Big Era Five Patterns of Interregional Unity

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World History for Us All A project of San Diego State University In collaboration with the National Center for History in the Schools (UCLA)

Big Era Five
Patterns of Interregional Unity
500 CE – 1500 CE

Landscape Teaching Unit 5.2
Afroeurasia and the Rise of Islam, 600-1000 CE

Table of Contents
Why this unit. 2 Unit objectives. 2 Time and materials. 3 Authors. .. 3 The historical context. 3 This unit in the Big Era time line. 4 Lesson 1: Primer on Islamic Beliefs and Practices Lesson 2: The Spread of Islam …………………………………………………….......15 Lesson 3: The Impact of Islam in Afroeurasia, 632-1000 CE Lesson 4: Rules of the Road and Laws of the Sea. 42 This unit and the Three Essential Questions. 49 This unit and the seven Key Themes. 49 This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking. 49 Resources. 50 Conceptual links to other teaching units 52 Correlations to National and State Standards. 53

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Why this unit
The study of religions in world history and geography courses is a basic requirement in every state’s academic standards, just as it is a major feature of the National Standards for World History. The importance of studying the origins, beliefs, practices, and spread of religion is a matter of consensus because this subject has contemporary relevance. Also, religious movements have been enormously significant inhuman history. Religious beliefs and practices have brought forth traditions and institutions that have shaped urban and rural life, built empires, and contributed to trade, literacy, and scientific development. Religious movements have influenced conflict and cooperation on many levels, and stimulated migration and travel. The rise and spread of Islam in the seventh and following centuries CE profoundly affected large parts of Afroeurasia. This topic offers students an opportunity to study several interlinked historical processes. The story of the origins of Islam itself reaches as far back into the history of Southwest Asia as human settlement itself, since Muslims believe that the revelation given to Muhammad during the seventh century was only the final one in a continuous sacred exchange reaching back through all of the biblical prophets to Adam and Eve. The story also includes the rise and fall of empires from Mesopotamia to the Romans and Persians, and the rapid expansion of territory under Muslim rule under the early caliphate and the Umayyad Dynasty. The spread of Islam is a distinct phenomenon that historians relate to rapid advances in urbanization, the growth of trade networks in Afroeurasia, and a series of migrations. Islam also gradually spread as a faith and way of life among the populations of a region extending from the Iberian Peninsula to the borders of China. Not until about four centuries after the conquests of Southwest Asia, North Africa, and parts of Inner Eurasia did Islam become the majority faith of the population in those regions. Even then, religious diversity remained a hallmark of those societies matched only in modern multicultural societies like the United States. This unit traces the rise of Islam, its spread, and the development of Muslim civilization. It also addresses its impact on Afroeurasia as a whole.
Unit objectives
Upon completing this unit, students will be able to
1. Locate the Arabian Peninsula and the bodies of water and landmasses adjacent to it. Identify important cities such as Jerusalem, Makkah (Mecca, Madinah (Madina), Damascus, Baghdad, Constantinople, Cairo, Cordoba, and Samarkand.
2. Describe the basic beliefs and practices of Islam, including the Five Pillars and explain their relationship to Muslim life, culture, and civilization.
3. Distinguish between the rapid expansion of territory under Muslim rule and the gradual spread of Islam among various societies.
4. Analyze the relationship between the spread of Islam and the use of the Arabic language in scholarship and trade.
5. Identify social and political institutions that emerged in Muslim society in response to religious practices, and give examples of diverse ways in which these institutions manifested themselves indifferent regional traditions.
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3 6. Relate the spread of Islam to the expansion of trade in Afroeurasia from the seventh to the sixteenth centuries CE.
7. Compare primary sources and relate them to geographic information about interregional trade relations in Afroeurasia.
8. Relate the spread of Islam to the expansion of urbanization in Afroeurasia from the seventh to the twelfth centuries CE.
Time and materials
These lessons take 3-5 class periods to complete.

