Big Era Five Patterns of Interregional Unity

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Muslim at Prayer
Heathrow Airport, London
Photo by R. Dunn
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2
Lesson 1
Student Handout The Five Pillars Many Dimensions
The Five Pillars of Islam are formal acts of worship—essentials of practicing Islam. Islamic teachings also require a person to live according to moral values and to work toward just relations among people in the family, community, and the world. Simply put, Muslims are supposed to live in knowledge that every act happens in the sight of God. Even though there is much more to living as a Muslim than the Five Pillars, these universal acts have influenced Muslim societies in many ways. The Five Pillars are individual acts, but they have social effects. Each has a spiritual meaning, but it also has worldly significance. During more than 1400 years of Muslim history, practice of the Five Pillars has shaped the places where Muslims live, the form of their homes and cities, their buildings and cultural institutions, and even the links between regions of the world where Muslims live and travel.
Belief in one God, the first pillar of Islam, helped spread a simple message that attracted many people overtime. The idea of spreading the message and living out its ideas opened up whole new branches of learning, like law and the sciences. Curiosity to know and understand led to the building of libraries and the spread of science and technology across much of the world.
Daily prayer, the second pillar, resulted in the constructions of masjids (mosques) everywhere that Muslims live. From the simplest mud-brick structures to huge, decorated edifices of stone, brick and tile, a wide variety of masjid styles developed indifferent Muslim regions. To have a clean place to pray, Muslims often use a mat or carpet at home or elsewhere. Local design traditions and techniques produced wonderful designs for these rugs. The need Muslims had to know the exact time for prayer and the direction of Makkah from anyplace in the world encouraged the sciences of mathematics, astronomy, and geography. The rhythm of the prayer times regulated daily life in Muslim societies everywhere.
Zakah, the third pillar, provided a steady source of charity because it is required, though additional giving is voluntary. One way of giving is to donate the money from a business on a regular and permanent basis, for example, from the sale of fruit from an orchard each year. These goods and money maybe put into a foundation, as a kind of contract with God, or a trust fund that would last as long as the source lasted. By comparison, today in the US. wealthy people and organizations of many faiths give money to charitable foundations for hospitals, education, the arts, and other purposes.
Ramadan fasting, the fourth pillar, has been a special month of the year for Muslims for more than 1400 years. The rhythm of daily life changes, and Ramadan is a time of charity, community, and celebration that affects everyone in the society. Like the winter holiday season in the US. and Europe, the month-long celebration brings an economic boost to merchants and producers. Families host guests, and those who are able provide prepared food for anyone who attends the
masjid in time for the iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast. At the end of the month, gift- giving and obligatory charity in the form of foodstuffs and other necessities have a ripple effect
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12 on society’s prosperity and well-being. This burst of energy is balanced by an overall slowing of the pace of life and work, with the idea of putting more time and energy into the spiritual side of life. Finally, the hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah each year, has had an enormous effect on Muslim societies and on the world. Muslims from Arabia, Africa, many parts of Asia, and now the Americas and Europe have made their way to the city of Makkah for the annual pilgrimage. The idea of the pilgrimage obliged people in the smallest villages to look outward on the world. The journey renewed contact among the world community of Muslims, helping to unify beliefs, practices, and knowledge. Muslim rulers were proud to build roads, watering places, ports, and way stations, doing their part to help pilgrims achieve the goal of the hajj. It did not matter that the Muslim world did not remain politically unified after the eighth century because Muslim society took on a dynamic of its own. Islam continued to spread, and new ideas, technologies, and even new foods and clothing spread with it. When Muslims today carryout the Five Pillars, these basic acts of worship continue the traditions of unity-in-diversity among Muslims. These simple, regular practices have had far- reaching effects in many areas of Muslim life and civilization.
