History of Arabs
Having learnt some basics about the Arabic language, this section will focus on the history of Arabs answering some questions cooking in your mind like Who are the Arabs and what is their origin? Where did they come from? What was and is Arab civilization like? How are the Arabs associated with Islam? We will also learn more about the Arabic language diving into its roots and origin.
Overview of Arabs
Arab Empires and Islamic Arab Civilization
The origin of the Arabic language
Facts About The Arab Culture
Overview of Arabs
Definition of Arab
The word Arab was not first used by the original Arabs to define themselves but rather coined down by the Biblical and Neo-Assyrian texts to define a group of disparate camel herding nomadic people living in the Syrian desert. They thought of them as barbaric and outsiders. Similar sounding words like Arba-a, Aribi and Urbi were also used. These terms did not reflect how the Arab groups organized themselves and soon the term was used for any outsider that was thought of a Bedouin despite having little to no contact with them.
Even after the fall of the Assyrian Empire, the succeeding Babylonian and Persian Empires still continued to use these terms and still thought of them as a scattered group of people who lacked a common political, communal or cultural moral compass. But the original Arabs still did not have any records of referring to themselves as ‘Arabs’. The only trace evidence whether this group of people existed was their rich language known as Arabic. From the Arab’s record, it can be shown that the Greek interpretation of them was largely misleading. Instead of being a Bedouin group as previously thought, people in central Arabia called themselves Ma’addites and were organized into kingdoms with a specific language and state structures. Most of those Arab tribes were polytheists but there were Christians, Jews and even people practicing monotheism amongst them.
The Arabs lived and inhabited the Arabian desert. Back in the 7th century A.D., the Arabs accepted Islam as the last Prophet to mankind was sent with the Qur’an by Allah Almighty. Islam rose quickly and the Arabs conquered land after land so that the Sun didn’t set in the Muslim empire, from the Eas to the West and from the North to the South. From Afghanistan to Kazaghistan and Africa to France, the popularity of Islam became evident as poeple entered into the Muslim brotherhood. The Islamic laws and doctrine became a known culture of the Arabs, something they would hold on to dearly till the 20th century and become famous for. As Islamic civilization spread, the Afghans, Turks, Tatar and the African men all inclined towards the Islamic way of living,
Arab Civilization can more commonly be described as a combination of the Arab values, their rich culture, generosity, humbleness, their love for history and art, and their strong affliction with the Arabic language which played a great role in preserving the knowledge of their ancestors and building stronger foundations in all fields of science, literature, art, philosophy, medicine, engineering, law, architecture and navigation. One point to note here is that the it’s not just the Arabs, but all the Muslims in the those times who accepted Islam that constituted the Arab civilization. Stemming from the religious laws, Arabic civilization came as a great change for the world.
The Arab empire has a long history of around 1000 years before the last of it surviving in pockets of Spain saw its fall. Islam on the other hand kept flourishing and became one of the most followed religion on Earth after Christianity. It is estimated that Islam will be the single most prominent religion by 2050.
The origin of Arabs
According to Islamic faith, history and origin of the Arabs dates back to the descendants of Prophet Ibrahim and his sons Ismael and Ishaq (peace be upon them). Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) fled his community because of his father Aazar, who threatened to stone him to death if his son didn’t stop preaching the message of Islamic monotheism to his people.
The history of Arabs is mainly divided into two parts, the Pre-Islamic Arabia and Arabia after Islam. We will begin our exploration of the Pre-Islamiic Arabia first.
The advent of Islam in the Arabian desert marked the beginning of the Arab civilization. The Arabs were simple people. They were mostly shepherds and used to surviving the harsh environment of the desert. They were not used to luxuries and their diet mostly revolved around milk and dates. Meat was considered a bliss. Arabs of the old times were divided in their beliefs. Many of them were polytheists and worshipped idols that were dear to them. Some also worshipped fire and a small number of people practiced monotheism. There were Arabs who practiced Judaism as well. The Ka’bah was the centre of annual pilgrimage for the Arabs and had as many as 360 idols inside of it. Arabs had a family system they held onto and formed alliances with other families taking the shape of tribes and clans. Bani Hashim was one such clan responsible for care taking of the people who came to Makkah for pilgrimage and held a high status amongst all tribes.
