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ISLAM EYEWITNESS GUIDES DORLING KINDERSLEY

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Page 1: ISLAM EYEWITNESS GUIDES

ISLAM

EYEWITNESS GUIDESDORLING KINDERSLEY

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EYEWITNESS GUIDES

ISLAM

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Project editor Kitty BlountArt editor Clair Watson

Editor Fran BainesProduction Kate Oliver

Special photography Steve TeaguePicture research Angela Anderson, Alex Pepper,

Deborah Pownall, and Sarah PownallDTP designer Siu Yin Ho

Jacket designer Dean Price

This Eyewitness ® Guide has been conceived by Dorling Kindersley Limited and Editions Gallimard

First American Edition, 200200 01 02 03 04 05 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Published in the United States byDK Publishing, Inc.375 Hudson Street

New York, New York 10014

Copyright © 2002 Dorling Kindersley Limited

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American CopyrightConventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in aretrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,

mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the priorwritten permission of the copyright owner. Published in Great Britain by

Dorling Kindersley Limited.

A catalog record of this book is available from the Library of Congress.

ISBN 0-7894-8870-1 (plc)ISBN 0-7894-8871-X (alb)

Color reproduction by Colourscan, SingaporePrinted in Singapore by Toppan, China

See our complete product line at www.dk.com

A book rest supportinga copy of the Qur’an

Sixteenth-century paintingof Muslim astronomers

Bronze bird from Persia

Saudi Arabianwoman wearing aface veil

A caravan of pilgrims, including a camelcarrying a pavillion called a mahmal.

Coffeepot

Tenth-century Arabic copy of aherbal encyclopedia by Greek

surgeon Dioscorides

Two of the Rightly Guided Caliphs,Companions of the Prophet

Traditional silk costumefrom China

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LONDON, NEW YORK, MUNICH, MELBOURNE, and DELHI

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Contents

6Early Arabia

8The Prophet Muhammad

10The Qur’an

12The Five Pillars of Islam

18The mosque

20The caliphate

22First conquests

24Scholars and teachers

28The spread of learning

32Nomadic or settled

34Islamic culture

36The Islamic city

38Merchants and travelers

42The crusades

44Arms and armor

46Spain

48Africa

50Mongols and Turks

52Central Asia, Iran, and India

54China and Southeast Asia

56Costume and jewelry

58Islamic society

60Festivals and ceremonies

64Index and acknowledgments

Mamluk mosque lamp

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Early ArabiaTHE ARABIAN PENINSULA is home to the Arab people. There had already beenadvanced cultures in this area before thebirth of Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam,in the sixth century. Arabia’s position at acrossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europeallowed many Arabs to make fortunestrading. Although most of the Arab tribesworshiped their own idols, Christians, Jews,and followers of Abraham worshiped OneGod. When Muhammad told them that thereligion of the One God had been revealedto him and that at last theyhad a message, theQur’an, in their ownlanguage and areligion called Islam,some wereenthusiastic.

DATE HARVESTSettlements grew up at thesmall oases that are dottedaround the ArabianPeninsula. Here there was areliable water supply anddate palms grew, providinga succulent harvest for thelocal people.

SOUTH ARABIC INSCRIPTIONThe Sabaeans, who ruled southern Arabiabetween the eighth and second centuries BCE,used a script called South Arabic. Archaeologistshave found many inscriptions in this angularscript, which passed out of use after theSabaeans lost power.

DESERT DUNESMuch of Arabia is desert –either vast expanses of sandwith rolling dunes or thedesert of black volcanic rocksaround the city of Mecca. The name Arab means“nomad” because, in such anenvironment, many Arabpeople adopted a nomadicway of life in order to survive.

WOMAN FROM PALMYRAThe city of Palmyra in the Syrian

desert was built where several traderoutes met. Its people became rich

because they charged merchants a tax when they passed through. This

Palmyra woman is displaying her wealth in the form of gold jewelry.

PETRIFIED FORESTThe Arabian Peninsula is, for themost part, an inhospitable terrain ofdesert and harsh landscapes, such asthese jagged rocks. The most fertilearea is Yemen, which gets monsoonrains from the Indian Ocean.

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THE ARAB WORLDThe Arabian Peninsula liesbetween the Red Sea and thePersian Gulf. The Arabpeoples built towns in thefertile area of Yemen, at oases,and on the coasts. To thenortheast, the Sasanid Empireof the Persians occupied Iran.To the northwest lay theChristian Byzantine Empire.

WALLS AT MA’RIBMa’rib, in Yemen, was

the capital city of theSabaeans, and some

of its ancient wallssurvive. Ma’rib was

built on a trade routeand grew into a large,

thriving city, with apalace (home of the

Queen of Sheba) andmany houses. There

was also a famousdam, an amazing featof engineering for the

seventh century BCE.

PRECIOUS PERFUMEFrankincense was one of Arabia’smost prized products, and it waswidely traded. Trade routes criss-crossed the peninsula and many ofthe area’s early cities, such asMa’rib and the Nabatean town ofPetra (in modern Jordan), grew upalong the roads. Trade has beenvital to the area ever since.

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Altar for burning frankincense

The Arab world at the time of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad in 570

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ARCHANGEL GABRIELThe Qur’an (pp. 10–11) was revealed to Muhammad bythe archangel Gabriel, the angel of revelation. On anoccasion known as the Night of Destiny, the revelationbegan. Then the Qur’an was communicated in smallparts over a number of years.

THE PROPHETMuhammad, whosename is shown here in stylized form, is the Prophet of Islam.Muslims see him as the last of a series ofprophets, includingAbraham, Moses, andJesus, all of whom were mortal.

ON THE MOUNTAINWhen visiting Jabal an-Nur,Muhammad stayed in a cave calledHirah, at the top of the rocky peak.The cave, with an opening that facedtoward Mecca, was very small, butthere was enough space forMuhammad to pray. One of theProphet’s daughters used to climbthe mountain to bring him food sothat he could stay in the cave for thewhole month of Ramadan.

THE LIFE OF A TRADERAs a young man, Muhammad became a merchant, working for awealthy widow called Khadija. Arabia was crisscrossed with tradingroutes linking the peninsula with the Mediterranean and the IndianOcean. Muhammad traveled with camel caravans along these routesand made several trading journeys as far as Syria. Khadija wasimpressed with Muhammad, and, although she was considerablyolder than he was, the two married.

WRITTEN OR SPOKENThis calligraphy

represents the name of the Prophet,

Muhammad. Accordingto tradition, he actually

has 200 names,including Habib Allah(Beloved of God) and

Miftah al-Jannah (Key of Paradise). When

referring to Muhammad,Muslims usually add the

phrase ‘alayhi-s-salam(peace be upon him).

