The birth of Islam in the 7th century and its subsequent outward expansion from the Arab world has been one of the most influential occurrences in world history. During its first few decades, the new faith inspired conquests from Spain to northern India. In this illuminating study, the author tracks the rise of Islam from it 7th century beginnings with the life of the Prophet Muhammad to the collapse of the Islamic empire in the early 10th century. He demonstrates how a sophisticated, new religion and society emerged to become one of the world's most vital and sustained cultures.
The opening chapter provides an outline of the history of early Islamic society over a period of roughly three centuries, from the early 7th to the early 10th centuries, concentrating on pre-Islamic Arab countries and the life of the Prophet. Subsequent chapters treat Arab-Islamic conquests; the early Islamic empire; and society and religion, particularly in the early Abbasid period (750-925 C.E.). The spread of urbanization throughout the early Islamic world is highlighted. Fifteen brief biographies of key figures such as Qur'an commentators, empire-building caliphs, scholars, and military leaders help to add a personal human element to the data, and 15 translated primary documents ranging from key Qur'annic passages to contemporary accounts of military campaigns bring the history to life. A glossary of terms, a timeline, and selected bibliography aid student research. The work is fully indexed.