Islam was revealed in Arabic in the Arabian Peninsula, but what does it actually say about Arabs? What is their place in Islam and Islamic history? And does this apply to today’s modern musta’rab (Arabized people) or only to the original Arabs?
Arabs & Islamic Culture in Islamic History
Enmity to Islam
- The first opponents of Islam were Arabs. They tortured and killed Muslims, even spearing a woman- Sumayya- in her vagina.
- The people Muslims had to flee from, several times, were Arabs.
- The first army Muslims fought was an army of Arabs.
- The first munafiqeen (hypocrites) were Arabs. They pretended to be Muslims ready to fight with Prophet Muhammad, sAá&s, then betrayed him.
- The first murtadeen- renegade apostates- and false prophets were Arabs.
Enmity to Prophet Muhammad, sAá&s, and His Family
- Arabs tried to assassinate Prophet Muhammad, sAá&s, a grave sin of the Children of Israel condemned in the Qur-an many times.
- The first people to physically attack the body of Prophet Muhammad, sAá&s, were Arabs.
- The first people to belie and mock the Prophet Muhammad, sAá&s, were Arabs.
- The murderer of Ali, son-in-law of the Prophet, 4th Khalifa (Caliph), was an Arab.
- The murderers of the grandsons of the Prophet Muhammad, Hasan & Husayn, were Arabs.
Arabs & Arab Culture in the Qur-an & Prophetic Narrations (Hadith)
“So when you have accomplished your (Hajj) rituals, remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with a greater rememberance…” (Qur-an 2.200)
This refutes a custom the Arabs had introduced into the Hajj (a pilgrimage which precedes Allah’s revelation to Muhammad). In it, they would spend hours praising their forefathers in poetry and song, an exercise in tribal pride.
Bedouin Arab Culture is Disbelief and Hypocrisy
“The wandering desert Arabs are the severest in disbelief and hypocrisy, and most likely to be ignorant of the limits which Allah hath revealed unto His messenger. And Allah is Knower, Wise.
Some of the desert Arabs look upon their payments as a fine, and watch for disasters for you: on them be the disaster of evil: for Allah is He That heareth and knoweth (all things).
But some of the desert Arabs believe in Allah and the Last Day, and look on their payments as pious gifts bringing them nearer to Allah and obtaining the prayers of the Messenger. Aye, indeed they bring them nearer (to Him): soon will Allah admit them to His Mercy: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur-an 9.97-99)
“He Who belongs to the Bedouin is most likely harsh and hard of heart”
[Reported by Abu Y’ala on the authority of Al-Bara’. Also by Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurairah].
“All the following people are cursed by Muhammad (Peace be upon him) until the Day of Judgment, the man who lends money at interest (Riba), the man who accepts to pay it back at interest, the man who writes down this usurious agreement, the two witnesses of it at those times, the tattooer and the tattooed for the of beauty, the procrastinator of Zakah, whoever turns back to the Bedouin life after his immigration.”
[Reported by lbn Khuzaimah in his Sahih (No.2250), Al-Hakim (vol. 1, pp.387, 388), Al-Baihaqi (vol.9, p.19), and `Abd Al-Raziq in his Musanaf with difference in words (No.15350). It is also reported by Ahmad (No.3881), Al-Nasa’i (vol.8, p.147), and Ibn Hibban (No .3252) on the authority of Al-Harith Al-A’war]
The apostate to Bedouin life, as Ibn Al-‘Athir said, is the one who returns to desert and live with the Bedoums after his immigration. The man who returned to Bedouin life after immigration without excuse was considered an apostate.
Abu Hurairah reported in a hadith that:
“The great sins are disbelief in Allah, killing a fellow man without a just cause, devouring usury, eating up the property of orphans unjustly, turning one’s back to the disbelievers in a battlefield at the time of fighting, accusing chaste women, and to go back to the Bedouin after one’s immigration.”
[Al-Haitharni said: It is reported by Al-Bazar, vol.1, p.103]
Sahl Ibn Abi Hathamah narrated after his father that he heard the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying:
“Avoid the great seven sins. When the Prophet saw that the people kept silent, he went on: “Won’t you ask me about them? They are: to associate partners in worship with Allah and to turn and live in the desert with Bedouin after the immigration etc.”
[Al-Haithami said: It is reported by Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabir, vol.1, p.103]
Selling Daughters and Female Wards
“And give to the women (whom you marry) their dowry with a good heart…” (Qur-an 4.4)
This bans the practice of giving dowries to the fathers of the bride, effectively ending the custom of selling daughters and buying wives against their will.
Passing Women between Brothers
O ye who believe! It is not lawful for you forcibly to inherit the women (of your deceased kinsmen), nor (that) ye should put constraint upon them that ye may take away a part of that which ye have given them, unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness. But consort with them in kindness, for if ye hate them it may happen that ye hate a thing wherein Allah hath placed much good. (Qur-an 4.19)
The Arab custom of widows being inherited by their brother-in-law or other in-laws is banned.
Passing Wives to Sons
And marry not women whom your fathers married,- except what is past: It was shameful and odious,- an abominable custom indeed. (Qur-an 4.22)
Another Arab custom is banned.
Sexual Comparison of Wives and Mothers
If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar, they cannot be their mothers: None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly Allah is one that blots out (sins), and forgives (again and again).
But those who divorce their wives by Zihar, then wish to go back on the words they uttered,- (It is ordained that such a one) should free a slave before they touch each other: Thus are ye admonished to perform: and Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.
