Islamic Empire Collapse and Its Causes

The rapid pace of conversion to Islam causes essential difficulties in determining the followers of this religion. Originally, the natural-born Muslims learn how to study in accordance with Koran from the very childhood, while it is rather difficult for the newly come Muslims to follow the principles of the Koran and refuse from the habits of their previous life. Consequently, the breakup of the unitary institution was unavoidable.

This idea is discussed in many works by eminent historians and researchers in this field of investigation. One of the observers of Islamic history, Hugh Kennedy, at the end of his article expresses an idea which, exactly, provides a space for different assumptions about the reason for the Islamic Empire decline. Thus, the author comments on the evaluation of that time by the most eminent Sunni historian Al-Tabari developed a personal position noting: “The rapid pace of conversion to Islam as a religion and acceptance of Islamic culture led to the breakup of the unitary state.” In this respect the paper is intended to discuss and analysis such paradoxical assertion by Kennedy.

First of all, the growth of any empire in the history of mankind was supported by the emergence of culture with all its attributes and religion, in particular. Islamic world in this case began its growth in the seventh century after the death of the prophet Mohammed. This period is concerned with the expansion of the Middle East by Arabs and their spread both to the Eats and to the West. The whole history of Islam can be shaped today by the number of Islamic countries or countries where this culture and religion occupies some parts of the territory. There is a fair question of why the power of the Caliphate came to decline and what was the ground for such development of actions? The Abbasid and the Yu’firid territories are known for their difference in Islamic approach because the first one preferred Sunni and the second one preferred Shi’ite branches of the same religion. Thus, as Kennedy emphasizes: “The caliphate was confronted by a decreasing flow of revenue to the central treasury. Two main reasons were adduced: the rise of autonomous dynasties within the empire and the decline of agricultural production in the very heart of the Abbasid domains.”

Looking at the history of mankind, it is better to admit that rapid growth can be outlined with a rapid decline. It is a logical hypothesis that can be seen in the examples of the Roman Empire, Tatar-Mongol Empire, and British Empire, etc. In accordance with the religious approach, such a situation can be also outlined in the case of the division of Christianity in 1054 into Catholic and Orthodox, Byzantine branches. These facts can serve as an apparent confirmation of the essence of such possibility for the whole nation.

In terms of the Islam world, the main reason for such paradox falls into the differences in peoples’ ways of thinking and acting. Arabic people, meaning men, are very impulsive and “hot” in their standpoints. History knows many examples of how men decided to resolve their quarrels. Struggle between al-Mu’tasim and al-Fadl b. Marwan was one of the most influential on the further development of Islamic coloring. Suchlike struggles were particular to al-Utrush in his idea to extend the west border to Daylam as well as to make Khurasan his new territory. Such controversies in terms of same religion and culture were also outlined with family affiliation. Various families struggled for dominance. This actually was a prerequisite for the gradual breakup of the Empire.

Thus, intercultural contradictions were the main reason for making the struggle between Muslims so viable and influential for the breakup of the Islamic powerful Empire.

Thus, intercultural contradictions were the main reason for making the struggle between Muslims so viable and influential for the breakup of the Islamic powerful Empire.


Bosworth, C/ E/ The History of Al-Tabari: Storm and Stress along the Northern Frontiers of the ‘Abbasid Caliphate. New York: State University of New York Press. Vol.33, 1985.

Kennedy, Hugh. “The Decline and Fall of the First Muslim Empire”, London: University of St. Andrews, 2006.

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