From the oasis cities of Makkah and Madinah in the Arabian desert, the message of Islam went forth with electrifying speed. Within half a century of the Prophet's death, Islam had spread to three continents. Islam is not, as some imagine in the West, a religion of the sword nor did it spread primarily by means of war. It was only within Arabia, where a crude form of idolatry was rampant, that Islam was propagated by warring against those tribes which did not accept the message of God--whereas Christians and Jews were not forced to convert.
Outside of Arabia also the vast lands conquered by the Arab armies in a short period became Muslim not by force of the sword but by the appeal of the new religion. It was faith in One God and emphasis upon His Mercy that brought vast numbers of people into the fold of Islam. The new religion did not coerce people to convert. Many continued to remain Jews and Christians and to this day important communities of the followers of these faiths are found in Muslim lands.Moreover, the spread of Islam was not limited to its miraculous early expansion outside of Arabia. During later centuries the Turks embraced Islam peacefully as did a large number of the people of the Indian subcontinent and the Malay-speaking world. In Africa also, Islam has spread during the past two centuries even under the mighty power of European colonial rulers.
The Rightly guided Caliphs
Abu Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu
Upon the death of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, the friend of the Prophet and the first adult male to embrace Islam, became caliph or successor to Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The first challenge he faced was from the people who had refused to pay Zakat and some false claimants of prophethood. He dealt with them strongly and all of those people were defeated.
Abu Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu, also took steps against the Persian Empire that was a constant danger to the Muslims. It had helped the people who had rebelled against Islam. In the first battle against the Persians, the Battle of Chains, the Muslims emerged victorious while the Persians suffered a humiliating defeat. Thousands of Persians were killed and taken captive. Next, the Muslims fought the Battle of Mazar against the Persians. Again the Muslims won. In the battles of Walaja and Ulleis, too, the Muslims won the battles against the Persians. They also conquered the kingdom of Hira. The Muslims also conquered a fort named Ein-at-Tamr.
The Muslims also fought against the Byzantines. In the battle of Basra, the Muslims emerged victorious against the Byzantines. So were they victorious against the Byzantines in the Battle of Ajnadein. The Muslims also laid siege to Damascus, which was lifted because of the death of Abu Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu.
Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu
Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, became the next Caliph after Abu Bakr, Radi-Allahu anhu's, death. Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, continued the war against the Persians because of the continuous troubles they were causing for the Muslim State. The Muslims fought the Battle of Namarraq against the Persians. The Muslims won this battle. After that the Battle of Jasr took place. In that battle, the Muslims were defeated. Then the Muslims fought the battles of Buwaib, Qadisiya, and Jalula. The Muslims won in all of these battles. The Muslims also conquered Madain, Shustar, and Jande Sabur. Then came the Battle of Nihawand. This was one of the most decisive battles in history and it sealed the fate of the Persian Empire. It also proved to be the gateway for Muslims to Persia.
Umar, Radi-Allahu anhu, also fought against the Byzantine Empire. The Muslims conquered Syria after the Battle of Yarmuk. The Muslims then conquered Jerusalem and Egypt.
In Russia, the Muslims conquered Azerbaijan and Tabaristan.
Uthman, Radi-Allahu anhu
Umar was succeeded by 'Uthman who ruled for some twelve years during which time the Islamic expansion continued. He is also known as the caliph who had the definitive text of the Noble Quran copied and sent to the four corners of the Islamic world.
During Uthman, Radi-Allahu anhu's rule, there were uprisings in Persia and in Byzantine. Uthman, Radi-Allahu anhu, crushed these revolts and made his grip on the territories firmer. During his rule, the Muslims conquered the whole of North Africa. It included countries now known as Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. The island of Cyprus was also conquered during his time.
Campaigns were also sent against Khurasan (in present-day Iran), Armeain, and Asia Minor (now Turkey).
He was in turn succeeded by 'Ali who is known to this day for his eloquent sermons and letters, and also for his bravery. With his death the rule of the "rightly guided" caliphs, who hold a special place of respect in the hearts of Muslims, came to an end.
Factors That Led to This Rise
The Muslims spread their empire at lightning speed. Within half a century after Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam's death, three continents had come under the Muslim rule and both super powers of the time, the Persian and the Roman, had been defeated. It was their faith, character, and courage that was responsible for this phenomenal achievement.
Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, had left a great number of trained companions. The Muslims knew they were fighting for the sake of Allah and so they did not plunder the lands that they acquired nor did they treat the citizens of the conquered lands harshly. They were brave, courageous, and not afraid of dying.
They were not greedy people or people seeking worldly pleasures. Rather they were very generous people often leaving themselves with hardly anything while fulfilling the needs of others. The commanders of great armies that conquered the Persian Empire, etc. were not the least bit different from the soldiers in their army regarding their lifestyle. Their lifestyle was simple. Their clothes were just enough to fit them and their foods were scanty. Often they went hungry for many days. If they got food, it would be no more than a piece of bread or dates and some water. Their clothes would have so many patches in them.
