The early Muslim conquest also referred to as the Arab conquest, or Islamic conquest began with the Islamic prophet Muhammed in the early 7th century. He established a unique unified polity in the Arab Peninsula which subsequently expanded rapidly to conquer Africa, India, and Spain. However, the manner in which the Arabs conquered India, Africa, and Spain and how these colonies reacted are different and also similar to some extent (Brown, pg. 44).
In Africa, Islamic culture came peacefully with the Arab traders, and it spread slowly especially in the urban regions. This was not necessarily regarded as a conquest as African provided links to the Muslim partners. By the 16th century, many African urban centers were already Islamic centers hence African peacefully accepted the incorporation of the Muslim culture. On the other hand of Spain and India, this was contrary, since, in both countries, it was a conquest. In Spain, the Arabs and Berbers were forced to conquer most of Spain in which caused war between Christians and Muslims (Brown, pp. 67-68). In India, Turkic speaking invaded the country and brought Islamic culture and building of the Muslim-Turkic regime led to a clash between the Arabs and the Hindu as a result of the destruction of the Hindu and Buddhist temple with an aim to force Arab culture into the region. In the long run, Africa, Spain, and India adopted the Arabic culture partly and wholly.
Arabs traders from Yemen visited the Swahili coast and began trading. The Islam on the Swahili coast was incorporated through interaction and marriage between the Arabs and the local Bantus. Moreover, after conversion, they continued trading, an intermarrying leading to the emergence of Swahili culture and this is how Islam was incorporated in the region (Brown, pg. 79). In North Africa, the Arab culture was similar to that of Spain and India but different from the coastal regions. The Arabs completed the northern conquest; they started raiding the Berber regions to the west. The Muslims conquerors had a more severe impact on the northern culture than it did to the Swahili region. By 11 century, the Berbers became Islamized. The north incorporated Islam forceful through violence and conquest in contrast with the coastal Swahili.
Similarly, the introduction of the Islamic culture in West Africa was similar to the coastal Swahili since it involved no violence. Africa was the first continent that the spread of Islamic culture was evident. The first West African to adopt the Muslin culture was the inhabitants of the Sahara region. The reason for massive widespread was due to peaceful adoption. The spread of Islamic culture was as a result of trade, activities of the Muslim clerics and the participation in holy wars.
Africa accepted the Arabs so readily than Spain and India since the method of conquest was different. The Arabs came to inform of tradesmen in many parts of Africa making Africa to readily accept the Islamic culture since they benefited from the trading activities brought by the Arabs. On the other hand, Spain and India didn't show any sign of accepting the Islamic culture, they resisted hence, violence method of conquest was used since they didn't want interference from their culture. They did not readily accept the Islamic culture, but after the conquest, some region accepted the culture.
After the Islamic conquest in all the countries, the conquered were required to adopt the Muslim culture. Africans did not face any difficulty but readily accepted and were converted. On the other hand, Spain and India were partly converted making some population non-Muslim. Non-Muslims in both Spain and India were subjected to brutality, for instance, over 400 million Hindus were slaughtered during the Muslim invasion, and the survivor got slaved and castrated making Hinduism not faring well during the Islamic regime (Brown, pg. 107).
Brown, D. W. (2011). A New Introduction to Islam. Chichester: Wiley.
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