the first defeat. So he kept on fighting until he was killed in a place called Karbalaa. His enemies cut off his head, and they sent it to Yazid.
     After the death of Yazid, Muaweyah II became the ruler. He was, even, more frivolous than Yazid. The opposition came this time from Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubeir, who declared himself an anti-caliph. But Muaweyah II did not continue for a long time: his caliphate ended after 6 months. Therefore it was the role of another caliph to treat this issue.
     Rule transferred to Muaweyah’s cousin, Marwan Ibn Al-Hakam. There had been two caliphs: one in Mecca (Hijaz), supported with a Yemenite tribe, and the other in Damascus, supported with Qais tribe. A confrontation happened between the two armies, ending with the defeat of Al-Zubeir in a place near Damascus called Marj-Rahit. Marwan built a strong control center in Egypt, then he died in 685AD.
     The next caliph was a great man called Abdul-Malek Ibn Marwan (685-705AD). He started by securing the empire and restoring all its parts. He started with the Shiites in Iraq. There had been a clash between a non-Umayyad man called Musab Ibn Al-Zubeir. That man clashed with the Shiites, so A/Malek was saved the trouble. Next was Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubeir. He sent an army under the commandership of an uncompromising man called Al-Hajjaj Ibn Youssef.  That man killed Al-Zubeir near the holy shrine of Kaaba in 692 AD.
     After strengthening his rule, he built a new co-capital near Kufa called Al-Wasit. He knew that he had the Shiites, Seceders, conservatives of Medinah, and Mawalis as his enemies. So he preferred to have a co-capital or a camp. He decreed Arabic as the official language. He minted the first Arab coins. He also built a dome for the holy mosque of Jerusalem.
     The next caliph was Walid Ibn A/Malek (705-715AD). In his time the conquests reached as far as the river Indos to the East, and Spain and North Africa to the west, Nubia to the South and Azerbijan to the North. In his rule, the Arabs opened Spain under the leadership of Moussa Ibn Nosseir and his commander in chief Tariq  Ibn Ziad. Tariq defeated the Goths of Spain in the battle of Gibraltar.
     The next caliph was a different man: different from all the Umayyads. He was Omar Ibn Abd-Al-Aziz (717-720AD), the son of Abd-Al-Aziz Ibn Marwan, the governor of Egypt. He was brought up in Hijaz, thus he was chosen in the time of Soliman as the governor of Hijaz. He showed a great tolerance to all groups, thus he was beloved there. He took over after the end of A/Malek’s family.
     He decided to stop the expansion, he gave up all his property, and he led an ascetic like. He banned suppression against the Mawalis, and he stopped the violence of the Umayyads against Imam Ali’s family, the  Shiites, and the Kharajites. He even removed the taxes from the Mawalis of Cyprus and Najran. The unjust governors were all removed.
     After his death, the Umayyad dynasty started aging and dying.

Q#7: Why did the Umayyad caliphate fall down?

  1)The Mawalis Issue: The Umayyads misbehaved the non-Arab Moslems
: they did not give them the chance to get high ranks in the army, nor giving them the chance to be governors. They prevented the inter-marriage. The Arabs paid a tax called Al-Ushr, while the Mawalis paid Kharaj. Many times the Mawalis revolted because of the high tax, such as :Berbers, Kufa, and Cyprus.
2) Inter-tribal strife: Qais and Yemenite tribes.
3) Luxury: pomposity and aristocracy in Damascus.
4) Shiites: revenge of Imam Ali, Al-Hussein, Abdullah Ibn AL-Zubeir
5) Expansion
  6 )  Weak Caliphs
  7 )  Each Life span has an end

Q#8: Who were the Abbasids, their origin, the Mawalis, Characteristics?

The Abbassids Caliphate
750-1258 AD

     The Abbassid Caliphate refers to an Arab dynasty which took over the rule of the Islamic and Arab world. They were the descendants of Al-Abbas, the uncle of the prophet Muhammed.

The Abbassid Caliphate is divided into two periods:
  1 )  Golden age 750-945 AD
  2 )  Decline, fall and collapse of the Abbassid empire

How did they take over?

     The Abbasids, together with the Shiites, united to kick out the Umayyads. Abu-Moslem Al-Khorasani started to spread their call first in Khorasan, and he declared revolution against the Umayyads in 747 AD. In less than two years, the Abbassid succeeded in invading Khorasan, where they elected Abu-Al-Abbas Al-Saffah as their leader. They finally took over after the battle of Zab 750 AD.

