Make your own free website on Tripod.com
ISLAMIC FREQUENCY
Islamic History

HOME

Islam
Five Pillars Of Islam
Islamic History
99 Names of ALLAH (Almighty)
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)
Islam and Terrorism
The Origins of the Sunni/Shia split in Islam
Highlights of Karbala
Shia Namaz
Sunni Namaz
Stories of the Prohpets

Islamic History: 570 - 595

570

The Birth of Muhammad(saws)

The Prophet Muhammad was born in Makkah of the Hashim clan, belonging to the tribe of Quraish. His mother, Amina, was the daughter of Wahb, and his father was Abdullah, who died before his birth. He came under the care of his paternal grandfather Adbul Muttalib, who was about seventy years old. At the age of six, he lost his mother. After the death of his grandfather, when Muhammad was eight years old, he was entrusted to his uncle, Abu talib, who had become the new head of the clan, and grew up in his home.

The Byzantine and Persian Empires Bordering Arabia

After the death of Emperor Theodosius I in 395, the Roman Empire was partitioned into western and eastern halves between his sons Honorius and Arcadius respectively. In 476, however, the western Roman Empire collapsed, abandoning Britain, Gaul, Spain and part of Italy to the barbarians. In contrast, the eastern half of the empire, comprising the wealthier and more civilized provinces of Greece, Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor, was not only able to sustain the loss of the West but had flourished independently since then. The Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empirehad its capital at Byzantium(Constantinople). The other Great Power was Persia, and the boundary between the two ran from the Caucasus to the Upper Euphrates(roughly coinciding with the present border seperating Turkey and Syria from Persia and Iraq), leaving the ArabianPeninsula, which was mostly tractlessdesertat the time, is the largest in the world having an area of about one million square miles. The capital of the Persian Empire was at the ancient city of Ctesiphon(known as Medain in Arabic) on the Tigris, some twenty miles southeast of the site where the city of Baghdad was later to be founded in 762.

The Byzantine Empire was founded on Roman law and adminstration, Greek Language and civilization and Christain religion and moral values. The Church playeda powerful role but it also became a weakening factor in the Empire because of the dogmatic conflict of Christology within it. Greek became the official language of theRoman Empire during the reign of Emperor Heraclius(r.610-41); Christainity was made the state religion by Emperor Theodosius I(r. 379-95). Constantine I(r. 306-37), the first Christain Roman Emperor, had, of course, already paved the way for a Christain State by a number of important stepssuch as the Edict of Milan in 313, declaring Sunday as a day of rest in 321, presiding over the ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325, and founding of Constantinople(formerly Byzantium) in 330 as a "Christain City" and his permanent capital. But, contrary to a common belief, he did not make Christainity the religion of the Empire, which was done later by Theodosius I. Constantine himself was baptized shortly before his death.

Makkah, Center of Caravan Trade Route

There had been a long struggle for territory between the two mighty and rival empires, the Byzantine and Persian or Sasanid(Zoroastrian), as a result of which the overland trade routes through Persia had been broken. An alternative route, though not a direct one, had been found through Arabia for trade between the East and the Mediterranean. A part of this route was by sea to the Yemen port Adan and a part overland to Damascus and Gaza, via Makkah, along the west coast of the peninsula. There was extensive caravan trade between Yemen and the markets of Syria, and Makkah, which was a staging post, became a prosperous commercial center and the metropolis of Arabia. It also had a pagan shrine and sanctuary called Ka'aba, which was famous throughout Arabia and assured the safety of those who came to buy and sell at the trade fairs held there. It attracted a large number of pilgrims to perform idolatrous rites. In this way, the shrine, situated a few steps away from the famous spring Zamzam, played an important role in the economic and commercial life of Makkah which was run by a small group of rich merchants.

