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42

This may be off topic as Wikipedia has a pretty complete article on the Islamic Golden Age. The short answer is yes, while European nobles were sitting on wooden/stone chairs in cold stone buildings, the Arab nobles were laying on comfortable carpets, living a pretty good life quite similar to the old Roman nobles, enjoying many exotic goods and luxuries. ...


32

Columbus was not, in fact, the first to cross the Atlantic. There were Norse communities living in Greenland from the 10th Century. They even had some temporary settlements in North America proper. However, the Norse weren't as good at eking out a living in the North Atlantic as the Inuit, and (after 500 years) eventually got wiped out by some combination of ...


29

It depends what period of Medieval History you're talking about (since the term can often be a catch-all referring to everything from late antiquity to the Renaissance, or can specifically refer to the period after the High Middle Ages - 14th/15th centuries), and what specific parts of Europe and the Middle East. Note that Europe was severely depopulated at ...


25

First, the easier part on Christianity. As the other reply says, the British were (mostly) unwilling to convert Indians in order to avoid inflaming local religious sentiments. In fact, the British were so cautious on this that they would probably even tolerated the practices of sati and child marriage had some Indian reformers (such as Ram Mohan Roy) not ...


23

In my History of Islam classes there was some review of Pre-Islamic Arabia and a few things were covered, from my class notes we talked about: Arabia being a part of the major trade route along the Red Sea Coast, from southern Palestine to Yemen. Medina and Mecca were located along this route, Mecca was the more important city where caravans stopped and ...


20

Because this question has been edited many times I have to clarify that I am answering the version that asks: What caused the Iranian 1979 revolution to become Islamic? Short Answer (more suited for causal conversations in bars): It was easier to portray the Shah as anti Islamic ruler in league with the Western powers bent on destroying Islam in an Islamic ...


17

Actually the motivation is pretty well-known. The motivation for the invasion of Spain was similar to that of all Muslim conquest of the period. Islamic armies under the command of the "The Rightly Guided Caliphs" and the following Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs benefited from a unifying religion to form a large and motivated armed forces, out of what had ...


16

Sure, it's possible. Many things are possible. Likely, however, is another question. The link you posted describes a vague story of sailing west into the Atlantic, finding an island, trading with the locals, and returning home. Could the island be in the New World? It could, but it could just as easily be one of the islands in the Atlantic. For me to ...


16

The short answer to your question is that the general avoidance of consuming pork meat is not unique to Islam, and dates back at least roughly to the ancient Egyptians. The oldest confirmed evidence of pigs domesticated and kept for pork meat come from Hallan Cemi in Southeastern Turkey from about 8000 BC. Shortly thereafter, the consumption of pork appears ...


15

Translation of Qu'ran was always problematic question in Islamic theology. In Islamic world there is doctrine called I'jaz that holds that Qu'ran is miraculous, both in content and in form and that no human speech can match. According to I'jaz Muslims oppose to text from Qu'ran be reproduced in another language or speech. Also there are some words which have ...


13

The biggest reason for the decline was the Mongol invasion. The Siege of Baghdad in 1258 effectively ended the 500 year old Caliphate. Many people were killed outright, estimated around 2 million, plus the entire area was laid to waste, notably destroying the irrigation and canal system, causing continuing hardship.


12

Short answer Pre-Islamic Arabians were polytheistic, worshiping 360 gods; the chief god was the moon-god. They later became monotheistic because of Muhammad. Long answer In 1944, Gertrude Caton-Thompson (1888-1885), an influential English archaeologist, discovered a temple of the moon-god in southern Arabia. The symbols of the crescent moon and no less ...


12

Most of the information I have found indicates that the Arab Christians were caught in the crossfire between the Muslims and the Christian Crusaders. In fact, they were often slaughtered along with the Muslims. Most likely this was because the Crusaders did not want to risk being infiltrated by Muslims posing as Christians. Ironically, the Crusades ...


11

No one "coined" it; it is a romanization of the genitive form of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. The -i suffix is the usual way to transliterate it, just as we have Saudi, Kuwaiti, Omani, and so on. (The more common way in English to create a genitive for a thinker would be to use the Greek-derived -ic or the Latin-derived -an, hence you do see Wahhabic and ...


11

Angus Maddison provides some historical GDP data on his website. From this data, at around 1000AD the per-capita GDP of Europe is about 425 1990 international dollars (this figure is about 31,000 for 2008 USA). The two stand-outs are Spain and Italy at 450, likely due to trade and contact with the Arab world. Compare this figure to the Middle-Eastern ...


