The Info List - Arab Invasion

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Islamic expansion:   under Muhammad, 622–632   under Rashidun
caliphs, 632–661   under Umayyad caliphs, 661–750


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Sasanian Empire Lakhmids Byzantine
Empire Ghassanids Bulgarian Empire Kingdom of Makuria Dabuyid dynasty Khazar
Khaganate Turgesh
Khaganate Göktürk Khaganate Sogdian rebel Kurdish tribes Berbers Visigoths Arab Christians Kingdom of the Franks Kingdom of the Lombards Duchy of Aquitaine Tang dynasty Pratihara Empire Chalukya
dynasty Brahmin dynasty
Brahmin dynasty
of Sindh Kabul
Shahi[1] Zunbils[1] Hepthalite

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Caliphate Umayyad Caliphate
Umayyad Caliphate
(after Rashidun
period) Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
(after Umayyad period)

Commanders and leaders

See list

Yazdegerd III Rostam Farrokhzād † Mahbuzan Huzail ibn Imran Hormuz Anoshagan Andarzaghar Bāhman † Pirouzan Jaban Mihran Hormuzan (POW) Mardan Shah Bahram Isandi Karinz ibn Karianz Wahman Mardanshah Jalinus † Mihran-i Bahram-i Razi Beerzan † Farrukhzad Heraclius Jabalah Ibn Al-Aiham Theodore Trithyrius Vahan Vardan Thomas Buccinator Gregory Ardo † Odo of Aquitaine Charles Martel Childebrand Liutprand Pépin le Bref Theodorus Aretion Cyrus of Alexandria Gregory the Patrician † Dihya Kusaila John the Patrician Barjik
 † Farrukhan the Great Staurakios Michael Lachanodrakon Tatzates Anthony the Domestic Suluk Khagan Kül Chor Gurek   al-Harith ibn Surayj Kapagan Khan[3] Bilge Qaghan Kul Tigin Gao Xianzhi Bappa Rawal Nagabhata I Vikramaditya II Raja Dahir Nezak Tarkhan[2]

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Muhammed Abu Bakr Umar
I Khalid ibn Walid Muthana ibn Haris Abu Ubaid Saad ibn Abi Waqqas Tariq ibn Ziyad Muhammad
bin Qasim Zuhra ibn Al-Hawiyya Hashim ibn Uthba Qa'qa ibn Amr Abu Musa Ashaari Ammar ibn Yasir Nouman ibn Muqarrin Hudheifa ibn Al Yaman Mugheera ibn Shuba Usman ibn Abi al-Aas Asim ibn Amr Ahnaf ibn Qais Abdullah ibn Aamir Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah Amr ibn al-A'as Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan Shurahbil ibn Hassana Al-Samh ibn Malik al-Khawlani † Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi † Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri Amr ibn al-Aas Zubair ibn al-Awam Miqdad bin Al-Aswad Ubaida bin As-Samit Kharija bin Huzafa Abdallah ibn Sa'ad Musa bin Nusayr Hasan ibn al-Nu'man Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah Maslamah ibn Abd al-Malik al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah al-Hakami  † Marwan ibn Muhammad Harun al-Rashid Al-Rabi' ibn Yunus Qutayba ibn Muslim Muslim ibn Sa'id  † Al-Kharashi Junayd ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Murri Sawra ibn al-Hurr al-Abani Sa'id ibn Amr al-Harashi Asad ibn Abd Allah al-Qasri Nasr ibn Sayyar

v t e

Early Muslim expansion

(East Roman) Empire

Syria Armenia Egypt North Africa Cyprus Constantinople Georgia Crete Sicily Southern Italy

Sassanid Persian Empire

Armenia Caucasian Albania Georgia Afghanistan

Indus Valley



Georgia Khazar

Transoxiana Visigothic
Kingdom (Hispania) Frankish Empire (Gaul)

The early Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
(Arabic: الفتوحات الإسلامية‎, al-Futūḥāt al-Islāmiyya) also referred to as the Arab conquests[4] and early Islamic conquests[5] began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad
in the 7th century. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
which under the subsequent Rashidun
and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion. The resulting empire stretched from the borders of China
and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Europe
( Sicily
and the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
to the Pyrenees). Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:

Under the last of the Umayyads, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
... We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus
and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Quran
were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris.

The Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for the Byzantine
Empire. The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine
Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another.[6] Some Jews and Christians in the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
and Jews and Monophysites in Syria
were dissatisfied and welcomed the Muslim forces, largely because of religious conflict in both empires,[7] while at other times, such as in the Battle of Firaz, Arab Christians allied themselves with the Persians and Byzantines against the invaders.[8][9] In the case of Byzantine
Egypt, Palestine and Syria, these lands had only a few years before being reclaimed from the Persians. Fred McGraw Donner, however, suggests that formation of a state in the Arabian peninsula and ideological (i.e. religious) coherence and mobilization was a primary reason why the Muslim armies in the space of a hundred years were able to establish the largest pre-modern empire until that time. The estimates for the size of the Islamic Caliphate
suggest it was more than thirteen million square kilometers (five million square miles).[10]


1 Background 2 Military campaigns

2.1 Conquest of the Levant: 634–641 2.2 Conquest of Egypt: 639–642 2.3 Conquest of Mesopotamia
and Persia: 633–651 2.4 Explanations of success of the early conquests 2.5 Conquest of Sindh: 711–714 2.6 Conquest of the Maghreb: 647–742 2.7 Conquest of Hispania and Septimania: 711–721 2.8 Conquest of Transoxiana: 673–751 2.9 Modern-day Afghanistan 2.10 Other campaigns and end of early conquests

