islamic history

“Without Muslims you wouldn’t have coffee!”

You’re absolutely correct. Because the existence of coffee necessarily depends on the existence of a religion and its followers. There is no conceivable alternative to certain people of a certain religion making this natural resource available to us. If Islam had never been born in 610, coffee would either never have existed, or would have ceased to exist. There’s no way other people could have laid their hands on this naturally occurring resource and sent it to Europe.

Albania was literally the only country in Nazi occupied Europe to give shelter to Jews & end up with more Jews after the war than before it.

Besa—a word that literally translates as “promise” but whose meaning is deeper—began with us photographer Norman Gershman’s desire to document the legacy of Albanians who sheltered Jews during World War ii. In 2002, on his first trip to Albania, which is today roughly 70 percent Muslim and 30 percent Christian, he was astonished at what he found: not just a few people who were exceptions in a sea of bystanders, but rather an entire country that worked to save Jews in accordance with the traditional code of honor known as Besa, which requires that the stranger in distress who seeks shelter must receive it. 

The awesome 12-year-old who wants to be the first Muslim president

Yusuf Dayur, a 12-year-old from Minnesota, is getting a lot of attention for posting a YouTube response to Republican candidate Ben Carson, who said he couldn’t support a Muslim as president of the United States. 

Check out his full speech on


January 11th 630: Conquest of Mecca

On this day in 630 CE, the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, led an army of 10,000 men to conquer Mecca, which is in modern-day Saudi Arabia. At the time of Muhammad’s birth in Mecca in 570, the city was ruled by the pagan Quraysh tribe. In 610, Muhammad is said to have begun receiving divine revelations from God through the Archangel Gabriel. He then began to preach this new religion which focused on one god: Allah. This posed a challenge to the paganism of the Quraysh tribe, who persecuted Muhammad and his followers, causing them to flee to Medina. This conflict lasted for years, with the two frequently clashing in battle, until 628 when they negotiated the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in which the Quraysh promised to cease fighting and to allow the Muslims into Mecca for pilgrimage. However, the Quraysh did not hold to this treaty and in 630 slaughtered a group of Muslims. Therefore, Muhammad gathered his army of 10,000 and marched to Mecca; the city swiftly surrendered after little bloodshed. Muhammad then declared amnesty for the people of Mecca, but destroyed the pagan imagery to devote the area to the worship of Allah. Muhammad declared Mecca the holiest site in Islam, and made it the centre of Muslim pilgrimage; a pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muhammad died in 632, and the subsequent leadership crisis caused the religion to split into Sunni and Shia sections. The faith Muhammad had begun spread rapidly, and soon became one of the leading world religions.


As conflict in the Middle East continues, we’ve put together a list of books that offer information on the region’s past and present.

Sayyida al Hurra was an Islamic pirate queen during the early 16th century.Sayyida al Hurra’ is in fact a title marking her out as an independent female ruler. Her true name is unknown.

Born around 1485 in Granada, Sayyida fled with her family to Morocco when that Islamic kingdom fell to Christian Spain. At 16 she was married to a man 30 years her senior, al-Mandri, who was the governor of of Tétouan in northern Morocco. She assisted her husband in ruling the city and inherited his position following his death in 1515. She was the last woman to use the title of ‘al Hurra’, meaning ‘queen’.

Sayyida had never forgotten the indignity of being forced out of her home by ‘the Christian enemy’. To get her revenge she assembled her own pirate fleet and allied herself with the Turkish corsair Oruç Reis, known in Europe as Barbarossa. Together their forces wreaked havoc on Spanish and Portugese shipping lanes, looting ships and ransoming captured sailors. Sayyida al Hurra took control of the western half of the Mediterranean, while Oruç Reis commanded the east. Spanish records describe her as a respected and fearsome opponent who dominated the seas of that region.

In 1541 she accepted a marriage proposal from Ahmed al-Wattasi, the King of Morocco. However she refused to give up her role as queen of Tétouan or even to leave the city for the marriage ceremony, forcing al-Wattasi to come to her. This is the only recorded instance that the Moroccan king married outside of his capital.

Sayyida al Hurra reigned for nearly thirty years, until she was deposed by her own son-in-law in 1542. She was stripped of her property and power, however her ultimate fate is unknown.

Read more about Sayyida al Hurra.

How quickly we forget – How Muslims Helped Ireland During The Great Famine Ireland was ridden with famine and disease between 1845 and 1849. Also known as the Great Hunger, this famine had lasting effects: at least one million people died due to famine-related diseases and more than one million Irish fled, mainly to the United States, England, Canada, and Australia. The Islamic State (Ottoman) ruler at that time Sultan Khaleefah Abdul-Majid declared his intention to send £10,000 sterling to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only £1,000 sterling, because she had sent only £2,000 sterling herself. The Sultan sent the £1,000 sterling but also secretly sent 3 ships full of food. The British administration tried to block the ships, but the food arrived secretly at Drogheda harbour.

This generous charity from a Muslim ruler to a Christian nation is also important, particularly in our time when Muslims are often unfairly accused of human rights violations. Likewise, the appreciative plaque and overall reaction of the Irish society in return for this charity deserves to be applauded. We hope that the Turkish-Irish friendship sets a model for peace among different nations. In commemoration of the Ottoman aid, Drogheda added the Ottoman crescent and star to its coat of arms. Their football club’s emblem retains this design til this day.

Islam in China

As salaamu alaykum!

I wanted to tell you guys about this game/app/thing called QuizUp where it’s like a huge trivia game but has more than 100 specific topics, some of them including The Qur’an and The History of Islamic Civilization. Recently, QuizUp added a feature where users could add their own topics and I decided to jump on the bandwagon and add a topic in Beginner’s Arabic. It’s fairly new with about 130 questions but for those who want to learn basic Arabic terms and grammar, click here! As times goes on, I will be adding many more questions and I am open to any suggestions or advice you may have!

- aabrs