What was the relationship of merchants to islamic society

History of Islamic economics - Wikipedia

what was the relationship of merchants to islamic society

As Islamic ideas and cultures came into contact with new societies, they were The spread of Islam through merchants, missionaries, and pilgrims was very. The common practice of Islam bonded the members of the merchant community mercial practices, and a code for interpersonal relationships within mercan- Usually, peoples who lived in predominately rural African societies travelled. In Islam, everyone is a man (or woman) of religion and everyone will. a century, Islam kept spreading and Muslim culture and society flourished. Some people's relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and.

Here, we set aside the central role of the faith, Islam, and how it structures or organizes society. This is not our object here. We also set aside the very early history of Islam from the time of the Prophet PBUHand how he put in place the very first foundations of Islamic society in Madinah.

Subjects considered here would normally constitute a specific heading; i.

what was the relationship of merchants to islamic society

Here, technical requirements and space constraints demand the following set up. Also some issues raised here would normally find their place under headings considered elsewhere i. On this, the works by the like of A.

The Role of Merchants in Spreading Islam

It is precisely during this period, as history shows us, that some of the fundamental, concretely observable today, or through history, foundations of Islamic society were set up, or put in place. It is during the Early Caliphate, indeed, that we see the emergence of the first cities of Islam, the first legal system on a vast inter continental dimension, the establishment of a welfare state, a system of taxation, an administrative system, all encompassing territories stretching from far inside Asia into North Africa.

We see further establishments of diverse institutions, a police force, for instance, also during this period. The first system of land organization, irrigation, rights to land and water use, and also including vast engineering works such as canal constructionsor organizing pilgrimage routes, and much else also go to that period.

The role of Caliph Omar, in particular, was absolutely central to this. As Von Kremer notes: He Omar was the real founder of all those institutions which made the Caliphate for centuries the ruling power of the world.

The satisfactory answer will require a whole book at least. Needless for this here as such books exist, four of them of immense quality: Anyone is advised to use these excellent works.

Here, we can only briefly state that the reasons Omar was essential were simple: His reputation in those days was beyond that of everyone, and all tribes used to rely on his expertise in settling matters that demanded skills and proficiency of bureaucratic nature. He was even the ambassador for Quraish to the tribes.

The role of ambassador fell to Omar ibn al-Khattab who was among the elite of the tribe of Quraysh. Whenever the flames of a feud flared between Quraysh and some other tribe, Omar was always the tribe's ambassador, speaking in their name and retrieving their rights.

The land of Islam by the end of his Caliphate instretched from as far as modern Central Asia in the east to the frontiers of Libya in the west. Here it must also be reminded that no further expansion of Islam took place under any other dynasty except under the Aghlabids of Tunisia who captured Sicilyin Muslim India, under the rulers of Turkish ancestry, and also under the Ottomans subsequently.

No territory was added by either Fatimids, or Abbasids, or anyone else. In order to do this, it is highly crucial to appreciate the sources. Without knowing which sources enlighten on what, readers can spend years meandering without coming across anything of value or interest. Misguided by wrong advice can also cause such readers to squander considerable time and effort. These particular issues in relation to our subject are addressed under the following heading. Sources Let us first address the view held by many who today are crusading against the use of old sources There are even some who claim that only the latest secondary sources ought to be used, i.

Those who make these claims are of course to be ranked as ignorant individuals, who know nothing of history, and the subject we are looking at here will show it. You do not use sources for the study of history because they are very recent. You use sources for historical knowledge because they are first and foremost the best, i. You also use sources that are the nearest to the event or are simultaneous with the event you describe. Any secondary source relating events decades or even centuries later is never as good as the witnesses to the events themselves.

Anyone who claims that any historian of the crusades today is better than Ibn al Qalanisi, Ibn al Athir, Albert of Aix, or William of Tyre does not know his or her subject. Anyone who thinks they can describe colonial wars in North Africa better than the French officers who were themselves involved in them is equally an ignorant.

And the same can be said about any event or subject in history. In regard to the subject here, no modern historian can describe or explain to us Muslim society better than its contemporaries such al Ibn Jubayr, al Dimashki, or al Muqaddasi, who is amply dealt with here, as an instance.

what was the relationship of merchants to islamic society

Now, in regard to secondary sources, if anyone claims that the more recent the source the better the historical writing, or even more accurate, again this person is making a ridiculous claim.

