From the late 17th century, the Omani Sultanate was a powerful empire, vying with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. At its peak in the 19th century, Omani influence or control extended across the Strait of Hormuz to modern-day Iran and Pakistan, and as far south as Zanzibar today part of Tanzania, also former capital.
As its power declined in the 20th century, the sultanate came under the influence of the United Kingdom. Historically, Muscat was the principal trading port of the Persian Gulf region.
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Muscat was also among the most important trading ports of the Indian Ocean. Oman is an absolute monarchy. The Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said has been the hereditary leader of the country since Sultan Qaboos is the longest-serving current ruler in the Middle East, and seventh-longest current-reigning monarch in the world. Oman has modest oil reserves, ranking 25th globally. Nevertheless, in the UNDP ranked Oman as the most improved nation in the world in terms of development during the preceding 40 years. A significant portion of its economy is tourism and trade of fish, dates, and certain agricultural produce.
This sets it apart from its neighbors' solely oil-dependent economy. Oman is categorized as a high-income economy and ranks as the 74th most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Peace Index. Oman Demographics: Oman's official religion is Islam. Omani society is largely tribal and encompasses three major identities: that of the tribe, the Ibadi faith, and maritime trade.
The first two identities are closely tied to tradition and are especially prevalent in the interior of the country, owing to lengthy periods of isolation.
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The third identity pertains mostly to Muscat and the coastal areas of Oman, and is reflected by business, trade, and the diverse origins of many Omanis, who trace their roots to Baloch, Al-Lawatia, Persia, and historical Omani Zanzibar. Consequently, the third identity is generally seen to be more open and tolerant towards others, and is often in tension with the more traditional and insular identities of the interior.
The movement is said to have been founded 20 years after the death of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, thus predating both the Sunni and Shia denominations. It would seem that "Real" Arabs follow an older type of Islam than the converted others. The trade was conducted through slave markets in the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa, with the slaves captured mostly from Africa's interior.
The trade of slaves across the Sahara and across the Indian Ocean also has a long history, beginning with the control of sea routes by Arab and Swahili traders on the Swahili Coast during the ninth century see Sultanate of Zanzibar.
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The captives were sold throughout the Middle East. This trade accelerated as superior ships led to more trade and greater demand for labor on plantations in the region.
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Eventually, tens of thousands of captives were being taken every year. The Indian Ocean slave trade was multi-directional and changed over time. To meet the demand for menial labor, Bantu slaves bought by Arab slave traders from southeastern Africa were sold in cumulatively large numbers over the centuries to customers in Egypt, Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, European colonies in the Far East, the Indian Ocean islands, Ethiopia and Somalia. In answer to this stupidity: Egypt, Arabia, the Persian Gulf, India, etc: Teem with Black people who for thousands of years worked their own fields, and in the case of Egypt, was the Breadbasket of the ancient world, why would they need Slaves to do what they had been doing for thousands of years?
A flair for history is a prerequisite to understanding the Muslim world and its people. Their yesterdays are closely bound up with the here and now. A good grasp of geography will be helpful as well. Jaxartes is a river that lies on the border between China and present-day Afghanistan. Persian King Cyrus was killed fighting near this river, about B.
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The Arabs found some Chinese paper makers among their prisoners. Many such skills were brought into the Islamic world in this way. The use of paper spread rapidly across the Islamic world, reaching Egypt by A. From the tenth century onwards, evidence is clear of paper-making occurring in countries of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as in the European country of Spain.
The Arabs profited from the craft of the paper makers they had captured as slaves. From archaeologists and records kept in ancient times, we learn that slave trade existed for a long time in the Arab world. Back in the days of the caliphs [early Muslim leaders], having a slave for a mother was not a stigma for a Muslim man.
Due to polygamy, this was quite common. At first the caliphs maintained a kind of aristocracy among themselves, making it imperative that the mother of a caliph was from one of the Arab tribes. However, as more and more slaves adopted the religion of Islam, noble birth and tribal prestige lost their value. By the year , the Abbasid Caliphs and succeeding Muslim rulers often were the sons of slave women, many of whom were foreign.
