Muhammad’s Successors

After Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, there were conflicts among his followers regarding who would certainly become his successor, which created 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 frifinish Abu Bakr was called caliph and also leader of the Islamic community, or Ummah.Sunni Muslims think that Abu Bakr was the proper successor, while Shi’a Muslims think that Ali should have actually succeed Muhammad as caliph.After Muhammad’s death and the rebellion of numerous people, Abu Bakr initiated several army campaigns to lug Arabia under Islam and into the caliphate.The Rashidun Caliphate (632–661) was led by Abu Bakr, then by Umar ibn Khattab as the second caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan as the third caliph, and Ali as the fourth caliph.Muslim armies conquered a lot of of Arabia by 633, followed by north Africa, Mesopotamia, and also Persia, considerably shaping the background of the civilization with the spread of Islam.Key TermsSunni: The branch of Islam that believes that a caliph have to be chosen by Muslims or their representatives and that Abu Bakr was the initially caliph.Ummah: An Arabic word interpretation “nation” or “community;” usually refers to the cumulative area of Islamic individuals.Shi’a: The minority Islamic branch that believes Muhammad appointed his cousin Ali as his follower and that the caliph have to be determined based on this household lineage.caliph: The head of state in a caliphate, and the title for the leader of the Islamic Ummah; a successor of Muhammad.

Succession after Muhammad’s Death

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

With Muhammad’s fatality in 632 CE, disagreement broke out among his followers over deciding his follower. Muhammad’s influential companion Umar ibn al-Khattab nominated Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s friend and also collaborator. With added assistance, Abu Bakr was confirmed as the initially caliph (religious successor to Muhammad) that exact same year. This option was debated by some of Muhammad’s companions, who hosted that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and also son-in-regulation, had actually been designated the follower by Muhammad at Ghadir Khumm. Ali was Muhammad’s initially cousin and also closest living male loved one, and also his son-in-legislation, having married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah. Ali would ultimately end up being the fourth Sunni caliph. These debates over Muhammad’s true follower led to a major break-up in Islam between what ended up being the Sunni and Shi’a denominations, a department that still holds to now.

Sunni Muslims think and also confirm that Abu Bakr was liked by the area and also that this was the correct procedure. Sunnis better argue that a caliph must ideally be preferred by election or neighborhood agreement. Shi’a Muslims think that simply as God alone appoints a prophet, only God has the prerogative to apsuggest the successor to his prophet. They believe God made a decision Ali to be Muhammad’s follower and also the first caliph of Islam.

Rise of the Caliphates

After Muhammad’s death, many kind of Arabian tribes rejected Islam or withheld the alms taxes established by Muhammad. Many type of tribes asserted that they had submitted to Muhammad and also that via Muhammad’s death, their allegiance had actually ended. Caliph Abu Bakr insisted that they had actually not simply submitted to a leader, however joined the Islamic community of Ummah.

To retain the cohesion of the Islamic state, Abu Bakr separated his Muslim army to pressure the Arabian people right into entry. After a collection of successful projects, Abu Bakr’s basic Khalid ibn Walid defeated a completing prophet and the Arabian peninsula was joined under the caliphate in Medina. Once the rebellions had been quelled, Abu Bakr started a war of occupation. In simply a couple of short years, his projects brought about among the largest realms in background. Muslim militaries dominated most of Arabia by 633, adhered to by north Africa, Mesopotamia, and also Persia, considerably shaping the background of the civilization via the spcheck out of Islam.

Rashidun Caliphate (632–661)

Abu Bakr nominated Umar as his successor on his deathbed. Umar ibn Khattab, the second caliph, was eliminated by a Persian called Piruz Nahavandi. Umar’s successor, Uthman Ibn Affan, was chosen by a council of electors (Majlis). Uthmale was eliminated by members of a disimpacted team. Ali then took regulate, however was not universally welcomed as caliph by the governors of Egypt, and later on by some of his own guard. He challenged two major rebellions and also was assassinated by Abdl-alRahman, a Kharijite. Ali’s tumultuous ascendancy lasted just 5 years. This duration is known as the Fitna, or the initially Islamic civil war.

