Many dynasties rose and fell during the time period of 632 AD-1918. While Europe experienced Dark Ages, Reformations, Enlightenment, and a Renaissance, the Middle East enjoyed a time a prosperity and high intellect.
After the death of Mohammed Islam was ruled by four men called the Rightly Guided Caliphs. It was after the murder of the last of these Caliphs that Islam started to move in various directions
After the prophet Mohammed, the next Caliph was Abu Bakar (Mohammed's Father-in-law) (573-634) The next was Umar (634-644), Uthman (644-656), and the last Rightly Guided Caliph Ali (Mohammed's Son-in-law) (656-661)
The death of Ali split Islam into two directions, the son of Ali, Husayn guided Muslims under the premise that the leader of Islam must be a blood descendent of Ali, who was Mohammed's family. These people are seen today as Shiite Muslims. The other leader was Mu'awiyah, he was the first leader of the Umayyad Dynasty (661-750). These people are called Sunni because they believe any Muslim can lead the faith.
Within the first 100 years of the emergence of the religion of Islam, the word and beliefs of Islam spread rather quickly. Why did they expand from modern day Saudi Arabia and the Middle East? They had the desire the spread the word, and the need of agricultural products. Expansion was successful because the Muslims were of the same faith and also mostly the same customs so there was no barrier between groups of Muslims. The people that the Muslims conquered were the Persians and Byzantines. Neither of these cultures were really willing to go to war. Also, the people that were ruling these empires were tired and the people were not enthusiastic about their control.
The Umayyad Dynasty (661-750)
The major advancements/accomplishments of the Umayyad Dynasty are the following:
1. The capital of Islam moves to Damascus, Syria
2. Expansion of Islam touched the regions of India, China, North Africa, and Spain
3. Arabic is the official language of the Empire
4. Arabian currency is used about the Empire
5. Roads are built
6. Postal routes are created.
Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258)
The Umayyad dynasty lasted under 100 year because other members of the Islamic world had different views on how to govern and follow Islam. The next ruling dynasty was the Abbasids (750-1258). They were essentially the anti-Umayyads. After 3 years of fighting, the Umayyads were defeated.
Under the Abbasids, the capital of Islam moved from Damascus to Baghdad, Iraq.
Ottoman Empire (1453-1918)
The Ottomans were named after the ruler Osman (1280-1324).
Osman and his group of people are found on the Anatolian Peninsula. In the beginning, the Ottomans worked as a buffer between the two major empires of the region, the Byzantines and the Muslims. Many people entered the Ottoman region because it accepted each side. All a person had to do is pay a tax and accept the superiority of Islamic rule in the region.
It was the Ottomans that finally ended the mighty Roman Empire, now called the Byzantine Empire. Sultan Mehmet II (1451-1481) laid siege to Constantinople for 6 weeks and was victorious. After this, it was considered that the sultan had the right to rule both the area of the Byzantine Empire and also the Ottoman Empire.
The height of the Ottoman society occurred during the rule of Suleiman I. He was also known as Suleiman the Magnificent. The wealth of the Ottoman Empire at this time was the following: Suleiman earned 80 million dollars yearly. At the same time, the Queen of England earned $150,000, and the King of France earned 1 million dollars yearly.