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Al-Kindi Ibn
Philip the
Ibn al-
Ibn Saud Omar
Qaboos bin
Nawal El
Fayeq al-
Manal al-
Rania al-
Fairuz Houari
Total population
420450 million
Regions with significant populations
Arab League 400 million[2]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arabs (Arabic: , arab) or Arabic-speaking people, are a major panethnic
They primarily inhabit Western Asia, North Africa, parts of the Horn of
Africa, and other areas in the Arab world. Arabic groups which inhabit or are adjacent to
the Arabian plate and Arabic speaking people include the Lebanese, Syrians, Emiratis,
Qataris, Saudis, Bahrainis, Kuwaitis, Iraqis, Omanis, Jordanians, Palestinians, Yemenis,
Sudanis, Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians, Libyans and Egyptians.
Arabic-speaking populations in general are a highly heterogeneous collection of
peoples, with different ancestral origins and identities. The ties that bind the Arab
peoples are a veneer of shared heritage by virtue of common linguistic, cultural, and
political traditions. As such, Arab identity is based on one or more of genealogical,
linguistic or cultural grounds,
although with competing identities often taking a more
prominent role,
based on considerations including regional, national, clan, kin, sect,
and tribe affiliations and relationships. If the Arab panethnicity is regarded as a single
population, then it constitutes one of the world's largest groups after Han Chinese.
The Arabian Peninsula itself was not entirely originally Arab, Arabization occurred in
some parts of the Arabian Peninsula. For example, the language shift to Arabic
displaced the indigenous South Semitic Old South Arabian languages of modern-day
Yemen and southern Oman. These were the languages spoken in the civilisations of
Sheba, Ubar, Magan, Dilmun, and Meluhhawhich were spread via migrants from the
Arabian peninsula, together with written script, in the 8th and 7th centuries BC to the
Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti).
1 Name
2 Identity
3 Subgroups
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Brazil 10,000,000[3]
France 5,880,000[4]
Indonesia 5,000,000 (Arab ancestry)[5]
United States 3,500,000[6]
Sri Lanka 1,870,000[7]
Israel 1,658,000[8]
Venezuela 1,600,000[9]
Modern South Arabian
varieties of
Arabic, French, English, Hebrew
Islam (predominantly Sunni, minority Shia) with
Christianity and other religions as minorities
Related ethnic groups
Other Semitic peoples and various Afro-Asiatic peoples
4 Demographics
4.1 Arab world
4.2 Migration and diaspora
5 History
5.1 Pre-Islamic
5.1.1 Semitic origin
5.1.2 Early history
5.1.3 Classical kingdoms
5.1.4 Late kingdoms
5.2 Islamic
5.2.1 Arab Caliphate
5.2.2 Golden Age of Islam
5.2.3 Ottoman Caliphate
5.3 Modern
6 Religion
6.1 Ancient times
6.2 Islam
6.3 Druze faith
6.4 Christianity
6.5 Judaism
7 Culture
7.1 Art
7.2 Architecture
7.3 Music
7.4 Literature
8 Genetics
8.1 Y-Chromosome
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8.2 mtDNA Analysis
8.3 Other Chromosomes
9 References
10 Further reading
11 External links
Originally, "Arabs" were synonymous with Arabians (inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula), until the Arabisation of people with no Arabian
ancestry, mostly during the Abbasid Caliphate. Therefore all uses of the word "Arab" prior to the 7th century, and most those prior to the 13th
century AD refer specifically to Arabians. Later uses of the word "Arab" could refer to anyone whose part of the wider linguistic and panethnic
definitions of Arabs. The earliest documented use of the word "Arab" to refer to a people appears in the Monolith Inscription, an Akkadian
language record of the 9th century BC Assyrian Conquest of Syria, which referred to Bedouins under King Gindibu who fought as part of a
coalition opposed to the Assyrians.
Listed among the booty captured by the army of king Shalmaneser III of Assyria in the Battle of Qarqar
are 1000 camels of "Gi-in-di-bu'u the ar-ba-a-a" or "[the man] Gindibu belonging to the arab" (ar-ba-a-a being an adjectival nisba of the
noun arab
). arab, with the Arabic letter "alif" in the second syllable, is still used today to describe Bedouins today, distinguishing them
from rab, used to describe non-Bedouin Arabic speakers.
The most popular Arab account holds that the word Arab came from an eponymous father called Yarab, who was supposedly the first to speak
Arabic. Al-Hamdani had another view; he states that Arabs were called Gharab (West in Semitic) by Mesopotamians because Bedouins
originally resided to the west of Mesopotamia; the term was then corrupted into Arab. Yet another view is held by Al-Masudi that the word
Arabs was initially applied to the Ishmaelites of the "Arabah" valley.
In Biblical etymology, "Arab" (in Hebrew Arvi {{he:}}) comes both from the desert origin of the Bedouins it originally described (Arava
means wilderness) and/or from the concept of mixed people. (Arev-rav - a large group of mixed people.) The root a-r-b has several additional
meanings in Semitic languagesincluding "west/sunset," "desert," "mingle," "merchant," and "raven"and are "comprehensible" with all of
these having varying degrees of relevance to the emergence of the name. It is also possible that some forms were metathetical from -B-R
"moving around" (Arabic -B-R "traverse"), and hence, it is alleged, "nomadic."
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Arab identity is defined independently of religious identity, and pre-dates the spread of Islam, with historically attested Arab Christian
kingdoms and Arab Jewish tribes. Today, however, most Arabs are Muslim.
), with a minority adhering to other faiths, largely
Christianity, but also Druze and Baha'i.
Arabs are generally Sunni, Shia or Sufi Muslims, but currently, 7.1 percent to 10 percent of Arabs are Arab Christians.
This figure includes
only Christians whose primary community language is today a variety of Arabic, and who identify as Arab.
Arab ethnic identity does not include Christian and other ethnic groups that retain non-Arabic languages and identities within the expanded
Arab World. These include the Assyrians of Iraq and north east Syria, Armenians around the entire Near East, and Mandeans in Iraqthough
many of these peoples speak Arabic as a first or second language. In addition, many Egyptian Copts and Lebanese Maronites espouse an
Ancient Egyptian and Phoenician-Canaanite identity respectively, rather than an Arab one. A number of other peoples living in the Arab
World are non-Arab, such as Berbers, Kurds, Turks, Iranians, Azeris, Circassians, Shabaks, Turcomans, Romani, Chechens, Mhallami, Sub-
Saharan Africans, South Asians, Samaritans, and Jews.
Today, the main unifying characteristic among Arabs is the Arabic language, a South Semitic language from the Afroasiatic language family.
Modern Standard Arabic serves as the standardized and literary variety of Arabic used in writing, as well as in the most formal speech,
although it is not spoken natively by the overwhelming majority of Arabs. Most Arabs who are functional in Modern Standard Arabic acquire
it as a second language through education, while various varieties of Arabic are spoken as vernaculars by each distinct Arab group. Due to
sociolinguistic reasons stemming from pan-Arab political and social considerations, however, these varieties are often regarded dialects rather
than independent languages, despite the fact that most varieties of Arabic are not mutually intelligible, whether with each other or to Modern
Standard Arabic. By contrast, neither the Maltese language is referred to as a variety of Arabic, nor are the Maltese people Arabs, despite the
fact that the Maltese language is philologically a variety of Arabic in no greater or lesser extent than any of the other thus-defined Arabic
varieties (sharing intelligibility with Tunisian Arabic), in addition to Malta itself lying on the African tectonic plate along with the other Arab-
defined countries of North Africa. This anomaly owes to modern-day Malta being politically aligned and within the cultural sphere of
influence of Europe rather than the Arab world, as was the case in Malta's earlier history.
