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"Vast and powerful empires are founded on a religion. This is because dominion can only be secured by victory and victory goes to the side which shows most solidarity and unity of purpose. Now men's hearts are united and co-ordinated, with the help of God, by participation in a common religion" Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406)

The military successes of the first Muslim armies were remarkable on every front. The speed of their advance startled the Mediterranean world. The difference with early Christianity could not have been more pronounced. Within 20 years of the death of the Prophet Muhammad (عليه السلام)  in AD 632, the armies of the faithful had laid the foundations of the first Islamic empire in the regions of the Fertile Crescent. Impressed by these successes, whole tribes embraced the new religion. Mosques sprouted in the desert. The swift triumphs of this army were seen as a sign that Allah was both omnipotent and on the side of the Believers. A combination of factors explains these remarkable victories.

By AD 628, the Persian and Byzantine empires had been at war for almost a century: a titanic conflict that had exhausted and enfeebled both sides, alienated the subject populations and created an opening for new conquerors. Syria and Egypt were part of the Christian Byzantine Empire. Iraq was ruled by Zoroastrian Sasanid Persia. All three now fell to the might and fervour of a unified tribal force. The Arab triumphs against the highly skilled and experienced war machines of two empires are not only explained by force of numbers or a sophisticated military strategy. A decisive element was the active sympathy shown for the new invaders by a sizeable section of the local population. The fevour of the unified Arab tribes cannot be explained simply by the appeal of the new religion or the promises of pleasures in Paradise. 

It was the comforts of this world that motivated the tens of thousands who flocked to fight under the command of Khalid ibn-Walid and took part in the conquest of Damascus. The 9th century poet Abu Tammam referred to this in a verse: No, not for Paradise didst thou the nomad life forsake, Rather, I believe, it was thy yearning after bread and dates. A view strongly endorsed by Ahmad al-Baladhuri, a distinguished Arab historian from the same century whose account of the Arab conquests is regarded as beyond dispute. He cites Rustum, the defeated Persian general who defended his country against the Arab assault, saying to an envoy: 'I have learnt that ye were forced to what ye are doing by nothing but the narrow means of livelihood and by poverty'.

In AD 638, soon after the Muslim armies took Jerusalem, the Caliph Umar visited the city to enforce the terms of peaceSophronious, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who greeted him was taken aback by the ordinariness of the Muslim and the lack of pomp. Umar, like other Muslim leaders of the period, was modestly dressed. Dust of the journey marked his clothes. His beard was untrimmed. The poverty of his appearance surprised the Patriarch. The chronicles record that he turned to a servant and said in GREEK; 'Truly this is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet as standing in the Holy Place'. 

The strategic victories won against the Byzantines and the Persians had been won so easily that the armies of the faithful became extremely confident and filled with a sense of their own identity. After all, Inshallah they were the people whose leader had received the last and definitive message of God. 

The conquest of Persia had overthrown a dynasty that had ruled for 12 centuries. The Arabs inherited its wealth and culture. This was the first time they had sighted the yellow metal known as gold.  An Arab soldier who sold a young woman of high birth he had inherited as war booty for a mere bagatelle: 1000 dirhams. When asked to explain his stupidity , he replied that he 'never thought there was a number above ten hundred'. The German tribes who took Rome had preserved their power by insisting on social privileges but had succumbed completely to a superior culture and converted to Christianity. 

The Arabs who conquered Persia found themselves bewitched by the wonders of Persia but they were never tempted to abandon their identity, language or Allah forbid their new faith. It was the promises of Islam of a universal religion as the precursor of a universal state that had captured the imagination and furthered the material interests of the tribes. Not for them the temptation of becoming a ruling elite of a Christian or Persian Empire and abandoning Arabic for Greek or Persian.  

This did not imply a refusal to adapt or learn from the civilisations they overpowered. It was the cultural synthesis resulting from the Arab conquests of Syria and Persia that seeded the new Islamic civilisation, quickly absorbing the refined arts, literature and philosophy of Greek Hellenistic culture(itself stolen from Ancient Egypt) into a common heritage.

It was the multi-ethnic make-up and the populist and egalitarian propaganda of the ABBASID faction within Islam that enabled it to defeat the narrow Arab nationalism of the Umayyads.

