Monday, 7 November 2011

The Spread of Islam

The first wave

Islam spread in two main waves. Within two years of the death of the Prophet (PBUH) the whole of Arabia had embraced Islam. Less than forty years later, Muslim armies had conquered Persia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya and much of the north African coast. There was then a pause in the conquests because a conflict arose between Mo'awiya and his supporters and the followers of Hazrat Ali (RA). The Umayyad leader Mo'awaiya emerged victorious and moved the capital of the Muslim world to damascus in Syria. He attacked the Byzantine empire in Asia Minor but was driven back. Soon afer, the second wave of Expansion began.

The second wave

The Muslim arimies rushed along the northern coast of Africa, crossed into Europe and occupied most of Spain. In the east 
they conqured large areas of cntral Asia and moved into India as far as the Indus. At the battle of Talas (AD 751), not far from the Russia-China border, the Chinese army was defeated and parts of western China became (and still are) Muslim. However, the scorching deserts and the distance from the home base put a limit on further expansion eastwards.

The advance in the west had halted a little earlier. Leaders all over the Islamic empire were struggling for power and independence. Abdulrrahaman, the Muslim commander in Spain, invaded France in AD 732 and advanced almost 500 kilometres northwards. He was approching the Frankish holy city of Tours when he was faced by an army of Frankish knights under their king, Charles Martel. The Muslim army was weary from the long journey and many of theri soldiers were sick, but after a week of skirmishing the two met in a savage, inconclusive battle that lasted all day. Following this inconclusive battle Abdurrahman retreated first to Spain, and then to north Africa where the Berber tribes were in rebellion. Eventually the ARab Ummayad dynasy was overthrown by the Abbasids, who moved the capital to Baghdad in AD 762. For the

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