Recueil des Historiens des Croisades, also dated from the 19th century. The errors, the contradictions, the omissions of important and crucial episodes of history are simply beyond the acceptable. Of course, the object here is not to dwell on these shortcomings. What matters to us is to state the following: Just as it is impossible today to reproduce the works of a Sarton, a Wiedeman, or a Haskins in the field of history of science, it is impossible in relation to our subject in this essayand as we will see, to find works that equal those by Lestrange, Von Kremer, or Muir.

Muir, in particular, strongly claims the superiority of his faith, Christianity, over Islam. Here, one also accepts that there are errors in some of the old material in regard to names, dates, and some facts, which more recent historians have corrected. But these are normal, and do hardly cause any harm to the value of the old material, and all historians make errors that are one hopes corrected by others.

In respect to the urban system and its growth, from the time of the Early Caliphate, we note how straight after the Islamic advance in the s, during the Caliphate of Omar, there appeared garrison towns, some newly built Basra and Kufawhilst others were more established: Damascus, Hims, Tiberias, and Lydda in Syria. After the foundation of Cairo, Fustat continued its existence under the name of old Cairo; but it was gradually annexed to the new Cairo by unbroken and continuous settlement.

As the greatest sea-town, it was constantly exposed to the attacks of the Byzantine navy. It was precisely for that reason that it was strongly garrisoned. It is primarily to Lestrange that we owe the best compilation of descriptions by contemporaries of the towns, cities and regions of medieval Islam as they as they saw them and described them.

Writing inAl-Muqaddasi says: Akka is a fortified city on the sea. The mosque here is very large. In its court is a clump of olive-trees, the oil from which suffices for the lamps of the mosque, and yet besides.

This city had remained unfortified until the time when Ibn Tulun 9th century ruler of Egypt visited it, coming from Tyre, where he had seen the fortifications and the walls which are there carried round so as to protect the harbour. The remains of the double mole forming the inner harbour at Acre may still be seen, though centuries later these are almost entirely under water.

The Friday Mosque at Acre is in the centre of the town, and rises taller than all the other edifices. All its columns are of marble. The court of the Mosque is partly paved with stone, and the other part is sown with green herbs, for they say it was here that Adam-peace be upon him-first practised husbandry….

It resembles, so to speak, a stable, the back of which is towards the town, with the side-walls stretching out into the sea. Basra lay about 12 miles in a direct line from the Tigris estuary, being reached by two great canals, which, with the waters of the estuary to the east for the third side, formed the Great Island as it was called. The houses of the town were for the most part of kiln burnt bricks, the walls were surrounded by rich pasture lands, watered by numerous minor canals, and beyond these lay extensive palm-groves.

Omar is said to have specified the widths of the streets: Another dominant aspect of early Islamic society was the matter of tax and revenue. Here, it is Von Kremer, as admirably conveyed to us by Khuda Bukhsh, who feeds us with knowledge of value found nowhere else. Initially the state-revenue consisted for the most part of the legal fifth of the war-booty, and the poor-tax Zakat payable by better off Muslims, payable primarily for lands or more correctly from the produce of the lands.

Under Omar, during the times of crises, in order to encourage the import of cereals to Madinah he reduced the tax upon them to half of the tenth i. Quarries and mines were equally liable to this tax, but with this difference that here it fell due, immediately on the discovery of the mines and quarries, and not after a year, as was the case with the harvested crops.

At the time of Omar there was in the state-pasture no less thancamels and horses. In order to distinguish these from others they were branded with a special mark Wasm. Twofold were the taxes which the subject population of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia had to pay: Both these taxes were probably adopted from the Byzantine Empire where they existed under these identical names. Since this tax was expressly taken as the price for military protection given by the State, whenever the Caliph felt that he could not protect a region any more, he immediately ordered the return of the whole of jizyah collected from that region.

Before the battle of the Yarmukwhen the Muslim forces withdrew from Hims, Damascus and other advanced posts, the Caliph ordered the return of the whole of the jizyah amount collected from those cities and the adjoining places. It was a thoroughly just principle of assessing the taxes according to the nature of the soil and the mode of its cultivation.

Omar specially directed his tax collectors not to oppress people and not to take away the best animal out of their flock. Allah created on the basis of truth and He accepts nothing but that which is based on truth, so take what is due and give people their dues rights on the basis of Allah's teachings. I urge you to adhere to honesty, pay a great deal of attention to it and do not be the first to neglect honesty.

Fulfill covenants, and do not wrong orphans or non-Muslims who have a treaty with the Muslims, for Allah will be the opponent of the one who wrongs them.

Whether the British in Ireland, or in India, or the French in Algeria, or the White settlers in South Africa, the land issue has always been a central element of strife, rebellion, rancor, injustice, and its mismanagement has led to countless tragedies some of them of epic proportions, leading to the starvation of millions. This is one principal reason why the Islamic advance to this day has remained unique.

In this respect, the role of Omar was of central importance.

The rise of Islamic empires and states (article) | Khan Academy

It was he who laid down the working principle that Arabs should not acquire landed property in conquered territories. He notes, for instance, how when Egypt was conquered, Omar rejected the advice of Zubayr and other Companions to divide the land amongst Muslim warriors and their families.

Therefore, much to the discontent of many Arabs, not only were the confiscated lands held undivided, but, from the border of the Syrian desert to the mountain range of Persia, the sale of any portion of the soil, whether confiscated or not, was absolutely forbidden.

what was the relationship of merchants to islamic society

The country also, remaining in the hands of its own cultivators, was nursed, and became a rich and permanent source of revenue. To Caliph Omar is popularly ascribed the establishment of the Diwan, and offices of systematic account. For most of his Caliphate, the Caliph lived at Al Sunh, then, finding it at an inconvenient distance from the Great Mosque, where, as in the time of the Prophet, the affairs relating to the state continued to be transacted, he transferred his residence, and with it the Treasury, thither.

The Exchequer of Islam was in those days but a simple small room that needed neither guard nor office of account. This followed a census of the population. This Census of the Muslim population was apparently done with great care. Every Arab tribe, with its members, was entered on a special list and changes, due either to birth or death, were very scrupulously noted. To carry out this vast project, a Register had to be drawn and kept up of every man, woman, and child, entitled to a stipend from the State — in other words, of the whole Arab race employed in the interests of Islam.

Men of a tribe, or branch of a tribe, fought together; and the several corps and brigades being thus territorially arranged in clans, the Register assumed the same form. The Register itself, as well as the office for its maintenance and for pension account, was called the Diwan or Department of the Exchequer. The whole revenues of Islam were thus expended as soon, almost, as received; and Omar took a special pride in seeing the treasury, in accord with this principle, emptied to the last dirhem.

Omar, in assigning annuities, made no distinction between the full-blooded Arab Sarihthe half -Arab Halif and the client Mawla.

He would have all Muslims treated alike without distinction. There was to be no difference between them in point of rights or of duties either. This is the concise order he issued to an Arab governor who, while refusing to the clients, granted annuities to the Arabs: It is wicked in a man to despise his brother Muslim. An annuity of 3, Dirham each he assigned to the three slaves who had fought at the battle of Badr. Apart from the annuities he appears to have distributed fixed rations every month among the troops and the inhabitants of Madinah: The Prophet had already appointed some governors during his life, and so did Abu Bakr.

Here, both Muir and Von Kremer the latter still via Khuda Bukhsh translation give us details, which, again, we can find nowhere else. In the more important governorates, the judicial office was discharged by a functionary who held his commission immediately from the Caliph.

The control of all departments remained with the governor, who, in virtue of his supreme office, led the daily prayers in public; and, especially on Fridays, gave a sermon, which had often an important political bearing.

Men of religion were also commissioned by the State. From the extraordinary speed with which cities and provinces were converted, risk of error rose, in respect both of creed and ritual, to the vast multitudes of new believers.

In each district the Officer commanding the troops was invested with the powers of a Governor. But, as a whole, Syria stood under the control and supervision of the Commander-in-Chief of the entire army who collected the taxes. Governors resided also in the provinces of Khaulan, Najran and Bahrain. While, in later times, only one governor sufficed for the whole of Yemen, Abu Bakr appointed governors for all the larger towns. Similarly he appointed a Judge for Hims and Kinnisrin.

what was the relationship of merchants to islamic society

Iraq was divided into two governorships one having its seat in Kufa and the other at Basra. For Mesopotamia, conquered in the last years of his Caliphate, Omar made a special arrangement. From the Subhat al-Akhbar, a 17th-century Ottoman painting.

