The Arab Period
The followers of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, embarked on a movement to establish their religious and civil control throughout the eastern Mediterranean from their base in the Arabian Peninsula. Their determination to conquer other lands resulted both from economic necessity and from religious beliefs, which imbued them with contempt for death.
Calling for a jihad (holy war) against non-Muslims, the Prophet's successor, Caliph Abu Bakr (632-34), brought Islam to the area surrounding Lebanon. Dividing his forces into three groups, he ordered one to move in the direction of Palestine, one toward Damascus, and one toward the Jordan River. The Arab groups under General Khalid ibn al Walid defeated the forces from in 636 at the Battle of Yarmuk in northwestern Jordan.
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