Impact of Turks and Mongols on the Islamic world Essay

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The Turks and Mongols are two races that are an integral part in shaping the Islamic World as we know it today. Their roles in Islamic History are still visible when looking at the Islamic world in the present. The roots of Islam could be traced after the death of The Prophet, Muhammad. The early Islam world was dominated by the Umayyad from Damascus. The Umayyad was in turn succeeded by the Abbasids, which made Baghdad their capital. It was during the two caliphates that a majority of Muslim culture, government and society was established. The years of the Caliphates was known as the Golden Age of Islam. (Wilkinson and Salazar).

The Abbasid Caliphate was ended by the Invasion of the Mongols. The Mongols were a nomadic tribe coming from the grasslands of Mongolia, their ruler then, The Great Khan Mongke, ordered his brother to attack the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. (Chaliand and Berrett) Baghdad, the capital of the Islamic world then was captured by Hulagu in 1258. (Bingham) This effectively destroyed most Islamic influence and put an end to the advances of the Golden Age. It became a region known as the Il-Khanate. The early years of the Il Khanate was characterized by persecution of the Muslims in the hands of the Buddhists and Christians in the area.

However, when Ghazan, a Buddhist, became Khan, he converted to Islam and the whole region followed suit. Islam made a return as the dominant religion, driving out the Christians and Buddhists. (Halm) Schools and mosques were reestablished and peace again was at hand. (Wilkinson and Salazar) The Mongol Invasion effectively put an end to the Golden age. The various advancements in science, literature, medicine and the arts were in majority obliterated when the invasion occurred. The destruction of libraries, the killing of Muslim scholars and scientists all contributed to the rapid decline of Islamic learning.

This was the major factor in the crippling of Muslim advancement in those fields by which at that time they were much more ahead than the West. Almost five hundred years worth of knowledge was obliterated upon the invasion of the Mongols. (Halm) The might and barbarity of the Mongol Hordes checked the advances of a larger empire, albeit one whose priority was not military, but religion and learning. The Ottomans were a group of Turkish tribes which united after being driven south by Mongol invaders. (Stefoff) They derive their name from Osman, who united the clans into a major force. They came into contact and embraced Islam as their faith.

They were the frontier soldiers of the Islamic world, guarding against the Mongol Hordes. The invasion of Tamerlane weakened the Ottomans, but they recovered and began to take control of most of the Islam World. (Marozzi) It was under the Ottomans that the Muslims finally entered Constantinople, Turkey, effectively re breaching the barrier between east and west which was ended with the fall of Spain. (Halm) The ottomans were very effective in uniting the diverse people under their thrall. They developed an administrative system whereas religious autonomy was recognized under the sultanates, which greatly facilitated tax collecting.

This millet system made the unification of ethically diverse people under a government of Islam not only feasible, but effective. (Stefoff) The Ottoman Empire became a bastion of the Islamic world against the west. At the same time, it was instrumental in allowing western advances in science and technology to reach the Muslim world. The military and economic strength of the empire prevented western influence from entering thru turkey and thus effectively ensured the maintaining of Islamic way of life in Southwest Asia. (Gardner et al. ; Kennedy)

It was the ottoman Turks who nearly regained the lost glory of the Muslim Empire. Their management practice of dividing the Islamic world into sultanates, with each sultan acting as autonomous ruler greatly enhanced the stability of the empire. Their military strength secured Islam way of life up until the 1900s. The peak of the Ottoman Empire, under Suleiman, greatly enhanced Islamic way of life, introducing resurgence in Muslim culture and learning. (Meri and Bacharach) The strategic location of the Ottoman Empire gave them control of the land routes between Europe and Asia, thus making them economic powers.

The two groups, the Mongols and the Turks, show how an outside force can impact a civilization. In the case on the Mongol Hordes, their impact upon the Islam world effectively retarded its growth, letting the West catch up to its advancement. The invasion brought an end to the Golden Age of Islam; however, it was also Mongols, those that converted, which started the revitalization of the Islamic World. (Gardner et al. ; Kennedy).

The Turks also started as a separate ethnic group. However, with their conversion, the Islamic world gained leaders which spearheaded its strengthening, expansion and development.

The role of these two groups in Islamic history is both significant, the Mongols in ending the Golden age, and the Turks, in revitalizing the Islamic way of life. References Bingham, Marjorie. An Age of Empires, 1200-1750. (2005): 157 p. Chaliand, Gerard, and A. M. Berrett. Nomadic Empires : From Mongolia to the Danube. (2004): xii, 135 p.

Gardner, Robert, et al. Cities of Light the Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain. [videorecording] :. Unity Productions Foundation,, [Potomac Falls, VA? ] :, 2007. Halm, Heinz. The Arabs : A Short History.

(2007): vi, 186 p. Kennedy, Hugh. The Great Arab Conquests : How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. (2007): viii, 421 p. , [16] p. of plates. Marozzi, Justin. Tamerlane : Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World. (2006): xxiv, 449 p. , [16] p. of plates. Meri, Josef W. , and Jere L. Bacharach. Medieval Islamic Civilization : An Encyclopedia. (2006). Stefoff, Rebecca. The Medieval World. (2005): 48 p. Wilkinson, Philip, and Batul Salazar. Islam. Dorling Kindersley eyewitness books. (2005): 72 p.

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