Muhammad the Prophet - MUSLIM CONQUESTS

Islam teaches that Muhammad ascended to heaven in a night journey known as the Mi'raj. This illustration, “The Night Journey of Muhammad on His Steed,” is a leaf from a copy of the Bustan of Sa'di (a Persian Poet) It is dated 1514 and was created by a currently unknown painter. The calligrapher was Sultan Muhammad Nur Bukhara. The source material for this image is currently maintained at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Online via Wikimedia Commons.


Two years after Muhammad's death, the entire Arabian Peninsula was converted to the Islamic faith. Within three years, Muslim armies were invading Iraq, Syria and Egypt. By 638, Caliph Umar (from khalifah, meaning representative) conquered Jerusalem with his armies and, by 641, had defeated the mighty Persian Empire.

Not long after, Muslims conquered Cyprus and Tripoli (in today's Libya) and had established rule in Iran, Afghanistan and Sindh. In addition, they warred against themselves in a quarrel over Muhammad's successor and, by 750, had taken over Spain. They were stopped from controlling France at the Battle of Poitiers.

In Jerusalem (as elsewhere), Muslim rulers allowed Jews and Christians to practice their own religious beliefs. But those rulers set in motion a huge problem that continues to this day. They erected the Dome of the Rock (completed in 691) over the Noble Rock, the third-holiest site in Islam.

Built on the spot where Muslims believe Muhammad ascended in a "Night Journey" to heaven (called the Miraj), the Dome of the Rock also sits on the holiest of all Jewish sites. It is the "Holy of Holies" from the first Temple. It is Mount Moriah, where God commanded Abraham (Ibrahim in the Koran) to sacrifice his sonIsaac, in a test of faith. (Muslims believe it was Ishmael, not Isaac, who was to be sacrificed.)

Today the site is Temple Mount to a Jew; it is Dome of the Rock to a Muslim. It is the place over which both sides claim ownership in a struggle that seemingly has no resolution.

Believing that Islam is a way of life, not just a religious faith, Muhammad changed the Arabic world. People were bound together in a religious and political community. As Islam spread to non-Arabic countries, non-Arab people were also part of the Muslim ummah (community). United by faith, despite differences in culture and country, Islam became a formidable force.

What are some of the Islamic teachings set down in the Koran? And how were they able to transcend cultural barriers?

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jun 19, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"MUSLIM CONQUESTS" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 01, 2000. Feb 29, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips