Developments in Dar al-Islam

Unit 1: c. 1200-1450

Main Ideas:

  • Muslim empires (such as Abbasid Caliphate) had many intellectual innovations (especially in science & math)

  • Islam spread throughout Afro-Eurasia via to merchants & missionaries (especially Sufis)

  • Trade flourished due to Middle East's prime location

  • Many commercial innovations helped boost trade

Abbasid Caliphate


Key Ideas:

  • Had many innovations in science, math, and literature

    • House of Wisdom: Ancient university with many STEM innovations (e.g. algebra)

  • Spread Islam via merchants, missionaries, and military

    • Islamic merchants traveled throughout Afro-Eurasia → Spread Islam everywhere

    • Missionaries of Sufi Islam were most successful due to Sufism's emotional appeal

    • As Islamic empires expanded militarily, they brought more people into their Islamic rule

  • Trade flourished due to Middle East's prime location

    • Islamic merchants engaged in trade with West Africa, East Africa, India, China, Southeast Asia, and Europe

  • Increase in trade → Commercial innovations made trade easier

    • Letters of credit: Merchants deposit money in one place & get a letter of credit to pick up the money in another place → Decreases risk of robbery

    • Caravanserai: Roadside inns where merchants could rest for the night

House of Wisdom, the Islamic center of learning with achievements in math, science, and literature. Algebra was created here


A caravanserai at Koya, Iraq, built in 12th century during Abbasid Caliphate