By John Joseph Saunders
Should not the phrases "Medieval Islam" a redundancy? whilst has Islam ever no longer been "Medieval"? for instance, so that you can examine the heritage of the "Dark Ages", you'll examine eighth and ninth century Europe, otherwise you may well examine any Arab state at the present time that is guided by means of Islamic rules.
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Few revolutions of such gigantic import are worse documented: the conquerors were an unlettered people; the archives of Persia perished in the general ruin of the Sassanid State, and the Greek side of the story is revealed only in chronicles put together nearly two centuries after the irruption of Islam into the eastern provinces of Byzantium. In a general view, the Arab conquests may be conceived as the southern counterpart of the Germanic invasions which in the fifth century overwhelmed the power of Rome in the lands of the West.
By some the Arabs are envisaged as fanatical devotees of the new faith, riding forth from their deserts resolved to carry the message of their Prophet to all mankind, their natural courage in battle stiffened by the belief that the soul of the believer who fell fighting for Islam was instantly conveyed to paradise. By others they are depicted as animated chiefly by the lure of plunder and booty and goaded by the prick of poverty and hunger: a desiccated peninsula, it is suggested, could no longer support a growing population, and shortage of food and grazing-land was more potent than the mandates of Allah.
Hinduism, while postulating the existence of a single divine principle, conceives this principle as personalized in a multiplicity of gods and goddesses; Buddhism, a Hindu heresy, while in theory agnostic about the gods and the human soul, has in its popular forms descended to the level of a crude polytheism. The Indian view has been that the world is maya, illusion, and that the wise man must strive to free himself from its enveloping corruption till he attain the bliss of nirvana, spiritual serenity.
A History of Medieval Islam by John Joseph Saunders