The followers of Ali later ended up being the Shi’a minority sect of Islam, which rejects the legitimacy of the initially three caliphs. The followers of all 4 Rashidun caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmale, and also Ali) ended up being the majority Sunni sect. Under the Rashidun, each region (Sultanate) of the caliphate had actually its own governor (Sultan). Muawiyah, a relative of Uthman and governor (Wali) of Syria, ended up being among Ali’s challengers, and after Ali’s assassination regulated to get over the various other claimants to the caliphate. Muawiyah transformed the caliphate into a hereditary office, therefore starting the Umayyad dynasty. In areas that were previously under Sassanid Persian or Oriental preeminence, the caliphs lowered taxes, provided higher local autonomy (to their delegated governors), granted greater religious flexibility for Jews and some aboriginal Christians, and carried peace to peoples demoralized and disimpacted by the casualties and also heavy taxation that resulted from the decades of Byzantine-Persian warfare.

Expansion Under the Umayyad Caliphates

The Umayyad Caliphate, the second of the 4 significant Arab caliphates establimelted after the fatality of Muhammad, increased the area of the Islamic state to one of the biggest empires in history.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe Umayyad Caliphate, which emerged after the Rashidun Caliphate collapsed, was characterized by hereditary elections and also region growth.The Umayyad Caliphate became among the largest unitary says in history and among the few claims to ever extend straight ascendancy over three continents.When the Abbasid dynasty revolted against the Umayyads and killed many type of of their ruling household members, a couple of Umayyads escaped to the Iberian peninsula and also founded the Cordoba Caliphate, defined by relaxed diplomacy, spiritual tolerance, and social thriving.Key TermsAl-Andalus: Also known as Muslim Spain or Islamic Iberia, a medieval Muslim region and cultural doprimary occupying at its top the majority of of modern Spain and also Portugal.Dome of the Rock: A shrine situated on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.Umayyad Caliphate: The second of the 4 significant Arab caliphates established after the fatality of Muhammad.

Umayyad Caliphate (661–750)

The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the 4 major Arab caliphates establimelted after the fatality of Muhammad. This caliphate was centered on the Umayyad dynasty, hailing from Mecca. The Umayyad family members had first come to power under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644–656), yet the Umayyad routine was started by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, after the finish of the First Muslim Civil War in 661 CE. Syria stayed the Umayyads’ primary power base thereafter, and Damascus was their funding.

Under the Umayyads, the caliphate area thrived rapidly. The Islamic Caliphate ended up being among the biggest unitary says in history, and also among the few states to ever before extend direct rule over three continents (Africa, Europe, and also Asia). The Umayyads integrated the Caucasus, Transoxiana, Sindh, the Maghreb, and the Iberian Peninsula ( Al-Andalus ) into the Muslim people. At its biggest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 5.79 million square miles and consisted of 62 million world (29% of the world’s population), making it the fifth biggest empire in background in both area and propercentage of the world’s population. Although the Umayyad Caliphate did not dominion every one of the Sahara, nomadic Berber people paid homage to the caliph. However, although these vast areas might have recognized the dominance of the caliph, de facto power was in the hands of regional sultans and also emirs.

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

The Umayyad dynasty was not universally supported within the Muslim area for a variety of factors, including their hereditary election and also suggestions of impious behavior. Some Muslims felt that just members of Muhammad’s Banu Hashim clan or those of his very own family tree, such as the descendants of Ali, have to ascendancy. Some Muslims thought that Umayyad tax and also governmental methods were unjust. While the non-Muslim population had autonomy, their judicial matters were encountered in accordance with their own legislations and also by their own religious heads or their appointees. Non-Muslims paid a poll tax for policing to the central state. Muhammad had proclaimed clearly during his lifetime that each spiritual minority should be permitted to exercise its own religion and also govern itself, and the policy had actually on the totality ongoing.

Tright here were plenty of rebellions against the Umayyads, and also splits within the Umayyad ranks, which notably consisted of the rivalry in between Yaman and Qays. Allegedly, The Sunnis eliminated Ali’s child Hussein and his household 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 family tree of Ali joined to carry down the Umayyads in 750. However, the Shiʻat ʻAlī, “the Party of Ali,” were aobtain disappointed once the Abbasid dynasty took power, as the Abbasids were descfinished from Muhammad’s uncle `Abbas ibn `Abd al-Muttalib, and also not from Ali.

The Abbasid victors desecrated the burial places of the Umayyads in Syria, sparing just that of Umar II, and also most of the staying members of the Umayyad household were tracked dvery own and eliminated. When Abbasids declared amnesty for members of the Umayyad household, eighty gathered to receive pardons, and also all were massacred. One grandson of Hisham, Abd al-Rahman I, survived and also established a kingdom in Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia), proclaiming his family to be the Umayyad Caliphate revived.

Umayyad Dynasty in Cordoba, Spain

The renewal of the Umayyad Caliphate in Al-Andalus (what would become modern-day Spain) was referred to as the Caliphate of Córdoba, which lasted till 1031. The duration was defined by an development of trade and also society, and witnessed the building and construction of masterpieces of al-Andalus design.