Geography and Chief Clans of Makkah

Makkah itself stood in a narrow, barren valley, surrounded by steep, bare hills. Its food supply came from the fertile fields of Taif, a town forty miles to the southeast. Water was also scarce, its main source of supply being the Zamzam, although there were other wells located outside the town. The free air of the open desert was thought healthier than the suffocating heat of this dusty and congested little town. It was, therefore, a widespread custom for people to give their children to be suckled by women of the neighboring tribes in the desert. Muhammad thus spent his early childhood in the care of a woman of the Sa'd tribe outside Makkah, after which he returned to his mother, but she died within a year, leaving him an orphan.

Makkah was inhabited mainly by the tribe of Quraish, which consisted of, among others, two prominent clans - the Hashim, headed by Abdul Muttalib, and the Umayya. The Hashim clan was entrusted with the duties related to the maintenance of the Ka'aba and the management of the Pilgrimage, while the Umayya clan had hereditary leadership in war. It was in the exercise of this last right that Abu Sufyan(ra), leader of the Umayya clan, had overall command of the Makkan forces against the Muslims in later battles. Both clans were engaged in trade, the Umayya clan much more so than the Hashim.

Christains and Jews in Arabia

After Christainity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 381,it began to penetrate Arabia, slowly, but still posing a challenge to Arabian paganism. However, in the succeeding centuries, the Byzantine Orthodox Church no longer remained a religious unit but was bitterly divided into mutually hostile groups differing in their intrepretation of the Incarnation. The Nestorian Christains were persecuted and driven out of the Roman Empire altogether in the middle of the fifth century. These Greek refugees were welcomed in Persia as victims of the Byzantines, whom the Persians regarded as their main enemies. The Nestorian conducted avigorous missionary campaign along the Euphrates and the northern part of the Persian Gulf andsuceeded in converting many Arabs in those regions. Even the last ruler ofthe Arab Lakhmid Dynasty, Numan III(r. c.580-605), who ruled the north-eastern periphery of Arabia, became a Nestorian Christain. On the north-western side, the Ghassan Arab, tribe living along the border with Syria, had also become Christain by the middle of the sixth century, but they professed Monophysite Christainity, which was condemned as heretical by the Orthodox Church and bitterly opposed by the Nestorians.

In fact, both the Persian and Byzantine Empires maintained the Arab satellite states of Lakhm and Ghassan respectively to protect their open southern flanks from Bedouin attacks.

The Lakhmids and the Ghassanids were recognized as clients by these governments around the years 300 and 500 respectively. These rival tribes not only provided buffer states for their respective paymasters, but also engaged themselves in endless desert warfare, carrying out raids against each other. Christain communities were also founded in Yemen and Najran. In addition to the Christains, there were many much older Jewish colonies in Arabia, founded mainly in Yemen and Khaybar. There were three clans in Makkah who professed the Jewish faith. Thus, while the tribes of the peninsula were still pagan and worshipped idols, Judaism and Christainity had already established a foothold inthe peninsula and penetrated some communities, particularly along the fringes of the desert.

An Abyssinian Attempt to Destroy the Ka'aba

Abraha, the Christain Abyssinian governor of Yemen, invaded Hijaz in 570 but retreated in disarray from a place a few miles from Makkah, abandoning the original aim of the expedition, which was to destroy the Ka'aba. Abraha himself died on returning to the Yemenite capital, Sana. Thus the Ka'aba was saved, which was regarded as the fulfillment of the prayer which its Keeper and Muhammed's grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, had made to God to defend His own House.*

It is the incident which is referred to in Sura 105(The Elephant) in the Quran, so-called because of an elephant being present in the Axumite army. The Arabs of Hijaz were greatly impressed, because they had never seen an elephant before. So much importance is given to this event that the year 570 is described as the "Year of the Elephant" in some Arab chronicles.

It is not possible to ascertain the exact date of the Prophet(saws)'s birth. He(saws) is said to have been born fifty-five days after Abraha's attack on Makkah and in the firieth year of the reign of Chosroes Anusharwan. The birth is also said have taken place in the year of the third breaking of the Marib dam, situated sixty miles east of Sana in Yemen and center of large irrigation system. From these and other information, the year of the Prophet(saws)'s birth is taken as 570 or 571

 

574

The Capture of Yemen by the Persians

The Abyssinians were expelled from Yemen by the Persians after fifty-two years of occupation, and Yemen came under Persian rule.

