Chapter 4 The Central Islamic Lands
What were the features of the lives of the Bedouins in the early seventh century?
The Bedouins were Arab tribes. The main features of their lives are as follows:
- They led a nomadic life.
- They were indulged in looting, plundering and internal quarrels.
- They were camel pastoralists and moved with their animals from oases to oases.
- Date-palm and camel milk were their main diet.
- Their social organisation was based on independent tribes.
What is meant by the term ‘Abbasid revolution’?
The term ‘Abbasid revolution’ refers to the Dawa Movement initiated by Abu Muslim from Khurasan against the Umayyad dynasty. This revolution put an end to the Umayyad dynasty, which ruled from 661 to 750. With the fall of Umayyad dynasty in 750, the Abbasid came to power and ruled till 1258.
Give examples of the cosmopolitan character of the states set up by Arabs, Iranians and Turks.
Examples of the cosmopolitan character of the states set up by Arabs, Iranians and Turks:
- The vast Arab empire was inhabited by the people of multi cultural identities, i.e. the Muslims, the Christians and the Jews.
- The Iranian empire witnessed for the development of Muslim and Asian culture.
- In Turkish empire, the Egyptian, Iranian, Syrian and Sudanian culture developed simultaneously.
What were the effects of the Crusades on Europe and Asia?
Effects of the Crusades on Europe and Asia:
- The Crusades resulted in the fall of the authority of feudal lords in Europe and an increased power of the monarch.
- These Crusades also resulted into increase in the knowledge of the Europeans. They were surprised to see the progress made by the Muslims in the fields of art, science, and literature.
- There was great influence of the Italian mercantile communities in trade between the East and the West.
- These also led to change in the method of warfare. For defense purpose, new forts were constructed.
How were Islamic architectural forms different from those of the Roman Empire?
Roman architecture: The Roman architectural forms or buildings were solid and magnificent. These features were the key features of the Roman architectural form. It introduced two architectural features the arch and cupolas or domes. There were multi storeyed buildings with one raw arches standing over the another. Round arches were used in city gates, bridges, buildings and monuments of victory. The spread of Christianity gave a new impetus to the building of the Roman empire. St Sophia in Constantinople and buildings in Jerusalem stand witness to the Roman architectural skill.
Islamic architecture: Islamic architectural form represents the great architectural symbol of Islamic world. The Islamic art right from Spain to Central Asia represents some basic architectural features such as horse shoe arches, bubois, domes, minarets, columns and open courtyard. The Islamic architectural pattern of building built around the central courtyard was not only the key features of the mosques but also of sarai (built for carazans) and palaces. Calligraphy and geometric designs were also used to decorate architecture and manuscripts.
Describe a journey from Samarqand to Damascus, referring to the cities on the route.
Activity-based Question. Students are advised to do it with the help of their teachers.
Hint: While travelling from Samarqand to Damascus, a traveler would have to pass through many states. Some of these states are Transoxina, Khurasan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
More Questions Solved
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Mention a few sources which provide information about the history of central Islamic lands between 600-1200 CE.
These sources are the following:
- Eye witness report
- The Quran
- Archaeological evidences
- Sayings of Prophet Muhammad
Who was the founder of Islam?
The founder of Islam was Prophet Muhammad.
Name the two main sects of Muslims.
The two main sects of Muslims are:
- Shias and
Who was Tughril Beg?
Tughril Beg was the founder of Saljuq dynasty.
To which tribe did Prophet Muhammad belong to? In which year did he attain enlightenment?
Prophet Muhammad belonged to Quraysh tribe. He attained enlightenment in 612 CE.
By which name Hijri year is also known as? How many days are there in it?
Hijri year is also known as Lunar year. In a Hijri (Lunar) year there are 354 days.
Name the first and second Khalifa of Muslims.
The first Khalifa of Muslim world was Abu Bakr and the second one was Umar.
When did Umayyad dynasty come into power? Name its last ruler.
