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PRE AND EARLY ISLAMIC ARABIA

CIVILIZATION
Submitted as the task of History of Islamic
Civilization
Lecturer :
Yuanda Kusuma

composed by
Lia Fatra Senorita K.

(14110234)

Rico Supriyadi

(14110186)

Talqas Syarofa

(14110205)

FACULTY OF TARBIYAH AND TEACHING


STATE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY MAULANA MALIK IBRAHIM
MALANG
2015
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

All praises to Allah SWT, because his grace and guidance we


are given the opportunity to live and activities as usual. Not
forgetting sholawatalways greeting us dedicate to the great Prophet
Muhammad, because he was the one who had brought us from the
dark ages to the age of this apparent that addinul Islam
Alhamdulillah thanks favors of Allah and assistance from
several parties, our group was able to complete the task of

the

history of Islamic civilization paper titled " the history of Islamic


civilization in Arabia" in order to fulfill the task of history of Islamic
civilization. We have earnestly tries to resolve this paper, but due to
the limited capabilities we have, of course there are mistakes and
shortcomings in this paper. Therefore, we expect criticism and
suggestions from readers and others for the perfection of this paper
Hopefully this problem can provide benefits and can provide
additional knowledge to the reader and hopefully all that we do get
Ridlo of Allah SWT.
We thank you for your attention and cooperation of all parties
in order to achieve the creation of a good and correct papers.

Malang, 12 September 2015

TABLE OF CONTENT
CHAPTER I (PREFACE)
Background..
4
Problem
Formulation...4
Purpose

of

the

Study4
CHAPTER II (CONTENT)
1. The
Arabia...5
1.1
What
is
Considered
Arabia?..............................................................................6
1.2
Paper
Focus8
2. PreIslamic
Livelihood...8
2.1
Life
Values9
2.1.1
Tribal
Pride9
2.1.2
Social
Inequity.11
2.2
Prominent
Aspects12
3. After
Islam
Livelihood..12
3

3.1

The

Shift

in

Life

Values..13
3.2
Prominent
Changes
Livelihood...15
4. The
Constitution
of
Medina
as
a

in

Symbol

of

Pluralism..16
REFERENCES

AND

RELATED

READINGS.18

CHAPTER I
PREFACE
1.1

Background
The history of Islamic civilization is the science of the

development or progress of Islamic culture. by studying the history


of Islamic civilization we will know the glory days of Islam so that we
can be proud and confident with the Islamic religion and we can
also take lessons that could be used to develop a civilization today.
as well as studying the history of Islamic civilization, we will know
the period of decline of Islam and we can take a lesson so that it
does not recur today. because history is a teacher for life.
4

On this occasion the author will discuss about the civilization


that occurred in the area of Arabia from before the arrival of Islam
brought by Prophet Muhammad, the national culture of Arabia when
Islam came and cultures of Arabia, after Prophet Muhammad passed
away. hopefully with this paper, the authors specifically and readers
generally can take lessons in order to live a better life than the
previous day.
1.2

Formulation of the Problem


From

the

aforementioned

problem

formulation

authors

propose the formulation of the problem as follows:


1. What is considered Arabia?
2. How the civilization of Arabia before Islam came?
3.
How the civilization of Arabia around the time prophet
Muhammad SAW spreading Islam?
4. What prominence does the Constitution of Medina?
1.3
The Aim
1. To broaden the reader about the history of Islamic civilization in
Arabia
2. To know the culture of the people of Arabia before Islam came
3. To know the culture of the people of Arabia after Islam came
CHAPTER II
CONTENT
5. The Arabia
The Arabia peninsula is a well-known historically remarked
land of Islamic civilization. Many studies regarding Islam require
scholars to refer thoroughly from arabic literature as well as
physically attending the ground and actively researching from
the inside for its credibility would be less questioned. Although
Arab and Islam is not all that there is, this undisputed

