History of the Islamic Middle East from the 7th Century to 1918

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 225

       Course Name: History of the Islamic Middle East from the 7th Century to 1918

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys the history of Islamic Middle East from the birth of Islam to the end of the First World War. Content includes social, political, and economic developments, and the role of religion in shaping Middle Eastern culture and society.  Focus is on the ways in which Islam helped foster a unified political and legal system, and a common identity which provide the backdrop for much of the contemporary political discourse in the region. IAI S2 918N

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the essential historical figures and events of the period covered.
  2. Describe the ethnic, cultural, and political diversity of the region and interpret its historical consequences.
  3. Explain the religious, social, economic, and political ideas that emerged in the Middle East during the period covered.
  4. Evaluate major religious, literary, and philosophical works produced during the period.
  5. Analyze the relationship between historical events and contemporary issues in the region.
  6. Evaluate conflicting interpretations of the history of Islamic Middle East.
  7. Analyze primary and secondary sources pertaining to the period covered.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. A framework of study of the Islamic Middle East
    1. The geography of the Middle East
    2. The Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity
    3. Pre-Islamic Arabia
  2. The Transition to Islam
    1. Muhammad
    2. The Qur'an
    3. The Sociopolitical order of early Islam
  3. Islam
    1. Religious and Political conflicts
    2. Islamic sects
    3. Islamic Law and its role
  4. Expansion of Islam
    1. The Rashidun Caliphs
    2. The Umayyad Caliphate
    3. The Abbasid Caliphate
  5. Fragmentation and the Crusades
    1. Islamic States
    2. Non-Muslim Communities
    3. The Crusades
  6. The Sultanate Period
    1. The Mongol Invasion
    2. The Mamluks
    3. Sufism
  7. Literature and Arts
    1. Arabic
    2. Poetry/Literature
    3. Architecture
  8. The Ottomans and the Safavids
    1. The Turks and the Persians
    2. The Ottoman and the Safavid Empires
    3. Ottoman Institutions
  9. Decline of "Gunpowder Empires"
    1. European encroachments
    2. Muhammad Ali
    3. The Tanzimat
  10. European Hegemony
    1. Colonialism
    2. Nationalism
    3. Ottoman dissolution
  11. The Early Twentieth Century and the First World War

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 12 - 14 double-spaced typed pages, in the form of a term paper, summaries of Journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Vernon O. Egger, A History of the Muslim World, Vols. I & II.
Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes.
Ochsenwald and Fisher, The Middle East: A History.
Frederick Mathewson Denny, An Introduction to Islam.
Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples.
Hugh Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates.
Amira Bennison, The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the Abbasid Empire.
Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes.
Jane Hathaway, The Arab Lands Under Ottoman Rule, 1516-1800.
Donald Quataert, The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922.
Norman Itzkowitz, Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition.
Islamic History Sourcebook.

Films: Islam: Empire of Faith, Episodes I, II, and III.
Cities of Light, The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain.
East To West, The Series.
Suleyman the Magnificent.
Akbar S. Ahmed, Living Islam Series.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in- and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available at the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *

XX/XX: Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX: Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX: Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX: Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"

*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.