Timeline of the Islamic Empire

The timeline of the Early Islamic World is generally taken to start from the year of Muhammad’s birth – however, remember that that the origins of the religion itself go back even farther, so it’s impossible to make a complete timeline of its development.

570 – Muhammad is born in the city of Mecca, which will later go on to be the Islamic capital of the world.

596 – Muhammad, at the age of 25, marries his wife. Khadijah is a wealthy, 40-year old widow. She will have six children with Muhammad, and will go on to be the first convert to Islam.

610 – Muhammad receives the first revelations of the Quran. This leads to the birth of the Islamic religion, and Muhammad’s followers become the world’s first Muslims.

622 – Muhammad and his followers flee to Medina (first called Yathrab) to escape persecution. This flight was called the “Hijrah” and signaled the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

630 – Muhammad returns to Mecca with an army of 1500 Islamic converts, and gains control of the city, cementing its status as the center of the Islamic world. Over the next two years, Muhammad forces the people of the region to convert to Islam.

632 – During these two years, Muhammad is poisoned and becomes very ill, eventually dying after a painful struggle. At the time of his death, he had named no successor, and so a great struggle for power ensues in the Islamic World. Abu Bakr succeeds Muhammad and becomes the first of the “Rightly Guided” Caliphs. His ascension marks the beginning of Rashidun Caliphate.

Rightly Guided

(A caliphate is an Islamic state controlled by a single leader called a “caliph.”)

632 – The “great schism” of the Islamic faith occurs, dividing the followers of Islam between those who believe Muhammad’s descendants should become their next leaders (the Shia) and those who believed Allah chose new leaders with each generation, having no belief in bloodline (Sunni).

634 – Abu Bakr is replaced by Umar, the second Caliph. Under Umar’s rule, the Islamic Empire expands across the Middle East and North Africa.

644 – Uthman becomes the third Caliph.

656 – Ali bin Talib becomes the fourth Caliph.

661 to 750 – The Umayyad Caliphate takes control after Ali is assassinated. They move the capital city of the religion to Damascus.

Umayyad Caliphate

680 – Hussein, the son of Ali, is killed at Karbala

750 to 1258 – The Abbasid Caliphate takes over and builds a new capital city, Baghdad. The Islamic Empire experiences a period of scientific, cultural and artistic achievement that will later become known as the Golden Age of Islam.

Abbasid Caliphate

1025 – Ibn Sina completes his encyclopedia of medicine: The Canon of Medicine. This book goes on to be used as the standard medical textbook in Europe and the Middle East for centuries.

1099 – Christian armies recapture Jerusalem during the First Crusade. Thousands of Muslims are killed during this battle, and a holy war is declared between Christians and Muslims.

1187 – Saladin (a Muslim commander) retakes the city of Jerusalem from the Christian forces.

1258 – The Mongol army attacks Baghdad. In this attack, the Caliph is killed, and most of the city is destroyed.

1261 to 1517 – The Abbasid Caliphate is moved to Egypt following the destruction of Baghdad, and Cairo is used as the new capital. While religious power remains with the Caliphate, political power is shared with a group called the Mamluks.

1453 – The Ottomans overtake Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, marking the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.

1517 to 1924 – The Ottoman Empire seizes control of Egypt from the Abbasid Caliphate, and gain control over the Muslim faith.

1529 – The Ottoman Empire is defeated at the Siege of Vienna. This stops the Ottoman Empire from advancing into Europe and confines their power to the Middle East and Africa.

1653 – The Taj Mahal is completed in India, one of the world’s most famous architectural achievements.

1924 – The Caliphate is officially abolished by Mustafa Ataturk, the first President of Turkey.

Facts about the Timeline and Events of the Early Islamic World:

  • The prophet Muhammad was born in the year 570 A.D. This event marks the beginning of Islam.
  • Muhammad received the revelations of the Quran in the form of visions shown to him by his god, Allah.
  • Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Medina was later recognized as an important pilgrimage for Muslims to undertake during their lives.
  • A caliphate is an Islamic state controlled by a single leader called a “caliph.”
  • The “great schism” of the Islamic faith occurred in 632, when the faith was divided into the Sunni and Shia denominations.
  • While control of the Muslim world changed greatly over the millennium following Muhammad’s death, these wars in the middle east had limited impact on the rest of the world and were largely confined to Asia and Africa.
  • When the Ottoman Empire seized control of Eastern Europe from the Byzantine Empire, the Byzantine Empire’s thousand-year rule was brought to a sudden end. Before that, the Byzantine Empire had lasted from the ancient era all the way to the Middle Ages.


  1. What year was Muhammad born?

– 570 A.D.

  1. What is the name of the holy text of the Islamic faith?

– The Quran.

  1. What is a caliphate?

A caliphate is an Islamic state controlled by a single leader called a “caliph.”

  1. When did the first of the four “rightly guided” caliphs come to power?

632 A.D.

  1. What year and historical event mark the beginning of the Ottoman Empire?

– 1453, the overtaking of Constantinople.