B2 Chapter 3: A Brief History of Islam

(1) The Caliphs

An understanding of the history of Islam and the empires it created is necessary for a full understanding of the coming final beast of Revelation, because it will be a revived Islamic empire.

The word “caliph” literally means successor, and refers to the rulers of Islam after Muhammad. Some of the caliphs in the Arabic Empire were actually related to Muhammad by blood or marriage. There were many different dynasties of caliphs, such as the Umayyads, Fatimids, Abbasids; most had to fight other Muslims to stay in power.

The first four caliphs are called the Rightly Guided Caliphs by Sunni Muslims. The first after Muhammad was Abu Bakr (632-634). He died after an illness, and some people suspect he may have been poisoned by a rival group who desired to field the successor. Muhammad had married one of Bakr’s daughters. Before his death, Abu Bakr appointed Umar his successor.

Umar (634-644) (also known as Omar), converted to Islam in 616 and was murdered by a Persian slave. He was stabbed in the stomach six or seven times and died three days later. Rather than appoint his successor, he appointed a six-man committee to choose his successor. Muhammad had also married one of his daughters.

The third caliph was Uthman who was murdered in 656 by one or more rebel groups who disagreed with some of his actions. He became caliph at age 65 and was married to two of Muhammad’s daughters; when the first died, he married the second.

Ali (656-661) was the cousin of Muhammad and had been the first male to convert to Islam. Ali married Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, whose children were the only grandchildren of Muhammad to survive. Ali became the fourth caliph which brought a civil war among the Muslims, the relatives of Uthman against Ali. Ali won the early battles, then Mu’awiya, the governor of Syria, who was also a relative of Uthman, fought against Ali for the caliphate. Ali was murdered by a relative of someone who was killed in the battles, then Mu’awiya fought against Ali’s generals and appointed himself caliph. Mu’awiya then started the Umayyad Dynasty of ruling caliphs by passing the office on to his children, which lasted 661-750. These are called Sunni Muslims, but Shia Muslims consider Ali and his descendants the rightful heirs of the caliphate, which has resulted in much bloodshed over the centuries.

Many of the caliphs from 632-1250 were either murdered or died fighting other Muslims. Rebellions, murders, assassinations, and civil wars were normal among the Muslims. The seat of government was moved to Damascus when Mu’awiya became the 6th caliph, if you count Muhammad as the 1st. The caliphs ruled over the entire empire, but there were regional governors called amirs and sultans. Because the empire grew very large, as time went by some regions began to rule themselves politically, but they were still officially part of the caliphate. Though the caliphs’ political power grew weak, they were still seen as religious leaders, so it was still an Islamic empire.

A civil war killed all the Umayyads and thus began the Abbasid Dynasty that ruled 750-1031, but a rival caliphate formed in North Africa called the Fatimid (909-1171) and another in Spain and north-western Africa. Ultimately, the Ottomans conquered the Middle East and Egypt and transferred the caliphate to Istanbul in 1517 where it remained until it was abolished after WWI.

(2) The Invasions

The Arabic Islamic Empire began in 632 A.D. when the followers of Muhammad began their wars of conquest. They invaded Persia and the southern territories of the Eastern Roman Empire, such as Syria. Palestine fell in 637, Egypt in 642, Cyprus in 649, and the remainder of North Africa between 670-698.

When the Muslim armies approached a city they offered the inhabitants three choices:

  1. Convert to Islam
  2. Submit to Islamic rule and live under oppressive laws and heavy taxes.
  3. Be attacked by Muslim armies, and if defeated, suffer death or slavery.

If the city chose to fight and was defeated, it was plundered, the men of fighting age were murdered or sold into slavery, and most of the women and children were raped and sold into slavery. Sometimes the Arabs would slaughter every man, woman, and child in a city that resisted them, just to strike fear into other cities so they would submit. Those who did submit were heavily taxed. Many Christians lost all their possessions, or their lives, to the invading Muslims. Whole regions were depopulated by slaughter or the inhabitants fleeing to other areas. An Egyptian, John of Nikiou, wrote about the atrocities committed there:

Then the Muslims arrived in Nikiou. There was not one single soldier to resist them. They seized the town and slaughtered everyone they met in the street and in the churches — men, women, and children, sparing nobody. Then they went to other places, pillaged and killed all the inhabitants they found. . . .

