Timeline Description: Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Qu'ran, which followers believe to be the verbatim word of God delivered by the last prophet, Muhammad. There are two denominations of Muslims: the majority, the Sunni, and the minority, the Shia. Islam has about 1.6 billion followers, more than 20% of the world's population.
|610||Islam is founded.
Muhammad, at the age of forty, reports receiving revelations from the archangel Gabriel. He reports these revelations, and his followers memorize and transcribe them into the Qu'ran. He starts preaching to the people of Mecca, but the Meccan ruling class, the Quraysh, is threatened and considers him a threat to their power.
|617||Meccan boycott of the Muslims begins.
Th leaders of the Makhzum and the Banu Abd-Shams, two important tribes of the ruling Quraysh, declare a boycott against the Muslims and their supporting clan, the Banu Hashim (or the Hashemites). Under the boycott, no one may marry or trade with them, and the tribes hope this extreme pressure will convince the Muslims to stop supporting Muhammad.
|619||The Year of Sorrow ends the boycott.
The boycott is revoked, but only after the Hashemites are forced to migrate to a different area. Both Abu Talib, Muhammad's uncle, and Khadijah, Muhammad's first wife, die as a result of the boycott, making this the Year of Sorrow.
|622||Muhammad performs the Hijra.
After continued persecution in Mecca, Muhammad, together with his followers and family, performs the Hijra (emigration) to the city of Medina. Shortly after arriving, Muhammad creates the Constitution of Medina, which creates the first Islamic state. It institutes rights and responsibilities for all the natives of Medina, including religious freedom, barring of all violence and weapons in Medina, the security of women, stability in tribal relations, and a justice system for settling disputes. The tribes of Medina also agree to band together against outside threats for defense.
|627||Muslims win the Battle of the Trench.
After some inconclusive battles, Arabic tribes ally with Mecca against the Muslims in Medina and besiege the city. However, thanks to digging a trench around the city, which nullifies the invader's cavalry and the city's natural defenses, Muhammad is able to negotiate, and, eventually, break up the alliance. This, combined with the well-organized defense and poor weather for the invaders, gives the Muslims a decisive victory.
|628||The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah leads to peace.
The Meccan tribe the Quraysh reach a ten-year truce with the Muslims in Medina called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. This allows Muslims to return the next year for a peaceful pilgrimage, called the First Pilgrimage. Many tribes begin to convert to Islam after the treaty.
|630||The Muslims conquer Mecca.
After the Meccans break the peace by attacking a tribe allied to the Muslims, Muhammad gathers his forces for an invasion of Mecca. He splits his army into four columns so as to overwhelm the defenders. Only one column faces any resistance, which quickly surrenders, and Muhammad takes the city with nearly no deaths. The Quraysh are forced to convert to Islam.
|632||Muhammad dies and the Rashidun Caliphate begins.
By the time of Muhammad's death, the Arabian tribes have all converted to Islam. Control of the Muslims passes to the Rashidun ("The Rightly Guided") Caliphate, which contains first four leaders of Islam after Muhammad.
|656||The First Fitna begins.
The First Fitna, or civil war, begins in 656, and it marks the first time Muslim forces battle other Muslim forces. Mu'awiyah, Muslim governor of Syria, tries to claim power over the current caliph, Ali, and goes to war against him.
|661||The Umayyad Caliphate begins.
At the Battle of Siffin, Mu'awiyah's forces come against Ali's, but the battle ultimately ends in negotiation. Ali's son, Hasan ibn Ali, briefly becomes the next caliph. He comes to an agreement with Mu'awiya to unify the factions of Islam, giving the control of the caliphate over to Mu'awiya, who founds the Umayyad Caliphate.
|680||The Second Fitna begins.
After the death of Mu'awiya, strife breaks out between Muslims over his succession. This is recognized as the first official break between Sunni Muslims, who believe in the legitimacy of all four Rashidun caliphs, and the Shi'a, who believe that only Ali and his descendants have the right to rule. The Umayyad forces are eventually able to put the uprisings down during the siege of Mecca in 692.
|750||The Abbasid Dynasty begins.
The descendants of Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, rally discontented non-Arab converts, poor Arabs, and some Shi'a against the Umayyads, and overthrow the Umayyads. This begins the Abasid dynasty.
|750||The Islamic Golden Age begins.(c. 750)
Due to the wealth from the expanded empire and the empire's centrality to trade between Africa and Asia, a cultural flowering called the Islamic Golden Age begins. Much of this is centered in Baghdad, including the famed House of Wisdom, a grand library of collected writings. The first degree-granting university is created, and great classical works by Copernicus, Aristotle, and many others are translated into Arabic and preserved. Great advances also occur in medicine and mathematics.
|1258||Mongols besiege Baghdad.
Under the command of Halagu Khan, the Mongols invade Baghdad with the intention of extending their rule further into Mesopotamia. After capturing the city, they kill al-Musta'sim, the final Abbasid Caliph, and destroy much of the grand libraries of Abassids, including the House of Wisdom. This is the end of the caliphates. The Muslim world goes into a serious political decline.
|1896||Modern spread of Islam begins.(c. 1896)
Due to contact with industrialized nations, Muslim populations spread due to economic migration. The population of Muslims starts to double around 1869 into 1914, spreading into Eastern Asia, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. Migration also eventually spreads to countries in western Europe.