The Prophet MuhammadMUHAMMAD WAS BORN IN 570 in the city of Mecca(in what is now Saudi Arabia). He was a member ofthe Quraysh tribe. Orphaned as a boy, he was broughtup by his grandfather and uncle. His mission asProphet of Islam began in 610, when the Qur’an wasfirst revealed to him. Three years later, Muhammadbegan to preach. He attracted some followers, but histeachings about the one God were not widelywelcomed in Mecca, where most of the peopleworshiped idols, many different pagan gods.Eventually he moved to the city of Medina, whichbecame the center of a great Islamic civilization.

JABAL AN-NURJabal an-Nur (the Mountain of Light) a few miles

from Mecca, is the place where Muhammadwent to meditate. Every year, during the

month of Ramadan (p. 15), Muhammadretired to the mountain to pray, fast,

and give to the poor. It was on oneof these retreats that the

Prophet received the firstrevelation of the Qur’an.

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The word “Muhammad” written in calligraphy

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COMPANIONSThe Prophet’sCompanionswere his closest

followers. They listenedcarefully to his teachings,memorized the Qur’an, andpassed it on to others before itwas written down.

MEDINAMuhammad was persecuted in his native Mecca and some ofhis followers took refuge in Abyssinia (present-day Ethiopia)under the Christian ruler there. In 622, people from the cityof Yathrib, later called Medina, to the north of Mecca, invitedMuhammad to go and live there. The Prophet and hisfollowers took up the invitation. Their migration, known asthe hijrah, forms the start of the Islamic era. EventuallyMuhammad defeated the pagans and cleared the idols fromthe Ka‘ba, so Islam could flourish in Mecca, too.

THE NIGHT JOURNEYOne night the archangel Gabriel wokeMuhammad and led him to a steed calledthe Buraq, which the Prophet mounted (p. 61). The Buraq carried Muhammad to the “Furthest Mosque” in Jerusalem, fromwhere he ascended to heaven.

MUHAMMAD’S TOMBThe Prophet died inthe lap of his favoritewife, ‘A’isha, in herapartment near themosque at Medina.His tomb was built where he died. Later, his closeCompanions Abu Bakr and‘Umar, the first two caliphs, wereburied on either side.

ALLAHAllah is the name of the

one God in whom Muslimsbelieve and upon whom all

life and all existencedepends. He is unique andinfinitely greater than anything He has created. The

Qur’an says that He is“unbegotten.” In other

words, He is eternal, havingno origin and no end. He is

and always will be.

Star patternbased on “Allah”

in Arabic script

TheProphet’smosque

Pattern based on names of theCompanions

The Buraq

Muhammad’sface is veiled

because Islamdoes not allow

him to bedepicted.

Thearchangel

Gabriel

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The Qur’an

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The Five Pillars of IslamTHERE ARE FIVE FUNDAMENTAL requirements ofIslam, called the Five Pillars of Islam. The firstand most important is the profession of faith.Islam, which means “submission” and comesfrom the word “peace,” is considered byMuslims to be a restating of the same truth –belief in the one God – that was revealed to theChristians and the Jews. This faith was revealedthrough all God’s prophets, including Moses andJesus, or Musa and ‘Isa as they are known inArabic. Muslims believe that God’s final andmost universal message was revealed to the lastof the prophets – the Prophet Muhammad. Faithin this one God is the basic belief of the Islamicreligion. The remaining four Pillars of Islamrequire all Muslims to be committed to prayer,almsgiving, fasting, and the pilgrimage to Mecca.

CRESCENT MOON AND STARA crescent moon with a star aboveit was used as a symbol by theTurks in the 15th century. Sincethen it has become the symbol ofIslam. The words of the Shahada inArabic calligraphy have been usedhere to form the shape of the moon.The words, “In the name of Allah,the Merciful, the Compassionate,”make the star.

RISE UP FOR PRAYERFive times each day the adhan, or call to prayer, is heard in Muslimcommunities. The times for prayerare between first light and sunrise(fajr), just after noon (zuhr), in lateafternoon (‘asr), after sunset(maghrib), and evening (‘isha). Thetraditional practice is for someone tomake the call from the minaret. Thefirst muezzin was Bilal, a freed blackslave, chosen for his fine voice.

PREPARING FOR PRAYERBefore prayer, a Muslim mustprepare by ridding the mind of

distracting thoughts and bycleansing the body. Ritual washing isnormally done using running water –

either at the fountain at the mosqueor using a tap and basin in the

home. In places where there is no water, such as the desert,

Muslims may use sand or astone for ritual cleansing.

PrayerMuslims must pray at five set times duringthe day. These regular prayers, known as salah,make up the second Pillar of Islam. Muslimsmay pray on their own or in a group, butevery Friday at midday, Muslim men arerequired to gather together for salat al-juma‘a,or Friday prayers. Friday prayers are led by an imam (literally “one who stands in front”),who will also give a sermon, or khutba.

SHAHADAThe Muslim profession offaith is called the Shahada. The

English translation of it is:“There is no god but God;Muhammad is themessenger of God.”Muslims use the Arabicword for God, which is“Allah.” When Muslimsuse the term Allah, theyare referring to the same

God that is worshipped byChristians and Jews. The

words of the Shahada areheard often in the Muslimworld because they arerepeated during the call toprayer. The Shahada isnormally whispered in aMuslim baby’s ear at birthand at the time of death.

“In the name of Allah,the Merciful, theCompassionate.”

All members of the community are considered equal in the eyes ofAllah so they all perform the samerituals of ablution and prayer.

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2BOWING DOWNWhen another passage

from the Qur’an has beenrecited, the worshipper

bows down, to showrespect for Allah. This

motion, called ruku‘, isfollowed by qiyam,

standing andpraising Allah.

Continued on next page

1THE RAK‘A BEGINSThe words Allahu Akbar – Allahis greater (than all else) – openthe rak‘a. Then Allah is praised,

and the first sura, or chapter, ofthe Qur’an, called al-Fatiha – the

Opening – is spoken, togetherwith a second sura.

3PROSTRATIONThis position,

known as sujud, showsthe Muslim’s humility.The worshipper sayssilently, “Glory to myLord the Most High.

Allah is greater.”

4SITTINGThis seated

position, called julus,gives the opportunity

for a short silent prayer.Then the prostration isrepeated. The sequenceconcludes with a shortprayer for thecommunity of Muslimsand for the worshipper’ssins to be forgiven.

5PEACEThe final

stage is calledsalam, or peace.The person looksto left and right,and then says,“Peace be withyou and themercy of Allah.”These words areaddressed to allpresent, seen andunseen.

Iranianprayer mat

Qiblaindicator

PRAYER MATThe majority of Muslimspray on a mat, and some

people take this with themwherever they go, so that they

are always able to use it. Prayerrugs are often beautifully made,but any mat, from a silk rug to a

piece of reed matting, may beused. It is also permissible to

pray on the uncovered ground,provided that it is clean.

