Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Arabian Chronicles : Relationship Between Arabs and Others

Peace and blessings be upon everyone

The Gate of Yemen

We are still in the topic of the Arabian Chronicles. I would alternately post any notes that I have with me or in my mind, His Will. In the previous post, we now know a little bit about the lineages of the Arabs in the Arabian Peninsula. Many narrators are also not responsible on the validity of the lineages of those Arabs. However, the lineage of prophet Muhammad s.a.w is very clear as a descent of Abraham a.s through the line of Ismael a.s as they never marry people outside of their tribe since the time of their ancestor Ismael a.s and 'Adnan.

Ustad Ahmad Amin from the Fuad I University in his book, the Dawn of Islam mentioned that many Arab elders put the emphasize and importance of their lineages. They memorized everything including branches of tribes and families. They also write books about their lineages but not all of those lineage could be valid in their accuracy.

Our honorable Imam Malik r.a while listened to a man talked about his lineage could be traced until prophet Adam a.s had expressed his disgust. He spontaneously said to the man : "From who did he know this?" When another man said that he can trace his lineage to Ismael a.s, he also asked : "Who told you this?"

The inhabitants of Southern and Northern Arabian Peninsula have few differences including in their language features and appearances.

Urban Arabs

There is no pure blood Arabs today. If they live in urban areas, then they will also mingle with other races and ethnics as well. Pure blood people are called as Bedouins who wander at the desert. Arabs had mingled with Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Ethiopians, Africans and others according to their geography or where they had been.

Arab tribes had been moving around since they were called as Bedouins. Some live close to other areas and will attack others or being attacked by others. This is also a reason of the change for the identification of a certain ethnic in human history. After the noble prophet Muhammad s.a.w was raised, Arabs had also mingled with other nations outside of Arabian Peninsula and entered other provinces or new states which had been opened, explored or subdued. They married natives and issued new people or hybrid descents. 

Other than that, pilgrimage is the reason of Arabs mingled with other nations. People around the world performing pilgrimage in the Holy Mecca and get to know each other although different in nationality. They share the same Path and the God. Assyrians, Egyptians, Indian, Chinese, African, Northern African, South East Asian and others get to know each other in Mecca. By the time of early 19th C, around 79% of Meccan population is of mixed population from around the world. Even when I was there around 2005, it was hard to find local Meccan.

Intermingling among people may vary from a city to a city. Nowadays, the attitude and civilization of Arabs had been different in Arabian Peninsula. They also have different appearances and tones of skin. Meccan Arabs are yellow. Najd Arabs a little bit dark in complexion. Omanite Arabs most of them are chubby. Yemenite are mostly short and small. Those in Syria and Morocco are fair amongst all. Egyptian Arabs are dark, having sweet and pleasant look and their body is bigger. Those Egyptian Arab who live in urban area are yellow since there was Turks who administrate the country. Those Arabs in Southern Spain are Caucasian in looking because their mothers were Spaniard. Iraqi Arabs are tough. The Arabs in South East Asia all taking the form of local look. Even last time, people could only know they were Arabs with their white skull caps especially those in Borneo Island. Nowadays other nations also wear skull caps. There are also some Arabs who were married to Chinese like in Penang Island or married to Thai and Burmese in Southern Thailand. Some were from India especially Gujarat and Northern Malabar coastal area. Most of them had lose their ancestral language which is Arabic but speaking native languages or at least languages common to natives.

Bedouin Arabs

Bedouin Arabs are those Arabs who live far from urban area. They hardly mix with outsiders. Nothing much changed in their life. In the Old Testament, it has also mentioned about Bedouins who live far from urban area and they are looking down their counterparts in cities. In our third standard (9 years old) textbooks for school kid Islamic Education class, we learned about the division of Arab into Urban and Bedouin. How about history curriculum in Britain, European Union, the States or other countries? Share it with us what you had learned. In A-Level examination, we were also required to read about India and China. 

I do not know about kids nowadays because not all of them know about these even if we were taught these in schools. I mean this to kids in our country. After that, they grow up and become racists, bigots, close-minded and others while their parents asked them to go to school to be properly educated. When people prevent them from education, they would complaint to human rights organizations or NGO's saying that their rights had been uprooted. Human are never grateful to their Lord and never satisfied with what they have. Now I had shared this here, my responsibility as a fellow human is done if people stumbled by. 

British Muslim brethren may use this as additional material for your child home-schooling. I am also doing a thesis about you people and your government. Trying to understand what happened there from afar for this degree. This is actually a checked article with other references. I am trying not to make it too long with references as many sources were translated from various notes. Make sure to make cross check on everything. Don't just rely only on one source and MadTV is a disaster. Check in libraries, archives and other places.

Bedouins never went to school or being educated. No development reached them. They have no history to be researched by scholars. Many of people suggested that Bedouins still maintained their lifestyle of 4000 years ago. Each tribe has its own Sheikh or Amir

Their life was characterized with war, battle, knighthood, and they rear livestock such as camel, sheep, or goat. They hated to be attached to any power nor to anyone. That is the reason why they hate urban people. They believe that too much civilization will prevent their independence. They never been colonized by any power such as Greeks or Roman colonization, their mind is also free from colonization. The Hebrews were also colonized by Greeks and Romans. Just read Old Testament, we may grab some picture.

Gustav Le Bonn mentioned that Arabian Peninsula Bedouins have the custom that prohibit them from agricultural activity. Planting wheat and tress is illegal for them. They never build proper house for themselves and living nomadic lifestyle. House is believed to contain their independence and making them attached to a certain place.

This lifestyle made them attacking and robbing urban people. Urban Arabs were afraid of Bedouin Arabs. During the administration Shareef Hussein in Mecca, the road between Mecca and Medina was not actually safe for travelers. Bedouins will rob and attack those who were passing through there. Urban people might say they robbed people, but Bedouins believe they were making a living from such an act. 

Gustav Le Bonn in his book "the History of Arabian Civilization mentioned : "Bedouin's behavior robbing urban tribes who passed through their ways actually not much different to European attack and subduing other kingdoms in the world, later plundering local products of the kingdoms subdued and taking them back to their country. The different is just Bedouins attacking civilized nations while Europeans attacking Bedouins."  

This is what I personally think. I do not really agree with Le Bonn. Europeans like British had colonized countries and kingdoms that had actually established for thousand of years through legal language. Europeans like France and British had used Siam for example as buffer state to suppress other independent kingdoms. People of my beloved state have their own chronicles which are related to history of South East Asian region, the advent of Buddhism and Islam in South East Asia. They are the Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa and Tarikh Salasilah Negeri Kedah. Through archeology excavations too, we found many proves of civilization in our state. And yet British had made us a total vassal state to the Kingdom of Siam and later being absorbed as a protectorate under the Great Britain empire. So, I guess Europeans had gone beyond Bedouins' behavior. Not trying to blacken others' but you only know when you receive the impacts, right?  

If we have time, we may elaborate more and look at 'scholars' opinions about Arab nations, inshaallah. Most of them are Europeans but not to forget Asians ourselves. There are negative opinions and also positive opinions. This world must consist of this two. We can't expect everything to be prefect right? Only the God is Perfect.

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace, and love, amin!

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