World History : Birth of Islam

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for World History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Birth Of Islam

When does the Muslim calendar begin?

Possible Answers:

The year Mohammed was born

The year Mohammed fled from the city of Mecca

None of these

The year Mohammed died

Correct answer:

The year Mohammed fled from the city of Mecca

Explanation:

Known as the Hijrah, Mohammed fled the city of Mecca with his followers; this event marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

Mohammed's birth date is celebrated in some Muslim communities as the holiday Mawlid, but it is not the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

Mohammed's death is an important event in Muslim history but not the beginning of the Muslim calendar.

Example Question #2 : Birth Of Islam

What denomination of Islam is the largest, comprising approximately 75%-90% of all Muslims?

Possible Answers:

Shia

Sufi

Sunni

Turkic

Wahabi

Correct answer:

Sunni

Explanation:

The vast majority of Muslim worshippers worldwide are Sunni. They believe that Islam's first caliph was Muhammad's father-in-law Abu Bakr. This is different from the main minority denomination in Islam, Shia, who believe that Islam's first caliph was Ali ibn Abi Talib - Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law. The split in denominations occurred almost immediately after Muhammad's death, but was greatly exacerbated after the Battle of Karbala in 680. 

Example Question #3 : Birth Of Islam

Where was the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750), the second Islamic Caliphate established after the death of Muhammad?

Possible Answers:

Mecca

Damascus

Baghdad 

Medina

Istanbul

Correct answer:

Damascus

Explanation:

The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of four major Islamic caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. Although the Umayyad family was from Mecca, they established their capital in Damascus, in modern day Syria. The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests that had begun earlier, adding territories in North Africa and stretching all the way to Al-Andalus in Spain. At its peak, the Umayyad Caliphate was the ruler of 62 million people, around 29% of the world population at the time. 

Example Question #4 : Birth Of Islam

Where was the capital of the Abbassid Caliphate (750-1258, 1261-1517), the third Islamic Caliphate established after the death of Muhammad? 

Possible Answers:

Damascus

Istanbul

Baghdad

Mecca

Medina

Correct answer:

Baghdad

Explanation:

The Abbassid Caliphate overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate in 750. Although the Abbassids were also from Mecca, they established their capital in Baghdad, in modern day Iraq. Although not as expansionary as the Umayyads, the Abbassid Caliphate was renowned for advancements in culture and science during the time known as the "Islamic Golden Age" that ended when Mongol invaders sacked Baghdad in 1258.

Example Question #5 : Birth Of Islam

The Muslim prophet, Muhammad, first belonged to the ___________________, a merchant tribe in Mecca. 

Possible Answers:

Rashiduns

Abbasids

Quraysh

Fatimid

Ummayads

Correct answer:

Quraysh

Explanation:

The Quraysh were a powerful tribe that controlled Mecca at the beginning of Islamic history. Muhammad originated from this tribe, but he and his Muslim followers would later battle against them as the religion of Islam grew. The other answers are incorrect because they are either caliphates that came from the Quraysh (Abbasid, Ummayad, Fatimid), or refer to a term that means "rightly guided" (Rashidun).

Example Question #6 : Birth Of Islam

The Rashidun (or "rightly guided") caliphs included all of the following EXCEPT ________________.

Possible Answers:

'Uthman

Muhammad

'Umar

'Ali ibn Abi Talib

Abu Bakr

Correct answer:

Muhammad

Explanation:

The Rashidun Caliphs ruled the Muslim community in the immediate few decades following Muhammad's death. Therefore, Muhammad is the incorrect answer.

Example Question #7 : Birth Of Islam

In 622, Muhammad and his followers migrated from ________________ to ________________ for his safety. This journey is now referred to as the "Hijrah".

Possible Answers:

Mecca . . . Egypt

Mecca . . . Yemen

Yemen . . . Medina

Mecca . . . Medina

Medina . . . Mecca

Correct answer:

Mecca . . . Medina

Explanation:

622 marks a famous year in Muslim history - one in which Muhammad left his birthplace of Mecca and fled to Medina (then referred to as Yathrib). The other answers are incorrect because they refer to other locations in the Middle East that Muhammad did not travel to.

Example Question #8 : Birth Of Islam

The five "pillars" of the Islamic faith include all of the following EXCEPT ______________.

Possible Answers:

Shahada ("Testifying the 'One-ness' of God")

Sawm ("Fasting")

Zakat ("Charity")

Q'ara ("To read the Qu'ran")

Salat ("Prayer")

Correct answer:

Q'ara ("To read the Qu'ran")

Explanation:

The five pillars of Islam dictate the actions of a good practicing Muslim. Although the Qu'ran is the central text of the religion, reading it is not counted among the five pillars - thus "Q'ara" (To read) is the correct answer.

Example Question #9 : Birth Of Islam

Which two cities are considered the birthplaces of Islam and were pivotal in the life of the prophet Muhammad?

Possible Answers:

Mecca and Medina

Jerusalem and Damascus

Ankara and Istanbul

Karbala and Najaf.

Cairo and Alexandria

Correct answer:

Mecca and Medina

Explanation:

The prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca. Muslims believe the Quran derived from revelations given to Muhammad from the angel Gabriel. As he gained followers, Muhammad found he had to flee Mecca for Medina. By 629, Muhammad had gained authority over both Mecca and Medina, both of which are considered holy cities within the Islamic faith. Note that Jerusalem, Karbala, and Najaf are all holy cities within Islam, but not as pivotal as Mecca and Medina throughout the entire faith.

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