Sharon Cohen teaches world history at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is a member of the Advanced Placement World History Test Development Committee and a founding member of the editorial board for World History Connected. Susan Douglass is Principal Researcher and Analyst for the Council on Islamic Education, Fountain Valley, CA, and author of numerous teaching units and books on Islam and world history.
The historical context
During the millennium after 300 CE, significant changes occurred across Afroeurasia. Large states such as the Roman empire in the Mediterranean region and the Han dynasty in China collapsed. Large, multi-ethnic states, such as the Arab empire and the Mongol empire, formed and reformed. Throughout this period, invasions, migrations, and state-building activities strengthened and extended contacts among people indifferent parts of the Eastern Hemisphere and stimulated the exchange of goods and ideas overlong distances. By the end of Big Era Five an interconnected system of commercial and cultural interchange extended across most of
Afroeurasia. This network–moving at the pace of sailing ships and pack animal caravans—enabled a wide variety of economic, intellectual, religious, and technological exchanges. Independent, profit- seeking merchants traded overlong distances in both bulk and luxury products, stimulated technological innovation, and enriched the treasuries of political authorities. Trade, the spread of religions, and urbanization promoted the exchange of scientific ideas and the arts. Migrations and the spread of food and fiber crops enhanced agriculture and contributed to trade. In the period of especially remarkable economic growth in Afroeurasia from about 600 to 1500 CE, China and India became the biggest manufacturing centers. The Muslim lands of Southwest Asia served as the turnstile of the hemisphere, its cities generating their own finished goods and transshipping wares in huge quantities from one part of the hemisphere to the other. After 1000, Europe also emerged as anew center of growth, urbanization, and commerce. As trade grew, peoples of many regions were drawn into a single network.
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This unit in the Big Era time line

Big Era Five 300 – 1500 CE
600 – 1000 CE
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2
Lesson 1
Primer on Islamic Beliefs and Practices
Student Handouts 1.1 and 1.2.
Students will be able to
• Describe the basic beliefs of Islam and list its two major authoritative sources.
• List the Five Pillars of Islam and associate each one with its definition and basic practices.
• Explain several levels of meaning of the Five Pillars and associate each with social and cultural practices.
1. Distribute and assign Student Handout 1.1. Use study questions to review and develop understanding of the basic information on Islamic beliefs and practices.
2. Distribute the blank graphic organizer table on the significance of the Five Pillars of Islam Student Handout 1.2) and have students fill it in using class brainstorming techniques. Check answers using the model graphic organizer (also Student Handout 1.2).
Dar al-Islam Islamic Center
Abiquiu, New Mexico
Photo by R. Dunn
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Lesson 1
Student Handout Islamic Beliefs and Practices
The word Islam means peace through submission to God Muslim practice is defined by the
Qur’an (holy scripture) and the Sunnah, or example set by Prophet Muhammad and transmitted through the Hadith (recorded words and deeds. Islam is a universal religion, meaning that anyone may accept its beliefs and become a Muslim, or follower of Islam. A Muslim is one who seeks peace through submission to God This means striving to reach a goal rather than achieving a fixed identity. Seeking the face of God is an expression often used to describe this lifetime goal. To fulfill the identity of a Muslim, a person must carryout certain acts, and live amoral, God-fearing life. These basic acts required of a Muslim are called the Five Pillars. Accepting Islam requires only that a person state the basic creed, There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God That is the first of the five basic acts or duties. The Five Pillars of Islam are
(1) shahadah -- to state belief in One God and the prophethood of Muhammad,
(2) salat -- to pray five obligatory prayers each day,
(3) siyam -- to fast from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan each year,
(4) zakat – to pay obligatory charity each year,
(5) hajj -- to make the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime. The following sections describe the pillars in detail.
1. Shahadah (the Islamic Creed) The declaration of faith in Islam is a simple statement that begins Ashud anna,” (I witness that, and continues with the statement La illaha illa Allah There is no god but God, and ends with the affirmation wa Muhammad rasul Allah (“and Muhammad is the messenger of God. The first part defines the role of the Muslim, a continuous striving throughout life. This striving reaches into all aspects of personality and activity toward the self, the family and the community, to the entire community of humankind and the natural environment. The second part affirms the existence of one God by negating the existence of any other creature that people might worship, or any partner with God. It underlines the Muslim’s direct relationship with God as a witness and as a servant of God. No central authority nor privileged persons stand between God and the individual. The third part of the creed witnesses that God sent prophets to humankind, as stated in the scriptures revealed before the Qur’an. Then, it affirms that Muhammad was a prophet, or messenger who received revelation (the Qur’an) and guidance from God. Among the earlier revelations mentioned in the
Qur’an are the Torah (given to Moses, the Psalms (given to David) and the Evangelium (given to Jesus. This series of prophets and revelation includes—among others—Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, Jesus, and Muhammad, according to the universally accepted teachings of Islam. The Qur’an states that what was revealed to Muhammad confirmed the basic message of the earlier scriptures.
2. Salah (Muslims Daily Prayer) is the five daily prayers that are the duty of every Muslim. Muslims perform the recitations and physical movements of salah as taught by their prophet Muhammad, according to Islamic sources. Each of the five prayers can be performed within a
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7 window of time. (1) between dawn and sunrise, (2) noon to mid-afternoon, (3) between mid- afternoon and just before sunset, (4) at sunset, and (5) after twilight until nighttime. Prayer time is determined by the sun’s position, which Muslims today calculate by clock time, using charts that change with the longer and shorter days of each season. Before praying, Muslims perform a brief ritual washing. This purification prepares the worshipper for entering the state of prayer, of standing before God. It is a symbol of the cleansing effect of prayer. No matter what language they speak, all Muslims pray in the Arabic language.