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2
13 Name Meaning Spiritual Worldly Individual Communal Cultural Influences
SHAHADA To say the creed
There is no god
but God, and
Muhammad is
the messenger of
God” Reminds that there is one Creator, who sent messengers and revealed words of guidance to humans Muslims may not worship idols and should not prefer material things of life to moral life and belief Each human being has a direct relationship with God The basic message of Islam is universal. Muslims accept that earlier prophets, scriptures, and religions were true No central religious authority nor priesthood, though Shi’i Muslims grant greater spiritual authority to the office of the Imam than Sunni Muslims do limitation on the power of worldly authority over Muslim societies Islamic jurisprudence (Islamic law system) developed and Arabic language of
Qur’an spread
SALAT To perform the five daily prayers as Muhammad did. Obedience to Gods command to worship regular purification during each day Physical act and spiritual act joined healthful exercise and mental relaxation
Self-discipline and self-renewal woven into life patterns opportunity to seek forgiveness and ask God for help Binds society together in regular worship and contact established regular pattern to daily and weekly social life.
Masjids (mosques) exist everywhere groups of Muslims live, with their own architecture, decoration and sacred art need to know prayer times led to study of astronomy, math, geography, and to study of science colleges & universities
ZAKAH Giving to the poor and those in need a percentage of wealth beyond basic needs Purification of wealth by giving a portion away—
“a loan to God Constant and dependable stream of charity available to Muslim society Limitation on greed and accumulation of wealth stimulated both required and voluntary additional charity Early development of charitable institutions and foundations collective public works free from state control, tax exempt Charitable foundations (waqf) developed as permanent source of funding for mosques, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, wells, and traveler accommodations institutionalized help for the poor
SIYAM Fasting from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan ninth lunar month) Fasting a tradition of prophets purpose to come near to God annual renewal of spirit Fasting is said to contribute to health, rid the body of poisons
Self-discipline & sense of achievement breaking up bad eating habits God- consciousness Whole community participates, visits, shares food, renews contact additional prayers & Qur’an readings Ramadan an international celebration allover Muslim world stimulated math & astronomy for setting lunar calendar HAJJ Making the journey to
Makkah to perform the rites during the pilgrimage season
Dress rehearsal for Judgment Day standing before God recalls obedience of Abraham Orients Muslims even in remote places toward a world community encourages travel and communication Developed sense of individual being accountable to God gave people desire to travel, think beyond own backyard Brought people together to trade and exchange knowledge organized huge pilgrim caravans from each city established roads, wells, and ports for better travel Contributed to the mobility & connectedness of Muslim society over 14 centuries renewed common beliefs and practices, overcoming local traditions increased trade & scholarship
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2

Name Meaning Spiritual Worldly Individual Communal Cultural Influences
SIYAM HAJJ This handout is reprinted by permission from the booklet Muslim Holidays (Fountain Valley, CA Council on Islamic Education, 2002),
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2
Lesson 2
The Spread of Islam

Student Handouts 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3 Large wall map of the Eastern Hemisphere suitable fora bulletin board display Multicolored sticky note strips in five bright colors
Objectives: Students should be able to
• relate the spread of Islam to historical events and processes of historical change.
• trace the spread of Islam chronologically and regionally.
• assess the importance of cultural and political factors in the spread of Islam.
• evaluate the importance of shifts in economic and political power that accompanied the spread of Islam.
• evaluate the importance of and cultural influence among states and regions accompanying the spread of Islam.
• use a map key to identify and locate regions of Afroeurasia.
1. Assignor read as a class Student Handout 2.1 (The Spread of Islam. Study Questions at the end of the reading give suggestions for comprehension and discussion activities. Draw particular attention to the historical distinction between the rapid expansion of territory under Muslim rule and the gradual spread of Islam among the populations. Discuss previous ideas students may have about the spread of Islam by the sword or about "instant conversion" of regions to any world faith. Explain that conversion has usually been a gradual process.