 

581

Exposure of Byzantine Border to Arabia

The ruling Prince of the Ghassan tribe, being a Monophysite Christain, was arrested and taken to Constantinople for alleged treason. The Byzantines withdrew their recognition of the Ghassan Dynasty, which had been living along the Syrian border and protecting it in reurn for a subsidy and other privileges. This left the tribe in defiance and the desert border exposed to Bedouin attacks from Arabia.

 

595

Muhammad(Saws)'s marriage to Khadija(ra)

At the age of twenty-five, Muhammad(saws) married Khadija, a forty-year-old wealthy widow, who was his only wife until her death in 619. This gave him financial security, enabling him to pursue his own inclinations, which included long periods of introspection in solitude and involvement in trade. They had two sons, who died in infancy, and four daughtersn named Zaynad(ra), Ruqayya(ra), Fatima(ra) and Umm Kulthum(ra). Of these, Ruqayya married Uthman ibn Affan(ra) and Fatima(ra) married the Prophet(saws)'s cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib(ra); Uthman and Ali later became the third(644-56) and fourth(656-61) Caliphs respectively. Muhammed(saws) was survived only by her marriage to Ali was of lasting importance, since the Prophet(saws)'s descendants from this line have been especially revered.

 

 

Islamic History: 605 - 620

605

Exposure of the Persian Border to Arabia

Numan III, the Lakhmid ruler, quarrelled with the Persian Chosroes, who abolished the privileges which had been enjoyed by his family in return for defending the desert frontier. As a result, the Arab tribes along the Euphrates rebelled agaisnt the Persians and left the border with Arabia unguarded. The same had happened previously in 581 along the Syrian border of the Byzantines.

 

 

610

Muhammad(saws)'s Call to Prophethood

In the seclusion of a little cave on Mount Hira outside Makkah, Muhammad had his first Revelation through the angel Gabriel that he was the Prophet of God. This was the beginning of the new faith, Islam, which means "surrender"(to the Will of God). The first group of people who were converted toa belief in his preaching were his wife Khadija, his ten-year old cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib(ra), the ex-slave but now adopted son Zayd ibn Haritha(ra), and his freind Abu Bak()ra). This new faith attracted intense hostility from the local pagan community, especially from those with wealth and position, because its teaching, although basically religious, criticized implicitly the conduct and attitude of the rich merchants who had a complete monopoly in Makkah. They equated the success of the new faith with their own downfall. Consequently, the converts were subjected to contempt and ostacism by their fellow citizens.

 

 

615

Emigration of First Muslims to Abyssinia

As a result of persecution, some eighty Makkan Muslims emigrated to Abyssinia(Ethopia) to take refuge with the Christains there, who disliked the pagans of Makkah.* The party included Uthman ibn Affanand his wife Ruqayya, the Prophet Muhammad(saws) himself stayed behind in Makkah to continue preaching inthe face of fierce opposition.

The Negus of Abyssinia treated them with consideration, allowed them to practice their religion and refused to hand them over to their oppressors, who demanded their return. This had an influence on the Prophet Muhammad(saws)'s future attitude towards the Christains, who were termed the "People of the Book" and were accorded special treatment. The tradition was to be followed in subsequent times by the Prophet(saws)'s sucessors in their treatment of a subject population of different faiths in the conquered territories.**

*According to some records, the emigration took place in two groups, one after the other, with an interval of about two months. The first group consisted of fifteen people and the second, one hundred.

**The Prophet distinguised between mere pagans and possessors of a revealed(or holy) scripture. The latter included Christains and Jews, who were promised protection and allowed to practice their religion if they submitted without fighting and paid a poll-tax at a prescribed rate.