During the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Classical Era there was no Arab presence in the areas encompassed by modern Iraq, Syria, Jordan,
Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Iran, North Africa, Asia Minor or Kuwait.
The Arabs are first mentioned in the mid 9th century BC as a tribal people dwelling in the mid Arabian Peninsula subjugated by the north
Mesopotamian based Assyrians. The Arabs appear to have remained largely under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC),
and then the succeeding Neo-Babylonian Empire (605-539 BC), Persian Achaemenid Empire (539-332 BC), Greek Macedonian/Seleucid
Empire and Iranian Parthian Empires.
Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids begin to appear in the south Syrian deserts and southern Jordan from the mid 3rd
century AD onwards, during the mid to later stages of the Roman Empire and Sassanid Empire. The Nabateans of Jordan appear to have been
an Aramaic speaking ethnic mix of Canaanites, Arameans and Arabs. Thus, although a more limited diffusion of Arabic culture and language
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An overview of the different Arabic
was felt in some areas by these migrant minority Arabs in pre-Islamic times through Arab Christian kingdoms and Arab Jewish tribes, it was
only after the rise of Islam in the mid-7th century that Arab culture, people and language began their wholesale spread from the central
Arabian Peninsula (including the Syrian desert) through conquest and trade.
At the time of the Arab Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries AD, the population of Aramea and Phoenicia (modern Syria and
Lebanon) was largely Aramean and Phoenician, with minorities of Greeks, Assyrians, Armenians and Romans also extant, as well as pre-
Islamic Arabs in the south Syrian deserts. Israel-Palestine (ancient Israel, Judah and Samarra) and Jordan (ancient Moab, Edom and Ammon)
were largely inhabited by native Jews, Samaritans, and other Canaanites, together with Arameans, Greeks and Nabateans. Egypt was largely
populated by natives of Ancient Egyptian heritage together with a Greek minority, what had been Phoenician Carthage (modern Tunisia) by its
mixed Phoenician-Berber population. A number of Germanic peoples such as the Vandals and Visigoths were also extant as rulers throughout
North Africa (modern Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) at this time.
Arab cultures went through a mixing process. Therefore, every Arab country has cultural specificities that form a cultural mix that incorporates
local novelties acquired after arabization. However, all Arab countries do also share a common culture in arts (music, literature, poetry,
calligraphy...), cultural products (handicrafts, carpets, henne, bronze carving...), social behavior, and relations (hospitality, codes of conduct
among friends and family...), customs and superstitions, some dishes (shorba, mloukhia), traditional clothing, and architecture.
Non-Arab Muslims, who are about 80 percent of the world's Muslim population, do not form part of the
Arab world, but instead comprise what is the geographically larger, and more diverse, Muslim World.
In the USA, Arabs are classified as white by the U.S. Census, and have been since 1997.
Arabic, the main unifying feature among Arabs, is a Semitic language originating in Arabia. From there
it spread to a variety of distinct peoples across most of West Asia and North Africa,
resulting in
their acculturation and eventual denomination as Arabs. Arabization, a culturo-linguistic shift, was
often, though not always, in conjunction with Islamization, a religious shift.
With the rise of Islam in the 7th century, and as the language of the Qur'an, Arabic became the lingua
franca of the Islamic world.
It was in this period that Arabic language and culture was widely disseminated with the early Islamic
expansion, both through conquest and cultural contact.
Arabic culture and language, however, began a more limited diffusion before the Islamic age, first spreading in West Asia beginning in the 2nd
century, as Arab Christians such as the Ghassanids, Lakhmids and Banu Judham began migrating north from Arabia into the Syrian Desert,
south western Iraq and the Levant.
In the modern era, defining who is an Arab is done on the grounds of one or more of the following two criteria:
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Distribution of Arabic as sole official
language (green) and one of several
official or national languages (blue).
Genealogical: someone who can trace his or her ancestry to the original inhabitants of the
Arabian Peninsula and the Syrian Desert (tribes of Arabia). This was the definition used until
medieval times, for example by Ibn Khaldun, but has decreased in importance over time, as a
portion of those of Arab ancestry lost their links with their ancestors' motherland. In the modern
era, however, DNA tests have at times proved reliable in identifying those of Arab genealogical
descent. For example, it has been found that the frequency of the "Arab marker" Haplogroup J1
collapses suddenly at the borders of Arabic speaking countries.
Linguistic: someone whose first language, and by extension cultural expression, is Arabic,
including any of its varieties. This definition covers some than 420 million people (2014
estimate). Certain groups that fulfill this criterion reject this definition on the basis of non-Arab
ancestry; such an example may be seen in the way that Egyptians identified themselves in the early 20th century.
The relative importance of these factors is estimated differently by different groups and frequently disputed. Some combine aspects of each
definition, as done by Palestinian Habib Hassan Touma,
who defines an Arab "in the modern sense of the word", as "one who is a national
of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arab tradition, that is, of the manners,
customs, and political and social systems of the culture." Most people who consider themselves Arab do so based on the overlap of the
political and linguistic definitions.
The Arab League, a regional organization of countries intended to encompass the Arab world, defines an Arab as:
An Arab is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic-speaking country, and who is in sympathy with the
aspirations of the Arabic-speaking peoples.
According to Sadek Jawad Sulaimanis the former Ambassador of Oman to the United States:
The Arabs are defined by their culture, not by race; and their culture is defined by its essential twin constituents of Arabism and
Islam. To most of the Arabs, Islam is their indigenous religion; to all of the Arabs, Islam is their indigenous civilization. The Arab
identity, as such, is a culturally defined identity, which means being Arab is being someone whose mother culture, or dominant
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Schoolgirls in Gaza lining up for
class, 2009
culture, is Arabism. Beyond that, he or she might be of any ancestry, of any religion or philosophical persuasion, and a citizen of
any country in the world. Being Arab does not contradict with being non-Muslim or non-Semitic or not being a citizen of an Arab
The relation of arab and arb is complicated further by the notion of "lost Arabs" al-Arab al-ba'ida mentioned in the Qur'an as punished
for their disbelief. All contemporary Arabs were considered as descended from two ancestors, Qahtan and Adnan.
Versteegh (1997) is uncertain whether to ascribe this distinction to the memory of a real difference of
origin of the two groups, but it is certain that the difference was strongly felt in early Islamic times.
Even in Islamic Spain there was enmity between the Qays of the northern and the Kalb of the southern
group. The so-called Sabaean or Himyarite language described by Ab Muhammad al-Hasan al-
Hamdn (died 946) appears to be a special case of language contact between the two groups, an
originally north Arabic dialect spoken in the south, and influenced by Old South Arabian.
During the Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Arabs forged an Arab Empire (under the
Rashidun and Umayyads, and later the Abbasids) whose borders touched southern France in the west,
China in the east, Asia Minor in the north, and the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land
empires in history. In much of this area, the Arabs spread Islam and the Arabic culture, science, and
language (the language of the Qur'an) through conversion and cultural assimilation.