3 Aftermath

3.1 Socio-political developments 3.2 Conversions and tax reform 3.3 Policy toward non-Muslims

4 See also 5 References

5.1 Citations 5.2 Sources

Background[edit] See also: Roman–Persian Wars, Byzantine–Sassanid Wars, Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628, and Siege of Constantinople (626) The prolonged and escalating Byzantine–Sassanid wars of the 6th and 7th centuries and the recurring outbreaks of bubonic plague (Plague of Justinian) left both empires exhausted and weakened in the face of the sudden emergence and expansion of the Arabs. The last of these wars ended with victory for the Byzantines: Emperor Heraclius
regained all lost territories, and restored the True Cross
True Cross
to Jerusalem
in 629.[11] Nevertheless, neither empire was given any chance to recover, as within a few years they were overrun by the advances of the Arabs (newly united by Islam), which, according to Howard-Johnston, "can only be likened to a human tsunami".[12][13] According to George Liska, the "unnecessarily prolonged Byzantine–Persian conflict opened the way for Islam".[14] In late 620s Muhammad
had already managed to conquer and unify much of Arabia under Muslim rule, and it was under his leadership that the first Muslim- Byzantine
skirmishes took place in response to the Byzantine
forces incursions. Just a few months after Heraclius
and the Persian general Shahrbaraz
agreed on terms for the withdrawal of Persian troops from occupied Byzantine
eastern provinces in 629, Arab and Byzantine
troops confronted each other at the Battle of Mu'tah as a result of Byzantine
vassals murdering a Muslim emissary.[15] Muhammad
died in 632 and was succeeded by Abu Bakr, the first Caliph with undisputed control of the entire Arab peninsula
Arab peninsula
after the successful Ridda Wars, which resulted in the consolidation of a powerful Muslim state throughout the peninsula.[16] Military campaigns[edit] Conquest of the Levant: 634–641[edit] Main article: Muslim conquest of the Levant The province of Syria
was the first to be wrested from Byzantine control. Arab-Muslim raids that followed the Ridda wars
Ridda wars
prompted the Byzantines to send a major expedition into southern Palestine, which was defeated by the Arab forces under command of Khalid ibn al-Walid at the Battle of Ajnadayn (634).[17] On the heels of their victory, the Arab armies took Damascus
in 636, with Baalbek, Homs, and Hama
to follow soon afterwards.[17] However, other fortified towns continued to resist despite the rout of the imperial army and had to be conquered individually.[17] Jerusalem
fell in 638, Caesarea
in 640, while others held out until 641.[17] Conquest of Egypt: 639–642[edit] Main article: Muslim conquest of Egypt The Byzantine
province of Egypt held strategic importance for its grain production, naval yards, and as a base for further conquests in Africa.[17] The Muslim general 'Amr ibn al-'As
'Amr ibn al-'As
began the conquest of the province on his own initiative in 639.[18] The Arab forces won a major victory at the Battle of Heliopolis (640), but they found it difficult to advance further because major cities in the Nile Delta were protected by water and because they lacked the machinery to break down city fortifications.[19] Nevertheless, the province was scarcely urbanized and the defenders lost hope of receiving reinforcements from Constantinople
when the emperor Heraclius
died in 641.[20] The last major center to fall into Arab hands was Alexandria, which capitulated in 642.[21] According to Hugh Kennedy, "Of all the early Muslim conquests, that of Egypt was the swiftest and most complete. [...] Seldom in history can so massive a political change have happened so swiftly and been so long lasting."[22] Conquest of Mesopotamia
and Persia: 633–651[edit] Main article: Muslim conquest of Persia