And he who findeth not (the wherewithal), let him fast for two successive months before they touch one another; and for him who is unable to do so (the penance is) the feeding of sixty needy ones. This, that ye may put trust in Allah and His messenger. Such are the limits (imposed by Allah); and for disbelievers is a painful doom. (Qur-an 58.2-4)
Zihar, the Arab custom of divorcing a wife by saying approaching her is like approaching the back of his mother, is condemned, punished and banned.
Refutation of Blood Feuds
“O you who believe! The Law of Equality in Punishment is prescribed for you in the case of murder: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.
But if the killer is forgiven by the brother (or relatives, etc.) of the killed for blood money, then adhering to it with fairness and payment of the blood-money to the heir should be done in fairness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. So after this, whoever transgresses the limits (i.e. kills the killer after taking the blood-money), he shall have a painful torment.
And there is a saving of life for you in the Law of Equality in Punishment, O people of understanding, that you may become righteous.” (Qur-an 2.178-9)
Previously, tribes would retaliate for a murder by murdering any other member of the offending tribe, which would in turn retaliate, starting a vicious cycle of vengeance. At the time of Allah’s revelation to Muhammad, a blood feud had been running for centuries between two tribes that began with a member of one drinking from the other’s well.
Hating Females and Murdering Female Infants
“And when the female infant is asked: for what sin was she killed?… …every soul will know what it has brought (of good and evil).” (Qur-an 81.8-9, 14)
When news is brought to one of them, of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief!
He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that which is announced to him. Shall he keep it with disgrace or bury it (alive) in the dust? Now surely evil is what they judge. (Qur-an 16.58-9)
The Arabs used to dig a hole for the mother to deliver over. If it was a girl, they would simply bury her in the hole. This is the amount of shame and inferiority that was attached to females. There is a narration in which a man once informed Prophet Muhammad that he buried his daughter alive after she was several years old. It is also reported that a man once told the Prophet that he had buried eight of his daughters alive before Islam.
Today, Arab men publicly greet each other by kissing and hugging each other multiple times, and also hold hands when they walk. Any display of affection towards a woman is generally forbidden.
Other Miscellaneous Refutations of Arab Culture and Customs
“And as such do the idols beautify for the idolaters the killing of their children, in order to lead them into their own destruction and confuse them in their religion. And if Allah Had Willed, they would not have done so. So leave them alone in their fabrications.
And they say: “What is in the bellies of these cattle is for our males alone, and forbidden to our females, but if it is born dead, the all have shares therein.” He Will Punish them for their attribution (of such evils to Himself). Verily, He Is Wise, Knowing. (Qur-an 6.137, 139)
Arabs in Islamic Prophecy
The Khawarij- extremist rebels- were and will be Arabs
Jabir b. Abdullah reported that a person came to the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) at Ja’rana on his way back from Hunain, and there was in the clothes of Bilal some silver. The Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam) took a handful out of that and bestowed it upon the people. He (the person who had met the Prophet at Ja’rana) said to him: Muhammad, do justice. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Woe be upon thee, who would do justice if I do not do justice, and you would be very unfortunate and a loser if I do not do justice. Upon this Umar b. Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said: Permit me to kill this hypocrite. Upon this he (the Holy Prophet) said: May there be protection of Allah! People would say that I kill my companions. This man and his companions would recite the Qur’an but it would not go beyond their throat, and they swerve from it just as the arrow goes through the prey.
[Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2316]
In one narration the words are:
A person among the people then sought permission (from the Holy Prophet) for his murder. According to some, it was Khalid b. Walid who sought the permission. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (SallAllah-u-Alaihi-wa-Sallam), said: From this very person’s posterity there would arise people who would recite the Qur’an, but it would not go beyond their throat; they would kill the followers of Islam and would spare the idol-worshippers. They would glance through the teachings of Islam so hurriedly just as the arrow passes through the pray. If I were to ever find them I would kill them like ‘Ad.
[Sahih Muslim: Book 005, Number 2318]
The Dajjaal* Will Resemble an Arab
*”Deceiving Anointed One”, False Messiah, Anti-Christ
No, By Allah, the Prophet did not tell that Jesus was of red complexion but said, “While I was asleep circumambulating the Ka’ba (in my dream), suddenly I saw a man of brown complexion and lank hair walking between two men, and water was dropping from his head. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ The people said, ‘He is the son of Mary.’ Then I looked behind and I saw a red-complexioned, fat, curly-haired man, blind in the right eye which looked like a bulging out grape. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘He is Ad-Dajjal.’ (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 650)
In another narration:
The Prophet added, “The man he resembled most is Ibn Qatan, a man from the tribe of Khuza’a.” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 242)
Great Trials and Tribulations Will Come From Arabia
The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said,
“O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Shaam [The Levant]. O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Yemen.”
The people said, “O Messenger of Allaah, and our Najd [Central Arabia or Iraq].”
I think the third time the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “There (in Najd) will occur earthquakes, trials and tribulations, and from their appears the Horn of Satan.”
(Reported in al-Bukhaaree [Book of Trials, Chpt. ‘The afflictions will come from the East’ 9/166 no. 214 Eng. Trans])
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established till the buttocks of the women of the tribe of Daus move while going round Dhi-al-Khalasa.” Dhi-al-Khalasa was the idol of the Daus tribe which they used to worship in the Pre Islamic Period of ignorance. (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 232)
Narrated by Abu Huraira
Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established till a man from Qahtan appears, driving the people with his stick.” (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 88, Number 233)
Qahtan is a large tribe in the Arabian Peninsula.
“The Arab intellect turns easily to lies, delusions and burying facts, as an excercise to save its face (dignity). Thus, it never accepts defeat, neither it is apologetic.”
Salman al-Ouda is a respected Muslim scholar from the Arabian Peninsula. He is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and on its Board of Trustees, and a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today. He and appears on a number of TV shows and authors newspaper articles.