Two references valuable for understanding the political significance of Arab identity: Michael C.
Hudson, Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy (Yale University Press, 1977), especially Chs. 2 and 3; and Michael N. Barnett, Dialogues
in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order (Columbia University Press, 1998).
While Pan-Arabism and Arab nationalism subsume all Arabic-speaking populations under the notion of "Arabs", there are numerous sub-
divisions, not all of which necessarily identify as ethnically Arab.
The Arabians form a strict subset of the ethnolinguistic group of "Arabs" discussed here. The name of Arab historically was synonymous with
Bedouin. Although, most Arabians were sedentary (not nomadic) in pre-Islamic times. In some parts of the Arab World, the term Arab may
still carry connotations of being Arabian, conflicting with the Pan-Arabist concept of ethnicity.
Arabians are most prevalent in the Arabian Peninsula, but are also found in large numbers in Mesopotamia (Arab tribes in Iraq), the Levant
and Sinai (Negev Bedouin, Tarabin bedouin), as well as North Africa and the Sudan region.
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Arabian Peninsula
Arabs in the narrow sense are the indigenous Arabians (who trace their roots back to the tribes of Arabia) and their immediate descendant
groups in the Levant and North Africa. Within the people of the Arabian Peninsula, distinction is made between:
Pure Arabs or Qahtanian Arabs ( ) from Yemen, taken to be descended from Yarub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan.
Arabized Arabs or Adnani Arabs ( ), taken to be the descendants of Ishmael and the Jurhum tribe.
This traditional division of the Arabs of Arabia may have arisen at the time of early Muslim factional infighting during the Umayyad
Contrary to popular belief, most Arabians were sedentary (not nomadic) in pre-Islamic times.
Of the Arabian tribes that interacted with Muhammad, the most prominent was Banu Quraish. The Qur'aish sub-clan of Banu Hashim was the
clan of Muhammad. During the period of Muslim conquests and the Golden Age of Islam, the political rulers of Islam were exclusively
members of the Banu Quraish tribe.
The 150 Arab tribes in Iraq are grouped into federations (qabila), and divided into clans (fukhdh). The so-called Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq
consist of numerous tribes, partly within the large Al-Muntafiq tribal alliance.
Iranian Arabs form a 2% minority in Iran. The largest group are the Ahwazi Arabs, including Banu Kaab, Bani Turuf and the Musha'sha'iyyah
sect . Smaller groups are the Khamseh nomads in Fars Province and the Arabs in Khorasan.
Syria and Levant
The Arabs of the Levant are traditionally divided into Qays and Yaman tribes. This tribal division is likewise taken ot date to the Umayyad
period. The Yaman trace their origin to South Arabia or Yemen; they include Banu Kalb, Kindah, Ghassanids, and Lakhmids.
Since the
1834 Arab revolt in Palestine, the Arabic-speaking population of Palestine has shed its formerly tribal structure and emerged as the Palestinian
The Bedouin of western Egypt and eastern Libya are traditionally divided into Sa`ada and Murabtin, the Sa`ada group having higher social
status. This may derive from a historical feudal system in which the Murabtin were vassals to the Sa`ada.
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With the Muslim conquest of North Africa and the Sudan region, amalgamated populations emerged, now sometimes summarized under the
terms Arab-Berber, Arabized Berber and Afro-Arab.
Egyptians are Arabic-speaking, but the question of their idenfitication as ethnically Arab has a long and complicated history of controversy.
The Arabic-speaking population of the Maghreb (Libyans, Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians) is loosely divided into Arab-Berber for people of
mixed Arab-Berber descent who embrace an Arab identity, and Arabized Berber for people of predominantly North African ancestry who
retain a regional identity.
In Sudan, there are numerous Arab tribes, including the Shaigya, Ja'alin, Shukria, Rashaida, etc. in addition, there are Arabized or partially
Arabized ethnic groups such as the Nubians, Copts, or Beja; they are sometimes united under the umbrella term of Sudanese Arabs. Arab slave
trade in the Sudan region and West Africa created a clean division between Arabs and indigenous populations, and slavery in contemporary
Africa substantially persists along these lines,
contributing to ethnic conflict in the region, such as the internal conflicts in Sudan, Northern
Mali conflict, or the Islamist insurgency in Northern Nigeria.
The total number of Arabic speakers living in the Arab nations is estimated at 366 million by the CIA Factbook (as of 2014). The estimated
number of Arabs in countries outside the Arab League is estimated at 17.5 million, yielding a total of close to 384 million.
According to the International Organization for Migration, there are 13 million first-generation Arab migrants in the world, of which 5.8 reside
in Arab countries, yielding a total of about 7 million people in the Arab diaspora.
Most of the Arab countries are predominantly the youth. "Over 40 percent of the region's population is under 15. Only 4 nations- Bahrain,
Kuwaitm, UAE, and Qatar- have an under 15 population less than 35 percent."
Arab world
The table below shows the number of Arabic speaking people, including expatriates and some groups that may not be identified as ethnically
Flag Country
Egypt 86,895,099
The common consensus among Egyptians is that this classification is tied to them due to the use
of Arabic as an official language in Egypt. The Egyptian dialect of Arabic include thousands of
Coptic words.
Algerians are berber in origin however speak primarily Arabic.
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Algerians are berber in origin however speak primarily Arabic.
Morocco 32,987,206
The high level of mixing between Arabs and Berbers makes differentiating between the two
ethnicities in Morocco difficult.
The remainder of the population in Iraq consists of Kurds (including Yazidis), Assyrians
(including Chaldean Catholics), Turkmens, Shabaks, Armenians, Circassians, and Mandeans
Most Saudis are ethnic Arabs.
Arabs and Bedouins are by far the largest ethnic group, among 597 tribes.
Syria 17,951,639
The remainder population are primarily Christian groups such as Assyrians and Armenians,
together with Kurds and Yazidis
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, the Arab population in 2013 was estimated at
1,658,000, representing 20.7% of the country's population.
Palestine 4,225,710 89%
Gaza Strip: 1,763,387, 100% Palestinian Arab,
West Bank: 2,676,740, 83% Palestinian Arab
and other
UAE 8,264,070 40%
Less than 20% of the population in the Emirates are citizens, the majority are foreign workers
and expatriates. Emirati citizens are ethnic Arabs.
The majority of Mauritania's population are ethnic Moors, an ethnicity with a mix of Arab and
Berber ancestry, as well as a smaller Black African ancestry. Moors make up 80% of the
population in Mauritania, the remaining 20% are members of a number of Black African ethnic
The native population is a minority in Qatar, making up 20% of the population. The native
population is ethnically Arab. An additional 20% of the population is made up of Arabs, mostly
Egyptian and Palestinian workers. The remaining population is made up of other foreign
Bahrain 1,314,089
46.0% of the Bahrain's population are native Bahrainis. Bahrainis are ethnically Arabs.
are Other Arabs (inc. GCC)
Djibouti is one of the Arab league members where Arabs do not constitute the major ethnic
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Djibouti is one of the Arab league members where Arabs do not constitute the major ethnic
Somalia 10,428,043
Somalia's Arab population is concentrated on to the north and east side. Most of them have
immigrated from Yemen and the middle east during the centuries.
