- Muslim conquests
Early Muslim expansionFrankish Empire (Gaul)
Muslim conquests (Arabic: الغزوات, al-Ġazawāt or الفتوحات الإسلامية, al-Fatūḥāt al-Islāmiyya) also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.
They grew well beyond the Arabian Peninsula in the form of a Muslim Empire with an area of influence that stretched from the borders of China and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. Edward Gibbon writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
Under the last of the Umayyad, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days’ journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of march of a caravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Quran were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris.
The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for the Byzantine Empire. The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another. The rapid fall of Visigothic Spain remains a bit mysterious however.
Jews and Christians in Persia and Jews and Monophysites in Syria were dissatisfied and sometimes even welcomed the Muslim forces, largely because of religious conflict in both empires. In the case of Byzantine Egypt, Palestine and Syria, these lands had only a few years before been reacquired from the Persians, and had not been ruled by the Byzantines for over 25 years.
Fred McGraw Donner, however, suggests that formation of a state in the peninsula and ideological (i.e. religious) coherence and mobilization was a primary reason why the Muslim armies in the space of a hundred years were able to establish the largest pre-modern empire until that time. The estimates for the size of the Islamic Caliphate suggest it was more than thirteen million square kilometers (five million square miles), making it larger than all current states except the Russian Federation.
The individual Muslim conquests, together with their beginning and ending dates, are as follows:
Byzantine–Arab Wars: 634–750
Wars were between the Byzantine Empire and at first the Rashidun and then the Umayyad caliphates and resulted in the conquest of the Greater Syria, Egypt, North Africa and Armenia (Byzantine Armenia and Sassanid Armenia).
Under the Rashidun
- The conquest of Syria, 637
- The conquest of Armenia, 639
- The conquest of Egypt, 639
- The conquest of North Africa, 652
- The conquest of Cyprus, 654
Under the Umayyads
- The conquest of North Africa, 665
- The first Arab siege of Constantinople, 674–678
- The second Arab siege of Constantinople, 717–718
- Conquest of Hispania, 711–718
- The conquest of Georgia, 736
- The conquest of Crete, 820
- The conquest of southern Italy, 827
Frontier warfare continued in the form of cross border raids between the Ummayyads and the Byzantine Isaurian dynasty allied with the Khazars across Asia Minor. Byzantine naval dominance and Greek fire resulted in a major victory at the Battle of Akroinon (739); one of a series of military failures of the Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik across the empire that checked the expansion of the Umayyads and hastened their fall.
Conquest of Persia and Iraq: 633–651
In the reign of Yazdgerd III, the last Sassanid ruler of the Persian Empire, a Muslim army secured the conquest of Persia after their decisive defeats of the Sassanid army at the Battle of Walaja in 633 and Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 636, but the final military victory didn't come until 642 when the Persian army was destroyed at the Battle of Nahāvand. Then, in 651, Yazdgerd III was murdered at Merv, ending the dynasty. His son Peroz II escaped through the Pamir Mountains in what is now Tajikistan and arrived in Tang China.
Conquest of Transoxiana: 662–709
Following the First Fitna, the Umayyads resumed the push to capture Sassanid lands and began to move towards the conquest of lands east and north of the plateau towards Greater Khorasan and the Silk Road along Transoxiana. Following the collapse of the Sassanids, these regions had fallen under the sway of local Iranian and Turkic tribes as well as the Tang Dynasty. By 709, however, all of Greater Khorasan and Sogdiana had come under Arab control. The Arabs conquered many cities in Turkestan although Umayyad Arabs lost Battle of the Defile against the Turgesh Turks in 731. By 751, with leadership of the Abbasid, the Arabs had extended their influence further east to the borders of China, leading to the Battle of Talas.
Conquest of Sindh: 664–712
During the period of early Rajput supremacy in north India (7th century), the first Muslim invasions were carried out simultaneously with the expansion towards Central Asia. In 664, forces led by Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah began launching raids from Persia, striking Multan in the southern Punjab, in what is today Pakistan.
The west of Indian sub-continent was then divided into many states. Their relation between each other were very weak. Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf the ruler of Iraq knew this and waited for the best moment to strike.
As Muslim Empire and Dahir's kingdom were contiguous to each other, frequent border clashes took place. As a result relation between the two got worse.
The King of Ceylon, the present Srilanka sent many 8 ships full of gifts for the Calipf Al-Walid and the ruler of present Iraq, Hajjaj. But the pirates plundered the ships at the Debal of Sindh, which is now known as "Karachi". Hajjaj demanded compensation from Dahir. But Dahir denied to take responsibility for the crimes committed by the pirates.
