Palestine ,The Rise Of Islam To AD1900

The rise of islam

The successful unification of the Arabian Peninsula by the first
caliph, (AD 632-Aug. 23, 634), made it possible to channel the 
expansion of the Muslims into new directions. Abu Bakr, therefore,
summoned the faithful to a holy war (jihad) and quickly amassed 
an impressive army. He dispatched three detachments of about 3,000
(later increased to about 7,500) men each to start operations in 
southern and southeastern Syria. He died, however, before he could 
witness the results of these undertakings. The conquests he started 
were carried on by his successor Umar.

The first battle took place at Wadi al-'Arabah, south of the Dead Sea
The Byzantine defenders were defeated and retreated toward Gaza but
were overtaken .., then operating in southern Iraq, was ordered to
the aid of his fellow generals on the Syrian front, and the combined
forces won a big victory on July 30, 634, at a place in southern 
Palestine that the sources call Ajnadain. All of Palestine then lay
open to Islam.
In the meantime, the emperor Heraclius was mustering a large army and
in 636 dispatched it against the Muslims. Khalid concentrated his 
troops on the Yarmuk, the eastern tributary of the Jordan River.

The decisive battle that delivered Palestine to the Muslims took place
on Aug. 20, 636. Only Jerusalem and Caesarea held out, the former 
until 638, when it surrendered to the Muslims, and the latter until
October 640. Palestine, and indeed all of Syria, was then in Muslim 
hands. After the surrender of Jerusalem, 'Umar divided Palestine into
two administrative districts (jund), similar to the Roman and Byzantine 
provinces: they were Jordan (al-Urdunn) and Palestine (Filastin). 
Jordan included Galilee and Acre and extended east to the desert; 
Palestine, with its capital first at Lydda and later at Ramlah (after
 716), covered the region south of the Plain of Esdraelon. )

'Umar lost no time in emphasizing Islam's interest in the holy city 
of Jerusalem as the first toward which, until 623, Muslims had turned
their faces in prayer and as the third holiest spot in Islam.
(Prophet Muhammad himself changed the qibla to Mecca in 623.)
On visiting the Temple area and finding the place suffering from 
neglect, 'Umar and his followers cleaned it with their own hands and
declared it a sacred place of prayer.

The Umayyads Rule

Under the Umayyads, a Muslim dynasty that gained power in 661 from the
Meccans and Medinans who had initially led the Islamic community, 
Palestine formed, with Syria, one of the main provinces of the empire.
Each jund was administered by an emir assisted by a financial officer.
This pattern continued, in general, up to the time of Ottoman rule

For various reasons, the Umayyads paid special attention to Palestine.
The process of  Islamization was gaining momentum there. It was one 
of the mainstays of Umayyad power and important in their struggle 
against both Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. Abdulmalik  built the
Dome of yhe Rock which the Muslims believed had been the halting 
station of the Prophet on his nocturnal journey to heaven. 
This magnificent structure represents the earliest Muslim monument
still extant. Close to the shrine to the south, 'Abd al-Malik's son,
al-Walid I (705-715), built the Aqsa mosque. 

Abbasid to Othmaniate rule

Abbasid rule.

Umayyad rule ended in 750. Along with Syria, Palestine became subject to 'Abbasid authority, based in Baghdad. Under the 'Abbasids, the process of Islamization gained momentum. The 'Abbasid rulers encouraged the settlement and fortification of coastal Palestine so as to secure it against the Byzantine enemy. During the second half of the 9th century, however, signs of internal decay began to appear in the 'Abbasid empire. Petty states, and some indeed not so petty, emerged in different parts of the realm. One of the first to affect Palestine was the Tulunid dynasty (868-905) of Egypt, which marked the beginning of the disengagement of Egypt and, with it, of Syria and Palestine from 'Abbasid rule.


In the meantime, Fatimid dynasty was rising to power in North Africa. It moved eastward to seize not only Egypt but also Palestine and Syria and to threaten Baghdad itself. The Fatimids seized Egypt from the Ikhshidids in 969 and in less than a decade were able to establish a precarious control over Palestine, where they faced Qarmatian, Seljuq Byzantine, and periodic Bedouin opposition. Palestine was thus often reduced to a battlefield. in 1071 the Seljuqs captured Jerusalem, increased despite political instability. The Fatimids recaptured the city in 1098 only to relinquish it a year later to a new enemy, the crusaders of western Europe

The Crusaders.

