Advertisement

Eurasian Connection via the Silk Road: The Spread of Islam

  • A. Reza HoshmandEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The term Silk Road was coined by the nineteenth-century German explorer Ferdinand von Richtofen. The Silk Road refers to a loose network of overland and see trade routes stretching from the Mediterranean to East Asia. Historical documents point out that textiles, gems, spices, animals and religions were all traded along this vast expanse, starting around 1000 B.C. and continuing for millennia. For much of this time, most Silk Road traders coming from western Eurasia were Muslim, and as one would expect, they brought their beliefs and rich culture to millions of people along the route. Around the eighth century, Muslims of the Arab world began to expand their religion and stopped thinking of Islam as the “Arab religion” with geographic borders and began seeking converts along the Silk Road. The benefits of conversion to such a widespread religion were many, as Muslims of the time preferred trading with other Muslims. Today the Hui, a Muslim Chinese minority numbering five million, are widely thought to be the descendants of Muslim merchants who settled in China at the end of their Silk Road journeys.

The diversity of ethnic, and religious groups along the Silk Road has contributed significantly to its importance. This paper addresses the cultural, social, political implications of the Silk Road from a historical perspective, and how Islamic culture has contributed to art, social and political norms along the Silk Road.

References

  1. Al Awar, A. (2017). Reviving the silk road and stimulating world economy. Huffington Post. The Blog. May 25th. Retrieved from the following link: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/abdulla-mohammed-al-awar/reviving-the-silk-road-an_b_9989172.html. Accessed 3 Feb 2018.
  2. Bosworth, C., & Bolshokov, O. (1997). Central Asia under the Umayyads and the early Abbasids. In M. S. Asimov & C. Bosworth (Eds.), History and civilization of Central Asia (Vol. 4(1), pp. 23–40). Delhi: Motilal Bamarsidass.Google Scholar
  3. Clover, C., & Hornby, L. (2015). China’s great game: Road to a new empire. Financial Times, October 13. Retrieved from the following link: https://www.ft.com/content/6e098274-587a-11e5-a28b50226830d644?segid=0100320#axzz3oM5GkBSp. Accessed on 20 Feb 2018.
  4. Cornell University Library Exhibition. (2016–2017). Islam in Asia: The silk road and Islam spread. Ithaca. Retrieved from the following link: http://guides.library.cornell.edu/IslamAsiaExhibit/SilkRoadIslam. Accessed on 13 Feb 2018.
  5. Daftary, F. (1992). The Isma’ilis: Their history and doctrines. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Foltz, R. (2010). Religions of the silk road: Premodern pattern of globalization (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hunsberger, A. (2000). Nasir Khusraw: The Ruby of Badakhshan. London: I.B.Tauris & Ltd..Google Scholar
  8. Islamic History. Org.(2018). Retrieved from the following link: http://islamichistory.org/the-umayyads/. Accessed on 14 Feb 2018.
  9. Kennedy, R. (2002). The silk road: Connecting cultures, creating trust. Washington, DC: The Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  10. Kurin, R. (2002a). The silk road: Connecting people and cultures. Washington, DC: The Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  11. Kurin, R. (2002b). The silk road: The making of a global cultural economy. Anthronotes, 23(1), 1–10 Museum of Natural History Publication for Educators.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lapidus, I. M. (1988). A history of Islamic societies (p. 98). London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Lewis, B. (1987). Islam, from the Prophet Muhammed to the Capture of Constantinpole, Religions and Society (Vol. II, p. 224). New York: Oxford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Liu, X. (1998). Silk and religion: An exploration of material life and the thought of people, AD 600–1200 (p. 133). Delhi: Oxford India Paperbacks.Google Scholar
  15. Liu, X. (2010). The silk road in world history. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Major, J. (2002). The arts of the silk road. Asia Society. Retrieved from the following link: https://asiasociety.org/arts-silk-roads. Accessed 20 Feb 2018.
  17. Mark, J. J. (2014). Silk road. In Ancient history encyclopedia. Retrieved from the following link: https://www.ancient.eu/. Accessed 13 Feb 2018.
  18. Nanji, A., & Niyozov, S. (2002). The silk road: Crossroads and encounters of faiths. In C. Borden (Ed.), The silk road: Connecting cultures, creating trust (pp. 37–43). Washington, DC: The Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  19. Oxford Islamic Studies On-line. (2018). Retrieved from the following link: http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e2421. Accessed on 14 Feb 2018.
  20. Pugachenkova, G., Dani, A., Yingsheng, L. (Dani, A. H., & Yingsheng, L. (1996). Urban development and architecture. UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/sites/silkroad/files/knowledge-bank -article/vol_IVb%20silk%20road_urban%20development%20and%20architecture%20BIS.pdf. Accessed on 22 Feb 2018.
  21. Silk Road Foundation (2018). The exoticism in tang (618–907). Retrieved from: http://www.silkroadfoundation.org/artl/tang.shtml. Accessed on 24 Feb 2018.
  22. Strickman, T. (2012). Spread of Islam through the silk road. In Silk road: General information, history, map. Retrieved from the following link: http://www.east-site.com/silk-road. Accessed on 20 Jan 2018.
  23. Tucker, J. (2015). The silk road: Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran. London: I.B. Tauris & Ltd.Google Scholar
  24. UNESCO. (2008). The silk road project- integral study of the silk roads: Roads of dialogue, 1988–1997. UNESCO, United Nations, U CLT/CPD/DIA/2008/PI/68.Google Scholar
  25. UNESCO. (2018). Silk road: Dialogue, diversity and development. Urban development and architecture. Retrieved from the following link: https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/knowledge-bank/urban-development-and-architecture. Accessed on 28 Jan 2018.
  26. Wood, F. (2002). The silk road: Two thousand years in the heart of Asia. Los Angeles: University of California Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  27. Yalman, S. (2001). Based on original work by Linda Komaroff. The Art of the Umayyad Period (pp. 661–750). In Heilbrunn timeline of art history. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000-. Retrieved from: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/umay/hd_umay.htm. Accessed on 30 Jan 2018.
  28. Zoksimovska, M. (2016). How the silk road influenced the architecture through the cities. GoUNESCO. Retrieved from: https://www.gounesco.com/how-the-silk-road-influenced-the - architecture-through-the-cities/. Accessed on 22 Feb 2018.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professor of Economics and Director of General EducationHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong SAR

Personalised recommendations