GOLDEN AGE OF ISLAM
- UMMAYAD Caliphate grew massively but was rocked by a
lot of conflict. Overthrown by Abbasids.
ABBASID CALIPHATE 750-1258 CE
● the golden age of Islam.
● Abbasid emphasized that Knowledge was of great
value, as it says in Qur'an. Ummayad dynasty was
all about conquest. Abbasid was all about
knowledge: medicine, sciences, mathematics,
astronomy (starting to pull away from Greeks),
algebra, agricultural advances, economics advances.
● still conflicts but generally speaking, it was a
relatively peaceful time.
● much of the character from this time has carried
into modern Islam.
- HOUSE OF WISDOM in BAGHDAD
● this was one of the big things about the Golden
● it was the harvard of the period, internationally
● huge translation projects
● from modern day spain all the way to modern day
iran there was a flow of information. huge exchange
of knowledge happening
● not just muslim scholars but christian and jewish
scholars as well. ● qur'an could not be translated, restricted to
- all translations of qur'an are just interpretations,
they are not the quran. "truest" meaning of the qur'an
is in arabic.
- first full translation of qur'an into a non-arabic
language was 9th century into persian
- first european translation (into latin) was in 12th
- When it made it to Switzerland, it's introduction was
written by Martin Luther.
● qur'an turned into art.
● prohibition against icons.
● the actual visual appearance of arabic is also
important: you can find a lot of stylized uses of
arabic in decorative art in Islam.
● CALLIGRAMS and ARABESQUES turn the arabic language
into images because of the ban on images.
● arabic is a highly symbolic language.
● depictions of any figures, especially humans,
ESPECIALLY muhammad or allah are strongly
prohibited. this goes back to Muhammad clearing out
● there are hadiths that imply there are no images
of anything allowed. some groups may have images of
Ali (shi'ites) of something like that. some groups
take this avoidance of images to an extent where
they pursue a policy of iconoclasm. In 2001, two giant buddhist statues were destroyed. They found
it an instance of Shirk and a breaking of Talwid.
Look those up.
● shari'a law. tends to get westerners scared.
● shari'a - clear path to the watering place.
● the idea is that ALLAH HAS GIVEN THROUGH HIS
REVALATIONS CLEAR EXPLANATIONS OF HOW PEOPLE ARE TO
LIVE. SHARI'A is a reflection of these revalations.
● if you follow these laws you will be rewarded in
the next life
● pretty much all encompassing system of laws
● FAMILY LAW, BUSINESS LAW, PROPERTY LAW, STATE LAW,
CRIMINAL LAW, catch all categories, etc.
● evolved from Qur'an and Hadiths
● the way of extrapolating laws from qur'an and
hadiths (as in getting laws directly from
● means "deep understanding"
● muhammad never sinned, so finding out what he did
helps to make laws.
- Shari'a used to be used in determining both religious
and secular laws in most muslim places, all
- with the modern age, there has been a separate, at
least in theory, of religion and politics. This means
that in some muslim countries, Shari'a is being delegated to secondary issues like Family, Moral Law,
Religious Law, rather than state and criminal and such.
- these states have two court systems now: shari'a
court system and secular court systems.
- some countries like iran and afghanistan, shari'a is
- Sources of Shari'a are
● UMMA (COMMUNITY)
● QIYAS (ANALOGY FOR SUNNI)
● AND 'AQL (INTELLECT FOR SHI'ITE)
● essentially an arabic term for "legal opinion"
● a decision or declaration regarding the law. not
necessarily legally binding.
● not like a bill passed in legislature in the west.
● say the ayatollah in iran passes a fatwah, it is
going to carry a lot of weight. it is about the
creedence of the source of the discourse.
● it is not like every muslim has to follow the
fatwahs like we do with laws.
● that being said, judges and legal officials may
use fatwahs and have them inform their decision.
● fatwah can include recommendations that someone
can be put to death. Salmon Rushdie had a fatwah put out saying he should be put to death.
● subtle interpretations of the law
● generally speaking, fatwahs are quite minor,
despit their reput