PRAYER BEADSAllah is referred to in many

different ways, known as al-asmaal-husna, meaning the 99 beautiful

names. Many Muslim names, suchas ‘Abd al-Rahman, servant of the Merciful One, are based on

one of these names. The string of99 beads, like a rosary, that a

Muslim uses in private prayer, is areminder of the 99 Divine names.

IN THE DIRECTION OF MECCABecause Muslims face the Ka’ba in Mecca duringprayers, they need to know the direction,qibla, of the city. In the Middle Ages,people made instruments to determinethe direction. In mosques, a niche,mihrab, in the wall indicates thedirection of Mecca.

Stages of prayerPrayer is performed following a precise order ofwords and motions. Each unit of this order is calleda rak‘a and is composed of several stages. Duringprayers the rak‘a is repeated two, three, or four times– the exact number depends on which of the fivedaily prayers is being performed.

Prayer beads may be usedto repeat the 99 beautifulnames, or to repeat otherphrases used in prayer.

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Continued from previous page

AlmsgivingThe giving of alms (gifts) to the poor and needy isvery important in Islam. Of all the ways in which onecan give to the poor, the most formal is by paying atax called zakat, which is one of the Five Pillars ofIslam. The amount of zakat that a person has to pay isworked out as a percentage of their wealth. The tax isdistributed among the poor and may also be used tohelp other needy members of society.

PUBLIC BATHSHygiene is very important in Islam, andbaths are a common sight in towns inMuslim countries. They are often paid for bydonations. A typical public bath has achanging room, often roofed with a shallowdome, connected to a series of rooms atdifferent temperatures. The hottest of all isthe steam room, where the bather works upa sweat before being cleaned and massaged.

FOOD FOR THE POORIn some parts of Muslim India,

large cooking pots, or deghs, areused to prepare food outdoors.

At the shrine of Ajmer, twodeghs are used to make food for

the needy, and people visitingthe shrine make charitable gifts

of food for the pots.

WATER SUPPLYIn addition to paying zakat, a personmay make other personal donations

to help the community. These canprovide useful facilities such as this

public drinking fountain in Istanbul,Turkey. Many Muslim countries are

in dry areas where water can behard to come by, so giving moneyfor a fountain is especially useful.

MONEY OR GOODSZakat is commonly paid in money butmay also be given in the form ofgoods. In both cases, rates of paymentare laid down, starting at 2.5 percentof a person’s wealth. A person’s homeand other essential items are notcounted when determining what theywill pay. The word zakat means“purification”, because it is believedthat giving up part of your wealthpurifies what remains.

HOSPITALSThe places where the sick are

treated are another group offacilities that have been

paid for by almsgiving.This beautiful latticedwindow is part of ahospital originallyfinanced withalmsgiving contributions.

Medicine was one areawhere the Muslim world

made many advances beforethe West (p. 30).

FOR LASTING GOODThis document details a gift madeto the state for good works. Thistype of gift is known as a waqf, andonce given, it cannot be reclaimed.Gifts like this go toward theupkeep of mosques and buildingssuch as hospitals.

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FastingMuhammad received the first revelation ofthe Qur’an during the month of Ramadan,and this month has a special significance inIslam. Every day during Ramadan, Muslimsfast from dawn to sunset, avoiding food,drink, and sexual relations. Although thisfast, or sawm, is one of the Pillars of Islam,not everyone has to go without food. Forexample, those who are too sick to fast,women who are pregnant, and very youngchildren may be excused.

A PROPER MEALDuring Ramadan,

Muslims break their fastafter sunset with a light snack,which may consist simply of a

few dates with water. Sunsetprayers are followed by the main

meal. This is a bigger meal, but shouldnot be too large because Muslims are

not encouraged to eat heavily after theday’s fast. In addition, the snack should

have already taken the edge off a person’shunger, so a simple dish, such as vegetable

soup with bread, may be eaten.

SIGNALING RAMADANIn many Muslim countries, it is thecustom to fire cannons before thefirst day of Ramadan, to signal thebeginning of the month. Cannonsare also used to signal the

beginning and end of each dayof Ramadan.

ENDING RAMADANThe end of Ramadan ismarked by the festival of ‘Id al-Fitr – the feast of thebreaking of the fast – (p. 60). At the beginning of this festival, the wholecommunity gathers at anoutdoor prayer area (or at amosque) to perform the ‘Idprayer. Celebrations last forthree days, during whichtime alms are given to thepoor and friends mayexchange gifts.

JOYFUL PROCESSIONWhen the great solemnity of the month ofRamadan comes to an end, there may be aprocession. This illustration, from a 13th-centurybook from Baghdad, shows a processionaccompanied with trumpets and banners.

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Continued

from previous page

PilgrimageThe final Pillar of Islam ispilgrimage, or hajj. All Muslimsaim to perform this “greaterpilgrimage” once in their lives.Hajj involves a series of ritesthat take place annually overseveral days at the SacredMosque at Mecca and thenearby areas of Mina,Muzdalifa, and Arafat. Ashorter pilgrimage to Mecca,known as ‘umrah, forms part of the hajj, but may beperformed by itself at anytime of the year.

HAJJAfter performing ‘umrah, the pilgrims leaveMecca and travel to the valley of Mina. On thesecond day, they go to Arafat and pray forforgiveness. This is said to give pilgrims aforetaste of the Day of Judgment, when theywill rise from the dead, have their souls judgedby Allah, and enter paradise if they are worthy.On their way back, they stop at Muzdalifa,where they spend part of the night resting,praying, and gathering small pebbles beforereturning to Mina. On the third day, they throwseven of the pebbles at the largest of the threestone pillars, which represents the temptationsof Satan. For the following two days, thepilgrims stay at Mina and throw furtherpebbles at the pillars. They must also make ananimal sacrifice. They then wash, and clip theirhair or shave their heads, to symbolize a newbeginning, before returning to Mecca to makethe final seven circuits around the Ka’ba.

GUIDEBOOKAn ancient guidebook to Mecca illustratesfeatures of the Sacred Mosque. It shows thestepped minbar, from which the sermon ispreached (p. 19), together with a hanging lamp.

CLOTHS OF THE KA’BAThe Ka’ba (below) is a stonebuilding, roughly 43 ft (13 m)across, that stands at thecenter of the Sacred Mosqueat Mecca. It is a sanctuarydedicated to God that datesback to the time of Adam.The Ka’ba is covered with ablack cloth embroidered withverses of the Qur’an. Everyyear, the cloth is renewed,and pieces of the old cloth(left) are given away. Thesefragments are treated withreverence, as is this cloth thatonce hung inside the Ka’ba.