The Arabs had a rich taste in poetry. They would call gatherings in which everyone read their poems and the best one won. People were famous for their verses. Before Islam, there were poems hung on the wall of the ka’bah that were very precious to the Arabs. Arabia was surrounded by two superpowers of its time, the Sassanian empire and the Roman empire. Arabia was insulated from them both due to its harsh terrain but the Arabs were experts in warfare and had a good knowledge of military techniques.
By the 7th century A.D, the most advanced Arab tribes were at the oases of Makkah and Madinah. Makkah was a sanctuary settled in the 5th century A.D. by the Quraysh Arab
tribe. Its shrine, the ka’ba, was a center of pilgrimage and trade for pagans, Christians,
and Jews. The ka’ba housed a number of different idols, but it was mainly associated with the local god of Makkah, Hubal.
The Arabs were well aware of Allah Almighty even before the coming of Islam. They did have a different set of beliefs regarding monotheism. Arabs were known for having specific gods for rain, food, shelter and food. In general they called to Allah as a god too. What they found striking about Islam was it’s heavy emphasis on the oneness of Allah Almighty. While Makkah was mostly a holy site for the Arabs, Madinah was more of an agriculture oasis run by the pagans and the Jews in olden times.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the last prophet to mankind was sent to the Arabs in 571 A.D. He came from Bani Hashim and was a shepherd in his teens. He grew up to work as a businessman and in one such trip to Syria, he helped Khadija peace be upon her in her business. They were married thereafter. Khadija peace be upon her became the first woman to accept Islam and remained by his side till her death. The prophet was deeply disturbed by the practices of his people and would isolate himself in cave Hira frequently as he meditated. During the year 610 A.D, Jibreel peace be upon him appeared in front of the Prophet and asked him to read. The famous incident is marked to be the first revelation of the Qur’an upon the Prophet and the beginning of his prophethood at the age of 40 years.
Arab Empires and Islamic Arab Civilization (Arabia after Islam)
Life and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
At first the Prophet's (Peace and Blessings be upon him) message didn't really go against the agnostic and conservative framework of the Arab belief system nor did he draw in much consideration from them, at that point. The presence of an almighty God didn't imply that there could be no lesser divine beings. Moreover, there were various nomad ministers and diviners rambling different conviction frameworks, including Christianity and Judaism. The Prophet's (Peace and Blessings be upon him) first supporters were individuals from his own family, yet soon the message started to spread to the less persuasive Arab clans of the Quraysh, youth of the more impressive tribes, slaves, and others, who like Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him), were upset by the social norm in Makkah.
Monotheism would soon compromise the social norm, and additionally the economy and human advancement of a city that relied and worked with polytheists belief. In 619 A.D, Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) experienced two misfortunes, the passings of his beloved wife, Khadija (peace be upon her) and his uncle Abu Talib. Abu Talib was the head of his clan (Bani Hashim), and he had utilized his position to secure and protect Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). As resistance developed among the more affluent Arab clans, outstandingly the Umayyads and the Makhzum, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) moved his local area of devotees to Madinah in 622 A.D. This occasion, also known as the hijra, marks the start of the Muslim calender.
In Madinah, Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) utilized his wisdom, intelligence, and confidence in Allah the Exalted to settle the longstanding fights among the Arab clans and groups. In the "Constitution of Madinah '' he framed a confederation of his moved companions with the city's Arab clans, illuminating the commitments among them. Polytheists were permitted to keep their religion, or practice Judaism which was a popular religion in Madinah. The revelations that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) got at Madinah varied from those of the early Makkan period. The revelations no longer aimed at the non-believers and their conversion, it explained a lifestyle, explaining about more common issues for example marriage, inheritance, and separation. By this point the revelations all the more unmistakably communicated Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) job as the last prophet to mankind, a lineage which started from those who were given the Old Testamnet and ending with original Arabs.
The mid-620s was a time period of struggle for Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as he ended up battling both the Quraish of Makkah and the Jews of Madinah. At last the Jews of Madinah were removed, and the Makkans consented to surrender and acknowledge Islam. During the time spent directing these fights, Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) administrative abilities pulled in the consideration of adjoining Arab clans, who then, at that point, changed over to Islam and joined the Muslims in their fights. Large numbers of these unions were established by marriage.
