|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)|
- Arabia and Arabians (Anabasis by Arrian, p. 135, 140, 149, 172, 308, 309, 369, 407-412.)
- Arabia (Greek: Αραβία) (Pliny.vi.39)
Countries in Arabian Peninsula
Geographically, the Arabian Peninsula includes:
- Bahrain, *Kuwait,
- Saudi Arabia,
- United Arab Emirates (UAE),
- Iraq (southern portions)
The Arabian Peninsula formed as a result of the rifting of the Red Sea between 56 and 23 million years ago, and is bordered by the Red Sea to the west and southwest, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the northeast, the Levant and Mesopotamia to the north and the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean to the southeast. The peninsula plays a critical geopolitical role in the Arab world and globally due to its vast reserves of oil and natural gas.
Before the modern era, the region was divided into primarily four distinct regions: the Central Plateau (Najd and Al-Yamama), South Arabia (Yemen, Hadhramaut and Oman), Al-Bahrain (Eastern Arabia or Al-Hassa), and the Hejaz (Tihamah for the western coast), as described by Ibn al-Faqih.
During the Hellenistic period, the area was known as Arabia or Aravia (Greek: Αραβία). The Romans named three regions with the prefix "Arabia", encompassing a larger area than the current term "Arabian Peninsula":
- Arabia Petraea ("Stony Arabia"): for the area that is today southern modern Syria, Jordan, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Saudi Arabia. It was the only one that became a province, with Petra as its capital.
- Arabia Deserta ("Desert Arabia"): signified the desert interior of the Arabian peninsula. As a name for the region, it remained popular into the 19th and 20th centuries, and was used in Charles M. Doughty's Travels in Arabia Deserta (1888).
- Arabia Felix ("Fortunate Arabia"): was used by geographers to describe what is now Yemen, which enjoys more rainfall, is much greener than the rest of the peninsula and has long enjoyed much more productive fields.
The Arab inhabitants used a north–south division of Arabia: Al Sham-Al Yaman, or Arabia Deserta-Arabia Felix. Arabia Felix had originally been used for the whole peninsula, and at other times only for the southern region. Because its use became limited to the south, the whole peninsula was simply called Arabia. Arabia Deserta was the entire desert region extending north from Arabia Felix to Palmyra and the Euphrates, including all the area between Pelusium on the Nile and Babylon. This area was also called Arabia and not sharply distinguished from the peninsula.
The Arabs and the Ottoman Empire considered the west of the Arabian Peninsula region where the Arabs lived 'the land of the Arabs' – Bilad al-'Arab (Arabia), and its major divisions were the bilad al-Sham (Levant), bilad al-Yaman (Yemen), and Bilad al-'Iraq (Iraq). The Ottomans used the term Arabistan in a broad sense for the region starting from Cilicia, where the Euphrates river makes its descent into Syria, through Palestine, and on through the remainder of the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas.
The provinces of Arabia were: Al Tih, the Sinai peninsula, Hedjaz, Asir, Yemen, Hadramaut, Mahra and Shilu, Oman, Hasa, Bahrain, Dahna, Nufud, the Hammad, which included the deserts of Syria, Mesopotamia and Babylonia.
The history of the Arabian Peninsula goes back to the beginnings of human habitation in Arabia up to 130,000 years ago.
However, a fossilized Homo sapiens finger bone was found at Al Wusta in the Nefud Desert, which indicates that the first human migration out of Africa to Arabia might date back to approximately 90,000 years ago.
Nevertheless, the stone tools from the Middle Paleolithic age along with fossils of other animals discovered at Ti's al Ghadah, in northwestern Saudi Arabia, might imply that hominids migrated through a "Green Arabia" between 300,000 and 500,000 years ago.
However, 200,000-year-old stone tools were discovered at Shuaib Al-Adgham in the eastern Al-Qassim Province, which would indicate that many prehistoric sites, located along a network of rivers, had once existed in the area.
There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 106,000 to 130,000 years ago. The harsh climate historically prevented much settlement in the pre-Islamic Arabian peninsula, apart from a small number of urban trading settlements, such as Mecca and Medina, located in the Hejaz in the west of the peninsula.
