The history of the African and Middle Eastern world is, to a large extent, the story of a religion-Islam-and how it claimed millions of followers across empires and kingdoms. First proclaimed by the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century, Islam quickly spread, through trade and conquest, fromthe Arabian Peninsula to vast sections of Asia and Africa and even to parts of Europe. The cast of characters in this story is fascinating: from the Prophet himself to Abu Bakr Muhammad ar-Razi, a Persian physician who compiled a multivolume medical encyclopedia; Mehmed II, an Ottomon sultan whoconquered Constantinople and brought the Byzantine Empire to an end; Mansa Musa, a West African emperor who distributed gifts of gold all along the route to Mecca; and Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan Berber whose travels through the Islamic world in the 14th century covered 75,000 miles. The pages of The African and Middle Eastern World tell not only about these figures and many others but also about Islamic principles and laws, the religion's different branches (including the Sunnis and Shiites), and the widely varied geography and cultural practices of this world. Also coveredare people like the Shona of Southern Africa, who remained outside of Islam's long reach. Numerous primary sources-including excerpts from an eighth-century biography of Muhammad, "The Tale of King Sinbad and the Falcon" from The Thousand and One Nights, and a story about leadership from the WestAfrican oral tradition-further illuminate this history.