Comoros 766,865
Although the Comoros is a member of the League of Arab States, the Arabs do not even
constitute a seizable minority.
Migration and diaspora
Arab diaspora
Flag Country Number of Arabs Total Population % Arabs Notes
Brazil 10,000,000 200,000,000 5%
France 5,880,000 65,350,000 9%
Indonesia 5,000,000 237,420,000 2.1%
Argentina 3,500,000 41,280,000 8.5%
United States 3,500,000 315,700,000 1.11%
Sri Lanka 1,870,000 20,260,000 9.23%
Israel 1,650,000 8,000,000 20.7%
Venezuela 1,600,000 29,000,000 5.5%
Turkey 1,600,000 80,500,000 2.1%
Iran 1,600,000 80,000,000 2.0%
Chad 1,400,000 10,329,208 12.3%
Mexico 1,100,000 115,300,000 0.95%
Chile 1,000,000 17,400,000 5.8%
Spain 800,000 46,750,000 2.4%
Italy 760,000 60,920,000 1.2%
Colombia 705,000 46,370,000 1.5%
United Kingdom500,000 63,180,000 0.8%
Germany 500,000 82,000,000 0.6%
Canada 450,000 33,500,000 1.4%
Netherlands 480,000 16,750,000 2.8%
Australia 350,000 22,970,000 1.5%
Greece 250,000 10,900,000 2.2%
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Syrian immigrants in New York City,
as depicted in 1895
Greece 250,000 10,900,000 2.2%
According to the International Organization for Migration, there are 13 million first-generation Arab
migrants in the world, of which 5.8 reside in Arab countries. Arab expatriates contribute to the
circulation of financial and human capital in the region and thus significantly promote regional
development. In 2009 Arab countries received a total of 35.1 billion USD in remittance in-flows and
remittances sent to Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon from other Arab countries are 40 to 190 per cent higher
than trade revenues between these and other Arab countries.
The 250,000 strong Lebanese community in West Africa is the largest non-African group in the
Arab traders have long operated in Southeast Asia and along the East Africa's Swahili coast. Zanzibar
was once ruled by Omani Arabs.
Most of the prominent Indonesians, Malaysians, and Singaporeans of Arab descent are Hadhrami people
with origins in southern Yemen in the Hadramawt coastal region.
Central Asia and Caucasus
In 1728, a Russian officer described a group of Sunni Arab nomads who populated the Caspian shores of Mughan (in present-day Azerbaijan)
and spoke a mixed Turkic-Arabic language.
It is believed that these groups migrated to the Caucasus in the 16th century.
The 1888
edition of Encyclopdia Britannica also mentioned a certain number of Arabs populating the Baku Governorate of the Russian Empire.
They retained an Arabic dialect at least into the mid-19th century,
but since then have fully assimilated with the neighbouring Azeris and
Tats. Today in Azerbaijan alone, there are nearly 30 settlements still holding the name Arab (for example, Arabgadim, Arabojaghy, Arab-
Yengija, etc.).
From the time of the Arab conquest of the Caucasus, continuous small-scale Arab migration from various parts of the Arab world occurred in
Dagestan, which influenced local culture. Until the mid-20th century, some individuals in Dagestan still claimed Arabic as their native
language. The majority of these lived in the village of Darvag, to the north-west of Derbent. The latest of these accounts dates to the 1930s.
Most Arab communities in southern Dagestan underwent linguistic Turkicisation, thus nowadays Darvag is a majority-Azeri village.
According to the History of Ibn Khaldun, the Arabs that were once in Central Asia have been either killed or have fled the Tatar invasion of
the region, leaving only the locals.
However, today many people in Central Asia identify as Arabs. Most Arabs of Central Asia are fully
integrated into local populations, and sometimes call themselves the same as locals (for example, Tajiks, Uzbeks) but they use special titles to
show their Arabic origin such as Sayyid, Khoja or Siddiqui.
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LebaneseMexican billionaire
Carlos Slim has been ranked by
Forbes as the second richest
person in the world.
Iranian Arab communities are also found in Khuzestan Province.
South Asia
There are only two communities with the self-identity Arab in India, the Chaush of the Deccan region and
the Chavuse of Gujerat,
who are by and large descended of Hadhrami migrants who settled in these
two regions in the 18th Centuries. However, both these communities no longer speak Arabic, although
with the Chaush, there has been re-immigration to the Gulf States, and re-adoption of Arabic by these
In South Asia, claiming Arab ancestry is considered prestigious, and many communities
have origin myths with claim to an Arab ancestry. Examples include the Mappilla of Kerala, Labbai of
Tamil Nadu and Kokan of Maharashtra. These communities all allege an Arab ancestry, but none speak
Arabic and follow the customs and traditions of the Hindu majority.
Among Muslims of North India
and Pakistan there are groups who claim the status of Sayyid, have origin myths that allege descent from
the Prophet Mohammmad. None of these Sayyid families speak Arabic or follow Arab customs or
Ceylon Moors are the descendants of Arab traders (mainly from Hadhramawt in Yemen and Morocco) who espoused local women. They are
a mixed race with Arab dominance and a considerable infusion of Sinhalese and Dravidian blood. The later generation Arab traders married
the descendants of the Arab settlers. Some families trace their ancestry to prominent Arab tribes like Banu Quraysh and Arab personalities like
Caliph Abu Bakr As Siddiq, Prince Jamaldeen of Konya etc.
The epithet (Moor), was borrowed (from the Spaniards) by the Portuguese, (the earliest colonizers of Ceylon as Sri Lanka was then
known) who, after their discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope, bestowed it indiscriminately upon the Arabs and their
descendants, whom in the sixteenth century, found established as traders in every port on the Asian and African coast, and who had good
reason to regard them as their most formidable competitors for the commerce of the East."
Alexander Johnston has recorded that:
"...the first Muslims who settled in the country, were, according to the tradition which prevails among their descendants, a portion of those
Arabs of the House of Hashim who were driven from Arabia in the early part of the eighth century by the Umayyad Caliph Abd-al Malik bin
Marwan, and who proceeding from the Euphrates southward, established settlements in the Concan, the southern parts of the Indian peninsula,
Sri Lanka and Malacca. He adds that the division of them that came to Sri Lanka formed eight considerable settlements.
Hussein says:
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Bronze statue of Dhamar Ali, King of
the Himyarite dynasty, the 4th
century AD
"Although it is likely that it was Arabic that was the spoken language of the early Arab settlers of the country, and perhaps of the early Moors
whom they sired, it is today largely Arab Tamil getting replaced by Sinhala, as the home language, so to say, of the present-day Moor
community. Arabic is today employed by them only as their liturgical language in their prayers and other religious observances. Arab Tamil is
by far the predominant speech of the Moors.
"The Tamil spoken by the Moors is however not quite the same as the Tamil spoken by the Tamils of Jaffna and South India. Indeed, this
peculiar dialect or rather patois of the Moors is derogatorily referred to as Sona Tamil by conservative Tamil folk. This Sona Tamil speech
seems to have largely derived from a South Indian Tamil patois.....
"It has also been considerably influenced by other languages such as Arabic, Hindustani, and Sinhala, all of which goes on to show that it
approaches a sort of Creole, albeit considerably influenced by a Tamil dialect .....