characterization has maintained through centuries of long


history.
These notions show that Islam is the biggest influence
among the periods Arab went through. This of course is not
detached from the fact that Prophet Muhammad SAW was born,
raised, and delivered His messages just above the dry, unlivable
land of Arabia, which automatically made Arabia the center of it
all despite its harsh nature. The rise of Islam sure pushed Arabia
into an established welfare and civilization, but was it brought to
life by Prophet Muhammad SAW alone or was there a population
before him that is also held accountable?
The fact is, Arabia and its surrounding have always been the
land where prophets before Muhammad SAW preached Him onto
human. Ibrahim AS was the one who built Kaba, and so was
Ismail AS, which until generations after, it made Mecca a sacred
place for a lot of worshipper. Caravans of merchants are stopping
by each time, and in spite of the exhausting desert route, Arabia
is still an important mercantile stop for many. The area that now
we called Yemen was an oase to those who have roamed the
steam-ground that is Arab as well as for the ones taking the
ocean route. Some areas even have settled tribal resident living
on it. This means that Arabia has been graced by individuals and
travelers, nomads and dwellers continuously overtime; in which
each one of them have likely contributed in making the Arabia
cultured, even before Islam crammed its root in it.
5.1

What is Considered Arabia?


According to Jonathan A.C. Brown in his ASQ article,

Arabia contains of areas whose people speak arabic. This

definition then translated into a vast area on the map, upon


where Arabia covers the whole Arabia peninsula, some area of
North Africa and a half of what now called Middle East.
However, this preposition does not specifically hail to pre-

Image 1 Arabic-speaking areas

Islamic Arabia era. This then raises a question on whether


those countries outside the peninsula have always been
arabic-speaking or the nativity comes around much later.
There were transcripts that show this group of area is actually
indicating the territory of Umar caliphates era, which means
it is considered Arabia most likely only after Islam seized the
lands.

Being a territory of Islam does not make an area


Image 2 Islam Territory in Caliph Umar ra. era

disregarded from being Arabiain fact, in more recent


literatures and studies, it carves the title deeper. That being

said, this paper is focusing on the era when Islam has yet
taken form in any way. This inevitably led us back to the
question of what land is considered Arabia; with emphasis in
the time border that is pre-Islam.
Throughout the first few chapters of his book Islamic
Historiography, Chase F. Robinson mentioned Arab in strictly
two phrases, north Arabia and south Arabia. Although cannot
be takes as granted and too simple to conclude from, it
nuanced that Arabia is a land where east and west are far
less distinctive than its north and south. If this information
is registered to the blank map of Arabia peninsula and around,
it seems more logical to eliminate areas outside the peninsula
completely. Thus, Arabia would mean to be the Arabia
peninsula. This rationalization is also supported by the
historical agreement that borders Prophet Muhammad SAWs
legacy geographically as the Arabia peninsula itself.

Image 2 Islam Territory in Rasulullah SAW era

5.2

Paper Focus
Pre and early Islam civilization is arguably a really broad

topic to cover. While discussing civilization alone according to


Soerjono Soekamto should cater to 7 aspects where each one
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is eligible for a whole books topic (literature, language,


religion, etc.), specifying the population does not make the
study any simpler; rather, student should reach out into its
community background, geographic condition, how it affects
the people, and so on. This makes establishing border for this
paper necessary.
On understanding

communitys

tendency

about

something, researcher should first and foremost see the


objects life through their eyes. There has to be a willingness
to submit into their values and their worldview, in which will
be more likely to happen when researcher subsides into the
objects whole life and the factors that influences it (Hodgson,
1993). That way, decisions and traits would make a lot more
sense and justified with values of the right era. Adopting this
statement would also mean that researcher would void
himself from disruptive prejudices, hence berating the desire
to cut off context from the text completelywhich is
admittedly tempting as it advocates objectivity but would be
misleading as studying literary for history is all about context.
Considering the above, this paper would therefore focus
on the livelihood of Arabias population before and around
early Islam era.
6. Pre- Islamic Livelihood
There are a lot more transcripts and details in Mecca and
Medinas history rather than a more populous area like Hajr. This
condition is fetched from the prominence of those two cities to
Prophet Muhammad SAW era, where oral heritage is taken down
into writings (Cambridge, 2011).