2. Ask students to list the reasons why people might have changed from the religion they grew up with.
• What are the conditions for converting from one faith to another (being exposed to different ideas, evaluating potential advantages and disadvantages of conversion, and soon What influences might play a role in a decision to convert (social, political, or economic
• Is it more challenging for individuals to join a faith when it appears to be a minority faith or when its members form the majority
• How do poverty and persecution of members of the faith, or, conversely, the wealth and power of adherents affect individual choice about conversion
• How might people across a wide geographic area learn about the beliefs of a faith What role might spiritual leaders play
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2
• What other role models, such as traders, travelers, and teachers might influence people in converting For further reading, see Jerry H. Bentley, Old World Encounters (Oxford Oxford UP,
1993) on the spread of world religions.
3. Distribute Student Handout 2.2 (Chronology of the Spread of Islam. Discuss the introduction to preview the information the students will find in the chronology. Reinforce for students the difference between the historical concepts of expanding
Muslim-ruled territory and the spread of Islam among peoples in Africa, Asia and Europe. Discuss the major events listed in all six historical segments into which the chronology is divided. Students should pay particular attention to items on the chronology that represented advances as well as setbacks for the spread of Islam. Adaptation for middle school Teachers may find it useful to breakup the chronology into parts that correspond to historical periods or geographic regions being studied in class, using the chronology in conjunction with individual units corresponding to textbook chapters or content standards. By doing so, students can focus on five or six items at a time. If the class is making a world history timeline on the wall or in a notebook, they can insert these items from the chronology into the larger timeline. Discuss how these events described in the chronology may relate to events taking place in other regions and societies.
4. This is a bulletin board activity, correlating chronology to geography. Make a master copy of the Student Handout 2.2 by photocopying an enlarged version. Distribute copies of the chronology to members of the class, dividing them into six groups, each group taking one of the six historical segments. Give each group a set of rectangular sticky-note strips, each set in a different bright color. Each of these colored sets corresponds to one of the six historical periods. Have students in each group identify the historical events on their section of the chronology that relate to the spread of both Islam and Muslim rule. Also identify any events that indicate retreat of Islam or Muslim rule. Write brief summaries and dates of these events on the colored sticky-notes. At the end of the work period, have each group attach their strips to the classroom’s wall map of the world at a location or locations appropriate to the event. (A physical map is preferable to a modern political map for this exercise) The collection of strips on the map will show patterns in the sequence of the spread of Islam and Muslim rule from the seventh century to about
1500 CE. Make a map key on or next to the map using the six color sticky-notes.

5. In this activity students graph rates of conversion to Islam by region. Using Handout 2.4, have students read the background information to the graph of conversion rates in five Muslim regions during the period from the seventh to the end of the thirteenth century. Go over any unfamiliar terminology and discuss the study questions. Provide examples or brainstorm sources that historians and even contemporary demographers might use to gain information about ordinary people (e.g. census data, tax registers, birth and death registers).
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17 Read the sample entry from a Persian biographical dictionary (Student Handout 2.5) and discuss what sort of information is provided. Compare this entry written in the early centuries of Islam with modern volumes of Who’s Who in America, a resource that maybe accessed on the Internet at
What are some similarities and differences in the kind of information provided Assess students for their understanding of the labels on the graph and the key. Emphasize to the students that the horizontal axis of the graph refers to dates, both in the Hijri (AH) and Common Era (CE) dating systems. It is also important to note that the percentages on the vertical axis do NOT represent percentages of total population but percentages of individual converts from a sample derived from biographical dictionaries. Ask students to discuss or write essays on the study questions related to the graph.