AT THE KA’BAUpon arrival in Mecca, the

pilgrims perform ‘umrah, whenthey circle seven times around

the Ka’ba and then pray nearthe Station of Abraham. In

memory of Hagar, the motherof Abraham’s eldest son,

Ishmael, the pilgrims then runback and forth between two

small hills known as Safa andMarwa after drinking water

from the well of Zamzam.

Quotation from the Qur’ansaying that the pilgrimage toMecca is a duty for all whocan make their way there

Tile with the Planof the SacredMosque at Mecca,known in Arabicas the Masjid al-Haram

Piece of cloth from the Ka’ba

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PILGRIM’S HOUSEIn some places it is traditionalfor pilgrims to commemoratetheir journey by decorating thewalls of their houses when theyreturn home. The paintings onthis Egyptian house show theairplane on which the pilgrimflew to Saudi Arabia, the Ka‘ba,and the Grand Mosque atMecca, and the pilgrim himself,wearing the costume of ihram.

PLACE OF ABRAHAMThe Ka’ba is said to have beenfounded by Adam, the father ofhumankind, who is consideredby Muslims to be the firstprophet. It was rebuilt by Abrahamand his son, Ishmael. Set into onecorner of the Ka‘ba is the Black Stone, ameteorite, said to have been used by Adamwhen the Ka‘ba was first built. The BlackStone was lost, and then found again byAbraham and put in its present position.

IHRAMPilgrims must be in a special state ofconsecration, or holiness,known as ihram, achieved

by washing and declaringtheir intention. Malepilgrims wear a simplecostume that symbolizesihram. It consists of two

large pieces of seamless,unstitched, white

cloth.

THE ROAD TO MECCAThis 13th-century picture shows the colorfultents of a group of rich pilgrims. They are ontheir way to Mecca and have not yet put onthe costume of ihram. Pilgrims still use tentstoday. At the time of hajj, the area aroundMina is filled with thousands of pure whitetents. Pilgrims will usually also visit theProphet’s Mosque in Medina during their stay.

The Station ofAbraham, fromwhich Abrahamdirected therebuilding of the Ka‘ba

Rows of archessurrounding theKa‘ba were hungwith oil lights.Today the Mosqueis lit electrically.

The multazam –an area of wallthought to beparticularly holy

The Ka’ba

The BlackStone

Theminbar

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STYLES OF MINARETA minaret is the highest point of amosque, from which the muezzin

traditionally gives the call to prayer (p. 12). Minarets have been built in many

different styles. They can be lavishlydecorated or plain; square, many-sided,

or round; slender or stocky.

A fountain or area for washing

is found inside.

Entranceto mosque

The courtyard is a place tomeditate or read.

Mosquedome

The call to prayeris given from theminaret.

Crescent finial

Prayer hallfloor iscoveredwithcarpets.

MOSQUES ARE BUILDINGS that are specifically usedfor prayer and are open for prayer all the waythrough the week. In addition, mosques fulfill severalother functions in the Muslim community. Theyprovide places where religious discussions can takeplace, and where education and charitable work canbe organized. Most mosques serve their local area

and form the spiritual center of the community. They are builtand run by local people, though they may be funded bydonations from the wealthy. In addition, a town has one mainmosque, where Friday prayers are held.

The mosque

Minaret ofSamarra

GreatMosque, Iraq

Minaretof Giralda,Mosque,

Spain

Minaret of SalihiyeMosque,

Syria

Minaretof Sinan’sMosque,

Damascus

BRITISH MOSQUEMosques are oftenbuilt in the local styleof architecture, likethis example in aBritish city.

Prayer hall The mihrab is aniche indicating thedirection of Mecca.

CENTERS OF LEARNINGMany big mosques have libraries,which contain books on religioussubjects, including Islamic law. In addition, it is common formosques to have schools wherechildren learn to memorize andrecite the Qur’an.

Model of amosque

18

INSIDE A MOSQUEMosques vary enormously in design, fromsimple plain rooms to vast ornate buildings– there is no one standard design. All thatis really needed is a space in which thecommunity can pray and some way ofindicating the direction of Mecca. But thereare standards of behavior and dress thatmust be observed inside every mosque.People take off their shoes and cover theirheads before going in, and often an area ofthe mosque is reserved for women.

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Continued on next page

15th-centurymosque lamp

SYDNEY MOSQUEThe first Muslims to reach Australiawere Afghan and Punjabi camel drivers,arriving between 1867 and 1918 toprovide essential outback transportationservices. Many more Muslims arrivedduring the late 20th century.

OIL LAMPThe traditional way of

lighting a mosque was touse oil lamps. These large,

hanging lamps could bebrightly decorated, likethis example of bronzecovered with gold and

silver, so that theyreflected the light

and shone morebrightly. People whowanted to give alms

often made gifts ofmoney for oil for

the lamps in theirmosque.

Elaborate tiledecoration

Mosque finial ofSelimiye Mosque

in Turkey

MINBARAt Friday prayers the

congregation listens tothe khutba, a sermon

given by the imam froma raised pulpit called the

minbar. Some minbars,which can be beautifullyadorned with inlay andcarving, have survived

from 1,000 years ago.

BLUE MOSQUE IN ISTANBULIn 1453, the Ottomans took over Constantinople(modern Istanbul). The Christian churches there werelavishly decorated and roofed with domes. Ottomanarchitects built their mosques in a similar style. One of the greatest is the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque because of its blue-tiled interior.

MOSQUE DECORATIONAs Muslims prospered, they devoted

more of their wealth to their faith, andsome mosques were adorned with

sumptuous decoration, like these tilesatop a minaret in Turkey. Carpets for the

prayer hall were another favorite gift.

AFRICAN MOSQUEThe earliest mosques had more simple designs, like

this 16th-century mosque in Africa. Domes and intricatedecoration developed later. The nature of the building,

however, is not significant in a mosque. Its function as ameeting place to pray is the most important thing.

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The caliphateIN 632, THE PROHET MUHAMMAD died leaving no obvioussuccessor, so prominent Muslims came together to choosea leader. They elected Abu Bakr and gave him the titlekhalifa (caliph), which means “successor” or “viceroy.”Some people thought that the right candidate was ‘Ali,the Prophet’s cousin, who had married Fatima, theProphet’s daughter. Those who favored ‘Ali as caliphbecame known as Shi’i Muslims, “supporters” of ‘Ali. In656, ‘Ali became caliph, but Muslims were still dividedabout how the caliph should be chosen. Sunni Muslimssupported the system of an elected caliphate. Shi’i

Muslims believed that the caliphsshould be descended from ‘Ali and Fatima.

EARLY CALIPHRepresentation of living

creatures is discouraged inIslam because it is believed

that Allah alone shouldhave the divine right of

creation. However,this early portrait

shows a caliph, in astyle imitated from

pre-IslamicPersian coins.