Sasanian weaponry, 7th century

After an Arab incursion into Sasanian territories, the energetic king Yazdgerd III, who had just ascended the Persian throne, raised an army to resist the conquerors.[23] However, the Persians suffered a devastating defeat at the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah in 636.[23] As a result, the Arab-Muslims gained control over the whole of Iraq, including Ctesiphon, the capital city of the Sassanids.[23] The Persian forces withdrew over the Zagros mountains
Zagros mountains
and the Arab army pursued them across the Iranian plateau, where the fate of the Sasanian empire was sealed at the Battle of Nahavand (642).[23] As the conquerors slowly covered the vast distances of Iran
punctuated by hostile towns and fortresses, Yazdgerd III
Yazdgerd III
retreated, finally taking refuge in Khorasan, where he was assassinated by a local satrap in 651.[23] In the aftermath of their victory over the imperial army, the Muslims still had to contend with a collection of militarily weak but geographically inaccessible principalities of Persia.[17] It took decades to bring them all under control of the caliphate.[17] Explanations of success of the early conquests[edit] The rapidity of the early conquests has received various explanations.[24] Contemporary Christian
writers conceived them as God's punishment visited on their fellow Christians for their sins.[25] Early Muslim historians viewed them as a reflection of religious zeal of the conquerors and evidence of divine favor.[26] The theory that the conquests are explainable as an Arab migration triggered by economic pressures enjoyed popularity early in the 20th century, but has largely fallen out of favor among historians, especially those who distinguish the migration from the conquests that preceded and enabled it.[27] There are indications that the conquests started as initially disorganized pillaging raids launched partly by non-Muslim Arab tribes in the aftermath of the Ridda wars, and were soon extended into a war of conquest by the Rashidun
caliphs,[28] although other scholars argue that the conquests were a planned military venture already underway during Muhammad's lifetime.[29] Fred Donner writes that the advent of Islam
"revolutionized both the ideological bases and the political structures of the Arabian society, giving rise for the first time to a state capable of an expansionist movement."[30] According to Chase F. Robinson, it is likely that Muslim forces were often outnumbered, but, unlike their opponents, they were fast, well coordinated and highly motivated.[31] Another key reason was the weakness of the Byzantine
and Sasanian empires, caused by the wars they had waged against each other in the preceding decades with alternating success.[32] It was aggravated by a plague that had struck densely populated areas and impeded conscription of new imperial troops, while the Arab armies could draw recruits from nomadic populations.[25] The Sasanian empire, which had lost the latest round of hostilites with the Byzantines was also affected by a crisis of confidence, and its elites suspected that the ruling dynasty had forfeited favor of the gods.[25] The Arab military advantage was increased when Christianized Arab tribes who had served imperial armies as regular or auxiliary troops switched sides and joined the west-Arabian coalition.[25] Arab commanders also made liberal use of agreements to spare lives and property of inhabitants in case of surrender and extended exemptions from paying tribute to groups who provided military services to the conquerors.[33] Additionally, the Byzantine
persecution of Christians opposed to the Chalcedonian creed in Syria
and Egypt alienated elements of those communities and made them more open to accommodation with the Arabs once it became clear that the latter would let them practice their faith undisturbed as long as they paid tribute.[34] The conquests were further secured by the large-scale migration of Arabian peoples into the conquered lands which followed the conquests.[35] Robert Hoyland argues that the failure of the Sasanian empire to recover was due in large part to the geographically and politically disconnected nature of Persia, which made coordinated action difficult once the established Sasanian rule collapsed.[36] Similarly, the difficult terrain of Anatolia made it difficult for the Byzantines to mount a large-scale attack to recover the lost lands, and their offensive action was largely limited to organizing guerrilla operations against the Arabs
in the Levant.[36] Conquest of Sindh: 711–714[edit] Main articles: Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
and Caliphate
campaigns in India Although there were sporadic incursions by Arab generals in the direction of India in the 660s and a small Arab garrison was established in the arid region of Makran
in the 670s,[37] the first large-scale Arab campaign in the Indus valley
Indus valley
occurred when the general Muhammad
bin Qasim invaded Sindh
in 711 after a coastal march through Makran.[38] Three years later the Arabs
controlled all of the lower Indus valley.[38] Most of the towns seem to have submitted to Arab rule under peace treaties, although there was fierce resistance in other areas, including by the forces of Raja Dahir
Raja Dahir
at the capital city Debal.[38][39] Arab incursions southward from Sindh
were repulsed by armies of Gurjara
and Chalukya
kingdoms, and further Islamic expansion was checked by the Rashtrakuta empire, which gained control of the region shortly after.[39] Conquest of the Maghreb: 647–742[edit] Main article: Muslim conquest of the Maghreb Arab forces began launching sporadic raiding expeditions into Cyrenaica
(modern northeast Libya) and beyond soon after their conquest of Egypt.[40] Byzantine
rule in northwest Africa at the time was largely confined to the coastal plains, while autonomous Berber polities controlled the rest.[41] In 670 Arabs
founded the settlement of Qayrawan, which gave them a forward base for further expansion.[41] Muslim historians credit the general Uqba ibn Nafi
Uqba ibn Nafi
with subsequent conquest of lands extending to the Atlantic coast, although it appears to have been a temporary incursion.[41][42] The Berber chief Kusayla and an enigmatic leader referred to as Kahina
(prophetess or priestess) seem to have mounted effective, if short-lived resistance to Muslim rule at the end of the 7th century, but the sources do not give a clear picture of these events.[43] Arab forces were able to capture Carthage
in 698 and Tangiers
by 708.[43] After the fall of Tangiers, many Berbers
joined the Muslim army.[42] In 740 Umayyad rule in the region was shaken by a major Berber revolt, which also involved Berber Kharijite
Muslims.[44] After a series of defeats, the caliphate was finally able to crush the rebellion in 742, although local Berber dynasties continued to drift away from imperial control from that time on.[44] Conquest of Hispania and Septimania: 711–721[edit] Main articles: Umayyad conquest of Hispania
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
and Umayyad invasion of Gaul

Bilingual Latin-Arabic dinar minted in Iberia
AH 98 (716/7 AD)

