a) Statecraft & the administration under the Umayyads:
The Umayyad caliphate was the second caliphate in Islamic history and lasted from 661 to 750 CE. The Umayyad dynasty was known for its statecraft and administration, which helped establish a powerful and stable empire. The Umayyads established their capital in Damascus and expanded their empire through military conquests.
The Umayyads maintained a centralized government, with power vested in the caliph and his court. The caliph was the head of state, and his court included important officials, such as the vizier, who acted as the chief minister. The Umayyads also established a complex bureaucracy to help manage their empire. This bureaucracy included governors, judges, and tax collectors.
The Umayyads also developed a sophisticated system of taxation, which helped fund their military campaigns and maintain their empire. The Umayyads imposed taxes on both Muslims and non-Muslims, with non-Muslims paying an additional tax known as the jizya.
The Umayyads also made efforts to integrate non-Arab converts into their society. They established a separate class of non-Arab Muslims known as the mawali and granted them certain privileges, such as exemption from the jizya.
Despite the Umayyads’ accomplishments in statecraft and administration, their rule was not without controversy. Many Muslims resented the Umayyads for their perceived injustices and corruption, and this eventually led to the downfall of the Umayyad caliphate.
b) Religious Conditions in Arabia before the dawn of Islam:
Before the advent of Islam, Arabia was a polytheistic society with a complex religious landscape. The Arabians worshiped a variety of gods and goddesses, with each tribe having their own set of deities. The Kaaba in Mecca, which is now a central site for Islamic pilgrimage, was a pagan shrine that housed idols of various gods.
The religious practices of pre-Islamic Arabia were characterized by animism, totemism, and fetishism. Many of the Arabian tribes believed that spirits or jinn inhabited certain natural objects, such as trees, rocks, and mountains. The pre-Islamic Arabs also practiced divination, or the interpretation of omens and signs, to determine the will of the gods.
The pre-Islamic Arabs also had a strong tradition of poetry, and poetry played an important role in their religious practices. Many of the pre-Islamic poems were dedicated to the praise of pagan gods and goddesses.
Despite the diversity of religious practices in pre-Islamic Arabia, there were certain commonalities among the various tribes. For example, the Arabian tribes all recognized the concept of a high god, known as Allah. However, Allah was not seen as the sole deity, and many tribes also worshiped other gods and goddesses.
The arrival of Islam in Arabia had a profound impact on the religious landscape of the region, as many of the pre-Islamic practices were abandoned or transformed. The monotheistic message of Islam was particularly appealing to the Arabians, as it provided a unifying force that transcended tribal differences.