1.2 Dar al-Islam from 1200-1450

8 min readjanuary 3, 2023


William Dramby

Riya Patel

Riya Patel

AP World History: Modern 🌍

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Developments in Dar al-Islam

Overview of Islam

Islam is a monotheistic religion founded in the 7th century by the prophet Muhammad. Islam is based on the belief in one God (Allah) and the teachings of Muhammad as recorded in the Quran, the holy book of Islam. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last in a line of prophets that includes Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and that the Quran is the final revelation from God. Islam is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing religions, and it is the dominant religion in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia. Muslims follow a strict code of conduct known as sharia law, which covers all aspects of life and includes rules for prayer, fasting, charity, and personal behavior. Islam also emphasizes the importance of social justice and the equality of all believers.

What is Dar al-Islam?

Dar al-Islam is an Arabic term that means "the abode of Islam." It refers to the lands where Islam is the dominant religion and Islamic law (sharia) is practiced. Dar al-Islam is traditionally contrasted with Dar al-Harb, which means "the abode of war" and refers to lands where Islam is not the dominant religion. According to Islamic tradition, the goal of Muslims is to spread Islam throughout the world and to establish Dar al-Islam as a global community. In the past, Dar al-Islam was used to refer specifically to the Muslim-controlled territories during the period of Muslim expansion in the 7th to 13th centuries. Today, the concept of Dar al-Islam is often used in a more metaphorical sense to refer to the global community of Muslims and the ideal of a unified Muslim society.
Islamic expansion across North Africa and through the Middle East saw more connections because of trade.  Muslim caliphates conquered and often tolerated different beliefs as long as non-Muslims paid a tax called a jizya. According to Islamic tradition, jizya is a form of protection tax that is paid by non-Muslims in exchange for the protection and security provided by the Muslim state. In some cases, the payment of jizya was seen as a sign of submission to Muslim rule, and it was required as a condition of living in a Muslim-controlled territory. In other cases, jizya was seen as a way to allow non-Muslims to continue practicing their own religion without interference. The exact amount of jizya that was required varied depending on the time and place, and it was typically based on the wealth and status of the individual paying it.
The Battle of Tours, also known as the Battle of Poitiers, was a battle that took place in 732 between Frankish and Islamic forces in the region of Tours, France. The battle was fought between the Frankish leader Charles Martel and an Islamic army that had invaded the region and was attempting to expand its territory. The Frankish forces were able to decisively defeat the Islamic army and halt its advance into Europe. The Battle of Tours is considered a turning point in the history of Europe, as it marked the end of the Islamic conquest of the continent and the beginning of the Christian reconquest. The battle also had significant consequences for the spread of Islam in Europe, as it slowed the expansion of the religion and helped to consolidate the power of the Christian kingdoms in the region.
Al-Andalus was the name given to the territory in the Iberian Peninsula (modern-day Spain and Portugal) that was ruled by Muslim dynasties from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Al-Andalus was a center of culture, learning, and trade, and it was known for its advanced system of government, its sophisticated cities, and its diverse population. The Muslim rulers of Al-Andalus were influenced by a variety of cultures, including Arab, Berber, and Jewish, and they established a diverse and tolerant society that welcomed people of different religions and ethnicities. Al-Andalus was conquered by Christian kingdoms in the 15th century, but its legacy can still be seen in the art, architecture, and culture of the region. The architecture of Cordoba and the iron work of Toleda are directly related to this era of Islamic expansion.

The extent of Islamic expansion. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

The position of women in Dar al-Islam (the "abode of Islam") has varied throughout history and has been shaped by a variety of factors, including cultural, social, and political. According to Islamic teachings, men and women are considered equal in the eyes of God and are afforded equal rights and responsibilities. However, the interpretation and application of these teachings has varied widely across time and place, and women have often faced discrimination and inequality in practice. In some Muslim-majority societies, women have played a significant role in public life, while in others they have been largely confined to the domestic sphere. Women's rights in Dar al-Islam have also been affected by the influence of colonialism, modernizing reforms, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. Overall, the position of women in Dar al-Islam is complex and varied, and it cannot be reduced to a single, monolithic experience.

Periphery of the Abbasids

Umayyad Caliphates

The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major caliphates in Islam, following the Rashidun Caliphate. It was founded by the Umayyad dynasty, which ruled from 661 to 750. The Umayyad Caliphate was centered in Damascus, Syria, and it extended its control over much of the Arab world, as well as parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Umayyads are known for their military conquests and for their cultural achievements, including the construction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem and the development of the Arabic language and literature. The Umayyad Caliphate is also remembered for its internal conflicts and for the persecution of certain groups, including the Shia Muslims and the People of the Book (non-Muslim monotheistic religions). The Umayyad Caliphate was eventually overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate in 750.