The Muslim conquest of Iberia
is notable for the brevity and unreliability of the available sources.[45][46] After the Visigothic king of Spain Wittiza
died in 710, the kingdom experienced a period of political division.[46] Taking advantage of the situation, the Muslim Berber commander Tariq ibn Ziyad, who was stationed in Tangiers
at the time, crossed the straits with an army of Arabs
and Berbers.[46] After defeating the forces of king Roderic, Muslim forces advanced capturing cities of the Gothic kingdom one after another.[45] Some of them surrendered with agreements to pay tribute and local aristocracy retained a measure of former influence.[46] By 713 Iberia
was almost entirely under Muslim control.[45] The events of the subsequent ten years, whose details are obscure, included capture of Barcelona
and Narbonne, and a raid against Toulouse, followed by an expedition into Burgundy in 725.[45] The last large-scale raid to the north ended with a Muslim defeat at the Battle of Tours
Battle of Tours
at the hands of the Franks
in 732.[45] Conquest of Transoxiana: 673–751[edit] Main article: Muslim conquest of Transoxiana Transoxiana
is the region northeast of Iran
beyond the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
or Oxus River roughly corresponding with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and parts of Kazakhstan. Initial incursions across the Oxus river were aimed at Bukhara
(673) and Samarqand
(675) and their results were limited to promises of tribute payments.[47] Further advances were hindered for a quarter century by political upheavals of the Umayyad caliphate.[47] This was followed by a decade of rapid military progress under the leadership of the new governor of Khurasan, Qutayba ibn Muslim, which included conquest of Bukhara
and Samarqand
in 706–712.[48] The expansion lost its momentum when Qutayba was killed during an army mutiny and the Arabs
were placed on the defensive by an alliance of Sogdian and Türgesh
forces with support from Tang China.[48] However, reinforcements from Syria
helped turn the tide and most of the lost lands were reconquered by 741.[48] Muslim rule over Transoxania
was consolidated a decade later when a Chinese-led army was defeated at the Battle of Talas
Battle of Talas
(751).[49] Modern-day Afghanistan[edit] See also: Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
of Afghanistan Medieveal Islamic scholars divided modern-day Afghanistan
into two regions - the provinces of Khorasan and Sistan. Khorasan was the eastern satrapy of Sasanian Empire, containing Balkh
and Herat. Sistan included a number of Afghan cities and regions including Ghazna, Zarang, Bost, Qandahar
(also called al-Rukhkhaj or Zamindawar), Kabul, Kabulistan
and Zabulistan.[50] Before Muslim rule, the regions of Balkh
( Bactria
or Tokharistan), Herat
and Sistan
were under Sasanian rule. Further south in Balkh region, in Bamiyan, indication of Sasanian authority diminishes, with a local dynasty seeming ruling from the late antiquity, probably Hepthalites
subject to the Yabgu of Western Turks. While Herat
was controlled by Sasanians, its hinterlands were controlled by northern Hepthalites
who continued to rule the Ghurid mountains and river valleys well into the Islamic era. Sistan
was under Sasanians but Qandahar
remained out of Arab rule. Kabul
and Zabulistan, housed Indic religions with the Zunbils
and Kabul
Shahis offering stiff resistance to Muslim rule for two centuries until Saffarid
and Ghaznavid conquests.[51] Other campaigns and end of early conquests[edit] Main articles: Arab– Byzantine
wars, Arab– Khazar
Wars, Arab conquest of Armenia, and Arab rule in Georgia In 646 a Byzantine
naval expedition was able to briefly recapture Alexandria.[52] The same year Mu'awiya, the governor of Syria
and future founder of the Umayyad dynasty, ordered construction of a fleet.[52] Three years later it was put to use in a pillaging raid of Cyprus, soon followed by a second raid in 650 that concluded with a treaty under which Cypriots surrendered many of their riches and slaves.[52] In 688 the island was made into a joint dominion of the caliphate and the Byzantine
empire under a pact which was to last for almost 300 years.[53] In 639–640 Arab forces began to make advances into Armenia, which had been partitioned into a Byzantine
province and a Sasanian province.[54] There is considerable disagreement among ancient and modern historians about events of the following years, and nominal control of the region may have passed several times between Arabs
and Byzantines.[54] Although Muslim dominion was finally established by the time the Umayyads acceded to power in 661, it was not able to implant itself solidly in the country, and Armenia experienced a national and literary efflorescence over the next century.[54] As with Armenia, Arab advances into other lands of the Caucasus
region, including Georgia, had as their end assurances of tribute payment and these principalities retained a large degree of autonomy.[55] This period also saw a series of clashes with the Khazar
kingdom whose center of power was in the lower Volga
steppes, and which vied with the caliphate over control of the Caucasus.[55]

manuscript illustration showing Greek fire
Greek fire
in action

Other Muslim military ventures were met with outright failure. Despite a naval victory over the Byzantines in 654 at the Battle of the Masts, the subsequent attempt to besiege Constantinople
was frustrated by a storm which damaged the Arab fleet.[56] Later sieges of Constantinople in 668–669 (674–78 according to other estimates) and 717–718 were thwarted with the help of the recently invented Greek fire.[57] In the east, although Arabs
were able to establish control over most Sasanian-controlled areas of modern Afghanistan
after the fall of Persia, the Kabul
region resisted repeated attempts of invasion and would continue to do so until it was conquered by the Saffarids
three centuries later.[58] By the time of the Abbasid
revolution in the middle of the 8th century, Muslim armies had come against a combination of natural barriers and powerful states that impeded any further military progress.[59] The wars produced diminishing returns in personal gains and fighters increasingly left the army for civilian occupations.[59] The priorities of the rulers have also shifted from conquest of new lands to administration of the acquired empire.[59] Although the Abbasid
era witnessed some new territorial gains, such as the conquests of Sicily
and Crete, the period of rapid centralized expansion would now give way to an era when further spread of Islam would be slow and accomplished through the efforts of local dynasties, missionaries, and traders.[59] Aftermath[edit] Main articles: Rashidun Caliphate
Rashidun Caliphate
and Umayyad Caliphate Socio-political developments[edit] Further information: Arabization
and Islamization The military victories of armies from the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
heralded the expansion of the Arabs' culture and religion. The conquests were followed by a large-scale migration of families and whole tribes from Arabia into the lands of the Middle East.[35] The conquering Arabs
had already possessed a complex and sophisticated society.[35] Emigrants from Yemen brought with them agricultural, urban, and monarchical traditions; members of the Ghassanid
and Lakhmid
tribal confederations had experience of collaboration with the empires.[35] The rank and file of the armies was drawn from both nomadic and sedentary tribes, while the leadership came mainly from the merchant class of the Hejaz.[35] Two fundamental policies were implemented during the reign of the second caliph Umar
(634–44): the bedouins would not be allowed to damage agricultural production of the conquered lands and the leadership would cooperate with the local elites.[60] To that end, the Arab-Muslim armies were settled in segregated quarters or new garrison towns such as Basra, Kufa
and Fustat.[60] The latter two became the new administrative centers of Iraq and Egypt, respectively.[60] Soldiers were paid a stipend and prohibited from seizing lands.[60] Arab governors supervised collection and distribution of taxes, but otherwise left the old religious and social order intact.[60] At first, many provinces retained a large degree of autonomy under the terms of agreements made with Arab commanders.[60] As the time passed, the conquerors sought to increase their control over local affairs and make existing administrative machinery work for the new regime.[61] This involved several types of reorganization. In the Mediterranean region, city-states which traditionally governed themselves and their surrounding areas were replaced by a territorial bureaucracy separating town and rural administration.[62] In Egypt, fiscally independent estates and municipalities were abolished in favor of a simplified administrative system.[63] In the early eighth century, Syrian Arabs
began to replace Coptic functionaries and communal levies gave way to individual taxation.[64] In Iran, the administrative reorganization and construction of protective walls prompted agglomeration of quarters and villages into large cities such as Isfahan, Qazvin, and Qum.[65] Local notables of Iran, who at first had almost complete autonomy, were incorporated into the central bureaucracy by the ʿ Abbasid
period.[65] The similarity of Egyptian and Khurasanian official paperwork at the time of the caliph al-Mansur (754–75) suggests a highly centralized empire-wide administration.[65]