In 630 A.D, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) took the keys to the ka'bah after the conquest of Makkah and scrubbed it off its pagan symbols. This day was a great achievement for the Muslims as the Ka’bah was cleansed and the haram was purified. When the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) returned in 632 A.D to Makkah, he was guided through revelation on setting up the new trend of making pilgrimage to the Ka’bah for the Muslims. At the time of his passing in 632 A.D, practically all of the Arab clans of Arabia had joined Muhammad's (peace and blessings be upon him) confederation.
A brief overview of history of Arabs after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) is aforementioned for you. Complete comprehensive history of Arabs after the advent of Islam is a topic too vast and requires ample read from the reader. Following is an abstract highlighting the major events that shaped the present Arabia. Needless to say, Islam and Arabs have a joint history, to learn one the other is a must!
Prophet Muhammad's (Peace and Blessings be upon him) passing in 632 A.D was a trial of endurance for the Muslims. The powerful among the Arab clans of Medina, and supporters from Makkah, tried to save the respectability and honour of the religion and the political obligations of the confederation by choosing Abu Bakr (peace be upon him) as the first caliphof Islam and immediate successor to Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). There would be no other prophet for the Muslims, yet there was a requirement for somebody to fill the many capacities that Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) had served during his lifetime.
Abu Bakr (peace be upon him), an early believer, faithful follower, and father-in-law to Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him), was an intelligent choice for the Muslims then. Some of the Arab clans would not acknowledge his caliphate and quit paying obligatory offerings to the treasury. Abu Bakr sent faithful Arab troops to gain control in the revolting clans, more famously known as the Wars of Apostasy. People running away from these regions fled to the Sassanid-Byzantine empire borders. Abu Bakr (peace be upon him) saw this as an excellent time to send troops to these regions too. The Arab forces were able to defeat the Byzantine troops near Gaza in 634 A.D.
The Arabs immediately conquered the remainder of Syria by 641. Egypt was taken in 641-42, but the triumph of North Africa that started in 634, took almost a century to conclude. In Iraq, the forces of the Sassanian Empire were annihilated at the Battle of Qadisiya. Upper Mesopotamia was taken by 641, the majority of western Iran by 644, Fars by 649, and Khurasan by 654. Many people threw arms and peacefully accepted Islam in these regions.
Setting up a systematic government was the work of the second caliph, Umar (peace be upon him) (634-44 A.D). Like Abu Bakr, Umar (peace be upon him) was an early convert, loyal follower, and father-in-law to Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him). It was during the reign of Umar (peace be upon him) that Islam spread far and wide and the Arabs rose to power through the world marking this time period a golden one in the history of Arabs.
The Pact of Umar permitted people from the conquered areas to keep their religion. No one was forced to believe in Islamic monotheism forcefully. The non Muslims under the Muslim rule had to pay a tax for living and using the land. The term jizya was coined to this tax. Non Muslims paid this tax and remained under the protection of the Islamic law. The Pact of Umar shaped the legislature of Muslim governemnt such that it remianed a model for the future Islamic governments till the 19th century.
A disappointed Christian slave, who supposedly loathed the tax demanded by the Muslim governemnt upon non-Muslims, stabbed the caliph Umar (peace be upon him) in 644 A.D. On his deathbed, Umar (peace be upon him) counseled a committee of his close and trusted companions and asked them to pick a suitable successor among themselves. It was this gathering that chosen Uthman (peace be upon him), who married two of the daughters of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings arrive), caliph.
Like the previous two caliphs, Uthman (peace be upon him) had been an early convert to Islam and was connected to the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) by marriage. It was in his time that the accumulation of Qur'an occurred. Uthman (peace be upon him) was reputed to have given elevated status to his family among the Arab clans. In doing so, he frequently removed profoundly proficient people with less qualified ones. In 656 A.D, such bits of hearsay prompted Uthman's (peace be upon him) death by displeased Arab clans that had been positioned in Egypt.
