One of the unique things about the Islamic world is that, during its inception, the military forces of various Islamic countries had plenty of success in winning battles and expanding the footprint of the Islamic nations. While most know that the concentration of Muslim power started in the Middle East, the sphere of expansion spread rapidly, with the Muslim world ultimately stretching from the Far East and China or India, all the way into parts of Europe, as well. The “Muslim Conquests,” as led by Muhammad and later many other leaders, was a major benefit to the Muslim world, but it also has led to many questions. For instance, how did the Islamic countries gain this early military success as compared to other parts of the world? There are many reasons why the Muslim world was able to have this kind of success, including the unified nature of the Muslim world and the advances in technology that other nation-states did not yet have. These things and more combined to make the early Islamic countries highly successful at war-faring.
Perhaps the biggest factor in the success of Islamic countries in the early going was the way in which the region came together on the basis of ideas. In the Arabian peninsula, the countries had ideological purity, while other regions did not have this sort of coherence. In Europe, for instance, there was tremendous in-fighting between various Christian sects. While it is true that the Muslim world did have its own disagreements over doctrine, the truth of that time was that there was purity and unity in regard to religious doctrines. This gave the region the ability to pull together the resources of more than just one nation. They came together with the ideas and fighters from a wide range of different nations, a consequence that was only possible because of the way in which the region was in concert on the most important issues.
Another potential issue that helped the Islamic world have massive success was the context in which it operated. The Muslim world rose up during a time when the Byzantine Empire was fighting almost everyone. The Roman Empire had just closed down, and there was tremendous in-fighting that made these empires very tired. They were exhausted in almost every way possible, including in terms of their resources. Being completely spent, it was hard for these countries, as well as the cash-strapped Christian nations of the West part of Europe, to fight back against a Middle East and Muslim world that had come together to pool their resources. While it is not absolutely true that the Muslim world succeeded in war only because of this good timing, this is almost certainly a factor in the early success of Islamic countries in the military realm.
At the end of the day, the Islamic world saw success in its early wars because of some factors that were within their control and other factors outside of Muslim control. The Islamic success can be partially credited to fatigue for nations fighting other wars, which gave the Islamic world the chance to step right in and make an impact during a time in which there was little resistance. The Muslim world also made this much easier, however, because they were able to come together with a sort of religious and ideological coherence that was beyond what was seen in other areas. The way that the region came together in order to try and grow the influence of the Muslim religion is perhaps the most important reason for all of the military successes, and what would become known as the “Muslim Conquests.”