6. Extension activity Compare the map produced for the bulletin board activity (no. 4 above) with Student Handout 2.3, a published map on the spread of Islam. What agreement or disagreement do you find
World History for Us All Big Era 5 Landscape 2
Student Handout The Spread of Islam
A Slow Process. In the century after Muhammad’s death, Muslims conquered territory "from the Atlantic to the borders of China Many students reading this often wrongly imagine that this huge region instantly became "Islamic" meaning that most of the people living in those lands quickly became Muslims. To the contrary, the spread of Islam in these vast territories took centuries, and Muslims made up a small minority of the population fora longtime. In other words, the expansion of territory under Muslim rule happened very rapidly, but the spread of Islam in those lands was a much slower process. There are several kinds of historical evidence of this gradual conversion process that we will examine in this lesson.
"Let there be no compulsion in religion" The Qur’an specifies, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2: 256). This verse states that no person can ever be forced to accept religion against his or her will. It tells Muslims that they cannot force people to convert to Islam. Muhammad set a precedent as the leader of Madinah. Under his leadership, the Muslims practiced tolerance towards those of other religions. They were signers of the Constitution of Madinah and of treaties with the non-Muslim groups. According to tradition, Muhammad often discussed religious ideas with the Jews, Christians, and polytheists (believers in many gods, and he heard their questions about his teachings. The Qur’an records some of the questions that people put to Muhammad, and his replies. Muslim leaders after Muhammad were required to be tolerant, based on the authority of both the Qur’an (in this and many other verses, and the Sunnah, that is, custom practiced by Muhammad or by early members of the Muslim community. With some exceptions, Muslim leaders have adhered to this precedent overtime. One major type of evidence for tolerance by Muslim political leadership is the persistence of many religious minorities in the lands Muslims have ruled. Spain is one example, where Christians and Jews lived and worshipped under Muslim rule and contributed to the society in many ways. The writings of well-known Jewish and Christian scholars, physicians, scientists, and artisans still exist. After the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain following the conquests of Ferdinand and Isabella, Jews settled in North Africa under Muslim rule. They were also invited by the sultan of the Ottoman empire to settle in Istanbul. Some of these communities still exist today. In Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, for example, Christian and Jewish groups that predate the coming of Islam still exist, as do the Coptic Christians in Egypt, after 1400 years of Muslim rule there.
Becoming Muslim. Muhammad preached Islam at Makkah and Madinah in Arabia for about twenty-three years, while he received revelation of the Qur’an, according to Islamic teachings. For the first ten years (612 to 622 CE, he preached publicly at Makkah. After the migration to
Madinah he preached for ten years, until his death in 632, only in his own house—the first
masjid (mosque)—to people who came to hear him. Preaching in houses or in the masjid became the pattern in Islam. To accept Islam, a person only has to make the profession of faith (shahada) in front of two or more witnesses. Even after a person has accepted Islam, he or she may take along time to learn and apply its practices, going through many different stages or levels of understanding and practice overtime. As Islam spread among large populations, this process was multiplied.
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19 Different individuals and social classes may have had different understandings of Islam at the same time. Also, many local variations and pre-Islamic customs remained, even after societies had majority Muslim populations fora longtime. These differences have been a source of diversity among Muslim societies and regions.