Ali (peace be upon him) was chosen as the fourth caliph of Islam. The demise of Uthman (peace be upon him) prompted a three way battle for power, building into a long term common conflict. The prophet's cherished spouse Aisha peace be upon him (daughter of Abu Bakr), united with two different companions of the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon her), Talha and Zubair (peace be upon them) , framing a Triumvirate to challenge Ali's (peace be upon him) position in regards to Uthman's (peace be upon him) death. They wished for Ali (peace be upon him) to punish the assassins first.
Muawiya (peace be upon him), the son of Abu Sufyan, likewise would not perceive Ali's (peace be upon him) authority as he too needed Uthman's (peace be upon him) assassins to be caught above all else. Muawiya (peace be upon him) filled in as a secretary to the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be upon him) during the last few years of his life, and he became legislative head of Syria during the 630s. Consequently, he had a longstanding influence base and prepared soldiers under his order. He had a strong influence among people from the status and power of his tribe as well. In late 657 A.D, the army of Ali met the army of Muawiya (peace be upon them both) at Siffin. Ali (peace be upon him) enjoyed the benefit of greater numbers in his forces, however Muawiya's (peace be upon him) troops were more focused.
The outcome was a long fight in which Ali (peace be upon him) seemed to have the upper hand by all accounts in 658 A.D. A portion of Muawiya's soldiers lifted segments of the Quran on their lances, calling for negotiation. Ali's (peace be upon him) consent to the arbitration made one more gathering of foes, the Khawarij, those from among Ali's allies who disagreed with this move and pulled out their help.
The Khawarij were adamant about not choosing either of the two, Ali and Muawiya as caliphs. They preferred that the local council pick a suitable candidate for the position.
They conspired to kill both Muawiya and Ali (peace be upon them). Ali and his allies were effective in chasing down all of them except a small group of the Khawarij, and it was one from this gathering, who figured out how to kill Ali (peace be upon him) in 661 A.D putting an end to the period of Khilafat. This turn of events left the caliphate open for Muawiya (peace be upon him).
Muawiya's rule (661-680 A.D) marks the start of the Umayyad rule, frequently called the Arab Kingdom because of the notable contribution of the Arabs. Umayyad rule also denotes the start of the inheriting principle for the caliphate, a rule that would stay until the disintegration of the caliphate in 1924.
Muawiya (peace be upon him) handed over the caliphate seat to his son, Yazid. However, a civil conflict broke out for a significant stretch of time. The civil conflict incident was a defining moment throughout the entire existence of the caliphate. Caliphs from Abd al-Malik to Hisham (r. 724-743) by and large depended less on the original Arabs and developed the powers of the state and the powers of Syria. Authoritative centralization started vigorously. The Arab triumphs continued. Spain, Transoxiana (present day Uzbekistan), and the Byzantine Empire were all completely taken over by the Muslims during the Ummayed rule.
The interpretation of regulatory records into Arabic, the stamping of another Arabic coinage, and many other mesmerizing developments, for example the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, glorified the eminence of the caliphate and its services to Islam and the Arabs during the Ummayed tradition and was a starting to a modest and collosal Arab history in Science and Technology.
Abbasid Caliphate—Golden Age of Arab Civilization
The new Abbasid rule ordered a revolution in the Arab Empire. The Abbasids acknowledged the fairness and equality amongst all Muslims unlike the former rulers who made sure Arabs stayed at the top in all key positions and advantage was not generally founded on Arab blood but help to Islam and the domain was the top priority of the new rulers. Arabic, the official language of the realm, was the language of religion and government but numerous in the subject population held onto their native language, for example the Persians. The educated, metropolitan populace was regularly bilingual.
The Abbasids were extraordinary planners and city manufacturers, the most important being their new capital, Baghdad, built during the rule of al-Mansur (r. 754-775). The area of the capital on the Tigris river where it runs nearest to the Euphrates reflected both the eastward direction of the new government’s legislature and the meaning of trade.
The city was sustained by walls and access restricted by four doors, mirroring the city's association with different trading lanes: Kufa, Khurasan, Syria, and Basra. While trade had been critical under the Umayyads, it developed tremendously during the time of the Abbasid rule, since the war against Byzantines was withheld and stopped significantly. It was the abundance of wealth that would back the blossoming of Arab civilization.