The development of medicine, a discipline in which Muslims later excelled provides an interesting example of how knowledge travelled, intermingled and matured during the First Millenium. Two centuries before the advent of Islam, the city of Gondeshapur in Southwestern Persia (now Khuzestan) acquired the reputation of a safe haven and became a refuge for dissident intellectuals and freethinkers, facing repression in their own cities. The Nestorians of Edessa had fled here in AD 489 when their school was sealed. Its students and teachers, also made the long journey to Gondeshapur. News of this city of learning spread to neighbouring civilisations. Scholars from India and according to some even China, arrived to participate in the lively discussions with Greeks, Jews, Arabs, Christians and Syrians - it was the philosophy of medicine that attracted the most followers. The theoretical instructions in medicine were supplemented by practice in a bimaristan (hospital), making the citizens of Gondeshapur the most cared for in the world. Medical dynasties were well established by AD 638, when the Arab armies.took the city. This was followed by Arabs being trained at the medical schools and then moving elsewhere in the growing Muslim empire taking all that knowledge learnt to other parts of the expanding Islamic civilisation. This was when Europe (the white man) was living in total darkness as a Christian cave man. Medical Encyclopedias began to flow. Ibn-Sina and al-Razi, the two great Muslim philosopher physicians were only too well aware that the origins of their medical knowledge lay in a small town in Persia.

Umar's successors fanned out from Egypt to North Africa. A base was established and consolidated in the Southern Tunisian city of Al-Qayrawan. Carthage became a Muslim city. The Arab governor of Ifriqiya (North Africa), Musa bin Nusayr, established the first contacts with continental Europe, he received much support from the Count Julian, the exarch of Septem (Ceutal). Musa's leading lieutenant, Tarik bin Ziyad, a young Berber recruit assembled an army of 7000 men and with the aid of Count Julian's boats led them to the shores of Europe, near the rock which has ever since born his name (GIBRALTAR). It was April AD 711 less than a hundred years had passed since the death of the Prophet Muhammad (عليه السلام). King Roderick of Spain was defeated by Tarik's army. The local population flocked to the banners of the invaders who had rid them of an oppressive ruler.  Cordoba and Toledo fell to Tarik's army. As it became obvious that Tarik was determined to take the whole of Spain (including Portugal together they make the IBERIAN PENINSULA) an envious Musa bin Nusayr left Morocco with 10,000 men to join his victorious subordinate in Toledo. Together the two armies marched north and took Saragossa.

Most of the Iberian Peninsula was under their control largely because of the local population's stubborn refusal to defend the old regime. The two Muslim leaders were planning to cross the Pyrenees and from there embark on the long march through France to take Paris. or so they dreamed. Instead of obtaining the Caliph's permission in Damascus they had merely informed him of their progress. Angered by this disrespectful attitude to his authority, the Caliph in Damascus sent messengers to summon the two back to Damascus. Tarik and Musa never saw Europe again. I wonder if the Caliph ever found out in hell that he seriously and unforgivably disrupted history. Lesser men came forward but progress had been halted. The forward march of the Islamic Revolution soon halted.

At the battle of Poitiers in October 732, Charles Martels followers inflicted a sobering defeat on the soldiers of the Islam commemorating the end of the first Muslim century. Islam was temporarily confined to the Iberian Peninsula for the time being. A century later the Arabs took the Italian island of Sicily (Italy as a country did not exist at the time it, these were Catholic lands ruled by the Pope) threatening the heel of the mainland but were kept at bay. Palermo (capital of Sicily to this day) became a city of a hundred mosques but Rome survived a Muslim raid and stayed sacrosanct. To this day racist xenophobic Italians refer to the Sicilians as Arabs. When in 958 Sancho the Fat left his cold and windy castle in the northern Kingdom of Navarre, desperate to find a cure for obesity he went down south to Cordoba, the Capital of the Western Caliphate (Islamic SPAIN-AL ANDULUS).

Caliph Abderrahman the 3rd had made the city the major centre of culture in Europe. Its closest rival lay not in Europe but in distant Mesapotamia, where another dynasty had a Caliph presiding over Baghdad. Both were renowned for their schools, libraries, musicians, poets, physicians, astronomers, mullahs and heretics and yes taverns and dancing-girls.

Islamic Spain had the edge in dissent. Islamic hegemony was not forcibly imposed therefore this led to genuine debates between the 3 religions producing an Andulasian synthesis from which native Islam benefitted a great deal. Maimonides, the rabbi and father of Modern Jewish theology was deeply influenced by Islam. The city of Cordoba became notorious for its dissenters and skeptics. In Baghdad they would speak, half in admiration and half in fear of the "Al-Andalusian heresy".

