Pre-Islamic Arabia is the Arabian Peninsula prior to Muhammad's preaching of Islam in the early 7th century CE. Some of the settled communities developed into distinctive civilizations, are limited to archaeological evidence, accounts written outside of Arabia and Arab oral traditions recorded by Islamic scholars. Among the most prominent civilizations were the Thamud which arose around 3000 BCE and lasted to about 300 CE and Dilmun which arose around the end of the fourth millennium and lasted to about 600 CE. Additionally, from the beginning of the first millennium BCE, Southern Arabia was the home to a number of kingdoms such as the Sabaeans and Eastern Arabia was inhabited by Semitic speakers who migrated from the southwest, such as the so-called Samad population. A few nodal points were controlled by Iranian Sassanian colonists. Pre-Islamic religion in Arabia included indigenous polytheistic beliefs, various forms of Christianity and Zoroastrianism. Scientific studies of Pre-Islamic Arabs starts with the Arabists of the early 19th century when they managed to decipher epigraphic Old South Arabian, Ancient North Arabian and other writings of pre-Islamic Arabia.
Thus, studies are no longer limited to the written traditions, which are not local due to the lack of surviving Arab historians' accounts of that era. From the 3rd century CE, Arabian history becomes more tangible with the rise of the Ḥimyarite, with the appearance of the Qaḥṭānites in the Levant and the gradual assimilation of the Nabataeans by the Qaḥṭānites in the early centuries CE, a pattern of expansion exceeded in the Muslim conquests of the 7th century. Sources of history include archaeological evidence, foreign accounts and oral traditions recorded by Islamic scholars—especially in the pre-Islamic poems—and the Ḥadīth, plus a number of ancient Arab documents that survived into medieval times when portions of them were cited or recorded. Archaeological exploration in the Arabian Peninsula has been fruitful; the most recent detailed study of pre-Islamic Arabia is Arabs and Empires Before Islam, published by Oxford University Press in 2015. This book collects a diverse range of ancient texts and inscriptions for the history of the northern region during this time period.
Ubaid period – could have originated in Eastern Arabia. Umm an-Nar Culture Sabr culture Wadi Suq Culture Lizq/Rumaylah = Early Iron Age Samad Period Late Iron Age Recent Pre-Islamic Period Magan is attested as the name of a trading partner of the Sumerians, it is assumed to have been located in Oman. The A'adids established themselves in South Arabia, they established the Kingdom of ʿĀd around the 10th century BCE to the 3rd century CE. The ʿĀd nation were known to the Egyptians. Claudius Ptolemy's Geographos refers to the area as the "land of the Iobaritae" a region which legend referred to as Ubar; the origin of the Midianites has not been established. Because of the Mycenaean motifs on what is referred to as Midianite pottery, some scholars including George Mendenhall, Peter Parr, Beno Rothenberg have suggested that the Midianites were Sea Peoples who migrated from the Aegean region and imposed themselves on a pre-existing Semitic stratum; the question of the origin of the Midianites still remains open.
The history of Pre-Islamic Arabia before the rise of Islam in the 630s is not known in great detail. Archaeological exploration in the Arabian peninsula has been sparse. Existing material consists of written sources from other traditions and oral traditions recorded by Islamic scholars. Many small kingdoms prospered from Indian Ocean trade. Major kingdoms included the Sabaeans, Awsan and the Nabateans The first known inscriptions of the Kingdom of Hadhramaut are known from the 8th century BC, it was first referenced by an outside civilization in an Old Sabaic inscription of Karab'il Watar from the early 7th century BC, in which the King of Hadramaut, Yada`'il, is mentioned as being one of his allies. Dilmun appears first in Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets dated to the end of 4th millennium BC, found in the temple of goddess Inanna, in the city of Uruk; the adjective Dilmun refers to a type of one specific official. The Sabaeans were an ancient people speaking an Old South Arabian language who lived in what is today Yemen, in south west Arabian Peninsula.