Archaeology has revealed the existence of many civilizations in pre-Islamic Arabia (such as the Thamud), especially in South Arabia. South Arabian civilizations include the Sheba, the Himyarite Kingdom, the Kingdom of Awsan, the Kingdom of Ma'īn and the Sabaean Kingdom.
From 106 AD to 630 AD northwestern Arabia was under the control of the Roman Empire, which renamed it Arabia Petraea. Central Arabia was the location of the Kingdom of Kinda in the 4th, 5th and early 6th centuries. Eastern Arabia was home to the Dilmun civilization. The earliest known events in Arabian history are migrations from the peninsula into neighbouring areas.
The Arabian peninsula has long been accepted as the original Urheimat of the Semitic languages by a majority of scholars.
Rise of Islam
The seventh century saw the rise of Islam as the peninsula's dominant religion. The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca in about 570 and first began preaching in the city in 610, but migrated to Medina in 622. From there he and his companions united the tribes of Arabia under the banner of Islam and created a single Arab Muslim religious polity in the Arabian peninsula.
Muhammad established a new unified polity in the Arabian peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Arab power well beyond the Arabian peninsula in the form of a vast Muslim Arab Empire with an area of influence that stretched from the northwest Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, southern Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees.
With Muhammad's death in 632, disagreement broke out over who would succeed him as leader of the Muslim community. Umar ibn al-Khattab, a prominent companion of Muhammad, nominated Abu Bakr, who was Muhammad's intimate friend and collaborator. Others added their support and Abu Bakr was made the first caliph. This choice was disputed by some of Muhammad's companions, who held that Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, had been designated his successor. Abu Bakr's immediate task was to avenge a recent defeat by Byzantine (or Eastern Roman Empire) forces, although he first had to put down a rebellion by Arab tribes in an episode known as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy".
Following Muhammad's death in 632, Abu Bakr became leader of the Muslims as the first Caliph. After putting down a rebellion by the Arab tribes (known as the Ridda wars, or "Wars of Apostasy"), Abu Bakr attacked the Byzantine Empire. On his death in 634, he was succeeded by Umar as caliph, followed by Uthman ibn al-Affan and Ali ibn Abi Talib. The period of these first four caliphs is known as al-khulafā' ar-rāshidūn: the Rashidun or "rightly guided" Caliphate. Under the Rashidun Caliphs, and, from 661, their Umayyad successors, the Arabs rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim control outside of Arabia. In a matter of decades Muslim armies decisively defeated the Byzantine army and destroyed the Persian Empire, conquering huge swathes of territory from the Iberian peninsula to India. The political focus of the Muslim world then shifted to the newly conquered territories.
Nevertheless, Mecca and Medina remained the spiritually most important places in the Muslim world. The Qur'an requires every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, as one of the five pillars of Islam, to make a pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah at least once in his or her lifetime. The Masjid al-Haram (the Grand Mosque) in Mecca is the location of the Kaaba, Islam's holiest site, and the Masjid al-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque) in Medina is the location of Muhammad’s grave; as a result, from the 7th century, Mecca and Medina became the pilgrimage destinations for large numbers of Muslims from across the Islamic world.
Despite its spiritual importance, in political terms Arabia soon became a peripheral region of the Islamic world, in which the most important medieval Islamic states were based at various times in such far away cities as Damascus, Baghdad, and Cairo. However, from the 10th century (and, in fact, until the 20th century) the Hashemite Sharifs of Mecca maintained a state in the most developed part of the region, the Hejaz. Their domain originally comprised only the holy cities of Mecca and Medina but in the 13th century it was extended to include the rest of the Hejaz. Although, the Sharifs exercised at most times independent authority in the Hejaz, they were usually subject to the suzerainty of one of the major Islamic empires of the time. In the Middle Ages, these included the Abbasids of Baghdad, and the Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks of Egypt.
- Hopkins, Daniel J.; Staff, Merriam-Webster; 편집부 (2001). Merriam Webster's Geographical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster (Third ed.). p. 61. ISBN 978-0877795469.
- Nijim, Basheer K. "Arabia | peninsula, Asia". Encyclopedia Britannica.
- As an island country, Bahrain is technically not a part of the Arabian Peninsula, but a part of the slightly larger geopolitical region called Arabia.
- Excluding the Socotra Archipelago.
- ken, Ministerie van Buitenlandse (14 May 2017). "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – Doing business in the Gulf region – netherlandsworldwide.nl". www.netherlandsworldwide.nl.