The philosopher-poet Ibn Hamza would rebuke believers who refused to demonstrate the truth of ideas through argument. They would shout back at him that the use of the dialectic (enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions) was forbidden. 'Who has forbidden it'? Ibn Hamza would ask in return, implying that the forbidder  and only he was and is the enemy of faith. The attempt to reconcile reason and divine truth became an Andulusian specialty to be treated with great suspicion in Baghdad and Cairo. 

The first of Europe's ethnic cleansings (long before Hitler and the Jews) began with the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Jews from the Iberian Peninsula through the Catholic Reconquest of Spain. One outcome of this as a fact was the break down in personal hygiene. Because baths were associated with Islam the Catholic leaders of Spain ordered their destruction. Since many Muslims were forced to convert or be expelled (or die) the spies of the Catholic revenge-squads kept a sharp watch to see if the converts were still having baths or making their ablutions.

This is not to imply that a  perfect world was destroyed from without. There are no perfect worlds. The Andulusian entity had been weakened by civil wars within Islam. A fanatical Berber fundamentalism reminiscent of the Wahhabi fanaticism of centuries later had killed Christians, Jews and Muslims at various times in accord with its particular vision of Islam. All this shows is there is no such thing as a monolithic faith. Opposing currents have always existed within Islam. Islam had always prospered through contact with other traditions. Its origins lay in close contact with Judaism and Christianity. The interrelationship between Neoplatonists and the Sufi tradition is both direct and subconscious.

The Islamic Renaissance of the early Middle Ages (the Golden Age of Islam) preserved and refined the thought of Ancient Greeks, producing work in the practical arts and sciences which served as an intellectual bridge to the European Renaissance and ideas that dominate the Modern West today. The road that began in Ancient Egypt which was stolen by Ancient Greece to Western Europe made a long detour through the world of Islam.

 

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1 hour ago, Gabenowa said:

The Islamic Renaissance of the early Middle Ages (the Golden Age of Islam) preserved and refined the thought of Ancient Greeks, producing work in the practical arts and sciences which served as an intellectual bridge to the European Renaissance and ideas that dominate the Modern West today. The road that began in Ancient Egypt which was stolen by Ancient Greece to Western Europe made a long detour through the world of Islam.

 

Salam from our view it was Arabic Renaissance of the early Middle Ages (the Golden Age of Arabs) in Islamic name by motivation of Muslims but non of achievement was accepted by Shia Imams because all made by tyrants that usurped their right  & their conquests doesn't made based on doctrine of Prophet Muhammad (pbu) that they were it's guardians only  successful example of Islamic conquest was converting people of Yemen by Imam Ali (عليه السلام) without war & convincing people on truth but this example completely ignored by 3 caliphs & two Umayyad & Abbasid dynasties only Imam Ali (عليه السلام) by internal wars (that still anti Shia groups like as Wahhbists are condemning him for these wars )& later his grandson Imam Hussain (عليه السلام) by his great sacrifice could save Prophet (pbu) legacy from complete forgetting by other Muslims to preserve it for time of Imam Mahdi (aj) ,caliph Umar despite his simple life style was beginner of corruption in generations after him by racism & financial corruption between Muslims that in Islamic Spain reached to it's dead end by an Islam that only it's name was Islam but was completely corrupted to it's core  by all types of corruptions that last remaining of it destroyed by invasion of Moguls that somehow by prophecy  of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) that anti Shia groups still condemn Shias because we could save ourselves from them & one of propminet Shia figure Sheikh Tusi (رضي الله عنه) was in company of Hulagu Khan that by using his power ,sheikh destroyed last remaining of Abbasid empire that after him Allama Hili (رضي الله عنه)could convert one of his successors to Shia Islam which after parallel existance of Shia Buyyid  to Abbasids & Sarbedaran movement during Moguls leads to Safavid dynasty parallel to Ottomans which still is on progress until reappearance of Imam Mahdi (aj) 

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Al-Shaykh_al-Tusi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulagu_Khan

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Al-'Allama_al-Hilli

Sermon 128: O Ahnaf!....

About important future events in Basrah

ومن كلام له (عليه السلام)

وهو ممّا كان يخبر به عن الملاحم بالبصرة

O Ahnaf! It is as though I see him advancing with an army which has neither dust nor noise, nor rustling of reins, nor neighing of horses. They are trampling the ground with their feet as if they are the feet of ostriches.

