How did Islamic civilization spread to encompass such an extensive empire?I need help with a thesis for a DBQ essay! How did islamic civilization spread to encompass such an extensive empire? what...

How did Islamic civilization spread to encompass such an extensive empire?

I need help with a thesis for a DBQ essay!

How did islamic civilization spread to encompass such an extensive empire? what practices or methods were used to spread islam?

I am in AP World History and cannot figure out how to do this thesis.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course, DBQ answers depend heavily on documents, which we do not have in front of us.  Please be sure that you look at the documents and try to ensure that you use points from each of them.

In general, we can argue that Islam spread for a variety of reasons.

  • Military power.  Much of Islam's spread was through conquest.  While Muslims did not enforce conversions, their conquering brought their faith to new people and did so in a situation where conversion was often in the best interests of those people.
  • Religious fervor.  Some of the military power was due to the fact that Muslim warriors were motivated not just by normal factors but also by a belief in the holiness of their cause and the idea that they would be rewarded in the afterlife if they died.
  • Good government and tolerance.  Most empires (like the Roman empire) can only succeed if they keep their subjects relatively happy.  The Muslims brought decent government and prosperity to their subjects and they were relatively tolerant.  This made their rule less onerous and allowed them to spread.

So a thesis ought to include the idea that there were a variety of causes for Islam's spread, including military, governmental, and religious factors.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, how you approach a DBQ essay depends heavily on the particular documents that are selected. A DBQ essay should grow organically out of the materials you are provided. Attempting to start out with some sort of generic thesis and then blindly apply it before having read and analyzed the specific documents is the opposite of what is required. 

Instead, the point of this sort of assignment is doing focused reading in order to pick out common themes in a set of documents. If the documents you are reading are primarily religious ones, such as excerpts from the Koran, you might build a thesis around how Islam promised a good afterlife to the devout and how this was contrasted with the harsh and difficult life of desert nomads. If you are reading excerpts from the History of the Prophets and Kings, you might look at ways that Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari illustrates the military prowess of Islamic leaders and their organizational strategy for consolidating their victories. 

Whether you argue for religious, military, or political/adminstrative factors as central to the spread of the Islamic empire depends on the particular documents you are reading.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A thesis for a DBQ essay about the reasons Islam spread might be the following: Islam spread to encompass an extensive empire through conquest and peaceful conversion. After Mohammed's death in 632 CE, faithful Muslims waged wars to spread their faith beyond the Arabian peninsula. People in the Near East were worn down after a long war between the Byzantine and Persian Empires and were willing to accept another ruler, and the Muslim armies quickly captured Syria, Persia, and Egypt.

Once they conquered a new territory, Muslims established an efficient governmental bureaucracy that aided in the conversion of the conquered people. Those who converted to Islam were not subject to a tax that was levied on non-Muslims. In addition, many were drawn to the promise of salvation for all believers in Islam, no matter what their origins or former beliefs. Muslim conquerors also permitted a great deal of tolerance for Jews and Christians and allowed non-Muslims to participate in the government and financial life of the conquered territory.