Early Islam: Timeline of Events

Based on Robert Spencer (Did Muhammad Exist?), Tom Holland (Shadow of the Sword) and Volker Popp (The early history of Islam following inscriptional and numismatic testimony). Spencer puts Ibn Ishaq's events in italics as not historical. Tom Holland does not question the historicity of Muhammad and associated events. In the light of Popp some of Holland's events have been italicised.

570  Muhammad born
600-700  Arabic replaces Syriac as spoken language
610  Muhammad has revelation
614  Persians under Khusrow II take Jerusalem
622  1 Victory of Byzantines over Persians in Armenia - date of Era of the Arabs
622  1 Hijra (emigration) from Mecca to Medina 
622 Constitution of Medina
627  The Battle of the Trench 
627 Byzantines defeat Persians at Nineveh
628  The treaty of Hudaibiyah
628  Treaty between Persisans and Byzantines. Persians abandon their posts in Syria.
629 Arabs adopt a calendar without leap months (Hans Jansen)
629  Battle of Muta
630  Romans under Heraclius retake Jerusalem and restore the True Cross
632  Muhammad death
632-4  Abu Bakr caliph
634-640  Doctrina Jabobi - earliest report of Arab prophet, but prophet expects messiah
634  Caliph Umar
634  A "warband of Saracens" defeat as small Roman army led by Sergius, 12 miles east of Gaza.
636  Arabs defeat a Roman army at Yarmouk, later a Persian army at Qadisiya.
637  Sophronius - report of the nature of the Arabs Jerusalem conquest
637  Arabs conquer Syria
639  John I of Antioch colloquy with the Arabian Commander Amr ibn al-As. No mention of the Quran, Islam or Muhammad.
639  Arabs conquer Egypt and Armenia
641 20 Coins bearing the name of Muawiya are minted in Darabjird in Persia. 
640s  Christian priest Thomas - possible mention of Muhammad, "tayyaye d-Mhmt", "Arabs of Muhammad"
642  Alexandria falls to Arabs, Romans evacuate Egypt
644  Umar assassinated, Uthman caliph
644  Arabs invade Persia
647  Patriarch of Selucia, Ishoyahb III, refers to Arabic Hagarians 
647 28 Muawiya referenced at this date by Byzatine historian Theophanes, but written 810-814.
647-58  Coin struck in Palestine bears the inscription Muhammad, but the figure depicted is carrying a cross (Spencer)
650  Persian city of Istakr falls to Arabs
650s  Caliph Uthman begins to collect the Koran
650s  Arabs conquer North Africa
651  Muawiya, then governor of Syria sent a letter to the Byzantine Emperor Constantine. No mention of Muhammad the Quran or Islam
653  Uthman sends Koran to provinces 
654  Arabs conquer Cyprus
656  Assassination of Uthman in Medina
656 Ali ibn Abu Talib appointed to succeed Uthman. Ali shifted the capital from Medina to Kufa. (Holland)
656 38  First coin bearing inscription "muhammad", from Shirajan (Popp)
658  Ali defeats Kharijites
659 Muawiya makes truce with Byzantines (Popp). 
661  Muawiya not accepted by Kharjitites and "party of Ali". Spencer- first historical caliph
661-680  Caliph Muawiya - had summer capital in Ta'if, near Mecca (Holland)
662 41 Coin bears name Muawiya, in Darajbird, Persia (Title "leader of the protectors", Amir al-mu'minin)
662 42 Muawiya's inscription, in Greek, on a bath house in Gadara in Palestine starts with a cross and refers to "the year 42 following the Arabs". No mention of the Quran or Islam. (not considered by Holland)
663 Muawiya begins annual summer campaign against Byzantines in Asia Minor.
670s Coin depicts Muawiya with cross
670  Armenian Bishop Sebeos portrays a “Mahmet” as a merchant and preacher who defends Jews
672 52 Coin bearing inscription muhammad, from Rayy, near Tehran (Popp)
673 53 Al Zubayr mints coins in Darabjird (Popp)
674  53 Arabs threaten Constantinople, Muawiya defeated. 