Such parentage ceased to be either an obstacle or a stigma. Growth of the Slave Trade Quite possibly, the maintenance of slavery and the social acceptance of slaves were important drawing cards for Islam as it penetrated Africa. Without a knowledge of history many Africans may be unaware of the fact that Islamic traders carried on a steady slave trade from East African ports for many centuries. Records are available which contain the lists of goods involved in trade with the rest of the world. Muslim merchants traveled to India, Ceylon, the East Indies, and China, over sea and land, bringing back silks, spices, aromatics, woods, tin, and many other items.
Records mention 'slave girls' from the Byzantine Empire along with gold and silver, marble workers, and eunuchs. Surprisingly, Muslim traders went as far away as Scandinavia, and especially Sweden, where scores of Muslim coins have been found with inscriptions from the seventh and eleventh centuries. On the long lists of goods which Muslim traders imported from Scandinavia, are found 'Slavonic slaves, sheep, and cattle' cited by Lewis in The Arabs in History. They travel from west to east and east to west, by land and sea. From the west they bring eunuchs, slave girls and boys, brocade, beaver skins, sable and other furs, and swords'.
Though some slaves attained an honored class, doing either domestic work or military service, they were exceptions. They were herded together in settlements, often thousands belonging to a single landowner. Slaves of this kind were mainly black, obtained more especially from East Africa by capture, purchase, or in the form of tribute from vassal states. Such were the slaves in the salt flats east of Basra, where unprecedented numbers were employed by the wealthy men of that city in draining the salt marshes in order to prepare the ground for agriculture and to extract the salt for sale.
They worked in gangs from five hundred to five thousand.
Their conditions were extremely bad. Their labor was hard and exacting, and they received only a bare and inadequate keep consisting, according to the Arabic sources, of flour, semolina and dates. Many knew little or no Arabic. Eventually a leader arose among them and led a great uprising which aimed, not at ending slavery, but at securing better living conditions. A Recent Study Another book by Bernard Lewis entitled Race and Slavery in the Middle East a Historical Enquiry, published in by Oxford University Press, features color plate illustrations dating back to and the 's with 80 pages of notes to back up its contents.
These intriguing paintings were discovered in famous libraries in London, Paris, and Istanbul.
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They depict the variety of slaves and their livelihoods. In his book, Lewis describes how the Muslim world reacted when cries for abolition of slavery resounded around the world in the 19th century 'The revulsion against slavery, which gave rise to a strong abolitionist movement in England, and later in other Western countries, began to affect the Islamic lands.
What was involved was not, initially, the abolition of the institution of slavery but its alleviation, and in particular, the restriction and ultimately the elimination of the slave trade. Islamic law, in contrast to the ancient and colonial systems, accords the slave a certain legal status and assigns obligations as well as rights to the slave owner.
The manumission of slaves, though recommended as a meritorious act, is not required, and the institution of slavery not only is recognized but is elaborately regulated by Sharia law. Perhaps for this very reason the position of the domestic slave in Muslim society was in most respects better than in either classical antiquity or the nineteenth-century Americas.
While, however, the life of the slave in Muslim society was no worse, and in some ways was better, than that of the free poor, the processes of acquisition and transportation often imposed appalling hardships. It was these which drew the main attention of European opponents of slavery, and it was to the elimination of this traffic, particularly in Africa, that their main efforts were directed. The abolition of slavery itself would hardly have been possible. From a Muslim point of view, to forbid what God permits is almost as great an offense as to permit what God forbids - and slavery was authorized and regulated by the holy law.
More specifically, it formed part of the law of personal status, the central core of social usage, which remained intact and effective even when other sections of the holy law, dealing with civil, criminal, and similar matters, were tactically or even openly modified and replaced by modern codes.
It was from conservative religious quarters and notably from the holy cities of Mecca and Medina that the strongest resistance to the proposed reform came. The emergence of the holy men and the holy places as the last ditch defenders of slavery against reform is only an apparent paradox.
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