In stark contrast to the pomp and show of both the Persian and the Roman empires, the Caliphs' lifestyles were no different from the citizens. Often when a dignitary from a different empire would come to meet the Caliph, he would have a hard time recognizing the Caliph because he was the same as a normal citizen. The Caliphs kept no guards and did not feel a bit insulted in washing their own clothes and mending their own shoes or doing work for others such as milking the neighbor's goats, etc.
They were very kind to the people of the lands they conquered. They never destroyed any temple or church after conquering the place where the temple or church was. They were very just. They only resorted to war if it was inevitable. Often they would sign treaties assuring the subjects of total safety. Only the subjects would have to pay a small amount of tax called Jizyah for the protection they were getting from the Muslims. At the same time, they were exempted from paying Zakat and participating in military campaigns.
The Muslims' character impressed many and many became Muslims after observing their character. No person became a Muslim under compulsion. The people became Muslims totally because they wanted to.
The Umayyad caliphate established in 661 was to last for about a century. During this time Damascus became the capital of an Islamic world which stretched from the western borders of China to southern France. Not only did the Islamic conquests continue during this period through North Africa to Spain and France in the West and to Sind, Central Asia and Transoxiana in the East, but the basic social and legal institutions of the newly founded Islamic world were established.
The Abbasids, who succeeded the Umayyads, shifted the capital to Baghdad which soon developed into an incomparable center of learning and culture as well as the administrative and political heart of a vast world.They ruled for over 500 years but gradually their power waned and they remained only symbolic rulers bestowing legitimacy upon various sultans and princes who wielded actual military power. The Abbasid caliphate was finally abolished when Hulagu, the Mongol ruler, captured Baghdad in 1258, destroying much of the city including its incomparable libraries.
While the Abbasids ruled in Baghdad, a number of powerful dynasties such as the Fatimids, Ayyubids and Mamluks held power in Egypt, Syria and Palestine. The most important event in this area as far as the relation between Islam and the Western world was concerned was the series of Crusades declared by the Pope and espoused by various European kings. The purpose, although political, was outwardly to recapture the Holy Land and especially Jerusalem for Christianity. Although there was at the beginning some success and local European rule was set up in parts of Syria and Palestine, Muslims finally prevailed and in 1187 Saladin, the great Muslim leader, recaptured Jerusalem and defeated the Crusaders.
North Africa And Spain
When the Abbasids captured Damascus, one of the Umayyad princes escaped and made the long journey from there to Spain to found Umayyad rule there, thus beginning the golden age of Islam in Spain. Cordoba was established as the capital and soon became Europe's greatest city not only in population but from the point of view of its cultural and intellectual life. The Umayyads ruled over two centuries until they weakened and were replaced by local rulers.Meanwhile in North Africa, various local dynasties held sway until two powerful Berber dynasties succeeded in uniting much of North Africa and also Spain in the 12th and 13th centuries. After them this area was ruled once again by local dynasties such as the Sharifids of Morocco who still rule in that country. As for Spain itself, Muslim power continued to wane until the last Muslim dynasty was defeated in Granada in 1492 thus bringing nearly eight hundred years of Muslim rule in Spain to an end.
After the Mangol Invasion
The Mongols devastated the eastern lands of Islam and ruled from the Sinai Desert to India for a century. But they soon converted to Islam and became known as the Il-Khanids. They were in turn succeeded by Timur and his descendents who made Samarqand their capital and ruled from 1369 to 1500. The sudden rise of Timur delayed the formation and expansion of the Ottoman empire but soon the Ottomans became the dominant power in the Islamic world.
From humble origins the Turks rose to dominate over the whole of Anatolia and even parts of Europe. In 1453 Mehmet the Conqueror captured Constantinople and put an end to the Byzantine empire. The Ottomans conquered much of eastem Europe and nearly the whole of the Arab world, only Morocco and Mauritania in the West and Yemen, Hadramaut and parts of the Arabian peninsula remaining beyond their control. They reached their zenith of power with Suleyman the Magnificent whose armies reached Hungary and Austria. From the 17th century onward with the rise of Westem European powers and later Russia, the power of the Ottomans began to wane. But they nevertheless remained a force to be reckoned with until the First World War when they were defeated by the Westem nations. Soon thereafter Kamal Ataturk gained power in Turkey and abolished the six centuries of rule of the Ottomans in 1924.