Pre-Islamic Arabia refers to Arabic civilization in the Arabian Peninsula before the rise of Islam in the
630s. The study of Pre-Islamic Arabia is important to Islamic studies as it provides the context for the
development of Islam.
Semitic origin
There is a consensus that the Semitic peoples originated on the Arabian Peninsula.
It should be
pointed out that these settlers were not Arabs or Arabic speakers. Early non-Arab Semitic peoples from
the Ancient Near East, such as the Arameans, Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians), Amorites,
Israelites, Eblaites, Ugarites and Canaanites, built civilizations in Mesopotamia, Eastern Arabia and the
Levant; genetically, they often interlapped and mixed.
Slowly, however, they lost their political
domination of the Near East due to internal turmoil and attacks by non-Semitic peoples. Although the
Semites eventually lost political control of Western Asia to the Persian Empire, the Aramaic language
remained the lingua franca of Assyria, Mesopotamia and the Levant. Aramaic itself was replaced by
Greek as Western Asia's prestige language following the conquest of Alexander the Great, though it
survives to this day among Assyrian Christians (aka Chaldo-Assyrians) and Mandeans in Iraq,
northeast Syria, southeast Turkey and northwest Iran.
Early history
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Nabataean trade routes in Pre-Islamic
Assyrian horsemen pursue defeated
The first written attestation of the ethnonym "Arab" occurs in an Assyrian inscription of 853 BCE, where Shalmaneser III lists a King Gindibu
of mtu arbi (Arab land) as among the people he defeated at the Battle of Karkar. Some of the names given in these texts are Aramaic, while
others are the first attestations of Ancient North Arabian dialects. In fact several different ethnonyms
are found in Assyrian texts that are conventionally translated "Arab": Arabi, Arubu, Aribi and Urbi.
Many of the Qedarite queens were also described as queens of the aribi. The Hebrew Bible
occasionally refers to Aravi peoples (or variants thereof), translated as "Arab" or "Arabian." The scope
of the term at that early stage is unclear, but it seems to have referred to various desert-dwelling
Semitic tribes in the Syrian Desert and Arabia. Arab tribes came into conflict with the Assyrians during
the reign of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, and he records military victories against the powerful
Qedar tribe among others.
Medieval Arab genealogists divided Arabs into three groups:
"Ancient Arabs", tribes that had vanished or been destroyed, such as d and Thamud, often
mentioned in the Qur'an as examples of God's power to vanquish those who fought his prophets.
"Pure Arabs" of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan. The Qahtanites (Qahtanis) are said to
have migrated from the land of Yemen following the destruction of the Ma'rib Dam (sadd
The "Arabized Arabs" (musta`ribah) of Central Arabia (Najd) and North Arabia, descending
from Ishmael the elder son of Abraham, through Adnan (hence, Adnanites). The Book of Genesis
narrates that God promised Hagar to beget from Ishmael twelve princes and turn him to a great
(Genesis 17:20 (http://tools.wmflabs.org/bibleversefinder/?book=Genesis&verse=17:20&src=HE))
The Book
of Jubilees, in the other hand, claims that the sons of Ishmael intermingled with the 6 sons of
Keturah, from Abraham, and their descendants were called Arabs and Ishmaelites:
And Ishmael and his sons, and the sons of Keturah and their sons, went together and dwelt from Paran to the entering in of
Babylon in all the land towards the East facing the desert. And these mingled with each other, and their name was called Arabs,
and Ishmaelites.
Book of Jubilees 20:13
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Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddima distinguishes between sedentary Arabian Muslims who used to be nomadic, and Bedouin nomadic Arabs of the
desert. He used the term "formerly nomadic" Arabs and refers to sedentary Muslims by the region or city they lived in, as in Yemenis.
Christians of Italy and the Crusaders preferred the term Saracens for all the Arabs and Muslims of that time.
The Christians of Iberia used
the term Moor to describe all the Arabs and Muslims of that time.
Muslims of Medina referred to the nomadic tribes of the deserts as the A'raab, and considered themselves sedentary, but were aware of their
close racial bonds. The term "A'raab' mirrors the term Assyrians used to describe the closely related nomads they defeated in Syria.
The Qur'an does not use the word arab, only the nisba adjective arabiy. The Qur'an calls itself arabiy, "Arabic", and Mubin, "clear". The
two qualities are connected for example in ayat 43.23, "By the clear Book: We have made it an Arabic recitation in order that you may
understand". The Qur'an became regarded as the prime example of the al-arabiyya, the language of the Arabs. The term irb has the same
root and refers to a particularly clear and correct mode of speech. The plural noun arb refers to the Bedouin tribes of the desert who resisted
Muhammad, for example in ayat 9.97, alarbu aaddu kufrn wa nifqn "the Bedouin are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy".
Based on this, in early Islamic terminology, arabiy referred to the language, and arb to the Arab Bedouins, carrying a negative connotation
due to the Qur'anic verdict just cited. But after the Islamic conquest of the 8th century, the language of the nomadic Arabs became regarded as
the most pure by the grammarians following Abi Ishaq, and the term kalam al-Arab, "language of the Arabs", denoted the uncontaminated
language of the Bedouins.
Classical kingdoms
Proto-Arabic, or Ancient North Arabian, texts give a clearer picture of the Arabs' emergence. The earliest are written in variants of epigraphic
south Arabian musnad script, including the 8th century BCE Hasaean inscriptions of eastern Saudi Arabia, the 6th century BCE Lihyanite texts
of southeastern Saudi Arabia and the Thamudic texts found throughout Arabia and the Sinai (not in reality connected with Thamud).
The Nabataeans were nomadic newcomers who moved into territory vacated by the Edomites Semites who settled the region centuries before
them. Their early inscriptions were in Aramaic, but gradually switched to Arabic, and since they had writing, it was they who made the first
inscriptions in Arabic. The Nabataean Alphabet was adopted by Arabs to the south, and evolved into modern Arabic script around the 4th
century. This is attested by Safaitic inscriptions (beginning in the 1st century BCE) and the many Arabic personal names in Nabataean
inscriptions. From about the 2nd century BCE, a few inscriptions from Qaryat al-Faw (near Sulayyil) reveal a dialect no longer considered
proto-Arabic, but pre-classical Arabic. Five Syriac inscriptions mentioning Arabs have been found at Sumatar Harabesi, one of which dates to
the 2nd century CE.
Late kingdoms
The Ghassanids, Lakhmids and Kindites were the last major migration of non-Muslims out of Yemen to the north.
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Facade of Al Khazneh in Petra,
Jordan, built by the Nabateans
The Ghassanids increased the Semitic presence in the then Hellenized Syria, the majority of
Semites were Aramaic peoples. They mainly settled in the Hauran region and spread to modern
Lebanon, Palestine and East Jordan.
Greeks and Romans referred to all the nomadic population of the desert in the Near East as Arabi. The
Romans called Yemen "Arabia Felix".
The Romans called the vassal nomadic states within the
Roman Empire "Arabia Petraea" after the city of Petra, and called unconquered deserts bordering the
empire to the south and east Arabia Magna.
