Islamic Empire

The beginning of the Islamic Empire is around 610 C.E. and continued until the Ottoman Empire fell in 1924. This time was a growth of both the Islamic religion and the empire itself as they expanded in advancements in science and had an excellent economy.

This was all going on as the Europeans were going through the dark ages. The failing of Europe gave the Islamic Empire the chance to grow and prosper and as a religion, Islam spread into the cultures of North Africa and the Middle East.

The Importance of Caliphate

Islam was founded by the Prophet Muhammad in Mecca in 610 C.E. This area is now known as Saudi Arabia. Once Muhammad had died, the decision was made to change the name of the Islamic government to “Caliphate” and that it would be headed by a “Caliph”.

The initial four Caliphs had all been students of Muhammad and were followed for an additional 500 years by other Caliphs. This launched what is called the Islamic Golden Age.

The Empire Grows

Historians give credit to the Islamic Empire expansion as one of the largest empires to have existed in world history. They had complete control over northern Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia and India, and the Iberian Peninsula (modern day Spain).

The Islamic Golden Age (790 C.E to 1258 C.E.) brought about a time of growth in culture, education, science, technology, and the arts throughout the Empire. The capital center was the city of Baghdad which was also the capital of one of the Caliphate.

We Share Much of the Golden Age Today

While the Islamic Golden Age is thought to have been from the middle of the 7th century through the middle of the 13th century, so much was shared with the rest of the world through trade and exchange that we continue to use many of the things learned from them today.

The Muslim world was the center for everything intellectual including the exchange of science, medicine, and education.  They established a “House of Wisdom” for all scholars of all faiths to meet, talk, contribute, and translate into a central area for learning.  It is thanks to this location, where ancient works from Rome, China, India, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Persia were translated into languages such as Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, Latin and Sindhi, that they were saved to pass on to the next generations.

The Islamic Empire is given full credit for being the first “truly universal civilization”, bringing many people and cultures together.

Most Fascinating Information about the Islamic Empire:

  • While the Chinese began the art of creating ink and paper, the Arabs improved on it, bringing refined ways to make paper for books and better ink for the libraries that they built.
  • Since it’s against the Muslim religion to create images of idols for worship, the early Islamic art rarely included pictures of people or animals.
  • Throughout the Islamic Empire there have been quite a few capital cities of the Caliphate. Are few of the better known include: Damascus, Medina, Cairo, Baghdad, and Istanbul.
  • The base of the Islamic religion was in the “Five Pillars of Islam” which include: Declaration of faith (Shahada), prayer (Salat), charity (Zakat), fasting, and pilgrimage (Hajj).
  • At the highest point of success, one of history’s largest empires in the world was Umayyad Caliphate which was in charge of around 28% of the population of the world.
  • The fall of the Islamic Golden Age occurred in 1258 C.E. when the Mongols attacked and raided the city of Baghdad.
  • The numbering system that we use today was originally created by Arabs and later refined by two Hindu-Arabic mathematicians.