Islamization of Syria
The Islamization of Syria occurred as a result of the Muslim conquest of Syria in 637 CE/AD. It led to Muslim Rashidun control over the entire Levant and brought about major changes to Levantine religious, cultural and social fabric that continue to this day. Until then, Syria was the main center of Eastern Christianity.
The resulting mass conversions from Christianity to Islam gradually took place over the course of several centuries, such that Syria had become predominantly Muslim by 1000. However, some estimates suggest that Syria may have had a Christian majority within its modern borders until the Mongol invasions of Syria between 1244 and 1323 AD. As in other areas conquered by the Arabs, the spread of Islam was also accompanied with the spread of Arab culture, which culminated in the Arabization of the Levant and the replacement of Aramaic with Arabic.
Muslim conquest of Syria
In 635 Damascus surrendered, its inhabitants being promised security for their lives, property, and churches, on payment of a poll tax. By 640 the conquest was virtually complete. The Arab garrisons were kept apart in camps, and life went on much as before.
Conversion to Islam had scarcely begun, apart from Arab tribes already settled in Syria; except for the tribe of Ghassan, these all became Muslim. The loyalty of his new subjects was paramount to the success of Muslim rule in the region, therefore excessive taxation or oppression was avoided.
- John F. Devlin, Syria: modern state in an ancient land, Taylor & Francis, 1983, ISBN 978-0-86531-185-5, M1 Google Print, p. 7.
- Marshall Cavendish, Peoples of Western Asia, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2007, ISBN 978-0-7614-7677-1, M1 Google Print, p. 432.
- "Umar (634-644)", The Islamic World to 1600 Multimedia History Tutorials by the Applied History Group, University of Calgary. Last accessed March 2007