Growth of Muslim population. It is quite easy to map the large territory ruled by different Muslim political groups, or to illustrate the expansion of an empire. We can shade in areas of a map, and we can track the dates of Muslim rulers and dynasties from the time of Muhammad to the present day. It is more difficult, however, to understand why historians speak of a geographic area as a Muslim region Muslim society Muslim civilization or even the Islamic world At a minimum, such terms must mean that most of the people who lived in those places considered themselves to be Muslims, that is, people who believed in the religion called Islam. By what point in time did the majority of people in those places accept Islam, and how rapid was its spread What effect did the gradual or rapid spread of Islam have on language, customs, art, and politics How did the fact that many people were converting to Islam relate to the development of Muslim culture and civilization We know, of course, that substantial numbers of people in those regions continued to practice the faiths they had belonged to before Islam, including Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. The social contributions of people of these religions continued under Muslim rule. As these former majorities became minorities, how were they affected How did the presence of a large region in which the majority of its inhabitants were Muslim affect adjoining regions where the majority accepted other faiths
The process of conversion. In the decades after Muhammad’s death, nearly all of the inhabitants of Arabia accepted Islam, except Christian and Jewish communities, which were allowed to continue practicing their faiths. As Muslim rule extended into regions beyond the Arabian tribal system, however, khalifas, that is, the successors of the Prophet as leaders of the Muslim community, did not encourage conversion to Islam among the populations of newly conquered areas. Nevertheless, during the early caliphates (632–750) non-Arabs began to accept Islam. Conversion took place at first among the lowest classes of people. Men and women migrated to Muslim garrison cities to look for jobs and to offer their services to the ruling group. Learning about Islam in these centers, some converted and expanded the Muslim population. These migrants became associates, or mawali, of Arab tribes, a traditional method of integrating outsiders. Some migrant Arab and mawali converts founded families that later made important contributions in preserving and spreading Islamic knowledge. They became scholars of Islamic law, history, literature, and the sciences. In this way, Islam spread in spite of the policies of political rulers, not because of them. During the years of the Umayyad Caliphate (Umayyad dynasty) from 661–750 CE, the overwhelming majority of non-Arab populations of the empire, which stretched from Morocco to Inner Eurasia, did not practice Islam. Toward the end of that time, the North African Berbers became the first major non-Arab group to accept the faith. Within a few centuries, Christianity disappeared almost completely in North Africa (today’s Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, though Christian groups persisted in many other Muslim regions. Jews remained as a small minority, with many living in Muslim Spain. The spread of Islam among Iranians and other peoples of
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20 Persia was the second major movement, beginning about 720 CE. Both of these early groups of converts caused problems for the central government. In North Africa, Berbers setup an independent caliphate, breaking up the political unity of Islam. In Persia, the revolution arose that replaced the Umayyad with the Abbasid dynasty in 750, though only a small proportion of the population of Iraq (ancient Mesopotamia, centered on the Tigris-Euphrates valley) had at that time accepted Islam. From then, however, Islam was no longer the religion of a single ethnic or ruling group, and the rates of conversion climbed more rapidly in lands under Muslim rule. For example, Arab Muslim forces conquered Egypt in 642, but by 700 few Egyptians had become Muslims. By 900 CE, about fifty percent of the population was probably Muslim, and by
1200, more than 90 percent. In Syria, Islam spread even more slowly. There, the percent mark was not reached until 1200, nearly six hundred years after the arrival of Islam. Iraq and Iran probably reached a Muslim majority by around 900 CE, like Egypt. In much of Spain and Portugal, Islam became established in the 500 years following the initial conquests of 711 CE, though it may never have become the majority faith. After Spanish Catholic armies completed the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 1492, many Muslims and Jews were either expelled from Spain or converted to Christianity. Islam continued to exist, however, until after 1600. As in Spain and Portugal, Islam withered away in Sicily, the Mediterranean island that Muslims had conquered in the ninth century. In Persia, Inner Eurasia, and India, Muslim law treated Zoroastrians, Buddhists, and Hindus just as it treated Jews and Christians. Muslim rulers offered adherents of these religions protection of life, property, and freedom of religious practice in exchange for the payment of a tax, as an alternative to military service. In Sind (northwestern India, the Buddhist population seems to have embraced Islam in the eighth and ninth centuries. Buddhism disappeared entirely in that region. Hinduism, however, declined there more slowly than Buddhism did. All of the lands described above had Muslim rulers. After the decline of the unified Muslim empire—from about Islam gradually spread to lands outside the boundaries of Muslim rule. After 1071, Anatolia (or Asia Minor, which makes up most of modern Turkey, came under the rule of Turkish animal-herding groups that had become Muslims. Islam spread gradually for centuries after that, and when the Ottoman Turkish empire enfolded much of southeastern Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, most Albanians and Bosnians, as well as some Bulgarians, became Muslims.

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