For all these reasons. Hajjaj sent soldiers against Dahir. But first two expeditions failed. Then in 712 CE Hajjaj sent the third expedition. The commander-in-chief of this expedition was Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi the nephew and son-in-law of Hajjaj.
Qasim subdued the whole of what is modern Pakistan, from Karachi to Kashmir, reaching the borders of Kashmir within three years. After his recall, however, the region devolved into the semi-independent states of Mansura and Multan ruled by local Muslim converts. The Arabs were effectively driven out after the defeats inflicted on them by the Gurjara Pratiharas. The emir of Sindh paid tribute to the Rashtrakuta king of Southern India.
Conquest of Hispania (711–718) and Septimania (719–720)
The conquest of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania commenced when the Moors (Black Africans, Berbers and Arabs) invaded Visigothic Christian Iberia (modern Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Andorra, Septimania) in the year 711. Under their Moorish leader, Tariq ibn Ziyad, they landed at Gibraltar on April 30 and worked their way northward. Tariq's forces were joined the next year by those of his superior, Musa bin Nusair. During the eight-year campaign most of the Iberian Peninsula was brought under Islamic rule—save for small areas in the northwest (Asturias) and largely Basque regions in the Pyrenees.
This territory, under the Arab name Al-Andalus, became first an Emirate and then an independent Umayyad Caliphate, the Caliphate of Córdoba, after the overthrowing of the dynasty in Damascus by the Abbasids. When the Caliphate dissolved in 1031, the territory split into small Taifas, and gradually the Christian kingdoms started the Reconquest up to 1492, when Granada, the last kingdom of Al-Andalus fell under the Catholic Monarchs.
Conquest of the Caucasus: 711–750
End of the Umayyad conquests: 718–750
The success of the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire in dispelling the second Umayyad siege of Constantinople halted further conquests of Asia Minor in 718. After their success in overrunning the Iberian peninsula, the Umayyads had moved northeast over the Pyrenees where they were defeated in 721 at the Battle of Toulouse and then at the Battle of Covadonga. A second invasion was stopped by the Frank Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732 and then at the Battle of the River Berre checking the Umayyad expansion at Narbonne.
Türgesh Kaganate is also known Turkic who fought against Umayyads. In 717, the Kara Turgesh elected Suluk as their Khaghan. The new ruler moved his capital to Balasagun in the Chu valley, receiving the homage of several chieftains formerly bond to the service of Bilge Khaghan of the Türküt. Suluk acted as a bulwark against further Umayyad encroachment from the south: the Arabs had indeed become a major player in recent times, despite Islam hadn't still made many converts in central Asia (that would need some two or three centuries still). Suluk's aim was to reconquer all of Transoxiana from the Arab invaders - his war was paralleled, much more westwards, by the Khazar empire. In 721 Turgesh forces, led by Kül Chor, defated the Caliphal army commanded by Sa'id ibn Abdu'l-Aziz near Samarkand. Sa'id's successor, Al-Kharashi, massacred Turks and Sogdian refugees in Khujand, causing an influx of refugees towards the Turgesh. In 724 Caliph Hisham sent a new governor to Khorasan, Muslim ibn Sa'id, with orders to crush the "Turks" once and for all, but, confronted by Suluk, Muslim hardly managed to reach Samarkand with a handful of survivors, as the Turgesh raided freely. A string of subsequent appointees of Hisham were soundly defeated by Suluk, who in 728 even managed to take Bukhara and later on destroyed a large part of the Caliphate's army in Khurasan, discrediting Umayyad rule and maybe putting the foundations for the Abbasid revolution. The Turgesh state was at its apex of glory, controlling Sogdiana, the Ferghana Valley. It was only in 732, that two powerful Arab expeditions to Samarkand managed, if with embarrassing losses, to reestablish Caliphal authority in the area; Suluk renounced his ambitions over Samarkand and abandoned Bukhara, withdrawing north. In 734 an early Abbasid follower, al-Harith ibn Surayj, rose in revolt against Umayyad rule and took Balkh and Marv before defecting to the Turgesh three years later, defeated. In 738 Suluk, along with his allies Ibn Surayj, Gurak (a Turco-Sogdian leader) and men from Usrushana, Tashkent and Khuttal to launch a final offensive. He entered Jowzjan but was defeated by the Umayyad governor Asad at the Battle of Sa'n or Kharistan.
In 738, the Umayyad armies were defeated by the Indian Hindu Rajputs at the Battle of Rajasthan, checking the eastern expansion of the empire. In 740, the Berber Revolt weakened Umayyad ability to launch any further expeditions and, after the Abbasid overthrow in 756 at Cordoba, a separate Arab state was established on the Iberian peninsula, even as the Muhallabids were unable to keep Ifriqiya from political fragmentation.