In the salah, Muslims recite specific words and selected verses from the Qur’an while standing, bowing, kneeling with the hands and forehead touching the ground, and sitting. Each cycle of movements is one rak’at, or unit of prayer, and each of the five prayers has between two and four units. At the end of the prayer, and throughout their lives, Muslims pray informally, asking for guidance and help in their own words. They also recite special prayers passed down as the words of the prophets. If two or more Muslims pray together, one of them will be the imam prayer leader, and the others form rows behind the imam.
Masjid is the Arabic name for an Islamic house of worship. The common English term mosque is a French version of the Spanish word mezquita. The masjid is named after the position of prayer called sujud, which means kneeling with the hands and forehead touching the ground. The
masjid is a simple, enclosed space oriented towards the city of Makkah (on the Arabian Peninsula ) where Islam’s holiest place—the Ka’bah is located. There is no furniture except mats or rugs, and Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder in rows, following the movements of the prayer leader all together. Because of these movements and the closeness of the worshippers, women pray together in rows behind the men.
3. Sawm (Fasting) During one month each year, Muslims fast, meaning that they do not eat or drink anything between dawn and sunset. Fasting is a duty for adults, but many children participate voluntarily, for at least part of the day, or only a few days. The fast begins with
sahoor (a predawn meal. While fasting, Muslims perform the dawn, noon and afternoon prayers, and go about their normal duties. At sunset, Muslims break their fast with a few dates and water, then pray, then eat iftar (a meal that breaks the fast. Iftar is usually eaten with family and friends, or at the masjid, which hosts meals donated by community members for all. After the evening prayer, many Muslims go to the masjid for congregational prayers that feature a reading of one thirtieth of the Qur’an each night. They complete the whole Qur’an by the end of the month. The Qur’an links fasting with the practice of earlier prophets and religions “You who believe
Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-
restraint.” (Qur’an 2:183) The fast begins at dawn on the first day of Ramadan, the tenth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims may fast individually during the year, but doing it as a community magnifies the experience. The rhythm of life changes, and people’s relations soften. Daily schedules change, and some workplaces and schools can adjust their schedules. Living outside majority Muslim
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8 countries, Muslims find ways to cope and make the most of Ramadan. Gathering with others is an important part of that, whether in homes or in masjids and community centers. Each individual experiences hunger and its discomforts, but in a few days, the body gets used to it. Muslims are supposed to fast in the spirit as well, and make extra effort to avoid arguments, conflicts and bad words, thoughts, and deeds. Fasting builds willpower against temptation, helps people feel sympathy for those in need, and encourages generosity toward others. Fasting causes physical and psychological changes, and many claim that it is a healthy way to purify the body. Fasting helps people to reevaluate their lives spiritually, and draw closer to God.
3. Zakah (Charity as a Duty) is the annual giving of a percentage of a Muslim’s wealth and possessions beyond basic needs. The word means "purification" meaning that a person is purified from greed by giving wealth to others. When Muslims have cash savings fora year, they give 2.5% of it as zakat. Zakat on other forms of wealth, such as land, natural resources, and livestock is calculated at different rates. Paying the zakat reminds Muslims of the duty to help those less fortunate, and that wealth is a gift entrusted to a person by God rather than a possession to be hoarded selfishly. Prophet Muhammad set the precedent that zakah was collected and distributed locally, and what remained after meeting local needs was distributed to the larger Muslim community through the general treasury. Zakah money belongs to several categories of persons “The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and
those public servants who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to
free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and for the wayfarers a duty
imposed by Allah. Allah is knower, Wise.” (Qur’an 9:60). Muslims may distribute zakah to needy and deserving people and groups on their own, and each person is responsible for figuring out the amount owed. Of course, 2.5% is a minimum amount, and more maybe given. Islamic traditional sources mention charity often. A hadith of the Prophet said “Charity is a
necessity for every Muslim.” He was asked: What if a person has nothing The Prophet
replied: He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such
earnings in charity The Companions asked: What if he is notable to work The Prophet said:
‘He should help poor and needy persons The Companions further asked: What if he cannot do