Moreover the presence of this exchange prompted different developments: noteworthy solidarity among the subject populace because of consistency of consumer products accessible to all throughout the domain, scattering of information, and advances in shipbuilding, navigation, map making, geology, as well as business law and organizations. Middle Easterner dealers in history are known for advocating the utilization of bills of trade (the English word check comes from the Arabic sakk meaning deed), the business entity, and types of venture capital. As Europeans took on these thoughts and foundations in the late medieval period, business enormously expanded.
The Abbasid state's sponsorship of religion and law permitted all parts of civilization to
advance. Schooling system in the empire, as in Europe during similar period, was religious
schooling. Islam as a religion urges all disciples to seek knowledge. Students would usually begin their education by learning the recitation of Qur’an and its memorization. After that, they would move on to learning the ahadith of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him).
Only after dominating these subjects could a student of knowledge continue on to concentrate on the other Islamic sciences and jurisprudence (fiqh). Once grounded in these subjects one could go on to then concentrate on what were alluded to as the "studies of the ancient ones," including medicine, astronomy, philosophy, science, engineering, designing, and so on. The thought of divisions between these fields of information didn't exist. Some of the absolute best philosophers were the best doctors too.
Clinical training for medical students occurred in working emergency clinics situated in major metropolitan habitats. Such medical clinics housed auditoriums, research centers, libraries, pharmacies, quarantine wards, wards for male and female patients, an attending doctor, and some of the time even performers to play mitigating music for the patients. Differences between the further developed Islamic medication and European medication were made clear during the Crusades. Arab writers report that their native doctors were mending using strategies for example clinical observation and check ups, while Europeans rehearsed exorcism and phlebotomy.
By 1200, that is around 100 years after the beginning of the Crusades, the Arabs had hospitals built solely for the purpose of caring for the ill. Europeans didn't embrace the possibility of an occupant doctor nor of clinical guidance inside emergency clinics until the sixteenth century.
Arabic was the most famous language of science and learning. Thanks to Arabic, medieval Islamic researchers saved the information on the ancient world by deciphering and accumulating immense compositions in all fields, along these lines empowering further advances. The caliph Mamun (r. 813-833) established Bait al-Hikma (House of Wisdom) explicitly for this reason. Arabic, as the language wherein the Qur'an was uncovered, accomplished extraordinary importance, and its punctuation was regularized. Under the Abbasids, Arabic writing was significantly impacted by the points of reference of their subject populaces' writing: Hellenic, Persian, and Indian. Although a portion of these patterns had their beginnings under the Umayyads, it is under the Abbasids that they genuinely thrived.
Other prominent events in Arab history include the Monglic invasion of the Arabs, rise of Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi and Arabs under Ottoman rule. The above mentioned history of Arabs suffices to provide us a loser look at how they evolved with a language so rich, spreaded Islam far and wide across all continents setting in motion one of the largest advancements in the field of Science all while giving both Science and Islam equal importance. Now we will shift our attention towards the Arabic language, its origin, roots and modification in the modern times.
The origin of the Arabic language
More than 150 million individuals speak Arabic language locally. In addition, it has the capacity to function as a ritualistic language for the countless Muslims all throughout the world. It is really one of the extraordinary current languages spoken across the globe. Simultaneously, as I have learned through my research, Arabic isn't a language without profound verifiable roots. Indeed, the history of the Arabic language is one which traverses hundreds of years from a long time before the advent of the Christian period to present day times.
Roots and Origin of the Arabic Language
Arabic began from a language referred to in the writing as Proto-Semitic. This means that Arabic has a close relationship with the Afro-Asiatic gathering of world languages. Merritt Ruhlenís scientific classification in his Guide to the Worldís Languages assists with promoting clarification of Arabic's family line inside this enormous gathering of languages. In this way, while Arabic isn't the most seasoned of the Semitic dialects, its underlying foundations and starting points are definitely established in a Semitic ancestor.
Arabic as a Proto-Semitic language
As referenced above, Arabic is an old individual from the Semitic subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic gathering of languages. The normal progenitor for every Semitic language (for example Hebrew or Amharic) in the Afro-Asiatic gathering of dialects is called Proto-Semitic. Linguists have discovered various morphological and phonological parts of Arabic that relate and resemble the elements of Proto-Semetic languages.We notice that not all Semitic dialects have similarly protected the highlights of their normal progenitor language. In this regard, Arabic is special; it has saved a larger part of the first Proto-Semitic highlights. Truth be told, numerous linguists consider Arabic the most ëSemiticí of any advanced Semitic languages as far as how they save elements of Proto-Semitic.