 

 

616

Umar(ra)'s Acceptance of Islam

The conversion to Islam of Umar Ibn al-Khattab(ra), Muhammad(saws)'s bitter opponent and a forceful personality in Makkah, took place. he later became the second Caliph(634-44)

 

 

619

The Death of Khadija(ra); Muhammad(saws)'s Visit to Taif

The Prophet(saws) suffered two personal misfortunes; Khadija(ra) and Abu talib, the Prophet(saws)'s uncle and protector, both died. Although Abu Talib never accepted Islam, he always stood in the defense of Muhammad(saws), whom he brought up in his own home. Now, another uncle, Abu Lahab, succeeded as head of Muhammad(saws)'s clan, but he withdrew the clan's protection from him. As a result, Muhammad(saws), accompanied only by his adopted son Zayd Ibn Haritha, left for Taif, a town forty miles southeast of Makkah, but did not find the support he had hoped for. He returned to Makkah and carried on with his mission.

The Night Journey

Muhammad(saws)'s reputed Nocturnal Journey(The Miraj) took place from Makkah to Jerusalem and thence to the Seventh Heaven. He was charged with the command that all Muslims were offer prayer five times a day.

 

 

620

Muhammad(saws)'s Marriage to Aisha(ra)

The Prophet married Aisha(ra)*, daughter of a close freind and a rich merchant, Abu Bakr(ra).** Because of her close association with the Prophet(saws), she later became a renowned source of Traditions and is held in deep reverence by the Muslims. Aisha(ra) is said to have narrated 2,210 Traditions.

*Apart from Aisha(ra), all the Prophet(saws)'s other wives were widows and seem to have been chosen for political reasons. For twenty-five years he was married to his only first wife, Khadija(ra), who was considerably older than himself. All his remaining marriages took place in his fifties and after Khadija's death.

**According to some historical sources, the marriage was not consummated until after the Hijra in 622.

 

 

Islamic History : 622 - 627

622

The Hijra; Beginning of the Muslim Era

At the age of 52, The Prophet secretly migrated to the fertile northern oasis of Yathrib, which was not on the caravan trade route from southern Arabia to the north. This was the famous Hijra. Some Muslims had already left for Abyssinia to escape persecution, but it was largely unknown territory to them. On the annual Pilgrimage to the Ka'aba(still a pagan shrine) about 70 inhabitants of Yathrib had accepted Islam and invited Muhammad to their city, where he and his followers would be given sanctuary. Before his own departure, his followers, some 70 in all, had already, on his own instructions, left Makkah for yathrib in small groups, eluding the vigilance of the Quraish.

The people of Yathrib received with enthusiasm the Prophet and his makkan followers, who had abandoned their homes for the sake of their new faith. To mark the ocassion, the ancient name of the city was renamed to Madinah ul Nabi(City of the Prophet) or Madinah for short. The inhabitants of Madinah proved to be far more receptive than the Makkanshad been to Muhammad's(saws) teaching, and soon theMadinese Mslims(termed by the Prophet The Helpers or Ansari) greatly exceeded the Makkan immigrants in the numbers. He severed kinship ties in Makkah and started a new life as the leader of a religious community, acknowledged to possess divine authority. Here he settled and built his house which served as a gathering place for his followers and as a model fora masjid which would be later built on the site.*

The Hijra proved to be a decisive event in the life of Muhammad and the development of Islam. A part of the population of Madinah was Jewish.

*The Prophet's Masjid in madinah is the second holiest shrine of Islam, next in sanctity to the Ka'aba in Makkah.
 

624

The Battle of Badr

Muhammad had heard that Abu Sufyan, at the head of a caravan from Syria, was taking a vast quantity of wealth and merchandise to Makkah to help the Quraish in their fight against the Muslims. The Quraish had been spending great deal of resources in their utter determination to annihilate the new faith and its adherents who had secretly managed to escape Makkah to the safety of Madinah only two years before. Moreover, the whole economic life of the Makkans was dependent on camel caravans with the main trade centres in the north. Thus, if these trade routes could be made unsafe, the Makkans would be hit where they were most vulernable leaving them less reolved to fight Islam.