The life values and prominent aspects of pre Islam Arabia


are affected by number of thingstheir tribal pride, their nomad
life and others. These basically rooted from one aspect; their
geographical condition.
Arabia peninsula contained mainly of desert, savannah and
dry land. A large area of it is very scarce of water; the only plants
that grow mostly arent edible. This leads to their preference of
meat, milk, and other animal product, and their tendency to not
settling.

6.1

Life Values

Image 4 Satellite photo of Arabia peninsula that shows the desert

6.1.1

Tribal Pride

In A Brides Story, Kaoru Mori pictures the life of those


Image 5 Arabian tribes land division

who live in desertful area would be tribe-oriented. This


isnt an absolution, for there are the Incans and other
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civilization that does not comply; yet her picturesque is


not unjustifiable either. Although the background set for A
Brides Story is post-soviet Middle Asia, the geographic
similarity with Arabia peninsula can be accounted thus
taken for reference imagery.
The geographic condition is actually the key for
understanding many things they (Arabian) hold firmly. If
we are to imagine the group of people who started
thriving in desert life, wed see the rationalization of why
they would keep the closest bond they have; family. This
bond serves two very basic function to each individual;
physical savage (food and housing) and psychological
fulfillment (comfort).
The desert life was unquestionably difficult, for waters
were barely within reach and plants therefore were hard to
be culturedwhich also affects the limitation in animalbreeding. Survival was an issue. People who lived there
would jump upon any potential food and plan ahead at the
less difficult times. In the manga, Kaoru Mori builds the
story around how the Mongolian people cope with desert
lifein which, they strive by herding sheep that are
owned per kinsfolk. Similarly, sheep-herding would be the
Arabians safest bet, as sheep are plenty in meat, have
pretty high trade-able quality and, well, they multiply.
However, sheep needed grass to be meaty, tradeable and multiplying. This then become another issue as
grass were not merrily everywhere either. The difficult
nature nurtured a sense of thrift in families, for food

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supplies were well enough for a family but not that easily
gained to act generous toward other group of people.
This thrift resulted in land division; each kinship
claimed its territory and rage upon territorial violation as
that would usually mean less food for my sheep and
lesser food for my family. So to survive, they do not
survive alone; the value is to always bring the whole tribe
to welfare. The manifestations of this bondage were
many;

intra-tribe

marriage,

tribal

pride,

socially

emphasized bloodline, etc. This then explains their


tendency to stick close with their kinsman.
In A Brides Story, sticking close

means

the

individuals would wear similar clothing, recite the same


theme of poetry, cook the same food, do the same chore
and preach the same valuethe same religion. This,
6.1.2

apparently, applies to the Arabians as well.


Social Inequity

There are sources mentioning how the pre Islam


Image 5 Drawing of pre Islam Arabian glamour life

Arabian social norms flourished pride exhibition. These


sources associate a lot of wasteful trait the Arabians often
do with their well-known untameable pride. This probably
has to do with their native tribal instinct, as to proof ability
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and wealth to other clan who threaten them. The


difference is, in later times, those pride exhibitions they
do frequently, for a reason or none at all.
The large-scale merchants werent afraid to waste
resources twice as many as its adversary competitor just
to show how much they have, even when the poors are
practically crawling of hunger around them (Shabir Ahmed
on Islam: the True History and False Beliefs). The rich were
ruthless in their behavior towards their lesser. Helping
hand is not encouraged and considered pointless; those
who do would make the butt jokes in the society. People in
the street dont even want to sell things to the poor. This
leads to an inevitable condition where the rich are getting
richer and the poor poorer.
6.2
Prominent Aspects
6.2.1
Religion
Before Islam came, the Arabs inherit their ancestors
superstition that is Paganism. Paganism means that the
Arabs worship some kind of tangible idol that symbolizes
the important things around them, such as cattle, rain,
sun, and glory in battles. Paganism media to god is pagan
wood or metal-made statue. These idols are placed
around and inside the Kaaba. Every tribe, even every
family has their own idol. The tribe with higher social
status gets to place their idol inside Kaaba while the lesser
shouldnt (Armstrong, 2002).