يَا أَحْنَفُ، كَأَنِّي بِهِ وَقَدْ سَارَ بِالْجَيْشِ الَّذِي لاَ يَكُونُ لَهُ غُبَارٌ وَلاَ لَجَبٌ، وَلاَ قَعْقَعَةُ لُجُم، وَلاَ حَمْحَمَةُ خَيْل، يُثِيرُونَ الاْرْضَ بِأَقْدَامِهِمْ كَأَنَّهَا أَقْدَامُ النَّعَامِ.

As-Sayyid ar-Radi says: Amir al-mu'minin pointed to the Chief of the Negroes, (Sahibu'z-Zanj).1

يومىء بذلك (عليه السلام) إلى صاحب الزّنْج.

Then Amir al -mu'minin said:

Woe to you (the people of Basrah’s) inhabited streets and decorated houses which possess wings like the wings of vultures and trunks like the trunks of elephants; they are the people from among whom if one is killed he is not mourned and if one is lost he is not searched for. I turn this world over on its face, value it only according to its (low) value, and look at it with an eye suitable to it.

ثمّ قال (عليه السلام): وَيْلٌ لِسِكَكِكُمُ الْعَامِرَةِ، وَدُورِكُمُ الْمُزَخْرَفَةِ الَّتِي لَهَا أَجْنِحَةٌ كَأَجْنَحَةِ النُّسُورِ، وَخَرَاطِيمُ كَخَرَاطِيمِ الْفِيَلَةِ، مِنْ أُولئِكَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُنْدَبُ قَتِيلُهُمْ، وَلاَ يُفْقَدُ غَائِبُهُمْ. أَنَا كَابُّ الدُّنْيَا لِوَجْهِهَا، وَقَادِرُهَا بِقَدْرِهَا، وَنَاظِرُهَا بِعَيْنِهَا.

A part of the same sermon referring to the Turks (Mongols)

منه: ويومئ به إلى وصف الاتراك

2 can see a people whose faces are like shields covered with rough-scraped skins. They dress themselves in silken and woollen clothes and hold dear excellent horses. Their killing and bloodshed shall take place freely till the wounded shall walk over the dead and the number of runners-away shall be less than those taken prisoner:

كَأَنِّي أَرَاهُمْ قَوْماً كَأَنَّ وَجُوهَهُمُ الْـمَجَانُّ الْمُطَرَّقَةُ، يَلْبَسُونَ السَّرَقَ وَالدِّيبَاجَ، وَيَعْتَقِبُونَ الْخَيْلَ الْعِتَاقَ، وَيَكُونُ هُنَاكَ اسْتِحْرَارُ قَتْل،حَتَّى يَمْشِيَ الْـمَجْرُوحُ عَلَى الْمَقْتُولِ، وَيَكُونَ الْمُفْلِتُ أَقَلَّ مِنَ المَأْسُورِ!

https://www.al-Islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons/sermon-128-o-ahnaf

Edited by Ashvazdanghe

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58 minutes ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

Salam from our view it was Arabic Renaissance of the early Middle Ages (the Golden Age of Arabs) in Islamic name by motivation of Muslims but non of achievement was accepted by Shia Imams because all made by tyrants that usurped their right  & their conquests doesn't made based on doctrine of Prophet Muhammad (pbu) that they were it's guardians only  successful example of Islamic conquest was converting people of Yemen by Imam Ali (عليه السلام) without war & convincing people on truth but this example completely ignored by 3 caliphs & two Umayyad & Abbasid dynasties only Imam Ali (عليه السلام) by internal wars (that still anti Shia groups like as Wahhbists are condemning him for these wars )& later his grandson Imam Hussain (عليه السلام) by his great sacrifice could save Prophet (pbu) legacy from complete forgetting by other Muslims to preserve it for time of Imam Mahdi (aj) ,caliph Umar despite his simple life style was beginner of corruption in generations after him by racism & financial corruption between Muslims that in Islamic Spain reached to it's dead end by an Islam that only it's name was Islam but was completely corrupted to it's core  by all types of corruptions that last remaining of it destroyed by invasion of Moguls that somehow by prophecy  of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) that anti Shia groups still condemn Shias because we could save ourselves from them & one of propminet Shia figure Sheikh Tusi (رضي الله عنه) was in company of Hulagu Khan that by using his power ,sheikh destroyed last remaining of Abbasid empire that after him Allama Hili (رضي الله عنه)could convert one of his successors to Shia Islam which after parallel existance of Shia Buyyid  to Abbasids & Sarbedaran movement during Moguls leads to Safavid dynasty parallel to Ottomans which still is on progress until reappearance of Imam Mahdi (aj) 

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Al-Shaykh_al-Tusi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hulagu_Khan

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Al-'Allama_al-Hilli

Sermon 128: O Ahnaf!....

