Page 7 - Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum

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Location and Nature of Arab Tribes
Beyond a shadow of doubt, the biography of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) manifestedly
represents an exhaustive embodiment of the sublime Divine Message that he communicated in order
to deliver the human race from the swamp of darkness and polytheism to the paradise of light and
monotheism. An image, authentic as well as comprehensive, of this Message is therefore only
attainable through careful study and profound analysis of both backgrounds and issues of such a
biography. In view of this, awhole chapter is here introduced about the nature and development of
Arab tribes prior to Islam as well as the circumstantial environment that enwrapped the Prophet’s
Linguistically, the word “Arab” means deserts and waste barren land well-nigh waterless and
treeless. Ever since the dawn of history, the Arabian Peninsula and its people have been called as
The Arabian Peninsula is enclosed in the west by the Red Sea and Sinai, in the east by the Arabian
Gulf, in the south by the Arabian Sea, which is an extension of the Indian Ocean, and in the north
by old Syria and part of Iraq. The area is estimated between a million and a million and a quarter
square miles.
Thanks to its geographical position, the peninsula has always maintained great importance..
Considering its internal setting, it is mostly deserts and sandy places, which has rendered it
inaccessible to foreigners and invaders, and allowed its people complete liberty and independence
through the ages, despite the presence of two neighbouring great empires.
Its external setting, on the other hand, caused it to be the centre of the old world and provided it
with sea and land links with most nations at the time. Thanks to this strategic position the Arabian
Peninsula had become the centre for trade, culture, religion and art.
Arab kinfolks have been divided according to lineage into three groups:
Perishing Arabs: The ancient Arabs, of whose history little is known, and of whom were ‘Ad,
Thamûd, Tasam, Jadis, Emlaq, and others.
Pure Arabs: Who originated from the progeny of Ya‘rub bin Yashjub bin Qahtan. They were also
called Qahtanian Arabs.
Arabized Arabs: Who originated from the progeny of Ishmael. They were also called ‘Adnanian
The pure Arabs – the people of Qahtan – originally lived in Yemen and comprised many tribes, two
of which were very famous:
1. Himyar: The most famous of whose septs were Zaid Al-Jamhur, Quda‘a and Sakasic.
2. Kahlan: The most famous of whose septs were Hamdan, Anmar, Tai’, Mudhhij, Kinda,
Lakhm, Judham, Azd, Aws, Khazraj and the descendants of Jafna — the kings of old Syria.
Kahlan septs emigrated from Yemen to dwell in the different parts of the Arabian Peninsula prior to
the Great Flood (Sail Al-‘Arim of Ma’rib Dam), due to the failure of trade under the Roman pressure
and domain on both sea and land trade routes following Roman occupation of Egypt and Syria.
Naturally enough, the competition between Kahlan and Himyar led to the evacuation of the first and
the settlement of the second in Yemen.
1. Azd: Who, under the leadership of ‘Imran bin ‘Amr Muzaiqbâ’, wandered in Yemen, sent
pioneers and finally headed northwards. Details of their emigration can be summed up as