Islamic History, Part 14: Muʿawiyah’s Caliphate (661-680) and the Onset of Dynastic Rule

Islamic History Series We can actually close off our first mini-period in Islamic history at this point. Isn't that exciting? See, the first four Caliphs--Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali--are collectively known in later Islamic historiography as the Rashidun Caliphs, from the Arabic word rashid, which means "rightly-guided" or "righteous." This is an incredibly loaded … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 14: Muʿawiyah’s Caliphate (661-680) and the Onset of Dynastic Rule

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Islamic History, Part 15: the Second Fitna (680-692) and, finally, some stability

Islamic History Series Early Islamic history is a mess. And here I don't mean that the study of early Islamic history is a mess, although it is, as we've already talked about. But even if we just stick to the traditional narrative, we are now approaching a half-century since the death of Muhammad and already … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 15: the Second Fitna (680-692) and, finally, some stability

Islamic History, Part 19: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part I

Islamic History Series (this got really out of control long, so I split it into two pieces; part II is here) The Arabic word dawlah means "state" in modern parlance, and prior to the rise of the modern nation-state it was often used to describe dynasties. Its root (dawala) is a verb that means "to … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 19: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part I

Islamic History, Part 20: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part II

Islamic History Series before you read this, first read part I As I said earlier, the Umayyads were able to operate on a religious level in their claim on authority primarily because they were the symbolic embodiment of the communal unity that Muhammad had established decades earlier. What it meant to be a "Muslim" still … Continue reading Islamic History, Part 20: the Islamic Opposition and the Abbasid Revolution (705-750), Part II