THE FIRST FOUR CALIPHSAbu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman,and ‘Ali were the first fourcaliphs and are greatlyrevered. As closeCompanions of the Prophet,they followed his example.Because of this they areknown as the RightlyGuided Caliphs.

“Allah is the Light of theHeavens and the Earth;the likeness of His Light

is as a niche wherein is a lamp.”

SURA AL-NUR, LIGHT CHAPTER, THE QUR’AN

THE ROUND CITY OF BAGHDADThe first dynasty of Islam was the Umayyad, whoruled from Damascus, Syria. In 749, they werereplaced by the Abbasid caliphs who ruled forover 500 years from their capital in Baghdad, Iraq.The city was founded in 763 and was planned as agreat circle. This shape, with gates aligned with thecompass points, was like a map of the universe.

THE ROLE OF THE CALIPHThe caliph was the symbolic head of the

Muslim community throughout the world.He was expected to rule in accordance withIslamic principles and to lead the army. Healso gave authority to Muslim leaders whowere often very powerful in their own right.

The Mamluk sultanate, for example, ruled in Egyptuntil the 16th century. This is a Mamluk mosque

lamp. Such lamps were often decorated with scriptfrom the Sura al-Nur of the Qur’an (right).

Dhu’l-Faqar, thetwin-bladedsword of ‘Ali

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UMAYYAD COINAbd al-Malik, one of the

Umayyad caliphs, mintedthis coin when they ruled

from Damascus, Syria. Aftertheir defeat by the Abbasids,an offshoot of the Umayyad

caliphate ruled Muslim landsin the West from Spain.

ATATURKThe last caliphs werethe Ottoman rulers ofTurkey. In 1923,Turkey’s firstpresident, KemalAtatürk, came topower. He decided tomodernize his countryand in 1924 heabolished thecaliphate.

SHI’I STANDARDIn 680 at Kerbala, the army of the Umayyadcaliph killed Hussayn, son of ‘Ali and Fatima.The battle standard (above) was used to mark thepoint at which the Shi’i army collected before thebattle began and was then a focal point for thearmy. What happened at Kerbala divided Shi’iand Sunni Muslims still more deeply. Today,around one-tenth of all Muslims are Shi’i.

LADEN WITH GIFTS One of the duties of the caliph was to protectthe holy cities of Mecca and Medina, togetherwith pilgrims journeying there. Pilgrims oftentraveled with camels heavily loaded with gifts.

TIRAZSome caliphs gave courtiers,ambassadors, and foreign rulerslengths of specially made cloth – tiraz– or robes, woven with calligraphy. Inparticular, this was a custom of theShi’i Fatimid caliphs (who claimed tobe descendents of ‘Ali and Fatima) ofCairo. The cloths were inscribed withthe caliphs’ names, Islamic prayers, or poems, and were highly prized.

CALIPH’S GIFTRulers like eighth-century caliph Harunal-Rashid were verypowerful. Harunexchanged gifts withCharlemagne, theFrankish emperor whoruled a vast area ofWestern Europe. Hesent Charlemagne this jeweled pitcher, with an elephant.

Calligraphy reads,“Allah, Muhammad,Fatima, and ‘Ali, Hasanand Husayn.”

Repeating calligraphicinscription

Inscriptionproclaiming theunity of Allah

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First conquestsTHE FIRST THREE CALIPHSAbu Bakr, ‘Umar, and‘Uthman, expanded theirterritory quickly, creating anempire that eventuallystretched from the ArabianPeninsula to Spain. Muchland was gained by militaryconquest, but Islam also spread peacefully intoareas where local rulers made alliances with thecaliphs. People of other religions living in theseareas – Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians –became known as dhimmis (protected people)because they were protected in return for thepayment of a tax. Later, other peoples, includingHindus in western India, also became dhimmis.

MAP OF JERUSALEMThis mosaic map shows Jerusalem in the sixth century. Itmust have looked like this in 638 when, during the reignof caliph ‘Umar, the Muslims conquered the city. For manycenturies, the city’s Islamic rulers governed Jerusalem in away that was tolerant of the Jews and Christians who livedthere and regarded it as a holy place.

MOSQUE DECORATIONMosques were built allaround the empire, andmany were lavishlydecorated. This arch, abovea doorway at the GreatMosque in Damascus,shows how Muslimstone masons useddifferent marbles,together with inlays and mosaics made of other brightlycolored stones.

EXPANDING EMPIREBy the end of ‘Uthman’s reign in656, the empire included Arabia,Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq,large parts of Persia (modern-dayIran), and Sind (modern-dayPakistan). The Umayyad dynasty(661–750) expanded into the rest of North Africa and Spain andpushed eastward.

MOSQUE AT DAMASCUSUnder the Umayyaddynasty, the city ofDamascus in Syriabecame the capital of the Islamic empire. TheUmayyads built theGreat Mosque in theearly eighth century.

CROWN OF RECCESUINTHThis crown was worn by anearly Muslim ruler of Spain, at the request of his wife, who was a princess of theGermanic people, the Visigoths.

ROCK OF GIBRALTARMuslim forces landed in Spain in 711, arriving firston the Rock of Gibraltar under their commander, a

Berber former slave, Tariq, from whom Gibraltartakes its name (Jebel Tariq). By 715, they had taken

over most of Spain, settling mainly in the south,and soon their armies were entering France.

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OUT IN FORCEThis image from an early manuscript showsMuslim soldiers gathering near their tents.Soldiers like these, efficient and well

disciplined, were greatly feared inWestern Europe. They advanced as far as France to conquer areas such as Languedoc and

Burgundy.

BATTLE STANDARDIn 1212, Spain saw a battle at Navas de Tolosa, between theAlmohads, the local Muslim dynasty, and a Christian army. TheAlmohads, who marched behind this standard, were defeated,and Muslim power in Spain was weakened.

RUINS OF CARTHAGEThe great North African city of Carthage, first the home of the Phoenicians,had been ruled by the Romans before it became an outpost of the ChristianByzantine empire for a short time. The victim of many battles, in 697–8Carthage fell to Muslim armies. The native Berber population who lived theresoon accepted Islam and joined the westward drive of the Muslim forces.

CHARLES MARTEL, KING OF THE FRANKSIn the eighth century, much of Western Europewas ruled by a Germanic people called theFranks, under their king, Charles Martel. In 732,Charles defeated the Muslim army betweenTours and Poitiers, France, which marked thenorthwestern limit of the Muslim empire. Fiveyears later, he also drove the Muslims out ofsouthern France.

Roman triumphalarch, Carthage

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Scholars and teachers

SCHOLAR’S TOMBSometimes a famous scholar iscommemorated with a large tomb. Bin Ali, a notable scholar of the 14th century fromYemen, was buried in this striking double-domed tomb near Dhofar, Oman.

AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITYCairo’s al-Azhar University was founded in the10th century and became the world’s mostfamous Islamic university. Renowned for itsphilosophical and theological scholarship, itsname means “the resplendent.” Many academictraditions, such as the distinction betweengraduates and undergraduates, began at al-Azhar.

LEARNING HAS ALWAYS PLAYED a hugepart in the Islamic world. A system ofeducation developed in which childrenlearned to memorize and recite the textof the Qur’an at school. When they hadmastered this, they could becomestudents at a higher-level school calleda madrasah. Still more advancedstudy could be followed atuniversity level. Muslim educationhas always had a religious basis,and the high standards producedscholars in a range of fields, frommathematics to poetry.

GLOBEBy the 13thcentury,Muslim scholarsknew a vastamount aboutastronomy (p. 29). They produced celestialglobes like this to show the positions of stars in the sky.

MADRASAH AT CAIROA madrasah was a school in whichsubjects such as law, logic,mathematics, and history weretaught. Madrasahs were usuallyarranged around a courtyard,with large halls for teaching andsmaller rooms for the students.

AVICENNAThe scholar Ibn Sina (980–1037), knownin the West as Avicenna, wrote manyimportant books on medicine andphilosophy. In both fields, he developedthe work of the ancient Greeks.

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LAW BOOKMuslim scholarsproduced somevery advancedlaws. From theearliest times, forexample, Muslimwomen – unlikewomen in the West –had the right to ownand inherit property.This book containsinformation about howinheritance wascalculated.

QUR’ANArabic scholarship has always been central

to Islam. Muslims traditionally learn to recitethe entire Qur’an by heart, and they always

recite it in the original Arabic, no matterwhat language they use in everyday life. LIBRARY BOOKS

Centers of learning grew up in big citiessuch as Baghdad, Iraq, and Damascus,Syria, and these had libraries that wereoften much larger than the collections inWestern cities and universities.

Continued on next page

POETRY READINGRecited or set to music, poetry was

important in Arabia even before thetime of Muhammad. It continued tobe popular. In addition to religious

subjects, common poetic themeswere love and politics.

25

AGATE INKPOTCalligraphy was an important andrespected art. While most writing materialswere simple, some very fine pieces, like this19th century inkpot, were also made.

A MULLAHA mullah is a person who is learnedin religion. Most mullahs have hada formal religious training, but thetitle can be given to someone with areputation for religious scholarship.

Inkpotmade ofgold andagate

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Writing

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The spread of learning

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Astronomy

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Medicine

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Mathematics

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Nomadic or settled

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Islamic culture

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The Islamic cityMUSLIMS INHERITED ideas about cityplanning from early civilizations such asancient Rome, and they built large citieswith facilities that were far in advance ofthose in Europe. A typical city in theyear 1000 would have had a largemosque – usually with a school andlibrary – and a market and baths.There were also caravanseries,

which were hotels providingaccommodation for traveling

merchants and their animals.

MARKET PLACESSuqs, or covered markets, are usually large,busy places. They are arranged so that shopsselling similar goods are close together, sopurchasers can compare quality and prices,and so that the official market inspectors (p. 58) can do their job effectively.

Metaldrinkingcups

WATER FOR SALEWater sellers were a commonsight in many Middle Eastern

cities before reliable watersupplies were installed.They can still be seenin some places.

Mainmosque

City walls

Centralsquare

SEEKING A CUREMedicine was advanced in the Muslim

world (pp. 30–31) and some Islamic citiesbecame renowned for their able doctors.Travelers would often return home with

news of remarkable cures using remediessuch as herbs and spices, and spread thisknowledge further

around theIslamic worldand beyond.

Lookout tower gives agood vantage point and

firing platform.THE CITY GRAVEYARDBurial places were usually outside the citywalls. They were pleasant, green spaceswith trees, which provided somewhere towalk, meditate, or enjoy the fresh air. Mostpeople had simple graves, marked with asingle stone.

TOWN PLANHouses in an old Islamic city, such as Fez,

were tightly packed, but each house had a privatecourtyard with a small garden and a fountain, as well as

a flat rooftop. Many cities, especially in Turkey and MughulIndia (pp. 52–53), had public gardens beyond the walls.

Battlements toconceal defenders

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TELLING A STORYIn some cities, comfortable coffee housesprovided entertainment. People went tothis coffee house in Istanbul both forrefreshments and to while away thehours listening to the local storyteller.

PUBLIC BATHSGoing to the baths was a social occasion– an opportunity to meet friends andexchange news – as well as a chance toget clean. This painting from Persiashows men visiting the baths. Womenwould use the baths at a different time of day.

PIGEON POSTMajor Islamic cities wereconnected with an efficientpostal service. Mail was transported by camels, mules, or horses,and in 1150, the Sultan ofBaghdad even started apostal service using carrier pigeons.

CITY WALLSWalls enclosed many Muslim cities. They had to be strong enough to keep out attackers, givesomewhere for defenders to stand safely, andprovide a good view of the surroundingcountryside. Gates could be locked to keep outenemies, or opened, when guards could keep aneye on who was entering and leaving the city.

WATERWHEELSBringing water into the city was sometimes

a major task. In Hamah, Syria, two hugewooden waterwheels mounted on massivestone arches were built to raise water from

the river to supply the town. Building wheelslike this required great engineering skill.

City walls,Morocco

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Merchants and travellersTRADE HAS ALWAYS played a key role inthe Islamic world. The Prophet himselfcame from a people who had long agoestablished the two great caravanjourneys from Mecca, the WinterCaravan to the Yemen and the SummerCaravan to the outskirts of the RomanEmpire. When Muslim armies took overterritory, traders were quick to follow,opening up routes that led east toChina, south into Africa, northwest toEurope, and southeast across the IndianOcean. The faith of Islam was soonspread by merchants as far as Malaysiaand Indonesia. Muslims did not onlytravel for trade, they also went in searchof knowledge, on diplomatic missions,and of course to make the Pilgrimage.

Silver coins from Baghdad

found in a Vikinggrave in Sweden

Islamic traderoutes

MERCHANTS ON THE MOVEThis 13th-century illustration of merchants comesfrom a book by the writer al-Hariri, who came fromBasra, Iraq. Men like these didn’t just carry items forsale; they also carried ideas, inventions, and Islamitself, which was often introduced to new areas bymerchants who settled far from home.

SALT CARAVANThis salt caravan is traveling to Timbuktu in Mali (p. 48). Salt was essential for seasoning and preservingfood, and early Muslims sold it for vast sums. There wererich sources of salt in Africa, at places such as Taghaza,today in Algeria, where the locals even constructedbuildings from salt. From here, caravans carried saltsouth, and the merchants spread Islam as they traveled.