A year after the capture of Jerusalem by the crusaders, the was established (Christmas Day, 1100). Thereafter, there was no effective check to the expansion of the crusaders' power until the capture of their stronghold at Edessa (modern Urfa, Tur.) by the atabeg of Mosul, Imad ad-Din Zangi ibn Aq Sonqur, in 1144. Zangi's anticrusader campaign was carried on after his death by his son Nureddin (Nur ad-Din Mahmud) and, more effectively, by the sultan, a protégé of the atabeg's family. After consolidating his position in Egypt and Syria, Saladin waged relentless war against the "infidel" Franks (Western Christians). On July 4, 1187, six days after the capture of Tiberias, he dealt the crusaders a crushing blow at the decisive (Hittin). Most of Palestine was once again Muslim. Further attempts by the crusaders to regain control of Palestine proved ineffective, primarily because of incessant quarrels among the crusaders themselves. In 1244, however, the Ayyubid sultan returned Jerusalem to Islam. While the Ayyubids of Saladin's house were losing ground to the Turkish-speaking in Egypt, the Mongol sweep westward continued, placing the crusaders, as it were, between two fires. To make matters worse, the crusaders themselves were hopelessly riddled with dissension. In 1260 the Mamluk leader emerged as a champion of Muslim resurgence. After taking part in the defeat of the Mongols at 'Ayn Jalut in Palestine, he became sultan; in the years 1263 to 1271 he carried out annual raids against the harassed Franks. His efforts were continued by the sultan al-Ashraf, during whose reign the last of the crusaders were driven out of Acre (May 18, 1291) A chapter in the history of Palestine thus came to an end. The Mamluks and subsequent Muslim regimes ruled the area with only brief interruptions for the next 600 years. Palestine under the Mamluks in the 14th century saw a period of pros perity for some; this was especially notable in Jerusalem, where the government sponsored an elaborate program of construction of schools, lodgings for travelers and Muslim pilgrims, and renovation of mosques. Tax revenues, collected mainly from the villages, were spent largely on support of religious institutions. Palestine formed a part of the district of Damascus, second only to Egypt in the Mamluk domains. The region suffered the ravages of several epidemics, including the great pestilence, the same Black Death that in 1347-51 devastated Europe. The fall of the Bahri Mamluks and the rise of the Burji Mamluks (1382-1517) contributedto a gradual economic deterioration and a decrease in security.The death of Timur in 1405, and the weakness of Iran in the ensuing century, pitted the Mamluks against the rising power of the Ottoman rks for the control of western Asia. Hostilities broke out in 1486 when Sultan Qait Bey contested with Bayezid II the possession of some border towns. The climax came three decades later on Aug. 24, 1516, when the Ottoman sultan, Selim I, routed the Mamluk armies. Palestine began its four centuries under Ottoman domination.

Ottomoan rule.

Under the Ottoman Turks, Palestine continued to be linked administratively to Damascus until 1830, when it was placed under Sidon; then under Acre; then once again under Damascus until 1887-88, at which time the administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire were settled for the last time. Palestine was divided into the mutasarrifiyahs of Nablus and Acre, both of which were linked with the vilayet of Beirut, and the autonomous mutasarrifiyah of Jerusalem, which dealt directly with Istanbul. With varying fortunes often accompanied by revolts, massacres, and wars, the first three centuries of Ottoman rule isolated Palestine from and insulated it against most outside influences. The prosperity of 16th-century Ottoman Palestine was followed by an economic and political decline in the 17th century. Ottoman control in the 18th century was indirect. Dahir al-'Umar (c. 1737-75) dominated the political life of northern Palestine for nearly 40 years. Ahmad al-Jazzar, the Ottoman governor of Acre, had control of most of Palestine, and in 1799, with English and Ottoman help, he successfully defended Acre against Napoleon.

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