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Nomadic pastoralists of the Arabian Peninsula.
Herded camels and goats.

Social Organization

During a crisis, clans cooperated as tribes.
Individual survival depended upon clan loyalty.
Wealth and status varied within clans.
Leaders/shaykhs - elected by councils, usually wealthy men.


Arabian commercial center.
Dominated by Quraysh.
Home of Muhammad.
Future center of Islam.


Northwest of Mecca.
Asked Muhammad to resolve its intergroup differences.
Hijra - Muhammad's flight to Medina.
622 - Muslim calendar begins.


1st hereditary dynasty of the Muslim caliphs.
Damascus = capital.
Empire extended from Spain to India.
Overthrown by Abbasid caliphate.

Causes For Early Expansion

Weakness of adversaries.
Desire for booty.
A sense of a common cause/united strength.


Rural landholding elite.
Emerged in early Abbasid rule.


Emphasized mysticism and charismatic worship.


Followers of the majority interpretation of Islam


Followers of Ali's interpretation of Islam.


Dynasty that succeeded the Umayyads in 750.
Baghdad = capital.
Reasons for decline: difficulty in moving armies across the empire, disputes over succession, retention of rural identities by population, difficulty of getting local administrators to obey.


Stressed egalitarianism of believers.

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