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Muslim history began in Arabia when Muhammad recited the Qur'an in the 7th century. The historical development of Islam has affected political, economic, and military trends both inside and outside the Islamic world.

After Muhammad died, the Muslim leadership was assumed by Abu Bakr. He was followed by Umar, Uthman ibn Affan and then Ali. These four are called the Rashidun caliphs which means The Righteous Caliphs. The word caliph means religious and spiritual leader. Under these caliphs Islam became one of the most important religions of the middle East. Administrative offices of the Muslim nation were established. Under Umar more then two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire was conquered by the Muslims. Umar also started the Muslim calender.

  • Early rise of Islam (632-700)

  • Muslim Spain (711-1492)

Islamic Spain was a multi-cultural mix of Muslims, Christians and Jews. It brought a degree of civilisation to Europe that matched the heights of the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance.

  • Abbasid Empire (750-1258) (from BBC Radio 4)

The Abbasid Caliphs were the dynastic rulers of the Islamic world between the middle of the eighth and the tenth centuries.

  • Ottoman Empire (1301-1922)

The Ottoman Empire was an empire inspired and sustained by Islam.

  • Mughal Empire (1500s, 1600s)

The Mughal Empire that ruled most of India and Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries.

  • Safavid Empire (1501-1722)

The Safavid Empire lasted from 1501 to 1722 and was strong enough to challenge the Ottomans in the west and the Mughals in the east.

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