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Delivered by: Professor Hugh N Kennedy [University of London] Author of “The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates”

Following the Khulafah Rashideen, after the first Fitna, Muawiyah (ra) ascended as Caliph of the Muslims and on his passing, was succeeded by his son, Yazid I, thus the house of the Umayyad family, started the hereditary rule which lasted til their eventual overthrownment by the Abbasids. The Islamic State, moved its capital to Damascus, and was an age of massive expansion, bordering from the Prynees in France to Kashghar in China. It was a time of conquest, civil strife and tribulation, classical administration and wealth – The “Classical Islamic State” was born.

The Great English Historian, Edward Gibbon writes in “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” :

“Under the last of the Umayyad, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days’ journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, the long and narrow province of march of a caravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Quran were studied with equal devotion at Samarkand and Seville: the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris”.

This one day intensive introductory course looks at:

  • The rise of Umayyads and Islamic expansion
  • Issues of Legitimacy
  • State and society under Umayyad Rule
  • Achievements of the Umayyads – Arts, Sciences and Islam
  • Eventual decline and causes
  • Lessons to be learnt

Professor Hugh N Kennedy

Esteemed Historian Hugh N. Kennedy MA, PhD (Cantab.) is Professor of Arabic in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures at School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He was formerly a professor of history at University of St Andrews, a position he had held since 1972. Among his research topics is the History of the Islamic Middle East, Islamic Archaeology and Muslim Spain. He is contributed significantly to the subject through various journals, media and publications. Some of his celebrated works include: “The Early Abbasid Caliphate; a Political History”, “The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates”, “History of al-Tabari”, “Muslim Spain and Portugal: a political history of al–Andalus”, “Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates”, “When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty”, “The Great Arab Conquests. How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In” and many more titles.

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