Mosaic from Hisham's Palace, an Umayyad residence near Jericho
(c. 724–743)

The society of new Arab settlements gradually became stratified into classes based on wealth and power.[66] It was also reorganized into new communal units that preserved clan and tribal names but were in fact only loosely based around old kinship bonds.[66] Arab settlers turned to civilian occupations and in eastern regions established themselves as a landed aristocracy.[66] At the same time, distinctions between the conquerors and local populations began to blur.[66] In Iran, the Arabs
largely assimilated into local culture, adopting the Persian language, customs and marrying Persian women.[66] In Iraq, non-Arab settlers flocked to garrison towns.[66] Soldiers and administrators of the old regime came to seek their fortunes with the new masters, while slaves, laborers and peasants fled there seeking to escape the harsh conditions of life in the countryside.[66] Non-Arab converts to Islam
were absorbed into the Arab-Muslim society through an adaptation of the tribal Arabian institution of clientage, in which protection of the powerful was exchanged for loyalty of the subordinates.[66] The clients (mawali) and their heirs were regarded as virtual members of the clan.[66] The clans became increasingly economically and socially stratified.[66] For example, while the noble clans of the Tamim tribe acquired Persian cavalry units as their mawali, other clans of the same tribe had slave laborers as theirs.[66] Slaves often became mawali of their former masters when they were freed.[66] Contrary to belief of earlier historians, there is no evidence of mass conversions to Islam
in the immediate aftermath of the conquests.[67] The first groups to convert were Christian
Arab tribes, although some of them retained their religion into the Abbasid
era even while serving as troops of the caliphate.[67] They were followed by former elites of the Sasanian empire, whose conversion ratified their old privileges.[67] With time, the weakening of non-Muslim elites facilitated the breakdown of old communal ties and reinforced the incentives of conversion which promised economic advantages and social mobility.[67] By the beginning of the eighth century, conversions became a policy issue for the caliphate.[68] They were favored by religious activists, and many Arabs
accepted equality of Arabs
and non-Arabs.[68] However, conversion was associated with economic and political advantages, and Muslim elites were reluctant to see their privileges being diluted.[68] Public policy towards converts varied depending on the region and was changed by successive Umayyad caliphs.[68] These circumstances provoked opposition from non-Arab converts, whose ranks included many active soldiers, and helped set the stage for the civil war which ended with the fall of the Umayyad dynasty.[69] Conversions and tax reform[edit] Main article: Jizya The Arab- Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
followed a general pattern of nomadic conquests of settled regions, whereby conquering peoples became the new military elite and reached a compromise with the old elites by allowing them to retain local political, religious, and financial authority.[61] Peasants, workers, and merchants paid taxes, while members of the old and new elites collected them.[61] Payment of taxes, which for peasants often reached half of the value of their produce, was not only an economic burden, but also a mark of social inferiority.[61] Scholars differ in their assessment of relative tax burdens before and after the conquests. John Esposito
John Esposito
states that in effect this meant lower taxes.[70] According to Bernard Lewis, available evidence suggests that the change from Byzantine
to Arab rule was "welcomed by many among the subject peoples, who found the new yoke far lighter than the old, both in taxation and in other matters".[71] In contrast, Norman Stillman
Norman Stillman
writes that although the tax burden of the Jews under early Islamic rule was comparable to that under previous rulers, Christians of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
(though not Christians of the Persian empire, whose status was similar to that of the Jews) and Zoroastrians of Iran
shouldered a considerably heavier burden in the immediate aftermath of the conquests.[72]

Egyptian papyrus PERF 558
PERF 558
containing a bilingual Greek-Arabic tax receipt dated from 643 AD

