World History

c.600 C.E to c. 1450



Five Pillars of Islam: Reliance on God’s grace is not one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Though Islam has things in common with Christianity, such as counting Abrahama, Moses, and Jesus as founders of the faith, reliance on grace is more of a Christian doctrine and is not found in the Five Pillars of Islam.

Hijra: Mohammad and his followers went to Medina in 622 C.E. This event became known as hijra. They did this because they were being persecuted by the leaders in Mecca because of Mohammad’s dislike of the polytheistic shrines. Mecca made a lot of money off of pilgrimages to visit the polytheistic shrines. Since they stood to lose a lot of money if people accepted Mohammad’s monotheism, they wanted to kill him, which caused him to flee.

Islam’s relationship to Jesus: Islam’s relationship to Jesus is that Islam teaches that he was a prophet but not the Son of God. While in Christianity it is typically taught that Jesus was the Son of God and was crucified and resurrected, in Islam, Jesus is one of a long line of prophets, also including Abraham and Moses, and ending with the last prophet Mohammad.

Flourishing of the Islamic Empire: The production of steel, the medical field and Mathematics and the preservation of classical texts by people such as Plato and Aristotle helped the Islamic Empire to flourish. Steel was indicative of how trade was important to the flourishing of the Islamic Empire. And, though India came up with a lot of the fundamental ideas in mathematics, Islamic thinkers helped in the evolution of the discipline, especially in algebra. Similarly in the medical field people such as Mohammad al-Razi were instrumental. Also, Arabs were important for prolonging western art and literature, often translating the literature into Arabic. During the crusades, Europeans rediscovered most of this western history, which illustrates the idea of cultural exchange and how cultural interaction can help prolong the best of our knowledge.

Shi’ites and Sunnis: Muslims ultimately ended up splitting into Shi’ites and Sunnis. Shi’ites believe that Ali, Mohammad’s son-in-law, was the true heir to Mohammad. Sunnis disagree with this because they don’t believe in a hereditary line and think that leaders should be chosen out of a larger group of people. The Sunnis did respect Ali, but just did not think his hereditary line was correct. Islam still retains this ancient division among its people.