The most important Abbassid Caliphs are:
 Their names carried a divine favor
  1 )  Abu-Al-Abbas, Al-Saffah
  2 )  Abu Jaafar, Al-Mansour =the victorious
  3 )  Al-Mahdy = the guided by Allah
  4 )  Al-Hady = the guide to Allah
  5 )  Al-Rasheed = the wise
  6 )  Al-Ameen = the honest
  7 )  Al-Maamoon = the trustworthy
  8 )  Al-Moatasim = adheres to Allah’s teachings
  9 )  Al-Motawakkel

The Characteristics of the Abbassid rule:

  1 )  Cosmopolitan: Universality in area, and Equality between all the Moslems(Arabs and Mawali), no discrimination
  2 )   The Influence of the Persians: They were influenced by the help that the Persians offered to them when they were fighting the Umayyads. They supported them in Khorasan. e.g. the treasurers and the Ministers of Haroon, Al-Rasheed were Persians (Barmakids)
  3 )  The Capital: They transferred the capital to Baghdad, which became in the time of Haroon, Al-Rasheed the place of the zenith of civilization.
  4 )   They tried to attract the  people through religion, stressing the fact that they are related  to the prophet(their names). Plus in their time they had the four Scholars of the Islamic Shariaa: Al-Shafe’I, Malek, Ibn Hanbal, and Abu-Hanifa.

AL-Mansour: ( 754-775)

The real founder of the Abbassid Caliphate. He succeeded his brother, Abu-Al-Abbas, Al-Saffah. He built Baghdad (Dar-Al-Salam). He killed his enemies and even his supporters to strengthen his rule, e.g.(Abu-Moslem and the Shiites), when Abu-Moslem was killed, two Persian men called Babck and Sinbad claimed that they were Abu-Moslem but reincarnated. The Persians returned back to fire worshipping (Heresy) = Zandaqa. Al-Mansour suppressed Zandaqa strongly.  It was a message to the Mawalis not to exceed their limits and forget the idea of gaining power.

The Abbassid were true lovers of knowledge. They encouraged scientists and philosophers. The royal palaces were real realms for poets, scholars, geographers,  physicians,  chemists, engineers.

Al-Maamoon built a school in Baghdad as a house of translation from the Persian, Greek, and Latin to Arabic.
     They had two famous books: Kalyla Wa Dimna, which was a Persian book, translated by Abdullah Ibn Al-Mukaffa’. It was a book about animals which can talk. Another book was Alf Layla wa Layla = Thousand night and one night = Arabian nights.

Q#9: Discuss the genuine love of knowledge of the Abbassids and their famous leaders

     One of the Abbassid great leaders was Haroon Al-Rasheed (786-809AD).  He was cultured, brave (he used to lead the army by himself against the Byzantines), and he defeated them and they had to pay a tribute (money) in return of peace with him. Great leaders like Charlemagne requested his friendship. Unfortunately, he was oppressed by some historians as a womanizer because he married two ladies. There had been a tragedy for that.

Identity Card of the Arabs

Ethnic Origin: Mediterranean
Linguistically: Semitic
Area: Arabian Peninsula
Dominant Powers: Persians to the East, Romans(Byzantine) to the North and North West, and the Ethiopians to the South.

The Arabian Peninsula:
 ·  Tihama on the coast of the Red Sea
 ·  North: Syrian Desert
 ·  Middle: Hijaz Mountains
 ·  Plateau of Najd
 ·  South East: Empty Quarter
 ·  South: Yemen

The Flora:
Deserted Lands-Underground wells
The Fauna:
Camels-one humped camel

The Social Life:
 ·  Tribe: Small group of people gathered on a man called the Sheik or the chief of the Tribe, usually a wise and a diplomatic man.
 ·  Shoura: Consultation
 ·  Clans:  ÚÔíÑÉ =The people of the Tribe
 ·  Herdsman life or Merchants (water + food + pasture = Shepherds)
 ·  Continuous raids and wars

Negative Points of Jahiliya (Ignorance):
 ·  Fighting all the time or Inter-tribal struggle
 ·  Discrimination = slavery
 ·  Shameful Infanticide = Burying the young daughters
 ·  Worshipping Idols = Paganism 366 idol
 ·  Drink
 ·  Gambling

Positive Points:

 ·  Generosity, hospitality
 ·  Shoura
 ·  Honor
 ·  Bondage: Kinship
 ·  Poetry

Arabs Before Islam:

 ·  A moment of Transformation: 571 A.D
     The year of the Elephant: Abraha, a Christian Ethiopian king, planned to destroy the Holy shrine of Kaa’ba, and destroy the routes of trade between North and South. He was defeated by the Heavenly miracle of the birds.
In the same year, Muhammad was born. The clan of Bano Hashim, from Quraish.