Some Sabaeans lived in D'mt, located in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, due to their hegemony over the Red Sea. They lasted from the early 2nd millennium to the 1st century BC. In the 1st century BC it was conquered by the Himyarites, but after the disintegration of the first Himyarite empire of the Kings of Saba' and dhu-Raydan the Middle Sabaean Kingdom reappeared in the early 2nd century, it was conquered by the Himyarites in the late 3rd century. The ancient Kingdom of Awsan with a capital at Hagar Yahirr in the wadi Markha, to the south of the wadi Bayhan, is now marked by a tell or artificial mound, locally named Hagar Asfal. Once it was one of the most important small kingdoms of South Arabia; the city seem
Mecca spelled Makkah, is a city in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula, the plain of Tihamah in Saudi Arabia, is the capital and administrative headquarters of the Makkah Region. The city is located 70 km inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m above sea level, 340 kilometres south of Medina, its resident population in 2012 was 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah. As the birthplace of Muḥammad, the site of Muhammad's first revelation of the Quran, Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba, by majority description Islam's holiest site, as well as being the direction of Muslim prayer. Mecca was long ruled by Muhammad's descendants, the sharifs, acting either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger polities, it was conquered by Ibn Saud in 1925.
In its modern period, Mecca has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, home to structures such as the Abraj Al Bait known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, the world's fourth tallest building and the building with the third largest amount of floor area. During this expansion, Mecca has lost some historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress. Today, more than 15 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million during the few days of the Hajj; as a result, Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Muslim world, although non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city. "Mecca" is the familiar form of the English transliteration for the Arabic name of the city, although the official transliteration used by the Saudi government is Makkah, closer to the Arabic pronunciation. The word "Mecca" in English has come to be used to refer to any place that draws large numbers of people, because of this some English speaking Muslims have come to regard the use of this spelling for the city as offensive.
The Saudi government adopted Makkah as the official spelling in the 1980s, but is not universally known or used worldwide. The full official name is Makkah al-Mukarramah or Makkatu l-Mukarramah, which means "Mecca the Honored", but is loosely translated as "The Holy City of Mecca"; the ancient or early name for the site of Mecca is Bakkah. An Arabic language word, its etymology, like that of Mecca, is obscure. Believed to be a synonym for Mecca, it is said to be more the early name for the valley located therein, while Muslim scholars use it to refer to the sacred area of the city that surrounds and includes the Ka‘bah; this form is used for the name Mecca in the Quran in 3:96, while the form Mecca is used in 48:24. In South Arabic, the language in use in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammad, the b and m were interchangeable. Other references to Mecca in the Quran call it Umm al-Qurā, meaning "Mother of All Settlements"/"mother of villages". Another name of Mecca is Ṫihāmah.
Another name for Mecca, or the wilderness and mountains surrounding it, according to Arab and Islamic tradition, is Faran or Pharan, referring to the Desert of Paran mentioned in the Old Testament at Genesis 21:21. Arab and Islamic tradition holds that the wilderness of Paran, broadly speaking, is the Tihamah and the site where Ishmael settled was Mecca. Yaqut al-Hamawi, the 12th century Syrian geographer, wrote that Fārān was "an arabized Hebrew word, one of the names of Mecca mentioned in the Torah." Mecca is governed by the Municipality of Mecca, a municipal council of fourteen locally elected members headed by a mayor appointed by the Saudi government. As of May 2015, the mayor of the city was Dr. Osama bin Fadhel Al-Bar. Mecca is the capital of the Makkah Region; the provincial governor was prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud from 2000 until his death in 2007. On 16 May 2007, prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud was appointed as the new governor; the early history of Mecca is still disputed, as there are no unambiguous references to it in ancient literature prior to the rise of Islam.