In the wake of the early conquests taxes could be levied on individuals, on the land, or as collective tribute.[73] During the first century of Islamic expansion, the words jizya and kharaj were used in all three senses, with context distinguishing between individual and land taxes.[74] Regional variations in taxation at first reflected the diversity of previous systems.[75] The Sasanian Empire had a general tax on land and a poll tax having several rates based on wealth, with an exemption for aristocracy.[75] This poll tax was adapted by Arab rulers, so that the aristocracy exemption was assumed by the new Arab-Muslim elite and shared by local aristocracy who converted to Islam.[76] The nature of Byzantine
taxation remains partly unclear, but it appears to have been levied as a collective tribute on population centers and this practice was generally followed under the Arab rule in former Byzantine
provinces.[75] Collection of taxes was delegated to autonomous local communities on the condition that the burden be divided among its members in the most equitable manner.[75] In most of Iran
and Central Asia
Central Asia
local rulers paid a fixed tribute and maintained their autonomy in tax collection.[75] Difficulties in tax collection soon appeared.[75] Egyptian Copts, who had been skilled in tax evasion since Roman times, were able to avoid paying the taxes by entering monasteries, which were initially exempt from taxation, or simply by leaving the district where they were registered.[75] This prompted imposition of taxes on monks and introduction of movement controls.[75] In Iraq, many peasants who had fallen behind with their tax payments, converted to Islam
and abandoned their land for Arab garrison towns in hope of escaping taxation.[77] Faced with a decline in agriculture and a treasury shortfall, the governor of Iraq al-Hajjaj forced peasant converts to return to their lands and subjected them to the taxes again, effectively forbidding them to convert to Islam.[78] In Khorasan, a similar phenomenon forced the native aristocracy to compensate for the shortfall in tax collection out of their own pockets, and they responded by persecuting peasant converts and imposing heavier taxes on poor Muslims.[78] The situation where conversion to Islam
was penalized in an Islamic state could not last, and the devout Umayyad caliph Umar
II (717–720) has been credited with changing the taxation system.[78] Modern historians doubt this account, although details of the transition to the system of taxation elaborated by Abbasid-era jurists are still unclear.[78] Umar
II ordered governors to cease collection of taxes from Muslim converts, but his successors obstructed this policy and some governors sought to stem the tide of conversions by introducing additional requirements such as circumcision and the ability to recite passages from the Quran.[79] Taxation-related grievances of non-Arab Muslims contributed to the opposition movements which resulted in the Abbasid
revolution.[80] Under the new system that was eventually established, kharaj came to be regarded as a tax levied on the land, regardless of the taxpayer's religion.[78] The poll-tax was no longer levied on Muslims, but the treasury did not necessarily suffer and converts did not gain as a result, since they had to pay zakat, which was probably instituted as a compulsory tax on Muslims around 730.[81] The terminology became specialized during the Abbasid
era, so that kharaj no longer meant anything more than land tax, while the term jizya was restricted to the poll-tax on dhimmis.[78] The influence of jizya on conversion has been a subject of scholarly debate.[82] Julius Wellhausen held that the poll tax amounted to so little that exemption from it did not constitute sufficient economic motive for conversion.[83] Similarly, Thomas Arnold states that jizya was "too moderate" to constitute a burden, "seeing that it released them from the compulsory military service that was incumbent on their Muslim fellow subjects." He further adds that converts escaping taxation would have to pay the legal alms, zakat, that is annually levied on most kinds of movable and immovable property.[84] Other early 20th century scholars suggested that non-Muslims converted to Islam
en masse in order to escape the poll tax, but this theory has been challenged by more recent research.[82] Daniel Dennett has shown that other factors, such as desire to retain social status, had greater influence on this choice in the early Islamic period.[82] Policy toward non-Muslims[edit] Main article: Dhimmi The Arab conquerors did not repeat the mistake made by the Byzantine and Sasanian empires, who had tried and failed to impose an official religion on subject populations, which had caused resentments that made the Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
more acceptable to them.[85] Instead, the rulers of the new empire generally respected the traditional middle-Eastern pattern of religious pluralism, which was not one of equality but rather of dominance by one group over the others.[85] After the end of military operations, which involved sacking of some monasteries and confiscation of Zoroastrian fire temples in Syria
and Iraq, the early caliphate was characterized by religious tolerance and peoples of all ethnicities and religions blended in public life.[86] Before Muslims were ready to build mosques in Syria, they accepted Christian
churches as holy places and shared them with local Christians.[67] In Iraq and Egypt, Muslim authorities cooperated with Christian
religious leaders.[67] Numerous churches were repaired and new ones built during the Umayyad era.[87] The first Umayyad caliph Muawiyah sought to reassure the conquered peoples that he was not hostile to their religions and made an effort to enlist support from Christian
Arab elites.[88] There is no evidence for public display of Islam
by the state before the reign of Abd al-Malik (685–705), when Quranic verses and references to Muhammad suddenly became prominent on coins and official documents.[89] This change was motivated by a desire to unify the Muslim community after the second civil war and rally them against their chief common enemy, the Byzantine
empire.[89] A further change of policy occurred during the reign of Umar
II (717–720).[90] The disastrous failure of the siege of Constantinople in 718 which was accompanied by massive Arab casualties led to a spike of popular animosity among Muslims toward Byzantium and Christians in general.[90] At the same time, many Arab soldiers left the army for civilian occupations and they wished to emphasize their high social status among the conquered peoples.[90] These events prompted introduction of restrictions on non-Muslims, which, according to Hoyland, were modeled both on Byzantine
curbs on Jews, starting with the Theodosian Code
Theodosian Code
and later codes, which contained prohibitions against building new synagogues and giving testimony against Christians, and on Sassanid regulations that prescribed distinctive attire for different social classes.[90] In the following decades Islamic jurists elaborated a legal framework in which other religions would have a protected but subordinate status.[89] Islamic law followed the Byzantine
precedent of classifying subjects of the state according to their religion, in contrast to the Sasanian model which put more weight on social than on religious distinctions.[90] In theory, like the Byzantine
empire, the caliphate placed severe restrictions on paganism, but in practice most non-Abrahamic communities of the former Sasanian territories were classified as possessors of a scripture (ahl al-kitab) and granted protected (dhimmi) status.[90] Mark R. Cohen writes that the jizya paid by Jews under Islamic rule provided a "surer guarantee of protection from non-Jewish hostility" than that possessed by Jews in the Latin West, where Jews "paid numerous and often unreasonably high and arbitrary taxes" in return for official protection, and where treatment of Jews was governed by charters which new rulers could alter at will upon accession or refuse to renew altogether.[91] The Pact of Umar, which stipulated that Muslims must "do battle to guard" the dhimmis and "put no burden on them greater than they can bear", was not always upheld, but it remained "a steadfast cornerstone of Islamic policy" into early modern times.[91] See also[edit]

Book: Muslim conquests

Ghazi History of Islam Spread of Islam

References[edit] Citations[edit]