The Lakhmids as a dynasty inherited their power from the Tanukhids, the mid Tigris region
around their capital Al-Hira. They ended up allying with the Sassanids against the Ghassanids
and the Byzantine Empire. The Lakhmids contested control of the Central Arabian tribes with the
Kindites with the Lakhmids eventually destroying Kinda in 540 after the fall of their main ally
Himyar. The Persian Sassanids dissolved the Lakhmid dynasty in 602, being under puppet kings,
then under their direct control.
The Kindites migrated from Yemen along with the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, but were turned
back in Bahrain by the Abdul Qais Rabi'a tribe. They returned to Yemen and allied themselves with the Himyarites who installed them
as a vassal kingdom that ruled Central Arbia from "Qaryah Dhat Kahl" (the present-day called Qaryat al-Faw) in Central Arabia. They
ruled much of the Northern/Central Arabian peninsula, till they were destroyed by the Lakhmid king Al-Mundhir, and his son 'Amr
Arab Caliphate
Rashidun Era (632-661)
After the death of Muhammad in 632, Rashidun armies launched campaigns of conquest, establishing the Caliphate, or Islamic Empire, one of
the largest empires in history. It was larger and lasted longer than the previous Arab empires of Queen Mawia or the Palmyrene Empire, which
was predominantly Syriac rather than Arab. The Rashidun state was a completely new state and not a mere imitation of the earlier Arab
kingdoms such as the Himyarite, Lakhmids or Ghassanids, although it benefited greatly from their art, administration and architecture.
Umayyad Era (661-750)
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Age of the Caliphs
Expansion under Muhammad,
622632/A.H. 111
Expansion during the Rashidun
Caliphate, 632661/A.H. 1140
Expansion during the Umayyad
Caliphate, 661750/A.H. 40129
The Great Mosque of Kairouan in
Kairouan, Tunisia was founded in
670 by the Arab general Uqba ibn
Nafi; it is the oldest mosque in the
and represents an
architectural testimony of the Arab
conquest of North Africa
In 661 the Caliphate fell into the hands of the Umayyad dynasty and Damascus was established as the
Muslim capital. They were proud of their Arab ancestry and sponsored the poetry and culture of pre-
Islamic Arabia. They established garrison towns at Ramla, ar-Raqqah, Basra, Kufa, Mosul and
Samarra, all of which developed into major cities.
Caliph Abd al-Malik established Arabic as the Caliphate's official language in 686.
This reform
greatly influenced the conquered non-Arab peoples and fueled the Arabization of the region. However,
the Arabs' higher status among non-Arab Muslim converts and the latter's obligation to pay heavy taxes
caused resentment. Caliph Umar II strove to resolve the conflict when he came to power in 717. He
rectified the disparity, demanding that all Muslims be treated as equals, but his intended reforms did not
take effect, as he died after only three years of rule. By now, discontent with the Umayyads swept the
region and an uprising occurred in which the Abbasids came to power and moved the capital to
Umayyads expanded their Empire westwards capturing North Africa from the Byzantines. Prior to the
Arab conquest, North Africa was inhibited by various people including Punics, Vandals and Greeks. It
was not until the 11th century that the Maghreb saw a large influx of ethnic Arabs. Starting with the
11th century, the Arab bedouin Banu Hilal tribes migrated to the West. Having been sent by the
Fatimids to punish the Berber Zirids for abandoning Shias, they travelled westwards. The Banu Hilal
quickly defeated the Zirids and deeply weakened the neighboring Hammadids. Their influx was a
major factor in the Arabization of the Maghreb. Although Berbers ruled the region until the 16th
century (under such powerful dynasties as the Almoravids, the Almohads, Hafsids, etc.), the arrival of
these tribes eventually helped Arabize much of it ethnically, in addition to the linguistic and political
impact local non-Arabs. With the collapse of the Umayyad state in 1031 AD, Islamic Spain was
divided into small kingdoms.
Abbassid Era (750-1513)
The Abbasids let a revolt against the Umayyads and defeated them in the Battle of the Zab effectively
ending their rule in all part of the Empire except Al-Andalus. The Abbasids were descendants of
Muhammad's uncle Abbas, but unlike the Umayyads they had the support of non-Arab subjects of the
The Abbasids ruled for 200 years before they lost their central control when Wilayas
began to fracture; afterwards, in the 1190s, there was a revival of their power, which was ended by the
Mongols, who conquered Baghdad and killed the Caliph. Members of the Abbasid royal family escaped the massacre and resorted to Cairo,
which had broken from the Abbasid rule two years earlier; the Mamluk generals taking the political side of the kingdom while Abbasid
Caliphs were engaged in civil activities and continued patronizing science, arts and literature.
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View of the Alhambra from the
Mirador de San Nicols in the
Albaycin of Granada
Medieval Arab mechanical
Golden Age of Islam
The Islamic Golden Age was inaugurated by the middle of the 8th century by the ascension of the Abbasid Caliphate and the transfer of the
capital from Damascus to the newly founded city Baghdad. The Abbassids were influenced by the
Qur'anic injunctions and hadith such as "The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of martyrs"
stressing the value of knowledge. During this period the Muslim world became an intellectual centre
for science, philosophy, medicine and education as the Abbasids championed the cause of knowledge
and established the "House of Wisdom" (Arabic: ) in Baghdad. Rival Muslim dynasties such
as the Fatimids of Egypt and the Umayyads of al-Andalus were also major intellectual centres with
cities such as Cairo and Crdoba rivaling Baghdad.
Ottoman Caliphate
Arabs were ruled by Ottoman sultans from 1513 to 1918. Ottomans defeated the Mamluk Sultanate in
Cairo, and ended the Abbasid Caliphate when they assumed the title of Caliph. Arabs did not feel the
change of administration because the Ottomans modeled their rule after the previous Arab
administration systems. After World War I when the Ottoman Empire was overthrown by the British
Empire, former Ottoman colonies were divided up between the British and French as League of
Nations mandates.
Arabs in modern times live in the Arab world, which comprises 22 countries in the Middle East, North
Africa, and parts of the Horn of Africa. They are all modern states and became significant as distinct
political entities after the fall and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (19081918).
Arab Muslims are mostly Sunni with a minority of Shia, one exception being the Ibadis, who
predominate in Oman and can be found as small minorities in Algeria and Libya (mostly Berbers).
There are also a minority of Ahmadi Muslims.
Arab Christians generally follow Eastern Churches
such as the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic churches, though a minority of Protestant Church
followers also exists; The Copts and the Maronites, who are often associated with Arab people as well,
follow the Coptic Church and Maronite Church accordingly. In Iraq most Christians are Assyrians
rather than Arabs, and follow the Assyrian Church of the East, Syriac Orthodox and Chaldean
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Arab family of Ramallah, Jerusalem
District in early 1900s
The Kaaba, located in Mecca (Saudi
Arabia) is the center of Islam. It is
where able Muslims from all over the
world come to perform Umrah and
The Greek Catholic church and Maronite church are under the Pope of Rome, and a part of
the larger worldwide Catholic Church. There are also Arab communities consisting of Druze and
Christianity was the most common religion throughout all these regions at this time, although Judaism,
Mandeanism, Sabianism, Manicheanism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, and remnants of Mesopotamian
religion, Canaanite religion, Greco-Roman religion and Egyptian religion could still also be found.
