World History AP with Mr. Duez
Unit 3 AN AGE OF ACCELERATING CONNECTIONS 500–1500
CHAPTER 11 The Worlds of Islam Afro-Eurasian Connections, 600–1500
Chapter Learning Targets
Big Picture Questions
1. What distinguished the first centuries of Islamic history from the early history of Christianity and Buddhism? What similarities and differences characterized their religious outlooks?
2. How might you account for the immense religious and political/military success of Islam in its early centuries?
3. In what ways might Islamic civilization be described as cosmopolitan, international, or global?
4. “Islam was simultaneously both a single world of shared meaning and interaction and a series of separate and distinct communities, often in conflict with one another.” What evidence could you provide to support both sides of this argument?
5. What changes did Islamic expansion generate in those societies that encountered it, and how was Islam itself transformed by those encounters?
Margin Review Questions
1. In what ways did the early history of Islam reflect its Arabian origins?
2. How does the core message of Islam compare with that of Judaism and Christianity?
3. In what ways was the rise of Islam revolutionary, both in theory and in practice?
4. Why were Arabs able to construct such a huge empire so quickly?
5. What accounts for the widespread conversion to Islam?
6. What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam?
7. In what ways were Sufi Muslims critical of mainstream Islam?
8. How did the rise of Islam change the lives of women?
9. What similarities and differences can you identify in the spread of Islam to India, Anatolia, West Africa, and Spain?
10. Why was Anatolia so much more thoroughly Islamized than India?
11. What makes it possible to speak of the Islamic world as a distinct and coherent civilization?
12. In what ways was the world of Islam a “cosmopolitan civilization”?
Abbasid caliphate: Dynasty of caliphs who ruled an increasingly fragmented Islamic state from 750 to 1258, eventually becoming little more than figureheads. (pron. ah-BASS-id)
Andalus, al-: Arabic name for Spain (literally “the land of the Vandals”), most of which was conquered by Arab and Berber forces in the early eighth century c.e. (pron. al-AND-ah-loos)
Anatolia: Ancient name of Asia Minor, part of the Byzantine Empire that was gradually overrun by the Turks and that now is the Republic of Turkey. (pron. an-ah-TOLE-ee-yah)
Battle of Talas River: Arab victory over the Chinese in 751 c.e. that checked Chinese expansion to the west and enabled the conversion of Central Asia to Islam. (pron. tah-las)
Bedouins: Nomadic Arabs. (pron. BED-wins)
dhimmis: “Protected subjects” under Islamic rule, non-Muslims who were allowed to practice their faith as “people of the book” in return for their paying special taxes. (pron. DIM-ees)
Ghazali, al-: Great Muslim theologian, legal scholar, and Sufi mystic (1058–1111) who was credited with incorporating Sufism into mainstream Islamic thought. (pron. al-gha-ZAHL-ee)
hadiths: Traditions passed on about the sayings or actions of Muhammad and his immediate followers; hadiths rank second only to the Quran as a source of Islamic law. (pron. hah-DEETHS)
hajj: The pilgrimage to Mecca enjoined on every Muslim who is able to make the journey; one of the Five Pillars of Islam. (pron. HAHJ)
hijra: The “flight” of Muhammad and his original seventy followers from Mecca to Yathrib (later Medina) in 622 c.e.; the journey marks the starting point of the Islamic calendar. (pron. HIJ-ruh)
House of Wisdom: An academic center for research and translation of foreign texts that was established in Baghdad in 830 c.e. by the Abbasid caliph al-Mamun.
Ibn Battuta: Fourteenth-century Arab traveler (1304–1368) who wrote about his extensive journeys throughout the Islamic world. (pron. IB-uhn ba- TOO-tuh)
Ibn Sina: One of the greatest polymaths of the Islamic world (980–1037), a Persian who wrote prolifically on scientific (especially medical) and philosophical issues; he is often known as “Avicenna,” the Latinized form of his name. (pron. ibn SEE-nah)
imams: In Shia Islam, leaders with high religious authority; the twelve imams of early Shia Islam were Muhammad’s nephew Ali and his descendants. (pron. EE-mahms)
jihad: Arabic for “struggle,” this term describes both the spiritual striving of each Muslim toward a godly life and armed struggle against the forces of unbelief and evil. (pron. jee-HAHD)
jizya: Special tax paid by dhimmis in Muslim-ruled territory in return for freedom to practice their own religion. (pron. jeez-YAH)
Kaaba: Great stone shrine in Mecca that was a major pilgrimage center for worshippers of many different deities before it was reconsecrated to monotheistic use by Muhammad. (pron. KAH-bah)
madrassas: Formal colleges for higher instruction in the teachings of Islam as well as in secular subjects, founded throughout the Islamic world beginning in the eleventh century. (pron. MAH-dras-ahs)
Mecca: Key pilgrimage center in Arabia that became the birthplace of Islam.
Mozarabs: “Would-be Arabs” in Muslim-ruled Spain, referring to Christians who adopted much of Arabic culture and observed many Muslim practices without actually converting to Islam. (pron. MOH-zah-rabs)
Muhammad Ibn Abdullah: The Prophet of Islam (570–632 c.e.).
Muslim: Literally, “one who submits”; the name was adopted by Muhammad and his followers to describe their submission to God.
Pillars of Islam: The five core practices required of Muslims: a profession of faith, regular prayer, charitable giving, fasting during Ramadan, and a pilgrimage to Mecca (if financially and physically possible).
Polo, Marco: The most famous European traveler of the Middle Ages (1254–1324), whose travel account of his time in China was widely popular in Europe.
Rightly Guided Caliphs: The first four rulers of the Islamic world (632–661) after the death of Muhammad.
Quran: Also transliterated as Qur’án and Koran, this is the most holy text of Islam, recording the revelations given to the prophet Muhammad. (pron. kuh- RAHN)
sharia: Islamic law, dealing with all matters of both secular and religious life. (pron. sha-REE-ah)
shaykhs: Sufi teachers who attracted a circle of disciples and often founded individual schools of Sufism. (pron. SHAKES)
Sikhism: A significant syncretic religion that evolved in India, blending elements of Islam and Hinduism; founded by Guru Nanak (1469–1539). (pron. SEEK-ism)
Sufis: Islamic mystics, many of whom were important missionaries of Islam in conquered lands and who were revered as saints. (pron. SOO-fees)
Sultanate of Delhi: Major Turkic Muslim state established in northern India in 1206. (pron. DEL-ee)
Timbuktu: Great city of West Africa, noted as a center of Islamic scholarship in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries. (pron. tim-buk-TOO)
ulama: Islamic religious scholars. (pron. oo-leh-MAH)
Umayyad caliphate: Family of caliphs who ruled the Islamic world from 661 to 750 c.e. (pron. oo-MY-ad)
umma: The community of all believers in Islam. (pron. UM-mah)