Seizing the Fertile Crescent

In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire By Robert G Hoyland (Oxford University Press)

“In the 7th century AD, though, something exceptional happened. Three decades on from the raid of 610, Arab war bands succeeded in conquering the whole of Syria. A century on and they had come to rule an empire that stretched from the Atlantic to central Asia. So astonishing was this feat of conquest that everyone who contemplated it, conquerors and vanquished alike, took for granted that it could only have expressed the will of heaven. As one Arab wrote, ‘We went to meet them with small abilities and weak forces, and God made us triumph, and gave us possession of their territories.’ By the 10th century, when this self-satisfied assertion was penned, the defeat of the Romans, the Persians and a multitude of other peoples by the Arabs was seen as demonstrating the truth of a whole new religion: Islam.”