According to the tradition of Islam, in the seventh century, a Meccan merchant named Muhammad was visited by the angel Gabriel while meditating in a cave. The angel informed Muhammad that he would be a prophet of a new religion and revealed to him the words of the new holy book, the Quran. Muhammad embarked on preaching his new religion, which has over 1.5 billion adherents who follow a structure identified as the Five Pillars of Islam (Soroush 26).
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The Islamic empires in the seventh and eight centuries were successful as they completely relied on the five pillars of Islam, which were also drawn from the two major sources of revelation that Muslims use in the Quran and the Hadith. In the definition of the Five Pillars, the Quran was the word of God as revealed to Prophet Muhammad over the course of his lifetime by angel Gabriel. The compilation of the Quran was done immediately after the death of Prophet Muhammad. In the Five Pillars of Islam, the Hadith contained the record of Muhammad’s deeds and how his followers acted. The Hadith also contains the basis of rituals that are not mentioned in the Quran; thus, defining the Five Pillars. The Five Pillars involve the declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity works, and pilgrimage to Mecca (Kamal-ud-Din 8).
The Shariah Law is also defined as the core of Islamic Law, which is the preservation of religion, life, family, mind, and wealth. Some contemporary scholars suggest that either justice or liberty can be included to be part of the Shariah Law. In the vision of Islam, the different categories in the Shariah Law are considered to be essential to human welfare; thus, they are defined as essentials. The core of Islam is said to be within the word Islam; to serve, worship, and lovingly be submissive to God (Soroush 27).
The Persians are known to have created a great civilization before the rise of Islam. After the spread of Islam in the Middle East, the Persians produced much more science and learning than before they embraced Islam. The Abbasids succeeded the Umayyads, shifting the capital to Baghdad, which would soon develop into an incomparable center of learning. The capital was also a center of culture and the administrative and political roles of the vast world (Kennedy 71).
After ruling for over 500 years, the Abbasid Caliphates gradually began to lose power and remained as symbolic rulers who bestowed legitimacy upon various sultans and princes who took control of the military. The empire fell to the Mongols when the Abbasid caliphate was eventually abolished in 1258. During the same period, Hulagu, the Mongol ruler, captured Baghdad and destroyed much of the city and its unique libraries (Kennedy 107).
Among the external stresses that led to the collapse of the Abbasid caliphate were the series of crusades that were declared by the Pope and were espoused by various European Kings. The purpose of the crusades was to re-capture the Holy Land, more so Jerusalem for Christianity. The crusades were the most significant events in the area as far as the relation between Islam and the Western world was concerned. The crusades were also political in nature, having an impact on the ruling of the Abbasids in Baghdad. With the series of crusades, the Mongols devastated the eastern lands of Islam and had to rule from Sinai to the Indian desert for a century (Kennedy 137).
Lack of centralized control and weakness in administration of the state on part of the central authority contributed to the fall of the Abbasid caliphate and the ruling of the Mongols. The Caliphs were weak in the administration of the Abbasid Empire, leading to various governors being held responsible and the Abbasids could not take action to stop the governors from the responsibility. It is the governors who declared themselves as the sultans and made their leadership hereditary. The Abbasid state was; thus, symbolic as the Sultans were independent as military leaders.
The division in Abbasid Caliphate caused the downfall of the state as the empire was at the point fighting itself instead of confronting external threats to its jurisdiction. The Fatimids are said to have taken power in the Ifriqiya region, spreading into Egypt and finally taking hold of Hejaz and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Abbasid prestige fall to its lowest point as the Fatimids invaded the boarders with minimal resistance. Division contributed to the external enemies launching invasions into the Abbasid Caliphate unopposed, causing those in power within the state to seek support from the enemies of the state against the rival statesmen (Esposito, John, and Voll 4).
The global civilization that was created by Islam allowed people of diverse ethnic backgrounds to work together in the cultivation of various arts and sciences. Through Islam, people from diverse backgrounds worked together in cultivating various arts and sciences Islam is known as a religion for all people from different backgrounds and is based on unity which is against any form of racial discrimination (Arberry &Arthur 72).
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