Comprehensive Origins of Islam أصل الإسلام – Part 2

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Origin of islam: Ramadan celebrated by Muslim
Ramadan celebrated by Muslim

So here comes the second and final part of the series discussing the origins of Islam. In this section, we’ll focus more on the modern aspect of Islam.

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MUHAMMAD SUCCESSOR’S

After the death of Muhammad in CE 632, the leadership of the community devolved, in succession on Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmna and Ali. Known as the Patriarchal Caliphs, they were all close companies and relatives of Muhammad. The first major schism in Islam dates from the period. Ali’s followers held that he should have been declared the immediate successor of Muhammad as he was married to married to Muhammad’s eldest daughter.

Fatimah and none of the Prophet’s male heirs had survived infancy. Ali was subsequently murdered and his son and family members perished in the battle of Karbada. Ali’s followers are called Shi’s, while Muslims who accept the correctness of the order of succession and comprise the majority, are known as Sunnis.

Dargah in UAE

A third group, the Kharijites, rejected both positions and upheld the right of the Community to elect and if need be, depose its leader. {Over time many other sects also developed is Islam like the Ismailis, Bahais(Iran) Ahmadiyahs(India) and “Black Muslims” (US)}.

The reign of the Patriarchal Caliphs (CE 632-661) was followed by that of the Umayyads (661-750) and Abbasids(750-1258). The seat of the Caliphs shifted under Ali from Medina to Kufah. In the time of the Umayyads it moved to Damascus and under the Abbasids to Baghdad.

A new class of specially trained white slaved, the Mamluks(mostly Central Asian Turks), now began to dominate the policy. Independent Muslims rulers(sultans) emerged in several regions. The Caliphs sanctioned their rule and became titular heads of the Islamic realm.

Muslim Girl

EXPANSION OF ISLAM

Within a hundred years of Muhammad’s death, the Arabs had established an empire greater than that of Rome at the pinnacle of its power. The Arabs conquered Baghdad in CE 634, Syria in 636, Persia between 636 and 650, Eqypt in 642, and Carthage on the North African coast in 698. The Central Asian regions were also quickly subdued.

In 711, the Arabs crossed the Gulf of Gibraltar and entered the Iberian Peninsula. In 712 Sindh also came under their control. The string of conquests from Spain to India enabled the Arabs to link the two major economic units of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean and dominate all the major maritime and caravan routes.

The Islamic threat became a matter of concern for Europe, which fought nine Crusades between CE 1096 and 1291, albeit with no notable success.

From around CE 1220, the Islamic world has faced a grave threat from the Mongols who sacked Baghdad in 1258 and ended the Abbasid Caliphate.

The upsurge of the Turks, however, culminated in the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. In 1453, Ottoman Turks wrested the prized city of Constantinople from the Christians and renamed it as Istanbul. The great age of the Ottoman then commenced. The Ottoman proclaimed a Turkish Caliphate and, with it, the leadership of the Muslim world.

Muslim kid

From the sixteenth century, Muslim control of the Mediterranean-Indian Ocean trade steadily declined. This weekend the Ottoman Empire in its encounter with the rising West. In 1688, the Turks had to retreat from the gates of Vienna the following defeat at the hands of Habsburgs. The events culminated in the replacement of the Islamic by the European civilization as the dominant world power.

MODERN ISLAM

Since the eighteenth century, Muslim thinkers and leaders have tried various strategies to inaugurate a new era in their history and meet the Western Challenge. Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab(1703-1787), in Saudi Arabia, started the Wahhabi movement, calling for a return to the pristine Islam of the “ancestors”(salaf).

Al-wahhab married the daughter of Muhammad ibn Saud, Emir in the Riyadh region. This alliance of religious and political leaders strengthed the Wahhabi movement, which steadily extended its influence to other Islamic lands.

In the nineteenth century, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d.1897) and his disciple Shaikh Muhammad Abduh of Egypt(d.1905) led a vigorous campaign for the ‘purification of Islam.’ Al-Afghani was an advocate of Pani-Islamism, the political union of all Muslim countries under the Ottoman Caliphate.

The British, then a major colonial power, viewed the Caliphate as a threat to the stability of their Muslim possessions. The Caliphate was abolished in 1924 as Turkey embarked on the path of modernization under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

In the twentieth century, Maulana al-Mawdidi fathered what is now called ‘Islamic fundamentalism’. The desire to consolidate Islam against Western ideas and influence has ensured the longevity of orthodox revivalism. It has also led to the rise of new brotherhoods, which focus on dissemination activities in Africa, India and Indonesia.

At the same time, ordinary Muslims have attempted to seek relief from tyrannical and corrupt rulers, leading to popular upsurges like the Arab Spring of 2011.

SOURCES OF ISLAMIC LAW

Hadith – The records of the sayings of the Prophet are known as the Hadith. They are ranked, after the Quran, as the second major source of Islamic law and guidance. The most authoritative compilation is the Kitab al-Jami as-Sahih by Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari (CE-810-870).

The Sunnah – The spoken and acted examples of the Prophet is an important complement to the Quran as a source of Islamic law and practice.

The Shariah – The canonical law of Islam as stated in the Quran and the Sunnah is known as the Shariah. It is elaborated by fours schools – the Shafi, Hanbali, Hanafi, and Maliki along with the Jafari of the Shi’is.

Ijma – The doctrine of consensus of the community (ijma) was introduced in the eighth century to regulate regional differences of views and practices. It eventually became a conservative mechanism to thwart change in the Islamic way of life.

Ijtihad – This meant ‘to endeavour’ to find legal solutions to new problems. However, the acceptance of a definitive body of Hadith virtually closed the gate of ijtihad.

Source websites and books

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1 COMMENT

  1. I started with the second part and then went for the first one. It was very interesting and it intriguing to know about all this. Keep up the good work.

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