History of Islam
The history of Islam begins with a single man, the Prophet Mohammad. In AD 610, according to the Qur'an, Mohammad began receiving revelations from the angel Gabriel. These revelations formed the basis for Islam's holy book, the Qur'an, as well as the religion itself. Since then, Islam has spread across the globe to become one of the world's major religions, with over one billion believers.
In AD 622, Mohammad and his followers left Mecca for Medina, on the pilgrimage known as the Hijra. It was there that he spent his last decade, attracting numerous followers, most of the Arabian Peninsula. Following the Prophet's death, a series of caliphs ruled the emerging Islamic state.
By 750, the "Islamic Golden Age" began, with the ascension of the Abbasid dynasty, who moved their capital from Damascus to Baghdad. Islamic troops moved eastward to India by the year 1000, and south through West Africa. Islam had already spread across North Africa and into Europe, specifically in the Iberian Peninsula. It was during the Middle Ages that Islam and Christianity came into conflict, sparking the numerous Crusades. The Islamic Golden Age, however, came to an end with the Mongol invasions under Genghis Khan.
The Ottoman Empire was the last great Islamic empire, lasting from 1281 to 1918. The history of Islam, however, is more than just political conquest. Throughout, Islamic scholarship made great advances in mathematics, science, medicine, architecture, and poetry.