Arab identity is the objective or subjective state of perceiving oneself as an Arab and as relating to being Arab. It relies on a common culture, a traditional lineage, the common land in history, shared experiences including underlying conflicts and confrontations. These commonalities are regional and tribal. Arab identity is defined independently of religious identity, and pre-dates the spread of Islam, with historically attested Arab Christian tribes and Arab Jewish tribes. Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious affiliations and practices. Most Arabs are Muslim, with a minority adhering to other faiths, largely Christianity, but also Druze and Baha'i.
Arab identity can also be seen through a lens of local or regional identity. Throughout Arab history, there have been three major national trends in the Arab world. Pan-Arabism rejects states' existing sovereignty as artificial creations and calls for full Arab unity.
- 1 History
- 2 Ideology
- 3 Unity
- 4 Definition
- 5 Homeland
- 6 Categories
- 7 See also
- 8 References
The Arabs are first mentioned in the mid-ninth century BCE as a people living in eastern and southern Syria, and the north of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Arabs appear to have been under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BCE), and then the succeeding Neo-Babylonian Empire (605–539 BCE), Persian Achaemenid Empire (539–332 BCE), Greek Macedonian/Seleucid Empire and Parthian Empire. Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids begin to appear in the south Syrian deserts and southern Jordan from the mid 3rd century CE onwards, during the mid to later stages of the Roman Empire and Sasanian Empire.
The relation of ʿarab and ʾaʿrāb is complicated further by the notion of "lost Arabs" al-ʿArab al-ba'ida mentioned in the Qur'an as punished for their disbelief. All contemporary Arabs were considered as descended from two ancestors, Qahtan and Adnan. During the early Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Arabs forged the Rashidun and then Umayyad Caliphate, and later the Abbasid Caliphate, whose borders touched southern France in the west, China in the east, Anatolia in the north, and the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land empires in history.
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology that asserts the Arabs are a nation and promotes the unity of Arab people. In its contemporary conception, it is the belief that the Arab people are a people united by language, culture, ethnicity, history, geography and interests, and that one Arab state will assemble the Arabs within its borders from the ocean to the Gulf. The Arabs believed that they were an old nation. It showed Arab pride in Arabic poetry. In the era of Islam, nationalism was manifested by the feeling of the Arabs as a distinct nation within Islam. In the modern era, this idea was embodied by ideologies such as Nasserism and Ba'athism, which were the most common in the Arab world, especially in the mid-twentieth century until the end of the seventies, characterized by the establishment of the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria and witnessed many other attempts of unity. Arab nationalism gained a new popular range as a result of the Arab Spring and the emergence of an Arab popular trend calling for an Arab unity led by the people, not the authoritarian regimes that installed the wave of nationalism without accomplishing anything in this direction.
Arab socialism is a political ideology based on the confusion between Arab nationalism and socialism. Arab socialism differs from the socialist ideas prevalent in the Arab world. For many, including Michel Aflaq, Arab socialism was a natural step towards the consolidation of Arab unity and freedoms, since the socialist system of ownership and development alone can overcome the remnants of colonialism in the Arab world.
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification of the countries of North Africa and West Asia from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, referred to as the Arab world. The idea is based on the integration of some or all of the Arab countries into a single political and economic framework that removes the borders between the Arab states and establishes a strong economic, human and military state. Arab unity is an idea that the Arab nationalists believe as a solution to the backwardness, occupation and oppression that the Arab citizen lives in all the countries of this country extending from the ocean to the Gulf.
The Arab League, formally the League of Arab States is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Its charter provides for coordination among member states in economic matters, including trade relations, communications, cultural relations, nationalities, travel documents and permits, social relations and health.
A member of a Semitic people, inhabiting much of the Middle East and North Africa. The ties that bind Arabs are ethnic, linguistic, cultural, historical, identical, nationalist, geographical and political. They have their own customs, language, architecture, art, literature, music, dance, media, cuisine, dress, society, sports and mythology.