The Umayyad dynasty came into power in 661 CE. Its last ruler was Marwan-II.
What do you know about the Battle of Karbala?
The Battle of Karbala was fought in 680 CE between Yazid’and Hussain. In this, Yazid defeated Hussain.
When was Prophet Muhammad forced to migrate Mecca?
Prophet Muhammad was forced to migrate Mecca in 622.
When and between whom Battle of Camel was fought?
The Battle of Camel was fought between Ali’s supporters and army led by Muhammad’s wife Aisha in 657.
Who were Kharjis? What was their role?
Kharjis were the breakway group of Ali’s followers. They were the sources of trouble for Arab state for half a century.
Who were Muslims?
The followers of Prophet Muhammad were called Muslims. They believed in the worship of one God, i.e. Allah.
Where is Dome of Rock? Who built it?
The Dome of Rock is in Jerusalem. It was built by Abd-al-Malik.
Describe the significance of Dome of Rock in brief.
- It is one of the earliest major works of Islam.
- It is associated with the night journey of Prophet Muhammad to the heaven.
Who was the founder of Umayyad dynasty?
The founder of Umayyad dynasty was Muawiyash.
How did the Abbasids dynasty legitimise their bid to power?
The followers of Abbas, the uncle of Prophet Muhammad were known as Abbasids. They promised to various Arab groups that a messiah from the Prophet would liberate them from the oppression of Umayyid regime.
What were the reasons for the weaknesses of Abbasid state in 9th century? (Write any two reasons).
The reasons for the weaknesses of the Abbasid state in 9th century were:
- Their control over the distant province began to decline.
- The continuous conflict between Pro-Arab and Pro-Iranian groups in bureaucracy led to their weaknesses also.
What do you know about Rabia?
Rabia was the first woman Sufi saint. She was deeply religious. Her teachings had a deep impact on the heart and mind of the people.
Who were Turks? Write about them in brief.
Turks were the nomadic tribes of central Asia. They were skilled warriors and horse riders. They joined Abbasid, Samand and Buyid administration as slaves and soldiers. They were raised to the high position on account of their loyalty and military skill.
Write any two teachings of Islam.
Teachings of Islam:
- God, i.e. Allah is one. He is omnipresent and omnipotent.
- People should lead a simple life.
Who were Muslims? Which two things did they promise?
The people who accepted Prophet Muhammad’s doctrines were known as Muslims. They promised:
- They were promised salvation on the Day of Judgement.
- They would be given a share of the resources of the community while on the earth.
Define the term “Caliph”.
The term ‘Caliph’ means the successor of Prophet Muhammad.
How was the institution of Caliphate created?
Prophet Muhammad attained salvation in 632 CE. After his death, there was no one, who could legitimately claim to be the next Prophet of Islam. No rule was made regarding the institution. That’s why after his death Islamic authority was transferred to the Ulema. In this way, the institution of Caliphate was created.
Name four Caliphs. How did they justify their power?
The four Caliphs were:
- Abu Bakr
The Caliphs justified their power on the basis of their close association with the Prophet.
Write any two objectives of the institution of Caliphate.
The main objectives of the institution of Caliphate were:
- To establish control over the tribes constituting the Ulema.
- To raise the resources for the welfare of the state.
Who was third Caliph? Why was he assassinated?
The third Caliph was Uthman. He was a Quraysh and appointed all his men to keep control. So the other tribes got annoyed and assassinated him. He was assassinated by a Kharji in a mosque at Kirfa.
Why did Islam divide into two sects? Name these two sects also.
During the reign of Khalifa Ali (650-661 CE) two battles were fought against those who represented the Meccan aristocracy. These two wars created a deep rift between the Muslims. As a result, they got divided into two sects:
Describe in brief the significance of Muhammad’s shift from Mecca to Madina.
Muhammad shifted from Mecca to Madina in 622 CE. The significance of this shift is summed up under following heads:
- It is referred to in Arabic as ‘Hijrat’.
