Key Episodes in Islamic History: A Brief Timeline of Islam

Reading through the book Islam Vs. Islamism recently, I came across this brief timeline which I found both fascinating and illuminating:

* 622 The hijra, or migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina; start of the Islamic calendar

* 661–689 Civil wars lead to the split between Sunnis and Shiites

* 744–750 `Abbasid revolution ends the first, Arab-dominated, Omayyad caliphate and establishes political equality among believers. Start of Islam’s Golden Age 1258 Mongols sack Baghdad—end of `Abbasid caliphate and of Golden Age

* 1453 Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople; end of Byzantine Empire

* 1492 Discovery of America breaks Middle Eastern monopoly of trade with Asia; fall of Granada ends Muslim hold over Spain 1683 Ottoman Turks fail to conquer the Habsburg capital Vienna; beginning of Ottoman decline

* 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian expedition breaks Mamluk power and opens the Middle East to Western influences

* 1856–1857 Heyday of tanzimat reforms to modernize Ottoman Empire; in India, Sepoy Rebellion is crushed, end of Mughals, India becomes British Crown colony

* 1915–1919 During World War I, British-instigated Arab Revolt against Turks; Britain and France plan colonization of Arab East; Balfour Declaration promises Palestine to Jews; end of Ottoman Empire; joint Hindu-Muslim anti-British agitation in India; Wilson’s Fourteen Points and Russian Revolution inspire hope for independence among Muslims worldwide

* 1924 Republic of Turkey under Atatürk abolishes caliphate

* 1928 Hassan al-Banna establishes Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

* 1947–1949 Partition of British Mandate of Palestine, independence of Israel, the Palestinian nakba (catastrophe); partition of British India, independence of India and Pakistan

* 1967 Six Day War or June, 1967 War, Israel defeats Arab states; conquers and occupies Sinai, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights; crisis of secular pan-Arabism

* 1977–1978 Israeli-Egypt peace accord breaks taboo on negotiating with Jewish state; Islamic Revolution establishes mixed theocraticdemocratic regime in Iran, led by Khomeini

* 1981–1983 Islamists assassinate Egyptian president Sadat; Israeli invasion of Lebanon militarily breaks PLO; massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila; failure of U.S.-French intervention. First suicide bombs by Shiite resistance

* 1988–1993 Islamist resistance leads to Soviet retreat from Afghanistan; Iraq-Iran War breaks Iran’s Islamist dynamism, ends in stalemate; Iraq invades Kuwait, Western-led international intervention defeats Iraq in Gulf War, fueling anti-Westernism; intifada (Palestinian revolt) and Israeli-PLO peace process. Ahmad Yassin Islamists establishes Hamas

* 1996 Hamas’s terrorism interrupts peace process. Taliban establish fundamentalist regime in Afghanistan

* 2000–2001 Failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace process leads to second intifada and emergence of Hamas; 9/11 al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden 2001 terror attack against United States, Western-led international intervention dislodges Afghan Taliban

* 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq; attempts at democratization
and international anti-Western Islamist mobilization


  1. I'm taking a class on Classical Islam this semester and I found out that St. John Damascus' father (Sarjun) worked for the 5th Caliph (during the Ummayad dynasty), Mu'awiyah. There was a lot of controversy surrounding his becoming a Caliph, mostly due to the fact that a lot of Ali's supporters (the Kharijites) thought that Ali's son, Husayn, should have become the next Caliph.

    At any rate - it's interesting to see how Church history intersects and doesn't live in a little bubble.


    The global virus of racist Arabism has claimed/claims millions of victims, it includes:

    Kurds (under Saddam or Syria), Berbers, Jews (inside Israel - the genocide campaign since the massacre in 1929 by the Mufti Haj Amin Al Husseini until today, or in the Arab world or on 'Arab street' in Europe, etc.), Africans (genocide in Sudan, oppression in Egypt, Slavery in Mauritania, etc.)...