152c. Arabs. An OT backgrounds presentation to better understand the Old Testament. Dr. Rick Griffith, Singapore Bible College www.biblestudydownloads.com. Contents. The People – Who are Arabs? Geography Religion Language and Literature Arab Contributions Lessons Based on Our Study.
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There are 3 determining factors:
Definition of "Arab"
Father-in-law of Ishmael
Queen of Sheba
Descendants colonised India and opened trade routes toward Arabia & Africa
1 Chron. 1:20-23
"The angel added, 'I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.' The angel of the LORD also said to her:
'You are now with child
and you will have a son
You shall namehim Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will beagainst everyone
and everyone's handagainst him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers."
~ Gen 16:10-12
"As for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation."
~ Gen 17:20
King Herod's mother; founded Babylon
Ancestor of Mohammed
1 Chron. 1:29-31
Descendants colonised Ethiopia
Jethro, Moses' father–in–law
Gen. 25: 2-3
1 Chron. 1:32
1. Arabia Petraea
(Arabia ruled from Petra)
Parts of Syria and Jordan
2. Arabia Deserta(Desert Arabia)
3. Arabia Felix
Yemen and Oman
The earliest reference to these Arabs is in Genesis, where Arabian merchants (Midianites) bought and sold Joseph.
The principle people in this area were the Nabataeans(Children of the East) and Petra was their capital
City of Petra
Capital of the Nabataeans
2nd Century BC, Southern Jordan
Central Syria, 3rd Century AD
In 312 BC an army of Greek mercenaries crossed the Syrian desert into present-day Jordan and headed toward the southern tip of the Dead Sea. There the commander - a general named Hieronymus of Cardia - couldn't believe his eyes: scores of Arabic-speaking tribesmen were camped on the shore, with pack-camels couched and reed rafts beached, waiting for what they called the thawr - Arabic for "bull" - to appear in the middle of the sulfur- smelling waters.
Oilmen of the Dead Sea!
Ingredient for mummification!
Southern Tip of the Dead Sea
Jellied Crude Oil
Nabataeans were a wealthy nation - so wealthy that they are the only people in history known to have imposed a punitive tax on whomever among them grew poorer instead of richer!
Much of their fabulous wealth came from their tight grip on the caravan trade in spices and incense that flowed from southern Arabia to Egypt
Wealth from trading
Saudi Arabia has a desert climate of extreme heat in the day and bitter cold at night, and slight, erratic rainfall. Because of the influence of a subtropical high-pressure system and the many fluctuations in elevation, there is considerable variation in temperature and humidity. The two main extremes in climate are felt between the coastal lands and the interior.
The harsh climate of the peninsula, combined with a desert and mountain terrain, limited agriculture and rendered the interior regions difficult to access.
Not much is known about this people except that they were camel riders in the 10th or 9th century BC.
They developed method for saddling camels to transport large loads which increased trade.
The nomadic tribes from Arabia Deserta frequently invaded the surrounding counties (i.e. Arabia Felix and Mesopotamia) and normally settled in these conquered lands.
The peoples of the area lived in small kingdoms or city states. Probably the best known is Saba, which was called Sheba in the Old Testament.
1 Kings 10:1-10
Due to trade, civilization reached a relatively high level in southern Arabia by about 1000 B.C.
The prosperity of Yemen encouraged the Romans to call it Arabia Felix (literally, "Happy Arabia").
Religious practices of the pre-Islamic Arabs
2. Theology: Al-Ghazzali is considered the best theologian of Islam. His book, Destruction of the Philosophers, influenced Thomas Aquinas and Pascal.
3. Science: Ibn-al-Haytham was a noted mathematician who introduced the idea that light rays emanate in straight lines in all directions from every point on a luminous surface.
4. Philosophy: Ibn-Rushd was considered the greatest Muslim philosopher in Spain. He has influenced Jewish and Christian thought more than Islamic thinking. He distinguished between faith and reason by pointing out that the two need not be reconciled because they did not conflict.