The Roman Empire took control of part of the Hejaz in 106 CE, ruling cities such as Hegra, located to the north of Mecca. Though detailed descriptions were established of Western Arabia by Rome, such as by Procopius, there are no references of a pilgrimage and trading outpost such as Mecca; the first direct mention of Mecca in external literature occurs in 741 CE, in the Byzantine-Arab Chronicle, though here the author places it in Mesopotamia rather than the Hejaz. Given the inhospitable environment and lack of historical references in Roman and Indian sources, historians including Patricia Crone and Tom Holland have cast doubt on the claim that Mecca was a major historical trading outpost; the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus writes about Arabia in his work Bibliotheca historica, describing a holy shrine: "And a temple has been set up there, holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians". Claims have been made. However, the geographic location Diodorus describes is located in northwest Arabia, around the area of Leuke Kome, closer to Petra and within the form
Emirate of Nejd
The Emirate of Nejd was the second Saudi state, existing between 1824 and 1891 in Nejd, the regions of Riyadh and Ha'il of what is now Saudi Arabia. Saudi rule was restored to central and eastern Arabia after the Emirate of Diriyah, the First Saudi State, having been brought down by the Ottoman Empire's Egypt Eyalet in the Ottoman–Wahhabi War; the second Saudi period was marked by less territorial expansion and less religious zeal, although the Saudi leaders continued to be called Imam and still employed Wahhabist religious scholars. Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad's reconquest of Riyadh from Egyptian forces in 1824 is regarded as the beginning of the Second Saudi State. Severe internal conflicts within the House of Saud led to the dynasty's downfall at the Battle of Mulayda in 1891, between the forces loyal to the last Saudi imam, Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki, the Rashidi dynasty of Ha'il; the first Saudi to attempt to regain power after the fall of the Emirate of Diriyah in 1818 was Mishari ibn Saud, a brother of the last ruler in Diriyah, Abdullah ibn Saud but he was soon captured by the Egyptians and killed.
In 1824, Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad, a grandson of the first Saudi imam Muhammad ibn Saud who had managed to evade capture by the Egyptians, was able to expel Egyptian forces and their local allies from Riyadh and its environs and is regarded as the founder of the second Saudi dynasty as well as being the ancestor of the kings of modern-day Saudi Arabia. He made his capital in Riyadh and was able to enlist the services of many relatives who had escaped captivity in Egypt, including his son Faisal ibn Turki Al Saud. Turki was assassinated in 1834 by a distant cousin. Mishari was soon besieged in Riyadh and executed by Faisal, who went on to become the most prominent ruler of the Saudis' second reign. Faisal, faced a re-invasion of Najd by the Egyptians four years later; the local population was unwilling to resist, Faisal was defeated and taken to Egypt as a prisoner for the second time in 1838. The Egyptians installed Khalid ibn Saud, last surviving brother of Abdullah ibn Saud ibn Abdul-Aziz a great grandson of Muhammad bin Saud, had spent many years in the Egyptian court, as ruler in Riyadh and supported him with Egyptian troops.
In 1840, external conflicts forced the Egyptians to withdraw all their presence in the Arabian Peninsula, leaving Khalid with little support. Seen by most locals as nothing more than an Egyptian governor, Khalid was toppled soon afterwards by Abdullah ibn Thunayan, of the collateral Al Thunayan branch. Faisal, had been released that year and, aided by the Al Rashid rulers of Ha'il, was able to retake Riyadh and resume his rule appointing his son Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki as heir apparent, divided his dominions between his three sons Abdullah, Saud ibn Faisal ibn Turki, Muhammad. Upon Faisal's death in 1865, Abdullah assumed rule in Riyadh but was soon challenged by his brother, Saud; the two brothers fought a long civil war. A vassal of the Saudis, Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Rashid of Ha'il took the opportunity to intervene in the conflict and increase his own power. Ibn Rashid extended his authority over most of Najd, including the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Ibn Rashid expelled the last Saudi leader, Abdul-Rahman ibn Faisal, from Najd after the Battle of Mulayda in 1891.
