Spread of Islam

  • 500


    Arab comes from the word abhar meaning to move or pass. Majority were Bedouins. They valued camels and swords. They had no central government. They were polytheistic (many gods)
  • 500


    Was a trade stop and religious center. Had fresh water and a diverse population (Jews, Arabs, Christians etc.) Location of a shrine called the Kaaba with 300 religious idols.
  • 500

    The Quraysh

    A strong tribe of the Arabs. They encouraged tribes to deposit idols in the Kaaba (for a fee)
  • 570

    Muhammad is born

    Born into the Hashim family from the Quraysh tribe. Was named by his mother after an angel told her to name him Muhammad. His father died when he was 6
  • 595

    Muhammad is married

    Muhammad marries a wealthy widow who had hired him. They had four daughters. Their marriage was happy and Muhammad prospered as a merchant.
  • Nov 6, 610


    Muhammad realizes there is something wrong with how the people of Mecca lived. Many people were wealthy but did not share with the poor. The tribes were also constantly at war with each other.
  • Nov 6, 610


    Muhammad retreated to the mountains in solitude. He stayed for several days praying and fasting. This formed the basis for Ramadan. On his seventeenth day, Muhammad was visited by Gabriel, an angel who taught him the sacred word of Allah.
  • Nov 3, 612

    Muhammad shares his ideas

    Muhammad shares his vision and began to preach the spirit of God. See's himself as part of a line of biblical prophets. Muslims see him the same way eventually.
  • Nov 6, 617

    Muhammad and his converts

    The converts, called "Muslims" faces discrimination in Mecca as the pagan worshipers were not happy with their messages. The leaders of the city boycotted the Muslims by not giving them any food. The boycott lasted two years
  • Nov 6, 621

    First Islamic community

    A group of tribes from Yathrib came to talk to Muhammad. They often fought against themselves and sought his help to end their conflicts. They converted to Islam creating the Islamic community.
  • Nov 6, 622

    Leaving Mecca

    Knowing the Muslims were still in danger as well as his life, he and his followers left Mecca and moved to Yathrib.
  • Nov 6, 623


    Muhammad wanted to build a Muslim city. His home in Medina was the first mosque. The rooms were large and spacious and the building was meant to nurture the community. Muhammad eventually took up to 11 wives. Rule about polygamy were loose and had exceptions if trying to help the woman with poverty, financial issues, or being widowed. Four wives is the maximum standard but is seen as flexible to this day.
  • Nov 6, 624

    Medina cont.

    Followers of all faiths are allowed to worship freely. Muhammad changed the direction Muslims face for their prayers from facing Jerusalem to now facing Mecca.
  • Nov 6, 632

    Muhammad dies

    When he died, there were around 100,000 Muslim Arabs. A lot of the converted tribes fell away and the conflicts arose again. Some refused to pay the yearly zakat and others found new prophets.
  • Nov 11, 632

    Abu Bakr

    As one of Muhammad's original followers, Muhammad's advisers decided he should become the caliph after Muhammad's death. His first task was to reunite and calm the community, and enforce the prohibition against fighting. He tries to force the tribes to return to Islam with military campaigns later called the Riddah Wars. He converted them back to Islam and redirected the fighting toward other empires as wars. Began the recording of the Quran. He died in 634.
  • Nov 10, 633

    Riddah Wars

    Series of fights between Muslims and Arabs after Muhammad's death. Some of the Arab leaders refused to follow Abu Bakr, Muhammad's successor. They believed they were commited to Muhammad rather than Islam itself. Abu Bakr led the Riddah Wars against these Arab tribes to regain their support. Most important battle took place at Aqraba (known as the "Garden of Death") where Abu and his forces were successful and reunited the rebelling Arabs.
  • Nov 10, 634

    Holy war

    Abu Bakr declared jihad (holy war) on the Byzantine empire who had been weakend by the fighting with the Sassanid Empires. Under Umars control, the Arabs conquered Jursalem, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and annexed Mesopotamia. By 750, conquered territories stretched from Atlantic Ocean to India. Umar allowed Jews and Christians to worship as long as they paid a tribute to the leaders.
  • Nov 10, 634


    Next caliph after Abu Bakr. Umar became an adviser to Muhammad. Was chosen to be the next caliph by Abu Bakr shortly before his death. He was an experienced military leader and led the Arab armies on expansions of the Arab kingdom. Conquered lands from the Byzantine empire (including Mesopotamia and Syria). Required Muslims pay a special tax. He was shown as a harsh ruler, but respected for his fairness.
  • Nov 10, 644


    Helped complete the Quran with Umar after Abu's death. When this project was completed in 652, he ordered all other versions of the Quran to be destroyed. This strengthened Islam by making sure every Muslim read from the same book and got the same information. He expanded the Islamic empire through Iran, North Africa, and Caucuses. The people were upset with him after he put his family in high-power positions. He was assassinated, followed by a civil war when the assassins were not punished.
  • Nov 10, 661

    Umayyad Dynasty

    From 661-750 the Arab kingdom was ruled by the Umayyad family and was the first great Islamic dynasty. Added Spain, North Africa, and part of Central Asia to the kingdom (doubling it's size). Fell to rebel fighters in 750
  • Nov 10, 750

    Abbasid dynasty

    Replaced the Umayyad dynasty in 750 and ruled until 1258 when the Mongols invaded and overthrew the family. Abbasid's focused east and established the capital as Baghdad. Internal rivalries weakened the Abbasid dynasty. It fell into nonreligious dynasties that collapsed when the Mongols seized Baghdad.