5. Medicine: Ibn-Sina's contributions in medicine are enormous. His became the approved textbook in the schools of Europe.
5. God's plan for Israel and the Arabs is still unfinished…
Muslims are expected to publiclyrecite the Shahadah (literally to "bear witness"):
"There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah"
One must state this aloud publicly in order to become a Muslim. It is repeated constantly by the faithful.
Muslims declare that there is no Deity but God and Mohammed is his Messenger
Muslims are expected to perform prayers five times a day: at dawn, noon, afternoon, evening and night. These prayers involve a series of postures (standing, kneeling, hands and face on the ground).
Worship of ritual prayer is a set sequence of motions and prostrations performed facing in the direction of the Ka'bah in Mecca.
1) Dawn Prayer before Sunrise
2) Noon prayer 4) Sunset Prayer
3) Afternoon prayer 5) Night Prayer
For Muslims…the ancient shrine in Mecca--the Ka'bah--is the most sacred place on the face of the earth.
Thanking God for all the blessings that he provides for us (worship of gratitude)
Maintain God's remembrances
Keep up spiritual motivations
Muslims are expected to give alms to the Muslim community that amount to 1/40 (or 2 1/2 %) of one's income. This offering benefits widows, orphans, and the sick or it can be used toward furthering Islam.
Since the giving of alms helps the giver to salvation, those receiving alms feel no sense of debt to the giver.
Muslims are expected to fast during the month of Ramadan. During this month Muslims abstain from food, drink and smoking during the daylight hours. At sundown they are allowed to partake of these pleasures again until sunrise the next morning. The fast develops self-control, devotion to God and identity with the destitute.
Every Muslim is expected to make an official pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her life. If one is unable to go due to health or financial resources a Muslim is permitted to have another person make the pilgrimage by proxy.
Western media has placed a lot of focus on the
concept of Jihad or "holy war"
The word "Jihad" actually means striving.
In its primary sense it is an inner thing, to rid "self" from debased actions or inclinations, and exercise perseverance in achieving a higher moral standard.
Muhammad believed in using force to accomplish the submission required by Allah. He commanded his followers:
"fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them" (9:5)
"fight in the cause of God" (2:244)
Adapted cuneiform to create an alphabet. It has 30 symbols and is written from left to right
An alphabet is a representation system for sounds
Earliest Arabic alphabet is found in Palestine, around 1100 or 1200 BC, known as Proto-Sinaitic
Pictures used to represent consonants, but not all scholars accept this proposition
Proto-Canaanite alphabet developed into Phoenician alphabet by c. 1100 BC and is probably origin of all other Semitic writing systems
Ethiopic developed from South Arabian c. 500 CE and is used for Ge'ez (Classical Ethiopic) and the modern Ethiopian languages
The original Ethiopic script was for consonants only.
Base symbols were modified to accommodate the 7 Ethiopian vowels
Ethiopic is now a syllabary and is written from left to right.
s su si sa se s or s so
Ethiopic was originally written for Ge'ez (Classical Ethiopic), but has adapted to the modern languages by adding extra symbols:
Arabic developed from the Nabataean alphabet around the 2nd century BC, an offshoot of the Aramaic alphabet.
The Arabic alphabet is consonantal, written from right to left and is now used to write other languages such as
Persian and Urdu.
Each letter has a different shape depending on its position in the word as Arabic is written in a cursive style
Short vowels are represented by diacritics above or below a letter
Long vowels are represented by using the short-vowel diacritics plus the letters alif, wa:w, ya: to represent the sounds [a:], [u:], and [i:], respectively.
Daniels, Peter. "Scripts of Semitic Languages." Ed. Robert Hetzron. In The Semitic Languages, 1997, pp. 16-45.
Daniels, Peter & William Bright, eds. The World's Writing Systems. Oxford: OUP, 1996.
Lim Chung Wei
Loke Puay Yin