Europe was now in a position not only to benefit from direct trade with Asia but more importantly, threaten the Arab and Muslim Middle East with military encirclement. Important books were written on soil analysis, water, and what kinds of crops were suited to what soil. The fourth pillar is fasting during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim year. The fifth pillar of Islam is the pilgrimage to Mecca - the hajj. Written in noble language, this Holy Text has done more than move multitudes to tears and ecstasy; it has also, for almost fourteen hundred years, illuminated the lives of Muslims with its eloquent message of uncompromising monotheism, human dignity, righteous living, individual responsibility, and social justice. Muslims regard Islam as a return to the original faith of the prophets, such as Jesus, Solomon, David, Moses, Abraham, Noah and Adam, with the submission (islam) to the will of God. 900-1300: Turkic invasion > Seljuq Empire > Mongol Empire: ca. One important addition by the Ottoman calligraphers was the script called diwani, so called from the word diwan (meaning state council or government office) since it was at first used primarily for documents issued by the Ottoman Council of State. Who would be its leader? The system of numeration employed throughout the greater part of the world today was probably developed in India, but because it was the Arabs who transmitted this system to the West the numerals it uses have come to be called Arabic. Alerted by a chain of signal fires stretching from Iraq to Egypt, the Mamluks were able to marshal their forces in time to meet, and crush, the Mongols at 'Ayn Jalut near Nazareth in Palestine. This so weakened them that when the various Christian kingdoms began to pose a serious threat, the Muslim rulers in Spain had to ask the Almoravids, a North African Berber dynasty, to come to their aid. They imported the technologically advanced "ondanique" steel from India, for example, and then processed it at such famous centers of weapons manufacture as Damascus and Toledo, both of which cities won fame for their blades. The criticisms that religious men in Medina and elsewhere had voiced of Umayyad policy - particularly the pursuit of worldly goals - were not lost on 'Umar who, reversing the policy of his predecessors, discontinued the levy of a poll tax on converts. Recent events have made an understanding of the turmoil in the Middle East more important than ever. For the most part, however, Western domination tended to benefit the nations of Europe at the expense of the Arab world. As a result, Granada fell ten years later. He also brought the semi-autonomous rulers in various provinces under control, with the exception of the defiant and able Muhammad 'Ali in Egypt. To practice their faith, Muslims must accept five primary obligations which Islam imposes. Again, however, the effects were temporary and the empire continued to lose territory through rebellion or foreign intervention. As late as 1683, for example, they besieged Vienna. The report may be read in conjunction with the CMI reports on political Islam in South Asia (Knudsen 2002a) and the annotated bibliography on Palestinian Islamist movements (Bangstad 2002). Called "a forest of olive trees," Tunisia exported so much olive oil that its port of Sfax was called "the port of oil.". The destruction by the Mongols of many of these achievements and of much of what the Muslims had accomplished by the end of the Golden Age was a tragic loss for the world as a whole. Each of these men, all exceptional scholars, wrote or dictated long and learned commentaries upon which their schools of law were founded. Realizing that the original message from God might be inadvertently distorted by textual variants, he appointed a committee to collect the canonical verses and destroy the variant recensions. Indeed, the Quran is the cornerstone on which the edifice of Islamic civilization has been built. Then, in his forties he began to retire to meditate in a cave on Mount Hira outside of Mecca, where the first of the great events of Islam took place. Western culture spread with Western economic and political control. This course aims to provide students with a general overview of basic themes and issues in Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the present, with an emphasis on the encounters and exchanges between the "Middle East" (Southwest Asia and North Africa) and the "West" (Europe and the United States). Photo: This tughra (monogram or insignia) of the Ottoman Sultan Abdu Hamid shows the three elongated vertical strokes which are characteristic of this style. 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