Home African Caribbean Relationship between Arabs and Afrikans Part ll
Social and Cultural Anthropologist and contributor Scherin Barlow Massay

Social and Cultural Anthropologist and contributor Scherin Barlow-Massay

The northern part of Arabia was populated by

thirteen Semitic clans whose language was Semitic in origin and whose forefather was Joktan. Both the southern and northern clans shared a common paternal ancestor.

Before the people of Arabia embraced the Islamic faith in the seventh century CE, pre- Islamic Arabia was ruled by tribal chiefs who presided over the areas in which they lived.

The only exception was the ancient kingdom of Sheba (Saba)   located in modern day Yemen.

The Sabeans were a peaceful people who engaged in commercial trading. They are credited with domesticating the camel and dominating the camel caravan routes, travelling as far north as Tyre in the 7Lebanon where they traded in gold, frankincense, myrrh, ivory and precious stones. Because of their industriousness the country became very wealthy.

The Queen of Sheba when visiting King Solomon was reported to have taken him gifts of precious stones, balsam oil and 120 gold talents, equivalent to approx. £29,000,000 in today’s currency. The Himyarite Kingdom gained control of south Arabia in 115 B.C.E.

However, it was from the semi nomadic script of Nabataean tribes who descended through the line of Ishmael, and who inhabited parts of northern Arabia, Syria and Jordon that modern Arabic writing derives, the word “Arab” meaning nomad.

Ibn Khaldun Photo courtesy themuslimissuewordpresscom

Ibn Khaldun. Photo courtesy themuslimissue.wordpress.com

In 682 CE, much of North Afrika was conquered by Arab military force. In 711 CE; they penetrated Europe via Spain and Portugal before briefly taking Sicily and Italy.

However, they were held off in France in 732 CE. It was during their second push into Europe, that people in countries such as Turkey, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania adopted the Islamic faith.

Arabs were prolific traders and before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began, they enslaved and traded in people from Africa, Europe, India, and Turkey. Regarded as one of the greatest Arab thinkers, Ibn Khaldun (born in Tunisia in 1377), an Arab by descent, the son of an upper class family from Andalusia Spain wrote in the Muqaddimah:

‘“The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage. Other persons who accept the status of slave do so as a means of attaining high rank, or power, or wealth, as in the case with the Mameluke Turks in the East and with those Franks and Galicians who enter the service of the state in [in Spain]…Beyond [known peoples of black West Africa] to the south there is no civilization in the proper sense.

There are only humans who are closer to dumb animals than to rational beings. They live in thickets and caves, eat herbs and unprepared grail\they frequently eat each other. They cannot be considered human beings…Therefore, the Negro nation as, as rule, submissive to slavery, because [Negroes] have little [that is essentially] human and have attributed that are quite similar to those of dumb animals, as we have stated.”

Ibn Khaldun as quoted in Bernard Lewis, Race and Color in Islam, Harper and Row, 1970, quote on page 38. The brackets are displayed by Lewis.’



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