During the Rashidun caliphates, Arab Muslim forces expanded outward beyond the Arabian peninsula and into the territories of the neighboring Byzantine and Sasanian Empires. These empires were significantly weakened after a period of fighting with one another and other peripheral factions like the Turks, economic turmoil, disease, and environmental problems.

The Arab Muslim conquerors were primed to take advantage of this; they were familiar with Byzantine and Sasanian military tactics, having served in both armies. With the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires on the decline and strategically disadvantaged, Arab Muslim armies were able to quickly take over vast territories that once belonged to the Byzantines and Sasanians and even conquer beyond those territories to the east and west.

Most conquests happened during the reign of the second caliph, Umar, who held power from to The Rashidun caliphate constructed a massive empire out of many swift military victories. They expanded for both religious and political reasons, which was common at the time. One political advantage the Rashidun caliphate held was their ability to maintain stability and unity among the Arab tribes.

Distinct, feuding Arab tribes united into a cohesive political force, partially through the promise of military conquest. However, this unity was tentative and ultimately gave way to major divergences that disrupted state and religious institutions in the coming centuries. How quickly did the Arab Muslim Empires spread? What were some of the reasons the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires were vulnerable to attacks by the Arab Muslim conquerors?

A new political structure The Rashidun can be credited for military expansion, but did Islam truly spread through their conquests? Significant conversion and cultural exchange did not occur during their short rule, nor were complex political institutions developed. It was not until the Umayyad Dynasty—from to —that Islamic and Arabic culture began to truly spread. The Abbasid Dynasty—from to —intensified and solidified these cultural changes.

A dome situated in the courtyard of a mosque. The Dome was built inwhile the mosque was completed in Wikipedia Before the Umayyads, Islamic rule was non-centralized. The military was organized under the caliphate, a political structure led by a Muslim steward known as a caliph, who was regarded as the religious and political successor to the prophet Muhammad.

The early caliphate had a strong army and built garrison towns, but it did not build sophisticated administrations. The caliphate mostly kept existing governments and cultures intact and administered through governors and financial officers in order to collect taxes.

The Rashidun caliphate was also not dynastic, meaning that political leadership was not transferred through hereditary lineage. However, to sustain such a massive empire, more robust state structures were necessary, and the Umayyads began developing these structures, which were often influenced by the political structures in neighboring empires like the Byzantines and Sasanians.

Under the Umayyads, a dynastic and centralized Islamic political state emerged. The Umayyads shifted the capital from Mecca to Syria and replaced tribal traditions with an imperial government controlled by a monarch. They replaced Greek, Persian, and Coptic with Arabic as the main administrative language and reinforced an Arab Islamic identity.

Notably, an Arab hierarchy emerged, in which non-Arabs were accorded secondary status. The Umayyads also minted Islamic coins and developed a more sophisticated bureaucracy, in which governors named viziers oversaw smaller political units. The Umayyads did not actively encourage conversion, and most subjects remained non-Muslim.

Because non-Muslim subjects were required to pay a special tax, the Umayyads were able to subsidize their political expansion.

The Role of Merchants in Spreading Islam

A map depicting the extent of the Umayyad caliphate in CE, which extended from Spain in the west to northern India in the East and covered northern Africa, southern Europe, Anatolia, and the Arabian Peninsula. This map shows the extent of the Umayyad Empire in CE. The Umayyads did not come into power smoothly. The transition between the rule of the Rashidun and the first Umayyads was full of strife. Debates raged about the nature of Islamic leadership and religious authority.

These conflicts evolved into major schisms between Sunni, Shia, and Ibadi Islam. Ultimately, there were many factions that regarded the Umayyads as corrupt and illegitimate, some of whom rallied around new leaders.

They led a revolt against the Umayyads, bringing the Abbasid caliphate to power.

The rise of Islamic empires and states

The Abbasids were intent on differentiating themselves from their Umayyad predecessors, though they still had a lot in common. Abbasid leadership was also dynastic and centralized. However, they changed the social hierarchy by constructing a more inclusive government in a more cosmopolitan capital city, Baghdad.