About important future events in Basrah

ومن كلام له (عليه السلام)

وهو ممّا كان يخبر به عن الملاحم بالبصرة

O Ahnaf! It is as though I see him advancing with an army which has neither dust nor noise, nor rustling of reins, nor neighing of horses. They are trampling the ground with their feet as if they are the feet of ostriches.

يَا أَحْنَفُ، كَأَنِّي بِهِ وَقَدْ سَارَ بِالْجَيْشِ الَّذِي لاَ يَكُونُ لَهُ غُبَارٌ وَلاَ لَجَبٌ، وَلاَ قَعْقَعَةُ لُجُم، وَلاَ حَمْحَمَةُ خَيْل، يُثِيرُونَ الاْرْضَ بِأَقْدَامِهِمْ كَأَنَّهَا أَقْدَامُ النَّعَامِ.

As-Sayyid ar-Radi says: Amir al-mu'minin pointed to the Chief of the Negroes, (Sahibu'z-Zanj).1

يومىء بذلك (عليه السلام) إلى صاحب الزّنْج.

Then Amir al -mu'minin said:

Woe to you (the people of Basrah’s) inhabited streets and decorated houses which possess wings like the wings of vultures and trunks like the trunks of elephants; they are the people from among whom if one is killed he is not mourned and if one is lost he is not searched for. I turn this world over on its face, value it only according to its (low) value, and look at it with an eye suitable to it.

ثمّ قال (عليه السلام): وَيْلٌ لِسِكَكِكُمُ الْعَامِرَةِ، وَدُورِكُمُ الْمُزَخْرَفَةِ الَّتِي لَهَا أَجْنِحَةٌ كَأَجْنَحَةِ النُّسُورِ، وَخَرَاطِيمُ كَخَرَاطِيمِ الْفِيَلَةِ، مِنْ أُولئِكَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُنْدَبُ قَتِيلُهُمْ، وَلاَ يُفْقَدُ غَائِبُهُمْ. أَنَا كَابُّ الدُّنْيَا لِوَجْهِهَا، وَقَادِرُهَا بِقَدْرِهَا، وَنَاظِرُهَا بِعَيْنِهَا.

A part of the same sermon referring to the Turks (Mongols)

منه: ويومئ به إلى وصف الاتراك

2 can see a people whose faces are like shields covered with rough-scraped skins. They dress themselves in silken and woollen clothes and hold dear excellent horses. Their killing and bloodshed shall take place freely till the wounded shall walk over the dead and the number of runners-away shall be less than those taken prisoner:

كَأَنِّي أَرَاهُمْ قَوْماً كَأَنَّ وَجُوهَهُمُ الْـمَجَانُّ الْمُطَرَّقَةُ، يَلْبَسُونَ السَّرَقَ وَالدِّيبَاجَ، وَيَعْتَقِبُونَ الْخَيْلَ الْعِتَاقَ، وَيَكُونُ هُنَاكَ اسْتِحْرَارُ قَتْل،حَتَّى يَمْشِيَ الْـمَجْرُوحُ عَلَى الْمَقْتُولِ، وَيَكُونَ الْمُفْلِتُ أَقَلَّ مِنَ المَأْسُورِ!

https://www.al-Islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons/sermon-128-o-ahnaf

Salaam and thank you. To be honest, I think the books that taught me Islamic history were written by Sunni Muslims (even though they could be condemned as heretics because they are freethinkers). I have no knowledge about Shia Islamic history beyond the events of the schism, Karbala and all of that. But on the Shia role in the growth of Islam throughout the world, I am blind. Thank you. I had no clue Imam Ali (عليه السلام) had converted the Yemenites. Though to a certain extent it does make sense, because there are Houthis there and Houthis are Zaydis if Im not mistaken and being bombed by the Saudi airforce. Thank you brother I see I should from start from scratch with books that are kind to Shias. Either these Muslim historians don’t know about the Shia role in history or they don’t care. 

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Shias have always been the minority among Muslims. Military conquest is not our way. We fight defensively and we convert through reason not coercion. 

That having been said, there is merit to the assertion that strength is found through unity of purpose, and undoubtedly the armies of the early non-Shia Muslims were powerful and terrifying. 

Probably the greatest weakness of modern Shia is our internal discord. We have forgotten how to disagree and still work together. 

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