The Rise and Spread of IslamPre-Islamic ArabiaBoundless World History
The Nomadic Tribes of ArabiaThe nomadic pastoralist Bedouin tribes inhabited the Arabian Peninsula before the rise ofIslam around 700 CE.LEARNING OBJECTIVESDescribe the societal structure of tribes in ArabiaKEY TAKEAWAYSKey PointsNomadic Bedouin tribes dominated the Arabian Peninsula before the rise ofIslam.Family groups called clans formed larger tribal units, which reinforced familycooperation in the dicult living conditions on the Arabian peninsula andUp%t Your Truck & Van FlDesign Work TrucksTurnkey custom van up%tsare ready to roll upon delivery.Learn MoreAdMike Albert Up%t
protected its members against other tribes.The Bedouin tribes were nomadic pastoralists who relied on their herds ofgoats, sheep, and camels for meat, milk, cheese, blood, fur/wool, and othersustenance.The pre-Islamic Bedouins also hunted, served as bodyguards, escortedcaravans, worked as mercenaries, and traded or raided to gain animals,women, gold, fabric, and other luxury items.Arab tribes begin to appear in the south Syrian deserts and southern Jordanaround 200 CE, but spread from the central Arabian Peninsula after the rise ofIslam in the 630s CE.Key TermsNabatean: an ancient Semitic people who inhabited northern Arabia andSouthern Levant, ca. 37–100 CE.Bedouin: a predominantly desert-dwelling Arabian ethnic group traditionallydivided into tribes or clans.Pre-Islamic ArabiaPre-Islamic Arabia refers to the Arabian Peninsula prior to the rise of Islam in the 630s.Some of the settled communities in the Arabian Peninsula developed into distinctivecivilizations. Sources for these civilizations are not extensive, and are limited to archaeologicalevidence, accounts written outside of Arabia, and Arab oral traditions later recorded by Islamicscholars. Among the most prominent civilizations were Thamud, which arose around 3000BCE and lasted to about 300 CE, and Dilmun, which arose around the end of the fourthmillennium and lasted to about 600 CE. Additionally, from the beginning of the first millenniumBCE, Southern Arabia was the home to a number of kingdoms, such as the Sabaean kingdom,and the coastal areas of Eastern Arabia were controlled by the Iranian Parthians andSassanians from 300 BCE.Pre-Islamic religion in Arabia consisted of indigenous polytheistic beliefs, Ancient Arabian
Christianity, Nestorian Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. Christianity existed in theArabian Peninsula, and was established first by the early Arab traders who heard the gospelfrom Peter the apostle at Jerusalem (Acts 2:11), as well as those evangelized by Paul’s ministryin Arabia (Galatians 1:17) and by St Thomas. While ancient Arabian Christianity was strong inareas of Southern Arabia, especially with Najran being an important center of Christianity,Nestorian Christianity was the dominant religion in Eastern Arabia prior to the advent of Islam.