- It marks the beginning of the Islamic era.
Why did Prophet Muhammad migrate to Madina?
Prophet Muhammad migrated to Madina on account of the following reasons:
- He faced stiff opposition from the Meccan since their faith differed from their regions and practices.
- Meccan took offence to the rejection of the deities.
- The Meccans found a new religion a threat to the status and prosperity of Mecca.
Why did Fatimids consider themselves as the sole rightful rulers of Islam?
Fatimid’s belonged to the Islami sub-sect of Shias and considered themselves as the rightful rulers of Islam because they were the descendant of Fatima, the daughter of Prophet Muhammad.
How did Arab bring Syria, Iraq and Egypt under their control?
Taking the advantages of ongoing religious conflicts and revolts of the aristocracy, the Arab established their control over Syria, Iraq and Egypt in three successful campaigns which lasted from 637 to 642 CE.
Name the four schools of Islamic law. Which is the most conservative among them?
The four schools of Islamic law ‘Mazhab’ were:
The most conservative among them was the Hanbali School of Islamic Law.
What did the history of Islamic world bring together?
The history of Islamic world brought together three aspects of human civilization politics, religion and community.
What are the twin objectives of Caliphate?
The two in objectives of the Caliphate are as follows:
- To firmly establish control over the tribes constituting the ‘umma’.
- To raise resources of the state.
What do you know about the Battle of Karbala?
Battle of Karbala was fought in 680 between Yazid and Hussain. In this war, Hussain was defeated by Yazid.
Name any four important literary works of Islamic world.
Four literary works of Islamic world are as follows:
- Kitab al-Bukhla
- Kalila Wa Dimna
Between whom the Battle of Camel was fought?
The Battle of Camel was fought in 656 CE, between Calipha Ali and Aisha.
Who was the last Khalifa of Umayyad dynasty?
The last Khalifa of Umayyad dynast was Calipha Marwan II.
Describe the importance of Nishapur in two sentences.
- Nishapur was one of the most important centres of Perso-Islamic learning.
- It was the birth place of Umar Khayyan.
By whom and when was Tahir dynasty founded?
Tahir dynasty was founded by Tahirids in 820 CE.
When was the Great Mosque of al-Mutawwakil in Samara built?
The Great Mosque of al-Mutawwakil in Samara was built in 850. It is 50 metre high and made of bricks.
What do you know about Umar Khayyam?
Umar Khayyam was a popular poet and astronomer. He made popular ‘Rubai’, a four line stanza.
Who wrote ‘Shahnama’? Describe its two features.
‘Shahnama’ was written by Mahmud of Ghazni’s court poet, Firdausi.
- It is a collection of traditional legends and traditions.
- There are 60,000 couplets in it.
What is ‘Sharia’?
‘Sharia’ is a body of Islamic sacred laws derived from the ‘Quran’, and the ‘Hadith’.
Describe any two impact of Islam on the Arabian people.
- Islam united the Arabian people politically.
- It taught them the lesson of brotherhood.
Describe in brief the incident, which helped in making of paper in Samarqand.
In 751, the Muslim governor of Samarqand took nearly 20,000 Chinese invaders into his captivity and brought them to Samarqand. Some of these prisoners were good at making paper. They helped in the making of paper in Samarqand.
Describe in short the contribution of Arabs in the field of culture.
- In the field of literature, Arabian Nights, Rubiayat and Firdausi’s Shahnama are world famous.
- The architectural features of Arabs like the dome, the minaret’s horse shoes, arches, twisted columns are magnificent examples of Arabian architecture.
Who was Ibn Sina?
Ibn Sina was a doctor by profession. He did not believe in the resurrection of the body on the Judgement Day.
What do you know about the great Mosque of Mutawwakil in Samara?
This Mosque was built in 850. It is 50 metres high and made of bricks. It is inspired by Mesopotamian architectural traditions.
