The spread of Islam following the death of the Prophet Muhammad occurred extraordinarily quickly. Though there are many reasons for this expansion, the Empire’s military might, the religious zest of its believers, and economic interests doubtlessly contributed to Islam’s rapid rise to supremacy. The Empire’s vastness entailed challenges in control and governance, resulting in a complex system of local leadership that responded ultimately to the Caliph.
The early success of Islam was rooted in the Prophet Muhammad’s ability to consolidate Arabic Bedouin tribal nomads of the north with the religious aristocracy from the south. Muhammad’s dissenting views of the pilgrimage to the Ka’ba, a cube-shaped building at the center of Islam’s most sacred mosque in Mecca, angered the locals who depended on it for their economic well-being. As the people of Mecca became angry with Muhammad, he had to flee for his life. Muhammad’s escape from Mecca, a journey known as the “hijra”, led him to the city of Medina. Ironically, Muhammad did not have many followers before his arrival at Medina. Following his arrival there, Muhammad gained a large following, particularly among Bedouin nomads. These nomadic tribes waged a conflict against Mecca, which eventually capitulated. The transcendent achievement of this conflict was the banding of different tribes under one overarching religious community, the “umma”. This event was key in forming a Muslim identity where religion superseded tribal, political, or national distinctions (McKay et.al., 2015).
After Muhammad’s death in 632, Islam spread quickly throughout areas formerly controlled...
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...2). Local governors called “emirs” were appointed to oversee issues related to taxes, maintenance of the military, and public order. Local conquered people were allowed to remain in office below the emirs, thus affording a seamless transition with the previous regime (McKay et. al., 2015).
Some of the factors contributing to the rapid spread of Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammad were military might, religious zest, and economic interests. The enormous size of the Islamic Empire meant that complex government structures had to be put in place to oversee the different states. The Caliph was at the top of the power structure which merged both religious and political authorities under one person. Regardless of the reasons for the Islamic Empire’s quick expansion, the religion has had, and continues to have, an undeniably lasting impact in world history.
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