even that The Prophet said: He should urge others to do good The Companions said: What
if he lacks that also The Prophet said ‘He should check himself from doing evil. That is also
5. Hajj (Journey to Makkah)
The basic act of worship in Islam is the pilgrimage (journey) to the city of Makkah during a certain time of year. The hajj rites symbolically reenact the trials and sacrifices of Prophet Abraham, his wife Hajar, and their son Ismail over 4,000 years ago. Muslims must perform the
hajj at least once in their lives, provided their health and finances permit. The hajj is performed annually by over 2,000,000 people during the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Dhul-
Hijjah. In commemoration of the trials of Abraham and his family in Makkah, which included
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Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in response to God’s command, Muslims make a pilgrimage to the sacred city at least once in their lifetime. The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and thus an essential part of the faith and practice of Muslims. Muslims from allover the world, including the United States, travel to Makkah (in today’s Saudi Arabia. Before arriving in the holy city, Muslims enter a state of being called ihram. They remove their ordinary clothes and put on the simple dress of pilgrims--two seamless white sheets for men, and usually, white dresses and head covering for women. The pilgrims are dressed in the same simple clothes. No one can tell who is rich, famous or powerful. White clothes area symbol of purity, unity, and equality before God. The gathering of millions of pilgrims at
Makkah is a reminder of the gathering of all humans before God at the Judgment Day. It is a symbol of the Muslim ummah, because pilgrims gather from all corners of the earth. It is a symbol of the past, because the pilgrims visit places where Abraham and his family faced the challenge of their faith, and where Muhammad was born and preached. Pilgrims go around the
Ka’bah. According to Islamic teachings, it was the first house of worship for one God on earth. Pilgrims call “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk,” which means “Here I am at your service, Oi iGod, here I am!” This echoes the call of Abraham in the Hebrew Bible, in answer to the call of God. Pilgrims also walk seven times between the hills named Safa and Marwah, where they recall how Ishmael’s mother searched for water for him, and the spring of water called Zam-zam flowed under his foot, and still flows. Other stations of the pilgrimage are nearby Makkah, where they perform prayers, camp overnight, and stand all together on the Plain of Arafat asking for God’s forgiveness and guidance. They recall Abraham’s struggle with Satan by casting pebbles at three stone columns. Pilgrims complete the hajj by sacrificing a sheep or other animal, whose meat is to be shared with family, friends, and those in need. Nowadays, a meat processing plant near the place of sacrifice helps distribute the meat around the world. The sacrifice reminds of the Biblical and
Quranic storytelling how Abraham was willing to sacrifice even his son for God, and a ram appeared in the boy’s place. Pilgrims leave the state of ihram by trimming or cutting their hair and returning to Makkah fora final visit to the Ka’bah. A hadith of Prophet Muhammad says that a pilgrim “will return as free
of sin as a newborn baby.” The pilgrimage brings Muslims from all around the world, of different nationalities, languages, races, and regions, to come together in a spirit of universal humanity to worship God together.
And when We made the House at Makkah a place of assembly and a place of safety for
humankind, saying Take as your place of worship the place where Abraham stood to
pray. And We laid a duty upon Abraham and Ishmael Purify My house for those who go
around and those who meditate therein and those who bow down in worship.
And when Abraham prayed My Lord Make this a city of peace region of security and
feed its people with fruits, such of them as believe in God and the Last Day, He
answered: As for him who disbelieves, I shall leave him content fora while, then I shall
compel him to the doom of fire--a hapless journey’s end
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And remember when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House, with this
prayer: Our Lord Accept from us this service. Lo Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the
Knower. From Surat al-Baqara, Ayah 125-128 (adapted from Marmaduke Pickthall translation)
Study Questions
1. What is the most basic belief for Muslims
2. What is the Islamic statement of belief called. Identify and describe the prayers required of Muslims. How do Muslims prepare for prayer
4. Who is required to pay the zakat, and who may receive it
5. Which of the five pillars is linked to the lunar month of Ramadan When, why, and how do Muslims fast
6. What is the hajj, and how often must a Muslim perform it What is the significance of clothing for the hajj?
7. What is the relationship of Abraham to the fifth pillar of Islam This handout is reprinted by permission from the booklet Muslim Holidays (Fountain Valley, CA Council on Islamic Education, 2002), 65-69.

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