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Middle Eastern and African History Middle Eastern and African History Forum - Egypt, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and all nations of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula


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Old July 8th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #1
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Who are the Arabs?


Are the Arabs an ethnicity or a tribe? Where do they come from and how far back in time do they go?

Wikipedia tells me the word Arab was first documented in the 9th century BC so we know that the word is at least that old. However, instead of getting caught up in semantics it should be kept in mind that I'm actually referring to the people who have traditionally inhabited the Arabian peninsula, whether they were known as Arabs or as something else prior to that.

What other ethnicities are traditionally associated with the Middle-East and how far back in time do they go?

Furthermore, are Arab and Semite the same? If so, were the early Jews Arabs as well?

As you can see I'm quite ignorant on this topic so will greatly appreciate any information on this.

Thanks,
-R
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Old July 8th, 2011, 11:41 AM   #2

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But those Wikipedia articles are not informative enough, at least for starters?

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_people"]Arab people[/ame]

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Peninsula"]Arabian Peninsula[/ame]

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic"]Semitic[/ame]
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Old July 8th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #3

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I have had these questions before and the answers were more confusing, the bit that got to me is that there is a difference between being an Arabic (Semitic language) speaker and being a Arabic of origin

You 2 kinds of Arabs by lineage:

1-Adnanites : said to be the Semitic descendents of Abraham through Ismael from the Northern parts of the region in Iraq.
2-Qahtanites : I remember reading that some of them (tribes that is) did not speak Arabic but most did, but they are said to be the original ethnic Arabs of the southern parts of the Arabian peninsula.

I would love to learn more myself
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Old July 8th, 2011, 11:54 AM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosi View Post
Are the Arabs an ethnicity or a tribe?
In today's world they are a linguistic group. Saying its an ethnicity is wrong because the difference is obvious when you e.g. compare a Moroccan Arab and a Yemeni Arab. As far as the history is concerned i can only give a religious explanation, that is that Arabs and Jews trace their lineage back to Abraham (according to Islam). The rest is up to you whether you wanna believe that or not.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamxa91 View Post
In today's world they are a linguistic group. Saying its an ethnicity is wrong because the difference is obvious when you e.g. compare a Moroccan Arab and a Yemeni Arab. As far as the history is concerned i can only give a religious explanation, that is that Arabs and Jews trace their lineage back to Abraham (according to Islam). The rest is up to you whether you wanna believe that or not.
I really don't know what is religion and what is history, I mean where one ends and the other begins. I'm here to learn, I'm not going to dismiss any points of view. Besides I understand what a big role religion plays in that region.

If as you say Arabs also trace their lineage back to Abraham, just as the Jews, does that make the Arabs "chosen people" as well?

Let me apologize in advance if I'm conflating issues or the mere asking of these questions is offensive to anyone. Any offence is unintentional. For me this topic is devoid of emotion and purely a learning exercise.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:01 PM   #6

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Book of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilees"]Jubilees[/ame] 20:13 And Ishmael and his sons, and the sons of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keturah"]Keturah[/ame] and their sons, went together and dwelt from [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paran"]Paran[/ame] to the entering in of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon"]Babylon[/ame] in all the land which is towards the East facing the desert. And these mingled with each other, and their name was called [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabateans"]Arabs[/ame] (Arabs), and Ishmaelites.

[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmaelites"]Ishmaelites - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

According to this wiki article however, the arabs came from Yemen, and that Nabateans were called Avrim but werent Arabs confusing how many different answers you get on wiki
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:07 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosi View Post
I really don't know what is religion and what is history, I mean where one ends and the other begins. I'm here to learn, I'm not going to dismiss any points of view. Besides I understand what a big role religion plays in that region.

If as you say Arabs also trace their lineage back to Abraham, just as the Jews, does that make the Arabs "chosen people" as well?

Let me apologize in advance if I'm conflating issues or the mere asking of these questions is offensive to anyone. Any offence is unintentional. For me this topic is devoid of emotion and purely a learning exercise.
Technically thats true, but because as said Arab is more of a linguistic group today rather than an ethnic group, that raises the question who is the real Arab? I guess maybe the Arabs from Palestine down to the Hejaz, because their the ones who are closest to the Jews genetically.

Last edited by Shaheen; July 8th, 2011 at 12:13 PM.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:11 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosi View Post
If as you say Arabs also trace their lineage back to Abraham, just as the Jews, does that make the Arabs "chosen people" as well? .
Only the northern Arabs are said to trace their origins to Abraham, the southern Arabs are said to be from a different line.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iraq Bruin View Post
I have had these questions before and the answers were more confusing, the bit that got to me is that there is a difference between being an Arabic (Semitic language) speaker and being a Arabic of origin

You 2 kinds of Arabs by lineage:

1-Adnanites : said to be the Semitic descendents of Abraham through Ismael from the Northern parts of the region in Iraq.
2-Qahtanites : I remember reading that some of them (tribes that is) did not speak Arabic but most did, but they are said to be the original ethnic Arabs of the southern parts of the Arabian peninsula.
Why is that? I mean, why the two kinds? Did Qahtanites follow Adnanites in conversion to Islam? So I think the very early Muslims, those who were with prophet Mohammed would be the Adnanites?
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Old July 8th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamxa91 View Post
As far as the history is concerned i can only give a religious explanation, that is that Arabs and Jews trace their lineage back to Abraham (according to Islam). The rest is up to you whether you wanna believe that or not.
Well, there is no proof that there was ever any Abraham in the first place ...
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