In command of little more than 300 Muslim converts, he went out in the middle of March to a place called Badr to attack the Makkan caravan which was on its return journey from Syria. Badr, a small town about 85 miles southwest of Madinah, was on the caravan route connecting Makkah and Damascus. Abu Sufyan skilfully eluded the Muslims by devious routes and led the caravan to safety. But a force was rshed from Makkah, which consisted of 950 men with 700 camels and 100 horses and was led by Abu Jahl, the Prophet's uncle and head of the Mukhzum clan, who decided to seek a real fight. In the ensuing battle, atleast 45 Makkans, including Abu Jahl and many other leading Makkans, were killed and about 70 were taken prisoner while the Muslims only lost 14.

The complete victory for the Muslims, though outnumbered by three to one, in this battle was a milestone in the early history of Islam. This was the first time the young Muslim community became conscious of its own striking power, which was destined to grow into an unstoppable avalanche. The event took an immense religious significance, too, since, according to the Quran*, God himself helped the Beleivers in sustaining the cause of Islam. It was recognized as a Divine vindication of the Prophet's mission and, as a consequence, brought new converts and increased the prestige of the Muslim community.

*Reference to the name Badr is made in the Surah Al Imran 3:123. Indirect references to this battle also appear in the Quran in some other surahs.

Change of Qibla to Makkah

The Qibla, the direction to which the Muslims turn in praying, was changed from Jerusalem to the Ka'aba in Makkah.

Fatima's Marriage to Ali

The Prophet Muhammad's daughter, Fatima, was married to his cousin and future Caliph(656-661)Ali ibn Abi Talib.*(ra)

*According to some historical accounts, the marriage took place after the battle of Uhad in 625.

 

625

The Battle of Uhad

To avenge the year old defeat in the Battle of Badr and also to make their trade route safe, the Makkans mobilized about 3,000 men and entered the oasis of Madinah in the month of March. In response, Muhammad could only muster a force of 700 only, and a pitched battle took place near the hill of uhad, about 3 miles to the north of Madinah. The Muslims repelled the Makkan infantry at first but were then thrown disarray by a sudden attack from the rear(which was caused by a group of archers that abandoned the position that the Prophet commanded them to guard for the booty left by the fleeing Makkans) led by Khalid ibn al-Walid(ra). This was the first time that Khalid, who was later to become the most famous of all Arab generals, displayed his brilliant talent for leadership on the battlefield. The Prophet himself was wounded, which added to the confusion. Yet strangely enough, the Makkans, who were again commanded by Abu Sufyan, head of the Umayya clan, did not pursue their advantageous position by attacking the town itself, which remained undefended; instead, they marched towards home. Perhaps they only wanted to prove their chivalry or teach the enemy a hard lesson. Whatever the reason, the battle did not produce a clear victor or loser. The Muslims lost 70 and Makkans lost 20. The Prophet lamented the death of his uncle Hamza, a great hunter and mighty warrior, whose body was mutilated by Abu Sufyan's wife Hind as an act of revenge for her father whom Hamza had killed at Badr.

 

627

The Battle of the Ditch

Madinah was besieged by a Makkan army of 10,000, perhaps the largest force ever seen in Arabia, under Abu Sufyan who had become Muhammad(saws)'s arch-enemy. Repeated attempts to cross a trench, especially dug to protect the town, failed and the army drifted away about a fortnight. This was partly due to the Makkans's lack of knowledge of regular warfare involving long sieges, and partly due to bad weather conditions and falling supplies.

Another factor was the dissension in the invading army, skilfully formented by Muhammad(saws)'s agents, in this long and restive siege. Muhammad(saws) had a wide and efficient intellignece network which he always employed in planning his strategy. The numbers killed onboth sides added up to no more than ten. The Prophet Muhammad(saws)'s position was freatly strengthened by this outcome, which he used as a clear demonstration of the impregnability of his city, where he had established his civil and religious authority. The Makkans had pooled all their resources in arranging this vast army, but their efforts to dislodge or destroy Muhammad(saws) had obviously failed. And both their trade and prestige had suffered badly.