The patriarch Cyrus felt deep grief at the calamities in Egypt, because Amr, who was of barbarian origin, showed no mercy in his treatment of the Egyptians and did not fulfill the covenants which had been agreed with him. . . .

After taking possession of Alexandria, he had the town’s canal drained . . .  He raised the tax to as much as twenty-two batr of gold, with the result that the inhabitants, crushed down by the burden and in no position to pay it, went into hiding. . . .

But it is impossible to describe the lamentable position of the inhabitants of this town, who came to the point of offering their children in exchange for the enormous sums that they had to pay each month, finding no one to help them because God had abandoned them and had delivered the Christians into the hands of their enemies. (Bostom, Legacy of Jihad, page 590)

The writers of the 7th and 8th centuries stated that Christian women were being taken captive and sold into slavery and prostitution (Seeing Islam as Others Saw It: by Robert G. Hoyland, p. 98). Thomas the Presbyter wrote about 640 A.D., (but he used a different calendar):

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday, 4 February, (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhammad (tayyiiye d-Mhmt) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The Romans fled, leaving behind the patriarch bryrdn [Syrian, BRYRDN], whom the Arabs killed. Some 4000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the whole region. (Seeing Islam as Others Saw It, by Robert G. Hoyland, page 120)

These horrible events were repeated in region after region. A Christian Lebanese writer said when the Muslims invaded Lebanon they “raped their way through the country,” (Gabriel, Because They Hate, page 14).

Armenia, the small Christian country north of Iran, was invaded many times by Muslim armies because the Armenians refused to gradually convert to Islam over the centuries like other Middle East nations did, and they occasionally rebelled against their oppressors. Sebeos the historian describes their first invasion in 642:

The ravaging army left Assyria and, by way of Dzor, entered the Taron region, which it seized . . . they crossed the bridge, and invaded the whole region. After taking a considerable quantity of booty and captives, they camped at the edge of the forest of Khosrovakert.

On the fifth day, they launched an attack on the town of Dvin, and it fell to them; for they had shrouded it in clouds of smoke and, by this means and by arrow shots, they drove back the men who were defending the ramparts. Then, having set up their ladders, they climbed on to the walls, hurled themselves into the square and opened the gates.

The enemy’s army rushed in and butchered the inhabitants of the town by the sword. After gorging itself on booty, it returned to its encampments, outside the town.

After a few days’ rest, the Ishmaelites went back whence they had come, dragging after them a host of captives, numbering thirty-five thousand. (Legacy of Jihad, P. 593. English translation from Bat Ye’or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, pp. 274-275)

In Africa, Muslims were enslaving large numbers of natives, so entire tribes converted to Islam because believers could not be enslaved; however, conversion after enslavement did not result in freedom but did result in better treatment. In 643 after seven years of siege, the city of Caesarea fell to the Arabs who then slaughtered 7,000 of its citizens. In 650 Cyprus was plundered, and the region of Isauria, “they put to death many inhabitants and returned to Damascus with 5,000 captives as slaves” (Legacy of Jihad, Bostom, p. 390).

A book written by a Muslim about the Islamic conquests, reveals much shocking truth about Islam and what happened during the wars of conquest, which Muslims refer to as “openings,” because it means opening up the country to Islamic rule. The following quote from the book begins with a statement by people who were being attacked, and decided to submit to Islam:

“O you Arabs! Can’t you stop your harshness? How can we tell you that we believe you and demand a cessation of fighting and you aim at nothing but fighting?”

Abu ‘Ubaidah said, “Yes, because this is more worthy to us than life, for it is the way by which we ask for the pardon and forgiveness of our Lord.” (The Islamic Openings, by Abdul Aziz Al-Shinnawy, Egypt, 2002, page 163-164)

The only guarantee a Muslim has of entering heaven is if he dies fighting in jihad. The book goes on to reveal the treachery of the Muslims, by not always honoring their agreements:

Sa’id besieged them till they asked for a treaty of peace and safety. He agreed to the condition that he would not kill one of them. However, when they opened the fort, he killed them all saving one man and took as spoils everything that was there. (Ibid, page 270)

The above passage also shows how they will engage in mass murder without a second thought.

Muslims invaded Spain in 711 slaughtering and enslaving; they burned convents and monasteries, raped and beheaded, and even crucified people. France was invaded in 721, and all of Europe was in danger of being overrun, but Charles Martel stopped them at the Battle of Tours (Poitiers) in 732.

A hundred years later they tried to invade Europe again through Italy and actually established coastal bases in several places from which they sacked and burned Italian cities, plundering and burning churches and libraries. Thousands of Christian men, women, and children were killed or taken into slavery in these attacks. Now we can understand why the Europeans felt the Crusades were necessary. No incursions were made into Europe during the time of the Crusades.

The Muslims today would have you believe that they were welcomed in many areas, and that after the conquests the Christians and Jews lived unmolested as “protected” people under Islamic rulers, but that is far from the truth. There were times when they lived freely, but much of the time the Christians and Jews were badly persecuted and even slaughtered, with churches being destroyed, such as when the Arabs suffered defeats by the Eastern Roman armies, or when the Muslims warred with each other:

Greek sources of the eighth century speak also of the savagery of Saracen robbers who raided various monasteries, killing and plundering. For example, during the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid (786-809), the monasteries of Palestine suffered from numerous raids. Many monks were put to death. The monastery of St. Sabbas was invaded in 786 and several monks were slaughtered. . . .

. . . Harun al-Rashid issued a decree (797) ordering the destruction of Christian churches; he also imprisoned several bishops. Harun was not an exception; several caliphs were especially intolerant toward churches and monasteries. When Marwan II fled before the Abbasid troops, he plundered and destroyed many churches and monasteries in Egypt. . . .

Bar Hebraeus relates that Caliph al-Mahdi (775-785) forcefully converted 5,000 Christians of Aleppo. It was not only the caliphs, however, who often resorted to violent means against the hierarchs of the churches. Bar Hebraeus reports that mobs often assailed the Christians whenever the government was weak or reluctant to punish the Christians. . . . Mob action became very frequent in the eighth century. (Greek Christian and Other Accounts of the Muslim Conquests of the Near East, by Demetrios Con-stantelos, quoted in Legacy of Jihad by Bostom, page 392-393, 395)

We can see now just how Islam became the dominate religion throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The Muslims were even more ruthless during the invasions of India. In the 13th century, Balban ruled as Ulugh Khan Khan Khan-i-Azam:

He made a proclamation that a soldier who brought a live captive would be rewarded with two silver tankahs and one who brought the head of a dead one would get one silver tankah. Soon three or four hundred living and dead were brought to his presence. . . .

The exact figures of such slaves have not been mentioned and therefore cannot be computed. All that is known is that they were captured in droves. (Muslim Slave System in Medieval India, by K.S. Lal. Quoted in Legacy of Jihad, Bostom, page 542)

(3) Islam and Slavery

Slavery has always been an important part of Islam. Muslims have probably sold more people into slavery than the rest of the world combined:

The point to note is that [the] taking of slaves was a matter of routine in every expedition. Only when the numbers were exceptionally large did they receive the notice of the chroniclers. So that in Mahmud’s attack on Ninduna in the Punjab (1014), Utbi says that “slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap; and men of respectability in their native land (India) were degraded by becoming slaves of common shop-keepers (in Ghazni).”

His statement finds confirmation in later chronicles . . . Next year from Thanesar, according to Farishtah, “the Muhammadan army brought to Ghaznin 200,000 captives so that the capital appeared like an Indian city, for every soldier of the army had several slaves and slave girls.” (Muslim Slave System in Medieval India, by K.S. Lal. Quoted in Legacy of Jihad, Bostom, p. 551)

The Ottoman Turks were just as enthusiastic about slavery as the Arabs had been. An eyewitness wrote about it in 15th century:

Bartholome de Yano paints a gripping picture of their sufferings: “Priests, monks, the young and the aged who could scarcely walk, were shackled and drawn by horses,” whereas the able-bodied men were led with the women and children like a flock being guarded by dogs. “Those who lingered along the way because of weariness, thirst, or rather their sufferings, were killed on the spot.” Others succumbed to their illnesses. Bartholome de Yano saw in the streets of Adrianople heaps of corpses partially devoured by the dogs. (The Role of Slaves in Fifteenth-Century Turkish Romania, by M. M. Alexandrescu-Dersca Bulgaru. Quoted in Legacy of Jihad, p. 568)

We have already learned that Muslims took slaves from the cities they conquered, but for about 1000 years the Muslims in North Africa also engaged in a systematic campaign of capturing Christian ships, plundering the cargo, and enslaving the crew and passengers; they also raided many European coastal towns.

