This week we have been looking at the 1,400 years of Islamic history. We have found at every turn they pick up the sword to advance their religion and empire. Today we will pick up our study with the Abbasid Caliphate.
The Abbasid Caliphate (Baghdad, Iraq) 750 – 1517
This caliphate moved the headquarters from Damascus to Baghdad in modern day Iraq. There was also a language change. Prior to this caliphate, Arabic was the language of the government. This seems to be lost from this point forward. The language of the government became Turkish, and this continued until the end of the Ottoman empire. Arabic has always be the language of the religion, but not always the language of the caliphate.
Under the previous caliphate they lost ground in Europe. This caliphate expanded toward the east into Iraq. It seems that this caliphate was trying to undo some of the second class status of non-Arabic Muslims.
This caliphate lasted much longer than those before it. It goes from 758 until mid 12th century. Many refer to this as the golden period of Islam. They were supposedly coexisting with Christians and Jews. We are told that it would be great if we could go back to that time. We need to remember that at this time the Christians and Jews were living as second class citizens.
In both of the last two caliphates it seems like they wanted to convert people to Islam, but it was almost like, don’t talk about it too much because, if too many are converted, they will not be paying the jizya tax. If they truly believed in the religious part of Islam, their focus would have been on conversions. Instead, they were focused on expansion of the kingdom.
There was a short break in this caliphate in 1258. It picked up again in 1261 and continued until 1517. This is the period of the Crusades. Every time the European armies went to war with the Muslims, it was to take back ground that had been taken from them by the Muslims. We also had the beginning of the Ottoman empire, and some of the Crusades were against the Turks.
The Regional Caliphates – Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal Empires
This empire started in 1501 and lasted until 1772. It is the background for Islam in modern Iran. It was predominantly the Shi’ite split, while the Ottoman Empire was more the Sunni side of things. It covered Iran, parts of eastern Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It even spread unto central Asia. Its headquarter was Esfahan, in Iran. It is still the religious capital in Iran.
Even though this was a caliphate, it was more of a theocracy. This is where Iran is today, it is a theocracy. This is the Shi’ite form of government. It must have a theocracy with a supreme counsel
The Safavid empire controlled a lot of trade routes because of its location. It was the trade link between the east and the west.
It function parallel to the Ottoman Empire for a good part of its existence. The language of this empire was Farsi, not Arabic.
This empire took over the Byzantine Empire. This is modern day Turkey. The Ottoman Empire conquered the Safavid Empire and expanded all the way to Arabia. It probably controlled more land than any caliphate in Islamic history.
The Ottoman Empire tried to enter Europe again from the east. The first siege was against Vienna in 1529. The final battle for Vienna was in 1683. During this period there were constant attacks on this front. The battle of 1683 was the second major defeat, remember the first was in 732, in France.
Today Islam is taking over Western Europe, not by the sword, but by migration. They are using immigration, refugees, and a high birth rate to conquer Europe.
The date of the last day of this battle is significant. It was September 11, 1683. The date 9/11, is a very significant date in Islamic history. It was not an accident that this date was used as a launching pad against the West. In America we say, Remember the Alamo, not because of a victory, but because of a defeat. The battle of Vienna was an important defeat to the Islamic world.
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