According to Arab-Islamic-Jewish traditions, Ishmael was father of the Arabs, to be the ancestor of the Ishmaelites they are the descendants of Ishmael, the elder son of Abraham and the descendants of the 12 sons/princes of Ishmael.
|“||Those who belong to the Arab ethnic group, the Arab people or the Arab nation, speak a form of Arabic and consider it their "natural" language; regard the history and cultural characteristics of the Arabs as their inheritance; assert an Arab identity or consciousness.—Maxime Rodinson||”|
|“||By "Arab" I mean whoever describes himself thus … there, where he is - in his history, his memory, the place where he lives, dies and survives. There, where he is - that is to say, in the experience of a life which is both tolerable and intolerable for him.—Abdelkebir Khatibi||”|
|“||Arabs: name given to the ancient and present-day inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula and often applied to the peoples closely allied to them in ancestry, language, religion, and culture. Presently more than 200 million Arabs are living mainly in 21 countries; they constitute the overwhelming majority of the population in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and the nations of North Africa. The Arabic language is the main symbol of cultural unity among these people, but the religion of Islam provides another common bond for the majority of Arabs.—Encarta Encyclopedia||”|
The Arab world, formally the Arab homeland, also known as the Arab nation or the Arab states, currently consists of the 22 Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, occupy an area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. Arab world has a combined population of around 422 million inhabitants.
Arab identity can be described as consisting of many interconnected parts:
Arabs belong to the Semitic branch of the Caucasian race, mostly Mediterranean race. The Arabid race is a term for a morphological subtype of the Caucasoid race, as used in physical anthropology. Some recent genetic studies have found (by analysis of the DNA of Semitic-speaking peoples), Y-chromosomal links between modern Semitic-speaking peoples of the Middle East like Arabs, Hebrews, Mandaeans, Samaritans, and Assyrians.
Medieval Arab genealogists divided Arabs into three groups:
- "Ancient Arabs" tribes that had vanished or been destroyed.
- "Pure Arabs" descending from Qahtan who was a descendant of Ishmael.
- The "Arabized Arabs" descending from Ishmael the elder son of Abraham.
The Arabs refuse to classify and called them as "white" they identify themselves as "Arab". When it comes to Arabs it seems this important point is often lost, as see more and more attempts to position them as “white.”
Ethnic identity is another factor in Arab identity, who identify, linguistically, identically, culturally, societally, ancestrally, historically, politically, nationally and genealogically as "Arab".
In the modern era, it is defined who is an Arab based on these criteria:
- Genealogical: someone who can trace his or her ancestry to the Arab tribes, from the Arabian Desert, Syrian Desert and neighboring areas.
- Ancestral: belonging to Arab people, inherited from grandparents, or denoting an ancestor or ancestors.
- Self-concept: a person who defines himself as "Arab", belongs to the Arab nation.
- Identical: someone being as an Arab.
- Linguistic: someone whose first language, and by extension cultural expression, is Arabic.
- Cultural: someone who belongs to Arab culture relating to the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a society.
- Political: someone his country is a member of the League of Arab States and who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arab peoples. (i.e. Somalis and Djiboutians).
- Societal: while self-reliance, individuality, and responsibility are taught by Arabic parents to their children, family loyalty is the greatest lesson taught in Arab families.
- National: one who is a national of an Arab state or characteristic of Arab nationalism.
National identity is one's identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nation. It is the sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, language and politics. Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world. The premise of Arab nationalism is the need for an ethnic, political, cultural and historical unity among the Arab peoples of the Arab countries. The main objective of Arab nationalism was to achieve the independence of Western influence of all Arab countries. Arab political strategies with the nation in order to determine the struggle of the Arab nation with the state system (nation-state) and the struggle of the Arab nation for unity. The concepts of new nationalism and old nationalism are used in analysis to expose the conflict between nationalism, national ethnic nationalism, and new national political nationalism. These two aspects of national conflicts highlight the crisis known as the Arab Spring, which affects the Arab world today. Suppressing the political struggle to assert the identity of the new civil state is said to clash with the original ethnic identity.