Muslim Corsairs sailed as far north as Ireland and England to capture slaves. Some people were literally dragged out of churches and taken into slavery:

Corsairs appeared off County Cork, Ireland, in 1631 and bore away 237 men, women, and children. Between 1613 and 1622, Algerian corsairs captured 447 Dutch ships. Four hundred English ships were taken in just four years, many right off the English coast. During six months in 1636, more than 1,000 Englishmen experienced the anguish of North African slavery. France wasn’t spared, either. Between 1628 and 1634, eighty French ships and 1,331 men and women fell into the raiders’ hands.

. . . Long stretches of coastline were abandoned, and commerce, community life, and fishing declined as the people moved away, or were slain or spirited away into captivity. Spain and Italy reported losses of 300,000 to 500,000 inhabitants each late in the seventeenth century . . . (Wheelan, Jefferson’s War, p. 17-18)

Some of the lucky ones were ransomed, but most people spent the rest of their lives as slaves. If the captured passengers or crew converted to Islam they would get jobs without hard labor. Those who were owned by the Sultan of Morocco and did not convert were literally worked to death, and usually did not live more than a year or two. European attempts to stop the barbarity with military action met with little success, so they preferred to pay the offending cities with gold and arms, which just better equipped them for more attacks.

The Muslims did everything in their power to force Christian slaves to convert, and took special pleasure in doing so from the moment the Christians stepped ashore. They were marched through the streets while the general population spat upon them, threw stones at them, and called them “dogs” and every other foul name that existed:

Throughout Barbary, there were slave owners who pressurized [sic] their slaves into renouncing Christianity and adopting the religion of their new land. They paid particular attention to their younger captives and gained great kudos from owning slave converts, particularly if they were masons, blacksmiths or professional soldiers. (Giles Milton, White Gold, 2004, p. 84)

It seems most of the architects, engineers, and tradesmen of all crafts were either slaves or apostates, called renegades, who converted to escape the brutally hard labor, frequent beatings, and bad food. The Muslims were intentionally cruel to the Christian slaves, making them live in dark underground rooms called slave pits or matamores, where they slept on mats that were crawling with lice and roaches: “the matamores were usually ‘filthy, stinking and full of vermin,’ and death was all too often a blessed release” (Ibid, p. 69).

The walls of a palace in Fes, Morocco, built by European slaves.

They were very poorly fed, and were worked from daylight to dark until they died. It is safe to say that 99.9% of the slaves had their feet bound together with a bastinado and raised from the ground; then they were beaten on the bottoms of their feet. They usually received 40 to 50 blows, but could receive as many as 500 (Ibid, page 83). Some received the bastinado beatings daily until they could no longer endure it and converted to Islam. The Muslims did this even to children.

One Thomas Pellow, age 11 or 12 at the time of capture, was thusly tortured every day and denied food and yet he would not renounce Christianity until “burning my flesh off my bones by fire, which the tyrant did, by frequent repetitions, after a most cruel manner” (Ibid, p. 84). He spent 23 years in captivity, but eventually escaped to tell his story.

The caption on this photo reads, The morning’s “entertainment” at the Kasbah, Tangier: Inflicting the bastinado, (London News, Feb. 10, 1894).

The Moroccan sultans were very cruel to everyone, especially to the Christian slaves, and actually took pleasure in torturing and murdering them, often doing the bloody work themselves; “violent beatings were common place” (Ibid, p. 23). Milton quotes from a book written in 1627 or 1628, The Tragicall Life and Death of Muley Abdala Melek, by John Harrison:

“He would cause men to be drubbed, or beaten almost to death in his presence,” wrote Harrison, “[and] would cause some to be beaten on the soles of their feet, and after make them run up and downe among the stones and thornes.” Some of the sultan’s slaves had been dragged behind horses until they were torn to shreds. A few had even been dismembered while still alive . . . (Milton, White Gold, p. 23)

The sultan’s son, Moulay Ismail, became as evil a sultan as his father. Moulay was skilled at mounting his horse and drawing his sword in one motion, and then cutting the head off the slave who was holding the stirrup (Ibid, p. 80).