Short Answer Type Questions
What are the five pillars of Islam?
The five pillars of Islam are:
- There is only one God, i.e. Allah.
- Namaj should be offered five in a day.
- Zakat should be given to the needy.
- Fasts should be kept in the month of Ramzan.
- All Muslims should take the pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in their lives.
Describe the main teachings of Islam.
Main teachings of Islam are given below:
- Allah should be worshiped.
- No Muslim should practice idol worship. It is a sin.
- Muslims should believe that all Muslims are equal. They should regard themselves as brothers.
- All Muslims should follow the same rules regarding marriage and divorce.
- All Muslims should lead a simple life.
Describe in brief how Prophet Muhammad’s religion was a factor in the growth of Arab unity.
Prophet Muhammad’s religion was a responsible factor in the growth of Arab unity as;
- The religion started by Him was denoted by a term Islam implied to complete submission.
- He told that there is only one God, i.e. Allah.
- He emphasised on the principles of equality and unity, for those who accepted Allah and the Prophet.
What do you know about Arab tribe? Write in short.
The entire Arab society was divided into tribes known as Qabila, headed by a chief. The chief of Qabila (Tribe) was elected on the basis of his family, wisdom and courage. Besides these, his personality also played a crucial role. Each tribe had its own religious beliefs. They worshiped their own gods and goddesses in mosques.
The tribes were nomadic, and kept on moving from one region to another in search of food and fodder for their camels. Some of them settled and practiced trade or agriculture. Muhammad’s own tribe was Qurayash who had reigned its supremacy in Mecca. It established its control over Kaba, a cublic like structure in which idols were placed. Even the tribes outside Mecca considered the Kaba installed their own idols at this shrine, making annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to the shrine.
What were Crusades? Describe its two impact on the Christian Muslim relations.
Crusades meant the military expeditions. It was organized in western Christendom to recover the holy places of Palestine from Muslim occupation. The four Crusades were fought, as given below.
- First Crusade – 1095 to 1099 CE
- Second Crusade – 1147 to 1148 CE
- Third Crusade – 1189 to 1192 CE
- Fourth Crusade – 1202 to 1204 CE
Impact on Christian-Muslim relations
- Ever since the Crusade, the people of western Christendom developed a stereotypical and distorted Islamic image.
- These wars resulted in harsher attitude of the Muslim state towards its Christian subjects.
Write any four factors responsible for the rise of Arab empire.
The following factors were responsible for the rise of Arab empire:
- The Arabs were skilled warriors.
- The Arabs were successful merchants, who maintained their trade relations with the far off countries.
- The spread of Islam in different countries, also helped them in consolidating their empire.
- They collected information from the available sources and developed it still further.
Why did the early Caliph follow an expansionist policy? Which factors contributed to their success?
The early Caliph followed an expansionist policy because:
- They were well aware about the fact that ‘Umma’ could not be maintained but the modest income taken through trade and taxes.
- They realised that a rich booty could be obtained by expediting raids.
- The Byzantine and Sassarian empires patronised Christianity and Zoroastrianism respectively. On the eve of Arab’s
- invasion both these empires began to decline. This provided an opportunity to the Arabs to expand their empire.
The following factors contributed to their success:
- Arabs used camels which could work easily in desert regions.
- Both Byzantine and Sassarian empires were not in a position to face the determined challenges of Arab, because they were on the way to their decline.
Describe some features of administrative structure of Arabs under the early Khalifa.
Features of administrative structure:
- Arab states were headed by governors called amirs and the tribal chieftains called ashraf.
- Tax paid by the Muslims and the share obtained from the booty were the main sources of income for the central authority.
- The ruling class and the soldiers (who participated in the raids) received their share in the booty and monthly payment.
- The non-Muslims residing in the Arab administration had to pay taxes. These taxes were Jaziya and Kharaj.
- Christians and Jews were declared as protected citizens. Both were given autonomy in conducting communal affairs.
