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What is the Quran? – Islamic religion

By | 2017-07-26T23:39:31+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, Religion|

A page from a Quran of the Umayyad period (600s AD), now in Birmingham, England The Quran is the holy book of the religion of Islam, as the Bible is for Christians and the Torah is for Jews. The Quran was written in Arabic, a little bit after the death of Mohammed in 632 AD. For Islamic believers, memorizing many [...]

History of Islam – Religion

By | 2017-09-01T21:42:58+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, Religion|

Tomb of Ali, the first Imam and the fourth caliph, in Iraq (it was rebuilt about 1500 AD by the Safavids) Medieval Islam was closely related to Judaism and Christianity. Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believed that there was only one God. They called this God 'Allah'. Muslims believed that Moses and Jesus had both existed. They believed that Moses [...]

History of the hajj – Islamic religion

By | 2017-07-26T23:17:45+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, Religion|

Mohammed praying at the Ka'aba(in an Ottoman book from 1388 AD) From the very beginnings of Islam, in the 600s AD, Muslims believed that Allah wanted them to go to Mecca to pray at the Kaaba at least once in their lifetime. They called this trip the hajj. Most people were too poor to afford such a long and [...]

Medieval Islamic women

By | 2017-07-26T23:13:36+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

Mohammed with his daughter Fatima (she's in the front) Mohammed loved and admired the women in his life. He tried to give women more rights than they had before in Arabia, or under Roman and Sassanian law. The Quran tried to make rules that would help women. In general women had more rights under Islam than they had had before. [...]

Who are mawali? Medieval Islam

By | 2017-07-26T22:57:59+00:00 July 26th, 2017|History, Islam|

Shiite shrine at Karbala (from the 1800s AD): the tomb of Ali's son Hussein Mawali is the Arabic name for people all over the Islamic Empire who were not Arab but converted to Islam anyway. The mawali might be Syrians, Iranians, Egyptians, or Iraqis, but they weren't from the Arabian peninsula so they weren't Arabs. Legally, Mawali were the [...]

Maktab – Medieval Islamic schools

By | 2017-07-26T22:29:48+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

Boys in Mauretania learning Quran verses from wooden tablets In the Islamic empire and in Africa, as in West Asia before Islam, most kids never went to school. Both girls and boys usually worked in the fields, plowing or weeding. But some boys, especially from richer families, went to a maktab (Arabic for "grade school"). Most towns had a small maktab [...]

Madrassas – Islamic colleges

By | 2017-07-27T07:45:06+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

Shirij Madrasa, Fez, Morocco, about 1350 AD If you had done well at your maktab (elementary school), your parents might decide to send you on to a madrassa (high school and college) when you were about fourteen years old. That's the same age as most kids today when they start high school. (But Ibn Khaldun and [...]

Ethnicity in Medieval Islam

By | 2017-07-26T18:15:04+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

A plate from the Fatimid period (1000s AD), Egypt Some Islamic rulers bought or captured young Turkish, Mongol, Kurdish and Christian boys. The rulers took these boys away from their families to be special slaves. Tutors raised these boys together in dormitories. They educated the boys well and taught them to fight. When the boys grew up, they [...]

Medieval Islamic people

By | 2017-07-26T09:58:37+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

A plate from the Fatimid period (1000s AD), Egypt Children in the Islamic Empire generally did what their parents did (as many people still do today). Girls never went to school. They worked at home taking care of their brothers and sisters and cooking. Girls carried water from the well, and they went out to look for [...]

Medieval Islamic families

By | 2017-07-26T09:47:56+00:00 July 26th, 2017|Islam, People|

The Birth of Mohammed (Iran, about 1315 AD, now in Edinburgh) According to the Quran, Muslim men could have as many as four wives if they were rich enough to take care of them all. But most men in the Islamic world still had only one wife. In fact, most people in the Islamic empire lived the way people had in [...]