In the east, internal revolts and local dissent led to the downfall of the Umayyad dynasty. The Khariji and Zaidi revolts coupled with mawali dissatisfaction as second class citizens in respect to Arabs created the support base necessary for the Abbasid revolt in 748. The Abbasids were soon involved in numerous Shia revolts and the breakaway of Ifriqiya from the Caliph's authority completely in the case of the Idrisids and Rustamids and nominally under the Aghlabids, under whom Muslim rule was extended temporarily to Sicily and mainland Italy before being overrun by the competing Fatimids.
The Abbasid caliph, even as he competed for authority with the Fatimid Caliph, also had to devolve greater power to the increasing power of regional rulers. This began the process of fragmentation that soon gave rise to numerous local ruling dynasties who would contend for territory with each other and eventually establish kingdoms and empires and push the boundaries of the Muslim world on their own authority, giving rise to Mamluk and Turkic dynasties such as the Seljuks, Khwarezmshahs and the Ayyubids who fought the crusades, as well as the Ghaznavids and Ghorids who conquered India.
In Iberia, Charles Martel's son, Pippin the Younger, retook Narbonne, and his grandson Charlemagne actually established the Marca Hispanica across the Pyrenees in part of what today is Catalonia, reconquering Girona in 785 and Barcelona in 801. This formed a permanent buffer zone against Muslims, with Frankish strongholds in Iberia (the Carolingian Empire Spanish Marches), which became the basis, along with the King of Asturias for the Reconquista, spanning 700 years which after the fall of the Caliphate of Córdoba contested with both the successor taifas as well as the African-based Muslim empires, such as the Almoravids and Almohads, until all of the Muslims were expelled from the Iberian peninsula.
Conquest of Nubia: 700–1606
After 2 attempts at military conquest of Nubia failed (see First Battle of Dongola), the Arab commander in Egypt concluded the first in a series of regularly renewed treaties known as AlBaqt (pactum) with the Nubians that governed relations between the two peoples for more than six hundred years. Therefore Islam progressed peacefully in the area through intermarriage and contacts with Arab merchants and settlers over a long period of time after the earlier attempts at conquering Nubia (in the 7th century)failed.
However, In 1171 AD the Nubians invaded Egypt, but they were defeated by the Muslim Ayyubids. From 1172 - 1173 AD the Ayyubids fought and defeated another Nubian invasion force which had penetrated Egypt. This time the Ayyubids not only repelled the invasion, but actually conquered some parts of northern Nubia in retaliation.
In the late 13th century the Sultan of Egypt,Sultan Baybar, defeated and subjugated the kingdom of Nubia. Sultan Baybar made the Kingdom of Nubia a vassal state of Egypt. Decades later In 1315 the Christian kingdom of Nubia was conquered by the Mamelukes, and a Muslim prince of Nubian royal blood was placed on the throne of Dongola as king.
During the 15th century, the Funj, an indigenous people appeared in southern Nubia and established the Kingdom of Sinnar, also known as As-Saltana az-Zarqa (the Blue Sultanate). The kingdom officially converted to Islam in 1523 and by 1606 it had supplanted the old Christian kingdom of Alwa (Alodia) and controlled an area spreading over the northern and central regions of modern day Sudan thereby becoming the first Islamic Kingdom in Sudan. Their kingdom lasted until 1821.
Incursions into southern Italy: 831–902
The Aghlabids rulers of Ifriqiya under the Abbasids, using present-day Tunisia as their launching pad conquered Palermo in 831, Messina in 842, Enna in 859, Syracuse in 878, Catania in 900 and the final Byzantine stronghold, the fortress of Taormina, in 902 setting up emirates in the Italian Peninsula. In 846 the Aghlabids sacked Rome.
Berber and Tulunid rebellions quickly led to the rise of the Fatimids taking over Aghlabid territory and Calabria was soon lost to the apanate of Italy. The Kalbid dynasty administered the Emirate of Sicily for the Fatimids by proxy from 948. By 1053 the dynasty died out in a dynastic struggle and interference from the Berber Zirids of Ifriqiya led to its breakdown into small fiefdoms which were captured by the Italo-Normans by 1091.
Conquest of Anatolia: 1060–1360
The Abbasid period saw initial expansion and the capture of Crete (840). The Abbasids soon shifted their attention towards the east. During the later fragmentation of the Abbasid rule and the rise of their Shiite rivals the Fatimids and Buyids, a resurgent Byzantium recaptured Crete and Cilicia in 961, Cyprus in 965, and pushed into the Levant by 975. The Byzantines successfully contested with the Fatimids for influence in the region until the arrival of the Seljuq Turks who first allied with the Abbasids and then ruled as the de facto rulers.