Until about the fourth century, almost all Arabs practised polytheistic religions. Although significant Jewish and Christian minorities developed, polytheism remained the dominant belief system in pre-Islamic, most Arabs followed a pagan religion with a number of deities, including Hubal, Wadd, Allāt, Manat, and Uzza. A few individuals, the hanifs, had apparently rejected polytheism in favor of monotheism unaffiliated with any particular religion. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in Meccan religion. Today the majority of Arabs are Muslims, identities are often seen as inseparable. The "Verse of brotherhood" is the tenth verse of the Quranic chapter "Al-Hujurat", is about brotherhood of believers with each other. However, there were divergent currents in Arabism - one religious and secular one - throughout Arab history. After the collapse of the Ottoman Islamic caliphate in the 20th century, Arab nationalism emerged on the religious front. These two trends have continued to overcome each other to this day. Now, religious fundamentalism offers an alternative to secular nationalism. There are also different religious denominations within Islam and are often valuable to religion as a whole, leading to sectarian conflict and conflict. In fact, the social and psychological distances between Sunni and Shia Muslims may be greater than the perceived distance between different religions. Because of this, Islam can be seen both as a unification and as a force of division in Arab identity.
Arab cultural identity is characterized by complete uniformity. Arab cultural space are historically so tightly interwoven. Arab cultural identity has been assessed through four measures that measure the basic characteristics of Arab culture: religiosity, grouping, belief in gender hierarchy and attitudes toward sexual behavior. The results indicate the predominance of the professional strategies that Arab social workers have learned in their training in social work, while indicating the willingness of social workers to benefit from established strategies in their culture and society, either separately or in combination with the professional. There are different aspects of Arab identity, whether ethnic, religious, national, linguistic or cultural - of different fields and analytical angles.
|“||The family is still at the heart of traditional Arabic letters that the fact that the family is a basic unit of social organization in the traditional Arab contemporary society may explain why it continues to exercise a significant influence on the formation of identity. At the heart of social and economic activities, this institution is still very coherent. Exercise the early and most lasting influence on the person's affiliations.—Halim Barakat||”|
For some Arabs, beyond language, race, religion, tribe or region. Arabic; hence, can be considered as a common factor among all Arabs. Since the Arabic language also exceeds the country's border, the Arabic language helps to create a sense of Arab nationalism. According to the Iraqi world exclusive Cece, "it must be people who speak one language one heart and one soul, so should form one nation and thus one country." There are two sides to the coin, argumentative. While the Arabic language as one language can be a unifying factor, the language is often not unique at all. Accents vary from region to region, there are wide differences between written and spoken versions, many countries host bilingual citizens, many Arabs are illiterate. This leads us to examine other identifying aspects of Arabic identity. Arabic, a Semitic language from the Afroasiatic language family. Modern Standard Arabic serves as the standardized and literary variety of Arabic used in writing, as well as in most formal speech, although it is not used in daily speech by the overwhelming majority of Arabs. Most Arabs who are functional in Modern Standard Arabic acquire it through education and use it solely for writing and formal settings.
Arab political identity characterized by restraint, tolerance, compassion, hospitality, generosity, tolerance restraint, proper conduct, equality and unanimity. Arab countries to redefine politics are linked to the fact that the political culture behind the Arabs has been overrun for centuries by successive political. The vast majority of the citizens of the Arab countries view themselves and are seen by outsiders as "Arabs". Their sense of the Arab nation is based on their common denominators: language, culture, ethnicity, social and political experiences, economic interests and the collective memory of their place and role in history.
|“||"One who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arab tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture.||”|
|“||An Arab is a person whose language is Arabic, who lives in an Arab country, and who is in sympathy with the aspirations of the Arab peoples.||”|
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