The caliphate appreciated raised prosperity in the time of the 10th century. Abd-ar-Rahman III unified al-Andalus and also carried the Christian kingdoms of the north under manage with pressure and diplomacy. Abd-ar-Rahguy stopped the Fatimid advance into caliphate land in Morocco and al-Andalus. This duration of prosperity was marked by enhancing diplomatic relations with Berber people in north Africa, Christian majesties from the north, and France, Germany, and also Constantinople.

Córdoba was the cultural and intellectual center of al-Andalus. Mosques, such as the Great Mosque, were the focus of many kind of caliphs’ attention. The caliph’s palace, Medina Azahara, was on the outskirts of the city, and had actually many kind of rooms filled through wealth from the East. The library of Al-Ḥakam II was among the largest libraries in the civilization, housing at least 400,000 volumes, and Córdoba possessed translations of ancient Greek messages into Arabic, Latin and also Hebrew. Throughout the Umayyad Caliphate duration, connections in between Jews and also Arabs were cordial; Jewish stonemasons assisted develop the columns of the Great Mosque. Al-Andalus was subject to eastern cultural influences too. The musician Ziryab is attributed through bringing hair and clothes layouts, toothpaste, and also deodorant from Baghdad to the Iberian peninsula. Advances in science, history, location, viewpoint, and language arisen throughout the Umayyad Caliphate also.


Mosque: Interior of the Mezquita (Mosque), one of the ideal examples of Umayyad style in Spain.

Legacy of the Umayyad Caliphate

The Umayyad caliphate was marked both by territorial development and by the governmental and social difficulties that such growth developed. In spite of some noteworthy exceptions, the Umayyads tfinished to favor the rights of the old Arab households, and in certain their own, over those of recently converted Muslims (mawali). Therefore, they organized to a less universalist conception of Islam than did many kind of of their rivals.

Throughout the duration of the Umayyads, Arabic became the bureaucratic language, in which state documents and also currency were issued. Mass conversions carried a big influx of Muslims to the caliphate. The Umayyads also built famous structures such as the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem and also the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus.

According to one widespread view, the Umayyads transformed the caliphate from a religious school (during the Rashidun) to a dynastic one. However before, the Umayyad caliphs carry out seem to have actually interpreted themselves as the representatives of God on Earth.

The Umayyads have actually met with a greatly negative reception from later on Islamic historians, who have actually accused them of cultivating a kingship (mulk, a term with connotations of tyranny) rather of a true caliphate (khilafa). In this respect it is significant that the Umayyad caliphs described themselves not as khalifat rasul Allah (“successor of the messenger of God,” the title desired by the tradition), however quite as khalifat Allah (“deputy of God”).

Many Muslims criticized the Umayyads for having actually too many non-Muslim, previous Roman administrators in their government. St. John of Damascus was also a high administrator in the Umayyad management. As the Muslims took over cities, they left the people’s political representatives and also the Roguy taxation collectors and administrators. The people’s political representatives calculated and negotiated taxes. The main federal government and the local federal governments got phelp respectively for the services they provided. Many type of Christian cities offered some of the taxes to maintain their churches and run their very own establishments. Later, the Umayyads were criticized by some Muslims for not reducing the taxes of the world that converted to Islam.

Spcheck out of Islam

In the years adhering to the Prophet Muhammad’s death, the growth of Islam was lugged out by his successor caliphates, that increased the region of the Islamic state and sought converts from both polytheistic and also monotheistic religions.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the spread of Islam and recognize how the caliphs maintained authority over overcame regions.

Key Takeaways

Key PointsThe growth of the Arab Realm in the years adhering to the Prophet Muhammad ‘s death resulted in the creation of caliphates, who populated a huge geographical area and sought converts to Islamic confidence.The world of the Islamic people produced plenty of sophisticated centers of society and science with far-getting to mercantile netfunctions, travelers, scientists, hunters, mathematicians, doctors, and also philosophers.Historians identify in between 2 separate strands of converts of the moment. One is animists and polytheists of tribal cultures of the Arabian Peninsula and also the Fertile crescent; the other is the monotheistic populations of the Middle Eastern agrarian and urbanized societies.The Arab conquerors primarily respected the typical middle-Eastern pattern of religious pluralism via regard to the dominated populaces, respecting the exercise of other faiths in Arab region, although widespreview conversions to Islam came about as a result of the breakdvery own of historically religiously arranged cultures.Key TermsZoroastrianism: an ancient Iranian faith and religious philosophy that emerged in the eastern ancient Persian Realm, once the religious philosopher Zoroaster simplified the pantheon of early Iranian gods right into 2 opposing pressures.Imam: An Islamic management position, the majority of generally in the conmessage of a worship leader of a mosque and also Sunni Muslim area.


