Assalaamu alaikum[Peace be to you],
Alright, for a long timeI was planning to draw an Arab. I hope you like it.Muslim =/= Arab
Many non Muslims make the mistake of thinking that "all Muslims are Arab, they all speak Arabic".
Although Islam originated in the Arabian Peninsula, today only 18% of the Muslim population is from Arab ethnicity. That includes countries in both the Middle East (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine etc.) and in North Africa (i.e. Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia).
Even more surprising to some people is the fact that people in those regions, people with Arab ethnicity, arenít always Muslim. So, yeah, not all Muslims are Arabs, but also not all Arabs are Muslims. In Lebanon, for example, there are important Christian communities; those are Christian Arabs, they speak Arabic, do Mass in Arabic and read the Bible in Arabic. In Morocco, there is a Jewish community; Jewish Arabs that speak fluent Arabic...But now, let's see a little more about Arabs before the prophet Mohammed -peace and blessings be upon him-:
Arabs were the poeple living in the Arabian Peninsula. they were generally into two main groups, the Urban ones and the Bedoins (desert-dwelling Arabs). Arabs were good horsemen. they liked their horses and they were also good in swordsmanship. socially, the Arab community was divided into the rich and the poor, the masters and the slaves. sadly, in those times, the rich oppressed the poor. this period of time is called Al-Jaahiliyya, in Arabic literature. which literally means "times of ignorance".
The Bedouin life had some good traits which Islam approved of and encouraged such as generosity and kindness and supporting the needy and those in distress. There were other bad habits which Islam fought until it eliminated them, such as racism, vengeance wars between tribes and burying baby girls alive out of fear that they might bring shame to the family. (This habit was adopted only by certain Arab tribes).What about their religion?
Monotheism was introduced to the Arab region a long time prior to the coming of the prophet Mohammed -peace be upon him-. In this region, Islam was sent down through prophets of God such as Prophet Hud* -peace be upon him-, in the south Eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula. and Prophet Saaleh -peace be upon him-, in the North West of the Peninsula. The Arabs also knew about monotheism through the message of Prophet Isma'el son of Abraham -peace be upon them-. Yet, as years passed, they forgot these Messages and converted to idolatry; as they had many idols such as Hubal, Al-Laat and Al-`Uzzaa.
But there were some Arabs who totally refused idolatry and they were called -Hunafaa'- [believing in one God]. Mohammed -peace be upon him- was one of them before he started his duty as a prophet of God.
Judaism and Christianity were also present in the Arab region. Christianity was dominant in Najran which was a part of Yemen. Judaism, on the other hand, prevailed in some parts in northern Hijaz.
Idolatry dominated Arabia until the coming of the last prophet of Islam, Mohammed, who restored the religion of God and the faith of Abraham -peace and blessings be upon them- he fought against the corrupted social and religious system. Many oppressed people saw in Islam their salvation and the end of their misery so they followed it...The Arabs' Cultural life:
The pre-Islamic Arabs were mostly illiterate with few exceptions. Despite this, they had a fair portion of knowledge and they had contact with the outside world through their commercial journeys. They acquired a lot of information from experience and necessity such as astronomical and geographical information. They came to know such facts because of their frequent travel, relocation, and the need to know the seasons of rainfall and the direction of the winds.
The Arabs excelled others in genealogy because of their pride in being traced to their tribes. They paid much attention to this science to the extent that they were interested to know the genealogy of horses in addition to knowing the genealogy of people!
imagine an Arab telling you the genealogy up to the great great great great great great grandfather of his horse!
In the cultural field, the Arabs were excellent in rhetoric and eloquence. The Arab was, by nature, skillful in rhetoric and, by instinct, eloquent. They were also well-versed in poetry as it constituted the biography of their lives. They had hundreds of poets.
Besides poetry, the Arabs were also well-versed in oration. They used to hold literary seminars which were similar to present day literary competitions. One of the most famous seminars was `Ukaath where arbitration committees were held to issue their judgments on poets and orators. The winning poem or religious speech would be reiterated by people who would then memorize it and praise the poet or orator. Magnificent poems were hung in the Ka'bah (in Mekkah) and these were known as Mu'allaqaat (The Hung Poems) such as the poem of Imru'ul-Qays and that of Zuhayr Ibn Abi-Salmaa.
I hope that was beneficial for you all.
Til next time, in sha'Allah.
Wassalaamu alaikumold paper stock by ~ofruin-stock* the stories of prophets Hud and Saaleh -peace be upon them- are mentioned in the holy Qur'an.