Page 21 - Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum

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Another aspect of the Arabs’ life which deserves mention is the bedouin’s deep-seated emotional
attachment to his clan. Family, or perhaps tribal-pride, was one of the strongest passions with him.
The doctrine of unity of blood as the principle that bound the Arabs into a social unity was formed
andsupported by tribal-pride. Their undisputed motto was: “ÇäÕÑ ÃÎÇß ÙÇáãÇ Ãæ ãÙáæãÇ —
Support your brother whether he is an oppressor or oppressed” in its literal meaning; they
disregarded the Islamic amendment which states that supporting an oppressor brother implies
deterring him from transgression.
Avarice for leadership, and keen sense of emulation often resulted in bitter tribal warfare despite
descendency from one common ancestor. In this regard, the continued bloody conflicts of Aws and
Khazraj, ‘Abs and Dhubyan, Bakr and Taghlib, etc. are striking examples.
Inter-tribal relationships were fragile and weak due to continual inter-tribal wars of attrition. Deep
devotion to religious superstitions and some customs held in veneration, however, used to curb their
impetuous tendency to quench their thirst for b lood. In other cases, there were the motives of, and
respect for, alliance, loyalty and dependency which could successfully bring about a spirit of rapport,
and abort groundless bases of dispute. A time -honoured custom of suspending hostilities during the
prohibited months (Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qa‘dah, and Dhul-Hijjah) functioned favourably and
provided an opportunity for them to earn their living and coexist in peace.
We may sum up the social situation in Arabia by saying that the Arabs of the pre-Islamic period
were groping about in the dark and ignorance, entangled in a mesh of superstitions paralyzing their
mind and driving them to lead an animal-like life. The woman was a marketable commodity and
regarded as a piece of inanimate property. Inter-tribal relationships were fragile. Avarice for wealth
and involvement in futile wars were the main objectives that governed their chiefs’ self-centred
The economic situation ran in line with the social atmosphere. The Arabian ways of living would
illustrate this phenomenon quite clearly. Trade was the most common means of providing their
needs of life. The trade journeys could not be fulfilled unless security of caravan routes and inter-
tribal peaceful co-existence were provided – two imperative exigencies unfortunately lacking in
Arabia except during the prohibited months within which the Arabs held their assemblies of ‘Ukaz,
Dhil-Majaz, Mijannah and others.
Industry was alien to the Arabian psychology. Most of available industries of knitting and tannage in
Arabia were done by people coming from Yemen, Heerah and the borders of Syria. Inside Arabia
there was some sort of farming and stock-breeding. Almost all the Arabian women worked in yarn
spinning but even this practice was continually threatened by wars. On the whole, poverty, hunger
and insufficient clothing were the prevailing features in Arabia, economically.
We cannot deny that the pre-Islam Arabs had such a large bulk of evils. Admittedly, vices and evils,
utterly rejected by reason, were rampant amongst the pre-Islam Arabs, but this could never screen
off the surprise-provoking existence of highly praiseworthy virtues, of which we could adduce the
1. Hospitality: They used to emulate one another at hospitality and take utmost pride in it.
Almost half of their poetry heritage was dedicated to the merits and nobility attached to
entertaining one’s guest. They were generous and hospitable on the point of fault. They
would sacrifice their private sustenance to a cold or hungry guest. They would not hesitate
to incur heavy blood-money and relevant burdens just to stop blood-shed, and consequently
merit praise and eulogy.
2. In the context of hospitality, there springs up their common habits of drinking wine which
was regarded as a channel branching out of generosity and showing hospitality. Wine
drinking was a genuine source of pride for the Arabs of the pre-Islamic period. The great
poets of that era never forgot to include their suspending odes the most ornate lines
pregnant with boasting and praise of drinking orgies. Even the word ‘grapes’ in Arabic is
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