Changes and continuities in the Islamic world from 600 to 1000 CE.
The Islamic world has remained constant in the way that its population is influenced by and follows the customs of the religion called Islam which determines their social/moral codes. However the Islamic world had changed over time as it expanded beyond its cultural territories and improved in its trade and education system.
As centuries have passed in the Islamic world from 600 to 1000 C.E. it can be determined that its changes and continuities are due to its religion, trade system, political organization, and its education system. The first major change in the Islamic world from 600 to 1000 CE was around 632 CE when Islam was created, a religious combination of Jewish, Christian, and Arabic faiths. In the beginning of 600 CE a man called Muhammad experienced a spiritual revelation and became the prophet of Allah, the one, true God, and spread his beliefs. Islam forever changed the Islamic world’s way of life influencing people to live a united, monotheist lifestyle and follow the Five Pillars of Islam.
After Muhammad died the umma, or religious community, unraveled due to the empty role of spiritual/political leader until Abu Bakr, the first Caliph was elected. Under the new caliph’s leadership Islamic armies stretched beyond its political boundaries carrying their faith and culture to Byzantine and Sassanid empires and more through 600 CE and 700 CE. With the migration Islam was introduced to cultural expansion and diffusion as it conquered new territories establishing trade routes and systems of communication between merchants, diplomats, and travelers from all other. Due to their well established trade routes the Islamic world became a major trading center, often involved with regions, such as Asia, Africa, India, and Persia each trading new products, i.e.
bananas, henna, etc, and cultural influences. However the new caliphate system brought disagreements about who was to inherit the position and brought a political battle for power, until the Umayyad dynasty (661-750C.E.) when the problem for succession was temporarily resolved. The Umayyad dynasty was a time that reflected Arabian military interests, that had a network of alliances that helped bring stability to the Islamic community and their capital, Damascus, was a commercial success. Despite this, due to the Umayyads’ unpopular treatment of conquered people and their casual attitudes toward religion caused rebellion and ended the dynasty.
When the Umayyad dynasty ended the Abbasid dynasty, and unlike its predecessor the Abbasid dynasty was a non- conquering, cosmopolitan time focused on government and education, i.e. The Islamic Golden Age. Another major change was in the gender relationships where women enjoyed a more active and stronger voice in society and were allowed to take highly valued roles in government, business, and education. Though the Islamic world experienced many changes in 400 years much of its culture had maintained its own unique civilization that remained unchanged by foreign territories and time. One way that the Arabian Peninsula had remain unchanged is in it religious belief system.
When Islam was first established in Arabia it had followed with a strong influence on the Muslim world’s belief and social system. The Islamic world has then followed an unchanging monotheistic lifestyle devoted to one God, Allah, and to its moral code, the Five Pillars of Islam. The pillars were: the acknowledgment of Allah as the true God, the pilgrimage to Mecca, fasting during Ramadan, and giving charity. Continuity was found in the gender relationships; though Muslim women enjoy certain rights that other women do not have, the Quran, the Islamic version of the Bible, recognized male dominance and granted men more privileges in government/society than women in the patriarchal civilization. Another permanent aspect of Muslim society was its advanced educational system in the Golden Age of Islam. During this Golden Age many scholars developed superior inventions in math and science causing advances in the world of medicine and commerce, along with creating excellent examples of artistic creativity.
“The more things change, the more things stay the same.” Through 600 to 1000 CE the Islamic world had expanded beyond its original territories through war, trade, and cultural diffusion. As it interacted and expanded across Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Byzantine Empire the Islamic world spread the influence of its culture and religion, turning Islam into a great world religion. Also, through Islam had then still existed as a patriarchal empire, women’s abilities had expanded so that they enjoyed rights that had been nonexistent before, such as the ability to divorce, to legally inherit property, to venture into business, and achieve spiritual and educational enlightenment. Nonetheless, Islam remained the same in several aspects, such as its steadfast beliefs and its academic achievements in math, science, and literature. Through several alterations and permanencies the Islamic world has shifted into a complex spiritual empire that still maintains its own individual culture.