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The Arabs understood that Paganism is far less


Image 6 Lata, Manat and Uzza

sophisticated

than

their

neighborsByzantium

and

Persiasreligion; Judaism and Christianity. They do see


the immorality in their religion, yet they chose not to care
since Paganism soothes their ego better. Paganism is also
an inheritance, and inheritance, however irrational, is
highly valued (Shabir Ahmed on Islam: the True History
and False Beliefs).
Since Paganism offers no universal god other than
Latta, Manat and Uzza (the three daughters of god), there
are no religious law implemented in the society except the
worshipping itself. Every tribe eventually made its own
pagan, collapsing any attempt on just in social structuring
at first notice. If one discussion was to construct law, each
tribe would deny their participation since they all have
different pagan. Paganism in pre Islam Arabia voided the
6.2.2

society from law.


Women
There were stories in Quran mentioning pre Islam
Arabians who bury their daughters at infant alive. This
habit is birthed from their shame of having a daughter, as
it is socially seen as disgrace. Where is this premise
rooted from?
The embarassment of having a daughter comes from
no other than Arab society themselves. They despise
women from being equalized to the men, as womens role

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is

always

degraded

into

mans

attributeas

slave,

entertainer, breeder, pleaser or trophy. Women are treated


like cattle; the more a man has them the better. The only
woman who put in comfort is the tribe leaders wives, in
which they are bejewelled and decorated with luxury. The
prettier the woman, the more she is considered a prize for
competing tribe (Robinson, 2011).
6.2.3

Poetry
The tradition of Arabians is oral telling. Illiteracy is not
uncommon, even at the Islam era, because instead of
writing down, Arabs tell and memorize. This is why the
oral heritage is the main source of knowledge in Arab
before people started writing them down.
Many from the Arabians history sources are in the
form of poetry. Social norms and values at that time are
extracted

from

that

eras

poetry

compilations

by

historians. Poetry is indeed an important part in their


livelihood, as it is a symbol of channeling intellectuality for
them as science for us. Their expertisement in poetry is
also what makes a lot of them recognizes Quran as of
beyond human for them to then embracing Islam despite
their hard, enormous ego (Brown, 2003).
People recite poems in the streets, in the market, to
their detested neighbor, to merchants, to enemies. Poetry
put emphasize in whatever they have to say. Social elites
often pay a poet to recite poems about his wealth and
likewise goodness in his events. Poet is as real a job as
musician is.

15

7. After Islam Livelihood


Through a thorough study and close view on historical
events, actually not many has changed in Arabia about their
worldview during its early stages except that they are becoming
less twisted.
7.1
The Shift in Life Values
After Prophet Muhammad SAW managed to get half of the
peninsula embracing Islam, it is only when the values began
to change (Armstrong, 2002). But there has been nothing
significant changing in the life values department as their
tribal pride and sense of brotherhood is still as strong as ever,
except that there has been major change in viewing the
disparity.
Islam is a religion that advertises equal treatment to
everyone and nurturation of the lesser. This religion provises
its follower to give part of their income to the weak and
vulnerable (zakat). It also has a rule where Muslims should
fast in Ramadhan to share the misery of those who cannot eat
whenever they please.
This significantly breaks the previous social structure in
which disparity is hospitable; tribe leaders and their big, big
pride felt threatened so they marched against Muhammad
SAW, mock him publicly and torture even their own family
member who dared to follow the alien concept of new religion.
7.2
Prominent Changes in Livelihood

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Islam

brought

women

the

respect

they

deserve;

Image 7 left: an image of inside the house of Arabian family after Islam.
Right: trade caravans

daughters are no longer suffering their fathers irrational


displeasure. Women nourished and given places in society or
kept in their house to avoid discomfort, and their role to give
birth to children is no longer frowned upon.
Mercantile, on the other hand, stays as Arabs main
livelihood. What changes is that honesty in trading valued and
celebrated, unlike the old times where everyone knows
everyone cheats their trading tool but does nothing about it.
Music and other things that indicate lavish lifestyle are
banned, which marks an era where seeking pleasure through
wasting resources is discouraged from continuing.
8. The Constitution of Medina as a Symbol of Pluralism
This was coverage by from Sean William Whites about
Medina Charter:
When the Prophet was forced to immigrate to Medina in
later days, the population was a mixture of many different tribes
(predominantly Arabic and Jewish), who had been fighting for
nearly a century, causing civil strife, and it was for this reason
that the Prophet was summoned there. Tribal fighting and a lack
of governance in Medina (known as Yathrib) meant disputes were
dealt with by the sword on many occasions, which deepened
the divides and fueled conflicts. Karen Armstrong, in Muhammad:
a Prophet for Our Time, explains aptly the mentality and