 ·  610 AD The revelation of Islam
       A battle between Persians and The Arabs (Dhu Qar)
 ·  The five pillars of Islam:

  1 )  Shehada = Witness = Testimony
  2 )  Praying: Worshipping  [Wash: Wodoo’: Ablution ]
  3 )  Charity: Zakah: Poor due
  4 )  Fasting the holy month of Ramadan
  5 )  Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medinh


Establishment of the Umma:

 ·  Reasons For Hijra ( Emigration ):
1)A need for an arbitrator between Aws and Khazraj.
2)Escape the Quraishi torture

The Pledge of Aqaba 621 AD:

1)conformity and belief in Islam
2)To fight on behalf of the prophet

New life in Medinah:
  1 )  Absence of Central government in pre-Islamic Arabia
  2 )  Establishment of a new united community: Emigrants ( Muhajereen) and Supporters (Ansar)

Sequence of  events

622 AD Hijra (Emigration) , Establishment of the Umma in Medinah
624 AD Badr
625 AD Uhud
627 AD Battle of the Trench
628 AD Solh El-Hodaybeyya-truce
630 AD Conquest of Mecca
631 Last pilgrimage + messages and letters
632 AD Death of the Prophet Muhammad

 ·  Motives for Emigration:

1)The suffering of the Believers in Mecca from the torture of the Dis-believers of Quraish
  2 )  The two tribes of Medinah ( Aws and Khazraj ) were fighting and they needed an arbitrator

 ·  The aristocrats of Mecca Felt they were losing ground:
  1 )  Slavery opposes to freedom that Islam demanded
  2 )  Monopolizing trade Vs. Central government
  3 )  Idols and Paganism


Badr were a group of wells( 60 miles from Medinah )
315 Moslems Vs. 1000 Dis-believers
For the Moslems, the war was a Jihad ( Holy War), either winning or martyrdom .
The battle was in the same Arab system of Charge and retreat
The Moslems made a victory. The battle was called the battle of AL-FURQAN because it was the dividing line between light and darkness, distinction.


Uhud was a mountain located between Mecca and Medinah
At the beginning the Moslems were the winners until the archers disobeyed the instructions of the prophet and they ran to collect the spoils of war.


The idea of the trench was the idea of a Persian man called Soliman Al-faressy. The Moslems dug a long and deep trench. When the dis-believers arrived they were astonished, so they camped. But a few days later, a very strong storm blew and the camp was destroyed.



The restoration of Mecca. This conquest was characterized by the following:
1)No blood shed
  2 )  Any dis-believer can stay secure
  3 )  No more Idols = the prophet cleansed the Shrine
  4 )  Amnesty

THE YEAR OF WUFUD: 631 AD Deputation + TABUK

The delegations of the tribes in the Arab peninsula flopped to Mecca, declaring Islam.
Tabuk was a part near Syria, under the Byzantine rule. It was the first time for the Arabs to fight in one army against the Byzantines.
The carrier of the flag was Abu-Bakr



632 AD - 660 AD

  1 )  ABU-BAKR EL-SEDDIK ( 632 AD- 634 AD )

 ·  Abu-Bakr the son of Abu-Kuhafa [ his father was the chief of Taym]
 ·  El-Seddik [birth 572 AD]
 ·  He and the prophet did not mix with the Qurishi traditions
 ·  A wise man and a good arbitrator = truthful
 ·  From the first believers
 ·  Charity doings, because he was a rich man
 ·  Emigration: He stayed with Ali and the prophet Muhammad In Mecca until all the Moslems left. Afterwards, he left with the prophet to Medinah. He was the prophet’s companion in his trip.
 ·  The father of Sayyeda Aisha, the second wife of the prophet Muhammad

Reasons for giving him the caliphate:

  1 )  Badr:624 the prophet took by his opinion not to kill the POWs
  2 )  Tabuk: 631 the carrier of the flag
  3 )  Elected using the principle of shoura

His Contributions:

  1 )  The wars of Riddah ( Apostasy = relapse ):
Apostasy started first in Yemen, Oman ( Hedermout ), Baharain, and the outskirts of Arabia (returning back to jahiliyya)
False prophets: Mosaylama, the fake prophet. Talha and Sajah
Abu-Bakr tried to source it out peacefully by sending messages, but they ignored. As a result, Abu-Bakr sent forces under the leadership of Khaled Ibn Al Walid, ( The drawn sword of Allah )

  2 )  Collection of the Quran
  3 )  Reaching East to Hira (Persians in Iraq 633 AD), Sham or Syria under the Byzantine rule ( Ignadin)

  2 )  OMAR IBN AL KHATTAB ( 634 AD- 644 AD )