Spread of Islam Between 632 – 750
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Published: Fri, 29 Sep 2017
How and why did the Muslims conquer so many lands in the relatively short period from 632 – 750? After Muhammad had died, his successors (the caliphs) had conquered most of the Persian and Roman world. In 640 the Muslims had attacked the Byzantine territory in the west and had moved on in the east where they had defeated the Persians at their capital Ctesiphonin 637. By 661 all of Persia had been on Muslim hands. During the 7th to 8thcentury Islamic ruled extended to Spain and India. The Islamic had conquered these capitals in a short period of time because they had attacked the weak empires first. The Byzantine and Sassanid states had been tired of fighting each other. The cities of the middle east had been taken back and forth from Persians and back to the Byzantines had been depopulated and their survivors had been burdened with heavy taxes. The Muslims had been welcomed into both territories by discontented groups.Byzantine empirewere glad to have new overlords. These were the reasons for the Islamic success in a short period of time. Another reason for their success was there warfare and how they practiced their skills. Theyhad practiced their skills as warriors not fighting against each other but rather against unbelievers. They were a fully armed and on horseback military.
How the Islam’s expanded so quickly
The strategy of attacking and overtaking weak empires worked to their benefit because it gave them the option of placing an established military presence in new territories allowing them to have a firm grip on the new territories and eventually allowing them to invade and pursue surrounding regions. Also by relocating Arab tribes onto their new territory and implementing a great taxation system it gave the empire a consistent and necessary income to pay and keep happy the soldiers. Because these tribes faced persecution prior to the Islam’s taking over they welcomed them with open arms in exchange for protection and safety. I also believe by allowing religious tolerance rather than persecution it gave them a sense if unity which in turn would allow all religions to live peacefully in harmony
Why the Muslims conquered so many lands in the short period of time
Muhammad wanted to spread his new religion to others. Because of Muhammad’s insistence of abandoning polytheistic cults, it brought him conflict with other people. Therefore, he had to find a place where people would follow him. He found his supporters in Medina. The people there were ready to listen to his religious message and to regard him as their leader in the community. Even though Muslims were successful at Medina, they felt threatened by the Quraysh. Muhammad and his followers killed forty-nine of the Meccan enemy at the battle of Badr. Because of his great victory, Muhammad was able to gain new followers. After Muhammad’s death, the caliphs continued and followed Muhammad’s footsteps. They conquered more territories. The Byzantine and the Sassanid empires contributed to the quick expansion of the Muslims. Because of being already weakened empires due to fighting each other, the Muslims easily conquered both territories and extended the Islamic rule into more territories. Also, like you mentioned, the Muslims were already experts to warfare. They had no problem defeating the armies that the two empires had.
They conquered so many lands because of their impeccable army attacking the weak empires and their expressed welcome by the oppressed people. Although Muhammad was dead by 632, you mentioned his successors, or the caliphs attacking and killing the weak empires of Byzantine and Sassanid, that was a great point. They set up the plans to conquer the other weak empires. Kaycee’s blog was also great because she summarized the events lead up to the capture of the Byzantine and Sassanid empires.Hansen, Your comments about the Muslim empire was, excellent and your blog Kaycee was a great summary of the events of 632-750.
They had attacked the weak empires first. The Byzantine and the Sassanid had been tired of fighting each other that it left their capital to be depopulated and those people who had been left behind had to burden heavy taxes. When the Muslims had taken over they were glad to have new overlords. Another reason they had succeed was because of their strong army. They practice their skills as warriors to not fight each other but other people.
After the death of Muhammad, the Caliphs or Muhammad’s successors conquered the western world of Rome and Persia. The Muslims attacked the Byzantine territory in Syria with ease and moved into Egypt in the 640’s. In 637, they invaded the Sassanid Empire to the east and defeated the Persians at their capital in Ctesiphon. By 661, they defeated all of Persia. The Islamic rule later extended from Spain to India in the 7th and 8th century. The Byzantine and Sassanid states were exhausted from fighting each other. The cities of the Middle East had been taken by the Persian Empire and retaken by the Byzantine Empire. They were depopulated and the few survivors were burdened with heavy taxes. The people welcomed the Muslims, in the hopes that their economy and life would be improved. For example, many Monophysite Christians were persecuted in their countries and they wanted to be free from discrimination. They were glad to have new Islamic overlords. There were also other reasons for the Islamic success. The Islamic forces were now fighting together in groups called jihads. The jihads were against non-believers, especially non-Islamic peoples. They rode on horseback and camels and were a united front. The leaders or the Caliphs also played an important part in the relatively short takeover of other countries. The first two Caliphs ruled in conflict. The third Caliph, Uthman (r.644-656), a member of the Umayyad family and one of Muhammad’s sons-in-law, aroused discontentment among other clan member of the inner circle and soldiers. They were discontent because of his distribution of high offices and revenues. Under the Umayyad caliphate, the Muslim world became a state with its capital at Damascus. Borrowing from the instruction or laws of the civilizations that they had just conquered, the Muslims issued coins and hired former Byzantine and Persian officials. They made a functioning government, a centralization of a capital and made a common language. As the Islamic people became organized conquering lands was easier and faster. Works cited Hunt Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, R. Po-chia Hsia, Bonnie G. Smith, and Barbara H. Rosenwein. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. Second.Vol. I: to 1740. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007. Print.
The Muslims conquered so much land in a short period of time because initially they attacked already vulnerable empires.For example the Byzantine and Sassanid states had been mangled from many years of war and over taking that territory was essentially easy. Also the acceptance of Muslims by discontented groups in Byzantine and Sassanid gave them a solid building foundation in the new territories.These groups were Monophysite Christians were persecuted so they welcomed in the new lords.The already powerful Muslim warriors who had been fighting civilly were now united and were fighting wars and killing non believers together.They would invade and take over territory and when doing so they would build cities where they would move captured Arab tribes to live, work and pay taxes to them.By doing so they had established a command post for their military to fight out of in each territory making it easier to move and expand into other parts of Syria and Egypt.By the beginning of the eighth century Islamic rule had power over territories reaching from Spain to India. I also believe that because the Islamic warriors maintained peace and gave freedom of religion to the cities they had control over gave them an easier way to establish a following.They allowed religious tolerance for a special tax and protected the cities from civil wars and invaders.It gave citizens a peace of mind.
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