The Great Awakenings

The Essence of Contemporary American Religion

© John of AllFaith*

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Video 2:
Parts 7-14

The Rise of Islam

With the rise of Islam circa 624-733 CE the Church faced stiff competition for the hearts, minds, bodies and souls of the world.

Shortly after the death of Muhammad Mustafa (June 8, 632), on August 26, 636 Byzantine fell before the Muslim armies at the battle of Yarmouk and then all of Syria was taken to the Taurus. In February 637, the Zoroastrian Persian army was devastated at Qadasiya, just south of Hira. All of Iraq was then occupied by the Muslim armies, including Ctesiphon, its capital (just south of Baghdad, near the believed location of the Garden of Eden). In 640 Egypt was occupied and that same year the once mighty Persian Empire ceased to exist. The mighty religion of Zoroastrianism then began to wane and never recovered (IWH 377-398). The impact of Zoroastrian concepts on Islam and Christianity can not be overstated.

Between 661 and 750 CE the armies of the Islamic Ummah conquered a large portion of the known world, China excepted. Determined that Shariah (note 5) would be submitted to by all the earth (islam is Arabic for submission), the forces of Islam moved boldly into Europe with seemingly unstoppable force. The Christian world was being directly threatened and began to teeter.

The advance of the Islamic Caliphate was finally halted in 732 at Tours in central France. The conquering Christian forces were composed of a "stout hearted army of Franks" and their leader Charles Martel (grandfather of Charlemagne). This single battle determined the religious and political future of Europe and, indirectly, of the U.S.

Because of Martel's defeat of political Islam, the West remained in the hands of the Christian Church while much of the East became the domain of Islam (PWB 445).

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  • Note 5: Literally Shariah refers to the path by which Allah wills people to follow. The term is similar in meaning to the Jewish law or halacha. Muslims are taught to observe the deen (religion), ummah (political unity) and Shariah or laws in order to be deemed fully Muslim. Return

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    * By John of AllFaith, © 1989, John F Kennedy University, updated October 22, 2023

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