The Muslims even captured American shipping, forcing a young United States to also pay off the robbers; but the U.S. usually did not have the funds, which prevented American ships from sailing in the Mediterranean. When Jefferson and Adams were ambassadors to European countries, they met together with the ambassador from Tripoli; they wanted to know why the Muslims were enslaving Americans because we had done nothing to provoke them. The Muslim ambassador answered:

Abdrahaman said they didn’t understand the fine points of Islamic jihad, as it was interpreted in Barbary. He proceeded to illuminate the ministers. “The Ambassador,” Jefferson later wrote to Jay, “answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.” (Wheelan, Jefferson’s War, p. 40-41)

There you have it in black in white; the Muslims are not attacking Europe and America today because we insulted their prophet or invaded Iraq; it is the same reason they have been attacking since the founding of Islam, jihad, which includes great rewards for those waging jihad, such as plunder and sex slaves.

(4) Muslim Pirates

The Muslim pirates were not just some rogue men who went out on their own; no, they were sent out by Muslim nations. In 1793 the American Ship, Polly, was captured and its crew taken to Algiers and into slavery:

Upon landing, the Americans were taken to the palace of the ruler, the dey of Algiers, through a surging crowd which stunned them “with the shouts, clapping of hands and other exclamations of joy from the inhabitants; thanking God for their great success and victories over so many Christian dogs, and unbelievers. . . .” The dey greeted them with a speech declaring he would never make peace with their country, finishing, “now I have got you, you Christian dogs, you shall eat stones.” The next morning, a heavy chain link was hammered around each man’s ankle . . . (Leiner, Frederick C. The End of Barbary Terror: America’s 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa. Oxford U. Press, p. 3) (The inside quote is from, Foss, John, A Journal of the Captivity and Sufferings of John Foss; Several Years a prisoner at Algiers. Newburyport, Mass. 1798)

By 1801 Thomas Jefferson had enough of Islamic thuggery; within three weeks of becoming president he ordered American warships to the Mediterranean. (This war is actually what caused the creation of the U.S. Marine Corps.) The first battle was fought by the U.S. ship Enterprise, with a crew lacking experience, and disguised as a merchantman. It was attacked by a corsair with seasoned Muslims fighters, but the Enterprise destroyed the Muslim ship with cannon fire:

. . . Porter grabbed hold of the lines, climbed aboard, and saw a dreadful sight: The deck was littered with dead and dying men, and the planks were slippery with blood. . . . Watching the surrender, Sterett ordered his men to board the Tripolino, which was now listing and taking on water. Stepping aboard, he, too, was repulsed by the carnage. Porter quickly gave him the tally: twenty dead, including the surgeon and second officer, and thirty wounded, including the captain and first lieutenant. Sterett asked for the butcher’s bill aboard his own ship and was stunned by the answer: none. In a battle that had lasted three hours, the Enterprise had taken the larger vessel without a single casualty. Nor, he found, had they suffered any significant damage. Sterett realized that he had just won a victory that would resonate throughout the Mediterranean, and the world. (Tripoli, by David Smethurst. p.87)

(This is what can happen when you have God fighting with you, but America no longer has God fighting on its side!)

In the next battle, the Philadelphia ran aground on a coral reef off the coast of Tripoli, so the captain surrendered, putting himself and the crew into slavery until a ransom was paid. The captured Philadelphia was raised by the tide and anchored in the harbor between other Tripolian ships and under the guns of the castle. In spite of the danger, not wanting the ship to be used against themselves, the U.S. sailed another ship into the harbor at night and used small rowboats to board the Philadelphia. In fierce hand-to-combat, the Americans killed twenty of the Muslims with only one American wounded, and set the Philadelphia on fire, and made their escape amid cannon and gunfire (Ibid, p. 174).

This was America’s first war against Islamic terror (1801-1805), but it was poorly executed, and actually lost by the diplomats, so we had to go back again in 1815. This time we arrived with a fleet of ships and demanded a peace treaty or Algiers would be destroyed. This ended the problem for the U.S.

England also made a treaty with them, but when the English thought the treaty had been broken, they sent a relative of Thomas Pellow, Sir Edward Pellow, in 1816 to bombard Algiers, which was reduced to rubble by the fleet’s cannon-fire:

Pellow himself was immensely proud of his role in destroying Algiers, and even more gratified when he was brought the news that Tunis, Tripoli and Morocco had also renounced [white] slavery. The great slave auctions were to be closed in perpetuity, and all of the remaining captives were freed without further ado. (Milton, White Gold, p. 276)

But this only ended the taking of slaves from Europe and the U.S.; slavery still existed throughout the Muslim world. Even though the English knew the pain and horror of slavery, the experience did not move them to end black slavery until 1833.

