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Month May 2010

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The Four Caliphs

The era of the four Medina-based Caliphs or "Rightly Guided Caliphs". Three of the four were assassinated. The four caliphs were more political figures than spiritual leaders.

Dynasties and Empires of the Muslim World

The next fourteen hundred years (see previous article) are a remarkable story of dynasties and empires struggling for power across the globe. We begin with the Umayyad Dynasty and end with the European colonization of the Muslim states in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Sufism now and then

Sufism goes back to the founding of Islam; as Islam spread from Arabia to other parts of the world, it interacted with new cultures and philosophies. Islam encountered Christian monks in the desert, Gnostics of various sorts, Neoplatonic philosophy, and Buddhism and Hinduism from India. Some Muslims came under these influences