676  Nestorian synod refers to pagans in Arabia
677-8  58 Inscription at dam near Ta'if in Arabia, under Muawiya, refers to the year 58 and to Muawiya as "commander of the faithful". No mention of the Prophet or of Islam.(Popp says 58 is 680)
678 60  Coin bears his name Abd Al-Malik in Darabjird (reign of Abd al-Malik, Popp)
679  Visitor to Jerusalem describes coins with crosses.
679 Muawiya loses power, succeeded by Abd al-Malik (Popp)
680 Yazid succeeds Muawiya (Holland)
680  A non-Muslim Chronicler identifies Muhammad as leader of the "Sons of Ishmael" and refers to the Kaaba in Mecca and identifies it with Abraham.
680  Arabia and Iraq rebel against Yazid. Husayn killed in Karbala (Holland)
683  Umayyads sack Medina, but ibn al-Zubayr escapes and survives
683 66 First coin with inscription "mahammad rasul Allah" (Popp)
684  Marwan hailed "commander of the faithful". (Holland)
685  Coins minted by ibn Al-Zubair, rival of Umayyad caliphate, proclaim Muhammad as the prophet of Allah
685-705  Caliph Abd al Malik
688  69 Inscription on a canal bridge in Egypt refers to the year 69 but no mention of Muhammad, the Quran or Islam.
686-7  Iranian coin bears the cross and the word Muhammad.
686-7  Plague and famine
689  Work begins on Dome of the Rock 
687 66 Earliest coin with mention of MHMT as rasul (apostle, messenger) refering to Jesus.
690  Nestorian Christian, John bar Penkaye, refers to Arab tradition of Muhammad who inflicted death upon those who contradicted the tradition
690  John of Nikiou refers to the religion of the Muslims, but in Ethiopic translation for from 1602
691  72 Dome of the Rock completed, Abd al Malik inscribes muhammad as Jesus. (Popp)
692  Defeat and death of ibn al-Zubayr, Abd al Malik then controls Arabia
693 74 Gold and silver coins with "muhammad rasul" in east of empire
698 77 Eschatological parousia (second coming) exepcted
690s  Abd al-Malik, who grew up in Medina, reorients mosques to point south
694  Abd al-Malik goes to Mecca and hails Kaaba as a shrine
694  Al-Hajjaj governor of Iraq
696  First coins minted without images of a sovereign, and bearing the shahada, during Abd al-Malik
696 75 Coin from Merv names Abd al-Malik, as Marwan, indicates he was from there (Popp)
708  Jacob of Edessa still refers to Mahgraye or emigrants. 
708  87 Al-Walid mentioned on coins and inscriptions in Damascus
705-15  Waild 1, (705-715), inscription on a castle contains no mention of Muhammad.
711  Arabs invade Spain
715  Arab sea-borne assault on Constaninople fails
715 98 Coin bearing "muhammad" minted in west Africa
716 98 Coin bearing al-Andalus in Spain
730  John of Damascus details some of the Saracens beliefs rejecting Jesus as the son of God and rejecting the cross as idolatry. He refers to their books including "The woman", "The cow" and "God's she-camel", but does not refer to the Koran
735  Inscription refers to Muhammad's great deeds of Jihad. 
740  Romans defeat Arabs at Acroinum
741  First mention of Mecca in a foreign text
750 Abassids defeat and overthrow last Umayyad caliph Marwan
751  130 Yazid bn Umar mentined on coin in Rayy
762 Abbasids construct new capital: Baghdad.
766 Coin bearing "Musa rasul Allah"
770s  Ibn Ishaq colletcs and publishes bioigraphy of Muhammad
773  Ibn Ishaq died 
788 171 Harun mentioned on coins as ruler
803 185 Earliest coin from the Hijaz
810 Al-Mamun is Hahifat Allah, (God's representative). First use of term Caliph in this sense.
812 196  Office of Imam mentioned for the first time
817 Al-Mamun names sucessor
817 201 First coin minted in Mecca
820 210 Al-Mamun enters Bagdad
835 218 End of al-Mamun era - hisiorical ledgends established

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