The political unity of the Dār al-Islām (the Abode of Islam) was forever destroyed by the ‘Abbāsid revolution. Describe how with the passage of time the ‘Abbāsids lost partial or total control over the majority of the provinces. How were these provinces able to achieve autonomy or independence? What was the identity of the local dynasties that arose in these provinces? Did the origin of the dynasty and its religious persuasion influence the amount of autonomy and independence it sought from the caliphate?
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The period of the Abbasid dynasty was the greatest period in the entire history of the Islamic civilization. As Caliphs, the Abbasid's ruled over the entire space of Dār al-Islām (the Abode of Islam), which was acquired through conquest under the Ummayads in the 7th and the first half of the 8th century. The Abbasid dynasty ruled for more than 7 centuries, from 750 to the late 13th century with only one shorter intermission. However, there is a clear and strong distinction to be made between two periods of Abbasid rule. In the first period, immediately after their coming to power, Abbasids enabled the Islamic world to enter an unprecedented era of prosperity, both economical and scientific (Hogson, 2009).
This period has been written down in history as the Golden age of Islam. However, later, when all the elements of state were well established, the Empire started to crumble under its weight, which led to fragmentation and the creation of numerous autonomous parts. These regions were only loyal to the Caliph in theory where in fact they were completely separate states (Hogson, 2009).
This paper will argue that the fragmentation of the Abbasid empire happened for two reasons. First was the inability of the central government to collect taxes and enforce laws throughout the entire space of the realm. The second reason was, paradoxically, the initial offer of the Abbasids to include members of other nations into the official ranks of the empire. This, then, led to the creation of separatist movements in some parts of the empire. Although the rulers of the states were Muslim, they sought to attain independence from the central government. The religious breach between the Shia and the Sunni played a vital role in the process of deterioration because the 10th century brought about minority Shia rule over the entire Caliphate. During this time, almost all provinces became autonomous or completely independent, due to internal struggles and loss of coherent governance during the Buyid rule. This separation started to happen well into the 10th century and continued throughout the 11th and the 12th century, announcing the end of the Empire (Hogson, 2009).
First part of this paper...