Linguistically, the major Semitic language prior to the Arab conquest was Aramaic, spoken in various
Ancient times
Before the coming of Islam, most Arabs followed a pagan religion with a number of deities, including
Wadd, Allt,
Manat, and Uzza. A few individuals, the hanifs, had apparently rejected
polytheism in favor of monotheism unaffiliated with any particular religion. Some tribes had converted
to Christianity or Judaism. The most prominent Arab Christian kingdoms were the Ghassanid and
Lakhmid kingdoms.
When the Himyarite king converted to Judaism in the late 4th century,
elites of the other prominent Arab kingdom, the Kindites, being Himyirite vassals, apparently also
converted (at least partly). With the expansion of Islam, polytheistic Arabs were rapidly Islamized, and
polytheistic traditions gradually disappeared.
Today, Sunni Islam dominates in most areas, overwhelmingly so in North Africa and the Horn of
Africa. Shia Islam is dominant among the Arab population in Bahrain and Iraq. Substantial Shia
populations exist in Lebanon, Yemen, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia,
northern Syria and the al-Batinah
region in Oman. There are small numbers of Ibadi, Ahmadi and non-denominational Muslims too.
Druze faith
The Druze community is concentrated in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Jordan. Many Druze claim independence from other major religions in the
area and consider their religion more of a philosophy. Their books of worship are called Kitab Al Hikma (Epistles of Wisdom). They believe
in reincarnation and pray to five messengers from God. In Israel, the Druze have a status aparte from the general Arab population, treated as a
separate ethno-religious community.
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Isaac of Nineveh, a
Bahrani bishop and
theologian, 7th century
In pre-Islamic Arabia, Christianity had a prominent presence among several Arab communities, including the
Bahrani people of Eastern Arabia, the Christian community of Najran, in parts of Yemen, and among certain
northern Arabian tribes such as the Ghassanids, Lakhmids, Taghlib and Tayy.
Christians make up 5.5% of the population of the Middle East.
A sizeable share of those are Arab Christians
proper, and affiliated populations of Copts and Maronites. In Lebanon, Christians number about 40.5% of the
In Syria, Christians make up 10% of the population.
In West Bank and in Gaza Strip, Christians
make up 8% and 0.7% of the populations, respectively.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians number about 10% of
the population. In Iraq, Christians constitute 0.1% of the population.
In Israel, Arab Christians constitute 2.1%
(roughly 9% of the Arab population).
Arab Christians make up 8% of the population of Jordan.
North and South American Arabs are Christian,
as are about half of Arabs in Australia who come particularly
from Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. One well known member of this religious and ethnic community is Saint Abo,
martyr and the patron saint of Tbilisi, Georgia.
Arab Christians are living also in a holy Christian cities such
as Nazareth, Bethlehem and the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and many other villages with holy
Christian sites.
The Jewish tribes of Arabia were Arabian tribes professing the Jewish faith that inhabited the Arabian Peninsula before and during the advent
of Islam. It is not always clear whether they were originally Israelite in ancestry, genealogically Arab tribes that converted to Judaism, or a
mixture of both. In Islamic tradition the Jewish tribes of the Hejaz were seen as the offspring of the ancient Israelites.
According to
Muslim sources, they spoke a language other than Arabic, which Al-Tabari claims was Persian. This implies they were connected to the major
Jewish center in Babylon.
Certain Jewish traditions records the existence of nomadic tribes such as the Rechabites that converted to
Judaism in antiquity. The tribes collapsed with the rise of Islam, with many either converting or fleeing the Arab peninsula. Some of those
tribes are thought to have merged into Yemenite Jewish community, while others, like the residents of Yatta consider themselves Islamized
descendants of Khaybar, a Jewish tribe of Arabia.
Prior to the massive Sephardic emigrations to the Middle East in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Jewish communities of what are today Syria,
Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and Yemen were known by other Jewish communities as Musta'arabi Jews or "like Arabs". Also, prior to the
emergence of the term Mizrahi, the term "Arab Jews" was sometimes used to describe Jews living in the Arab world. From the late 1940s to
the early 1960s, following the creation of the state of Israel, most of descendants of these Jews fled or were expelled from their countries of
birth and now live in Israel, France or elsewhere. The few remaining Jews in the Arab countries reside mostly in Morocco and Tunisia.
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"Bayad plays the oud to the lady",
Arabicmanuscript for Qissat Bayad
wa Reyad tale from late 12th century
The famous Jewish philosopher Maimonides is thought to have been an "Arab Jew" by some Arab Jewish nationalists like David Shasha.
His Arabic short name is Ms ibn Maymn. Although he wrote extensively about Jewish topics for Jewish communities in the Middle East,
he wrote almost all of his works in Arabic (with the exception of the Mishneh Torah). He also dressed in Arab attire and lived in the Arab
World for most of his life (born in Islamic Spain, lived in Morocco and died in Egypt). He also was influenced by and influenced other Islamic
and Arab polymaths such as Avicenna and Al-Farabi and is mentioned extensively in medieval Arab and Islamic studies. He is sometimes
known as the "Islamic rabbi".
Modern Jews from Arab countries mainly Mizrahi Jews, Yemenite Jews and Maghrebi Jews are today usually not categorized as Arab,
though there is still some debate on whether or not the term "Arabs" can be applied to them. Sociologist Sammy Smooha stated "This ("Arab
Jews") term does not hold water. It is absolutely not a parallel to 'Arab Christian'".
Those who dispute the historicity of the term make the
claim that Middle Eastern Jews are similar to Kurds, Assyrians, Berbers and other ancient Middle Eastern groups, who lived among the Arab
societies as distinct minority groups with distinct identity and therefore are not categorized as Arabs. On the other hand, others gives examples
of periods where the term "Arab-Jews" was applied in one form or another. Sociologist Philip Mendes asserts that before the anti-Jewish
actions of the 1930s and 1940s, overall Iraqi Jews "viewed themselves as Arabs of the Jewish faith, rather than as a separate race or
Arab culture is a term that draws together the common themes and overtones found in the Arab
countries, especially those of the Middle-Eastern countries. This region's distinct religion, art, and food
are some of the fundamental features that define Arab culture.
Arabic Art includes a wide range or artistic components, it can be Arabic miniature, calligraphy or
Arab Architecture has a deep diverse history, it dates to the dawn of the history in pre-Islamic Arabia.
Each of it phases largely an extension of the earlier phase, it left also heavy impact on the architecture
of other nations.
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Arabic music is the music of Arab people or countries, especially those centered on the Arabian Peninsula. The world of Arab music has long
been dominated by Cairo, a cultural center, though musical innovation and regional styles abound from Morocco to Saudi Arabia. Beirut has,
in recent years, also become a major center of Arabic music. Classical Arab music is extremely popular across the population, especially a
small number of superstars known throughout the Arab world.
Regional styles of popular music include Algerian ra, Moroccan gnawa, Kuwaiti sawt, Egyptian el gil and Arabesque-pop music in Turkey.
Most historians agree that distinct forms of music existed in the Arabian peninsula in the pre-Islamic period between the 5th and 7th century
AD. Arab poets of that timecalled shu`ara' al-Jahiliyah ( ) or "Jahili poets", meaning "the poets of the period of ignorance"
recited poems with a high note. Tradition believes that Jinns revealed poems to poets, and music to musicians. The choir of the time was a
pedagogic facility where educated poets recited poems. Singing was thought not the work of intellectuals, and was instead entrusted to women
who learned to play instruments of the time, such as the drum, oud, or rebab, and perform the songs while respecting the poetic metre.