While the Ottomans were concerned mostly with the westem front of their empire, to the east in Persia a new dynasty called the Safavids came to power in 1502. The Safavids established a powerful state of their own which flourished for over two centuries and became known for the flowering of the arts. Their capital, Isfahan, became one of the most beautiful cities with its blue tiled mosques and exquisite houses. The Afghan invasion of 1736 put an end to Safavid rule and prepared the independence of Afghanistan which occured fommally in the 19th century. Persia itself fell into tummoil until Nader Shah, the last Oriental conqueror, reunited the country and even conquered India. But the rule of the dynasty established by him was short-lived. The Zand dynasty soon took over to be overthrown by the Qajars in 1779 who made Tehran their capital and ruled until 1921 when they were in turn replaced by the Pahlavis.
As for India, Islam entered into the land east of the Indus River peacefully. Gradually Muslims gained political power beginning in the early 13th century. But this period which marked the expansion of both Islam and Islamic culture came to an end with the conquest of much of India in 1526 by Babur, one of the Timurid princes. He established the powerful Mogul empire which produced such famous rulers as Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan and which lasted, despite the gradual rise of British power in India, until 1857 when it was officially abolished.
Malaysia And Indonesia
Farther east in the Malay world, Islam began to spread in the 12th century in northem Sumatra and soon Muslim kingdoms were establishd in Java, Sumatra and mainland Malaysia. Despite the colonization of the Malay world, Islam spread in that area covering present day Indonesia, Malaysia, the southern Phililppines and southern Thailand, and is still continuing in islands farther east.
As far as Africa is concemed, Islam entered into East Africa at the very beginning of the Islamic period but remained confined to the coast for some time, only the Sudan and Somaliland becoming gradually both Arabized and Islamized. West Africa felt the presence of Islam through North African traders who travelled with their camel caravans south of the Sahara. By the 14th century there were already Muslim sultanates in such areas as Mali, and Timbuctu in West Africa and Harar in East Africa had become seats of Islamic leaming.
Gradually Islam penetrated both inland and southward. There also appeared major charismatic figures who inspired intense resistance against European domination. The process of the Islamization of Africa did not cease during the colonial period and continues even today with the result that most Africans are now Muslims carrying on a tradition which has had practically as long a history in certain areas of sub-Saharan Africa as Islam itself.
Reason for fall of Islamic Empire.
The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty is a bit of mystery, Because Almighty Allah has clearly said in Holy Quran that those who believe in the unseen and establish worship, and spend of that we have bestowed upon them; And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee [Muhammad] and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their lord. These are the successful [both here and hereafter]. [Sura 2/1v-5v AL-BAQRA/Cow]
Success of Islamic Empire is that their ruler were strong believe that Victory is from Allah Subhanatala who is the true creator and sustainer of heaven and Earth, They were brave, courageous, and not afraid of dying, because they know very well life on earth is temporary and hereafter is permanent. This is the mystery behind success of Islamic Empire
Prophet Muhammad Pbuh had already warned Muslim that Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
Islamic empire rulers around the globe slowly but steadily had fallen on deception of this world, in similar way as Prophet Adam and Eve fallen on trap of Satan or devil and got out from paradise, even though almighty Allah warn had warn them.
Jesus Peace and blessing upon has said This World is like aged ugly old women who has covered her face with all kinds of beautiful make-up and inviting each and every one of us to have her. Because of our free will, we are always tempted towards her deceit beauty. Finally when her make-up starts melting they will able to see her ugliness but that's too late.
The rulers who believe in brotherhood and rule under Islamic law started splitting into small kingdom because of their selfish desire to acquiring everything for themselves and they slowly lost their way from the path righteousness, Muslim rulers started killing their own flesh and blood for power and ignored guidance of holy Quran and Sunnah of prophet Muhammad, they had taken the help of non Muslim kings whom once they defeated and thrown away from power, Especially kingdom which come under Catholic Church such Spain, France, Italy, Greece who were struggling, because from 750 A.D to 1350 A.D complete Europe had being plunge in dark age. Where these Islamic kingdom were centuries ahead in development in every field, The Muslim period in Spain, is often described as a 'golden age' of learning where libraries, colleges, public baths were established and literature, science, astronomy, poetry and architecture flourished.
The Islamic Empire had conquered the world under one united single Faith whose successor had strictly followed only Quran and True Sunnah which Prophet Muhammad Pbuh practically shown in his life time. Later that single Islamic Faith had divided into 63 Different Sects [Hanafiyah, Sulaimaniah, Yaqubiyya, Karibiyah, Sha'iyah, Ismailiyah, Bada'iyah etc.], across the world, this division from single true religion into different sects, also divide their power and in turn started power struggle between themselves.
Almighty Allah [Swt] said in the Holy Quran " If believers would deviate from righteous path, the guidance in the form of revelations or holy scriptures , teaching of their Prophets and follow the path of disbeliever, then he will humiliated them in the hands of their enemies, over thrown from their own lands. Until they will return to the path of Righteous. this punishment is blessing in disguise, because if they fail to return path of righteous then they have to suffer and humiliate on the day of judgement and finally go to Hellfire with disbelievers.