Medieval Islamic Caliphates

The caliphate soon became a hereditary institute when the dynastic system of rule was introduced to the Islamic world by the Umayyads. By Syed Muhammad KhanHistorian Introduction Caliphate (“Khilafat” in Arabic) was a semi-religious political system of governance in Islam, in which the territories of the Islamic empire and the people within were ruled by[…]

Muhammad and the Early Medieval Birth and Rise of Islam

What started as a feeble group of followers soon turned into an empire. By Syed Muhammad KhanHistorian Introduction Muhammad ibn Abdullah (l. 570-610 CE) is venerated today as the Prophet of Islam and the “seal of Prophets” by his followers – the Muslims. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last – hence the “seal” –[…]

Monotheism in the Ancient World

In the ancient world, the concept of monotheism as we understand it today did not exist; all ancient people were polytheists. Introduction Monotheism is simply defined as the belief in one god and is usually positioned as the polar opposite of polytheism, the belief in many gods. However, the word monotheism is a relatively modern[…]

The Umayyad Dynasty of the Middle East, 661-749 CE

The glory of the Umayyads was not to last. Introduction The Dome of the Rock. The Great Mosque in Damascus. The Great Mosque in Córdoba. These remarkable architectural and artistic achievements are associated with the Umayyads, “first” dynasty of the Islamic World. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 C.E., there was a[…]

The Campaign of Asad Bin Alfurat to Conquer Byzantine Sicily

An introduction and prologue for the first campaigns against Sicily and the relations between both Sicily and Byzantines with Aghlabids state. By Dr. Sattam Zuheir AlkhateebDepartment of Basic SciencesMaan CollegeBalqa Applied University Early Islamic Campaigns against Sicily The first attempted invasion against Sicily had occurred during the reign of Mu’awiah bin Abi Sufain in Syria[…]

A History of Changing Western Attitudes Toward Islam

Since its beginnings in the Arabia of the 7th century CE, the religion of Muhammad the prophet had pushed against the borders of Christendom. Less than a week after the attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September 2001, US President George W. Bush gave a remarkable speechabout America’s “Muslim Brothers and sisters”.[…]

Muslims and the First Recorded Slave Revolt in the New World, 1522

Charles V blamed the revolt on their radical ideology rather than the harsh realities of living a life of slavery. On Christmas Day, 1522, 20 enslaved Muslim Africans used machetes to attack their Christian masters on the island of Hispaniola, then governed by the son of Christopher Columbus. The assailants, condemned to the grinding toil[…]

Medicine in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Islamic World

In the 17th century, early modern European medical theory had an impact upon Islamic medicine through the writings of the Paracelsians. As the Islamic world became increasingly fragmented, the patronage and accompanying prestige and security enjoyed by the leading physicians declined. Spain was lost, European crusaders made repeated invasions into the central lands, and in[…]

Muhammad: An Anticlerical Hero of the European Enlightenment

During the European Enlightenment, a number of authors presented Muhammad as an anticlerical hero. Publishing the Quran and making it available in translation was a dangerous enterprise in the 16th century, apt to confuse or seduce the faithful Christian. This, at least, was the opinion of the Protestant city councillors of Basel in 1542, when[…]

A History of Biology in Medieval Islam

The history of biology, built upon the thoroughness and insight of Aristotle and Galen, passed onto the Islamic Scholars, who added information drawn from every corner of the known world. Introduction By the 8th Century, most of Europe was deep in the Dark Ages, with only the Byzantine Empire preserving a few fragments of the[…]

Arab-Islamic Reception and Development of Hellenistic Science

An overview of the Arab-Islamic reception and development of Hellenistic science. Abstract This article is an overview of the Arab-Islamic reception and development of Hellenistic science. It particularly refers to mathematics, physics and astronomy. It focuses on the following topics: 1) Two interpretative models of this reception in the 19th, 20th, and 21stcentury scholarship: the[…]

Zaida, Medieval Muslim Princess and Spanish Ancestor of the British Royal Family

The inter-marriage of Muslim families and the mingling with Christianity provides us with an interesting back story to a Muslim ancestor of the current British monarch. Zaida, a Muslim princess living in 11th-century Seville, is one of the most extraordinary ancestors of the British royal family. Zaida’s bloodline reached the English shores through her engagement[…]

A History of the Shi’a-Sunni Divide

Examining the centuries’-old sectarian Shia-Sunni divide. Tensions between Sunnis and Shias have been flaring up, with several incidents of violence reported in recent months: Most recently a suicide bomber killed at least 29 people when he blew himself up at the largest Shiite Muslim mosque in Afghanistan’s Herat province on Tuesday, August 1. Earlier in June, the Islamic[…]

Robot of Jihad? A Guide to Tipu’s Tiger

Analyzing an eighteenth-century automaton from South Asia in the image of a tiger mauling a British soldier. An eighteenth-century automaton in the image of a tiger mauling a British soldier, whose groans mingle with his killer’s roar, has thrilled millions of tourists and inspired some of the English language’s finest poets. It is one of[…]

The Style and Regional Differences of Seljuk Persian Minarets

Seljuk art and architecture is a fusion of Persian, Islamic, and Central Asian (Turkic) elements. By Dr. Fatema AlSulaitiExpert in Islamic Archaeology Under the Seljuk rule, Persia gained a period of economic and cultural prosperity. The innovative techniques of the Seljuk period and style in architecture and the arts had a strong influence on later[…]

Religious Dimensions of Classical and Contemporary Islamic Art

Analyzing classical religious influences on the work of Ehab Mamdouh. Abstract This paper focuses on the work of Egyptian Islamic contemporary artist Ehab Mamdouh who grew up in Saudi Arabia, then moved to Cairo, where he was exposed to religious, historical concepts and art forms, then came back to work in Saudi Arabia to observe[…]

The Rise and Expansion of Islam in the Medieval World

The region had been freed from lingering influences of the Byzantine empire and was left to develop on its own. Introduction Although Islam is a sister religion of Christianity and Judaism, Christians are generally ignorant and contemptuous of its origins and beliefs. One might note that Muslims hold education and learning in high esteem. Like[…]

Convivencia: Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Medieval Spain

Examining the inter-relationship of religion and culture in the time period of medieval Spain known as the convivencia. By Lindsey Marie Vaughan Abstract Few time periods in world history offer as unique a glimpse into cultural cohabitation as the one in medieval Spain following the Arabic invasion and preceding the Christian Reconquest ended in 1492.[…]