Write in brief about the contribution of the Arab civilization to the world in the field of science.
- The Arab astronomers proved that earth is round and it revolves round the sun.
- They discovered compounds like sodium carbonate, silver nitrate, nitric and sulphuric acids.
- In the field of mathematics, they excelled in numbers and trigonometry. They spread this knowledge to other parts of the world.
- Two great Arab physicians Al-Razi and Ibn Sina told about small-pox and tuberculosis.
List the responsible factors which enabled the Umayyad to come to power.
The Umayyad dynasty was founded by Muawiya in 661 CE. Between the years 661- 750 all Caliphs were from Umayyad dynasty. Following factors enabled Umayyads to coming into power.
- With the territorial expansion, the Umma unity was broken up.
- Conflicts over the distribution of resources began to increase among the Umma.
- The Meccan character of the early Islamic state by Uthman, who packed his administration with his own men, to his exclusion of other tribes men, to secure greater central.
- Opposition of tuber men in Iraq and Egypt combined with opposition in Medina, led to assassination of Uthman. After his assassination Ali became the fourth Caliph. The rifts deepened and after his assassination Muwaiya successfully made him the next Caliph, to exclusion of Ali’s son Hussain, founding Umayyad dynasty.
Write an evolutionary note on the regime of the fourth Caliph, Ali.
Ali was the fourth Caliph. He fought two wars against those who were representing the aristocracy of Mecca. As a result of these wars, the rifts among the Muslims depened. Later on his supporters and enemies got divided into two sects. These two sects were: Shias and Sunnis. Ali established himself at Kufar and defeated Aisha’s (Muhammad’s wife) army in the Battle of Camel in 657.
Although Ali won this war but he was unable to suppress the group led by Muawiya, a kinsman of Uthman and the governor of Syria. Then he fought another war with him at Siffin, which ended in a truce. After the War of Siffin, Ali’s followers got divided into two groups. Some remained loyal to them, while others who left them came to be known as Kharjis.
During Abbasids, Arab influence began to decline. Why?
During Abbasids, the Arab influence began to decline on account of the following reasons:
- The Abbasids established their capital at Baghdad, near the ruins of ancient Iranian metropolis, Ctesiphon. As a result of this, the Iranian influence of culture began to increase under Abbasids.
- The Abbasids ruler strengthened the religious status and functions of the caliphate and patronized Islamic institutions and scholars.
- The army and bureaucracy were recognized on a non-tribal basis to ensure greater participation by Iraqi and Khuraseni.
- The Abbasids maintained the magnificent imperial architecture of Umayyads. They also elaborated court ceremonials of Umayyads.
The Umayyads sought to legitimize their rule. Explain by giving examples.
The Umayyads sought to legitimize their rule by protecting themselves as religious leaders and always appealed for unity and suppressed their rebels on the name of Islam. They too wanted to retain their social identity.
- The Umayyad Sultan Abd-al-Malik replaced Greek and Pahlavi with Arabic as the language of administration. Now the use of Arabic became compulsory for administrative purposes.
- He also replaced gold dinar and silver dirham circulations.
- Hectic building activities were undertaken that were related to the mosques and palaces.
Were the Abbasid rulers able to abolish monarchy?
Abbasid rulers were unable to abolish monarchy, because the needs of Government and the empire forced them to retain centralized army. The Abbasids who claimed to bring downfall of monarchy, established monarchy again by maintaining magnificent imperial architecture and court ceremonies initiated by the Umayyads.
Which factors were responsible for contributing unity among Islamic society between 950-1200 CE?
Which factors contributed to the unity of Islamic society between 950-1200 CE?
The following factors contributed to the unity of Islamic society between 950—1200 CE:
- These societies were bound together by common cultural and economic patterns.
- The state was separated from the society.
- The Persian developed as a common language which brought the people together.