Islamic History : 628 - 630

628

The Pact of Hudaybiya

In February, the Prophet(saws) led a gorup about 1,600 men, intending to perform the Pilgrimage at Makkah, but was prevented from doing so. After some negotiations, a pact was drawn up at Hudabiya(which later came to bear its name), a settlement about ten miles west of the town. Although some of the leading Muslims were not satisfied with the final outcome, Muhammad(saws)did get a number of concessions from the Makkans regarding the right forhim and his followers to make the Pilgrimage in the following year. This was yet another indication of the weakening resolve of the Prophet's(s) old adversaries to oppose him.

One of the most significant consequence of the Prophet(s)'s increasing prestige at this point in time was the conversion of Khalid ibn al-Walid(d.641) and Amr ibn al-As(d.663) who later proved themselves to be the greatest military commanders of the Muslims. They took part in many famous victories crucial to the expansion of the Islamic empire. At about the same time, the hereditary custodians of the keys to the idol shrine, the ka'aba, also became Muslim, which gave a political boost to the missionaries of the new Faith.

Muhammad(s)'s Invitation to Rulers of Surrounding Territories to Accept Islam

According to tradition, it was about this period, the year 628, that the Prophet(s) sent messages to the king of Persia, the Byzantine Emperor, the Governor of Egypt and the Prince of Abyssinia, inviting them to embrace Islam. The king of Persia is alleged to have torn up the missive with contempt. The Emperor Heraculis accepted the letter with less resentment but dismissed its contents. The Governor of Egypt, however, received themessage with courtesy and while refusing to change his religion, he sent in return a white riding mile and two Egyptian slave girls.

The letter addressed to Cyprus(Arabic: al-Muqawqis) the Egyptian Governor is preserved, along with other holy relics belonging to the Prophet(saws) and his companions, in Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul.* The following is the translation of the letter.

From Muhammad, the servantand Prophet of Allah, to al-Muqawqis, the leader of the Coptic tribe.**

There is safety and security for those beleivers who follow the correct path. Therefore, I invite you to accept Islam. If you accept it, you shall find security, save your throne, gain twice as much reward for having introduced Islam to your followers. If you refuse this invitation, let the sin of the calamity which awaits your followers be upon you. You too are People of the Book; therefore, let us come to a word common between us and you, that we worship none but Allah and shall not associate anyone with Him. Let us not abandon Allah and take others for Lord other than Him. If you do not consent to this invitation, bear witness that we are Muslims."

*The text of the letter consists of 12 lines followed by the Prophet(saws)'s seal and is written on a parchment measuring 19cm x 16cm. With the passage of time, the parchment has discoloured and become brittle and the writing has become indistinct.

According to the Director of the Museum, a Frenchman by the name of Barthelemy found the letter in 1850 attached to the binding of a Coptic Bible in a monastery in Egypt. It was subsequently presented to the Ottoman ruler Sultan Abdul Majid I (ruled 1839 - 1861) and brought it to Istanbul.

**Ancient Egyptians who had adopted Monophysite branch of Christainity

Conclusion of Perso-Byzantine Peace

Chosroes Parwiz, who had come to the Sasanid throne in 590, was assassinated and peace was concluded in 628 between the Persians and the Byzantines after twenty-six years of devastating wars. The two forces pulled back to the old frontiers, and neither side, in the end, gained any new territory in this long and costly conflict which had left both sides utterly exhausted militarily and financially.

The wars had brought heavy taxation on the subject populations in the two empires and had underminded their royalty to their oppressive and alien overlords. This resentment among the populace later helped the conquering Arabs, who though, untrained and ill-equipped, were completely dedicated to spreading their religion.

 

629

Conversion of Abbas(ra) to Islam

While Muhammad(saws) was in Makkah for the Pilgrimage, his uncle, Abbas(d. 652) accepted Islam. The descendants of Abbas later established the second Islamic Dynasty, the Abbasid (750-1258)

 

630

The Fall of Makkah; the Dedication of the Ka'aba as the Symbol of Islam

Now the tide had turned and Makkah was in decline with no competent leader. After the humiliating failure of their siege of Madinah, they lost the will and strength to fight. Muhammad(saws) marched on Makka, his birthplace which drive him into exile eight years earlier, with 10,000 men and the city surrendered with virtually no resistance.

