Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 13: The Expansive Realm of Islam

Interactive Map Quiz


Map A. Growth of Islam

During the early 7th century CE, Arabia was primarily a polytheistic society, comprised mainly of Bedouins. Bedouins were traditionally nomadic peoples who lived in the desert belt that stretched across the Sahara of northern Africa, as well as the Arabian Peninsula. Along with the portion of society that practiced polytheism, there were also populations that followed Judaism and Christianity. The beginnings of Islam came when Muhammad, a trader, was meditating in the desert and received a call from God. Muhammad wanted to share this message of faith, but it was not welcomed in his home of Mecca, where polytheism was the dominant religious practice. Muhammad fled to Medina, where he slowly built a large following. In 630 Muhammad returned to Mecca, and after several battles, was able to take control of the region. After his death in 632, Muhammad's father-in-law became the leader of Islam, and during his reign he began a series of conquests into Syria, Egypt, and northern Africa. A little over a hundred years after the death of Muhammad Islam had been spread throughout Arabia, northern Africa, and into central Asia. This interactive map details that expansion, as well as the various campaigns that spread the religion after Muhammad's death.

How did Islam spread so quickly in a little over a hundred years? Why was Islam such an appealing religion?


Who led many of the campaigns to spread Islam? What is the legacy of these campaigns today?


Why did Islam not spread further at this point in history? What forestalled its expansion?

Traditions & Encounters, 5e
Glencoe Online Learning CenterSocial Studies HomeProduct InfoSite MapContact Us

The McGraw-Hill CompaniesGlencoe