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Islamic World, 400 A.D/C.E. – 1500s


Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, social, and religious structures of the civilizations.


Old Map of Iran
Old Map of Iran

An exciting map of Iran in the 1700's; Imperii Persici in omnes suas provincias nova tabula geographica / ex praecipuis Olearii, Tavernieri, Relandi aliorumque recentium authoreum scriptis concinnatam luci publicae exponit Io. Baptista Homann. It was created in 1724. Relief shown pictorially. "Cum privilegio sac. cæsarece majestatis." Scale 1:6,600,000 (E 0650--E 1500/N 500--N 250).

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An impressive image of Persia Arabia & c. / published by J.H. Colton & Co. New York. It was taken in 1855. Iran. Relief shown by hachures. "No. 92" Scale 1:12,000.

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Peninsula Arabian
Peninsula Arabian

A rare image of Arabian Peninsula : tirre en partie de l'Arabe de Nubie, en partie de diuers autres autheurs / par le S. N. Sanson d'Abbeville Geographe ardinaire du Roy ; J. Somer sculp. It was taken in 1654. Arabian Peninsula. Relief shown pictorially. Exhibition: Jordanian Display, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., May 25-27, 2005. Scale [1:7,500,000].

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Old Map of Iran
Old Map of Iran

An exciting map of Iran in the 1700's; Imperii Persici in omnes suas provincias nova tabula geographica / ex praecipuis Olearii, Tavernieri, Relandi aliorumque recentium authoreum scriptis concinnatam luci publicae exponit Io. Baptista Homann. It was created in 1724. Relief shown pictorially. "Cum privilegio sac. cæsarece majestatis." Scale 1:6,600,000 (E 0650--E 1500/N 500--N 250).

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  • How did Islam begin and why did it spread to different parts of the world?

  • How did Islamic society, family life, and achievements influence change?

  • What changes occurred all over the world as a result of Islamic invasion?

  • In what ways does religion play a part in the development of cultures?

  • How did the development of Islam lead to changes in Arabia and the Middle East? 



"The believer speaks little, but does much. And the hypocrite talks a lot, but does little. The believer's speech is wisdom, his silence is contemplation, his gaze is pondering, his actions are righteous. So if this is your state, you shall perpetually be in worship" - Fudayl bin Iyyad


“All humans are dead except those who have knowledge; and all those who have knowledge are asleep, except those who do good deeds; and those who do good deeds are deceived, except those who are sincere; and those who are sincere are always in a state of worry.”-Imam Shafi'i (rahimullah)


"It is better for a leader to make a mistake in forgiving than to make a mistake in punishing." Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1011


  • oasis

  • prophet

  • hijra

  • hajj

  • jihad

  • caliph

  • sultan

  • bureaucrat

  • calligraphy

  • minaret

  • mihrab

  • sultanate

  • militant

  • millet

  • janizary

  • shah









  • Identify the Islamic prohet known as Muhammad, the land in which he was born, his religious calling and the spread of his Islamic teachings throughout the world.

  • Islam affected all aspects of religious and secular society, which resulted in political, educational, and cultural improvements in many parts of the world.

  • Describe the succession of Islamic rulers who invaded India, including the Delhi sultanate: Tamerlane and Babur. And how they affected the culture of the land.

  • Understand how the Ottomans sought to become the leaders of a united Islamic world and how it the Safavid Empire affected Iran.

  • Explore the concepts and ideas surrounding the foundation of the Ottoman Empire.

  • Although the three Abrahamic religions share common roots, each religion developed independently. 



Scholars from the University of Chicago developed this teacher resource to provide an overview of Middle Eastern cultures and their contributions to the world. 

Geography of Islamic World...

7.3 Identify the physical location and features and the climate of the Arabian Peninsula, its relationship to surrounding bodies of land and water, including Northern Africa, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Nile River.




Interactive Discovery Atlas


Spread of Islam...Mecca

Spread of Islam...Baghdad

Spread of Islam...Damascus

Look for Islamic symbols on money created all over the world:  Countries with Islamic symbols on their money:  Almoravids (Spain), Fatimids (Egypt), Delhi Sultanate (India), Bela III of Hungary (1173-96), Seljuqs of Rum (Turkey), Rasulids of Yemen, Khwarizmshahs (Iran/Afghanistan), Saffarids of Seistan (Iran), Ildegizids of Azerbaijan, Normans of Sicily

Origins of Islam

The history of Islam since Muhammad was born. How Islam became the great religion.

Spread of Islam...Jerusalem

Spread of Islam...Cordoba

7.5 Trace the origins of Islam and the life and teachings of Muhammad, including Islam’s historical connections to Judaism and Christianity.



The Life of Muhammad Animation

Spread of Islam...Granada

7.4 Describe the expansion of Muslim rule through conquests and the spread of cultural diffusion of Islam and the Arabic language.





Different Sects in Islam

Yvonne Haddad, professor of the history of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations at the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, explains the difference between two branches of Islam — Sunni and Shi'a.

7.7 Analyze the origins and impact of different sects within Islam, Sunnis and Shi’ites.



Significance of Qur'an and the Sunnah

7.6 Explain the significance of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as the primary sources of Islamic beliefs, practice, and law and their influence in Muslims’ daily life.


