Saturday, January 29, 2005

Who are The Arabs ?

In Islamic and Jewish tradition, Arabs are a Semitic people who trace their ancestry from Ismael (Isma3il), a son of the ancient patriarch Abraham and Hagar. Medieval Arab genealogists divided the Arabs into two groups:

*The "original Arabs" of South Arabia, descending from Qahtan (identified with the biblical Joktan). The Qahtanites are said to have migrated the land of Yemen following the destruction of the Dam of Ma'rib (Sad Ma'rib). The Qahtanite arabs were responsible for the ancient civilizations of Yemen including the biblically renowned Sheba (a descendent of Qahtan).

*The "Arabized Arabs" (musta`ribah) of North Arabia, descending from Adnan, supposed to be a descendant of Ishmael through Kedar. The Arabic language as it is spoken today in its classical Quranic form was the result of a mix between the original Arabic tongue of Qahtan and the northern Arabic which borrowed from other northern Semitic languages from the Levant.

Who are the Arabs? image ©MAF

And thus "An Arab, in the modern sense of the word, is one who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arabian tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture."

On its formation in 1946, the Arab League defined an "Arab" as follows:
"An Arab is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arabic speaking country, who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arabic speaking peoples."

For more information, please check the link above.

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