^ a b Nile Green. Afghanistan's Islam: From Conversion to the Taliban. Cambridge University Press. p. 47.  ^ a b M. A. Sabhan. The 'Abbāsid Revolution. Cambridge University Press. p. 11.  ^ Pike, John. "Göktürk Empire". www.globalsecurity.org.  ^ Hoyland (2014), Kennedy (2007) ^ Kaegi (1995), Donner (2014) ^ Gardner, Hall; Kobtzeff, Oleg, eds. (2012). The Ashgate Research Companion to War: Origins and Prevention. Ashgate Publishing. p. 208-209.  ^ Rosenwein, Barbara H. (2004). A Short History of the Middle Ages. Ontario. pp. 71–72. ISBN 1-55111-290-6.  ^ Jandora, John W. (1985). "The battle of the Yarmūk: A reconstruction". Journal of Asian History. 19 (1): 8–21. JSTOR 41930557.  ^ "Yarmuk". 1001 Battles That Changed the Course of World History. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7893-2233-3.  ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994). The End of the Jihad State, the Reign of Hisham Ibn 'Abd-al Malik and the collapse of the Umayyads. State University of New York Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-7914-1827-8.  ^ Theophanes, Chronicle, 317–327 * Greatrex–Lieu (2002), II, 217–227; Haldon (1997), 46; Baynes (1912), passim; Speck (1984), 178 ^ Foss, Clive (1975). "The Persians in Asia Minor and the end of antiquity". The English Historical Review. 90 (357): 721–747. doi:10.1093/ehr/XC.CCCLVII.721. JSTOR 567292.  ^ Howard-Johnston, James (2006). East Rome, Sasanian Persia
And the End of Antiquity: Historiographical And Historical Studies. Ashgate Publishing. p. xv. ISBN 0-86078-992-6.  ^ Liska, George (1998). "Projection contra prediction: Alternative futures and options". Expanding Realism: The Historical Dimension of World Politics. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 170. ISBN 0-8476-8680-9.  ^ Kaegi (1995, p. 66) ^ Nicolle (1994, p. 14) ^ a b c d e f g Lapidus (2014, p. 49) ^ Hoyland (2014, p. 70); in 641 according to Lapidus (2014, p. 49) ^ Hoyland (2014, pp. 70–72) ^ Hoyland (2014, pp. 73–75), Lapidus (2014, p. 49) ^ Hoyland (2014, pp. 73–75); in 643 according to Lapidus (2014, p. 49) ^ Kennedy 2007, p. 165 ^ a b c d e Vaglieri (1977, pp. 60–61) ^ Donner (2014, pp. 3–7) ^ a b c d Hoyland (2014, pp. 93–95) ^ Donner (2014, p. 3), Hoyland (2014, p. 93) ^ Donner (2014, p. 5), Hoyland (2014, p. 62) ^ "The immediate outcome of the Muslim victories [in the Ridda wars] was turmoil. Medina's victories led allied tribes to attack the non-aligned to compensate for their own losses. The pressure drove tribes [...] across the imperial frontiers. The Bakr tribe, which had defeated a Persian detachment in 606, joined forces with the Muslims and led them on a raid in southern Iraq [...] A similar spilling over of tribal raiding occurred on the Syrian frontiers. Abu Bakr encouraged these movements [...] What began as inter-tribal skirmishing to consolidate a political confederation in Arabia ended as a full-scale war against the two empires." Lapidus (2014, p. 48) See also Donner (2014, pp. 5–7) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 48), Hoyland (2014, p. 38) ^ Donner (2014, p. 8) ^ Robinson, Chase F. (2010). "The rise of Islam, 600 705". In Robinson, Chase F. The New Cambridge History of Islam, Volume 1: The Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN 9780521838238. it is probably safe to assume that Muslims were often outnumbered. Unlike their adversaries, however, Muslim armies were fast, agile, well coordinated and highly motivated.  ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 50), Hoyland (2014, p. 93) ^ Hoyland (2014, p. 97) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 50), Hoyland (2014, p. 97) ^ a b c d e Lapidus (2014, p. 50) ^ a b Hoyland (2014, p. 127) ^ Hoyland (2014, p. 190) ^ a b c T.W. Haig, C.E. Bosworth. Encyclopedia of Islam
2nd ed, Brill. "Sind", vol. 9, p. 632 ^ a b Hoyland (2014, pp. 192–194) ^ Hoyland (2014, p. 78) ^ a b c Hoyland (2014, pp. 124–126) ^ a b G. Yver. Encyclopedia of Islam
2nd ed, Brill. "Maghreb", vol. 5, p. 1189. ^ a b Hoyland (2014, pp. 142–145) ^ a b Hoyland (2014, p. 180) ^ a b c d e Évariste Lévi-Provençal. Encyclopedia of Islam
2nd ed, Brill. "Al-Andalus", vol. 1, p. 492 ^ a b c d Hoyland (2014, pp. 146–147) ^ a b Daniel (2010, p. 456) ^ a b c Daniel (2010, p. 457) ^ Daniel (2010, p. 458) ^ Nile Green. Afghanistan's Islam: From Conversion to the Taliban. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43, 44.  ^ Nile Green. Afghanistan's Islam: From Conversion to the Taliban. Cambridge University Press. pp. 44, 46–47.  ^ a b c Hoyland (2014, pp. 90–93) ^ " Cyprus
- Government and society - history - geography".  ^ a b c M. Canard. Encyclopedia of Islam
2nd ed, Brill. "Arminiya", vol. 1, pp. 636–637 ^ a b C.E. Bosworth. Encyclopedia of Islam
2nd ed, Brill. "Al-Qabq", vol. 4, pp. 343–344 ^ Hoyland (2014, pp. 106–108) ^ Hoyland (2014, pp. 108–109, 175–177) ^ M. Longworth Dames. Encyclopedia of Islam
2nd ed, Brill. "Afghanistan", vol. 1, p. 226. ^ a b c d Hoyland (2014, p. 207) ^ a b c d e f Lapidus (2014, p. 52) ^ a b c d Lapidus (2014, p. 53) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 56) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 57) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 79) ^ a b c Lapidus (2014, p. 58) ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lapidus (2014, pp. 58–60) ^ a b c d e f Lapidus (2014, pp. 60–61) ^ a b c d Lapidus (2014, pp. 61–62) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 71) ^ Esposito 1998, p. 34. "They replaced the conquered countries, indigenous rulers and armies, but preserved much of their government, bureaucracy, and culture. For many in the conquered territories, it was no more than an exchange of masters, one that brought peace to peoples demoralized and disaffected by the casualties and heavy taxation that resulted from the years of Byzantine-Persian warfare. Local communities were free to continue to follow their own way of life in internal, domestic affairs. In many ways, local populations found Muslim rule more flexible and tolerant than that of Byzantium and Persia. Religious communities were free to practice their faith to worship and be governed by their religious leaders and laws in such areas as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In exchange, they were required to pay tribute, a poll tax (jizya) that entitled them to Muslim protection from outside aggression and exempted them from military service. Thus, they were called the "protected ones" (dhimmi). In effect, this often meant lower taxes, greater local autonomy, rule by fellow Semites with closer linguistic and cultural ties than the hellenized, Greco-Roman élites of Byzantium, and greater religious freedom for Jews and indigenous Christians." ^ Lewis, Bernard (2002). Arabs
in History. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-19280-31-08.  ^ Stillman (1979, p. 28) ^ Cahen (1991, p. 559) ^ Cahen (1991, p. 560); Anver M. Emon, Religious Pluralism and Islamic Law: Dhimmis and Others in the Empire of Law, p. 98, note 3. Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199661633. Quote: "Some studies question the nearly synonymous use of the terms kharaj and jizya in the historical sources. The general view suggests that while the terms kharaj and jizya seem to have been used interchangeably in early historical sources, what they referred to in any given case depended on the linguistic context. If one finds references to "a kharaj on their heads," the reference was to a poll tax, despite the use of the term kharaj, which later became the term of art for land tax. Likewise, if one fins the phrase "jizya on their land," this referred to a land tax, despite the use of jizya which later come to refer to the poll tax. Early history therefore shows that although each term did not have a determinate technical meaning at first, the concepts of poll tax and land tax existed early in Islamic history." Denner, Conversion and the Poll Tax, 3–10; Ajiaz Hassan Qureshi, "The Terms Kharaj
and Jizya
and Their Implication," Journal of the Punjab University Historical Society 12 (1961): 27–38; Hossein Modarressi Rabatab'i, Kharaj
in Islamic Law (London: Anchor Press Ltd, 1983). ^ a b c d e f g h Cahen (1991, p. 560) ^ Cahen (1991, p. 560); Hoyland (2014, p. 99) ^ Cahen (1991, p. 560); Hoyland (2014, p. 199) ^ a b c d e f Cahen (1991, p. 561) ^ Hoyland (2014, p. 199) ^ Hoyland (2014, pp. 201–202) ^ Cahen (1991, p. 561); Hoyland (2014, p. 200) ^ a b c Tramontana, Felicita (2013). "The Poll Tax and the Decline of the Christian
Presence in the Palestinian Countryside in the 17th Century". Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. Brill Academic Publishers. 56 (4–5): 631–652. doi:10.1163/15685209-12341337. Retrieved 2016-02-03. The (cor)relation between the payment of the poll-tax and conversion to Islam, has long been the subject of scholarly debate. At the beginning of the twentieth century scholars suggested that after the Muslim conquest the local populations converted en masse to evade the payment of the poll tax. This assumption has been challenged by subsequent research. Indeed Dennett's study clearly showed that the payment of the poll tax was not a sufficient reason to convert after the Muslim conquest and that other factors—such as the wish to retain social status—had greater influence. According to Inalcik the wish to evade payment of the jizya was an important incentive for conversion to Islam
in the Balkans, but Anton Minkov has recently argued that taxation was only one of a number of motivations.  ^ Dennett 1950, p. 10. "Wellhausen makes the assumption that the poll tax amounted to so little that exemption from it did not constitute sufficient economic motive for conversion." ^ Walker Arnold, Thomas (1913). Preaching of Islam: A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith. Constable & Robinson Ltd. p. 59. ... but this jizyah was too moderate to constitute a burden, seeing that it released them from the compulsory military service that was incumbent on their Muslim fellow-subjects. Conversion to Islam
was certainly attended by a certain pecuniary advantage, but his former religion could have had but little hold on a convert who abandoned it merely to gain exemption from the jizyah; and now, instead of jizyah, the convert had to pay the legal alms, zakāt, annually levied on most kinds of movable and immovable property.  (online) ^ a b Lewis, Bernard (2014). The Jews of Islam. Princeton University Press. p. 19.  ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 61,153) ^ Lapidus (2014, p. 156) ^ Hoyland (2014, p. 130) ^ a b c Hoyland (2014, p. 195) ^ a b c d e f Hoyland (2014, pp. 196–198) ^ a b Cohen (2008, pp. 72–73)


