Religion 212: Religions of the Western World

Section 3; Annette Yoshiko Reed





c. 570 CE – Birth of Muhammad


610 CE – Muhammad’s call to be the Seal of the Prophet on Mount Hira, the beginning of Revelation of the Qur’an


622 CE -- Prophet’s Hijrah from Makkah (Mecca) to Madina (Medina), marks foundation of Umma, whose importance is commemorated by the Islamic calendar, which counts years from this point (A.H.)


624 CE – Battle of Badr, first victory of Muslims over Meccans, which was seen to be a sign of the truth of Islam, Muhammad instituted the Fast of Ramadan (the month in which both the Battle and Muhammad’s Call to Prophethood had taken place).


630 CE – Muhammad’s conquest of Makkah and rededication of the Ka’ba to

monotheistic worship


632 CE – Death of Muhammad




632-661 CE – Period of the “Rightly Guided Caliphs” (Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman,

            Ali), when the Umma was lead by Companions of the Prophets. This period

            marked by the writing down of the revelations of the Qur’an (c. 632-50 CE) and the

beginning of the collection of reminiscences about the Prophet into the Hadith literature, as the basis for following his Sunna (life-example). This period also saw the Islamic consolidation of power in Arabia and the conquests of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, and Persia—all of which together would thereafter be the heart of the Islamic Empire




661 CE – Assassination of Ali and the rise of the Umayyad Dynasty, which ruled from Damascus


680 CE – Husayn (son of Ali) and his Shi’ite followers killed at Karbala (Iraq), but

the son of Husayn is captured and survives to beget sons to continue the line of Shi’i Imams


750 CE – Fall of the Umayyads and rise of the Abbasid Dynasty, which conquered the

Umayyads and ruled from Baghdad until the Mongol conquest; Umayyads, however, continued to rule in Muslim Spain (al-Andalus) until 1492 CE. The period of Abbasid rule marked the continuation and culminations of the great flowering of classical Islamic civilization, e.g., the development of the Islamic “religious sciences” of jurisprudence (Fiqh) and theology (Kalam), the compilation of Hadith into canonical collections, and the developments of many mystical movements (i.e. Sufism).


765 CE – Due to the death of his eldest son Ishma’il, the sixth Shi’i Imam (Ja’far) appoints a younger son (Musa al-Kazim) to be his successor as Imam. Some Shi’is saw this as a breach of the proper line of succession from Ali through Husayn, proclaiming the son of Ishma’il (Ahmad) as the next Imam. This group came to be one of two main groups of Shi’is, called Ismai’li or “Sevener” Shi’is, in contrast to those who accepted the line through Musa al-Kazim, who are called “Twelver” or Imami Shi’is.

            874 CE – The “Twelver” or Imami Shi’is continued to have Imams from the line of

Ali through Musa al-Kazim until this point, when the twelfth Imam disappeared at the age of four. This group of Shi’is—who now, for instance, are dominant in modern-day Iran—believe that he went into occultation, from which he will only emerge at the End of Time.


968-1171 CE – The Fatimids, a “Sevener” Shi’ite Dynasty, founds Cairo and rules



1099 CE – Crusaders take Jerusalem


1187 CE – Saladin (the most famous of the Ayyubids, the dynasty that toppled the Fatimids in Egypt in 1169 CE) retakes Jerusalem at Battle of Hattin


1258 CE – The Mongol conquest causes the fall of the Abbasid Dynasty


1492 CE – End of the Period of Umayayad rule of Spain. Spain conquered by Christians,

who promptly expel the Jews (who had flourished there living alongside Muslims under Umayyad rule)