Imam Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad 1819–1820 Imam Turki ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad 1824–1834 Imam Mushari ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Mushari 1834–1834 Imam Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud 1834–1838 Imam Khalid ibn Saud ibn Abd al Aziz 1838–1841 Imam Abdallah ibn Thunayan ibn Ibrahim ibn Thunayan ibn Saud 1841–1843 Imam Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah Al Saud 1843–1865 Imam Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki 1865–1871 Imam Saud ibn Faisal 1871–1871 Imam Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki 1871–1873 Imam Saud ibn Faisal 1873–1875 Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal 1875–1876 Imam Abdallah ibn Faisal ibn Turki 1876–1889 Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal 1889–1891 Unification of Saudi Arabia List of Sunni Muslim dynasties Second State of Saudi Arabia "The first and second Saudi states" in Saudi Aramco World, January/February 1999, pp 4–11
Allah is the Arabic word for God in Abrahamic religions. In the English language, the word refers to God in Islam; the word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", is related to El and Elah, the Hebrew and Aramaic words for God. The word Allah has been used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times. More it has been used as a term for God by Muslims and Arab Christians, it is often, albeit not used in this way by Bábists, Bahá'ís, Mandaeans and Maltese Christians, Mizrahi Jews. Similar usage by Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia has led to political and legal controversies; the etymology of the word Allāh has been discussed extensively by classical Arab philologists. Grammarians of the Basra school regarded it as either formed "spontaneously" or as the definite form of lāh. Others held that it was borrowed from Syriac or Hebrew, but most considered it to be derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al- "the" and ilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the deity", or "the God".
The majority of modern scholars subscribe to the latter theory, view the loanword hypothesis with skepticism. Cognates of the name "Allāh" exist in other Semitic languages, including Aramaic; the corresponding Aramaic form is Elah. It is written as ܐܠܗܐ in Biblical Aramaic and ܐܲܠܵܗܵܐ in Syriac as used by the Assyrian Church, both meaning "God". Biblical Hebrew uses the plural form Elohim, but more it uses the singular form Eloah. Regional variants of the word Allah occur in Christian pre-Islamic inscriptions. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in pre-Islamic polytheistic cults; some authors have suggested that polytheistic Arabs used the name as a reference to a creator god or a supreme deity of their pantheon. The term may have been vague in the Meccan religion. According to one hypothesis, which goes back to Julius Wellhausen, Allah was a designation that consecrated the superiority of Hubal over the other gods. However, there is evidence that Allah and Hubal were two distinct deities.
According to that hypothesis, the Kaaba was first consecrated to a supreme deity named Allah and hosted the pantheon of Quraysh after their conquest of Mecca, about a century before the time of Muhammad. Some inscriptions seem to indicate the use of Allah as a name of a polytheist deity centuries earlier, but we know nothing precise about this use; some scholars have suggested that Allah may have represented a remote creator god, eclipsed by more particularized local deities. There is disagreement on. No iconic representation of Allah is known to have existed. Allah is the only god in Mecca. Muhammad's father's name was ʿAbd-Allāh meaning "the slave of Allāh"; the Aramaic word for "God" in the language of Assyrian Christians is Alaha. Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God"; the Christian Arabs of today have no other word for "God" than "Allah". Arab Christians, for example, use the terms Allāh al-ab for God the Father, Allāh al-ibn for God the Son, Allāh al-rūḥ al-quds for God the Holy Spirit.
Arab Christians have used two forms of invocations that were affixed to the beginning of their written works. They adopted the Muslim bismillāh, created their own Trinitized bismillāh as early as the 8th century; the Muslim bismillāh reads: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." The Trinitized bismillāh reads: "In the name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God." The Syriac and Greek invocations do not have the words "One God" at the end. This addition was made to emphasize the monotheistic aspect of Trinitarian belief and to make it more palatable to Muslims. According to Marshall Hodgson, it seems that in the pre-Islamic times, some Arab Christians made pilgrimage to the Kaaba, a pagan temple at that time, honoring Allah there as God the Creator; some archaeological excavation quests have led to the discovery of ancient pre-Islamic inscriptions and tombs made by Arab Christians in the ruins of a church at Umm el-Jimal in Northern Jordan, which contained references to Allah as the proper name of God, some of the graves contained names such as "Abd Allah" which means "the servant/slave of Allah".
