Islam in History: An Overview

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Islam in History: An Overview
632-661
The Rashidun “Rightly Guided” Caliphate
Abu Bakr; Umar; Uthman; Ali, who is murdered
638
Conquest of Jerusalem
661-750
The Umayyads
Arab dynasty ruling from Damascus
680
Martyrdom of Husayn (Ali’s son) in Karbala, Iraq, and beginning of the Shi’a sect.
756-1492
Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain)
In 711 a rival branch of the Umayyad caliphate was established in Spain, and Spain
remained in Muslim hands until it was taken again by Christians in the 13th century. Jews
and Christians were prominent in culture and government under Islamic rule. Literature,
philosophy, architecture, mathematics, chemistry, astronomy and medicine all flourished,
stimulated by contact with Christian, Jewish and earlier Greek cultural sources.
Translations of Greek works into Arabic were begun and continued through the 9th
century.
750-1258
The Abbasids
An Arab caliphate established in Baghdad, during which the classical schools of Islamic
law and theology flourish. Cultural achievements remained high.
Al-Kindi (c. 800-873), Al-Farabi (870-950), Ibn Sina / Avicenna (980-1037),
Al-Gazali (1058-1111), Ibn Rushd / Averroes (1126-1198).
Maimonides (1135-1204), Jewish philosopher / theologian, lived in Cairo and served as
court physician to the Muslim ruler Saladin.
1000-1492
Christian reconquest of Muslim controlled territories in Spain, Sicily, and Italy.
1095-1453
Crusades
1187
Saladin reconquers Jerusalem.
1281-1924
Ottoman (Turks, Saracens) Empire
Sunni Islamic Empire in Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Eastern Europe. With
the demise of the Ottoman Empire after WW I (1918), many of the boundaries of present
day nation states in the Middle East were determined by the British and French.
1526-1857
Mughal Empire in India and South Asia
(Akbar, d. 1605, introduces a degree of religious toleration; from India Muslim (Sufi)
missionaries go to Malaysia, Indonesia.)
1501-1732
Safavid Empire (Persian, Iran)
(“Twelvers” Shi’a; the “hidden” imam)
1703-87
Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab rejects Sufism and founds what becomes the Saudi Arabia
Kingdom; the roots of later Wahhabiya (a radical, puritanical Islamic movement) emerge.
1924
The califate is abolished by a secular Turkish regime.
1947
Pakistan founded as an Islamic nation.
1979
The Iranian Revolution ushers in a new era of political Islam and radical Islamism.
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