Sectarianism: Sunnis and Shi`ites

The Caliphate

Three main eras in history of Caliphate

  1. 632-661--The Four "Rightly-Guided" Caliphs

    'Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman, 'Ali

    • Original followers and companions of Muhammad.

    • Consolidated Islamic hegemony in Arabia

    • Redaction of the Qur'an

    • Expansion to Palestine, Middle-East, Persia, North Africa

  2. 661-750--The 'Umayyad Dynasty

    • Founded by Mu'ayya

    • Centered in Damascus, Syria

    • Military character

    • Time of expansion: to Spain in West, India in East
      Concepts of
      • Dar al-Islam, ("abode of Islam"), lands under Muslim control;
      • Dar al-Harb ("abode of war"), lands ruled by unbelievers
      Map of the Islamic Empire at its Height

  3. 750-1258--The 'Abbasid Dynasty

    • Descended from Muhammad's uncle al-'Abbas.

    • Centered in Baghdad, Iraq.

    • Persian-style absolute monarchy: elaborate hierarchical royal court.

    • Attracted "Mawali", non-Arab Muslims.

    • Presided over Golden Age of culture: literature, arts, sciences, philosophy.

    • Fell to Seljuk Turks, then Mongols.

The Split between Shi'a and Sunna


Features of Shi'a Belief and Practice

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