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An Introduction to Islam

This guide was created to offer some introductory materials about the Islam faith, Muslims, Islamic society, etc.


Dome of The Rock and Western Wall, Temple Mount, Jerusalem

"Dome of The Rock and Western Wall, Temple Mount, Jerusalem" by Ray in Manila is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Following the death of Mohammad (632CE) and the rules of the Rightly Guided Caliphs, a hereditary dynasty established itself with Damascus as its capital(c658CE). At its peak, the geographic boundaries extended as far into Western Europe as Spain and Narbonne, France, covered North Africa, and the Fertile Crescent, and continued East to Bukhara and Samarkand. This dyanasty is characterized by arabo-centricity. The dynasty lasted until 750CE when it was replaced with the Abbasid dynasty.

For further reading see Umayyad Caliphate.

Books on the Umayyads


File:Abbasid Caliphate 891-892-es.svg

Ro4444, rowanwindwhistler, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Following the conquest of the former Umayyad territories, the Abbasids moved their capital to the newly founded city of Baghdad. The Abbasid period is characterized by tremendous contributions to art, literature, science and philosophy. Baghdad was the most cosmopolitan city outside of China, and a center of trade and learning. As the dynasty progressed, power shifted between powerful viziers and the caliphate, and between Turkish and Arab coalitions. Religiously, this period saw the codification of an 'orthodox' Sunni doctrine and the emergence of a Shi'a religious movement. Abbasid rule ended in 1258CE when the Mongols sacked Baghdad and executed the Abbasid Caliph.

For further reading see ῾Abbāsid Caliphate

Books on the Abbasids

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