In 1068 Alp Arslan and allied Turkmen tribes recaptured many Abbasid lands and even invaded Byzantine regions, pushing further into eastern and central Anatolia after a major victory at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The disintegration of the Seljuk dynasty, the first unified Turkic dynasty, resulted in the rise of subsequent, smaller, rival Turkic kingdoms such as the Danishmends, the Sultanate of Rûm, and various Atabegs who contested the control of the region during the Crusades and incrementally expanded across Anatolia until the rise of the Ottoman Empire.
Byzantine-Ottoman Wars: 1299–1453
Further conquests: 1200–1800
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahelian kingdom expanded Muslim territories far from the coast. Muslim traders spread Islam to kingdoms across Zanj along the east African coast, and to Southeast Asia and the sultanates of Southeast Asia such as those of Mataram and Sulu.
After the Mongol Empire destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate, following the Battle of Baghdad (1258), they were stopped by Mamluks, Muslim army from Egypt in Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, and soon they converted to Islam, beginning an era of Turkic and Mongol expansions of Muslim rule into Eastern Europe under the Golden Horde; across Central Asia under Timur, founder of the Timurid dynasty; and later into the Indian subcontinent under his descendant Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire. Meanwhile in the 17th century, Barbary corsairs were conducting raids into Western and Northern Europe, as far as the islands of Britain and Iceland. Eastern Europe suffered a series of Tatar invasions, the goal of which was to loot, pillage and capture slaves into jasyr.
The modern era saw the rise of three powerful Muslim empires: the Ottoman Empire of the Middle East and Europe, the Safavid Empire of Persia and Central Asia, and the Mughal Empire of India; along with their contest and fall to the rise of the colonial powers of Europe.
Decline and collapse: 1800–1924
The Mughal empire reached its golden age under the rule of Jalaluddin Akbar, who married a Hindu Rajput princess and abolished the Jizya tax on non-Muslims. Akbar's grandson Shah Jehan built the famous Taj Mahal. Shah Jehan's son Aurangzeb was a religious man who led to greater expansion of Mughal Empire. During his reign Mughal Empire reached its zenith.The Mughal Empire declined in 1707 after the death of Aurangzeb and was officially abolished by the British after the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
The Safavid Empire ended with the death of its last ruler Ismail III who ruled from 1750 until his death in 1760. The last surviving Muslim empire, the Ottoman Empire, collapsed in 1918 in the aftermath of World War I. On March 3, 1924, the institution of the Caliphate was constitutionally abolished by President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as part of his reforms.
- ^ Martin Sicker (2000), The Islamic World in Ascendancy: From the Arab Conquests to the Siege of Vienna, 'Praeger.
- ^ Rosenwein, Barbara H. (2004). A Short History of the Middle Ages. Ontario. pp. 71–72. ISBN 1551112906.
- ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994). The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads. State University of New York Press. p. 37. ISBN 0791418278. http://books.google.com/?id=Jz0Yy053WS4C&pg=PA37&dq=umayyad+caliphate+square+miles.
- ^ Medieval Sourcebook: Ibn Abd-el-Hakem: The Islamic Conquest of Spain
- ^ Spain The conquest, Encyclopædia Britannica
- ^ Lyons & Jackson 1982, pp. 60–62
- ^ The Nile: histories, cultures, myths By Ḥagai Erlikh, I. Gershoni
- ^ The Nile: histories, cultures, myths By Ḥagai Erlikh, I. Gershoni
- ^ Bernard Lewis (1993), Islam and the West, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195090616.
- ^ Bernard Lewis (1990), "Europe and Islam", The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, at Brasenose College, Oxford University.
- ^ Supply of Slaves
- Edward Gibbon, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Chapter 51
- Fred Donner, The Early Islamic Conquests Chapter 6
- Mark Graham, "How Islam Created the Modern World" (2006) ISBN 1590080432
- Hugh Kennedy, The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live in (2007) ISBN 0306815850
- Bostom, Andrew (2005). The Legacy of Jihad. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-59102-307-6.
- Fregosi, Paul (1998). Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573922471.
- O'Neill, John (2009). Holy Warriors. Felibri.com. ISBN 0980994896.
- Pirenne, Henri (2001). Mohammed and Charlemagne. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0486420116.
- Kennedy, Hugh (2010). The Great Arab Conquests. Orion. ISBN 0297865595.
- Karsh, Efraim (2007). Islamic Imperialism: A History. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300122632.
- Ram Goel, Sita (1982). The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India. Voice of India. ISBN 8185990239.
- Ye'or, Bat (1996). The Decline of Eastern Christianity: From Jihad to Dhimmitude. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 0-8386-3678-0.
- Does the Quran Really Sanction Violence Against 'Unbelievers'? by Shaikh Kabir Helminski, The Huffington Post
- Historical Interaction between the Islamic and Buddhist Cultures
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