Abbasid

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What’s the difference between Shiite and Sunni?

By |2018-04-09T23:07:25+00:00July 26th, 2017|History|

In the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammed, and for some years afterwards, Islam was a united faith. But by the 650s AD, Islam split into two main sects. They fought bitterly with each other. These two sects were the Shiites (SHE-ites) and the Sunnis (SOO-knees). Both Sunnis and Shiites still exist today and they are still fighting. The Shiite [...]

Who are mawali? Medieval Islam

By |2017-07-26T22:57:59+00:00July 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 [...]

The Islamic story of wheat on the chessboard

By |2017-07-25T17:33:16+00:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Muslims playing chess in Spain About 1260 AD, Ibn Khallikan, a Kurdish historian living in the Abbasid Empire (modern Iraq), wrote an encyclopedia with biographies of many famous men (though no women). One of the biographies includes a story about chess and the meaning of "exponential growth." The story takes place in India, because Ibn Khallikan knew that [...]

Kairouan’s Great Mosque – Islamic architecture

By |2017-07-23T07:50:40+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam, Religion|

Kairouan mosque's courtyard The Islamic governors of Tunisia built the Great Mosque at Kairouan in the 800s AD, in the time of the Abbasid Empire. This was the same time as the reign of Charlemagne. But the mosque at Kairouan was much grander than anything being built in Europe at this time. It was more on the same [...]

Architecture of the Abbasid Caliphate

By |2017-07-22T06:59:21+00:00July 22nd, 2017|Architecture, Islam|

Minaret at Samarra, 847 AD When the Abbasid dynasty moved the capital of the Islamic Empire to Baghdad from Damascus in 762 AD, of course they needed a lot of new buildings to make it beautiful. They did build a lot of lovely buildings. But because the modern city of Baghdad is right on top of the [...]