|Timeline||Southwestern Asia 622-700||Southwestern Asia 700-800|
Rise of Islam
Islam, according to its believers, was founded by the prophet Muhammed after the angel Gabriel recited to Muhammed the Qur'an. However, preaching early on caused a lot of hostility with Meccan tribes. He and his followers attempted to flee to Medina in 622 AD. However, hostile Meccan tribes murdered Muhammed in 622. His followers in Medina regrouped and, after nine years of warfare, in a nearly uncontested battle, took Mecca and destroyed its pagan idols and unintentionally destroyed the Kaaba. By 634 AD, the Arab peninsula was unified under Islam. However, the Ummah was split over who should become the caliph of Islam. The people who believed that Abu Talib should become caliph became known as Talibids and the people who believed Abu Bakr should become caliph became known as Bakrites. For ten years, a devastating civil war raged in Arabia until Abu Bakr became leader of the Islamic Caliphate and the first of the Bakrite Dynasty. The civil war weakened the caliphate a lot.
The Bakrites, in an attempt to gain what they saw as their "chosen territory," raided their neighbours' territory. However, the Arab world was too weak and even the Levant was outside their reach.
Breakup of the Sassanid Empire
Shahanshah Yazdegerd III came to power when he was only eight. The Sassanid Empire was extremely weak. It was no surprise that he was killed by assassins from the mortal enemy of the Sassanids, the Byzantine Empire in 654. His son, Peroz III, was too young to rule. Aristocrats of the empire ruled. However, it was not long until hinterlands, which were effectively satrapies, declared independence. Peroz III was killed by notable aristocrat Araxava in 661. Araxava was the ruler of a Persia with much of its Mesopotamian lands and Transoxiana having declared independence. The Araxavite Empire was a new low for Persia.
Rise of the Syriac Empire
In the Levant, the Syriac Empire gained power after the weakening of the Byzantines. A vast region of the Silk Road was under their control and the Syrians were getting rich. Converted to Monophysite Christianity, the empire was rich as Indian, Chinese, and Italian traders all met at the region. Ideas were being transferred. However, it was not long until Arab tribes began to declare war on the rich region. In an effort to avoid conquest, the leaders of the region converted to Islam in 665. Raids ceased and the empire took use of its position between the Romans and the Persians to obtain riches.
Annexation of the Levant
The lands of Jerusalem, holy lands for both Muslims and Christians, was ruled by Christians. Following attempted Islamic invasions, the land was closed off for Muslims. The Levant was ruled by both Islamic Syrians and Christian Copts. Jerusalem, under Coptic control, was barred from Islamic pilgrims. The Syriac Empire was a tolerant empire. They were not zealots like the Caliphate and were accepting of Christians. Due to this, Damascus was invaded and occupied by the Caliphate. Immediately, the ruling Islamic dynasty was overthrown and was replaced by a Monophysite Christian one. However, the Syriac Empire was a Syrian nation no more.
The Levant was now under direct control of the Caliph. However, Coptic Jerusalem was still under Christian control. Being only a few hundred km from Damascus, Jerusalem was within arm's reach. The Arab army invaded the region in 672, occupying it. Jerusalem would be under Islamic rule for the next three hundred years.
Liberalization in the Caliphate
In Islam, there was no definitive interpretation of the Qu'ran. This at first resulted in strife, like in the Islamic Civil War. However, a long-lasting peace was beginning to cause positive effects like liberalization. In an attempt to bring trade to the region, which was being stolen by the Syriac, Caliph Al-Husayn established the Islamic Scientific Council in 681 AD. Scientists from even India and the Byzantine Empire went to the council to learn about Arab science.
Zealotry in the Araxavite Empire
The rise of the Syriac and Islamic Empires caused an upswing in pro-Zoroastrianism in the Araxavite Empire. The Shahanshah decided to mass murder thousands of Nestorian Christians, who found their way to the Syriac Empire. Buddhism, a religion that was gaining popularity, became persecuted by the Araxavites. Persia was in upheaval. It seemed that nothing was helping it from the hole it fell inside. However in the 690s, the cruel Araxavites were overthrown by tolerant Vahauka. He reestablished tolerance in the region and began the Vahaukid Empire.