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West Asia

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Rise of Islam7th Cent ADThe religion's founder, the Prophet Muhammad, was a political leader as well as a religious guide.
Islamic Empire Founded632 ADAfter Muhammad's death in 632, his successors established a vast empire.
Islamic Empire Expands750By 750 the single Islamic empire stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the broders of India.
Collapse10th Cent ADThe single Islamic empire had been replaced by competing states. Despite their rivalries, the Muslim rulers of the time shared many ideas on culture, politics and religion.
Fracture1920sMost of the Middle East had been divided between European colonial powers and regimes with a secular outlook.

Defining the Middle East

ParameterPros and Cons
MuslimConsider Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population of any country, and think of Bangladesh; is this also the Middle East?
ArabWhat about Turkey, Israel, Iran amd Afghanistan? Are these not the middle east? Also consider Africa, particularly its ethnically Arab northern coast, and the Horn of Africa, which is culturally Arab but ethnically African.
GeographyThe middle east can be considered the land bridge where continents, deserts and sea intersect: where Africa, Europe and Asia overlap, and the land has harbors for both the Mediterannean and Indian oceans.
TradeThe middle east has been defined as the land where routes running that connect the Occidental and Oriental realms, and where the goods of each world are exchanged before continuing deep into foreign territory.


New YearJanuary 01
Eed RamazanJanuary 29 - 31Islamic.
NewrozMarch 21Kurdish New Year
Assyrian new YearApril 01
Eedi HajiApril 07 - 10
Easter DayApril 12 - 14
Ras as-SanaApril 27Beginning in 1419, the Islamic Near Year.
May DayMay 01
AshooraMay 06The death of Emam Hussein.
Lailat al-Mi'rajMay 21The celebration of the Ascension of the Prophet Mohammed
Moulid an-NabiJuly 06A feast to commemorate Prophet Mohammed's birthday
Yazidi's DayJuly 30
Immortal's DayAugust 07Assyrian
RamadanAug - SeptThis is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, when Muslims fast during daylight hours. Foreigners are not expected to follow suit, but it's considered impolite to smoke, drink or eat in public during Ramadan. As the sun sets each day, the fast is broken with after (the evening meal prepared to break the fast). Known in Turkeya s Ramazan.
Eid al-Fitr
Turkish Seker Bayrami
Feast to herald the end of Ramadan fasting, the celebrations last for three days.
Yazidi's DaysOct 06 - 13
Eid al-Adha
Turkish Kurban Bayrami
Feast marks the time that Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca.