Teaching Islam

The rise of Islam in the seventh century CE

By: Dr Meaghan McEvoy

This paper will examine the world of the middle east in the seventh century CE, the era of the birth of Islam and its rapid rise as a major religion of the region. The society of pre-Islamic Arabia will be explored, as will its interactions with major ancient world powers such as Sasanian Iran and the eastern Roman empire and their dominant faith systems, as a backdrop to the emergence of Muhammed and his teachings. In addition, the formation of early Islamic teaching and practice, the rule of the Four “Rightly-Guided Caliphs” and the initial expansion of Islamic rule and religion across the region in the seventh century will be considered, providing an overview for teachers of how to introduce their students to study of this major world religion in its earliest stages.

Syllabus content

  • Pre-Islamic Arabia as the historical and cultural context for the development of Islam;
  • The Prophet Muhammed; and
  • The development of Islam under the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs.


Dr Meaghan McEvoy

Dr. McEvoy

Dr Meaghan McEvoy is Associate Lecturer in Byzantine Studies at Macquarie University. She completed her BA (Hons) in Classics at the University of Adelaide, and then undertook an MPhil in Greek and Roman Studies and a DPhil in Ancient History at the University of Oxford. Since completing her DPhil she has been the recipient of research awards in Italy, the USA, the UK and Germany, before moving to Macquarie in 2016. Her work focuses on rulership and its ideology in the late antique, Byzantine and early Islamic worlds and she has published a monograph on this topic in 2013, as well as articles in international journals.