  • Five Pillars

Definition: The core principles of Islam: Faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage form the framework for a devout life.
Context: Muslims believe that the way to fulfill the third of the Five Pillars is to abstain from all foods and liquids from dawn to sunset during the month of Ramadan.

  • Islam

Definition: A religion practiced by one billion Muslims that teaches that people must live in submission to one God and in peace with the Creator, with one's self, with other people, and with the environment
Context: Islam may be practiced by people living in any country.

  • jihad

Definition: Striving to remove oppression, which is the denial of the right to life and/or property and of the freedom to practice Islam
Context: Jihad is a difficult concept for those following Judeo-Christian traditions to understand, so it is often misinterpreted.

  • Qur'an

Definition: The Holy Book of Islam
Context: Muslims throughout the world strive to learn Arabic so that they can read the Qur'an and understand its true meaning.



The Golden Age of Islam under the Caliphate Inventions

During the Middle Ages the Islamic World had a very significant impact upon Europe, which in turn cleared the way for the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.

7.8 Examine and summarize the contributions Muslim scholars made to later civilizations in the areas of science, geography, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, art, and literature.


Golden Age of Islamic Achievement:  Lesson Plans and Activities




Find out more about the Islamic Faith by reading this fact sheet.


Trade Routes



Kate's journey along the 2,000-mile trail that first connected the Arab world with the West takes her on a quest that's steeped in history, searing with desert heat, and full of characters and adventure. For 3,000 years before the birth of Christ, frankincense was more valuable than gold. Its sweet smelling aromatic smoke was treasured by Pharaohs and Caesars, and their insatiable demand for frankincense created a trade route from the southern coast of Oman to the Holy Lands. Vast camel caravans carried thousands of tonnes of frankincense over tribal lands - known today as Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine. Following the trail across these seven nations, Kate finds modernity coexisting with ancient traditions as she discovers what it means to be a Western woman in Arabia.

7.9 Describe the establishment of trade routes among Asia, Africa, and Europe and the role of merchants in Arab society.
Questions for today: Recall Geographic Luck. To what extent were individual leaders responsible for the successes of their civilizations? Was their rise to greatness a result of their own personal strengths or the land/conditions that they were lucky enough to have?

1. Did trade influence the rise of empires or did empires influence the extent of trade?
2. What part might cities and trade routes have played during this period in the spread of knowledge, skills, new ideas, religions, and philosophies?
3. Which geographical features helped, and which hindered the integration of Indo-Mediterranea? How were hindering features overcome?
4. How might the introduction of crops into new regions affect the environment.

Lesson Activity: In groups you are going to follow a trade route that was used during classical civilization times. Use Google Earth to plug in the different latitudes and longitudes.

Routes to follow:
Amber Road
Pepper Route
The Royal Road
The Silk Road
The Way of the Sea
Opening the Way to India


Abul Hasan Ali Al-Masu'di [Masoudi] ca. 895-957 C.E.



The Traditions of the Prophet; Collection of Al-Hadiths



Ibn Ishaq [d. c. 773 CE]:  Selections from the Life of Muhammad


Contributions of the Muslims Rap...

Information from 7th grade History Alive textbook- The Medieval World: Muslim Contributions Chapter




Ibn Battuta is one of history's great explorers. He set out from his native Tangier in 1325, when he was just 21. By the time he returned home for good almost 30 years later, he had covered some 120,000 km and nearly every part of the Islamic world.  Experience the world as he saw it!

Secrets of the Taj Mahal

When Mughal ruler Shah Jahan's favorite wife died in childbirth, he ordered the construction of a stunning, white marble tomb in her honor. Join Matt and Rachel as they explore the history, legends and architecture of the Taj Mahal in this episode.

7.10 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources to examine the art and architecture, including the Taj Mahal during the Mughal period.

History's Turning Points - AD 1453 Siege of constantinople...

The Eastern Roman Empire was under constant Ottoman pressure ever since the new conquerors appeared in the Anatolia. Although the Ottomans tried to take Constantinople on a number of occasions, they had to lift the siege of the city due to the Crusades of Varna and Nicopolis, the Timurid Invasion and the battle of Ankara, and the Interregnum period that happened after their Sultan Bayezid was taken hostage by Timur. However, after the victories at the battles of Varna (1444) and 2nd Kosovo (1448) against the crusaders of Wladyslaw III and John Hunyadi, the road to Constantinople was open and the new sultan Mehmed II set his sight on the city of the Roman emperors...

History of Iran in Five Minutes...


Horrible Histories Saladin explains his plan during The Crusades

Horrible Histories - Saladin explains his plan to block the Christians' access to a well during The Crusades.

A summary of the rich History of Iran & Greater Iran from 3200 BCE to 2013 CE (present).

British Museum Shah Abbas Exhibition...

7.12 Write an explanatory text to describe the Shah Abbas and how his policies of cultural blending led to the Golden Age and the rise of the Safavid Empire.


Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: excerpts from The Hadith, Muhammad; excerpts from The Book of Golden Meadows, Masoudi
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