Abbasid Caliphates

The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the four major caliphates in Islam, following the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate. It was founded by the Abbasid dynasty, which ruled from 750 to 1258. The Abbasid Caliphate was centered in Baghdad, Iraq, and it extended its control over much of the Arab world, as well as parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Abbasids are known for their cultural achievements, including the establishment of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, which was a major center of learning and scholarship. The Abbasid Caliphate is also remembered for its internal conflicts and for the decline of its power and influence in the later years of its rule. The Abbasid Caliphate was eventually overthrown by the Mongol Empire in the 13th century.
The Umayyad and the Abbasid Caliphates helped develop and spread Islam from Spain to India. As the Abbasid Caliphate falls to the Mongol invaders, new Islamic powers emerge:
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New Islamic Powers

Egyptian MamluksThe Mamluks were a warrior caste in Egypt that originated in the 13th century. They were originally slave soldiers who were brought to Egypt from the Caucasus region and trained as soldiers. The Mamluks eventually rose to power and established themselves as the ruling class in Egypt, ruling the country from 1250 to 1517. The Mamluk Sultanate was a strong and centralized state that was known for its military prowess and its cultural achievements. The Mamluks were a diverse group and included people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Turkish, Circassian, and Georgian. The Mamluk Sultanate was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, but the Mamluks left a lasting impact on the history and culture of Egypt.
Seljuk TurksThe Seljuk Turks were a Turkish-speaking people who originated in Central Asia and established a vast empire in the 11th and 12th centuries. The Seljuk Empire included parts of modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, and it was known for its military prowess and its cultural achievements. The Seljuk Turks were instrumental in spreading Islam and Islamic culture in the region, and they established a number of influential institutions, including madrasas (Islamic schools) and hospitals. The Seljuk Empire was eventually divided into a number of smaller states, and it declined in the 13th century. However, the Seljuk Turks had a significant impact on the history and culture of the Middle East, and they are remembered for their contributions to Islamic civilization.
Delhi SultanateThe Delhi Sultanate was a Muslim sultanate that ruled parts of India from the 13th to the 16th centuries. The Delhi Sultanate was founded by the Turkic general Qutb al-Din Aibak in 1206, and it lasted until 1526, when it was conquered by the Mughal Empire. The Delhi Sultanate was known for its cultural achievements, including the construction of the Qutb Minar tower in Delhi and the development of the Indic language and literature. The Delhi Sultanate was also marked by political instability and internal conflicts, and it saw a number of invasions and conquests by foreign powers. Despite these challenges, the Delhi Sultanate played a significant role in the history and culture of India, and it left a lasting legacy on the region.

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Key Developments of Dar al-Islam

Dar al-Islam, or the "abode of Islam," has seen a number of significant developments throughout its history. Some of the key developments in Dar al-Islam include:
  1. The spread of Islam: Dar al-Islam has played a significant role in the spread of Islam throughout the world. The region has been home to a number of influential Islamic empires and states, such as the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire, which have helped to spread the religion and its cultural influences.
  2. Cultural and scientific achievements: Dar al-Islam has also been a center of cultural and scientific achievements. The region has produced a number of influential scholars, philosophers, and scientists, who have contributed to fields such as literature, mathematics, and medicine.
  3. Political and economic developments: Dar al-Islam has also seen a number of political and economic developments throughout its history. The region has been home to a number of powerful empires and states, and it has played a significant role in the global economy through its trade and commerce.
  4. Modernization and reform: In more recent times, Dar al-Islam has undergone a process of modernization and reform, as many Muslim-majority societies have sought to modernize their economies, political systems, and social structures. These developments have been influenced by a variety of factors, including colonialism, globalization, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🐎Unit 1 – The Global Tapestry, 1200-1450
🐫Unit 2 – Networks of Exchange, 1200-1450
🕌Unit 3 – Land-Based Empires, 1450-1750
🍕Unit 4 – Transoceanic Interactions, 1450-1750
✊🏽Unit 5 – Revolutions, 1750-1900
🚂Unit 6 – Consequences of Industrialization, 1750-1900
💣Unit 7 – Global Conflict, 1900-Present
🥶Unit 8 – Cold War & Decolonization, 1900-Present
✈️Unit 9 – Globalization, 1900-Present
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