History Lectures

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Islamic Beginnings In its initial years, Islam has been considered a nomadic culture until it found a home in the Arab territories. Islam’s most famous prophet is someone you most likely have heard of–Muhammad or Mohammed. Muhammad was known to have united the Muslim religion and culture. He is considered their prophet because it is said that the teachings of Allah were revealed to him by an angel. These teachings are now present in the Muslim bible called the Qur’an (Khanbagi, 2006). When Muhammad, Islam’s holy man, passed away, various problems of succession arose. The succeeding years of the Muslim civilization brought on more conquered lands. One after another, we have seen other cultures and territories fall to the Muslims, including the Byzantines, Syria, Persia, Egypt, North Africa, and Spain. But, as the Muslims were conquering these territories, the fighting within their group got worse. Many of us have heard about Islam through the latest media coverage. and if so, you may have heard of the two infamous groups, the Sunis and the Shiites. These two groups were borne out of the infighting Muslims, due to differing ideas on governance. The Shiites followed Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, and the Sunis followed the Ummayads, who were the first Muslim dynasty to rule the Arab Kingdom (Jelen Wilcox, 2002). Islam’s Golden Years Of course, during the older rule of Islam, it was not all about fighting. There was a golden period. a time when the Arabic, Byzantine, Persian, and Indian cultures were integrated with one another. They refer to it as a golden age because learning reached its peak through Muslim associations with the Greeks and the Byzantines. The interplay became more than what one would expect—a predatory or conqueror-slave type of interaction. The relationship became as simple as a teacher and a student (Kreis, 2006). As the conquered groups learned about Islam, Islam learned from the conquered. Knowledge became alive and in the process, science and philosophy was also preserved. Allah taught these Muslims to seek out knowledge and truth and to protect it (Kreis, 2006). And, this is what they did as they allowed knowledge to become a major part of their life and their daily activities. African Beginnings Most of the southern part of the African continent has been occupied by tribes known as Khoisan (Hupston, 2009). The Khoisan language is characterized by clicking sounds, very similar to that of the Bushman. From the Khoisan tribes, more divisions are later seen: the San (Bushmen) and the KhoiKhoi or Hottentots (History World, n.d). The Pygmies, which includes the Bambuti, Batwa, Bayaka and Bagyelil divisions are scattered over a huge area in central and western Africa, to include the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Congo (Brazzaville), Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda (The Africa Guide, 1996). The Pygmies were known to occupy the tropical forests of central Africa, but it was the Negroes which dominated sub-Saharan Africa. Primeval Tribes The Negroes, were an African tribe who found their home in the so-called Negro systems, in western and central Sudan, Upper Guinea, and the Upper Nile regions. They spoke the Bantu language, a language which dominated much of Africa in later years. It is composed of about 500