- Ibn al-Faqih (c. 903). Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 20 April 2021.
- "Arabia Petraea". Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
- See Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt Archived 1 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, David Frankfurter, BRILL, 1998, ISBN 90-04-11127-1, page 163
- Salibi, Kamal Suleiman (1988). A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered. University of California Press. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-0-520-07196-4.
- See for example Palestine: The Reality, Joseph Mary Nagle Jeffries, Published by Longmans, Green and co., 1939, Page 11
- see Review of Reviews and World's Work: An International Magazine, Albert Shaw ed., The Review of Reviews Corporation, 1919, page 408]
- "New International Encyclopedia – 2nd Edition, Dodd, Mead, Co., 1914". google.com. 1914. p. 795.
- Uerpmann, Hans-Peter; Usik, Vitaly I.; Parker, Adrian G.; Marks, Anthony E.; Jasim, Sabah A.; Armitage, Simon J. (28 January 2011). "The Southern Route "Out of Africa": Evidence for an Early Expansion of Modern Humans into Arabia". Science. 331 (6016): 453–456. Bibcode:2011Sci...331..453A. doi:10.1126/science.1199113. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 21273486. S2CID 20296624.
- "First human migration out of Africa more geographically widespread than previously thought". Eurek Alert. 9 April 2018.
- Roberts, Patrick; Stewart, Mathew; Alagaili, Abdulaziz N.; Breeze, Paul; Candy, Ian; Drake, Nick; Groucutt, Huw S.; Scerri, Eleanor M. L.; Lee-Thorp, Julia; Louys, Julien; Zalmout, Iyad S.; Al-Mufarreh, Yahya S. A.; Zech, Jana; Alsharekh, Abdullah M.; al Omari, Abdulaziz; Boivin, Nicole; Petraglia, Michael (29 October 2018). "Fossil herbivore stable isotopes reveal middle Pleistocene hominin palaeoenvironment in 'Green Arabia'". Nature Ecology & Evolution. Nature. 2 (12): 1871–1878. doi:10.1038/s41559-018-0698-9. hdl:10072/382068. PMID 30374171. S2CID 53099270. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
- Scerri, Eleanor M. L.; Shipton, Ceri; Clark-Balzan, Laine; Frouin, Marine; Schwenninger, Jean-Luc; Groucutt, Huw S.; Breeze, Paul S.; Parton, Ash; Blinkhorn, James; Drake, Nick A.; Jennings, Richard; Cuthbertson, Patrick; Al Omari, Abdulaziz; Alsharekh, Abdullah M.; Petraglia, Michael D. (29 November 2018). "The expansion of later Acheulean hominins into the Arabian Peninsula". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 17165. Bibcode:2018NatSR...817165S. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35242-5. PMC 6265249. PMID 30498259.
- "Saudi Arabia's Qassim stone axe find points to prehistoric 'crossroads'". Arab News.
- Gordon, Matthew (2005). The Rise of Islam. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-313-32522-9.
- Robert D. Burrowes (2010). Historical Dictionary of Yemen. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 319. ISBN 978-0810855281; Kenneth Anderson Kitchen (2003). On the Reliability of the Old Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 116. ISBN 978-0802849601.
- Taylor, Jane (2005). Petra. London: Aurum Press Ltd. pp. 25–31. ISBN 9957-451-04-9.
- Philip Khuri Hitti (2002), History of the Arabs, Revised: 10th Edition
- Gray, Louis Herbert (2006) Introduction to Semitic Comparative Linguistics
- See: Holt (1977a), p.57, Hourani (2003), p.22, Lapidus (2002), p.32, Madelung (1996), p.43, Tabatabaei (1979), p.30–50
- See: Holt (1977a), p.57, Hourani (2003), p.22, Lapidus (2002), p.32, Madelung (1996), p.43, Tabatabaei (1979), p.30–50; L. Gardet; J. Jomier. "Islam". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online.
- Farah, Caesar (1994). Islam: Beliefs and Observances (5th ed.), pp.145–147 ISBN 978-0-8120-1853-0
- Goldschmidt, Jr., Arthur; Lawrence Davidson (2005). A Concise History of the Middle East (8th ed.), p.48 ISBN 978-0-8133-4275-7
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