TRADE ROUTESOfficial reports, travelers’ tales, and archeology have allprovided clues about the routes taken by Muslim traders. One route stood out above all – the Silk Road. It was actually a number of roads across Central Asia,linking China and Europe, passing through many parts of the Muslim world on the way.

IBN BATTUTAAmong the early Muslimtravelers, Ibn Battuta, fromTangier (in present-dayMorocco), was the mostremarkable. Setting out onthe Pilgrimage in 1325, hecontinued traveling, going75,000 miles (120,000 km) in29 years. He visited Westand East Africa, Arabia,India, and China, and whenhe returned he told the storyof his adventures to theSultan of Morocco.

COINS FOR TRADEArcheologists have found out whereIslamic traders went by unearthingtheir coins. The Viking lands, SriLanka, and the heart of China arethree places where Muslim coins havebeen discovered. Islamic coins werewidely respected because of the highproportion of precious metals theycontained. These currencies greatlyhelped the growth of world trade.

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Continued on next page

Furled lateen(triangular) sail

DHOWThe most common trading vessels in theIndian Ocean were dhows, which are stillused today. With their triangular sails, theseboats are easy to maneuver and sail inheadwinds. Their captains navigated bylooking at the stars and many of themalso used themagnetic compass.They also had anexcellentknowledge ofcurrents, sea-marks, andwinds.

CANDY FOR SALEIn countries such as Saudi Arabia, stores and

markets have extremely enticing candy counters.For centuries, the Arab world has had a reputation

for its confectioneries, and English words such as“sugar” and “candy” come from Arabic.

NOMAD WOMAN SPINNINGThis painting shows an Egyptian livestockherder and his wife outside their tent. The

woman is spinning wool to make thread.She uses some of this to make clothes for

herself and her family. What is left overcan be sold at a local market.

Ropes helpsupport mast

Main mast

Stern rudder

BACTRIAN CAMELWith their greatstaying power andtheir ability toproduce milk on adiet of bittervegetation and foul-tasting water, camelsenabled the Muslimsto survive and travel ininhospitable places. The two-humped Bactrian camel was found on the northernroutes, the one-humpeddromedary in the south.

Tasseledsaddlebag

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Exotic goods

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Food trade

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The crusades

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Sword and sheath ofShah Tamasp of

Persia

GRENADEFirst used in China, grenades

containing gunpowder wereused by both Muslims and

Christians in the Middle Ages.This 13th-century example was

made of clay in Damascus, Syria.

Arms and armor

TURKISH HELMETThis Turkish helmet dates from around1500. It is made of iron and patternedwith silver. It carries the mark of the

“Arsenal of Constantinople” (nowIstanbul) where the weapons and

armor of the Turkish army were held. SHIELD OF STEELThe Mongols developed small, round shieldsmade of leather. When enemy archers fired,their arrows stuck in the leather and could bepulled out and reused. Later round shieldswere made of steel with a curving surface, toprotect the user from both bullets and swordblows. Shields like this were popular in Indiaand Iran from the 18th century onward.

19th-centuryIndian steelshield with giltdecorationCANNON MINIATURE

By the early 14th century, Europeanarmorers were starting to make cannonsand these powerful weapons were quicklytaken up by Muslim armies. This paintingshows cannons being used by Muslimtroops at the Siege of Vienna in 1529.

BY THE 11TH CENTURY, Muslims were highly skilled in metalcraftsmanship – and this included weapon production. For afighting man, good arms and armor were often a matter of lifeand death, so soldiers wanted the best equipment that they couldafford. The mounted warriors of the Islamic world used thesword, lance, and mace. Most were also skilled archers. Beautifuland intricate swords, shields, and other weaponry were the envyof the non-Muslim world. However, Muslim armies were also quick toadopt weapons that originated in the West, such as cannonsand firearms.

Handle hides a slender dagger.

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MUSKETWhen they were first imported to theEast, guns like this European flintlockmusket were resisted by high-rankingMuslim soldiers, who preferred the bowand the curved sword. But when theirenemies began to take up firearms,Muslim warriors were forced to do thesame, and weapons like the musket were valued all over Asia.

SHOOTING LESSONHandheld guns first appeared inWestern Europe in the 15th centuryand Muslim soldiers soon began touse them. It was not long beforeMuslim craft workers started tomake such weapons for themselves,often in workshops run by master-armorers from Portugal. In thispicture, 16th century IndianEmperor Akbar is learning how tohandle one of the latest weapons.

SWORDS AND BATTLE-AXESThe tabar, or battle-ax, was a widespread weapon. Such axes hadsteel blades and were not always as ornate as this one, which isadorned with silver and gilding. Muslim soldiers also fought withdistinctive swords with curved blades that broadened toward thetip. In Europe these were known as scimitars (above).

Gold-barreled musket

JAMBIYAFirst made in the

Arabian Peninsula,the jambiya was a curved dagger.It proved popular – either as aplain fighting dagger or as anornate ceremonial weapon – andspread all over the Muslim world.

KHANJARIn many parts of the Muslim

world it was common formen, and even boys, to

carry weapons. This is a 20th-century dagger from

Yemen, called a khanjar.

Khanjar anddecorated sheath

Jambiya (and sheath,below right)

Steel macefrom Persia

MACE Maces were

sometimes carried as a sign of rank, but

they were also fightingweapons used bymounted warriors. Inskilled hands, a macecould break an opponent’sbones, even if he waswearing armor.

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Spain

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Africa

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Mongols and Turks

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Central Asia, Iran, and India

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The Mughal empire

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China and Southeast AsiaISLAM HAS BEEN PRACTICED in Chinasince the seventh century when it wasintroduced to coastal cities by Arabtraders. Over the next 200 years,merchants traveling the SilkRoad took Islam into the interior.The Muslims of China today are adiverse people descended frommany different ethnic groups,including ethnic Chinese, Mongols, andPersians, each with their own customs andcultures. Islam also reached Southeast Asia

through trade, and today the largestMuslim population in the world

is in Indonesia.

GRAND MOSQUE IN THE CITY OF XI’AN,When China became communist in 1949, Muslims weregiven some religious freedom, but during the CulturalRevolution (1966–1976) all religions were outlawed, andmosques were destroyed or closed. In the 1980s, however,many mosques were reopened or rebuilt. China’s oldestmosque, the Grand Mosque in Xi’an, can be visited today.

MOSQUE INTERIOR, BEIJINGBy the early 20th century there was a

sizeable Muslim minority in China. Inthe larger cities there are lavish mosques

like the Niu Jie mosque (above), whichhas pillars lacquered in black and gold,

and walls decorated with both Arabicand Chinese motifs. Most of China’s

Muslims live in the rural northwesternprovince of Xinjiang, where the

mosques are usually much plainer.