Cahen, Claude (1991). "Ḏj̲izzya". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2 (2nd ed.). Brill.  Cohen, Mark (2008). Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13931-9.  Daniel, Elton L. (2010). "The Islamic East". In Robinson, Chase F. The New Cambridge History of Islam, Volume 1: The Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521838238.  Dennett, Daniel Clement (1950). Conversion and the Poll Tax in Early Islam. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674331594.  Donner, Fred M. (2014). The Early Islamic Conquests. Princeton University Press.  Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 51 Hoyland, Robert G. (2014). In God's Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-991636-8.  Kaegi, Walter E. (1995). Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests. Cambridge University Press.  Kennedy, Hugh (2007). The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam
Changed the World We Live in. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-306-81740-3.  Lapidus, Ira M. (2014). A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51430-9.  Esposito, John L. (1998). Islam: The Straight Path. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511233-4.  Nicolle, David (1994). Yarmuk AD 636: The Muslim Conquest of Syria. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-414-8.  Stillman, Norman (1979). The Jews of Arab Lands : A History and Source Book. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0198-0.  Vaglieri, Laura Veccia (1977). "The Patriarchal and Umayyad caliphates". In Holt, P. M.; Lambton, Ann K. S.; Lewis, Bernard. The Cambridge History of Islam
Volume 1A: The Central Islamic Lands from Pre-Islamic Times to the First World War. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521219464.005. ISBN 9780521219464. 

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