- Merchants, artists and scholars all moved freely within the Central Islamic land, which led to circulation of new ideas and thoughts.The population of Muslim began to increase enormously. It was earlier less than 10% under the Umayyad and early Abbasid period.
Which factors contributed to commercial prosperity of the Central Islamic land?
Following factors contributed to the commercial prosperity of the Central Islamic land:
- Islamic land was politically unified as a result of increasing urbanization.
- This land was spread between the trading zones of the Indian oceans and Mediterranean.
- Increasing flow of pilgrims to Mecca was also considered as an important factor.
- Towns such as Baghdad and Damascus developed as warehouse centers for local consumption or onward transmission of high value goods such as textiles, gunpowder, spices, porcelain shipped from India to China to Bed Sea and Gulf parts of Siraf and Basra.
Write about the importance of Shahnama.
Shahnama is a great historical political work of Firdausi. It is an epic of 50,000 couplets and also a masterpiece of Islamic literature. It took nearly 30 years to complete. Ghazni, became the centre of Persian literary life. The rulers of Ghazni also patronised art and learning for enhancing their prestige. Shahnama is a collection of traditions and legends which depicts Iran from creation up until the Arab conquest. According to Ghaznavi tradition, Persian later became the language of administration and culture in India.
How did Caliphate break up in the Arab Empire? Explain.
From 9th century, the Abbasids state became weaker due to decline of Baghdad’s control over distant provinces and continuous struggle between pro-Arab and pro- Iranian groups in the army and bureaucracy.
In 810, a civil war broke out between the supporters of two sons (Amin and Mamum) of the Caliph Harun-al-Rashid. This war created a new power block of Turkish slave officers. For the orthodoxy of power, the Shias started competing with Sunni. As a result of this, many new dynasties like Tahirid, Saminids and Tuluminds came into being.
As a result of this, the Abbasid power got limited to the areas of central Iraq and western Iran. The Buyids captured Baghdad in 945 CE, which ended Abbasid supremacy.
Describe the distribution of agricultural land in the conquered territories by the Arabs from the aspect of ownership.
The Arabs mainly practiced agriculture in the territories conquered by them. The Islamic states did not make any changes in it. Both small as well as the large land¬owners were the owners of the land. In some cases the land was also owned by the state.
In Iran, the land was divided into very larger units, cultivated by peasants. Estate owners were given the responsibility of land revenue collection on behalf of the state during the Sassanian and Islamic periods. Land was a common property. In villages, people practiced both nomadic and settled agriculture. After Islamic conquests some changes began to take place. Big estate acquired by the state began to abandon by their land owners. Now they were handed over to the Muslim elites, especially to those who were the members of Caliph’s family.
What was the center of Abbasid uprising? Why did it take place? Give reasons.
Write any four arguments to support the concept of Abbasid Revolution.
The Umayyad dynasty was brought down by a well-organised movement called ‘Dawa’. It was then replaced by Abbasids in 750. The main center of their uprising was the distant region of Khurasan.
- Mobilisation of the mixed Iranian population for various reasons.
- The Umayyad projected themselves rested on force and loyalty of Syrian troops which resented the Arab soldiers.
- The Arab civilians disliked the Umayyad regime for failure to unfulfill their promises.
- Umayyad regime was portrayed as an evil by the Abbasids.
What were the reasons for the break up of the Caliphate and rise of the concept of Sultanate?
Elaborate a few causes for the break up of Caliphate and the rise of the concept of Sultanate.
The downfall of the Abbasid dynasty paved the way for the rise of the concept of Sultanate. The causes mainly responsible were:
- The successors of almamun were very weak and incapable.
- They paid no heed towards the administrative affairs. Under such circumstances the downfall of the Caliphate was sure.
- The Caliph paid no attention towards their army.
- They were leading a life full of luxury and paid no attention towards the problems of common people.
Long Answer Type Questions
Describe the major beliefs and practices that characterized Sufism.
Sufi’s were a group of religious minded people turned to asceticism and mysticism.