The name Allah can be found countless times in the reports and the lists of names of Christian martyrs in South Arabia, as reported by antique Syriac documents of the names of those martyrs from the era of the Himyarite and Aksumite kingdomsA Christian leader named Abd Allah ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad was martyred in Najran in 523, as he had worn a ring that said "Allah is my lord". In an inscription of Christian martyrion dated back to 512, references to Allah can be found in both Arabic and Aramaic, which called him "Allah" and "Alaha", the inscription starts with the statement "By the Help of Allah". In pre-Islamic Gospels, the name used for God was "Allah", as evidenced by some discovered Arabic versions of the New Testament written by Arab Christians during the pre-Islamic era in Northern
Muhammad was the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, sent to present and confirm the monotheistic teachings preached by Adam, Moses and other prophets, he is viewed as the final prophet of God in all the main branches of Islam, though some modern denominations diverge from this belief. Muhammad united Arabia into a single Muslim polity, with the Quran as well as his teachings and practices forming the basis of Islamic religious belief. Born 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at the age of six, he was raised under the care of his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib, upon his death, by his uncle Abu Talib. In years he would periodically seclude himself in a mountain cave named Hira for several nights of prayer; when he was 40, Muhammad reported being visited by Gabriel in the cave, receiving his first revelation from God. Three years in 610, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "submission" to God is the right way of life, that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to the other prophets in Islam.
The followers of Muhammad were few in number, experienced hostility from Meccan polytheists. He sent some of his followers to Abyssinia in 615 to shield them from prosecution, before he and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina in 622; this event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar known as the Hijri Calendar. In Medina, Muhammad united the tribes under the Constitution of Medina. In December 629, after eight years of intermittent fighting with Meccan tribes, Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 Muslim converts and marched on the city of Mecca; the conquest went uncontested and Muhammad seized the city with little bloodshed. In 632, a few months after returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, he died. By the time of his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam; the revelations, which Muhammad reported receiving until his death, form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the verbatim "Word of God" and around which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad's teachings and practices, found in the Hadith and sira literature, are upheld and used as sources of Islamic law.
The name Muhammad appears four times in the Quran. The Quran addresses Muhammad in the second person by various appellations. Muhammad is sometimes addressed by designations deriving from his state at the time of the address: thus he is referred to as the enwrapped in Quran 73:1 and the shrouded in Quran 74:1. In Sura Al-Ahzab 33:40 God singles out Muhammad as the "Seal of the prophets", or the last of the prophets; the Quran refers to Muhammad as Aḥmad "more praiseworthy". The name Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, begins with the kunya Abū, which corresponds to the English, father of; the Quran is the central religious text of Islam. Muslims believe; the Quran, provides minimal assistance for Muhammad's chronological biography. Important sources regarding Muhammad's life may be found in the historic works by writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Muslim era; these include traditional Muslim biographies of Muhammad, which provide additional information about Muhammad's life.
The earliest surviving written sira is Ibn Ishaq's Life of God's Messenger written c. 767 CE. Although the work was lost, this sira was used at great length by Ibn Hisham and to a lesser extent by Al-Tabari. However, Ibn Hisham admits in the preface to his biography of Muhammad that he omitted matters from Ibn Ishaq's biography that "would distress certain people". Another early history source is the history of Muhammad's campaigns by al-Waqidi, the work of his secretary Ibn Sa'd al-Baghdadi. Many scholars accept these early biographies as authentic. Recent studies have led scholars to distinguish between traditions touching legal matters and purely historical events. In the legal group, traditions could have been subject to invention while historic events, aside from exceptional cases, may have been only subject to "tendential shaping". Other important sources include the hadith collections, accounts of the verbal and physical teachings and traditions of Muhammad. Hadiths were compiled several generations after his death by followers including Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, Muhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi, Abd ar-Rahman al-Nasai, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Malik ibn Anas, al-Daraqutni.