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Qatabanian era
musical scene, 1st
century AD
Self portrait of
renown Lebanese
poet/writer Khalil
There is a small remnant of pre-Islamic poetry, but Arabic literature predominantly emerges in
the Middle Ages, during the Golden Age of Islam.
Literary Arabic is derived from Classical Arabic, based on the language of the Qu'ran as it was
analyzed by Arabic grammarians beginning in the 8th century.
A large portion of Arabic literature prior to the 20th century is in the form of poetry, and even
prose from this period is either filled with snippets of poetry or is in the form of saj or rhymed
prose. The ghazal or love poem had a long history being at times tender and chaste and at other times rather explicit. In
the Sufi tradition the love poem would take on a wider, mystical and religious importance. Arabic epic literature was
much less common than poetry, and presumably originates in oral tradition, written down from the 14th century or so.
Maqama or rhymed prose is intermediate between poetry and prose, and also between fiction and non-fiction. Maqama
was an incredibly popular form of Arabic literature, being one of the few forms which continued to be written during
the decline of Arabic in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Arabic literature and culture declined significantly after the 13th century, to the benefit of Turkish and Persian.
A modern revival took place beginning in the 19th century, alongside resistance against Ottoman rule. The literary revival is known as al-
Nahda in Arabic, and was centered in Egypt and Lebanon.
Two distinct trends can be found in the nahda period of revival. The first was a neo-classical movement which sought to rediscover the literary
traditions of the past, and was influenced by traditional literary genressuch as the maqamaand works like One Thousand and One Nights.
In contrast, a modernist movement began by translating Western modernist worksprimarily novelsinto Arabic.
A tradition of modern Arabic poetry was established by writers such as Francis Marrash, Ahmad Shawqi and Hafiz Ibrahim. Iraqi poet Badr
Shakir al-Sayyab is considered to be the originator of free verse in Arabic poetry.
Haplogroup E1b1b is the most frequent haplogroup in Western Arabs (Maghrebis) while haplogroup J is the most frequent haplogroup in
Eastern Arabs (Mashriq).
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Ahlem Mosteghanemi in 2009.
She is one of the most renowned
Arab female writers
The paternal ancestry found across all Arabic countries is Haplogroup J1, especially its major subclade J-
P58, the haplogroup that spread with Arabic conquest in the 7th century. It was found that Haplogroup J1
occur at high frequencies among the Arabic-speaking populations of the Middle East and is the prevalent
Y-chromosome lineage within the Near East. Haplogroup J1e (J-P58) is also associated with a Semitic
linguistic common denominator, with the YCAII 22-22 allele state is closely associated with J1e.
P58 subclade of J1 is the single paternal lineage originating in the Near East of high frequency in
Bedouins 70%, Yemenis 68%, Jordanians 55%, 55% of Palestinian Arabs, 48% of Omani People 34% of
Tunisians, 35% of Algerians
, and its precipitations drop in frequency as one moves away
from Saudi Arabia and the Near East. J-P58 include all the J1-CMH haplotypes and is YCAII=22-22
motif, both are found in Arabs and J1-Cohanim (Y-chromosomal Aaron).
The motif YCAII=22-
22 characterize a monophyletic clad found in Arabs but less frequent in Ethiopian J1 and rare in Europe
and Caucasus.
It has now been resolved that the Arabic clade J1-P58, L147.1 (the major clad of
P58 and still the major clade of J1) include all CMH haplotypes and is YCAII=22-22 (both specific to
Arabs and J1-Cohanim) was the J1 clade that spread far and wide by the Islamic conquest.
Qahtanite and Adnanite Arabs are J1-P58 haplogroup since the Arabs of North Africa like Algeria (known
to have Qahtanite lineage from the Arab conquest and Adnanite lineage from Bani Hilal and bani Sulaim
migration to North Africa in the 10th century by the Fatimides, yet only E of the Berber and J1 are found
in Arabs of North Africa and this J1 is marked by CMH and the motif YCAII=22-22. The J2 in Algerian
Arabs is minor 3% and is of the rare J2-M67 of Chechnya, rarely found in other Arabic countries and non
existent in Arabian Peninsula and Yemen.
The Arab conquest appears to have had a dramatic influence on the East and South
Mediterranean coasts. The presence of Arab Y chromosome lineages in the Middle East suggests that most have experienced substantial gene
flow from the Arabian peninsula.
mtDNA Analysis
The Maternal ancestral lineages of Arabic countries are very diverse. The original Historical Maternal ancestral Haplogroups of the Near East
were Mt (Maternal) L3 Haplogroup and Mt HV1 haplogroup that are still high in Yemen, while in Greater Syria there is a European Maternal
gene flow. In the Arabic West the dominant Maternal lineage is the rare Scandinavian European U8 haplogroup probably came with the
Vandals when escaped from Spain from the Visigoths.
Other Chromosomes
10/3/2014 Arabs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabs 26/36
Many of the pronounced genetic deficiencies in Arabs (causing genetic disorders specific to Arabs) are located on HLA segment on
chromosome 6. This same segment mutations are also markers of Arabs in Genealogical and forensic profiling tests and studies. Such studies
as: Arab population data on the PCR-based loci: HLA
HLA polymorphism in Saudi.
Other mixed DNA studies on Arabic
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Routledge. ISBN 9780700716791.
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id=pMuxLlWih04C&pg=PP1&dq=%22arab+christian%22#v=onepage&q=&f=false). Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22182-9.
Deng, Francis Mading (1995). War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in the Sudan. Brookings Institution Press.
Touma, Habib Hassan. The Music of the Arabs. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus P, 1996. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.
Lipinski, Edward. Semitic Languages: Outlines of a Comparative Grammar, 2nd ed., Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta: Leuven 2001
Kees Versteegh, The Arabic Language, Edinburgh University Press (1997)
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Ankerl, Guy (2000) [2000]. Global communication without universal civilization. INU societal research. Vol.1: Coexisting contemporary civilizations :
Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva: INU Press. ISBN 2-88155-004-5.
Hooker, Richard. "Pre-Islamic Arabic Culture." WSU Web Site. 6 June 1999. Washington State University.
Owen, Roger. "State Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East 3rd Ed" Page 57 ISBN 0-415-29714-1
Levinson, David (1998). Ethnic groups worldwide: a ready reference handbook (http://books.google.com/books/reader?id=uwi-
rv3VV6cC&printsec=frontcover). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-57356-019-1{{inconsistent citations}}
Further reading
Price-Jones, David. The Closed Circle: an Interpretation of the Arabs. Pbk. ed., with a new preface by the author. Chicago: I. R. Dee, 2002.
xiv, 464 p. ISBN 1-56663-440-7 pbk Ankerl, Guy. Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western.
INU PRESS, Geneva, 2000. ISBN 2-88155-004-5.
External links
Arab League (Arabic) (http://www.arableagueonline.org/las/index.jsp)
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Categories: Arab Ethnic groups in Asia Ethnic groups in Africa Ethnic groups in the Middle East Ethnic groups in the Arab League
Afro-Asiatic peoples Middle East North Africa Semitic peoples Ancient peoples Muslim communities in Africa
Muslim communities in Asia
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