Modern Arabic Diglossia
While we are discussing the origin and roots of the Arabic Language, it’s important we shed some light on the colloquial Arabic too. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic language and the Arabic of the Qur’an is considered the classic Arabic, not to be changed or messed with as is thought by the Arabs. The Qur’an remains unchanged even after 1400 years of its revelation primarily because of the promise of Almighty to protect it from all sorts of corruption. Arabic is one such element of the Qur’an which has been protected since ages. The Arabs learn classical Arabic just like the non Arabs to understand the Qur’an. Arabs speak in a much less grammarly oriented form of Arabic known as the Colloquial Arabic. This is what we understand by the term Arabic Diglossia. There is no one Arabic for someone who wishes to learn Arabic. The colloquial Arabic is a spoken language that Arabs use in their daily conversations. The writing, reading and official speech is done using classical Arabic.
Arabs comfortably use colloquial language in their lives but when it comes to official work, like an office report or news in the channels or their classrooms, Arabs resort to the true, classic and original Arabic. While the colloquial language differs from one area to the other, the classic Arabic is understood by all Arabs and keeps them bound together.
Standard Arabic is more or less the same throughout the Arab World, while there are wide differences between the various colloquial dialects.Its common to come across Arabs who can’t understand each other's dialect because the colloquial dialect differs to a great extent in many areas. A Moroccan friend that I made while I was a student, would frequently use terms that differed from the normal terms used in our class and as an Arab, she would be just as confused as me sometimes with the colloquial Arabic used in Najd.
Modern Linguistic Situation in the Arabic Language
So where is the MSA heading? Modern Arabic, both Standard and colloquial, have seen some dynamic changes. The colloquials have tolerated, gone through and will most likely continue to bear some great changes. Sadly, the colloquials haven’t been studied in detail as of yet and since no record has been kept regarding the changes in them, it’s difficult to tell how much colloquials have changed overtime. There aren’t many resources for learning the colloquial Arabic except communicating with the local people who speak it fluently.
Modernization is an ongoing dynamic change that Modern Standard Arabic has been observing. Modernization includes the formation of new terms for ideas which didnít exist in prior occasions. With the progression of time, from the times of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) to our current days, numerous new manifestations and changes in way of life have strongly lead us to consider new terms to give these adjusted substances a significance in Arabic language. The Arabs are exceptionally delicate with regards to creating any adjustment of Arabic as it is viewed as the language of Allah and the language of people of Paradise. Subsequently, regulating language foundations have been set up in a few regions all through the Arab world including Cairo, Amman, Baghdad, and Damascus.
The famous Arab language schools in Cairo and Damascus have brought about a way of keeping the Arabic language ‘updated’ by producing changes like extension and calques. Calques are loan translations or one can simply call them borrowing from a different language but it is done by keeping the core structure of the word and changing its external structure.
Extension is usually adding newer words to the Arabic language with specific meaning. The term car is known as ‘sayyarah’ in Arabic. This word carries the meaning of a group of camels but has been modified to mean car. Some words are translated into meanings of the original foreign words like a taxi is called “Ujra” in Arabic which gives the meaning of something that is paid. An example of calque includes the phrase kurat al-qadam, which literally translates into a ball of the foot or football (soccer). Arabization, then again, includes the reception of an unfamiliar word, yet with changes which make it adequate to Arabic morphological and phonological examples.
History of Arabic Writing System
I wish to briefly examine the historical development and origin of the Arabic writing system. Descended from the North Arabic script, the modern Arabic language writing system is written from right to left and is a cursive script. The Arab language has a total of 28 letters but 22 of those letters have a different style of writing when they are used as the first, medial or last letter in a word.
6 of those letters have two styles of writing because they can be connected to other letters but not from them. The three long vowels, aa, oo, and ee, are represented within the alphabet but the three short vowels are not. The short vowels are showcased writing them diacritically and are mostly found in books that teach the Arabic language. The Qur’an includes all the short vowels in order to make it easier for the non -Arabs to pronounce its words correctly.
