The spread of Islam.
For some reason, all of these words seem to go together.
There is a reason. And it’s important that we understand why.
The amazing thing about Islamic history is that it still affects us today. Muslims still speak of Saladin as a great hero (which he was). There is still much animosity between Sunnis and Shia.
The Middle East conflict is still alive and well. Whether we like it or not, history is a part of our lives. And Islamic history is a part of it too. Islam started from very humble origins to become the most dominant force on earth.
And after the amazing ascension of the Islamic empire, came a long, slow, and painful downfall.
But there is a lot in between that we need to understand. Such as:
- Who was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
- How did he spread the message of Islam?
- What happened after he died?
- What were the dominant Islamic dynasties?
The last question in particular is very important. Because of the actions of a few powerful Islamic families from centuries past, we now have Sunnis and Shia, Baghdad and Cairo, Iran and Iraq, Cordova and Seville.
One family in particular was very influential in the formation of the Islamic world as we know it today. This was the powerful Umayyad dynasty. Though it only lasted about a century, the influence of the Umayyad Dynasty is still felt today.
- Because of the Umayyads, millions of Shia flog themselves every year.
- Because of the Umayyads, Spain was under Islamic rule for 700 years.
- Because of the Umayyads, kings and despots became commonplace in Islam.
- Because of the Umayyads, Islam spread from Spain to India.
If you are as much of a history buff as I am, then you are going to want to know more about the Umayyads. Even if you don’t care for history, you’re going to love this true story of war, faith, revolution, and dominance.
What other reasons are there to understand Islam’s history?
Unfortunately, everyday something shocking happens (like the civil war in Syria) somewhere in the world. And very often these events involve Muslims.
Either as the victim or the perpetrator. When the “experts” chime in with their opinions, they usually don’t have anything good to say about Islam and almost always end with some encouragement to kill more Muslims. With such drama polarizing every discussion, many people have a negative opinion about Islam.
But the history of Islam is not so cut and dry. The culture and history of the Muslim religion in general should be looked at objectively and openly. Here’s what’s covered in the Islam history pages:
- Do Muslim beliefs about Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) differ from Christian and Jewish beliefs?
- Who built the Kaaba and why?
- What is the Caliphate?
- What was Mecca like before Prophet Mohammad’s time?
- How did Mecca change after he was born?
I am amazed at how little many westerners knew about Islam’s history. And very often what little is known, is very twisted.
I am convinced that if people knew more about Islamic history, in a truthful, yet passionate way, they would understand the true beauty of Islam. I feel dialogue is the key to bridging the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims.
Speaking of the gap between us, I will also cover some of the life of Malcolm X. Malcolm X is one of the most popular Muslims of modern times, and definitely the most popular American Muslim.
What makes Malcolm X so significant is that he is admired by both Muslims and non-Muslims. I think it is very important that we see just what made this man choose to accept Islam as his way of life.