Muhammad(saws), instead of being vindictive, ordered a general amnesty from which only four or five persons were excluded. The Prophet(saws) won over the Makkans by showing magnanimity on the day of triumph even to those who had persecuted him in the past. This led to a large number of local people accepting Islam. Idols kept in the Ka'aba(said to be numbered 360) were destroyed, and it became no longer a pagan shrine. Instead, the Ka'aba was dedicated afresh to the worship of the One and Only God, according to the new Faith, and from no won it became the spirtual centre of Islam.

The Ka'aba

The structure of the present Ka'aba(lit.'cube'), located in the centre of the courtyard of the Great Mosque in Makkah, is approximately 40 ft long, 35 ft wide and 50 ft high, with the Black Stone built into the south-eastern corner near its door, which is about seven feet above the ground level. It dates back to 683, when Abdullah ibn Zubair(ra)(d. 692) rebuilt it. Apart from some alterations carried out by Hajjaj ibn Yusuf(661-714) in 693, the building has survived in this form to the present day. It is the holiest shrine and 'religious pole' of the Islamic Faith; Muslims all over the world oreint themselves toward it during prayer, bury their dead facing its meridian, and cherish the ambition of visiting it on a pilgrimage.

The Black Stone - the exposed side of which is an oval shape a little more than a span across - is set in a thicker silver casing of a oval shape. The sacred rock is the only remaining relic from the building which existed in the Prophet Muhammad(saws)'s time. The silver casing protrudes from the building above five feet from the ground, a convenient height for the pilgrams to kiss, touch or otherwise greet the Black Stone during their ritual circumambulation of the Ka'aba.

Acceptance of Islam by Abu Sufyan

Abu Sufyan(d. 651), the Prophet's(saws) most feared opponent, made his peace with Muhammad(saws) and accepted islam. His son, Muawiya, became one of the secretaries of the Prophet(saws) and later (661) the 1st Caliph of the Umayyad dynasty(661 - 750)

Muhammad(saws) reutrned to Madinah, where he continued to live for the rest of his life.

Islamic History : 632

632

The Death of Muhammad(saws)

By now, the Prophet(saws) has united a larger part of Arabia than anyone had done before, and pagan cults died out as the number of converts to Islam increased everywhere. He led a Pilgrimage to the Ka'aba in the months of March, in a form according to Islamic beleif. Three months after returning to Madinah from what was later to be called his "Farewell Pilgrimage," he fell ill and died on 8th of June.

634-656 AD Rule of the Sunni Quraysh caliphs; great wars of expansion and conquest for Arab Empire.

651 AD Death of Yazdagird III, end of Sassanian Empire.

656 AD Rebel troops, under Ali, march on Medina and depose the caliph Uthman.

656-661 AD Caliphate of Ali, civil strife between Sunni nobility and the Shia caliph. 661 - Ali assassinated; return of Sunni Umayyad caliphate.

680 AD Martyrdom of Hussein, son of Ali, at Kabala.

715 - 750 AD Decline of the Sunni Umayyad caliphate. 750 - Abbasids lead popular revolt against Umayyad caliphate.

750 - 9th Century AD Abbasid caliphate centered in Baghdad.

800 AD Shia movement establishes independent state in Khorasan.

867 AD Saffarid dynasty centered in Tashkent, Bukhara, Samarkand; first to unite Persians as Shiites.

900 AD Saffarids defeated by Samanid, establish dynasty in Northeastern Persia.

935 AD The Persian poet Ferdowsi born.

994-1030 AD Reign of Turkic Mahmud, resurrection of Persian culture and literature.

1042 AD Rise of Seljuk Turks.

1268 AD Destruction of Caliphate and Baghdad by Mongols.

1380-87 AD Tatar invasion by Timur (Tamerlane). Timurid rule centered in Central Asia.

1502 Safavid dynasty established under the Shah Ismail, with the help of Persian Shiites and Turkoman tribes of Central Asia.