By Robert A. Harper, Aswin Subanthore, Charles F. Gritzner
Examines the heritage, geography, tradition, faith, govt, and folks of Saudi Arabia.
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Extra resources for Saudi Arabia (Modern World Nations)
The form of Islam he preached was called Wahhabism, after its founder. Wahhabism spread through the tribes of Arabia, and Wahhab’s followers began a struggle against the form of Islam practiced in the Turkish-controlled Ottoman Empire. Wabbahism further isolated Arabia from the centers of power in the Middle East. Early in the nineteenth century, the Wahhabis captured Mecca and ruled it for several years, until the Turks again took over all of northwestern Arabia, including both Mecca and Medina.
As a result, Arabic has become the written language used in many of the countries that make up the Islamic world today, even though Muslims in different areas may speak other languages. Muhammad’s teachings are not restricted only to the Koran. Another important Islamic system called the Sunnah, or “the way,” is consulted alongside the teachings of the Koran. Sunnah refers to the life and times of Muhammad; thus, Islam asks people to model their life based on his own personal activities, because this would enable a Muslim to live a righteous way.
They were fighting a holy war to spread the word of God. They also were Bedouins, used to living under difficult conditions. They knew how to fight, because they had regularly raided towns with populations larger than their own. They also knew the desert and, using camels and horses, moved forward along its edges to strike towns and villages. Their reputation as fierce fighters often encouraged communities to give up without a fight. The Arabs conquered the Middle East, but they did not intend to destroy it.