The End of Europe's Middle Ages
A monotheistic religion founded by the Prophet Mohammed (c.570-632 A.D.), Islam has as its basic tenet of faith that there is only one God and Mohammed is his Messenger. There are certain obligations, known as the Pillars of Islam, which the Moslem must fulfill to enter Paradise: praying five times a day, almsgiving, fasting during the month of Ramadan, a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his lifetime, and a personal contribution to the expansion of the faith. Islam recognizes the importance of Judaism and Christianity and draws its historical material from both the Old and New Testaments. The Koran, the Islamic holy book, offers guidance on many aspects of life including marriage, inheritance and daily routine.
The rise of Islam had a great impact on the political map of the world. Since it was a religious obligation to fight the infidel, the Moslem caliphs began to expand their Arab Empire through religious obligation. In about two hundred years, the Islamic faith spread from the African Continent to Asia (Persia, India, China) and southern Europe (Spain). Throughout the Middle Ages, the Byzantine Empire was a target of Mohammed's followers until it was finally conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
The End of Europe's Middle Ages / Applied History Research Group / University of Calgary
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