Historically, the North Arabic script which is considered one of the ancient languages whose earliest copies date to the 4th century B.C., has descended from the Nabatean Aramaic script. However, as the Aramaic script contains fewer consonants for Arabic, some letters were ‘invented’ by using one or more dots placed above or below the letters. Therefore you will come across many letters that look the same except for the fact that they have a few or more dots than their look alike.
The Arabic language has been greatly influenced by the factor of religion. The fact that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and that Allah Almighty took the responsibility of protecting the Holy Book molded the history and present of Arabic as a holy language, perfect in all times and protected from major changes. Arabic’s original roots begin prior to the time it was a local language of the Arab tribes, not known to the world. As Islam rose and people started accepting it in large numbers and as the Muslims conquered the East and the West, Arabic became the language of the conquerors, a language famous worldwide.
In the coming years, Arabic language has been preserved at a big scale by its native speakers. The main cause of its complete survival since the old times is the respect the Arabs have for the standard Arabic. They prefer speaking colloquial or “slang” as they call it in their daily life conversations but give the standard Arabic a place in their lives by learning it and making their children learn it. This is how Arabic has been preserved throughout the years. The modern standard Arabic is the only way to understand the Qur’an and the only true Arabic in the eyes of the Arabs.
Linguistically, Arabic is a unique language. It has undergone some changes in its spoken form by the locals and these changes over time lacked proper documentation or one may perceive that these changes are not meant to be remembered by the Arabs and so haven’t been given much place in the history books. The religious element of Arabic and its linguistic element show how interesting it can be as a language to be learnt and understood.
Facts About The Arab Culture
Arab is not a race
Very often, I hear people broadly using the term Arab to describe a race of people who hail from certain Eastern parts of the world. Not only does it reflect poorly of their ignorance and obliviousness but also of their understanding of the different races and people in this world. If someone plans spending time with the Arabs, this is one of the first things they should correct before an Arab takes offence. While the makeshift definition above couldn’t be further than reality, the term Arab is used to define a person whose mother language is Arabic.
Not all Arabs are Muslim
Islam first came among the Arabs as they were chosen by Almighty to not just become the roots of this religion but were also blessed with having the opportunity of spreading it far and wide. This is the prime reason why many of us have started associating ‘Muslim’ and ‘Arab’ as interchangeable terms, which shouldn’t be the case. While the majority of Arabs are Muslims, you can easily find Christian, Jewish, and many other ranges of religious beliefs in the Arabic culture.
The Importance of family in an Arab Household
Family is considered the most important element in one’s life after religion amongst the Arabs. It is a noteworthy culture much needed in other parts of the world as is being emphasized by the scientific community. Loyalty and obligation to a family is given priority compared to loyalty and obligations to friends or a job and over one’s personal needs.
Every day Arabic Culture
It is not polite to say “No”. Open refusal to a friend’s request is not considered a well-mannered act. Returning the favor to someone who has helped you is an everyday part of Arab culture. Arabs are generally very socially-oriented people. Arabs believe being social and well-spoken is a part of a strong personality and good character. Instead Arabs use the term ‘If God wills’ and the other person recognizes the polite refusal to their proposal.
Cultural Hospitality and Visits
The key characteristics of Arab are their great hospitality, generosity and benevolence to everyone, especially strangers. Arabs are known for observing and carrying humble body postures especially in the presence of their elders. One usually sits keeping their legs close and avoids sitting higher than others. Leaning against walls, curling up in chairs, or slipping your hands in your pockets is a big no especially in a place of learning and worship. Talking loudly is considered bad behavior. Meals are usually kept at the end of the event. Taking off your shoes outside the house or gathering (just like the masjid) comes as a highly agreeable act loved by the Arabs. It's considered an act of humility.
In conclusion, the Arabs have a long, fierce and complex history interwined with Islam that needs time and the courage to read several authors. One may take a long time to perceive the events that followed in the correct way. Arabic language paved the way for proper preservation of the Arab history, and records of golden age of Islam. The Arab traditions are many and they all teach us to be humble and generous towards those we know and those we don’t. These traditions have been kept alive throughout ages as Arabs stick to their principles and uphold their religious values wherever they go!
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