Islam is not only a religion; it is also the creator and living spirit of a major world civilization with a long history stretching over fourteen centuries. Islamic history concerns the historic existence of the peoples of many lands, from North Africa to Malaysia, over vast spans of time. It has witnessed the creation of some of the greatest empires and the integration into a single social order of many diverse ethnic and linguistic groups. Islamic history has, moreover, directly affected the history of Europe for over a millennium and has been in turn deeply affected by the West since the advent of the colonial period. Islamic history has, furthermore, been profoundly intertwined with the history of India since the seventh century and with certain aspects of Chinese history for the past millennium (and to some extent even before that, going back to the century following the rise of Islam). Islam created a civilization that has covered the middle belt of the Old World for over a millennium. This civilization produced great intellectual figures, a distinct art and architecture, dazzling achievements in science and technology, and an equitable social order based on the teachings of the Quran. Its thinkers, poets, musicians, and artists created works that deeply influenced Western as well as Indian and even to some extent Chinese art and thought. Its scientists formulated theories and carried out practices that were widely emulated by Western scientists during the Middle Ages and even the Renaissance (Source: Islam by Seyyed Hossein Nasr).