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04-08-2007, 02:30 PM
The Muslim World Circa 750

By 750 C.E., Islam had spread from Madinah to all of Arabia, then Mesopotamia, Egypt, most of the coastal regions of North Africa, and into Iberia. The major ruling groups of the Middle East at the time, the Christian Byzantines and the Persian Sasanids, had exhausted themselves after years of warfare, weakening their empires and enabling the Muslims to fill a power vacuum. The ease with which Islam spread eastward and westward in the 200 years after the death of Muhammad is further explained by theological divisions and intra-religious persecution within the Christian world. Many Christians in these lands, particularly those from persecuted sects, welcomed the arrival of the Muslims, and converted freely to Islam over the years.


The Crusades: 1096 to 1289

Beginning in 1096, some Christian Europeans heeded the call of the papacy to launch a series of “holy wars” aimed at gaining control of Jerusalem from the Muslim Arabs and Seljuk Turks. In all, eight crusades were carried out. Jerusalem fell to the Christians in 1099, partly due to the disarray among Muslims. It took Muslims nearly half a century to respond effectively with their own call for defensive jihad, which required fighting against the Crusaders. Under the leadership of Salah al-Din, the Muslims effectively ended the Christian hold on the Holy Land in 1187, shortly after which Jerusalem was restored to Muslim control. It would be another 100 years, however, before the last Christian strongholds (Tripoli and Acre) fell to the Muslims. In general, the Muslims considered the Crusades to be an invasion by European outsiders, and history indicates that the Europeans treated Muslims and Jews much more harshly in comparison to Muslim treatment of Christians. The Christian sacking of Jerusalem and the massacre of its Muslim and Jewish residents during the first Crusade are often remembered as tragic historical examples of religious intolerance.


The Ottoman Empire: 1350 to 1918

This greatest of the Muslim states in terms of duration was founded in the late 13th century by the Ottoman Turks. It lasted until its dissolution after WW I in 1918. Its early phase challenged the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria, and Serbia. In 1389, much of the Balkan Peninsula came under Ottoman rule. The Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, bringing to an end the 1100-year-rule of the Byzantine Empire/ Next the Ottomans gained control of Mamluk Egypt in 1517, followed by Algiers and most of present-day Hungary by 1529, all of Persia in 1638, and most of the region between the Black and Caspian Seas by the 1650s. These so-called Ottoman wars of conquest fixed in the imagination of the Europeans the image of the Muslim Turks as ferocious and religiously inspired warriors. Beginning in the 1780s, the Ottoman Empire began to weaken, as European powers gained strength and began to vie with each other for access to resources and markets in the Middle East. Most of the northern coast of the Black Sea had slipped away by 1812. The Ottoman Empire lost Greece, Egypt, and Serbia to European-inspired independence movements over the next 60 years. By 1900, Turkey was known as the “Sick Man of Europe,” And by 1912, it had lost nearly all of its European territories. Siding with Germany and the losing Central Powers in World War I doomed the Empire. With the signing of the armistice ending WWI, the Ottoman Empire was dismantled by the Allied Powers, paving the way for the creation of new individual states in the modern Middle East.


Western Europe: Muslim Population Circa 2000

It is estimated that 35 to 50 million Muslims live currently in Western and Eastern Europe, although no reliable statistics are available. The majority lives in the Balkans and southeastern Europe, areas once part of the Ottoman Empire. In Western Europe, the largest numbers are in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom—ranging from around four to five million people in each country. Many of these Western European Muslims are immigrants from areas formerly colonized by European powers. Many are also native-born citizens of European countries whose forefathers were immigrants.


Muslim Countries of Africa/Asia/Middle East/South East Asia: Circa 2000

Today there are nearly 65 states or countries with significant or majority populations who are Muslim. They include some of the largest nations in the world in terms of population, such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Others are small countries like Qatar and Djibouti. Many are secular republics such as Indonesia, or monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, or so-called “Islamic states” such as Iran. Some are democracies, such as Malaysia. No majority Muslim state exists in Europe or the Americas. In almost all of those states where a majority of the population is Muslim, a belief in Islam serves as a common bonding among diverse inhabitants in politics and life. It is a source of faith and a significant foundation of social identity and community relations. Almost all of these Muslim states are also developing nations that have only recently emerged from European colonialism.


United States: Muslim Population Circa 2000

Because the U. S. Census does not collect information on religious affiliation of residents in the nation, there are no exact figures on the number of Muslims in the country. According to a national poll conducted in 2001, known as the American Religious Identity Survey, approximately 1,104,000 adult Muslims reside in the United States. National Muslim organizations put the total number of all Muslims in the nation at about seven million, based on a survey that determined that two million Muslims regularly attend weekly Friday prayer services, and stipulated that the majority of Muslims do not attend such services. The 2000 Britannica Book of the Year estimate for 2000 states the number as 4,132,000. Whatever the exact number, the Muslim population in North America is characterized by its diversity. Some 80 nations are represented in the mosque communities of the United States, including a variety of traditions, practices, doctrines, and beliefs. Approximately 24 percent of American Muslims are African Americans according to the American Muslim Council’s Zogby poll conducted in 2000.


South America: Muslim Population Circa 2000

Although thousands of enslaved Muslims from Africa were carried to South and Central America from 1450 to the 1830s, few South American Muslims today are the descendants of the formerly enslaved. Except in a few places, the practice of Islam disappeared as a major religious belief among the enslaved Africans of South America (as was the case for the enslaved Africans of North America, who were Muslim). Today, most South American Muslims are immigrants, or the descendants of immigrants, who came from India, present-day Pakistan, Java, and other parts of South and South East Asia. Beginning in 1838, Asian and South East Asian Muslims arrived in South America to work as indentured laborers, merchants, and farm workers. New waves of Muslim immigrants continued to sweep into Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Argentina, Peru, and Trinidad throughout the 19th century, including people from Lebanon and Palestine.


Copyright: The Islam Project

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'Abd al-Baari
04-08-2007, 02:53 PM

Mashallah a very interesting article, Jazakallah Khair for sharing

04-08-2007, 03:19 PM
wow manshallah..! We're such a big ummah alhamdulilah :)
May allah increase the Muslim ummah - ameen
Jazakallah khair for sharing.
wa salaam

'Abd al-Baari
04-08-2007, 03:25 PM

May Allah increase the Muslim ummah

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04-08-2007, 04:52 PM
Alhamdullillah NIce article

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