The Islam

   1. Muhammad

   Independent nomadic tribes lived in Saudi Arabia. Then Muhammad unified them giving them a common religion, the Mohammedanism or Islamism.

   Muhammad was born in Mecca (570 a. C.). During his youth, he worked in the trade as a caravan driver and he met the Jewish and Christian religions in his travels.

   He began to preach the new religion based on the obedience to one God, Allah. The doctrine of Muhammad is contained in the Koran, the holy book of Islam. (See the illustration that a page of the Koran reproduces). Initially, the spread of his ideas was very slow, only his wife Kadixa and some relatives followed him. Muhammad was persecuted and had to flee from the Mecca to Medina. This occurred on 22 September 622, the beginning of the Muslim or Hijri era. From Medina, he started a war and conquered the Mecca, converting the inhabitants to the new religion.

   2. Answers if these facts are true or false:

The tribes of Arabia were sedentary

Muhammed's religion is Islam

Muhammad was born in Medina

He married Kadixa

He was a caravan driver

He worked in the agriculture

He knew the Jewish religion

Its book is the Bible

He fled to Medina

The Hijra is the Muslim era


   3. Islamic History

   Muhammad began the territorial expansion in the Arabian Peninsula, but the great conquests were made by his successors:

   - The Rashidun Caliphate formed by the first four caliphs, the direct successors of Muhammad. They Conquered Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Egypt.

   - The Umayyad dynasty: they established the capital of the caliphate in Damascus; they lived in a luxurious way and forgot the simple life of the early caliphs. They advanced through the North African coast and conquered the Iberian Peninsula. From Persia, they entered to India and invaded China. Thus they achieved the largest empire that had ever existed. But they were defeated in two battles: the battle of Poitiers in the West and the battle of Akroinos in the East.

   - Abbasid DYNASTY: Abul-Abbas rose up against the Umayyad people and took control of the empire. He killed all the Umayyad princes except Abdur Rahman who got to flee to North Africa and arrived to the Iberian Peninsula, where he founded the Independent Emirate.

   The Abbasids moved the capital to Baghdad, where they lived luxuriously and the degenerate habits caused the decline. Baghdad was conquered by the Turks and the Empire was divided into four states.

   4. Answers if these facts refer to the Rashidun Caliphate, to the Umayyad dynasty or to the Abbasid dynasty:

Abul -Abbas killed the Umayyads

They were the successors of Muhammad

The capital was Damascus

The capital was Baghdad

They were four caliphs

They conquered Syria and Egypt

They conquered the Iberian Peninsula

The Turks conquered Baghdad

They had the greatest empire


   5. Islamic Civilization

   Muslims assimilated the science and the culture of the conquered lands like Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia, and they formed a splendid culture.

   - RELIGION: It is contained in the Koran, the religious book of the Muslims. Its fundamental principle is "there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." A good Muslim had four duties:
   + Praying five times a day after washing the face, hands and arms with water or sand.
   + Fasting every year during the month of Ramadan.
   + Going on a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in life.
   + Giving alms to the poor.

   - THE ECONOMY: they disseminated irrigation system with dykes and waterwheels. They introduced new crops such as rice, sugarcane, mulberry, orange and lemon.
   In craftsmanship, they manufactured leather goods, fabrics, swords and pottery.
   They developed a splendid trade in caravans and by sea.
   The Arabs taught the Europeans three Chinese inventions: the compass, the paper and the gunpowder.

   - KNOWLEDGE: Some caliphs were protectors of knowledge, founding universities and libraries. In literature, the collection of tales of the “Arabian Nights." stood out. In medicine was Avicenna. Chemistry was much developed because they sought the philosopher's stone and the elixir of eternal youth, which they did not find. Aberroes was a great philosopher.

   - ARTS: the Muslim art comes from elements taken from the Persians and Byzantines. In architecture, they used the horseshoe arch and the dome. their buildings are characterized by the impression of lightness and by the splendid decoration with geometric figures, garlands and litter. The mosque-cathedral of Córdoba (see the upper engraving) and Cairuan are important.

   6. Indicate if these sentences refer to the religion, to the economy, to the knowledge or to the arts:

They founded universities and libraries

Persian and Byzantine elements

They spread the irrigation system

Praying five times a day

They introduced rice cultivation

They used the horseshoe arch

They developed Chemistry

Fasting the month of Ramadan

With splendid decoration

The book is the Koran

They sought the philosopher's stone

They transmitted the compass and the gunpowder.

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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