Carved stonedecorationfrom Xi’an

mosque

Typical Chineseupward-curvingroof

Outline of bird wherewax covered the fabricduring dyeing

Name of Allah

BY SEASome Muslimmerchants traveledfrom the mainland to

Southeast Asia intraditional boatswith strikingcurved prows.

BATIKChina and Southeast Asia have alwaystraded in beautiful fabrics, such as silks. Thispiece has been dyed using the process calledbatik, which was invented in Java. The dyerapplies wax to the parts of the fabric whichare to remain uncolored, then soaks thematerial in dye. When dry, the material isboiled or scraped to remove the wax.

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MALAYSIAN MOSQUEBecause Islam was broughtto Southeast Asia by well-traveled merchants, the areahas always been influencedby a mix of cultures. This Malaysian mosque isdecorated in the style of

mosques in Iranand India.

MIX OF STYLESThis modern mosque in Kuala Kangsar,Malaysia, was built after the countrybecame independent in 1957. This wasa good time for Muslims in Malaysiabecause Islam was recognized as thestate’s official religion.

CARAVANSERAIMerchants traveling by land neededplaces to stay, so the locals builtcaravanserais (p. 36) on the routesthrough Asia to China. In these simplestone buildings, merchants could find abed and somewhere to stable their camels.

ROD PUPPETThe shadow puppet theater

called wayang golek isperformed with carved andpainted wooden figures thatare manipulated with rods.

Wayang is a traditional Javaneseentertainment, widely enjoyed

by Muslims at festivals andcelebrations.

55

Wooden rod isused to movepuppet’s arm.

Articulated arm

BOWL FOR RICERice is the staple

food in both Chinaand Southeast Asia.

It is eaten from smallround bowls made of

porcelain – a type ofpottery that was widely

traded, forging an important link between China, theMuslim world, and the West.

WEARING THE TUDONGThese schoolgirls from Brunei arewearing the tudong, a form of head-covering that extends down to concealthe neck and upper body. Wearing thetudong is just one way in which womencan obey the Qur’an’s instruction todress modestly (p. 56).

Clothing conceals stickused to hold puppet.

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Costume and jewelry

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Islamic society

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60

Festivals and ceremonies

KERBALAKerbala, Iraq, is where Muhammad’sgrandson Husayn was killed in 680.Husayn’s shrine (above) is sacred to theShi’i Muslims, who are the largestreligious group in Iran and Iraq. Thedeath of Husayn is marked by thefestival of Ashura (see opposite).

LUNAR CALENDARThe Islamic calendar isbased on the phases of theMoon. Each year has 12lunar months of 29 or 30days each, and a total of354 days. Each monthbegins with the sightingof the new Moon.

RAMADANDuring the month of Ramadan,Muslims fast between sunrise andsunset (p.15). At sunset each day,people first pray and then eat.Special lights, such as this star-shaped lantern, may be lit duringthe evening meal.

‘ID BALLOONSColorful balloons are a popular feature of the

celebrations of ‘Id al-Fitr,which marks the end of

Ramadan (p. 15). Celebrationsinclude a festival prayer, a

substantial breakfast, and thegiving of alms to the poor.

“EID MUBARAK”During the festival of ‘Id al-Fitr, peopleknock on the doors of neighbors,greeting them with the phrase “EidMubarak” (Blessed Eid). Friends orrelatives living away are sent Eidgreeting cards (left).

Eid greetingcard

MUHARRAMThe sacred month, 30 days1: Ra’s al-’Am (New Year)10: Ashura

SAFARThe month which is void29 days

RABI’ AL-AWWALThe first spring30 days12: Mawlid an-Nabi (birthday of the Prophet)

THE MUSLIM CALENDAR contains a numberof yearly festivals. Some commemorate keyevents in the history of the faith, such asthe birthday of the Prophet or the Night

Journey. Others are connected with the FivePillars of Islam: ‘Id al-Adha (the feast of the

sacrifice) takes place during the time of thepilgrimage, and ‘Id al-Fitr marks the end ofRamadan, the month of fasting. There are alsofestivals such as Nauruz in Iran to celebrate theNew Year, and celebrations, from birth tomarriage, to mark key points in a Muslim’s life.

MAWLID AN-NABIThese boys from Kenya aretaking part in a processioncelebrating Mawlid an-Nabi, thebirthday of the Prophet. Thisday is a public holiday and is

also marked with recitations of apoem called the Burdah, in praiseof Muhammad.

THE ISLAMIC CALENDAR

Stained glasspanel

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LAYLAT AL-ISRA’ WA’L-MI‘RAJOn the 27th day of the month

of Rajab, Muslims celebrateMuhammad’s Night Journey,when he rode the beast called

the Buraq, and his Ascensionto Heaven (p. 9). This is called

Laylat al-Isra’ wa’l-mi‘raj, theNight of the Journey

and Ascension.

KHITANMuslim boys are usuallycircumcised in a ceremony calledkhitan. This is often done aroundage seven, though it may be doneany time before a boy reaches 12years old. These Turkish boys areattending a mosque before theirkhitan ceremony.

SALLAH FESTIVALSome Muslim festivalsare local celebrationsthat take part in justone country or regionof the Islamic world.For example, the Sallahfestival is held innorthern Nigeria aspart of the ritualsmarking the end ofRamadan. Thehighlight is a colorfulprocession featuringchiefs in ceremonialrobes, brightlycostumed horsemen,and lute players.

RABI’ATH-THANIThe second spring29 days

JUMADA-L-ULAThe first month of dryness30 days

WHIRLING DERVISHMembers of the Sufi Mevleviorder (p. 35) hold festivals atwhich they perform their“whirling” dance, known assama‘. One such festivalmarks the death of theirfounder, the great Sufipoet and mystic,Jalaluddin Rumi(1207–73).

ASHURAThe festival of Ashura

marks the death ofHusayn and, in one of

the ceremonies, modelsof Husayn’s tomb are

carried through thestreets. Plays reenacting

the death of Husaynmay also be performed.

WEDDING CELEBRATIONSIn Islam, a contract of marriage is made by

the groom giving the bride-to-be a dowry,and the bride then giving consent to

marriage before witnesses. The dowrymay be presented in an embroidered

wallet. Wedding celebrations varyaccording to the local traditions of the

different areas of the Muslim world, butwill usually include recitations from the

Qur’an and a great feast.

JUMADA-TH-THANIYYAHThe second month of dryness29 days

The Buraq is a“miraculous steed,”although depictionsof the beast vary.

Continued on next page

Dowry wallet

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Food

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A

B C

D F

G H I

J K L

M

N O P Q

R S

T U W Y Z

Acknowledgments

Index

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Revelation

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