11

Khan is an adopted surname, especially popular in Pakistan and parts of India. It literally means "Leader" in Turkic languages, and can be roughly translated to "King." Genghis Khan can be translated to King Genghis without too much quibbling, so think of the surname Khan to be similar to the English surname King (As in Martin Luther King, Jr.) It comes to ...


10

Technically, Pakistan's blasphemy laws are inherited from the British. In the early days of the Raj, the British Parliament appointed a commission chaired by Lord Macaulay to create a comprehensive penal code for British India. Chapter XXV of the resulting Indian Penal Code, adopted in 1860, covers offenses related to religion. The amended IPC was adopted as ...


10

I take your question as "just before the advent of Muhammad." Therefore I will not delve into ancient history, and limit the answer to late-antiquity and early Middle Ages. First of all we have to note that people in the Arabic Peninsula could (and can) be divided geographically between the (mostly) arid North (notwithstanding oases and narrow coastal ...


10

The word "caliph" comes from the Arabic "khalifa", which means "successor [of the Prophet]". The caliph claims a religion-based legitimacy, instead of popular support as in republics. The philosophy is totally different. A caliphate's objective is to have a government based on the Sharia, while a republic seeks to have a government based on popular will. ...


10

Time and again India has seen some reformers who revolutionize the thoughts of the masses. When Buddhism was in full force in India, Adi Shankara was born to revive Hinduism. During the Mughal Period, Tulsidas, Surdas and others deeply imposed the faith of Hindus in God. Tulsidas wrote Ram Charitra Manas whereas Surdas composed many devotional songs about ...


9

The question as it was posed is not entirely accurate. The Sephardic Jews are, rightly, the most famous Jewish community of the Ottoman Empire. However, in Istanbul, you could find synagogues and associations belonging to Ashknazi immigrants from Europe. These were all pre-Zionist immigrants from, if memory serves, Russia. In fact, there was a power struggle ...


9

According to Wikipedia it was the Alvids who started it: They were descendants of the second Shi'a Imam (Imam Hasan ibn Ali) and brought Islam to the south Caspian Sea region of Iran. Their reign was ended when they were defeated by the Samanid empire in 928 AD. According to this Wikipedia link Safavids were the ones who imposed it: Although ...


8

One of the recurring themes in history I find fascinating is the spread of sects. You'll often find that when a group wants to separate itself from a foreign power structure, it will embrace a fashionable herecy. For this reason, the old views generally are kept toward the religous culture's central seat of secular power, and the new ones become popular ...


8

The Religion Factor To understand this, you have to understand Hinduism. Let me take up my own case- a Kokanast Maharashtrian Brahman. This is a sub-caste. The point of interest to us here is the amazing similarity in diversity in India. Hinduism (Sanaatan Dharm) is an individual, a highly individual religion. it is common to have the Father ...


8

Usually islamic banks give loans for a share in the income of the business project as opposed to fixed percent of the loan sum (see mudarabah) The consumer loans may utilize another scheme: the bank buys, for example, a car and it becomes the bank's property, then you use this car and slowly re-buy it from the bank for greater money. Once you finished, the ...


8

The Wahhabi ideology started as a revivalist movement (return to the roots) and quickly became strongly conservative, emphasizing intolerance not just to other religions, but to other variants of Islam. This provides a tool for dealing with the dissenters (accuse them of deviations from the party line). Also, the emphasis on the early "Rightly Guided ...


7

As an addendum to Choster's answer, Here is the English usage of "Wahhabi", according to Google's book data: (Click for larger image)


7

There are no known contemporary opinions— perhaps because there was no such event to form an opinion about. Entire books have been written on the loss of the library, but I would first note that most historians reject this story as scurrilous. In fact, the orientalist Bernard Lewis, not ordinarily considered a propagandist for Islam, wrote an essay entitled ...


7

Peter C. Scales:The Fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba: Berbers and Andalusis in Conflict (Medieval Iberian Peninsula, Vol 9), the source linked in the answer by @Mr.lock / @Kobunite actually hints at a plausible answer to OP's question, namely that Abd al-Rahman was recognized when he arrived in al-Andalus because members of the Umayyad family had already ...


7

The main library in Baghdad was Bayt al-Hikma, the House of Wisdom. A very good article about its content and activities is here. There were different phases. In the beginning they just interpreted Quran. Then they started translating foreign works. Later they started doing their own research in chemistry, algebra, medicine, and other disciplines. From ...



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