Some Western academics cautiously view the hadith collections as accurate historical sources. Scholars such as Madelung do not reject the narrations which have been compiled in periods, but judge them in the context of history and on the basis of their compatibility with the events and figures. Muslim scholars on the other hand place a greater emph
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Foreign relations of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian stated policy is focused on co-operation with the oil-exporting Gulf States, the unity of the Arab world, Islamic strength and solidarity, support for the United Nations. In practice, the main concerns in recent years have been relations with the US, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the perceived threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the effect of oil pricing, using its oil wealth to increase the influence of Islam and the conservative school of Islam supported by the country's rulers. Saudi Arabia contributes large amounts of development aid to Muslim countries. From 1986 to 2006, the country donated £49 billion in aid. Although a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, Saudi Arabia was once described as leading the "Pro-Western Camp" of Arab countries, aligned with the U. S. and composed of Egypt and Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia and the United States are close strategic partners. However, the relationship became strained and witnessed major decline during the last few years of the Obama administration, but has since strengthened following the election of President Donald Trump who has since forged close ties with the Saudi royal family.
Islam is the main religion of Saudi. China and Saudi Arabia are major allies, with relationship between the two countries growing in recent decades. A majority of Saudi Arabians have expressed a favorable view of China; as a founding member of OPEC, Saudi Arabia's long-term oil pricing policy has been to keep prices stable and moderate—high enough to earn large amounts of revenue, but not so high as to encourage alternative energy sources among oil importers, or jeopardise the economies of Western countries where many of its financial assets are located and which provide political and military support for the Saudi government. The major exception to this occurred during the 1973 oil crisis when Saudi Arabia, with the other Arab oil states, used an embargo on oil supplies to pressure the US to stop supporting Israel. Saudi Arabia is a founding member of several multinational organizations, including OPEC, the United Nations, the Arab League, it is a founding member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Muslim World League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank—all of which are headquartered in Saudi.
The country plays a prominent role in the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, in 2005 joined the World Trade Organization. According to a UCLA history professor, Saudi Arabia has become much more active in terms of foreign and security policy for three reasons: the Arab uprisings of 2010 and 2011, the policies of the Obama administration and the collapse of oil prices. After World War II and during the Cold War, Saudi Arabia maintained an anti-Communist, anti-secular Arab nationalist policy working with the leading anti-Communist power, the United States. Following the 1973 oil crisis, where Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil exporters embargoed the United States and its allies for their support of Israel, oil revenues increased and it worked to become the leading Islamic state, spending generously to advance Islam and its conservative school; the effect has been to purify and unify Islamic faith, according to supporters, to erode regional Islamic cultures, according to others. Saudi Arabia and its oil policy are thought to have contributed to the downfall of Soviet Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990.
Saudi helped to finance not just the Afghan Mujahideen but non-Muslims anti-communists. It seriously harmed the Soviet Communist cause by stabilizing oil prices "throughout the 1980s, just when the Russians were desperate to sell energy in order to keep up with huge hikes in American military spending."Following King Fahd's stroke in 1995, Abdullah Crown Prince, assumed responsibility for foreign policy. A marked change in U. S.-Saudi relations occurred, as Abdullah sought to put distance between his policies and the unpopular pro-Western policies of King Fahd. Abdullah took a more independent line from the US and concentrated on improving regional relations with Iran. Several long-standing border disputes were resolved, including reshaping the border with Yemen; the new approach resulted in strained relations with the US. Despite this, the U. S. and Saudi Arabia were still close nevertheless. In 1998, Abdullah paid a state visit to the U. S. and met with President, Bill Clinton. In 2003, Abdullah's new policy was reflected in the Saudi government's refusal to support or to participate in the U.
S.-led invasion of Iraq. Some US critics saw this as an attempt by the royal family to placate the kingdom's Islamist radicals; that same year Saudi and U. S. government officials agreed to withdraw all U. S. military forces from Saudi soil. Since ascending to the throne in 2005, King Abdullah has followed a more activist foreign policy and has continued to push-back on US policies which are unpopular in Saudi Arabia; however in common with the US, fear and mistrust of Iran is becoming a significant factor in Saudi policy. In 2010, the whistle blowing website WikiLeaks disclosed various confidential documents revealing that King Abdullah urged the U. S. to attack Iran in order to "cut off the head of the snake". Saudi Arabia has long since used its alliance with the United States as a counterbalance to Iran's influence in t