Their major beliefs and practices are given below:
- The Sufi’s laid emphasis on seeking of salvation through devotion of God.
- They laid emphasis on celibacy and ignored the rituals and observed extreme form of asceticism.
- They considered every one equal in the eyes of God. God is one and almighty. Everyone in the universe is his creation.
- They interpreted the Quran on the basis of their own experiences.
- They maintained a distance from worldly power.
- They used to go for Ziyarat. They remembered God by reciting the divine names or evoking his presence through Sama.
- They regarded Prophet Muhammad as a perfect human being and preached to follow his teachings.
- Sufi’s were in favor of Sama, singing and dance.
What do you know about the main teachings of Islam?
Main teachings of Islam:
- Idol-worship is a curse, according to Islam.
- God, i.e. Allah is almighty. He is all wise and merciful.
- Islam believes in life after death, in hell or in heaven. The sinner will go to the hell and face many hardships. The religious and honest people will go to the heaven. They will be served by beautiful damsels.
- The Quran is the divine book of Islam. The sayings of Prophet Muhammad are regarded as God.
- All are equal. No one is superior or inferior. Islam preached the principle of equality and brotherhood.
- There is no restriction on keeping slaves in Islam, but Muhammad asked his followers to treat them kindly.
Write your argument to justify the following statement:
“Prophet Muhammad laid down the foundation of a new political structure.”
Prophet Muhammad laid down the foundation of a new political structure as:
- He replaced the tribal organisation with a state. The state was encompassed with a number of tribes.
- Umma constituted the armed forces.
- He was a religious leader as well as a law-giver.
- His followers (The Umma) were converted into a wide community to include polytheists and Jews of Madina.
- The conquest of Mecca established him both as a religious as well as political leader.
- He maintained the independence of the state by fixing the booty to l/15th (which directly went to him).
- Tax like ‘Zakat’ was imposed on tribes who had accepted Muhammad’s leadership. All Muslim tribes had to pay it.
- With his efforts and influence, he was able to convert many Bedouins into Islam. In a short span of time, he was able to unite a large part of peninsula.
“Throughout the history of human beings their interest in religion often went hand in hand”. Justify the statement by giving examples.
- From the very beginning, evidence has been traced out that Indian traders traveled to the different countries of South East Asia for trade in gold, tin, spices, etc. While travelling and trading to these nations they also took with them the ideas and practices of the religion. The ideology of Buddhism and Hinduism became the part and parcel of their culture. These two religions were adopted by the people of Jawa, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, etc.
- The Arab traders in the medieval period established their trade relations with India and many other countries of Europe and Asia. They carried with them the ideas of newly founded religion, i.e. Islam. Due to its simplicity in principle, Islam was adopted by many Indians and in the same way it spread into Spain, Syria, Iran and Iraq.
- The traders of the western countries, i.e. the traders of England, Holland, France, etc. spread their trading relations in many countries. They brought with them the ideas of Christianity. While trading, they also spread Christianity into different countries. Today this religion is adopted by the people of different countries of Asia and Africa.Keeping the above examples in mind, we can conclude that throughout the history human being’s interest in religion went hand in hand.
Discuss the main sources of income of the state in detail.
What do you know about agriculture of the Central Islamic lands?
Agricultural was the main occupation of the settled population, since long. It also remained a major occupation in newly acquired territories. The bulk of income of the state was derived from the agricultural land.
Land was owned by the small and big farmers and in some cases by the state. After Islamic conquests, big estates were abandoned and acquired by the state. Later on these states were handed over to Muslim elites. The chief among them were the members of Khalifa’s (Caliph’s) army.
The land conquered by the Arabs, which remained in the hands of the owners were subjected to a tax, called Kharaj, varied from 1/2 to 1/5th of the produce. While the land cultivated by the Muslims were levied 1/10th of tax, known as ushr as land
revenue. When non-Muslims started converting to Islam, the land revenue income fell dramatically. To meet the shortfall, the Caliphs decided to discourage the conversions and later adopted a uniform land revenue policy.
