Continuities and Changes in the Islamic World
The Islamic world has changed as the Abbasid dynasty declined over time, due to the decreasing power of Islam’s caliphs and the political instability brought on by foreign invasions.
However these changes did not affect Islam’s migration to other territories, bringing its Golden age inventions, religion and culture. Through the 8-13th centuries the Islamic world has owed its many continuities and changes to religion, cultural diffusion, foreign invasions, and educational achievements. Although the previous centuries were shown to be the rise of Islam’s Abbasid dynasty, the 8-13th centuries C.E. are proved to be its decline beginning with the civil wars over succession brought on by the caliph’s, Harun al-Rashid, death.
This in turn caused violent social unrest and the imperial breakdown of the Abbasid dynasty. Around the mid-10th century independent kingdoms were becoming the new provinces of the warring Buyids of Persia, who caused the caliphs to lose their political power and caused them to act like controlled puppets for the Buyids family and others. In addition, at the end of the 10th century Christian crusaders came bringing a political battle over the right for the Holy Land that would late until the 12th century. Furthermore, another change occurred around 1055 when nomadic invaders from central Asia, the Turks, came into Islam and took control from the Buyids, along with laying the beginning foundation of the Ottoman Empire. More invasions were seen later in the 10th and 11 centuries bringing the Mongols and the end of the Caliphate to Islam. However, through all the political disorder, the growth and prosperity of Islam continued bringing new achievements in the arts and sciences and a thriving economy.
Also, Islam’s society was changing as well bringing the deteriorating of women’s position, causing many women to lose the power they enjoyed in previous times; despite some exceptions few women controlled much power beyond the household. Furthermore, though Islam’s main religion was still intact, a new movement, Sufism, came as a combination of loyalty toward Allah and rejection of abstract divinity. The effects from this were hostile reaction from orthodox religious scholars, social strife, division, trading links/intellectual creativity, and the expansion of Islam to South Asia. In the 12-13th centuries as Islam migrated to South Asia the Muslim world became enriched by its great skills and discoveries and adapted Indian styles into its religion and culture. Though the Islamic world had faced many changes through the 8-13th centuries, it’s still retained much continuity in its cultural aspects that were not disturbed by political instability.
One of the Islam’s continuities was in its Golden Age, or its ever increasing growth in education. The Islamic world had still contained some of the world’s greatest experts in science, math, art, and literature and enjoyed educational success in its Golden Age. Another facet of the Islamic world that has not changed completely from Persian and Indian influences is the main religious aspects of Islam, i.e. a monotheistic lifestyle devoted to Allah and the Five Pillars.
On the other hand Islam also experienced cultural diffusion, another permanence in Islam, by coming into contact with India and exchanging influences and religious debates. Furthermore, though at the time the Muslim community was going through political turmoil the spread of Islam continues bringing its breakthroughs in education, sacred rituals, and its way of life, especially to South Asia. Another stable part of Islam’s culture was its thriving economic trade system, preserving peaceful trading contacts with other countries and exchanging exotic products and cultures. Through the 8-13th centuries C.E.
in the Islamic world had experienced many changes and continuities caused by expansion into foreign territory, new waves nomadic invasion, and the continuing development of its own society. Islam had faced political disorder from nomadic incursion, including Persia, the Mongols, and the Christian crusaders, each bringing power struggles to Islam. However, Islam remained in its Golden Age despite this, remaining as one of the academically achieved civilization at the time gaining new advancements in science and literature. Also, though Islam retained its original religion due to invading forces, new religious trends, and its migration to South Asia, Islam adapted new religious concepts. In conclusion, though Islam had been touched and modified in several ways because of wars, trade systems, religions, political organizations, and educational institutions it has remained an advanced civilization with its own, unique background.