Free Books: the history of arabia

Free Books: the history of arabia

Sometime after the rise of Islam in the first quarter of the 7th century CE and the emergence of the Arabian Muslims as the founders of one of the great empires of history, the name ʿArab came to be used by these Muslims themselves and by the nations with whom they came in contact to indicate all people of Arabian origin. The very name Arabia, or its Arabic name Jazīrat al-ʿArab, has come to be used for the whole peninsula. But the definition of the area, even in Islamic sources, is not agreed upon unanimously. In its narrowest application it indicates much less than the whole peninsula, while in ancient Greek and Latin sources—and often in subsequent sources—the term Arabia includes the Syrian and Jordanian deserts and the Iraqi desert west of the lower Euphrates. Similarly, “Arabs” connoted, at least in pre-Islamic times, mainly the tribal populations of central and northern Arabia.

Arabia has been inhabited by innumerable tribal units, forever splitting or confederating; its history is a kaleidoscope of shifting allegiances, although certain broad patterns may be distinguished. A native system has evolved of moving from tribal anarchy to centralized government and relapsing again into anarchy. The tribes have dominated the peninsula, even in intermittent periods when the personal prestige of a leader has led briefly to some measure of tribal cohesion.

Arabian culture is a branch of Semitic civilization; because of this and because of the influences of sister Semitic cultures to which it has been subjected at certain epochs, it is sometimes difficult to determine what is specifically Arabian. Because a great trade route passed along its flanks, Arabia had contact along its borders with Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Indo-Persian civilizations. The Turkish overlords of the Arabic-speaking countries affected Arabia relatively little, however, and the dominant culture of western Europe arrived late in the colonial era.

Arabia was the cradle of Islam, and through this faith it influenced every Muslim people. Islam, essentially Arabian in nature, whatever superficial external influences may have affected it, is Arabia’s outstanding contribution to world civilization.

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Book informationValue
Publishing companyUpdate
Publishing year2010
Capacity14.19 MB
Book languageEnglish

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