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The Spread of Islam With Trade and Geography

Translated from Arabic, the word “Islam” means “surrender to the One God” or “submission.” Like Judaism and Christianity, Islam is a theistic religion; this means that he proceeds from the understanding of the one God. This is the youngest religion in the history of humanity, which ranks second in the world in terms of the number of adherents. The conquests of the Arabs and the socio-cultural situation in the conquered territories contributed to the rapid spread of Islam.

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The first reason why the spread of Islam happened so quickly was that Muslims did not seek to enslave the local population during the conquests. On the contrary, they took the residents under protection and did not prevent them from professing their faith, did not interfere in their trade transactions and internal affairs. Such a policy was to the liking of the peoples they took under their patronage and it awakened in the hearts of people’s love and interest in Muslims. As a result, most of the population of these countries converted to Islam.

The rapid spread of Islam and its consolidation in vast territories was also due to the peculiarities and specifics of the religion itself. Thus, it is close to Judaism and Christianity and, in part, to Zoroastrianism. Much of the Qur’an is borrowed from the Bible — hence the accessibility of religion to those who, before the arrival of Islam, already professed one of the mentioned religions.

Byzantium and the Persian Empire could not stop Islam because they did not unite in the face of a common danger. The Persians wanted the Muslims to weaken the Greeks; the Greeks wanted them to drain the Persians. In addition, both states expected that the Arabs would go back to the desert, as they always did. Therefore, the two states did not unite against a common enemy, which led to a successful conquest by the Arabs and the spread of a new faith.

The ground for the new religion was prepared by the atrocities committed by the Byzantine emperors. In the struggle for the imperial throne, Christians dealt with each other with exceptional cruelty: Christians-Monophysites and Jews were brutally persecuted. Monophysites had their noses cut off and property confiscated, Jews were forcibly baptized. Under these conditions, Christians who lived in Saudi Arabia began to convert to the new faith. In most cases, the population willingly accepted Islam, renouncing the cruel Christianity.

The conquest of the Visigothic Kingdom, the entire Iberian Peninsula, and the southern part of modern France worried the ruler of the Frankish Empire. The border clashes between the two mighty powers were supposed to lead to a decisive battle. This battle took place in 732, near the city of Tours, in the town of Poitiers(Michalopoulos et al. 3232). Two large armies met: the Arabs under the command of Abdurrahman ibn Abdallah, and the army of the Franks under the control of Charles Martel.

The Battle of Tours was a moment of natural recovery for the Frankish state, after which the kingdom seemed to come out of oblivion. Many modern historians consider the year 732 to be an event, after which the appearance of Europe radically changed. Some even believe that it was the consequences of the Battle of Poitiers that led to the birth of classical Western European feudalism (Michalopoulos et al. 3237). The battle of the Franks with the Arabs in 732 was important not only for the Frankish state. It stopped the advance of Muslims to Western Europe, the course of European power and history.

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Islam in the modern world plays a significant role in the life of believers. It is not only a religious ideology that has come down to the present day since the emergence of Islam. It is also an ideology that determines the secular life of Muslims, the measure of their civil behavior, the value system. Due to the researches on Islam, scientists managed to preserve the scientific heritage of previous civilizations and develop new directions in science, culture, and art.

Work Cited

Michalopoulos, Naghavi, et al. “Trade and Geography in the Spread of Islam.” London Journal of Economics, vol. 128, no. 616, 2018, pp. 3210-3241.

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