WEFOUNDArabia: The Cradle of Islam: Studies in the Geography, People and Politics of the Peninsula With an Account of Islam and Mission-Work (Classic Reprint)


Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah (a transliteration of المملكة العربية السعودية in Arabic) by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud ( Ibn Saud ). Although this is normally translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, [24] it literally means "the Saudi Arab kingdom", [25] or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom". [26]

The word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, which is a type of adjective known as a nisba , formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud (آل سعود). Its inclusion expresses the view that the country is the personal possession of the royal family. [27] [28] Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al , meaning "family of" or "House of", [29] to the personal name of an ancestor. In the case of the Al Saud , this is the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud . [30]

There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago. [31] It is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab el Mandib connecting Horn of Africa and Arabia. [32]

Arabia has been inhabited by innumerable tribal units, forever splitting or confederating; its history is a kaleidoscope of shifting allegiances , although certain broad patterns may be distinguished. A native system has evolved of moving from tribal anarchy to centralized government and relapsing again into anarchy. The tribes have dominated the peninsula, even in intermittent periods when the personal prestige of a leader has led briefly to some measure of tribal cohesion.

Arabian culture is a branch of Semitic civilization; because of this and because of the influences of sister Semitic cultures to which it has been subjected at certain epochs, it is sometimes difficult to determine what is specifically Arabian. Because a great trade route passed along its flanks, Arabia had contact along its borders with Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Indo-Persian civilizations. The Turkish overlords of the Arabic-speaking countries affected Arabia relatively little, however, and the dominant culture of western Europe arrived late in the colonial era.

Arabia was the cradle of Islam , and through this faith it influenced every Muslim people. Islam, essentially Arabian in nature, whatever superficial external influences may have affected it, is Arabia’s outstanding contribution to world civilization.

Following the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd kingdoms, the new state was named al-Mamlakah al-ʻArabīyah as-Suʻūdīyah (a transliteration of المملكة العربية السعودية in Arabic) by royal decree on 23 September 1932 by its founder, Abdulaziz Al Saud ( Ibn Saud ). Although this is normally translated as "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" in English, [24] it literally means "the Saudi Arab kingdom", [25] or "the Arab Saudi Kingdom". [26]

The word "Saudi" is derived from the element as-Suʻūdīyah in the Arabic name of the country, which is a type of adjective known as a nisba , formed from the dynastic name of the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud (آل سعود). Its inclusion expresses the view that the country is the personal possession of the royal family. [27] [28] Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the word Al , meaning "family of" or "House of", [29] to the personal name of an ancestor. In the case of the Al Saud , this is the father of the dynasty's 18th-century founder, Muhammad bin Saud . [30]

There is evidence that human habitation in the Arabian Peninsula dates back to about 125,000 years ago. [31] It is now believed that the first modern humans to spread east across Asia left Africa about 75,000 years ago across the Bab el Mandib connecting Horn of Africa and Arabia. [32]


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