After 10th century, the state authorised its officials to claim salaries from the agricultural territories called Iqtas (The person who held the Iqtas came to be known as Iqtadars). Agricultural prosperity and political stability went hand-in-hand. To ensure agricultural prosperity it took several measures such as canals were constructed, dams were built, the digging of wells, etc. were done. Tax concessions were granted to those people who brought land under cultivation. By the initiatives of peasants and state support the agriculture began to increase. Many new crops such as cotton, oranges, bananas, watermelon, spinach and brinjal began to grow and even exported to Europe.
Passage Based Questions
Read the following passages and answer the questions that follow:
The Hijri era was established during the caliphate of Umar, with the first year falling in 622 CE. A date in the Hijri calendar is followed by the letters AH.
The Hijri year is a lunar year of 354 days, 12 months (Muharram to Dhul Hijja) of 29 or 30 days. Each day begins at sunset and each month with the sighting of the crescent moon. The Hijri year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year. Therefore, none of the Islamic religious festivals, including the Ramazan fast, Id and hajj, corresponds in any way to seasons. There is no easy way to match the dates in the Hijri calendar with the dates in the Gregorian calendar (established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 CE). One can calculate the rough equivalents between the Islamic (H) and Gregorian Christian (C) years with the following formulae:
(H × 32 / 33) + 622 = C
(C – 622) x 33 / 32 = H
(i) When was Hijri era established?
(ii) What do you know about Hijri year?
(iii) What is the difference between Hijri year and the solar year?
(iv) How can we calculate the rough equivalents between the Islamic (H) and Gregorian Christian (C) years?
(i) The Hijri era was established during the caliphate of Umar in 622 CE.
(ii) The Hijri year is a lunar year of 354 days, 12 months of 29 or 30 days.
(iii) The Hijri year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, which consists of 365 days.
(iv) It can be calculated by using following formulae:
- (H × 32 / 33) + 622 = C
- (C – 622) x 33 / 32 = H
The Ideal Student:
Abd al-Latif, a twelfth-century legal and medical scholar of Baghdad, talks to his ideal student:
‘I commend you not to learn your sciences from books unaided, even though you may trust your ability to understand. Resort to teachers for each science you seek to acquire; and should your teacher be limited in his knowledge take all that he can offer, until you find another more accomplished than he. You must venerate and respect him. When you read a book, make every effort to learn it by heart and master its meaning. Imagine the book to have disappeared and that you can dispense with it, unaffected by its loss. One should read histories, study biographies and the experiences of nations. By doing this, it will be as though, in his short life space, he lived contemporaneously with peoples of the past, was on intimate terms with them, and knew the good and bad among them. You should model your conduct on that of the early Muslims. Therefore, read the biography of the Prophet and follow in his footsteps. You should frequently distrust your nature, rather than have a good opinion of it, submitting your thoughts to men of learning and their works, proceeding with caution and avoiding haste. He who has not endured the stress of study will not taste the joy of knowledge. When you have finished your study and reflection, occupy your tongue with the mention of God’s name, and sing His praises. Do not complain if the world turns its back on you. Know that learning leaves a trail and a scent proclaiming its possessor; a ray of light and brightness shining on him, pointing him out.
– Ahmad ibn al Qasim ibn Abi Usaybia, Uyun al Anba.
(i) What do you know about Abd-al-Latif?
(ii) Why should books be learnt by heart?
(iii) Discuss the importance of teacher in the life of an ideal student.
(i) Abd-al-Latif was a legal and medical scholar of 12th century.
(ii) Books should be learnt by heart. If the books are lost, one should remain unaffected by this loss.
(iii) A teacher is like a torch-bearer. He plays a significant role in the life of an ideal student.
On the given map mark and locate the following Islamic land as depicted or described in this chapter.