Monday, 2 December 2013

Arab Civilization

Assalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

There are differences between the Arabs in the North and the South. The Southern Arabs were more to conservative nomadic lifestyle or known as Bedouins. Northern Arabs were city-dwellers and they engaged themselves with people from around the world so they were quite open and well-developed as compared to the Southern Arabs. This is what some people said. However, I do not agree with them. This is actually more dependent to the geography of the people there. Some places had a lack of resources for development and that makes the people moving here and there or having lack development. We cannot generalize people or attached to the perception based on what we see or hear.

Southern Arabs

Southern Arabs were quite civilized and stated by Mahmud al-Alusi (1802-1854) who says, "The Qahtanites who are native to Yemen lived in prosperous states and their lands were fertile. They build up huge and strong fortresses and their buildings were extremely beautiful. Their grandeur was mentioned by historians throughout centuries. Their achievement is also recorded in the Glorious Quran in Surah Sabā' (No. 34)".

The Qahtanites were the offspring of Joktan the son of Eber. Qahtan is the Arabic rendition for a person who was known as Joktan. Joktan is the younger brother of Peleg who is the ancestor of Abraham a.s. Qahtan has 24 sons who were the progenitor of Southern Arabs who live in Yemen, Southern Arabian Peninsula and some parts of Oman. During the period of Solomon a.s who ruled Judea, the Queen who ruled the kingdom was of Sheba dynasty and they worshiped the Sun. The same thing also happened in Vedic India and in Assyria within Mesopotamian region. In Assyrian religion, the Sun is known as Shamas just like in Arabic we call the Sun as Shams. Vedic Indian worship the Sun as Surya. The Sun was associated with Saturn in their astrology system. The same thing too in Indian nine planets system where Surya (the Sun) is associated with Shani (Saturn). Southern Arabs had built Sun Tower in their kingdom for religious purposes.

In this matter, we could see that Southern Arabs were quite civilized because they know how to build up buildings, they practiced some kind of planet worshiping religion and that means that they studied the heavens. They had kingdoms within their region and it shows that they know how to manage a government and its political system. They had irrigation system, forts and trained their own soldiers for peace-keeping and security. All of these would not happen if they were stupid, block-headed or illiterate like what religious teachers in our country said to us as the reason for why prophet Muhammad s.a.w was sent among Arab nations. 

How many times, people had encountered the statement that prophet Muhammad s.a.w is a mercy toward the universe but some of them repeatedly throwing racist remarks on us and they are Muslims just like us. It would not hurt if they are non-Muslims because we know that non-Muslims would have different way of viewing the world. I never look down on Malays nor anyone... Instead I learned their history and their achievements since Hindu-Buddhism period down to the period they become Muslims. I believe we could learn and taking lessons from our past for better future. We cannot change people mind-set in just a blink of eyes....

As such, the religions of Southern Arabs are of various practices. The kings were skilled in astronomy and astrology. All of these could be traced through archeological findings and not only through oral narrations. 

Northern Arabs

Northern Arabs are of various backgrounds. Mahmud al-Alusi mentions that, "The offspring of 'Adnan and Qahtanite Arabs who moved and lived around the Ishmaelites after the breach of Ma'arev Dam followed the norms which they received from their ancestors. Those norms were the traditions of ancient sages there and based from what they heard from other realms".

Celestial path was inherited from Abraham a.s. and Ishmael a.s. but due to the changes of time, the "path" could not maintain its pure teachings. Later on, many foreign influences infiltrated people's traditions and customs and they claimed that those practices were the teachings of Abraham a.s. until younger generations could not differentiate things no more. Later on, there were new migration from down south to Mecca and Hejaz region and one among the migrants was a figure who was known as Amr bin Luhay. He was a shaman and also a chief of the Khuza'a tribe of the larger Azdites which is a sub-branch of Qahtanite Arabs from Yemen. His father is of Ka'ab clan. 

Amr bin Luhay performed charity and he respects everything related to customs and religion. Then, he joined a caravan and traveled to Syria and saw the people at the sea, which happened to be the Phoenecians or Levantines worshiped the elements of the universe which were represented by the statues. He thought that it was a righteous deed since Syria was known to him as the land of sages, prophets and revelation. He brought back the Hubal statue and placed it inside the Cubicle Shrine. Hubal was a chief deity worshiped by the people after they were persuaded by Amr bin Luhay to accept the religion. Later the practices widely spread among Arabs of various lineages.

People were so fond of poetry and delivering sermons in beautiful way. Then, Arabs also memorized their ancestral lineage, wars and battles that their ancestors had engaged, checking astrology before starting the war and battle and practicing warrior rites for swords, lances and others because of their life were surrounded with battles and wars. More or less like the warrior caste of ancient India...

Ancient Arab Achievements  

Gustave Le Bon says, "Those authors since biblical times recorded in their literature works that the Arabs especially in Yemen had reached their zenith in trading and businesses".

Herodotus (4 BC) says that, "Arabia was a prosperous and fertile land". Strabo further said, "The Dam of Ma'arev was an amazing creation of man-kind". Modern archeology has shown that Yemen was a developed region during its ancient time and it was cultural center in which is comparable to ancient Egypt. Modern researches have discovered large amounts of ancient artifacts in Southern Arabia and other regions related to Arabia just like those founded in Nineveh and Babylon in the region of Assyrian empire.

As such, I do not agree with those teachers who taught their students that ancient Arabs were barbaric people and plainly ignorant so the God the Highest has sent prophet Muhammad s.a.w among the Arab nation so other nations such as Malays in South East Asia could respect the Arabs. The Arabs were already actors involved in world political affairs since before the emergence of the Romans and it is proven in the record of the Old Testament. Arabs had also contributed to the world civilization since ancient times and the recent ones in Medieval period of AD was just the re-branded ones. This is the excerpt that scholars have got from La Civilization des Arabes by Gustave Le Bon (1884).        

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

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