The expansion of the Arab Realm in the years complying with the Prophet Muhammad’s fatality caused the creation of caliphates occupying a large geographical location. Convariation to Islam was raised by missionary tasks, specifically those of Imams, that easily intermingled via neighborhood populace to propagate religious teachings. These early caliphates, coupled through Muslim economics and trading and the later development of the Ottoguy Empire, resulted in Islam’s spcheck out outwards from Capital in the direction of both the Atlantic and Pacific seas and the production of the Muslim human being. Trading played an essential duty in the spcheck out of Islam in a number of parts of the human being, notably southeast Asia.

Muslim empires were shortly establimelted and also subsequent realms such as those of the Abbasids, Fatimids, Almoravids, Seljuchildren, and also Ajurans, Adal and also Warsangali in Somalia, Mughals in India, Safavids in Persia, and also Ottomans in Anatolia were among the largest and also many powerful in the civilization. The civilization of the Islamic world created countless sophisticated centers of culture and also science with far-getting to mercantile networks, travelers, scientists, hunters, mathematicians, medical professionals, and also theorists, all contributing to the Golden Age of Islam. Islamic development in South and also East Asia promoted cosmopolitan and also eclectic Muslim cultures in the Indian subcontinent, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China.

Within the first century of the facility of Islam upon the Arabian Peninsula and also the subsequent rapid development of the Arab Empire during the Muslim occupations, among the many significant empires in civilization background was created. For the subjects of this brand-new empire, formerly topics of the considerably diminished Byzantine and obliterated Sassanid realms, not much changed in practice. The objective of the occupations was of a valuable nature even more than anything else, as productive land also and also water were scarce in the Arabian Peninsula. A real Islamization therefore just came about in the subsequent centuries.

Conversions to Islam

Historians differentiate in between 2 sepaprice strands of converts of the moment. One is animists and also polytheists of tribal societies of the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile crescent; the other is the monotheistic populations of the Center Eastern agrarian and also urbanized cultures.

For the polytheistic and pagan cultures, acomponent from the spiritual and also spiroutine reasons each individual might have had actually, convariation to Islam “represented the response of a tribal, pastdental populace to the require for a bigger frame for political and also economic integration, a much more secure state, and a more imaginative and also encompassing moral vision to cope via the troubles of a tumultuous culture.” In contrast, for sedentary and also often already monotheistic societies, “Islam was substituted for a Oriental or Sassanian political identification and for a Christian, Jewish or Zoroastrian religious affiliation.” Initially, conversion was neither required nor necessarily wished for: “ did not need the conversion as a lot as the subordicountry of non-Muslim peoples. At the outset, they were hostile to conversions because new Muslims diluted the economic and condition advantages of the Arabs.”

Only in subsequent centuries, via the advance of the religious doctrine of Islam and also through that the understanding of the Muslim Ummah, did mass convariation take place. The new understanding by the religious and also political leadership led in many kind of instances to a weakening or breakdown of the social and also religious frameworks of parallel spiritual neighborhoods such as Christians and also Jews. With the weakening of many type of churches, for instance, and with the favoring of Islam and also the migration of considerable Muslim Turkish populations right into the areas of Anatolia and the Balkans, the “social and social relevance of Islam” were enhanced and a large number of peoples were converted.

During the Abbasid Caliphate, development ceased and the central disciplines of Islamic viewpoint, theology, legislation, and also mysticism ended up being even more widespread, and also the gradual conversions of the populations within the empire developed. Monumental conversions likewise occurred beyond the extents of the empire, such as that of the Turkic people in Central Asia and also peoples living in regions southern of the Sahara in Africa with call with Muslim traders energetic in the area and Sufi orders. In Africa it spcheck out alengthy 3 routes—across the Sahara through trading towns such as Timbuktu, up the Nile Valley with the Sudan up to Uganda, and across the Red Sea and down East Africa via settlements such as Mombasa and also Zanzibar. These initial conversions were of a functional nature.

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The Arab-Muslim occupations followed a basic pattern of nomadic conquests of settled areas, whereby dominating individuals became the new armed forces elite and also got to a damage via the old elites by allowing them to retain local political, religious, and also financial authority. Peasants, employees, and also sellers paid taxes, while members of the old and new elites accumulated them.