During World War I, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire used Christian and Jewish slaves to make their bombs and explosive shells. An American eyewitness reports how the Ottomans tortured their slaves in Jerusalem using the bastinado:

The Ordnance Workshops occupied the commandeered English schools near the American Colony. In the late afternoon the reckoning took place for all the imaginary or real insubordination of the Christian and Jewish laborers [i.e. slaves]. They were lined up to watch their unfortunate companions being punished. The bastinado was generally used, which is a cruel chastisement. The victim was thrown on the ground and his feet made firm by twisting a rope around a stick with the feet in between. The stick was held by two men and the beating was on the soles of the feet. We could hear the screams of these wretched men from our house. (Vester, Our Jerusalem, p. 248)

Muslim countries were the last to officially end all slavery in the 20th century, and then only because of pressure from Western Europe and North America. The last was Saudi Arabia in 1962! But it has continued unofficially, underground.

(5) Other Kingdoms

The Crusaders (1096-1291) took back a very small part of the Middle East from the Muslims. Although they killed more than they should have killed, they did not invade in order to loot and plunder and sell people as slaves, or to oppress the population like all the empires did. After the conquest, the Crusaders usually ruled fairly and most people prospered, even Muslims:

. . . the Spanish Muslim Ibn Jubayr (1145-1217), who traversed the Mediterranean on his way to Mecca in the early 1180s, found that Muslims had it better in the lands controlled by the Crusaders than they did in Islamic lands. Those lands were more orderly and better managed than those under Muslim rule, so that even Muslims preferred to live in the Crusader realms. (Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades, p. 131)

One reason the Muslims were better off under Crusader rule was the frequent warfare that took place among the Muslim factions as described above. Muslims eventually spread their rule from Morocco to the borders of China, making the empire the second largest in history. The Seljuk Turks invaded and conquered about half of the Middle East, but they ruled less than 200 years. The invading Crusaders helped the breakup of their empire.

The Turks had already converted to Islam before they invaded other Islamic regions, so they were not spreading Islam, but merely plundering and taking power. It was these Seljuks that the Crusaders fought for control of the Holy Land in the first and second Crusades (1098, and 1147). So the Arabic and Seljuk Islamic Empires were ruling at the same time, just different regions.

The Arabic Empire still retained a lot of territory, but because of all the power struggles that included murder and backstabbing (literally and figuratively), the Islamic rulers began buying Turkish slaves, called Mamluks, from northeast of Anatolia to populate the army in the 9th century. When the Egyptian sultan was killed by the French in 1250 during the 7th Crusade, the Mamluk slave warriors were powerful enough to defeat the Crusaders and take over the sultanate of Egypt. The caliphate was taken to Egypt where it remained until the Ottomans invaded Egypt and transferred the caliphate to Anatolia in 1517.

The Mongol Empire was the largest continuous land empire in world history, stretching about 6,000 miles and encompassing China, most of Russia, and into Eastern Europe, as well as the nations west of India and just into the Middle East. It began in the 12th century under the leadership of Khabul Khan but became a true empire under the leadership of his son, Temujin, who was named Universal Ruler (Genghis Khan) of all the Mongol tribes in 1206 A.D.

The Mongol Empire invaded the Middle East but the Mamluks were strong enough to defeat them in a battle in 1260 which kept the Mongols from invading present day Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. The Mamluks also drove out the Crusaders in 1291.

The Mongol invasion included many Turkish soldiers from south of Russia and their families who had joined the Mongols as they swept westward; they settled throughout Persia and Syria. Some of the Turks were already Muslims, and the Mongols within the Islamic regions eventually converted to Islam. After considering Christianity and Buddhism, and probably other religions, they chose Islam (no doubt because Islam is the most accepting of warfare, murder, and plunder).

Though the Mongols caused much devastation and slaughter during their invasions, within a couple of hundred years you would not have known they invaded, except for the lower population due to the large number of people they killed, because they did not impose a religion or language. The Mongol Empire suffered the same problems that the Arabic and Seljuk Turks suffered from: its large size and wars of succession caused the empire to fracture and it eventually just fell apart and was no more by 1368. So it lasted less than 200 years.