Muslim Cultural Influence on Africa and Europe

Essay by omniromHigh School, 10th gradeA, March 2004

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Muslims, the followers of Islam, are extremely influential in the African and European societies. Islam has progressed as a small religion only possessed by nomadic tribesmen, yet over the centuries, it has developed into one of the greatest and most wide-spread religions in the world. Through the crusades, their culture, scientific knowledge, and religious beliefs have spread to these two large continents, engulfing their previous society with these new, intriguing ideas. Ultimately, Muslims have influenced European and African societies in three distinct ways, culturally, scientifically, and religiously.

Muslims have had several effects on both African and European culture and society. Most notably, the Muslims brought with them their unique architectural styles. For example, through the creation of mosques in order to convert the Africans and Europeans, they established centers of creative architecture. The mosques that were created introduced three intriguing and new architectural features, the pedestal, dome, and minaret. These have been incorporated into several other structures in both African and European society, especially in Spain where the Muslim rule was most profound.

Furthermore, the Muslims brought with them through their conquests much artistic features. Before in African and European art, faces were shown. However, with the introduction of Islam, all artwork became abstract and full of geometric shapes. This is because the Muslims felt that including faces in artwork was idolatrous and against their religion not to worship any idol. Thirdly, Muslim influence affected several aspects of the European and African way of life. New rules were set in place that were dependent upon the Koran, the Muslim holy book. These were strict and included several punishments for crimes and horrible behavior. Marriage laws were also made. For example, men could only marry four women at any one time. To divorce, they have to say that they will divorce...