What was the Islamic Empire, and where was it located?
The Islamic Empire was one of the largest empires in the world at its time of power.
The term “Islamic Empire” refers to the caliphates which were established after the death of Muhammad, and which spread under the rule of the Islamic caliphs until the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the medieval era.
The Islamic Empire mostly covered the Middle East, Eastern Europe and parts of North Africa.
The Islamic Empire was divided into multiple territories, which were all ruled over by a single caliphate.
The word caliphate refers to both an Islamic region and the government which controls it. Each caliphate had its own capital cities – and usually, these changed every couple of hundred years.
Because of this, there are some cities which are important to the history of the Islamic fate – Mecca, Medina – and some which were important to the politics of the Islamic state.
What were the major cities of the Islamic Empire?
Here’s a list of some of the most important cities of the Islamic Empire:
Mecca: The most important city in the Islamic faith. Mecca is the city where Muhammad was born, and where he was first spoken to by the Islamic god, Allah. Because of this, Mecca is known as the birthplace of Islam.
Muslims are expected to visit Mecca at least once in their lives to fulfil one of the Five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims pray while facing Mecca, no matter where they are in the world. Mecca was the capital of the first Islamic caliphate.
Medina: The second most important city in the Islamic faith, and the second city which must be visited as part of the Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj.
After the authorities of Mecca began to persecute Muhammad for spreading his faith, he fled to Medina with his disciples and built up a small army of converts. Muhammad used this army to win back the city of Mecca.
Damascus: The city of Damascus in Syria was taken control of by the Islamic Empire in 634 A.D. It was the first Roman city to fall to the control of the caliphate.
In 661 A.D., Damascus became the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate, and remained the political center of the Islamic Empire for nearly 100 years after its conquering. Today, it’s a popular tourist site, and receives many Muslim visitors each year.
Baghdad: After the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate, the government of the Abbasid Caliphate decided they should have a new capital city.
it was decided that the new capital of the Islamic Empire would be the city of Baghdad, located directly in the center of ancient Mesopotamia.
Baghdad remained the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate for the next 500 years, and some historians view its collapse as the reason for the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate. It was conquered by the Mongols in an invasion in 1258 A.D.
Cairo: Following the collapse of Baghdad, the leaders of the Umayyad Caliphate fled to Cairo to establish their new base of control. However, while Cairo was known as a religious capital of the Islamic Empire, the caliphate had no political power there, and had little influence on the way Egypt was run.
Because of this, some historians do not consider Cairo to be a true capital of the Islamic Empire, but the caliphs of the next 300 years lived there despite that lack of influence. Where Damascus was a politically important city to the Empire, Cairo was a city of great religious importance.
Constantinople: Following the collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate, Constantinople became the new center of the Islamic world, and was a major city in the Ottoman Empire all the way up to the 1900s.
Constantinople was not significant to the religious background of Islam like the cities of Mecca and Medina, but was an important trading hub in Europe.
Constantinople bridged the gap between the countries of eastern Europe, northern Africa, and west Asia.
Constantinople was renamed Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire’s rule, and the city of Istanbul remains intact today as the capital of Turkey.
Facts about the Important Cities of the Islamic Empire:
- The Islamic Empire was one of the largest empires in the world at its time of power.
- The term “Islamic Empire” refers to the caliphates which were established after the death of Muhammad, and which spread under the rule of the Islamic caliphs until the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the medieval era.
- Each caliphate had its own capital cities – and usually, these changed every couple of hundred years. Because of this, there are some cities which are important to the history of the Islamic fate – Mecca, Medina – and some which were important to the politics of the Islamic state.
- The most important cities of the Islamic Empire were, in no particular order: Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, Constantinople, Cairo, and Damascus.Of these six cities, four were known mostly as religious capitals (Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, Cairo) and the others as political capitals (Constantinople, Damascus).
- What was the name of the last Islamic Empire?
– The Ottoman Empire.
- What is the title given to the leader of a caliphate?
- What were the first and second most important cities of the Islamic Empire?
– Mecca and Medina.
- Why was Constantinople so important to the continent of Europe?
– It was a religious and economic hub, which acted as a bridge between Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- Why is Cairo known mainly as a religious capital of the Islamic Empire?
– By the time the caliphate relocated to Cairo, they had very little political influence left.
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