17

workings of the tribal system dispersed through war-torn Arabia,


the region where the Prophet was striving for peace:
The tribe, not a deity, was of supreme value, and each
member had to subordinate his or her personal needs
and desires to the well-being of the group and to fight
to the death, if necessary, to ensure its survival.
Such a system was, in a political sense, representative of the
little cooperation between the tribes in the Yathrib. In this region
reigned power-hungry strategies, an emphasis on arms and
strength in the military, and a belief that resolution of differences
through mediation was clearly unachievable except by a
trustworthy outsider who had no connections to the issues or the
tribes. Not only did the Prophet fit these prerequisites, but his
personal ambition as given to him by God was also one of
spreading peace and unity, creating a community or ummah. The
Prophet, in formulating the Medina Charter, was demonstrating
Islam in actionusing Divine precepts as the foundation, and
then employing reason, discussion, and contemplation. As such,
a peace treaty was created.
The mere formation of the Charter and the resultant peace
were tremendous feats, and the content of the Charter itself
reflects this magnitude. The formation of an ummah through
respect and mutual acceptance resulting in pluralism shows us
one of the ways in which the Prophet combated jahiliyyah, or
ignorance the state of mind that causes violence and terror, as
noted by Armstrong. Examining some of the clauses in the

18

Charter also shows how the Prophet managed to exemplify


outstanding leadership and create a lasting peace.
The Medina Charter reflects pluralism both in the content
and in the history of the document. F. E. Peters explains that,
The contracting parties, although they did not embrace
Islam, did recognize the Prophets authority, accepting
him as the community leader and abiding by his political
judgments.
As there is no account of an uprising in the history books,
and because the Prophet was instated as leader at the
suggestion of the tribes, we know that he was never rejected.
Despite the laws he introduced, the existing groups clearly did
not feel threatened by his presence or his governance. The
society was pluralistic, and it was not repressive. The Prophet
never imposed Islam upon the people of Medina, which meant
that they could still practice without disruption their religions and
customs, aspects of life that were fundamentally important to
them. He did not create an ummah through denouncing all ways
of life except for Islam or by recognizing Islam as the singular
religion; instead he united all inhabitants of the city under one
banner of ethical living and moral principlescommonalities
between all humans and all religions.

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REFERENCES AND RELATED READINGS

Armstrong, Karen. 2002. Islam: a Short History. New York: The


Random House Publishing
Brown, Jonathan A. C. 2003. The Social Context of Pre-Islamic
Poetry: Poetic Imagery and Social Reality in Muallaqat in Arab
Studies Quarterly vol. 25 no. 3. City of publication and publisher
not specified.
Ahmed, Shabbir. 2009. Islam: The True History and False Beliefs.
Published online by the author himself. City of publication and
publisher not specified.
Haekal, M. Husein. Sejarah Hidup Muhammad. Year of publication,
city of publication and publisher not specified.
Robinson, Chase F. (ed.). 2010. The New Cambridge: History of
Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Hodgson, Marshall G. 1993. Rethinking World History. Cambridge:
The Press Syndicate of Cambridge University

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Mori, Kaoru. 2014. A Brides Story. Jakarta: Elex Media Komputindo


TheHistoryTV. April 2010. Kaaba and Pre Islamic Mecca. Uploaded
on youtube
Kister, M. J. 1990. Society and Religion from Jahiliyya to Islam.
London: Variorum
White, Sean William. 2010. Medina Charter and Pluralism in The
Fountain Magazine issue 76. Published online. The article is also
published in Message International website
Fordham University website. Medieval Sourcebook: Pre-Islamic
Arabia: The Hanged Poems, before 622 CE.
Osman, Fathi. A Q & A on Pluralism: an Islamic Perspective on
Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement website. Accessed
September 2015

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